Are You Living A Great Adventure?

adventure

As I have planned for this year and completed my goal-setting process, I have determined that I am going to build on some of my successes from last year. In doing this, I am going to take some bigger risks and go after bigger experiences and results. In a word, I want this year to be an adventure!

What about you? Are you living a great adventure? Or are you just watching (and envying) those who are?

Create Your Best Year Ever, Part 2

best year ever

It is that time of year again…the time of year when most people begin planning out their next year! For me, I started this process in November and I expect 2016 to be my best year ever! As I went through my annual process, I thought I would share it with you.

Want To Create Your Best Year Ever?

best year ever

I am not sure about you, but this past year has flown by for me. Not only has this year flown by, but I will say with confidence that it has been my best year ever, in many respects! As I look back over what all has been accomplished this year, I am amazed. I am also excited because I know why and I believe I can build on it this new year.

Best Year Ever

If the idea of having your best year ever interests you, then I have good news for you.

Is Yours A Safe Workplace?

Sometimes I get focused on leveraging our business for eternal return. It is easy for me to overlook the details of the business. If you own or lead a business with any number of employees, you likely have experienced something similar. However, we are responsible for running businesses of excellence. We cannot afford to overlook the basics for long. This includes a safe workplace!

safe workplace

Unusual Accusations

As a result of some turnover in our business recently, I have seen two out-of-the-ordinary accusations against us. While these accusations were certainly unusual for us, they are not uncommon in our industry.

Do You Need A Quiet Time Fixer Upper?

Have you come to a place where you have lost your passion for what you do? Maybe you are in a rut or just burned out. Maybe you are just not that “into” the purpose you once felt. It could even be that business going better than ever, but you just don’t “feel it” anymore. I have a couple of ideas that might just help you regain your passion for your God-given purpose!

quiet time

Forgetting Their First Love

In my last two posts, I have referred to a passage in Revelation where Jesus chastised the Christians at Ephesus for forgetting their first love. He praised them for some of their good works, but He called them out for their wrong motives. In drifting from their relationship with Jesus, they abandoned their first love.

Sin In The Camp – 6 Steps To Deal With It

You are a Christian business owner or leader and you are suddenly confronted with an ugly truth about your business. It appears there is “sin in the camp” and you are not sure how to deal with it. You want to do the right thing, but that is not always easy to determine. How do you deal with it?

sin in the camp

Sin In The Camp

In the book of Joshua, chapters 6-7, we read about Joshua leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. First, there is the miraculous defeat of the mighty city of Jericho. Spirits among the Israelites are high until they are subsequently defeated by a much weaker city of Ai. What happened? Why the reversal of fortune?

It turns out someone among the Israelites had broken the covenant God had made with them during the attack on Jericho. As a result, God left them to their own against Ai and they were sorely defeated. Now, the morale of the people has fallen and they are scared to death.

Learning From Joshua

Joshua is the (fortunate?) one that God has given the task of replacing Moses as leader of the Israelites – a TOUGH job! How does he handle this similar situation? What can we learn from him?

I encourage you to read the whole account on your own, beginning with Joshua 6:1 and ending with Joshua 7:26. There is much more to learn from this passage, but I have broken Joshua’s actions into the following 6 steps that I believe we can apply to our current business challenges.

Step 1 – Set Clear Guidelines

There is no grey area in Joshua’s instructions to the Israelites prior to the attack on Jericho. In Joshua 6:17-19, he clearly tells them what is to be done with the city, its inhabitants, and and everything in it once the city is in their hands. The sin that followed was not due to misunderstanding!

We must do the same in our businesses. It is our responsibility as the leaders to make sure the rules and expectations are clear to everyone. New hires must receive clear instruction regarding your policies or they cannot be held accountable to them. Everyone must know our guidelines if we expect them to comply!

Step 2 – Stay Close to God

Joshua did not receive instruction from God and then run off on his own to carry it out. He remained close to God. As soon as he learned of the defeat at Ai, Joshua fell before God in submission (Joshua 7:6-10). He did not know the reason for the defeat, but he knew he had to seek God first. God answered by telling Joshua there was sin in the camp.

Our response must be similar. Don’t get caught up in the fact that Joshua had such an obvious defeat that clued him in to the trouble. Instead, recognize that Joshua had remained so close in his walk with God that his very first reaction was to seek God’s face.

Joshua did not question his general about strategy or even question his own decision to send a smaller force of 3,000 men. He went straight to God as an instinctive reaction. If we are in close communion with God, our instincts will be similar.

Step 3 – Trust God’s Provision

In Joshua 7:10-12, God tells Joshua about the sin in the camp. He makes it clear that He will no longer be with the Israelites unless the sin is removed. At this point, Joshua does not hesitate. He does not look for other options. He acts decisively when he delivers the instructions to the Israelites (vv. 13-15).

I don’t know what Joshua could have feared when making this decision, but I know how these kinds of decisions have affected me. When I have caught wind of impropriety in our business, fear has often flooded my mind. Will an investigation lead to a top performer? Will I be forced to terminate someone that is critical to our success?

Joshua may have had similar fears, but he acted anyway. He trusted that his provision was only from God. We must have the same trust in God. If the removal of sin in the camp causes the loss of a top performer, then we have to trust that God will make up the difference. He is faithful.

Stay Tuned!

In my next post, we will cover the final 3 steps for dealing with sin in the camp. I hope that you can see the business application of this passage. Again, I encourage you to read it on your own and see how it speaks to you. I think you might be surprised at what you find!

Have you experienced sin in the camp with your business?

How did you deal with it?

What would you do differently next time?

7 Reasons Your Eternal Goals Are Short Sighted, Part 2

[This is the third post in a series about setting goals that have an underlying eternal purpose.]

In the first post, I explained eternal goals – what they are and why they are important. In my last post, we began looking at the 7 reasons why most people neglect to set eternal goals. We used one of my personal goals for 2015 to illustrate these reasons.

eternal goals 2

Today, I want to jump right in and go through the rest of the 7 reasons. Let’s do it!

Reason #4 – I Can’t Know For Sure If I Have Hit Them

A critical part of an effective goal-setting process is having a very clear way to know when you have achieved the goals. When you first start talking about eternal goals and the results you want, it does seem like it would be impossible to know if you have achieved them or not.

That is another reason for us to base our eternal goals on activities that we believe will best LEAD to the eternal results. We must trust God for the actual eternal results, but we can certainly do what is within our control to give us the best odds at eternal impact.

Using my example of wanting to impact more people for eternity through my blog, the measurement I chose was email subscriber count. Like I said before, it is not perfect. However, it is measurable and I can know if I hit the goal. I have to rely on God to turn that count into eternal impact.

Reason #5 – These Goals Cause Abnormal Behavior!

This is a tough one. It is tough because it is true. Seeking to set and achieve eternal goals will absolutely drive you toward behaviors that are not common or normal in today’s culture.

At the same time, Jesus called us to be salt and light. We are going to stand out from the crowd if we follow His calling. The sooner we get comfortable with this idea, the greater the impact we will have!

Reason #6 – Eternal Goals Conflict With My Current Goals

Much like Reason #5, this is also potentially true. Many people set goals to save a certain amount of money by the end of the year. Or maybe their goal is to buy a new house. These goals are not bad in and of themselves.

Unfortunately, there CAN be conflict when we begin to think about giving and other similar ways to achieve eternal impact. For me, I have a goal for our family to give a certain percentage of our income to faith-based efforts. The money we want to give could make other large ticket purchases difficult or impossible.

Conflict like this is best resolved by seeking godly advice and counsel from accountability partners and trusted advisers as well as prayer and study of the Bible. This conflict is greatly reduced when your goal-setting process begins with prayer and includes an eternal perspective from the start.

Reason #7 – I Cannot Fully Control The Results

For those of us who are “Type-A” personalities, this can be one of the toughest reasons to overcome. We want our goals to be based on our own performance. We do not want to rely on someone else to help us hit our goals.

Maybe that mindset works in individual sports, but it absolutely will not work when it comes to spiritual matters – even goal setting. We are designed by God to need Him. We are incomplete and cannot achieve anything meaningful or of lasting value without Him. We must accept this and set our goals accordingly.

While I cannot control the eternal impact He creates with my writing, I CAN control the activities that LEAD to that impact. I set my goals based on controllable activities and leave the rest to Him. I am usually surprised at the results!

Summary

Like I said earlier, most people have never set eternal goals. After going through the most common reasons for this and explaining how to set these goals, I hope you are more comfortable with attempting it going forward.

I have also given you this advice before: start small and feel free to contact me with questions! Try this with one goal and see how it goes. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results!

Have you started with an eternal goal yet?

What is holding you back from jumping in?

Who are you getting to hold you accountable?

15 Killer Ideas For Christian Ministry

In my last post, I described a house that had gas cans, lit candles, and exposed wiring throughout. We agreed that the owner of this house is clearly trying to create conditions for a fire to break out. We also looked at how this same idea applies to Christian ministry in our businesses if we are looking for eternal impact by pointing people toward God.

Christian ministry

Examples Of Christian Ministry

Today, I would like to give you some specific ideas about how we take this same approach in our business. I do not have the space to fully describe each item on the list. Instead, I will give a brief description and then, when possible, direct you to another post on this site that goes into more detail.

My hope is that you can take even just a couple of these ideas and adapt them to your business. If you have any questions or want to discuss them further, please comment below or send me an email. I will respond as quickly as I can!

    1. Mission Statement
    God is central to our company mission statement and core values.

    2. Chaplain program
    We offer chaplain services to our employees on a weekly basis through Corporate Chaplains of America. This service is incredible and has too many benefits to list here!

    3. Owners Manuals For Life
    We put a New Testament Bible in the glove box of every vehicle we sell. The cover says “Owners Manual For Life” and we have a note inside that explains how we believe it is the greatest book they will ever read. We don’t point it out to the customer, but let them find it later.

    4. Christ in Christmas Party
    We celebrate and have fun like other companies, but we also make sure there is a story or illustration at the end of the party that contains the gospel message to keep our focus on the real reason for the party.

    5. Christian magazines, Gospels of John in lounge
    We keep Christian magazines like “TwoTen” on the tables in the customer lounges at each of our stores. We also keep pocket-sized copies of the Gospel of John stocked there.

    6. Bible Studies
    Our chaplain (and sometimes our Controller) leads a weekly Bible study in the employee break room. We do one at lunch and one at breakfast so everyone has the opportunity to come, regardless of work schedule. We provide the food and we watch a video series followed by discussion.

    7. Devotions
    I go around to each department once a month and tell a quick story or illustration with a business and spiritual message woven in. These take five minutes or so and stay very light, but get great responses!

    8. Employee Newsletter
    I write an article for our employee newsletter once a month. In this article, I follow much the same pattern as the devotions mentioned above.

    9. Library
    We have a couple of library areas across our locations where we keep books for use by employees. Topics range from spiritual to family to parenting to business. If they are looking for a book we don’t have (and it fits our mission), then we will get it.

    10. Sponsorships
    We sponsor a number of faith-based organizations around our community. While these are mostly financial sponsorships, there are also opportunities to help with things other than money. Use of facilities, social media marketing, etc. are some examples.

    11. Car wash
    We host faith-based organizations on our parking lot and provide all necessary materials for them to hold a car wash fundraiser. They provide the labor and keep the revenue from the customers. We give a per-car donation as well.

    12. Open meetings with prayer
    We take time at the beginning of our sales meetings to open in prayer.

    13. Employee recognition
    We recognize employees who go above and beyond expectations outside of their job with a couple of awards – the RPM award and the Lightning Strike.

    14. Christian music
    Our overhead and on-hold music comes from a Pandora station with upbeat Christian music. It is not overwhelming, but provides a great atmosphere in the showroom and around the dealerships.

    15. Pay for volunteering
    We provide opportunities for employees to volunteer during community events we sponsor and pay them for half the time they spend doing so.

Not Everything

This is not everything we do to create the potential for eternal impact, but it should give you some ideas about what you can do in your business.

The idea I want to make sure I convey is that all of this does not happen at once. This is an accumulation of over ten years of intentional thought and action. We started small. You can do the same.

Progress Over Time

If you work at it over time, your business will look like the house described in my last post. Everywhere you turn, you will see potential for Christian ministry to happen. You will also realize that it is good for business!

Comment below and let me know what you would add to this list! Have a question, ask it! I would love to engage in conversation about this.

Danger: Highly Flammable!

Let me ask you a question. What would you think if you walked into someone’s house and saw gas cans scattered all over the place in seemingly random places? What if you looked closer and began to notice exposed wiring sticking out of various holes in the walls? If you also noticed lit candles and other flammable materials sitting on various tables and shelves, what would your thoughts be?

flammable

Extreme Picture?

Clearly, this is an extreme picture and one that is not likely to happen. However, if you did walk into a house that looked like this, what would you conclude? Would you assume the owner of the house had a death wish or that he was looking for a big insurance payoff?

Regardless of his final goal, you would have to conclude that he was interested in starting a fire, right? There would be no other reasonable conclusion that I can imagine. In fact, if it WAS his goal to have start a fire, you would probably give him an “A” for effort, right?

There Is A Point

I know this is a silly illustration, but there is a point that I want to make. In our businesses, I believe it is to be our goal to bring glory to God. While business is a worthy pursuit by itself, I believe the reward we receive at the end of this life will be based on our impact on eternity, not on the size of our business.

For me, this means that I want to run a profitable business that is healthy and growing, but I want to do this for the purpose of pointing people to God. I love business and know that God has placed me in a family business because that is where my talents can be used.

Bigger Purpose For Business

At the same time, I believe there is a bigger purpose for our business. I believe I will hear, “Well done” from Jesus at the end of this life if I have successfully run the business in a way that maximized eternal impact. This idea is my “Why” and is what drives me from day to day.

So, if that is the case, what does this have to do with a house full of highly flammable materials apparently laid out in such a way as to maximize the chances of fire breaking out? Actually, the answer is simple.

Spiritually Flammable!

I believe we can do the very same thing with our businesses. I am not talking about trying to burn them down. No, I am saying that we should sprinkle spiritually “flammable materials” around our businesses that will increase the likelihood of this eternal impact happening.

Think about it. All it takes is for us to think strategically about how we can impact people for eternity through the uniqueness of our business. We can just start small and take it slow. It does not have to happen all at one time. The little things will add up over a period of time!

Start Small

Maybe the first step is a process or policy that goes beyond the norm in taking care of your employees or coworkers. Maybe it is simply the presence of a Bible in the waiting area or a Bible verse on your business card. Get creative!

Whatever the starting point, be intentional and persistent over time. Eventually you will look around and see potential for impact everywhere. Before you know it, God is working through these “flammable materials” to draw people to Him, sometimes without your knowledge!

Positive Impact

Nothing I am recommending should be a negative impact on your business. In fact, many of those “flammable materials” that you initially wonder about will eventually prove to be a positive impact on the business. God has a way of making this happen!

I guess the bottom line is that we have to see the spiritually “flammable” potential in our business. Regardless of the nature of your business, I guarantee you can come up with ways to do this if you will take some time to brainstorm it. Pray for wisdom in this area and see what God will do to answer that prayer.

When He does, trust Him and act! Start small, but start. Don’t look back years from now and regret all of the missed opportunities you had to point people toward Him!

Do you see your business as having this kind of potential?

If not, isn’t it time you started?

If so, what spiritually flammable materials have you spread in your business?

Unity In Diversity

In a recent post, we looked at how diversity of skills, perspectives, gifts, etc. is necessary for an organization to achieve it purposes. If you have not read it yet, I would recommend doing that now. Today, I want to look at how diversity may not be enough. We also need unity.

unity

All-Stars Without Diversity

In the other post, I described a hypothetical situation where the Atlanta Falcons signed five new all-star players for their roster. All five were quarterbacks. The leadership of the team knew they did not need five quarterbacks, but instead planned to play these all-stars in the offensive line positions.

I talked about how ridiculous this would be (if it were true) and how ineffective it would be to put quarterbacks on the offensive line. I don’t think anyone argued about this opinion.

Same True For Business

We then looked at the parallels between a football team and our businesses. Regardless the organization, we agreed that we needed among our members a diversity of skills, perspectives, gifts, etc. if we want the team to be effective.

While this is true, there is more to the picture.

What About Unity Of Purpose?

Think about this. Assume for a moment the Falcons did not sign five quarterbacks, but instead had all of the best skilled players in the league for each position and had them playing in the right positions. Sounds much better, right?

Well, now assume the quarterback had decided he was going to set a new record for the most rushing yards for a quarterback. The running back set his goal as the most receiving touchdowns in a season. The linemen determined they would seek the record for the fewest injuries in a season for an offensive line. The coach is convinced he can orchestrate the most come-from-behind wins in one season.

Do you get the idea? If each player has a different goal – even if it is a valid, challenging goal – then the team will self-destruct! Can you imagine what a game would look like for this team?

Unity In Business

The same principles apply in our businesses. If we hire the best people and put them in the right positions according to their skills or gifts, we are starting off on the right foot.

However, if we do not work just as hard to make sure they all have the exact same overall goals in mind, we are simply setting ourselves up for failure. There is no way for an organization to be successful in achieving the purposes for which it was created if the members of that organization have varied goals.

Take a look at your own organization. Does everyone have the same goals as you do? Are these goals communicated clearly and consistently? Do you make corrections to the goals of those on your team as it becomes evident they are different from those of the team?

What Does Scripture Say?

In case you are wondering what the Bible says about this principle of unity, I suggest we go there to find out. In fact, we can use part of the same passage of Scripture to illustrate this point on unity as we did for the point about diversity. Take a look:

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12:24-26

Note the following phrases:

    God has put the body together…
    there should be no division in the body…
    its parts should have equal concern for each other…
    if one part suffers, every part suffers…

I think it becomes clear that diversity is important, but it must be combined with unity if we are going to be effective. The right skills in the right positions, all with a common goal, can achieve amazing results!

Which is more of a problem for your team: unity or diversity?

What action step do you need to take to begin correcting this?

Is your team aware of the need for change?