That’s Our Business

Peter Drucker

Business consultant Peter Drucker was asked what he considered to be the key to a successful business. He answered, “Every day we need to ask ourselves two questions: ‘What business are we in?’ ‘How’s business?’

Jesus has called us into the fishing business. We are to fish for people; to try to get them to follow Jesus. We need to remind ourselves often that this is our business. And, occasionally, we need to make an assessment about how our business is going.

How’s business at your church?

“…Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”—Luke 5:10b-11

 

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Such a Loss

The clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power

To tell just when the hands will stop

At late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed.

To lose one’s health is more.

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no one can restore.

Author Unknown

Jesus asks a very pointed question in Mark 8:36—“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

In spite of such a dire warning from the Son of God, many people chase after the world and all it has to offer, not giving much thought to their eternal soul.

Don’t be one of them!

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Lack of Effort

Acuna admires his drive

On Thursday, October 3, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a towering drive to right field in the seventh inning of the opening game of the National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals. Instead of hustling out of the batter’s box, the Braves’ talented and well-paid 21-year-old outfielder hot-dogged it by slowly trotting down the first base line, still carrying his bat. By the time Acuna realized that the ball was not going to leave the park, he was unable to make it to second base on what should have been an easy double. His blunder could have cost his team a precious run in what was at the time a close ball game.

His lack of effort was demoralizing to the hometown fans and his teammates, several of whom called him out after the game for his failure to hustle.

Braves manager Brian Snitker removed Acuna from a regular season game in August for a similar play. Call me “old school”, but I would have pulled him out of this post-season game as well. His lack of hustle showed a lack of respect—for the game, for the fans, for his teammates, his manager and himself.

Hopefully this talented young man will learn from his mistakes and start to make better decisions as he matures.

We Christians have no excuse for not giving it our best as we live our lives for Jesus. There is too much at stake for us to give anything but our best effort. We need to show proper respect for God, for others and for ourselves by using our talents to the best of our abilities. Hopefully, we have some teammates who will call us out if necessary and hold us accountable to give our best effort.

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”–1 Corinthians 15:58

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Great Speaker

During a long lecture, a speaker endured many interruptions from a man in the balcony who kept yelling, “Louder! Louder!”

After the fifth interruption, a gentleman in the first row stood up, looked back and asked, “Can’t you hear?”

“No, actually, I can’t hear,” came the answer from the balcony.

“Well, then, be thankful and shut up!”

We should be thankful that when we listen to Jesus we never have to worry about being bored. Jesus has the words of life that we should accept readily and gladly!

“The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.”—Mark 1:22.

 

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Somebody Jesus Loves

The apostle John has a unique way of referring to himself in the gospel that he wrote. Several times he uses the phrase “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. He could have referred to himself as: an apostle, one of the Twelve, a preacher of the gospel, a witness to the resurrection, or a number of other ways. But he simply chose to call himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved”.

Maybe this is a good way to think about ourselves. It tends to prevent prideful thinking and promote humility. It reminds us that Jesus loves us in spite of our faults and weaknesses. This way of thinking about ourselves will help us think less about performance and more about grace.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of simply thinking of myself as somebody Jesus loves.

I might even put it on my tombstone!

 

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Socially Acceptable

According to the Associated Press, a new U.S. Census Bureau report says the number of unmarried partners living together has tripled in the past two decades due to greater social acceptance.

Society does indeed have a greater level of acceptance for cohabitation. However, the Bible remains clear and consistent on the subject—sexual intimacy is reserved for a man and woman who are married to one another.

We must never lower our standards simply because our society has done so. Any church that ignores the Scripture’s teaching on sexual immorality cannot expect to experience God’s blessing.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”—Romans 12:2

 

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Building Something for God

Nehemiah led a group of people on a much-needed project—rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. It was an important undertaking to get something accomplished for the Lord. There are many principles we can learn from the book of Nehemiah as we try to build the kingdom of God.

First, start with prayer. Before he began the huge task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah “prayed before the God of heaven.” (1:4). If the job is big, you need all the help you can get! Why not ask God to help you?

Second, inspire other people to work together to help you. In chapter 2 we see the phrase “next to him” or “next to them” several times as the text describes how the people worked together to get the job done. What we can do alone pales in comparison to what we can do together.

Then we see that we can expect opposition (Ch.4). Satan never likes for anything to be accomplished for God, so he raises up people to oppose those who work for the Lord. Nehemiah experienced it, and we will also. Let’s be ready to stand against the enemies of the Lord.

Then we see that Nehemiah took time to alleviate the suffering of the poor among God’s people (Ch.5). He understood that you can’t really get anything done if you are neglecting your own people who are in need. The same principle is true in the church today. We can’t answer every request from the community for aid, but we certainly should try to take care of the needs of our own church members.

Next we see that they gave their attention to the Word of God. Nehemiah 8:8 is one of the most important verses in the Bible about preaching—“They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” No group of God’s people will succeed without paying close attention to the Word of God.

Then the people spent significant time confessing their sins to God (9:3). Those who humbly admit their faults go much farther in life than those whose pride will not allow them to say that they have done anything wrong.

Chapter 10 says that the people brought substantial offerings to the Lord. It takes money to spread the Word of God so that his kingdom can grow. Our thoughts should be the same as those in Nehemiah’s day, who said—“…We will not neglect the house of our God.” (10:39b)

Finally, the people celebrated joyfully when the job was finished (12:27). We need to celebrate accomplishments in the church, such as: building projects, baptisms, victories on the mission field, backsliders who have been restored and other such joyful events.

These are just a few principles of building something for God. Let’s make sure that we try to keep these in mind as we work together to build God’s kingdom!

 

 

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Definition of Success

Three friends were trying to define the word “success”. One said, “Success is being invited to the oval office to advise the president.”

The second friend said, “That’s pretty good, but I think success is being invited to the oval office to advise the president, and the red phone rings, but he doesn’t answer it.”

The third one said, “Here is how you define success. It is being invited to the oval office to advise the president, and the red phone rings. He answers it and says, “Here, it’s for you!”

I think that Joshua 1:7 gives us a very good definition of success—“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”

Success is courageously obeying the word of God.

How successful are you?

 

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Fully Committed

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”—2 Chronicles 16:9.

God is constantly looking for people who are fully committed to him. Some doubt God’s existence. Others actively oppose God. But most of the people you know probably would say that they are on God’s side. Many of these would fall woefully short in the commitment department. Yet that is what God is looking for—men, women and young people who are fully committed to him.

How would you describe the lives of people who are fully committed to God? I think you could safely say that they regularly gather together with other believers for the purpose of worship (Hebrews 10:25). They take prayer seriously (1 Thessalonians 5:17). They not only study the Bible, they put its teachings into practice (James 1:22). They put God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33) and do their best to practice the golden rule (Matthew 7:12). The evidence of the Holy Spirit is abundant in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

There are many other ways that a person could show that they are fully committed to God. What would you add to the above list?

Let’s always keep in mind that God is looking for people who are fully committed to him.

Does he see such a person when he looks at you?

 

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Rest for the Soul

I think that Labor Day weekend is an appropriate time to take a break from writing this blog. I appreciate all of you who read so faithfully. I enjoy helping people think about God.

However, even a labor of love can become wearisome at times. Jesus rested from his work from time to time, and so must we. I hope that by taking some time off—perhaps a week or two—I can come back refreshed and ready to refresh others.

I hope you have a restful and joyful holiday weekend.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”—Matthew 11:28-30

 

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