“They are right to say… But I tell you…”
Are we so used to misinformation that we accept half-truths as truths? Aren’t whole causes and movements built around half-truths without looking at the whole picture? If we are not careful, we who could be the most informed generation with seemingly limitless access to information could be bereft of wisdom and truth. How could this happen—by hiding behind half-truths.
Notice this interchange between Jesus and his followers and observe the half-truth/whole lie principle.
The followers asked Jesus, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come before the Messiah comes?” Jesus answered, “They are right to say Elijah is coming, and it is true that Elijah will make all things the way they should be. But I tell you, Elijah has already come. People did not know who he was, and they treated him badly,...
When we began learning about God and business over four decades ago it seemed to be something that a fringe few were talking about. About 25 years ago I predicted that within five years every major church would have a ministry to businesspeople just like they have one for children or the elderly. Well, it took longer than that, but there is now a growing acceptance that work is worship, business is ministry, business is a calling and most people are called to the marketplace… and this is not a lower calling than pulpit preaching or being a traditional missionary.
Many of the initial core team called by Jesus were fishermen and they seemed to have a progressive experience with Jesus in their place of work, especially their boats. Let’s look at seven of these boat experiences to see how it goes from disassociation to integration:
Imagine what it was like for the pre-followers of Jesus to have the new street preacher show up and ask to...
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Luke 9: 59-60
The wave of business people owning their slice of societal transformation is picking up, and this encourages me. Every now and then I am reminded, however, that not everyone gets it. This will always be the case in some area or another as God moves on just enough ahead of us to keep us traipsing after him. There are those of us who, even though we know the slowness of the human heart, still want everyone on board before we will move. Until the last person is committed (which probably will mean forming a committee) we will not join the kingdom adventure. This is the curse of the lowest common denominator.
The sad fact is that many business people are still in the old modus operandi. They don’t understand the integration of work and faith, life and Jesus. They struggle with the difference between church and kingdom. Jesus has some advice: “Let the...
Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting. Leviticus 26:5
Even business leaders whose companies are doing well wonder whether their current business performance can be sustained. What if Scripture showed a possible way to avoid business downturns? The first thirteen verses of Leviticus 26 hold the conditions and the promises of sustained business performance. Our challenge is that we read it and think it is Old Testament mumbo jumbo and therefore miss the truth.
The conditions don’t seem that onerous: No idols of any sort, observe the Sabbath, reverence the sanctuary, follow God’s decrees, and obey his commands. What does this look like if we put that into New Testament speak—make that 21st Century language?
We are living in times when many are being as “stubborn as mules” about things that may or may not be critical. Anyone with a passing thought can post it on social media and, if it is provocative enough, garner the support of international miscreants. We have learned how the more controversial thoughts get more reactions, so we opine without expertise, post without wisdom. Yet there is something winsome about combing grace and truth. Truth on its own can be harsh; grace without truth can be sloppy. The combination, however, builds up and infuses courage. When grace and truth are backed up by action the outcome can be nothing short of splendid.
We remember the unusual story about a mode of transportation being co-opted for a historic ride into town. More specifically, it was someone’s means of income or income-producing ass, that was conscripted into greater service. If this happened today the story might read:
“Go to the town ahead of...
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30
I read this verse in Johannesburg while surrounded by a team of South African, Malaysian and US consultants who had left things behind to be part of a rēp Venture. They temporarily left their families, their homes, their jobs “for the sake of the kingdom of God.” It took courage, time and money. Was it worth it?
On our final day with the businesses the leaders shared what God had done in their lives and businesses over the course of the two week Consultation. Lives were changed, businesses repurposed, and God did a stream of marketplace miracles.
You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance…
The words Promised Land conjure up pictures of overflowing milk and dripping honey. Reflecting on what ‘taking the Promised Land’ entailed, there seem to be a few realities to factor in:
There is a wonderful symmetry of the sovereign acts of God and the respondent obedience...
…the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith
Reading the book of Hebrews one can’t help but notice the fine line between Christian and kingdom, between law and grace, between man’s way and God’s way. The facts about relationship with God through Jesus are right, are good, and are essential, but for living life they are not enough. The law is also good: the precepts, the principles, the ways of God…these are excellent, but on their own they only emphasize our need for something more. Best practices, human logic, intelligent thought, considered opinion… these too are good, but they are not enough to please God.
There is a fine line, but there is also a vast chasm between good and best, between rational and obedient. The writer of Hebrews expresses it well as he spoke of the nation of Israel. They had information, but they lacked inspiration. They analyzed the facts, but failed...
I lived in Silicon Valley for over 30 years and often heard the phrase “smart money” which meant funding that came from investors who added value beyond just capital. Smart money brings know-how, industry experience and networks that are often more valuable than just cash.
Scripture alludes to “stupid money” in Psalm 40 which ends with this phrase:
“Rich people with no understanding are just like animals that die.”
Living a life without purpose is terrible; dying rich and leaving this life without having figured out the meaning of money is… well, no different than living and exiting the planet like an animal.
Stupid money has not found its purpose. Stupid money meets the needs of this life but does nothing for the rest of one’s life in eternity. Stupid money focuses on consumption, not multiplication through others.
If smart money has discovered its purpose, what are some of the broad purposes of money? The usual answers include...
They said to him, “A message from Hezekiah: ‘This is a black day, a terrible day - doomsday! Babies poised to be born, No strength to birth them.’”
2 Kings 9:3 The Message
Many years ago, as a young leader of a local church, this Scripture challenged me. We had started many things, but what were we finishing? Initiating something is one thing; delivering it is another. Conception is fun, birthing is hard work.
As I write this I am challenged again: Much is being initiated; how much will be brought forth into the light of day? Ministering every day, in and through business, invites opposition. This is a spiritual matter. The enemy operates at the gate, at the threshold, and we need to achieve victory over him there, in prayer. Call out people to stand at the gates with you. Call forth midwives. Many have worked hard for months. Now we need the strength to deliver this baby. May Hezekiah’s message not be true of us:
“Thus says Hezekiah: 'This...