Friday, April 24, 2009

Shining His Light in the Marketplace!

A growing bunch of dynamic girls are showing up at That Girl's Lunch! They are coming from all walks of life and the diversity makes our time together very special. The photo below was taken at our April gathering at The Frosty Frog Creamery & Cafe.We enjoyed our typical schedule: meet & greet, ordering lunch, meet & greet, eating lunch, and oh, did I say meet & greet yet???? We take full advantage of the fact that this is a networking event. When we girls get together we talk. Chat. Share. Encourage. Cry. Laugh. You know, the stuff girls are made of. We share our faith and talk about the One who makes all things possible!
Also, time is given for each girlfriend to stand up and introduce herself to let others know about her business/ministry/life calling. This is what weaves the threads of the net-work (sorry for the pun) together.

This month's topic for our inspirational message was "Joy". "These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." John 15:11

I hope by now all of you girls have a life verse from Scripture that fits you personally and helps you in your daily walk. I also hope that those of you who have been coming to the lunches have a mission statement for your life. We have to have a focus....something that helps us keep our eyes on our Rock, our Savior, the One who is our Help and Hope, Jesus. With all the striking distractions in our world today we need something that will help us stay focused and anchored on doing what were were born to do...serve God wholeheartedly, glorify Him, and enjoy Him forever!

When we gather together I always start my sharing with you by acknowledging that we're living in "different" times. Hard times. Harder for some. Financial woes. Relationship heartaches. Job shortages and cutbacks. But I'm going to share something with you that I know is true but it's sometimes very difficult to do when we're walking on a slippery slope.

Here it is: "Be joyful always. Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:16.

Huh? Now? Today? With what I'm going through? Yep. God wants us to be joy filled.

Nehemiah 8:10: "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Consider what your attitude is like when you don't have joy. What has happens to you? Discouraged? Angry? Depressed? Frustratated? Fearful? What's going on? What has happened to you that you have these feelings? What happens to your energy? What happens to your countenance? Tired? Weary? Hmmmm. You have let someone steal your joy. Think about this: The Joy of the Lord is your strength. Think again how you behave when you have joy. You have high energy and enthusiasm. What's your posture like? Your attitude? Optimistic? Hmmmmm. We can take this verse literally!

Mr. Chambers. Oswald Chambers in his best seller, My Utmost For His Highest, (page 8/31) states: "What was the joy that Jesus had? Joy should not be confused with happiness. In fact, it is an insult to Jesus Christ to use the word happiness in connection with Him. The joy of Jesus was His absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice to His Father -- the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do." Hebrews 12:2: "Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..." Jesus prayed that our joy might contine fulfilling itself until it becomes the same joy as His! Have we allowed Jesus to introduce His joy to us? Living a full and overflowing life does NOT rest in bodily health, in circumstances, nor even inseeing God's work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the same fellowship and oneness with Him that Jesus Himself enjoyed. But the first thing that will hinder this joy is the subtle irritability caused by giving too much thought to our circumstances.....Jesus wants us to come to the place where we will be his witnesses and proclaim who He is........Have the right relationship with God, find your joy there and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Stop being hypocritical and proud --- aware of only yourself, and live your life hidden with God. A person who has the right relationship with God lives a life as natural as breathing wherever he goes."

So now what do we do with this insight from Mr. Chambers? We apply it to our daily walk.

Henry & Richard Blackaby wrote a book called "God in the Marketplace". Whoa. This book is a keeper. I liked it so much I'm planning to teach it in the fall at our church for the ladies Bible study. It's even written in a Bible study format! Girls, no matter what kind of work or ministry you are involved in, you are in the marketplace. You are "out there" as God's ambassador. You do not have to have a corporate career to be in the marketplace.

In the chapter entitled "My Business Life" discusses the the difference between a political approach to problems and a spiritual perspective. Here's their description:

A political viewpoint: Makes immoral decisions to increase profits and is driven by a popular perspective rather than a moral viewpoint. It massages the truth, has selfish agendas and is greedy.
A spiritual viewpoint: Honors God, embodies integrity, embraces the truth, does things God's way, demonstrates wisdom and is motivated by God's will.

On (pages 94-95) in God in the Marketplace, the Blackaby's write: "The world is desperate for spiritual leadership in the marketplace. Our world needs more than business superstars -- our world needs spiritual statesmen in the marketplace. Spiritual statemen are men and women who rise above the pursuit of their personal agendas to lead people and organizations and honor God." Whoa.

I can think of a few spiritual statemen: Jesus Christ, Noah, Esther, Ruth...and many more examples in the Bible. In our day, Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A restaurants is a spiritual statesmen and is definitely not driven by a popular perspective...he was urged to keep his renown eateries open on Sundays to increase profits and he said, "No, it's a day of rest."

The Blackaby's pointed out (pg. 95): "Many Christian business leaders are more generous to their employees than the industry norm dictates. ...they see it as not just good business but they feel a stewardship of their employees and provide generous benefits and scholarships....these business leaders (spiritual statesmen) are not driven by the need to make more and more money so as a result they are free to use their businesses to further God's kingdom and enhance the lives of their employees.

"Business people can often do what preachers and missionaries cannot. Isn't it interesting that when Jesus chose his 12 disciples He found them in the marketplace? He chose a dozen businessmen. These men had a lot to learn about the kingdom of God, but they knew the world and how to operate in it. Similiarly, several of the early church leaders were businesspeople, including Lydia, Aquilla and Priscilla, and Joseph of Arimathea.

"Today's business people understand how the world functions --they have to in order to succeed in their jobs. They have contacts throughout the marketplace. Their network among other Christians crosses denominational lines.

"If God were to bring sweeping revival today, it might not come through a church. Many churches are isolated, and a revival in one group of churches might never reach other Christian organizations. Revival could, however, come through the marketplace. Christian businesspeople are connected through multiple denominations. The business community by nature is oriented toward results. Many Christian businesspeople are wary of theological hair-splitting, and they are bewildered by the adamant refusal of church leaders to cooperate with one another. In the marketplace, networking and pooling resources make sense.

"Christian business leaders must refuse to be self-centered, politicizing profiteers. Instead they must allow God to elevate their lives and their leadership to that of statespersons. God did that with a handful of fishermen and local business leaders in the first century, and the world continues to feel the impact. God can do it today. Are you willing to allow God to make you a statesperson for your generation?"

It looks like all of God's people are still in the business of "loving God with all our hearts, souls, strength, and minds, and our neighbors as ourselves." God said this is the greatest commandment...and He is the CEO of all of us! So I guess we better get to work! Hallelujah!

Love & blessings, Polly