Just like your physical heart has four chambers Andy Stanley wants you to see that your immaterial heart has four enemies. Your immaterial heart is the core of your identity. It directs your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, your consciousness and your will. Your heart is the essence of you that can work for evil or for good.
Relationship problems. Financial problems. Health problems: they all come from your heart. And if your heart is unhealthy, it threatens everything else – your family, friends, finances, career – everything. How do you keep your heart on track?
When the wisest man in the history of the world, King Solomon, summing up all he had learned for his son to know; he said…
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Imagine running a relay race. Each person has to be individually competent but the thing that can trump the whole race is the hand off. Drop the baton and the team is disqualified. If you have a family business you are in a unique position to hand off to the next generation a great opportunity. Sadly, many experience heartache when passing the business on to their children: businesses fail but more importantly families are ruined, broken apart by unrealized expectations and misunderstanding.
Family business succession is an important topic because it affects many of us, indirectly. In the United States, family businesses employ 60% of workforce. In Canada the number is closer to 50%. Worldwide, in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries – including France, Mexico and Sweden – more than 90% of businesses now have fewer than ten employees and are family businesses.
As Thomas William Deans says in Every Family’s Business, handing off a business is largely about setting realistic expectations, avoiding surprises and just plain communicating, and this can happen many, many years prior to the turnover of the business. Through this fictional story based on the real life events in 3 generations of the author’s family, you can discover some essential steps.
Movies, novels, and folklore have all influenced what you think about heaven. If you believe in heaven or not, you have some ideas about what it will be like. Every major religion has a view of heaven, but what about Christians? What do they think heaven will be like?
John Eldridge describes in The Journey of Desire, an image I can relate to.
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service… We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing –along in the sky,….. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Is that true? What will Heaven be like? Where do we go when we die? We all want to know what the destination after this life will be like.
I believe God has placed within all humans an understanding of the eternal. We all have a sense that we will live forever somewhere. But what specifically happens after death? Where do we go?
Jesus provides illumination in his words of comfort to his disciples before his death.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
In the movie Pay It Forward a fictional social studies teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to think of an idea to change the world for the better. Then put it in action.
One student passionately contrives a plan of paying forward good deeds for 3 other people. Choose the people do the good deeds. The story unfolds his actions which not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but also starts a wave of human kindness that grows into a national movement to change the world.
A feel good movie that stirs in everyone who watches it the good intentions to put the concept into practice. It’s exciting to think that a small act on our part can have big and far reaching impact. But for many that intention just fizzles – it gets parked along with the other “someday” to-dos. That’s how it used to be for me. But I’ve learned something.
When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.
Earn, invest, and spend! Giving and being generous were not part of the conversation. A culture of consumption led me down a self absorbed road for a long time. Even though there’s been a shift towards generosity and giving in our culture, it’s a small step towards a great goal. Truth is most people don’t know how to give. That was me – 35 years old and self serving. Self examination doesn’t show us how greedy we are…..you can’t see it in the mirror.
Has anyone taught you how to be rich by giving? Society, culture, TV, advertising taught our parents to want it all and to overspend to get it. This left them with little to be generous with. Few schools teach how to give. Then fear of the future robs us of our desire to give and be generous. Often we don’t give as we value security, not only materialism, hoarding our possessions. There is often competition for Lordship in our lives between God and money.
How can you change? What’s the process?
Start with the foundation…..
Jesus himself reminds us, “…you cannot serve both God and money”.
Then consider the real security in life…..
“Therefore, do not worry about your life”
Jesus assures us we don’t have to worry about our life because God’s promised to take care of us.
……further Jesus teaches in verse 33,
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Then start praying…..
God what do you want me to do with all you’ve entrusted to me?
We talk a lot about growth in our culture. Personal growth, economic growth, population growth and more! In the church these days we use language that is sometime confusing – after all, what does it mean to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I just returned from a Build-Up Conference and it seems to me, we need to shed some light on this phrase.
God provides illumination in the words of Jesus in the story of the Roman centurion who demonstrated such great faith it was preserved as a model in the Bible.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Think of a word that is used in science, math, psychology, politics, religion, business, society, social media and medicine …..the purpose of the word creates understanding, context, expectations and changes outcomes…..it’s….
Between numbers, principles of matter, chemistry, business, the economy and so much more…..RELATIONSHIP is the important factor which helps us understand the world around us. How things interact with one another? How they are affected by one another? Let’s focus on people…..I am not a psychologist or an expert in human behavior but recently I came across an incredible statistic: 76 million Americans have no one to confide in. That’s 25% of the population. In a world where everyone is connected digitally, people are not connected relationally.
I was no different. Driven as an entrepreneur and businessperson, I had many friends but few people to trust with the inside story…..the truth about my life.
Eventually, there comes a point where we can all identify with having “needs”. Freud believed mans greatest need was pleasure. Victor Frankl believed it’s a pursuit of meaning and purpose. 18th century pastor Charles Spurgeon thought mans greatest need is “the willingness to know and be known”.
If relationships are so important…..on what basis can we have real relationships with God and others? Jesus’ brother James gives illumination.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
Recently there has been a trend in my life, where people I meet have one basic problem – they think “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Whether they are affluent or not, they feel trapped in their life and look with envy at those who are successful, fulfilled and inspired in their lives.
Is there a gap for you? Between where you are and where you want to be? Is your income and personal success lacking?
The solution may not be in changing jobs, going back to school, or in winning the lottery, but simply in “seeing” with new eyes what you already have. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, don’t have a lot of post-secondary education nor have ever, or wish to, win the lottery. I saw opportunity all around me and went after it. Opportunities in business and in a supportive family that were unearned, unmerited favor; I attribute to gifts from God.
How does perspective on your side of the fence and the opportunities you have been given affect you?
A thought from the Bible on this:
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.