Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Business Uncertainty

Ecc 11:1-4 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. (2) Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. (3) If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. (4) He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

The certainty of rainfall or the speed of the wind are so uncertain that the weather reporters only measure it in terms of probability. Often when making decisions in business it is the same way. God did not promise us that we would be absolutely certain of every future event that will take place with us. But He did tell us to trust in Him and to have faith. You don't have to be 100% certain in order to act. A person that waits for 100% of all of the parameters to come to pass will wait too long and miss the time to sow, therefore having nothing to reap.

Some pursuits in business leave you unsure if it is a good or bad investment. There are certain natural measures you can take to get you to a certain level of certainty but there is always that 20-30% of uncertainty. I think for Christian business people this uncertainty is good. This uncertainty is not bad because it rids us of our pride, arrogance, and presumptuous will and keeps us on our knees seeking the Father for direction. An achievable goal in many decisions is to get comfortable not knowing. That is right, get comfortable in uncertainty.

If I may, I want to take a page out of my favorite devotional, My utmost for his Highest, Oswald chambers called this uncertain state. "Gracious Uncertainty"

1Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

As a Christian we are taught that we have eternal life upon confession and belief in Jesus Christ. The bible also alludes to how we will be changed in a twinkling of an eye, we will be immortal, we will have incorruptible bodies . Is anyone certain what that will be like? Many orators, cinematographers, and artist have made great attempts at trying to express this concept,but to know avail. Even in the uncertainty of knowing how it will exactly be at that time, we still are certain of one thing…when he appears we shall be like him because we will see him as he is.

As leaders making daily decisions, with a limited ability to forecast we can have this assurance that God is certainly still with us. Spending time fostering an intimate relationship with God makes your uncertain moments exciting. We may not know the direction to go, we may not know how God is going to intervene, but we can be certain in our uncertainty that HE IS…. We are commanded to believe in HIM; not just believe in what he can do for us. My anchor of confidence is rooted in HIM not what he is going to do.

In time of uncertainty, like I am in now with my Engineering business I hear the Lord saying "cast your bread upon the waters." There are certain things that I believe I was to do that are hindering me from exploring other areas. My own belief when it is routed in routine and convention can be debilitating to future growth. For example, I spent 6 years in college and the last 12 years of my life designing commercial buildings; that is what I know. I can do it in my sleep and the funny thing is if you ask my wife she will validate that. Now I am pondering possibly becoming a licensed home inspector as a small splint of my business to fill the gaps between big commercial jobs. Do I know that this is a 100% right decision? No! God will be God if it fails or succeeds. I will trust in the Lord with all of my heart and lean not to my own understanding in all my ways acknowledge him and he will direct my paths, Prov 3:5-6. I am comfortable not knowing the outcome or how God will intervene. I find HIS grace in my uncertainty.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life Father Like Son

Above are a few pictures of me and my oldest son. He is 11 years old. Last Saturday night when we were getting our clothes ready for church. He was happy cause he got to wear some new clothes. I was in my closet picking out my clothes and he peeks around the corner and asks, “Daddy, do you have a white button down shirt you can wear tomorrow?“ I told him I was going to wear what I already had out ,which was a blue and white button down shirt. Eight minutes later Justus comes around the corner with a wrinkled blue and white shirt and said look what I am wearing daddy.

I started watching him closely and he takes pride in dressing like me. He tells all of his friends that he has mannerisms like me. I over hear him talking with his brothers and sisters and he sounds like me.

Being a Father is soooooo humbling. To see the tremendous impact and mark you leave upon a child is completely mind boggling. My responsibility as a Father comes with such weight that it is sobering thinking about it. A young soul that desires to be like me. He is watching my every move. He is subliminally storing notes more aggressive than a court reporter. He recalls things that I did when he was only 2 or 3 years old.

In writing all this you would think it would be flattering but on the contrary it is a grave reality check. Am I walking plainly and clearly enough that my son can not just see me BUT see through me right to the heart of the Father? Paul the apostle says:

1Cor. 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

My goal is not to clone little Jonathan’s but to display a reflection of the Father that my children can clearly see and be conformed to HIS image. If I only have children that want to dress like me, pick up my hobbies, or listen to the music I like I have failed as a Father. The only way to get my children beyond me is to live a life of persistent pursuit of God. I must look at my FATHER and behold HIS glory and gaze into HIS face and desire to be like HIM. I must saturate myself with HIS ways and and HIS word. I must Imitate and copy things HE has done. I can lead my children beyond me if I take the same faith that was passed on to me and pass it on to them.

I am doing my children and injustice unless I am following Christ with such clarity that it is fervent, genuine, contagious, and transferable. What am I a saying in a nutshell….IN ORDER TO BE A FAITHFUL FATHER I MUST BE A FAITHFUL SON.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Message Recap

My companion in the gospel and natural brother Clarence shared today at Church Ablaze. Gave us a loud call to wake up and not allow ease to blind us and lull us to sleep as Christians. I still remember a quote he said in a past message which often rings in my ears. "One of our greatest expenses is convenience" OUCH!!! Ponder that for a moment how much do you spend for convenience?
Well today I took away from the message that we can't allow the comforts of our culture to strip us of our urgency to warn people of coming judgement and that fact that there are only two places to dwell. There is a Universalist cloud over society that most everybody is "alright" just leave people alone we will all get to heaven eventually and there is no tormenting lake of fire with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Believe it or not hell is still in the Bible.
We have to love people enough to tell them the truth and leave the decision up to them. But not be reluctant anymore to at least tell them of the love plan that Christ has for them. I was reminded of this verse during the message.

Eph 5:12-16 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (13) But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, (14) for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (15) Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

iphone experience

Can you believe it...J.Hill with an I-phone. This was a tough decision. My current cell phone just got pocessed. Started scrolling through screens and dialing on it's own. Maybe I should have laid hands on it and rebuked it. :-) Well I did put the poor phone through quite a bit. Maybe it was the time I stuck it in a zip lock bag and jumped in a river..or maybe it is one of the 68 times I dropped it. hmmmmm.
Anyway...Being a one man shop, currently, with Hill engineering Group I need to stay connected and available for my clients when I am out. Also, being a bivocational Pastor means that some of my best time for calling is staring at the windshield. So I needed something with good data capabilities and ease in making calls. Checked out the blackberries and they seemed pretty nice...then he said 199 for the old model and 299 for the new. Wow...that is quite a leap from getting the free phone with my last contract. I asked the Blackberry guy about the iphone and of course he told me all the negatives. He said it is more of a toy with phone capabilities. The worker seemed very reluctant to show me it's capabilities for browsing and verbaly explained to me all of the other features. Seemed a little rushed and bothered and what I could see was a microscopic view of the internet. That was more than what I had now so I was impressed. Well I told him I would at least have to go to the apple store and check it out before I made my decision.
WELL WHAT DID I GO AND DO THAT FOR...first of all the Blackberry store was near empty. On the contrary, the Apple store was swarming with people from all ages, sex, and nationalities. There was apple product on every table in the store plugged in, turned on and fully loaded with all types of fun applications. Some kids were in there as if this was the mall arcade. There was one friendly rep that stood with me for nearly 40 minutes and walked me through tons of the features all while my children split up for their own expeirences. (My kids figured it all out with no intructions..go figure). The fancy scrolling, the color, ease of use made me forget that I was looking for a phone. Instead I bought an experience.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Wrong side of the bed

Got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Primarily I didn't implement what I blogged about yesterday. Committing my works to the Lord. Woke up and it all hit me. The weeds in the yard, the two websites I need to get started on, marketing for the business, a project that has to be modified, a proposal I need to get out...on and on and on. Needless to say I looked grumpy and irritable.
Thank God for marrying a Godly Woman. She forced her way into my grumpy world this morning and asked the million dollar question. Is something wrong? Well of course I rebutted with a wrinkle forehead and said "Nothing, I am fine". Well from the look on my face and the way I had been gruffly moving around that morning she could tell that wasn't true.
She said we need to pray there is no use going forward without peace. I yielded and followed her in where the rest of my family was gathered around the breakfast table. She shared with them the things on my mind all the children and my wife prayed. During their prayers the scripture Phil 4:6,7 rolled through my head.
"Be anxious for nothing but in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made know to God and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind by Christ Jesus"
Thank God for a Godly wife and children! so to avoid getting up "on the wrong side of the Bed"...I must roll out of bed and hit my knees and practice committing my day to the Lord so that my thoughts will be established...then I will have HIS peace.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pondering a decision

I am rolling along with my second blog post. WooWee! Had a brief devotion this morning:

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and your thoughts will be established.

Meditating on that reminded me of the importance of committing my works to the Lord first...then thinking about it. I often think and ponder over stuff and then say, "oh yeah what do you think God? Here are some of my wonderful thoughts?"

COMMIT: To give in trust; to put into the hands or power of another; to entrust
ESTAB'LISHED: Set; fixed firmly; founded; ordained; enacted; ratified; confirmed

Committing my works to God first will help me to:
  1. Funnel my thought life in the direction God has ordained for me
  2. Have a firmly fixed foundation before I spend my mental energy frivolously
  3. Build my dependence on the Holy Spirit's guidance
  4. Be more fruitful with my time, gifts, and money.
  5. Be a more decisive leader at home, church, and my business.

God may I maintain the order of first things and entrust you with my plans so that my thoughts will be pointed in your direction. AMEN

Behind in technology

First Blog entry ever! Sometimes I can't beleive that I am about 5 years behind in technology. It is to the point where I hear of some new thing and I just hover around and watch everbody enjoy it while I sit and scratch my head and ask "How did they do that?" "What is that for?" "How does that work?"
Well enough is enough...I think I am going to get a I-phone..start blogging...and get an mp3 player all in one week...(Yes I still listen to CD's). Watch out world!!!!! This is a test to see what happens when I hit publish