The 4th of July is a time when Americans celebrate our independence from an oppressive government more than 200 years ago. What's really interesting about the time we live in now is that millions of Americans are still fighting for their independence. However, in this case it's not from an oppressive government. They are actually fighting for their independence from the loving God. Watch the video to learn more…
What are your thoughts?
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...
These are just a few of the 74 young people who were murdered in Chicago in the 11 months between September 2009 and August 2010 (more than 78% by gunshot). [Source: www.truestaris.com]
Also in Chicago, more than 530 people under the age of 21 have been killed since 2008 and many more have been shot or have otherwise suffered violence—often at the hands of their peers and particularly in the city’s African-American and Latino communities. Nearly 80 percent of youth homicides occurred in 22 black or Latino communities on the city’s South, Southwest and West sides—even though just one-third of the city’s population resided in those communities. [Source: The Chicago Reporter].
I wonder is God any more angry, hurt, or vengeful when violence against one of His children happens at the hands of someone who looks like them versus someone who doesn't. I wonder is He any more outraged when someone from the same culture or ethnicity murders an innocent teen versus someone from a different culture or ethnicity.
It's interesting the things we as Christians have selective outrage about. I know a lot of local outrage was expressed in several cities where it seems like violence has gotten out of control over the past few years. But the national outrage was nowhere close to what it has been for Trayvon. I'm not saying it shouldn't be there for him, but what about all the other victims who preceded him.
This may not be a popular stance I'm about to present, but the tragic death of Trayvon Martin and the hundreds of other senseless deaths of our youth (and adults) highlight a much deeper and widespread problem than racism or poverty or injustice. It really highlights the sin culture in this country as our core problem. Everything else are just symptoms of this central root.
Our society drinks the blood of excessive violence, sex, and debauchery everyday through personal indulgences, movies, music, TV, and video games, but then we are surprised / shocked / outraged when we see reality perpetuating entertainment perpetuating reality. This sick cycle won't stop until we stop it!
The root of racism is hatred, which is birthed from sin. Therefore, racism is really a sin thing, much more than it is a skin thing (satan will use any scheme to divide us: racism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc. Don't get tricked into participating with his schemes). It would then lead to the truth that Christians need to be focused on grace-based solutions, not just race-based solutions. Simply changing laws, rules, and regulations will only produce short-term, peripheral change. Laws may provide a deterrent before and punishment after the fact, but they can't prevent murder. The only thing that can prevent murder is the love of God, i.e. people who understand how much God loves them, which then compels them to love everyone else no matter what they look like. (oh, and every murder is a "hate crime" if we're using God's laws to judge the action versus just our own, but I digress...)
It's interesting that the Civil Rights movement was led by men and women of God who were looking to transform the soul of America, not just laws and bathroom signs. They understood the spiritual foundation had to precede social action, otherwise social action lacks sustainable change and lasting effectiveness. Jesus came to bring complete heart transformation, not just behavior modification or racial understanding (Galatians 3:26-28).
The Bible clearly spells out for Christians how we can collectively transform the culture into one that is healthy and viable versus broken and hurting. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is speaking to Kingdom citizens, not unbelievers: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
You might read that Scripture and be thinking that we can't spend all our time praying without going and doing something against oppression or injustice. Well, the beautiful thing about seeking God's face through prayer is that He reveals His will and provides answers to our problems. He will tell us what we need to do to strategically and systematically change the systems of oppression and injustice. Without His input man-made ideas and solutions will have minimal impact.
Many people are angry at Mr. Zimmerman and want justice served against him. He will have his day in court (before a judge or public opinion). However, God's judgment starts with the family of God (1 Peter 4:17). And part of His judgment against the church for the condition of this country and the world will be how much we prayed versus how much we protested (or did other things to distract us from the most important things). If you protest more than you pray, your efforts will be limited in the grand scheme of things.
It's OK to protest, but you better pray in advance, during, and after, so that when the protests are over, people slip back into normalcy, and the media has all gone home (until the next news making event), you will have some divine answers that will transform hearts and minds, not just man-made solutions that have little long-term effect.
I pray for Trayvon's family that God will bring healing, peace, and restoration.
I pray for all the family's across this country that have needlessly and senselessly lost a young person.
And I pray for God's church to wake up the responsibility we have to this country and the world to seek His face for His answers and stop making up our own as we go along.
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