Monthly Archives: June 2014

Want to Hear From God Every Day?

One of the questions we chairs ask our C12 Group members each month in our one on one coaching sessions is “How’s your personal walk?” In other words, are you reading the Bible and praying on a regular basis (ideally daily)?

Fortunately, this is a habit that I was taught and developed after becoming a Christ follower in my 30’s. I read a portion of the Bible on a daily basis. The first thing I did after I bought my first Bible, a New International Version (NIV) Study Bible, was read through the New Testament. It took me about a year. Then I read through the whole Bible. The first time I did that it took me close to three years. Since then I’ve read the New Testament a few more times and the Old Testament one more time in its entirety. One effective way was using a New Living Translation (NLT) Two Year Bible, which provided the Bible broken into daily readings of an Old Testament passage, a portion of Psalms, a portion of Proverbs and a New Testament passage.

With the advent of the Youversion.com (www.bible.com) app from LifeChurch.tv (www.lifechurch.tv) I’ve taken advantage of online reading plans. Last year I used the Project 3:45+ plan. It’s a New Testament in one year reading plan “Plus” adding a Psalm or Proverb every day and selected readings from the Old Testament five days per week. This year I’ve been doing shorter plans, sometimes two at a time, for variety and content. I’ve completed a 30 day Daily Devotions with Greg Laurie (one of my favorite Bible teachers), My Utmost for His Highest (30 days of Oswald Chambers’ devotionals), and The Art of Celebration (7 days of short passages, a devotional and a music video from Rend Collective). Currently I am in an 89 day plan from LCBC Church called Major Beliefs. It’s one chapter a day, sharing major beliefs from the Bible.

One of the features of the Youversion.com app I use and enjoy is the highlighting feature. You can use different colors to highlight and all of your highlighting is synchronized across your devices within your account. I use a different color each year, highlighting while I am reading at home and while listening to teaching at church.

Why is this habit so important to me? If you proclaim that you are following someone’s teaching, how can you effectively do that without reading that teaching? Jesus words to us are printed in the Bible, and since I haven’t memorized every single one of his words, I need to read them on a continual basis. We need to read the entire Bible because it lays out the story of how God created us, how we turned from Him repeatedly and how He has given us a way to come back into a relationship with Him, not only in this life, but for all of eternity. The Bible is also how God speaks to me personally. It’s how I receive His instructions to live my life as a Christ follower, husband, father, grandfather and business owner. It’s how He encourages me when I need it, demonstrating His promises. We can’t hear God audibly speaking to us, so reading His Word on a daily basis is the best way to engage in conversation. We speak to Him through prayer and He speaks to us through the Bible. That’s why I try to do both together on a daily basis.

Here are some passages from His Word attesting to what I have written.

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. Psalms 119:1-2 NLT

Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Proverbs 30:5

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

What impact has it had on my life? Here are some of the changes in my life before choosing to actively follow Christ and after.

Before After
I was lord of my life (selfish). Jesus Christ is Lord of my life (submitting servant).
Purpose of work was to make money. Purpose of work is to build God’s kingdom.
Money was only used to buy stuff. Money is used to fund ministry and help the poor.
I didn’t give of my time to anyone or any organization. I serve on boards, in the community and go on mission trips abroad.
Hoped I was going to Heaven (not sure what it was or if I was good enough) Sure I’m going to Heaven (that’s in God’s presence for eternity and I’m not good enough, but Jesus paid my way in)

I don’t share these to trumpet how good I am, I share them to show the transformation that Christ makes in a person and how the Bible helps to live it out. If you aren’t reading the Bible every day, you are missing an opportunity for God to speak to you every day, transforming you a little bit at a time.

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Filed under Christian Life, Discipleship, Self-improvement

Corporate Chaplains – An Excellent Employee Benefit

One of the great organizations I’ve been introduced to in my role of being a C12 Group area chair is Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA). CCA provides chaplains to serve the employees of companies across the country. When I first heard Mark Cress, the founder of CCA, speak at a C12 Group training session and explain the corporate chaplain concept, I was excited about hopefully bringing that opportunity to Central Wisconsin.

What the chaplains do is spend time getting to know the employees of the network companies, building relationships, providing a listening ear that many do not have anywhere else in their lives. The routine is for the chaplain to visit the company once a week for about an hour, stopping to chat with the employees for a few minutes and catch up with them. Sometimes those visits need to be around scheduled breaks and lunch times so as to not disrupt the workplace. The chaplain is also available to the employees 24/7 outside of work hours, providing his phone and email contacts. Our local chaplain has attended family funerals and visited employees in the hospital, even given rides to the hospital for some who had no one else to turn to.

CCA has strict guidelines about confidentiality, so the employees can confide in the chaplain in ways they would not feel comfortable sharing with the business owner. In addition to being a trusted friend and confidante for the employees, with the employee’s permission the chaplain is able to share the message of salvation when appropriate to do so. The opportunity to do so locally has presented itself and some employees have taken that step of faith. The chaplain is also there for the owner when he needs a listening ear, which happens on occasion.

After inviting CCA representatives to visit my C12 Group in Central Wisconsin and share about the CCA offering, three of the member companies invested in the CCA service. There was also another company in the area that was using the service state wide, so we had enough demand for CCA to hire a local chaplain.

My C12 Group member companies that have taken advantage of this service are excited about the impact CCA is having with their employees. When one business owner is asked how many employees he has, he always answers “24 and a half”. When the inevitable question comes about who is the half, the owner talks about the corporate chaplain and what he does for the company.

Here’s what another owner has to say about what CCA has done for the employees at his company.

“CCA has given them an opportunity to connect with someone outside of the management team here and put a face on Jesus. Our Corporate Chaplain connects and builds relationships that I as a boss and a business owner can’t always do. It has given me inroads to share my faith and have the employees open up and ask questions. Our Chaplain is the only connection they may ever have with a church or someone who brings Jesus into everyday life and shows the relevancy of Christ. Our Chaplain has become part of the team and everyone including myself looks forward to his arrival every week. He has been a blessing here! We all love him!”

Here’s a story from the local chaplain, demonstrating what his visits may look like and what kind of impact a chaplain can have.

“A while back I was making my rounds at a company seeing how people were doing. I asked one employee how she was doing and she responded hesitantly. That is often a sign that the person wants to talk so I stayed by her for a little while as she worked. Every time she started to talk, she teared up and finally said “I can’t do this right now.” So I reminded her that she could call me anytime and we could talk or I could meet her for coffee at a local coffee house before or after work if that I would be easier for her. I then do what I always do in such cases and asked if she still had my card, while reaching in my pocket to give her another one. She smiled, reached into her shirt pocket, pulled my card out, and said, “Yep. I have been carrying it with me at all times for the past week, just to remember that there are people who care for me.”

That employee and others know that someone cares for her, and hopefully, they will come to know of the One Who cares for them most. That happens because several C12 employers care enough about their employees to make sure their employees are being cared for.”

Introducing Corporate Chaplains to my C12 Group members has been one of the most impactful things I have done. I am grateful Mark Cress had the vision for CCA and that the C12 Group is so connected to Mark and CCA.

You don’t have to be a C12 Group member to engage with CCA, any Christian business owner can make the investment. Visit the CCA web site for more information about the program, starting with their FAQ page: http://www.chaplain.org/for-hr-managers/faq/.  I’m also happy to answer questions and connect you with CCA regional staff if you are interested.

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Filed under Business, Christian Life