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Devotional: Audience of One

Not that I accept human testimony…
John 5:34

How and what we perform is driven by whom we have in the audience of our minds, holding our scorecard.  Jesus knew the Father so well that He played for an audience of One. Contrast the dialogue we have in our minds with the statements of Jesus:

I’ve done pretty well... “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid.”

Even if I say so myself… “There is another who testifies in my favor.” 

It is public knowledge that he is on the XYZ Most Successful list… “Not that I accept human testimony…”

My portfolio speaks for me… “For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.”

Our speaker tonight is a famous businessperson / athlete / movie star / whatever who just found Jesus last month… “I do not accept praise from men…”

We believe God…...

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Devotional: Be like Jesus

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon… John 1:41

Want to be like Jesus? Become a Networker. While writing my book, LEMON Leadership, I noticed a pattern in the way Jesus built his team. When you read that Jesus spent all night in prayer and then chose the 12 disciples, perhaps you imagined him seeing all of them in prayer and then picking them, much like you choose a soccer team. “I’ll take you over there, and you over there with the fishing nets, and you over there…” But Scripture reveals that he leveraged the relational networks already in place. 

“Jesus invited Cousin John’s devotees to hang out with him for the day. One of them, Andrew, was a bit of a Networker himself. When he realized there was something special about Jesus, he promptly went home and recruited his brother, Simon, who became employee # 3.

The next day Jesus followed the relational trail to the hometown of Andrew and Simon and recruited # 4,...

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Devotional: Be Real, Strong

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way, say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…He will come to save you.’  Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Isaiah 35:3-6, Matthew 11:3-5

Often as I prepare for and look back on a business venture, I remember Christ’s response to the “Are you the real thing?” question asked by John the Baptist. John had put in a fair effort for the kingdom. He had run his race, and it ended in a prison. Now he wanted some assurance that the effort he invested was not misguided. Jesus gives this pregnant reply.

Jesus told them, “Go back and tell John what's going on: 

   The blind see, 

 The lame walk, 

   Lepers are cleansed, 

   The deaf hear, 

...

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Devotional: Power outage

“I know that power has gone out from me.”

“Don’t bother the teacher any more.”

They laughed at him… but he took her by the hand and said,
“My child, get up!” Luke 8:40-56 

A funny thing happened on the way to Jairus’ house. Jesus is on a mission to heal a sick twelve year old, the only daughter of an important person. Dad is distraught, Jesus is responding to the 911 call. If you were Jesus you might be thinking, “I can handle this… stay focused.” But then there is the jostle of the crowd, and all of a sudden Jesus feels power go out of him. He knows that interruptions can be divine interjections, so he pauses to address the situation… during which time the patient dies. The young girl, that is. 

Three things emerge from this passage. First, Jesus was feeling differently. His team was feeling the pressing, moving throng, crowding and almost crushing Jesus. He was feeling the touch of faith and...

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Devotional: Calm, cool and collected

Be careful, be calm, and don’t be afraid. Isaiah 7:4

King Ahaz had reason to be concerned.  Three armies were colluding against him.  It seemed that the fall of his city was inevitable.  Scripture says that he and his companion’s hearts were melting within them.  God sent the prophet Isaiah to meet him and explain that the three armies would not prevail.  Then he gave this command:  “Be careful, be calm, and don’t be afraid.”

When we are “out doing something for God” we are focused; we are desperate for God to do transformative things. But once a particular mission is completed, it is easy to let one’s guard down thinking the battle is over. Problems we have held at bay for weeks now stare us in the face. This is no less true for me than for you.  So after a recent Venture this same word was spoken to me. “Be careful, be calm, and don‘t be afraid.” I wondered why the prophet started...

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Parties, personalities, platforms: the voting trilemma

News channels, podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Insta, texts… we are being bombarded with so much (dis+mis)information that it is hard to discern truth. Beyond the politicians running for office there are professors, doctors and an array of experts with differing opinions. To make matters more confusing, respected Christian leaders say “I could never vote for him,” or “don’t ever vote for her.” To add a little spice, they say your vote will be remembered (against you if you disagree with them) for eternity. Tough talk.

This morning, a week away from election day in the USA in 2020, I came in my daily bible reading in 1st Timothy. This was written about 2,000 years ago yet is quite effective in blowing away the verbal fog and helping me see the issues. It will become clear that I am not a political expert, as you read on, but I do have a determination to get to clarity, where I can. Before I get to the Paul/Timothy...

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Devotional: Basketful

Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Matthew 16:9-10

I have been considering the story of the loaves and fish in regards to the hundreds of people who have volunteered their time to serve fellow business-people. After seeing Jesus multiply natural resources, the disciples head across the lake. Later, in the boat, they panic about only having one loaf of bread, and Jesus warns them against humanistic unbelief. Prior to the miracle of the multiplication they were guilt free when it came to asking about a shortage of bread.  After the miracle they were held to a new standard. Consultants have seen God do many business miracles for clients, just as the disciples had seen Jesus feed thousands of people on nothing. We have seen revenues grow, costs shrink, orders come in, permits granted, machinery fixed,...

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Devotional: An open door

See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. Revelation 3:7-12

When you have just lost a job, a contract has evaporated, a promising path has gone nowhere, or your bag of hope has leaked a trail of sand behind you, then it does not feel like “an open door that no one can shut.”  Some of us have gone so long, we feel we haven’t seen a door for quite some time.  So what do we do?

First, we recognize that the real doors are in the heavenly realm. Second, we know who holds the keys. “These are the words of Him who is holy and true, who holds the keys of David.”  Third, we don’t get hung up on our own condition. “I know that you have little strength…”

What do we do when we feel a door is shut in our face?  

‘Keep my word …do not deny my name …endure patiently …hold on to what you have …don’t let anyone take your crown …keep your reward in...

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Devotional: Hope for place – finances

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.    Ezra 6:22

A seven-day party—that ought to get our attention! For Israel it had been a stop-start effort to get the temple rebuilt. Finances had been a factor on and off. Overall, however, they had favor from many rulers. Nehemiah said, “And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” This was king Artaxerxes. Ezra had enjoyed similar favor from Cyrus, king of Persia—“the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia.” Later Darius said, “The expenses of these men are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury…so that the work will not stop.”

This support from what some today would call “high net worth donors” was only part of the...

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Do you have enough?

In 2020 the annual income needed to be happy (in the USA) was roughly $75,000—earn less than this and you may be a little miserable, and earn more… well, the happiness per dollar does not increase by much. Situations vary, but this is the rough calculation. I wonder if it is fair to ask whether desiring more than “enough” is a love of money? I do not think this is always the case. If you want it so that you can give it, that is one thing. If you want it so that you can keep 90% of the increase for yourself, assuming you give away 10%, then that is different. In fact, it may be “the love of money” which we are told to avoid like a novel virus.

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” says the author of the book of Hebrews.

Dealing with greed is a tricky thing because we convince ourselves we need more. Contentment: it is easy to say it, but hard to stay in it. An experiment has been done...

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