This thought-provoking video is presented as part of Redeemer Presbyterian Church's Gospel & Culture Lecture series. The speaker is Jeff Van Duzer, Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Seattle Pacific University and author of Why Business Matters to God. He states:
"Too often Christian businesspeople think that their work’s sole purpose is to generate money that they can donate to more “spiritual” causes. But what about business itself? Does God care about that? The Bible teaches that before the fall—in God’s perfect creation—humans were called to work. Since God created people to work, God desires businesses to provide opportunities for individuals to express their God-given identity in meaningful and creative work. In this paradigm, profit ceases to be an end in itself. Instead, profit becomes the means by which a business produces goods and services which enables a community's flourishing."
Enjoy this powerful teaching!
"... choose for yourselves today whom you will serve." ~ Joshua 24:15
*Special Note: Watch a live stream of my Passion in Action interview with guest Pastor Matthew Brown at www.InternetFabulous.TV
As the Presidential Election of 2012 draws closer there are so many choices to make: Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney. Democrats vs Republicans. Liberals vs Conservatives. These choices aren't as easy to make as they may seem on the surface when viewed from a Kingdom perspective.
Many Christians take sides with their favorite candidates for reasons that sometimes fall outside the bounds of how we should judge candidates based on Biblical criteria. God's agenda is often left out of the conversation by those who fight for their choice selections. And it's not as easy as looking at just one or two divisive issues, such as abortion or gay marriage. Other issues such as poverty, healthcare, justice, foreign policy, the environment, and others are those which God communicated His standards and expectations for us throughout the Bible.
A passage in Joshua 5 gives a small glimpse as to how God deals with human conflicts, such as political battles. General Joshua was preparing to lead the Hebrews into war against Jericho when an angel showed up on the scene. Joshua asked him whether he was a friend or foe. The angel's response was "Neither, but as commander of the Lord's army I have now come." He then commanded Joshua to take off his sandals, because he was standing on holy ground. Joshua quickly complied (Joshua 5:13-15).
The lessons we can learn from this account is significant, because they demonstrate to us that God's agenda always comes first. The angel wasn't there to help Joshua's plan to destroy Jericho. He came to help Joshua fulfill God's plan to get His children to their promise land, and Jericho was in the way. Joshua recognized this, and we also need to recognize the things God is trying to accomplish in the earth and who/what needs to get out of His way.
Another political Biblical example to consider is King Saul. The people wanted a king, but God didn't want them to have a king, because He knew where that would lead. However, He allowed them their choice, but they ultimately suffered for it.
So how does this relate to our politics today? I'm glad you asked. The responsible thing to do as a Christian is to view all candidates and issues from Biblical perspective, not from the biased perspective of a party agenda or platform. Any time you assume one political party has a corner on God's agenda then you're in error. And any time you relate to a political party or racial identity more than how you relate to being a Kingdom citizen you're headed down the wrong path. Jesus identified with his Jewish heritage, but he never let his ethnicity keep him from dealing with his own people in truth.
God is just as concerned about aborted babies as He is about people living in poverty. He is just as concerned about healthy families built on the Biblical definition of marriage as He is about people not being stuck in oppressive cycles and systems of welfare. He expects people not to be lazy and use the gifts and talents He gave them, but He also expects us to utilize a system of justice that is moral, ethical, and fair to all people not just those with money. He is just as concerned about wars and famine as He is with people getting equal access to the healthcare resources they need to live high-quality lives.
God is not a conservative. God is not a liberal (other than how He loves). God is not a capitalist. God is not a socialist. God is not a communist. God is God and no man-made political party or economic system can define Him.
The common denominator in all this is that God is passionate about all people and their well-being. And He's against anyone or any thing that hurts, oppresses, manipulates, or marginalizes any of those He created.
I'm not writing to tell you who to vote for. I'm writing to encourage you how to vote. Christians should vote with a Kingdom-consciousness. With the Holy Spirit's leading, choose the candidates who most closely align with God's overall plan for this planet. So when election day comes, just make sure you're voting for God.
What are you thoughts about how Christian should engage politics?
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In case you didn't know it already, being a real Christian business is not as easy as sliding a few words into your mission statement or slapping a fish on your logo. This is real world stuff with real world considerations and consequences. We're playing for a prize that's eternal, not just our next quarterly earnings target. So whether you realize it or not, being a entrepreneur who is committed to representing God in your business will put you in the crosshairs of those who are hostile to Christianity, reject Biblical standards, and want you to conform to societal pressures.
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." ~ Romans 12:2
Unless you've been totally disconnected from the media in the past couple of weeks, you are well aware that recently Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-a, stated in an interview that he supported the Biblical definition of marriage. I'm not sure he could have predicted or was ready for the incredible backlash he is receiving for simply stating what he believed. He has been vehemently blasted by those who support gay marriage. Interestingly, for simply stating his beliefs - not declaring hatred or discrimination against anyone - vitriolic intolerance has been a common response by those who demand tolerance for their lifestyle choices.
The treatment he has received really shouldn't be a surprise, because the issue is much bigger than just his position on gay marriage. Christianity as a whole is under attack and marriage is just a part of that. I would even say that the intolerance directed towards Biblical beliefs these days is as much or greater than the intolerance directed towards the LGBT community. But this overall societal response really shouldn't be a surprise to Christians according to John 15:18-21:
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me."
Attacks are the norm for those who don't understand the "foolishness" of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). In fact, Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:1-12).
So how does all this tie into you as a Christian business owner? Many Believers try to compartmentalize their faith and leave it out of their business affairs. They think they must suppress, downplay, or compromise their beliefs in order to make a dollar or grow a successful business. I don't believe that's true. You can stand up for what you believe in and build a successful business. It just depends on whose definition of success you are using, God's or the world's.
Let's look at five things Christian entrepreneurs can learn from the Chick-fil-a controversy:
As a Christian entrepreneur when you are willing to make similar choices in spite of the potential opposition you might face from people who are hostile to God's ways, you will hear "well done good and faithful servant."
“... The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” ~ Revelation 11:15
Whether you realize it or not (which you should just based on the announcements of the past week), the culture war in our society is intensifying. This war is so much bigger than Democrats vs. Republicans or even nation against nation. I'm talking about the war between the culture of the Kingdom of God and the culture of the earth, which is being greatly influence by satan, who is constantly embedding his values into this world which are in direct conflict with God's desires for humanity. The enemy is fighting hard to keep God's will from being established on earth as it is in Heaven.
Fortunately, the issue is not whether the Kingdom of God will win. That outcome has already been determined (see Revelations 11:15 above). The real issue is how many people will be on the winning team with God. We are fighting for the hearts and minds of people to be freed from the evil entrapment they often easily entreat, due to its subtle nature. Christians must be more proactive in living and teaching the Gospel, so that more people can be rescued from the deception of the enemy, who draws people into lies about who they are, who God is, and what He wants for and from their lives.
In this culture war eternity is literally hanging in the balance for many people. As the "salt and light" of the earth, bringing lives into God's Kingdom should be our #1 priority.
Our engagement is essential. Our commitment is crucial. Our power is unstoppable. And our victory inevitable!
Join us this weekend in Suffolk, Virginia for the Kingdom Culture Connection Conference as we discuss strategies to influence the culture for God. Click here for more info...
How are we supposed to engage the culture using the agenda of God's Kingdom? Leave your comments below...
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." ~ Mark 10:25
Do rich people have a harder time with morality than poor people? Are they more susceptible to character blemishes than those in poverty? Do people with a lot of money have more to overcome in their ethical decision-making than those who only have a little money?
Recent research reported in an article on MSNBC.com seems to answer these questions with a resounding "Yes!". According to the article, University of California Berkeley researchers repeatedly showed that upper-class individuals were more prone to unethical behavior than people from more deprived backgrounds.
Now before you start thinking I'm just automatically about to jump on the bandwagon that all rich people are evil, we need to compare their research to something Jesus said more than 2000 years ago - that it's easier for camels to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for rich people to get to heaven. What Jesus was really saying is that the task of trying to be a "godly rich" person is impossible - without the power of Christ fully at work in our lives - because the temptations of this world are too strong for us to resist.
We can look at the wisest man to ever live, who also happened to be one of the richest that ever lived - Solomon - and see that even with all his wisdom he was still unable to live a completely holy life, because he strayed from living by God's principles and standards. Now all of his issues weren't necessarily related to money, but who's to say that his financial excess didn't lead him to desire the same kind of excess in other areas of his life, specifically with women. Is it possible that God's blessings led to Solomon's downfall? Well, it can happen to anyone of us who start enjoying the gift more the Giver. I would also submit that God is holding back blessings for many people who He knows would start living sinfully if He blessed them like He's capable of. So in reality, some people's current lack of finances is for their own good. However, God doesn't want their character to stay in that place, because He really desires to pour on them mind-blowing, abundant blessings.
It's important to be clear what Scripture actually says about money. It's the love of money that is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), not money itself. It's interesting that this verse doesn't refer at all to how much money a person has. So a poor person can have just as much of an unhealthy lust for money as a rich person might have. How much you have is irrelevant to what your heart attitude is towards money.
Fortunately, Jesus died for everybody, even rich people. The answer to the rich man's dilemma is a few verses past Mark 10:25 where Jesus says, "... with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." So, according to Jesus, a person can be rich and godly at the same time. You don't have to be poor to be pious. You can be wealthy and worship God with a pure heart.
Will there be rich people in heaven? Absolutely! Will they have gotten there because of their riches? Absolutely not! Will they be excluded because of their riches? Absolutely not!
If you are pursuing money for money's sake, you will end up inheriting the wind. It will use you up, throw you away, and then wait for its next greedy victim. However, if you pursue God's purposes for your life, He will provide the money you need to succeed.
What are your thoughts about how hard it is to be rich and righteous?
Read the full MSNBC article here: http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/27/10512938-rich-people-more-likely-to-cheat-behave-badly-research-finds
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