Monday, September 30, 2013

Time and Money


     Personal goals can be divided into two categories; time and money.  Amazingly, few people I know have ever taken the time to carefully examine where they spend their income and their time.  They do take the time to browse their paycheck.  If they are salaried they glance at the 'Net Pay' line and if they are hourly, they browse the 'total hours worked' and the 'net pay' lines.  Few are concerned with anything else and are ignorant of the percentage withheld for taxes and other deductions.  Outside of work they spend their time as they please; unaccounted for.  They do wish to get ahead, however, they do not see it necessary to plan for the future.
     As children of the most high God we have a responsibility to know as much about our paycheck and time as we possibly can.  We are all familiar with the idiom, 'time is money' but how many of us hold ourselves accountable.
     Our Heavenly Father is the master of time and money and requires us to give an account for how we spend both.  In Proverbs 11:9, the young man is admonished to 'Rejoice in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement.'  One may say God has OCD as 'He is perfect' (Matt. 5:48) and requires us to hold ourselves accountable because He will.
     This is nothing new as employers hold workers accountable for their time at work and their yearly reviews are based on the perception of their productivity.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also holds us accountable and has the law on its side to ensure it receives its fair share of income earned.  He wants nothing more but for us to enjoy the life He designed for us before sin entered into this world.  To do that we need to hold ourselves accountable.
     The wise King Solomon wrote, "that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is a gift of God," Proverbs 3:13.  He wants us to "enjoy the fruits of our labor", however this can only happen if we hold ourselves accountable and either live within our means or find honest ways to increase our means.

Action Steps
Get your paycheck and look at your deductions.  What percentage of your gross is your deductions?  How are you spending your time?  Are you spending enough time with God and your family?  If not, what are some of the things you need to change?  Make a list immediately and begin making the necessary changes. 

Have a blessed week and as always, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2)

Monday, September 23, 2013

What If You were Told ... ?

Today I share with you an inspirational video from Steve Jobs.

May you continue to have a blessed week.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Meeting of Minds

By Roger Darlington
Martin was returning to work in his London office after spending two weeks with his brother over in New York. He was coming back with a heavy heart. It was not just that it was the end of a wonderful holiday; it was not just that he invariably suffered badly from jet lag; it was that Monday mornings always began with a team meeting and, over the months, he had grown to hate them.
Martin was aware that colleagues approached these meetings with hidden agendas; they indulged in game-playing; and he knew that people were not being honest and open. The meetings themselves were bad enough - but then there was all the moaning afterwards."The usual people saying the usual things." "I could have improved on that idea, but I wasn't going to say." "I was thinking of making a suggestion - but I couldn't be bothered."
As this morning's meeting began, Martin braced himself for the usual moroseness and monotony. But, as the meeting progressed, he became aware of a strange background noise. At first, he thought that he was still hearing the engine noise from the aircraft that had brought him back to London - he had had to sit over the wing and the droning was terrible. But, as he concentrated on the noise, it became a little clearer.
He realised - to his amazement - that he could hear what his colleagues were thinking as well as what they were saying. As he concentrated still harder, he found that he could actually hear what they were thinking at the same time as they were speaking. What surprised him, even more than the acquisition of this strange power, was that he discovered that what people were saying was not really what they were thinking. They were not making clear their reservations. They were not supporting views which they thought might be unpopular. They were not contributing their new insights. They were not volunteering their new ideas.
Martin found it impossible not to respond to his new knowledge. So he started to make gentle interventions, based more on what he could hear his colleagues thinking than on what he could hear them saying"So, John are you really saying..." "Susan, do you really think that …" "Tom, have you got an idea on how we could take this forward?" He was aware that his colleagues were unsettled by how insightful were these interventions. They looked at him mystified. In truth, he felt rather proud of his newly-acquired talent.
Emboldened now, Martin forgot his usual misery at participating in such meetings and began making comments of his own. However, he became aware that some of his colleagues were looking at him quizzically. One or two even had a gentle smile playing on their lips. Only gradually did it dawn on him - they could hear his thoughts and he was not really saying what he was thinking.
As the meeting progressed, Martin became aware of changes to the tone and style of the event. It was clear to him now that, one by one, each member of the meeting was learning how to hear the thoughts of all the others and this was subtly changing how they inter-acted with one another. The game-playing started to fall away; people started to speak more directly; views became better understood; the atmosphere became more open and trusting.
The meeting ended. As people left the room, Martin found that he could still hear what they were thinking. "That was the best meeting we've ever had." "All meetings should be like that." "In future, I'm going to say what I think."

Monday, September 9, 2013

Anita Carman is Inspiring Women

This week's blog is a wonderful story written by Laura Leathers.  Thought I would share it.   

Obstacles! There isn’t a person in the world that hasn’t faced them. It is the seemingly insurmountable obstacles which tend to stop us dead in our tracks and give us the hardest time. Is it here that our plans and dreams tend to die or do they just begin? 

A messenger of hope is born
Anita Grace Lie Carman, founder and president of Inspire Women in Houston, Texas, who was born in Hong Kong when it was a British Colony, knows firsthand about facing all kinds of obstacles. In her book, When Dreams Won’t Die, The Autobiography and Birth Story of Inspire Women, Anita writes, “…God allowed the suffering of the real world to enter my private world so that He could one day send me out in His name with the message of hope found only in Jesus Christ.”   

A childhood of fear
Growing up in the sixties when there were communist uprisings in her city, Anita’s nights were shaken with riots and the sound of mobs and tear gas exploding in the distance. In the morning, in her pristine white uniform, she ran as fast as she could past the gate of her mission school. There was violence in her neighborhood. Innocent children were abused, a close friend was raped. When she walked past a puddle of blood on the street covered with newspaper, she heard someone had lost hope and jumped from a building. “There were days,” she recalls, “when I felt life was backing me up against a wall and that the fear of life would destroy me.”

When dreams won’t die
In the midst of all of this, God was preparing Anita for a unique ministry to women from all backgrounds. It began with the dream her mother had for her children to live in America. It also began through Anita’s childhood prayer in the heat of the riots, “God, if you can see me, if you can find me among the millions in my city, please help me reach the free land of America.” The dream was realized in the summer of 1974, as Anita, 17, and her older sister packed everything they owned into four suitcases and boarded a plane for America. But it was not without heartache.

Five months before their mother’s dream was realized for her daughters, she took her own life. Anita arrived in the U.S. feeling like an emotional orphan. “Even when all hope for fulfillment of a dream is gone,” Anita wrote, “our heart secretly longs for the dream that refuses to be buried. How do you live with the events that robbed you of your childhood, your health, and your loved ones? How do you restore the years the locusts have eaten?”   

God’s plan begins
“It can’t be done” is not a statement you will ever hear from Anita. Instead you will find prayer, perseverance, passion, praise, promises, and God’s power. These words are the pillars of Inspire Women, a ministry which God started through Anita to “inspire women to connect their lives to God’s purpose and to fund scholarships to train God’s servant leaders to serve in missions and ministry.” God used Anita to establish the Inspire Women’s organization in May of 2003. All of Anita’s past was just preparation for the future God had in store for her. God allowed the pain to stretch her heart to have more compassion so she would be able to walk alongside and give hope to women who are beaten down by life like she was. God wanted her to give women God’s Word so they could discover His purpose in their lives – “a purpose that no human or event could ever rob from them.” This is Anita’s heartbeat, her passion, and her mission.

The dream unfolds
Training and educating women spiritually is at the heart of Inspire Women.  Anita’s education excelled just as her mother had hoped. She attended and graduated from the University of Mississippi, finishing a four year program in two years, at the age of 19. Next, she earned her M.B.A. from the State University of New York. From there she headed for her first management consulting job in Washington D.C. and later held a job with Exxon in New Jersey. It was here she met her husband Bob Carman. While climbing the corporate ladder of a top management consulting firm, she first sensed God redirecting her life. Bob was relocated to Houston, Texas. Anita said, “When I arrived in Houston, I thought, ‘I’ve lost everything I built in corporate America. God was thinking, ‘Now the story can begin, The Founder of Inspire Women has arrived in Houston, Texas!’”

Inspire Women is born
After graduating top of her class from Dallas Theological Seminary, God showed Anita the need in women to be inspired to live God’s dreams and to have the funds to be trained in the programs that will best prepare them for their calling. In May of 2003, Anita established a ministry which had zero in the bank, no office space or infrastructure but had a clear vision from God to inspire His daughters across ethnicities, denominations, and economic levels for maximum missions and ministry. To date, Inspire Women resides in over 2,000 square feet of donated space, reaches nearly 15,000 women, has funded over 200 scholarships, and invested over one million dollars to empower God’s servant leaders to step into their divine appointments.

His dreams won’t die 

Anita knows what it’s like to build a dream while having no resources or prominent family name that can help. But she also knows what it’s like to have God Almighty by your side and watch the flood waters part and to hear how one word from His mouth silences the most turbulent storms. There are no obstacles for God, His dreams won’t die and it is a true privilege when He invites us to come along for the ride.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Focusing On Our Youth To Succeed


     As I returned home on Sunday, from a wonderful and successful seminar that I hosted in Brooklyn, New York over the Labor Day weekend, I could not help but notice the number of churches I passed, with a "For Sale" sign on their front lawn.  Of course I have written on the increasing number of church closures in the past, however, seeing these signs as I travel across the country is troubling.
     Some attribute the reasons to terrible money management skills by church trustees. Some have blamed the economy along with a decrease in membership for their demise.  Others have failed in the implementation of the church's mission; "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost". (Matthew 28:19)  We interpret this verse as making disciples.
     Many congregations are faced with the challenges of catering to the new generation.  That generation have an entirely new concept of religion and sees religious institutions as being outdated and have now prescribed to the theory of individual spirituality.  Recently, NPR conducted a series entitled Losing Our Religion in which a panel of young people spoke with the interviewer regarding their struggles with the role of faith and religion in their lives.
     This issue didn't suddenly appear.  It was in existence for years but everyone kept ignoring the problem.  The result is the exodus of young people in the eighteen to thirty-four year old age group.  Churches are closing as the memberships are not being replenished as fast as members are leaving.
     Some churches have taken steps to address the problem by consolidating congregations.  Onlookers see this is as a short term fix.  Others have begun using a diagnostic approach and have been experiencing long term results; taking a hard look at the underlying causes and applying various solutions. Some have implored parents to spend more time with their kids at home teaching them from the bible.  Some churches have establish  children and young adults church and bible classes with instructors, like myself, as guest speaker and trainer.  They have become aware that although everyone needs Christ, people still have problems relating to God's purpose for them in a modern society.    
     Applying Christ in your life is not difficult.  The book, Joseph's Memoirs: Life Lessons For a Successful You shows relevance and hope in a modern world using the story of Joseph, son of Jacob.  The book is a wonderful resource for principles individuals have adopted in their lives and businesses to become successful and achieve balance.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Due to the Holiday

Due to the Holidays the weekly blog will be posted Tomorrow.  Enjoy the Holidays!