Tag Archives: purpose

Do You Know Your Purpose?

“Christian CEO’s and business owners building great businesses for a greater purpose” is the C12 Group motto. That purpose that every C12 Group member and area chair shares is honoring God in the way we conduct our businesses and serving Him according to our talents and abilities. That purpose has an eternal perspective, which helps us when we are faced with challenges in this life, whether those challenges are in our businesses, our families, our churches or our communities. A greater purpose helps you overcome and it helps you deal with circumstances that prompt the question “Why?”

Do you have a purpose for your life? Is it to accumulate wealth or stuff? Is it to have the most pleasant life experience you can? Is it to be recognized as a leader in your community? These are all things our American culture promotes on a daily basis. If you hear it often enough, you can start to believe those are purposeful things, especially if you don’t have any other source of truth. So, where do you discover your purpose, where do you discover the truth? My answer is that it all starts with the Bible.

The Bible is what God has given us to begin to know Him and understand His plan for all of humanity, as well as our individual role in that plan. That plan applies to both here in the present on this Earth and in the future eternity. If you don’t believe in God I challenge you to read the Bible and see if your opinion changes. You don’t even need to read it all at first (everyone can gain wisdom from reading the entire Bible at some point in their life, preferably multiple times). Just read a few books in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. If you aren’t willing to take that step consider reading a book or two like “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel or “The Reason for God” by Tim Keller. If you aren’t much of a reader you could start with Josh McDowell’s web site providing answers to skeptic’s questions, http://www.josh.org/resources/study-research/answers-to-skeptics-questions/. If you truly want answers, seek out a Bible reading evangelical Christian in your community and invite them to coffee or lunch and begin a dialogue.

Do you believe God exists but you don’t see Him active in your life or you’ve experienced loss and can’t understand why God is letting that happen to you? Again, you need to invest some time and effort in searching for answers. God doesn’t turn His back on us, but He also doesn’t always grab us by the shoulders and turn us around when we turn our back on Him (that free will thing, He can’t force us to love Him). A book written by a pastor who lost his adult son in an accident may be helpful, it is “Hope For Hurting Hearts” by Greg Laurie. Another is Tim Keller’s “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”. Keller and his wife both have experienced life changing diseases. The previously mentioned books and web site are still relevant for you as well. That coffee with a Christian idea is a good one for you too.

What about you who are Christ followers but don’t have your purpose figured out? The first question I would ask you is how much time do you spend with God on a daily basis? What kind of relationship do you expect to have with someone if you never talk to Him or listen to Him? I realize it’s a little harder because He is invisible and very rarely audibly speaks to anyone, but it’s worth the effort. Don’t just show up for an hour or two on Sunday and expect the relationship to be the same as when you spend time every day reading His Word (the Bible) and talking to Him about the things in your life (prayer). There are plenty of Bible reading plans available to help you develop a new habit. Bible.com offers apps for multiple platforms. One of the best books on prayer that I have recently read is Philip Yancey’s “Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference?” Instead of the coffee with a Christian idea, you need to make a bit more of a commitment, get together with two or three other Christ followers (men with men and women with women for transparency reasons) who all want to live out their purpose and help each other discover how to do that (it’s called discipleship).

Here are some other ways I stay plugged into what God wants me to know about His will for my life (in addition to the daily Bible reading and prayer):

  • Going to a Sunday service where I worship Him and give thanks for His provision, listen to some Bible teaching from someone who studies the Bible for a living and spend time in community with other Christ followers.
  • Listening to Christian music that is uplifting as well as sometimes challenging.
  • Listening to other Bible teachers in addition to the one I listen to on Sunday (Greg Laurie is one of my favorites, http://www.harvest.org/radio/ways-to-listen.html)
  • Reading books like the ones I’ve shared.
  • Spending time with other men on a regular basis encouraging and challenging each other.

I hope you find your purpose and more importantly I hope you find God through the person of Jesus Christ, not just for this brief time on Earth, but for all of eternity. Eternity without being in God’s presence will be horrific and I don’t wish that on anyone.

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Filed under Christian Life, Discipleship, Legacy, Self-improvement

The Potential Impact of a Christian Business

What is the role of a Christian business owner in today’s economy? In this election you will hear politicians share about their plans to create jobs. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t create jobs; businesses and their owners create jobs. Here are some statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration (http://web.sba.gov/faqs/faqIndexAll.cfm?areaid=24).

 Small firms:

•    Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
•    Employ half of all private sector employees.
•    Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
•    Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
•    Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
•    Hire 43 percent of high tech workers
•    Made up 97.5 % of all identified exporters and produced 31 % of export value in FY 2008.
•    Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

 These are all good things, especially in much of our state of Wisconsin where there aren’t many 5,000+ employee large corporations. Without government interference, we can do a lot of economic good.

 But, what else does God have for us to do? He has a purpose for us and our businesses beyond employing people. He even tells us that in His Word, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10, NIV 1984. How do we live out that purpose, what are these good works? We are to be Jesus’ hands and feet as we live out our calling through family, friends, the Church and those we serve in the marketplace. Note that a calling is not just for pastors, missionaries, or other professional ministry leaders. Christian business owners are called to be effective stewards of the financial resources God has blessed us with. We are called to transform our culture one relationship at a time. We are called to use our influence to share the message of the Gospel near and far.

 Consider how God built His Church. As recounted in “Why Work?” (Nancy & Howard Olsen, M3 Planning, 2006), the Christian faith was birthed and flourished in the marketplace. Jesus, a small town carpenter, recruited His disciples in the marketplace where He also made 122 of His 132 New Testament public appearances. Of His 52 parables, 45 had workplace settings. The gospels were written by workplace professionals. After Pentecost, the explosion of believers happened all over the city. Those working with Paul to reach the Gentiles typically led lives which blended business and ministry. Of the 40 divine interventions recorded in Acts, 39 occurred in the marketplace. When the Jerusalem temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., the early Church moved its center to Antioch, a vital merchant trading center. Fast-forwarding to America, our founders coupled faith with work in establishing a free nation under God. The subsequent great awakenings in our history gained their momentum in the marketplace.

What does this mean for us? It is certainly far more comfortable to view our vocation as simply a 40-60 hour-per-week job. But, there is no separation of faith and work. The Puritans had it right in seeing our vocation broadly as God’s call to social, economic, civil, and church engagement as we serve His purpose, using our God-given talents and opportunities to serve others. Jesus did not say “go to church,” but rather He called His people to “be the Church and go out”! We all have areas of our lives where we like to spend time and devote energy, often to the exclusion of other priorities. Whether we’re workaholics, doting parents, “can’t say no” church volunteers or obsessive hobbyists, we must be careful not to reshape God’s call on our life into a lopsided focus on one or two things while ignoring others. Read the Bible daily, pray for direction, guidance and wisdom, be accountable to other Christians and live out what Paul wrote to the Ephesians. You will be blessed and through you your employees, their families, your customers, vendors and ultimately, the nation will be blessed.

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Filed under Business, Christian Life, Economy, Government, Uncategorized