People Over Profits
[This video was originally posted at QIdeas.org]
In this current business environment, more brands seem to be coming to the realization that focusing on being a good corporate citizen is more beneficial than trying to manage the risk of questionable or unscrupulous behavior. Dale Partridge, CEO and Co-Founder of Sevenly.org, questions whether a brand, in fact, can contribute to the common good.
Dale brings up some interesting points, but what I most agree with him on the fact that Christian business owners and leaders are best positioned to lead the marketplace forward through ethical, moral, and people-focused business practices.
RELATED: Grow Businesses. Create Jobs. Defeat Poverty.
What say you? Please leave your comments below...
There is no doubt the verdict from the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, Florida has had a polarizing effect across this country. Many people in the black community and others feel a great injustice was wrought with the acquittal of George Zimmerman. In situations like these it's hard not to be emotional no matter which side of the result that you're on.
One thing for certain is that we still have a race relations problem in this country. And because this is true, we have to be as diligent and intentional as ever to see things from God's perspective in order to move forward in love, but also with the tools and strategies to root out injustice wherever it exists.
READ: How Your Purpose is Connected to Justice
"After the Verdict" will be a special broadcast of Passion in Action TV this Thursday at 7pm ET. We'll have a special panel comprised of communities leaders who'll be discussing how to help our communities move forward positively, especially related to our teens and young adults.
Leroy Barber has dedicated more than 20 years to eradicating poverty, confronting homelessness, restoring local neighborhoods, healing racism, and living what Dr. King called “the beloved community.” Leroy Barber is Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, an international organization that works among the most vulnerable of the world's poor. Rev. Barber is on the boards of Mission Year and the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). He is the author of New Neighbor: An Invitation to Join Beloved Community, and Everyday Missions: How Ordinary People Can Change the World. His third book, Red, Yellow, Black and White: Who’s More Precious In His Sight?, will be published this fall. Learn more at www.LeroyBarber.com.
Kenny Pugh is the author of Can You Do It Standing Up? A Different Position On Relationships, which is a compilation of insights targeted at helping people make healthy relationship decisions. As a media personality, life coach, and consultant, he has a passion for establishing, enhancing and restoring interpersonal relationships. He wishes to serve as a vessel of understanding in an era of disconnected, aimless, and broken relationships, and to soothe adversities of all forms, whether practical, relational, or spiritual. Kenny is host of the weekly radio show, Chat Kafe, and is a contributor to CNN and Black Enterprise Magazine. Learn more at www.KennyPugh.com.
Johnnie Porter is a professional chaplain, pastor, entrepreneur, community organizer and counselor. He consistently looks for solutions to empower people to live healthy spiritually, financially, physically, and emotionally. Johnnie has committed his life to serving in the community, mobilizing leaders, and helping those who are overlooked and underresourced. He is also the host of the online radio show Power Up with Johnnie Porter, which provides inspiration and information to help people create positive turning points in their lives.
READ: What About All the Other Trayvons?
Join us for the live stream on your computer or mobile device at 7pm ET only on www.passioninaction.tv.
Money, Markets, and Morality
Many Christians struggle with their perception of money, which is one reason why they struggle with their acquisition of money. You could be struggling financially if you grew believing statements similar to:
Overall more Americans believe that Christian values are at odds with capitalism and the free market than believe they are compatible. This pattern also holds among Christians. Among Christians in the U.S., only 38% believe that capitalism and free market are consistent with Christian values while 46% believe the two are at odds.
(RELATED: What History Channel's The Bible Can Teach Christian Entrepreneurs)
I believe the markets are not inherently evil. However, when immoral people absent submission to and direction from God get involved with anything including the financial markets, misuse and abuse are bound to happen.
Read the entire article Markets and Morality from a Biblical Perspective at http://blog.tifwe.org/markets-morality-from-a-biblical-perspective-part-two/
How do you perceive the free market economic system in relation to your faith? Leave your comments below...
"A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls." ~ Proverbs 25:28
"Pursue your passions!" This is a statement that you will hear from nearly all motivators, pastors, parents, teachers, advisers, mentors, and others preach to people almost daily, as if that’s the magic formula to lifelong happiness and success. Unfortunately, they don’t always tell you that “pursue your passions” is only part of the equation. As important as it is to pursue your passions, it’s equally important to make sure you steer your passions in the right direction.
If passion can be equated to a raging river, purpose is the river banks. Knowing your purpose provides direction and restraint for your passions. Purpose helps to control and contain your vigor and energy. Purpose channels your passions toward meaningful and fruitful ends. Purpose is the discipline that guides your zeal to produce profitable endeavors. Purpose ensures that you have the opportunity to maximize the potential of what your passions can accomplish.
Whether in business, relationships, or life in general, people run into all kinds of trouble when they don’t know how or aren’t able to channel their passions in a positive and profitable direction. These people are like swamps. One big difference between a river and a swamp is that the river has boundaries, which keeps the water flowing as a powerful force. The swamp’s lack of boundaries allows its water to overflow its banks, become stagnant, and emit a foul stench. People love rivers, but very few actually enjoy being near a swamp.
(MORE: Learn more about Passion @ Work Training Workshops)
In the last few years, it’s easy to see that we have had many “swamp creatures” appear in boardrooms, pulpits, the public square, and society overall. They allowed their passions to run rampant, ruining their reputations and causing major collateral damage.
When it comes to your passions, don’t be like a swamp. Instead be like a river that’s purposeful, powerful, and profitable!
How do you channel your passions in the most profitable direction? Leave your comments below...
(MORE: Watch Passion In Action TV live streaming or on demand at www.passioninaction.tv)
Leadership Development Resources
A Kingdom Perspective on Politics
"... 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 Rich Man's Dilemma
"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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