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In this age

“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.

  • For some, thinking was radically renewed regarding God’s view of business, and their business in particular
  • Others had...
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Keys to the Promised Land

You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance…
Deuteronomy 1:17-21

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:

  1. The land didn’t come to them; they went to the land.  
  2. The land already had occupants. This was no Goldie Locks-finds-empty-cottage scene.
  3. The sitting tenants were not hanging out “have my house for free” signs.  There was a fight for the land that was already theirs.
  4. The spiritual roots of the places they were to call home were not exactly Baptist.
  5. God seemed very concerned about pure obedience and not at all worried about resources needed to ‘take the land.’  The answer to the latter was always “The Lord your God has given you…”

There is a wonderful symmetry of the sovereign acts of God and the respondent obedience...

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It’s not about me

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
John 21:17-19

It's not about us. Peter had just experienced three incredible years with Jesus, but they culminated in a colossal failure. After a marketplace miracle that demonstrated Christ's authority and awesomeness, Jesus got Peter back to basics. “Feed my lambs.  Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” In the midst of this, Peter has a pity party. “Peter was hurt...” The way Jesus counters his introspection is by resetting the context. It's as if Jesus is saying, ‘This is not about how you feel, Peter, but it is about life and death, darkness versus light, the future of the Church.  Get over how you feel.’

When you get in the trenches with others doing kingdom business, there is potential for hurt. Let's relinquish our “right” to self-pity, our mandate to mope, and subjugate it to the broader agenda of God's business. “But I...

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The fine line between good and best

the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith
Hebrews 4:2

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...

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Roots of disorder

I am delighted to hear of the careful and orderly ways you conduct your affairs, and impressed with the solid substance of your faith in Christ.

Colossians 2:5 

God is not a God of disorder. I, however, am often disorderly. In extreme situations I could blame it on God for making me a disorderly person, or explain it as creativity or spontaneity. No matter what my excuses may be, disorder dilutes the deposits of God. It pokes holes in the wine barrel, it makes the balance sheet leak, and it drains impact. 

There are many things that eat away at order, but I will focus on just a handful:

  • An untutored mind. Order springs from knowledge, and such knowledge is obtained both by discipline and by the Spirit.

  • Self-sabotage. Fearing the responsibility of success or the pride of self, we self-sabotage.

  • Refusing to grow up. “That’s just me” isn’t a good explanation to give to a Senior Partner who is intent on our growth.

  • A weak will. Jesus “set his...
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Strength to birth

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...

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Trust and do good

Trust in the Lord and do good. Psalm 37:3

Trust and do. This is an interesting concept. Somehow we have the idea that trusting God and doing good are mutually exclusive. There is a notion held by some that inaction is more spiritual than action.  

Take a few minutes and read through Psalm 37. There are the juicy bits, of course, such as “…and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I like that. When I read the whole song, I find an almost even mix of things that tend towards rest and action. If I miss the AND, I miss the whole thing.

For example:

Active resting

Active doing

Trust 

Give generously

Commit your way

Lend freely

Delight yourself

Turn from evil

Be still

Practice justice

Do not fret

Be righteous

Hope in the Lord

Speak wisdom & justice

Be meek

Keep God’s law

Be content with little

Be blameless; don’t take matters into your own hands

Wait for the Lord

Be a...

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We Know Nothing

We speak of what we know
John 3:1-21 

“We know.” Smart guy, solid religious background, years of study, stimulating intellectual environment, wrong conclusion. Nicodemus comes to Jesus and starts off by saying, “Rabbi, we know…” A few mind-blowing facts from Jesus and Nicodemus’ last recorded words in this conversation are “How can this be?” This is followed by a sound rebuttal in a real us-and-them passage, Jesus points out that He and His disciples are actually the ones in the know: “We speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” Pretty strong words from the Lamb of God. 

How about us? Do we approach God from a “we know” perspective? We know our history, we know our doctrine, we know our Bible, we know what God said five years ago. The paradox is that we do know some things, and yet that very knowledge can leave us isolated from the...

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But it was because the Lord loves you

The Lord set his affection on you and chose you because the Lord loved you. Deuteronomy 7:7-8

God gets bad press. The ‘liberal media’ has been around since the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say…? You know why he said that, right…he wants to dis-empower you!” As Israel came out of Egypt Moses tried to help untangle their preconceptions about God from their experience of Egyptian gods. He also tried to lay the groundwork for the fledgling nation to avoid future entrapment by other gods.

The 10 Commandments and related instructions were therefore very clear: keep God as the one and only, and don’t flirt with foreign gods. “Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.” This is the M&M verse (if it helps you remember it better): no money, no mercy, no marriage, no mingling. Israel knew slavery—they had been at the receiving end of it for many years. Back in the tent as they thought about...

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Big ask—big reward

You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  John 14:14

Who wins when I ask for big things? I have thought it was me, of course. Recently, however, I have been seeing a different dynamic at work when looking at three passages that follow each other in the book of John. When you see them together it will blow the punch line, but it is worth doing anyway:

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, … You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:12-14

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. John 15:7

Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

Three times in quick succession Jesus urges us, “Ask Big!” These are pretty astounding promises. With such a blank check in our hands, why don’t we ask for outrageous things more often? We could go into the normal list of things: we have a poverty mentality, we don’t think we are worthy, we do...

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