Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Two of the greatest inventions of my time have been the laptop computer and e-mail. The laptop means I no longer have to stay in one place to be productive in my business life. E-mail has allowed me to stay connected to people all around the world with the touch of a button.My greatest frustration is when either of these does not work. Sometimes e-mail cannot be used because I can't get a connection. Sometimes I cannot use my laptop because I have not properly charged it, and then the charge runs out while I am on an airplane.
Both of these situations mean I am unable to tap into the resource that allows me to fulfill my calling in my work to the fullest.The morning time with God is much like these situations. God pours His Word into my spirit, and I am recharged. This recharging has an important effect on my day. It allows me the greatest opportunity to hear the small voice that directs my steps. If I refuse to "get connected," I risk following my own ways of fulfilling the duties of my day. It sets forth the opportunity for God to speak into my spirit what He desires for me each day. It allows me to focus on God's purposes, not mine. The only way to know someone is to spend time with him or her. The only way to discern the voice of another is to hear that person's voice.
David, the author of this psalm, was a warrior, king, and businessman. He understood this principle of connecting with God in the morning. His morning allowed him to connect with God's love, renew his trust in Him, and hear His directions for his life. Shouldn't you and I do the same?
emphasis on having lots of money and material
possessions doesn't lead to true wealth. God wants His
people to be rich in the things that matter most, like
grace and joy.
If you follow the Bible's principles, you'll find that
God will not only meet your material needs, but also
enable you to live a generous and fulfilling life.
1. Keep your treasures in heaven rather than on earth.
Ask yourself questions to determine the attitudes of
your heart: "What do I think about most?", "What
occupies most of my emotional and physical energy?",
"How do I respond emotionally when I see human
needs?", "How do I respond emotionally when I hear
biblical messages on what God says my attitudes and
actions should be regarding material possessions?",
"How do I respond when I feel I may need to part with
some material possessions so they can be better used
to meet someone else's needs or to help carry out the
Great Commission?", "What priorities do I have other
than making money (such as worshiping God and spending
quality time with family and friends)?", and "What is
my attitude when I do give?"
2. Use your material possessions wisely. Put your faith
in God rather than in what you own. Know that if you
follow God's will for how to use the gifts He's given
you, you will inspire love and unity among believers,
and motivate encourage non-Christians to believe in
Jesus. Have spiritual leaders model the way all
Christians should use material possessions - with
integrity, unselfishness, and pure motives. Be willing
to make sacrifices to respond to special needs that
arise among God's people. Share your possessions to
encourage others, and thank people who share with you.
Develop an efficient system in your church to help
meet the material needs of other people in your
congregation and community. Realize that having a lot
of material possessions may make it hard for you to
recognize and acknowledge your need for God's grace in
salvation. Make sure your possessions aren't keeping
you in bondage. Ask God how you can creatively use
whatever excess material possessions you have to help
His kingdom work. Take care of your family members -
from children to aging parents. If you don't have
much, don't feel inferior to those who have more. If
you have a lot, be humble. No matter what your
material circumstances, give what you can, cheerfully.
3. Be thankful. Thank God daily in prayer for all that He
gives you. Decide to put God first in all things,
knowing that if you do, He will meet your needs.
Remember how God has provided for you in the past, and
trust Him to continue to do so in the present and
future. Learn to be content no matter what your
circumstances. Let your gratitude for all God has done
for you motivate you to give to His kingdom work.
4. Give generously. Give to honor God rather than
yourself. Evaluate your motives before you give.
Understand that your gifts please God only when you've
done your part to be in harmony with your brothers and
sisters in Christ before giving. Know that giving
won't cancel out the results of a lifestyle that's
contrary to God's will. Confess your sins and seek
forgiveness before giving so you can be at peace with
God and others, and give with pure motives. Be willing
to help everyone God leads you to help, even your
enemies. Pay special attention to needs among your
fellow Christians. Know that God will reward you when
you give faithfully, based on the degree of sacrifice
you make. Evaluate your giving patterns, asking
yourself if you're giving unselfishly,
proportionately, generously. Every time you're paid,
set aside a portion of your income to give to God's
work. Organize your finances so you can plan to give
regularly and generously. Make sure you're supporting
those who are ministering to you spiritually. Make it
a priority to support your local church. Strive to
understand the lives of the people you're trying to
help through your giving, and build relationships with
them to draw them closer to Christ's love. Besides
giving money and possessions to further God's kingdom,
give your time and contribute your talents and skills
5. Be ethical. Realize that being entrusted with money to
use for God's kingdom work is an awesome
responsibility. Don't use the Christian message to try
to benefit yourself. Remember that a church is not
simply a business. Set up a system for your church
finances that ensures accountability. Don't show
favoritism toward wealthy people or prejudice toward
poor people; treat all people equally. When you do
your financial planning, make it a priority to fulfill
God's will in every respect. Ask God to help you
overcome temptations to be unfair, dishonest,
self-indulgent, or greedy. Work hard to earn your
money rather than trying to obtain it through
get-rich-quick schemes or gambling. Show
responsibility in your work so you will represent
Christ well. Strive for excellence in all the work you
do, knowing that God is your ultimate boss. Treat
employees fairly in every respect, including paying
them fair wages. Be a good citizen by paying all
government taxes and fees when they're due. When you
need financial help, be open and honest about your
need while avoiding any form of manipulation. Be on
guard against false teachers who mix truth with error
in order to exploit people. As a Christian living in
an affluent society, be on guard against
self-deception and rationalization.
6. Handle lending and borrowing well. Strive to always
pay your bills in full and on time. Avoid consumer
debt, especially when it hinders your ability to give
God the first fruits of your income. Never knowingly
borrow money you can't pay it back according to a
predetermined agreement. Before borrowing money for
any purpose, seek wisdom from others who can help you
evaluate all aspects of the decision. Demonstrate
grace to people who borrowed money with good
intentions but encountered crises beyond their control
that make it hard to repay their loans on time. Before
guaranteeing another person's loan based on your own
assets, make sure you'd be able to repay the entire
loan yourself without defaulting on other financial
(L)isten for the needs, challenges, and obstacles of your potential employer. Turn the table on your interviewers by asking key questions: "What are the greatest challenges your company faces? What are the greatest threats? What is the most difficult thing about finding the right person for this job?"
Be quick to (A)ssess. How can you fill the gap with either something you know, something you can help to discover, or perhaps, someone else you know? This doesn't have to be from your own work experience; you can apply what you know and have experienced in life to demonstrate your ability to meet this need.
(S)erve them. Drop the entitlement attitude. There's nothing more meaningful than to hear someone say, "I believe I can help this need.It would give me great personal fulfillment to serve in this way."
Offer (E)nthusiastic expressions. You don't have to do high-fives and cheer to be enthusiastic. Take notes and share what the most exciting things about the job seem to be. Communicate that you're confident the right door will open at the right time. Tell them you'd love the opportunity to serve by (meeting the specific need), but if you're not the best one for the job, then wish them the best in their search.
(R)elease and press on. Your value and well-being are not dependent on this one job. Put other opportunities in the pipeline.
Stepping Up to the Plate Being a positive force is so much more than having a good attitude.It's taking the time to listen to the needs of others and help them meet their goals, while at the same time, working toward what you want, whether that means a new career or advancing in the one you have.
They are, according to Terry Barber, author of Worth Every Penny: Become the Person Your Clients (and Your Company) Can'tLive Without and director of integration services at Grizzard Communications Group, those who make things happen by creating energyand lasting impressions with people. They're what he calls a positiveforce.
Four characteristics of one who is a positive force:
1. Acts as a thermostat, not a thermometer. A thermometer reads the temperature of a room, but a thermostat regulates the volume of coolor warm air that goes into the room. When a person decides to be a thermostat, he or she can, for example, make a conscience choice about how they want a meeting to go in terms of tone, pace, impressions, and so forth. "A person can drive the emotional temperature of a room,"says Barber, "by how they greet others, what they wear, the pace in which they speak, and the level of intensity in which they both speak and listen."
2. Purpose-driven versus title-driven. Communicating that you understand your life compass is essential. Let others know that the most important thing to you is not your title. What's important is that you know who you are, what motivates you, and that the job you take will put wind in your sails.
3. Teachable versus taught. Successful people love to help others succeed. Being teachable is an admirable trait, and it communicates that you don't know it all. "The most respected and competent people in industry are those who look for opportunities to learn from others," says Barber.
4. Life givers versus life suckers. Being around people who are a positive force energizes you. Being around complainers and whiners will suck the life out of you.
Becoming a Positive Force in the Workplace In order to become a positive force, Barber says there are two key steps that a person can take.Order your private world. Connecting the dots between your heart (your desires), mind (what you choose to think about), and spirit (your connection with God that will yield imagination and passion) is essential.
First, consider your heart's desires. If money and other pressures weren't an issue, what would you be doing with your day-to-day activities? Where would you be making a difference?
Second, quit listening to the negative influences of people around you. Rework your thinking so that you consider all the things you can do and the positive differences that you can make. Find others to model your life after and fill your mind with the same kinds of things they read and listen to.
Third, sit in solitude before the Lord and ask Him to guide you in what you're doing. Pray about your goals and the challenges you experience on a daily basis. "It's the Lord who helps to energize our imagination and our passions," says Barber. You'll know you've connected all the dots — heart, mind, and spirit —when you can lie down at night or get up in the morning and the desires of your heart meet with the opportunities in your hand. On the flip side, if you go to bed thinking, How much longer do I have to do this? I wonder how I can jump ship and do that, then the dots aren't connected.If this is the case, it's time to reassess and think about approaching your job differently. Rather than looking at what you're not getting or how others are mistreating you, tap into the mission of your organization and start thinking about it and your part in it." However, if you can't do this where you are because you don't agree with the things your company stands for, or it's just not within the makeup of who you are, then yes, start dreaming about other things you can do," says Barber.
Friday, November 23, 2007
must be about My Father's business?"
Luke 2:49 KJV
Earth is God's business. He has set up many franchises (churches)
designed to send His representatives (Body of Christ) into the world to
make known the best product ever given to mankind (Jesus). His branch
managers (pastors) have been given the responsibility to teach and
support those in the field. God's goal is to establish a franchise in
every nation, state, and city. It is the ultimate business because when
you introduce someone to His product (Jesus), you receive a reward from
the home office (Heaven). God has promised that His representatives
will have all the tools and customer support needed to accomplish their
Jesus knew that He was to be about His Father's business. He knew He
was sent to earth not to enjoy the pleasures of lowly man, but to
accomplish a task for which He alone was sent. When He had accomplished His
mission, He was to entrust this mission to other representatives into
whom He poured His life for three years. This field training allowed
Jesus to mentor, model, befriend, and demonstrate firsthand the model
for a successful business to be launched and sustained.
God has big plans for His franchise. He wants every human being to
partake of His product; however, even God knows that not everyone will.
Nevertheless, this does not thwart His efforts in seeking to make it
known among His audience.
You have been called to be part of the ultimate franchise. How many new
recruits have you been responsible for bringing into the franchise
Monday, November 19, 2007
If your so called best is not yet the best. Opposition is the mother of opportunity.
Don't ever waste your precious time with the critics. Always keep your attention on your goal and stay focused. This is the winning secret of Jesus Christ that earned him an enviable success. If you mind opposition and criticism you will lose your focus.
QUOTE FOR TODAY
"Opposition is really the proof of progress. Satan always attacks those next in line for a promotion." Mike Mudock.
needs to experience: The conversion of the head. The conversion of the
heart. The conversion of the pocketbook."
It is worth noting that money is such an important topic in the Bible
that it is the main subject of nearly half of the parables Jesus told.
In addition, one in every seven verses in the New Testament deals with
this topic. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses
on faith, and more than 2,000 verses on money. In fact, 15 percent of
everything Jesus ever taught was on the topic of money and
possessions-more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined.
Why such an emphasis on money and possessions? There is a fundamental
connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle
money. When the tax collector, Zaccheus, was converted, he wanted to
right his wrongs. He declared to Jesus that he would give half his
possessions to the poor and would pay back four times the amount he had
overcharged anyone on their taxes. Zacchaeus' encounter with Christ
affected every aspect of his life, including his pocketbook.
We might recoil from any teaching on money, because such teaching is
sometimes abused and used for personal gain. But we need to get a proper
biblical perspective on this important subject. Let's consider the words
of Jesus in Matthew 6:
"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be
seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before
you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they
may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their
reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand
know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in
secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you
openly." (Matthew 6:1-4 NKJV).
In other words, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. Over
and over again, our Lord comes back to motive, and He addresses it here
when He speaks of giving. Every believer should be giving a portion of
his or her finances to the Lord on a regular basis, but it should not be
done in an ostentatious way or in a manner that would draw unnecessary
attention. When people want to be noticed because of their giving, they
want others to think they are more spiritual than they really are. This
When we give, when we pray, when we worship, or whatever we do, God is
looking at our hearts. Motive is everything. When you give, realize that
God is aware of it. It comes down to this: If we remember, God will
forget. If we forget, God will remember. Leave the bookkeeping to God.
In the same chapter, Jesus addressed the subject of possessions: "Do not
lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy
and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven . . . "(Matthew 6:19-20 NKJV).
The above phrase literally could be translated, "to lay up something
horizontally, as in storing it permanently." This verse isn't saying
that it is wrong to save or invest your money. What it is saying is that
it is wrong to accumulate possessions for the sake of accumulating them,
and more specifically, for the purpose of impressing others.
Jesus was not teaching against being blessed with material things. Of
the many instructions He gave, only once did He tell an individual to
sell his possessions and give them to the poor. This person was the
rich, young ruler, and Jesus recognized that he was possessed by his
The point is, we are to keep things in perspective, recognizing that
everything we have comes from God and that He provides it for us with a
purpose in mind. Don't put your hope in material things. They will all
be gone some day. If your primary ambition is material things and then
you try to make your primary ambition the things of God, it won't work.
You can't do both. You need to make a decision. Invest in spiritual
things. Store up treasures in heaven.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
" 'Test me in this,' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will
not throw open the floodgates of heaven '' " (Malachi 3:10)
We look now at one of God's purpose for money: to show His divine
power. God is a supernatural God - something Christians seem to
forget - and He delights to demonstrate His reality and power among
His people. One means through which God has chosen to do this is
through His miraculous provision of money.
What is a financial miracle? It is a supernatural event whereby God provides one of His
children with the money required to meet a financial need - and
usually it involves such precise timing that it cannot fail to point
to the Lord's direct intervention. When a Christian prays about a
financial need, for example, and an unexpected gift is given to him
by someone who knows nothing about the need, the supernatural power
of God is demonstrated. In the days of Elijah, the nation of Israel
tried to worship God and serve Baal at the same time. Elijah knew
that this would inevitably lead to God's judgment, so he proposed a
simple test. The test involved building two altars, one for God and
one for Baal, and whichever answered by a display of supernatural
power was the one whom they would worship. The prophets of Baal cried
out to their non-existent deity all day, but nothing happened. Then
Elijah prayed, and in response to his prayer God sent fire from
heaven. One of the biggest of the false gods of this age is money. It
has become an idol because people expect from it what only God can
give - true security. As the world hankers after money, God wants to
prove to those who seek Him that they will not lack any good thing.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
God calls each of us to engage in spiritual warfare at times. Whenever satan wants to come against one of God's children, he does so by trying to intimidate through FEAR. (False Evidence Appearing Real)Goliath's formidable size and arrogant boasting intimidated Saul and Israel's army. And because God's anointing had fallen from Saul, he was unable to respond with courage to Goliath's charge. Fear paralyzes and torments. That is why Saul could not respond.The anointing had fallen on David, who was just a young boy, but mighty in spirit.
David did not cower at the size or shouts of the giant Goliath. He saw Goliath through the eyes of God, who saw him as a mere speck. David had righteous indignation for an affront to the armies of the living God.David did not weigh the risk of failure because his faith was resting totally in God. That is another important factor in overcoming fear-complete trust in God.When the Lord began training me to confront fear, the training grounds were a groundless lawsuit, intimidations, and calamity that confronted my very existence.
Learning that these were merely tactics of the enemy, designed to instill fear, allowed me to stand firm in God's power to overcome.Do not fear sudden calamity if you are walking uprightly before God. It may be setting the stage for a great victory that will bring praise and honor to your heavenly Father. These battles are training grounds for greater victories to come.
1. GO – Prove Your Worth
The blast of the whistle gives us an insight into the lives of the athletes. Those who have spent time preparing are immediately distinguished from those who did not prepare adequately. Similarly, it’s your turn, GO – prove your worth and show the world the stuff you are made of. You have been learning about preparing for greatness. Greatness is achieved through action not through continuous planning to take action. Now is the time to begin, to prove to the world that you are the new kid on the block.
2. GO - Equal Opportunity
GO gives each athlete an equal opportunity to accomplish greatness. Not only does it give them this opportunity to those on the touchline, it also gives them the same opportunity as those who ran the race four years earlier. In the same way, the race of life not only gives us equal opportunities to succeed, it also give us equal opportunities as those who have gone before us. Don’t ever believe that the days of opportunities are gone. You are on the threshold of history until you die. Guess what? Never in the history of human existence have we had the kinds of opportunities to succeed as we do now. Stop complaining and begin your race. It’s your turn, GO!
3. GO – Golden Opportunity
The Olympic race is run once every four years. GO, therefore, signifies a golden opportunity for every athlete, an opportunity they will not have again for another four years or possibly, in their lifetime. It’s an opportunity too good to miss. When it is missed, it is success delayed, destiny postponed, and greatness buried. And just like the Olympics, life gives each of us a golden opportunity. Each tick of the clock is life urging you to GO. It’s your golden opportunity to maximize your day and accomplish your dream. Go means you appointed time has come. There cannot be any other time better than now to begin your race. The future does not begin tomorrow, the future is now. Therefore, GO!
4. GO – You Can Do It.
The blast of the whistle means, you can do it, you can become your dream, you can create a new record, and you can make it. If someone is supposed to win the race, that person is you. Life believes so much in you to put you in the race. Had life not believe in your ability to win, either of these two scenarios would have occurred:
- You would not have been short-listed for the race: The fact that you are now running the race implies that life has confidence in your ability to win. Think about it. Your existence is the proof that you have the ability to win. The day you were conceive, there were more than a hundred million contestants I race to reach the ovum, but the strongest, fastest, and most virile sperm made it to the crown and that product became you. The life of a success story began the day you were conceived. And guess what? Your birth is the proof that God believes so much in your ability that He short-listed you instead of the 100 million others that were possible. Literally, He gave up a million other possibilities, for you!
- The race would have been awarded to someone without being run: The fact that there is a race means that there is a possibility of your wining it. GO, you can do it and win the race of life. If you won the initial race with more than 100 million contestants, what makes you feel that you cannot win it now? GO, the world is about to celebrate the success of a new champion, and the person is you!
QUOTE FOR TODAY
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” - E. Joseph
There are two common types of self-delusion that can be avoided by playing back the past.
1. Blaming circumstances for your present position
When we blame other entities, parents, society, race, what have you, for our current circumstances, we blind our selves to the fact that, ultimately, we are responsible for our own position in life. Remember the great Law of this Universe as it applies to human behaviour, and take responsibility for your life. Play back your past with an objective mind, and you will be able to identify behavioural patterns, attitudes, lifestyles, and habits that have led you to where you now are.
2. Assuming that tomorrow will be better without making changes.
To convince yourself that tomorrow will be better if you just wait out today, “Ah everything will be fine, whatever will be, will be.” Is to breed disappointment, or worse failure. Tomorrow will be a repeat of today if you do not change your present behaviour.
Newton, in his first law, also stated the following;
“An object continues in its state of rest or in uniform motion in a straight line until a force is applied to it.”
The threefold implication of the law:
- If an object is motionless, it will remain in that state until acted upon by an external force.
- If an object is moving at a constant speed, it will continue to do so until acted upon by an external force
- If an object is moving, it will continue to move in a straight line until acted upon at an anle by an external force.
As applied to human behaviour:
- If you are struck, motionless in life, you will remain so..
- If you are moving along a certain path, you will continue to….
….until acted upon by an external force.
That is, life will continue to produce exactly the same results you see today until a change is made or until you make a change. And the first critical step to position yourself for a better tomorrow is to play back the past.
Consider the following article I stumbled across…
“An Elderly, carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plan to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the pay check, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one house as a personal favour. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.
When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front door-key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”
What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.
So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do give the job our best effort. Then with a shock at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.”
We are responsible for our present states. When you sit down to play back the past, you will make these three major discoveries about your life:
- Your present position: Where you are (the results your life is currently producing).
- Your problems: Why you are where you are (the actions responsible for the results).
- Your promise: How to get to where you want to be in life (the corrective measures needed to change the course of your life).
QUOTE FOR TODAY
“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions shows that he knows where he is going.” – Napoleon Hill
The people of Israel were brought out of Egypt to enter a new land-the Promised Land. This land was not handed over to them freely; it required the removing of God's enemies through battle. It required a partnership between God and the people. As long as the people remained true to God, they were victorious.The people were camped at Kadesh Barnea, near the border entrance to the long-awaited Promised Land. All the hardships of their journey from Egypt were now culminating at this important crossing. However, Joshua and Caleb were the only scouts who proclaimed faith in God to take them into the land and conquer their enemies. The other spies saw all the dangers and refused to take the risk. The people of the camp shrank in fear because of their report. They decided not to enter in.God was angered at the people for their lack of faith. Moses had to intercede on their behalf. Once they realized what they had done, it was too late. But they thought their repentance was enough to right their wrong.
They presumed this was all that was necessary.Moses informed them they were deceived in their presumption of God's favor. They went to battle against the Amalekites only to be soundly defeated. Those who returned did not understand why they lost the battle.It is important for us to know whether we have God's hand upon our endeavors. Presumption leads to failure. God's favor leads to success.
Ask God to confirm His hand on your endeavors...."If Your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Exodus 33:15).
Friday, November 9, 2007
The project was only a few months under construction when a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling and severely injured his son, Washington. Washington was left with permanent brain damage and was unable to talk or walk. Everyone felt that the project would have to be scrapped since the Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built.Even though Washington was unable to move or talk, his mind was as sharp as ever, and he still had a burning desire to complete the bridge. An idea hit him as he lay in his hospital bed, and he developed a code for communication. All he could move was one finger,so he touched the arm of his wife with that finger, tapping out the code to communicate to her what to tell the engineers who werebuilding the bridge. For thirteen years, Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger until the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge was finally completed.
It is easy to fire off a letter to someone in this age of electronic communication because of its expediency. In business we call this being efficient. However, there are times when nothing but a face-to-face meeting is the appropriate means of communication. We know that verbal skills are a very small portion of communication. Body language, voice tone, and our expressions make up the majority of our overall communication. This cannot be seen through a letter or electronic medium.
John knew that being face to face with those he ministered to be important. And for John, it meant some major trouble to get from one place to another. It wasn't as simple as getting into a car or hopping onto an airplane. John's desire and determination to visit and talk face to face reinforces the importance of one-on-one personal communication.I once had to confront a businessman about some problems we were having in a business deal. He lived in another town. The negotiations had stalled to some degree. I could have attempted to solve the problem over the phone. But I realized the serious nature of the issues required a face-to-face meeting. I drove two hours to his office and met with him face to face. It meant all the difference. It demonstrated to my friend I was serious enough about solving the problem to take a day to come see him. It also showed I valued him and he was worth the effort. This resulted in him giving greater emphasis to the issue.
Next time a situation arises that requires more focused communication, consider whether the situation requires a personal visit. You may find this will be the key to resolving issues that otherwise might end in a stalemate.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The account of Noah receiving instructions from God for building the ark serves aas an extraordinary model for strategic planning.
Strategy 1 – Evaluate the Situation. “So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt..” (Genesis 6:12)
- Research the situation-Before proceeding in any endeavor, do your homework! Check things out for yourself. When I was young and had more desire than brains. I sent a man I barely knew to check out a business opportunity. Based on the strength of his report, I committed myself to a business which I knew little about. It turned out that the information he provided was deliberately falsified by him to prove himself an opportunity. It took me time for me to financially recover.
- How thoroughly have you investigated the problem or opportunity you wish to address?-Don’t rely just on one source. One credible source is still only one view. It’s better to have your information confirmed through multiple sources than to put all your eggs in one basket, only to find out the basket has a broken handle.
- Make sure the information you based your decision on is accurate-If you are unsure that your information is accurate, make generous allowances for error or don’t proceed at all. I was asked to do.
Strategy 2 – Make a Decision. “Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:13)
- You will never have all the facts-it has been said, “In every person’s lifetime there comes an opportunity to do a very special thing, unique to that person and fitted to his or her talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds the person unprepared and unqualified for that work.” You should prepare yourself for opportunity; analyze the facts as you can accept the reality that you will never have all the information. Sometimes you have to act with less information than you would like. It’s hard to know when you have sufficient facts, so get the counsel of others and search the scripture for any indicators of direction, then make the best decision you can.
- Don’t be snared by the “paralysis of analysis”-In the mid-seventies some had an idea for a real estate magazine, which he thought was a superb concept. I analyzed and eventually did nothing. A few years later, the concept surfaced in his city and ultimately in cities across his country. His paralysis of analysis cost him an opportunity. He discovered that “in the valley of indecision lay the skeletal remains of many a worthy plan.” The bottom line to make a decision is this: don’t rush and don’t delay.
Strategy 3 – Summarize the Vision. “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.” (Genesis 6:14).
- Before God gave Noah the specifics. He gave him an overview. Do you have an overview of where you are trying to go with your life? Moses had a simple overview of his purpose: to “set my people free,” Nehemiah had a simple understanding of his primary goal: to “rebuild the wall.” Jesus gave an overview of His purpose: to “seek and to save that which was lost.” What’s the overview of your purpose?
- Is your vision clearly defined? If you can’t outline your vision in 25 words or less, you probably don’t understand it. Take time to think through your vision, whether it be your life vision or your vision for specific project, then try summarizing it on the back of a business card. If you can’t do that, it’s probably not clear enough.
- Can others read it and run with it? Ask those who have a stake in your vision if they know what the vision is. See how many people give you the same answer. If you get different answers, you know you’re not communicating clearly and it may be because you haven’t got it clear in your own mind.
Strategy 4 – Establish the Boundaries “the length of the ark shall be 450 feet, its width, 75 feet, and its height 45 feet” (Genesis 6:15)
- Formulate a plan and put it in writing. A goal without a plan is only a dream. When I was new to the selling business, I realized that in order to reach my goals, I would have to accomplish a certain amount of activity. And to accomplish that activity, I was going to have to plan and act differently than I had in the past, I created a simple flowchart of required activity and monitored my progress, knowing that if I had the right things well, I would have the desired result. A simple plan, but it yielded extraordinary results.
- Stay within the sphere of your calling. Not everyone is called to the same position in life, though we are all called to accept the challenge of greatness. Greatness is measured by our service to others. Find a way to out serve your competition and you will be exalted in the market place. Let God give you the promotion, not yourself, lest you find yourself promoted to a position of incompetence. When you step into realm God hasn’t equipped you for, disaster is just around the corner. Sometimes we don’t know the boundaries of our calling until we step outside and find ourselves fighting for survival with no backup in sight. God is gracious and patient and will lead us back to the sphere of our calling.
- Don’t mistake comfort zone for calling. You may be comfortable in your world right now, but that doesn’t mean you are called to remain there. Don’t mistake the lack struggle for the leading of God. In fact, if you’re not experiencing opposition, there’s a good chance you’re headed in the wrong direction! You may be in the center of the sphere of your calling, while simultaneously being in the fight of your life. Without doubt, the Apostle Paul endured much hardship and many trials while functioning within his sphere of calling.
Strategy 5 – Define your Strategy. “make a window for the ark…set the door of the ark in its side…make it with lower, second and third decks” (Genesis 6:16)
- Make your plan a series of steps, which taken individually are manageable. Break your plan into bite-size pieces. Many goals or projects seem overwhelming at the beginning. Break them down into their individual components, then break the components down into individual steps that you can see yourself accomplishing.
- Prioritize the steps. Stand back and look at the big picture. Ask God to help you prioritize then list the steps in the order you will need to accomplish them. Without prioritization, you may find yourself having to redo one or more steps as the project unfolds.
- Identify and implement daily success habits. Ask yourself “What one thing can I do on a daily basis that would make a tremendous difference in the achievement of my goals?” Think of a few more and begin implementing them. They may be simple things, like proper diet and exercise, or more specific to your sales career like a disciplined regimen of prospecting, practicing your questioning techniques, or choosing to keep better records. Pick anything you want, but always remember to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
Strategy 6 – Envision the Reward “I will establish my convent with you.” (Genesis 6:18)
- Look to the reward. Any dream worth embarking on and any goal worth pursuing will exact a toll from you. In the challenging times, when you question your own sanity for ever setting out on the path you chose, it helps to remind yourself of the reward of accomplishment. Moses rejected the life of privilege under Pharaoh and chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt because he looked to the reward (Hebrews 11:24-26).
- Endure hardship. Just as Jesus endured unspeakable horrors at the hands of those whom He sought to save. He endured it all for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Don’t lose sight of reward and don’t feel guilty about wanting the reward. Consider young David before he became king. He inquired three times concerning the reward for killing Goliath before going to battle against him. He was told each time that the reward was great riches, the king’s daughter in marriage and permanent tax-exempt status for him and his family. This does not mean that these were the only things that motivated David, but they clearly held a keen interest for him, and after killing Goliath, he collected on all three promises’
Strategy 7 – Define your Primary Responsibility “Go into the ark; you, your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives with you. And…two of every sort…to keep them alive with you.” (Genesis 6:18-19).
- Don’t lose sight of your original goal. When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to you were there t drain the swamp. In the heat of the battle, you lose sight of the original purpose or goal. Understanding that it is can happen and be on the lookout for it.
- Watch out for rabbit trails. This is especially true for visionaries. They rarely see an idea they don’t like and it’s easy for them to get distracted. Keep your primary focus. Focus on the task at hand and don’t look back.
- Avoid worthy looking but not God originated tasks. Everyone is offered business deals, many of which seem good, honorable and worthy enterprise, but if they are not part of your life’s calling and destiny, don’t waste your time. Get rich quick schemes are plentiful, but we must recognize that though our efforts should pay well, money should not be our deciding factor. Diversions will come, so you must do your best to be in the right place at the right at time right time, and then you will be ready for a God-originated opportunity.
Strategy 8 – Count the Cost “take for yourself of all food that is eaten.. for you and for them” (Genesis 6:21)
- Determine your investment ahead of time. If you want to succeed in sales, you’re going to need to invest time, effort and money in the acquisition and refining of your skills and in doing the things most people won’t do that are necessary for success. If you don’t count the cost ahead of time, you may be surprised at what is required to succeed and you may turn back. Noah had to calculate the quantity of food necessary for him and all the animals represented on the ark. It was a big and necessary project, for without counting the cost ahead of time, he could have found himself on a ship with a bunch of starving animals.
- Be prepared to take responsibility for the consequences of your plan being executed. You do your best to count the cost and prepare for the unexpected, but in the end you will be held accountable for your choices. If you attempted more than you are able to achieve, you will only attempt great things. You will find that those who have attempted great things will not be quick to criticize you. Instead, they will come alongside and instruct you from their experience. Accept their seasoned insight.
Strategy 9 – Begin the Work “Noah did according to all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:22)
- Break the inertia! No matter how good the plan and no matter how substantial your network of contacts, there will be no result unless you get started. In sales, doing the presentation and writing proposals can be a lot of fun, but getting the ball rolling with prospecting can be a very different thing. Most sales managers agree that the biggest challenge they have with their sales reps is breaking their call reluctance. Once a prospect has expressed interest, the flow of the call is much easier. To make breaking the inertia easier, set aside a block of time when you will launch out, then commit yourself to that time frame and step out. Most people only talk of their great ideas. You can’t steer a parked car, so get out on the road and start driving. And always ask God for wisdom.
- Get started. The research was interesting; the planning was fun, now it’s time to get to work. The most difficult thing for me to do in sales was to cold call, so I would set entire days aside to do nothing but that. After a while, my discomfort with the process and my reluctance to make the next call evaporated. I began to enjoy it. If I had to make twenty cold calls to secure one sale and earn a $500 commission, I would tell myself that each “No” I receive actually earned me $25. That put a little pep in my step because I knew there was a direct relationship between activity level and actual results. Soon, I was welcoming the opportunity to cold prospect, but before long, my pipeline filled up and I was spending more time serving customers. My base of customers provides me the leads for new customers and the need for cold prospecting diminished.
- When Paul had a vision of Macedonia, he went there immediately. By getting started now, the difficult tasks become amazing doable. We cannot “monetize” our problems someone said. We must cut the excuses, face our fears and slay the monsters in our way.
Strategy 10 – Adjust to Unfolding Details “take with you seven each of every clean animals, a male and his friend; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female: (Genesis 7:2-3)
- Your circumstances will change. Noah was originally told to bring only two of every animal onto the ark, but then God told him to bring seven of certain species. Apparently it wasn’t a problem but it was a change. In sales, things are always changing. One day it’s a price increase or a new product launch, the next day it’s an aggressive new competitor or your territory has been cut. The game is always changing, but the fundamental principles never change. Dr David Oyedepo said “principles don’t change but priorities may change.” Learn to roll with the changes and adapt quickly. If you don’t, you might find yourself replaced by someone who didn’t know what the old price was or never had a larger territory. Learn to adjust.
- You will never know everything. It is impossible to know the end from the beginning when you start. If you did know, you probably wouldn’t start!
- You can expect the unexpected. Instead of responding to the unexpected with dread, look for the possibilities it represent. You can’t prepare for eventuality, but you can prepare your attitude to handle whatever comes your way. Starts now by determine that you will find the opportunity in every adversity. You win either way. Knowing that the unexpected will come and being prepared emotionally for the challenge will better equip you to complete the task.
Strategy 11 – Execute Faithfully “Noah did according to all the Lord commanded him” (Genesis 7:5)
- Quitters are forgotten. We remember the name of the first man to climb Mt. Everest (Sir Edmund Hillary), not the name of the first man to attempt it. Nehemiah was remembered not because he got financing to rebuild the wall or because of his lofty position as cupbearer to the king. Instead, he was remembered because he oversaw the building and completion of the wall around Jerusalem. If the wall hadn’t been finished the entire project would have counted for nothing.
- Commitment is required. We must be committed to finishing what we start. Jesus said,” No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom” (Luke 9:62). Resist the temptation to quit half way through. It’s one thing to aim for a goal and miss it. It’s quite another to start out towards a goal and then turn back.
Strategy 12 – Share the Reward with Others “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1)
- Never forget the source. It is God who gives the power to obtain wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) He provides the talent and the opportunity. It’s our job to use the talent He has given us on the opportunity (which may be disguised as a problem) He has put before us and to trust Him for the outcome. His purpose in helping us obtain wealth is to establish His covenant on earth. I don’t pretend to understand all the ramifications of that, but one thing is clear it does include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping widows and orphans, and spreading His gospel to the entire world. Think of God as an investment banker and ask yourself what it is about your plan that benefits His agenda? Why should He get excited about your project? What’s in it for him?
QUOTE FOR TODAY
“If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple: know what you are doing, love what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing.” Will Rogers
Opportunity 1 - Every situation, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity.
Did you hear about the employee who used to walk his dog in the woods? By the end of the walk, the dog’s fur would be full of burns, stuck securely in the tiny hairs. One day he looked closely at the annoying little burrs and saw something truly inspiring. As a result, he invented what we now call Velcro!
Another employee apparently had a bad day in the glue factory and had made up what everyone thought was a bad batch of glue. The problem was that it had only marginal stickiness. A little thought into the matter and “sticky notes” were born!
Another gentleman, who sold potato chips to grocery store chains, was having marginal success in getting the store to allocate much shelf space for his product. One day his daughter came home from school with her science project. She had to go in the forest and collect leaves from the various species of deciduous trees, and when she returned, she had the leaves neatly stacked one upon the other. It gave him an idea that would change the balance of power in the potato chip wars. He came up with the idea for stacking potato chips in a can. The can took up less space than bulky bags filled with air and he was able to get more products in the smaller space than his competition. The wave of Pringles was born!
Opportunity 2 – Improve skills removes barriers, while shifting paradigms moves mountains.
You can wait for something to come along to shift your paradigm, but chances are you won’t like it, or you can artificially shift your paradigm to help you see other options. Though some artificial shifting of paradigms may appear silly to some, the effects are helpful. For example, when I was selling printers I would sometimes ask my self what I would do if I got a call from a kidnapper who had kidnapped my wife. I would then tell myself that the ransom was of the day and it had to be within normal profit margins and no one could know about the kidnapping. Failure was not an option, so I came up with prospects who I hadn’t thought of in months and other opportunities that might be worth pursuing. I would then go after those opportunities like my life depend on it, and regardless of whether I made a sale that day, I got myself out of any ruts and started the pipeline moving again. Try shifting your paradigms artificially. You might be surprised what you come up with.
Opportunity 3 – The bigger the problem, the greater the opportunity.
Here is a testimony of someone whose first daughter was born with a down’s syndrome and a sizable hole in her heart. They didn’t tell us any of this until we had her home for a few days and being new parents we really didn’t know anything was wrong. When I finally found out, I was devastated! It completely took the wind out of my sails. For me, it was especially frightening because it was the only thing that I knew I feared might happen to me, and it did.
Suddenly, I was parent of one beautiful but handicapped little baby girl. Early one morning I laid her on the living room floor and just looked at her while I asked God for His perspective on things. Immediately I realized that God loved me regardless of my level of perfection, or lack thereof. He loved me unconditionally and I had no right to do any less for my daughter. Second, I realized that this trial felt as though someone had taken a backhoe and dug a huge hole in my heart. I knew the hole would fill with water. The question for me was. “Am I going to let it make me better or make me better?” I chose the latter. I believe that the adversity had the potential to give us wisdom beyond our years if we would embrace the package it came in. So I embraced my little one and cherished each and every day of the eighteen months we had her. She died six days before Christmas in 1979 and great was the loss of her beautiful life.
Opportunity 4 – You rarely exceed your own expectations.
I often tell salesmen not to let their company limit them with their sales quota. Always set your own expectations and reach for those. The computer company I worked for used to have sales quota of four major orders per month, though the national average was 3.2 per month. I set my goal for twenty orders per month, and though I never hit it, nobody ever got upset with me for getting twelve to sixteen orders in a month. Before my first year was over I was asked to be a manager, so I never got to hit my goal and often I wished I had stayed on a little longer just so I could have hit the goal.
Another example was Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He was going for a world record and a goal medal in the long jump. On his first attempt he committed a foot fault and had to try again. He committed a similar fault the second time and only had one more opportunity to jump. He slowly walked down to where he would need to land to win the gold medal and placed a red scarf on the sand, and then slowly walked back to the starting point. Unbeknownst to him, his coach kicked the scarf a foot further. Jesse took a good run and jumped without committing a foot fault, landing right on the scarf, a full foot further than was necessary to win the gold and set a world record. I can’t prove it, but I bet he would have landed on the scarf if his coach hadn’t moved it because you rarely exceed your own expectations.
Opportunity 5 – Others see us the way we see ourselves.
When the twelve spies returned from their reconnaissance mission in Canaan, ten of the spies from were spooked by the giants and said, “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight” (Numbers 13:33). They saw themselves as grasshoppers, so the people of the land saw them that way too! If you walk into a room with a confident, successful individual, others are more likely to see you in the same light also. Learn to see yourself the way God sees you. If you don’t know how He sees you, consider what He did for you in the work of the cross. You will find that the father has a profound love for you and created you with a destiny. Get a hold of that and carry that perspective into the day!
QUOTE FOR TODAY
“Each problem I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.” – Rene Descartes