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Day 05

The Book That Transforms

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I’ve recently started reading “The Book That Transforms Nations” by Loren Cunningham.  Just a few pages in, the author challenges us with some serious food for thought. Quoting economist / author Dr. Michael Schluter, Cunningham states that perhaps God judges a nation not by its income but by how well it obeys Scripture. He then cites several areas of society where America leads the way – one of the highest divorce rates in the world, millions of inmates in prison, and addictions to everything from drugs to gambling to pornography. And, what guides our moral decisions? What do we rely on to make life’s choices? Well, according to a Barna Group poll, most Americans make their decisions based on “feelings” or “beneficial outcomes” for themselves. That might not be a huge surprise to you, but here’s the rub. How can this be true when over 84% of Americans identify themselves as Christians? Obviously, we are not living our lives and making decisions according to God’s Word. Seems like that needs to change. Do you agree, or do you have a better explanation? Think it over, and then pray as God leads you.

Fully Human?

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Today I wanted to share with you a video by Andy Crouch.  In it, we are challenged to think about God’s purposes, and our role. What does it mean to be fully human?  What does that have to do with being a disciple? Check it out.

Eyes Wide Open

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Have you ever thought about your response to the broken state of the world we live in? Does the “real world” cause you to retreat spiritually, or to advance? The video below from Eternity Bible College urges us to consider this and more. Have a look, and ask yourself 2 questions: 1) How might I pollute the shadows in the marketplace? and 2) How is God calling me to engage my world (through my work) for the Kingdom?

Threat or Opportunity?

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Hardly a day seems to pass that we don’t see something in the news about immigration or large groups of people moving across political borders.  Whether by people seeking asylum, pursuing economic opportunities, fleeing persecution, or forcibly displaced by war or famine, nearly every country in Europe and North America is affected by this in some way. Although the issues are complex and the solutions often seem distant, I wonder if we might view things differently if our perspective shifted a little.  What if this were more about an opportunity for the Kingdom, rather than a threat?  Check out the video below and maybe it will give you some food for thought.

Renewal – One Reader’s Response

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One of the Antioch Journey participants sent me the following reflections after completing Day 5 – All things New.  I loved their transparency, and the reality of the struggles to work these ideas out in everyday life.  Let me know if you resonate with what they had to say.

“My renewal needs to be in my sinful need to be thought well of; to have a good reputation; to be quietly ambitious; and to sometimes be envious of others’ success.  Yikes, not a great list, but being honest, I do – from time-to-time – sense these things in me. It hit me even this morning via an email, where a colleague was being asked to pick up a small additional item to their leadership accountabilities, and my sinful nature was immediately prompting me to wonder why I was not being asked myself.  It’s a way in which I know that the enemy likes to distract me, and this time it’s prompted me to be more intentional to keep focused on the job I have, and the tasks I need to do. I know them to be tasks that are God-compelled, and so I need to rest assured in that.”

The Bottom Line ?

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It’s interesting how the term “bottom line” has evolved over the years.  At first, it simply referred to the financial profitability, the final total or account balance.  But, it’s also come to be used to mean the ultimate outcome or end result.  Whether as a performance measure or a summary goal, the term itself has grown as well.  With the rise of corporate social responsibility, people started talking about a “triple bottom line”, which included people, profit, and planet (the social, economic and environmental measures of a company’s success).  This has now expanded to a “quadruple” bottom line: people, profit, planet and purpose.

In the business as mission community, I usually hear the quadruple bottom line described as the way our work positively impacts society, provides fair wages and economic opportunities for growth, stewards God’s creation, and addresses the underlying spiritual condition of the people we serve.  On one hand, I really like how this concept of a quadruple bottom line helps us to think more holistically about how the Gospel transforms people and societies, especially among the poorest of the poor and least evangelized of the world.  But, there’s something about the term that makes me uncomfortable.  You see, in practice, I’ve never met anyone who can perfectly balance all four elements and see real fruit across the board.  The desire may be there, but reality sets in and things get difficult. There are competing interests, the outcomes may stand in direct conflict with each other, and sometimes they’re even mutually exclusive.  So, while it’s good to keep all four in mind, I find that when the pressure is on usually one of the four wins out.  As a business coach, the quadruple bottom line is useful to start a conversation or help people consider areas where they may be neglecting or ignoring what is important to God. And, I really wish they could all be true at the same time. But, I find that ultimately people must decide in advance what one factor really drives them.  The bottom line is that there’s really only one bottom line.  What’s yours?

The Cultural Mandate

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Have you ever thought about why God created mankind in the first place? Although there are a number of reason, to be sure, one of them is summarized in what is often called “The Cultural Mandate”.  Centered around Genesis 1:28, the Cultural Mandate includes us being an image bearer for God, caring for creation, being a steward, and ultimately influencing every area of life on God’s behalf.  For more on the Cultural Mandate, check out this short video.

Restoring All Things

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Someone recently shared with me a podcast by Aaron Atwood with Summit Ministries’ Christian Worldview Thinking series (June 11, 2015).  In it, Atwood chats with Warren Smith about his book “Restoring All Things”, which was co-authored with John Stonestreet.  The book highlights how God is in the “re” business, working to redeem, renew, and restore the world through the faithful acts of everyday people. Clearly God has called us to join Him in His work. He also wants us to remember not to give up. We need to be asking, “What is missing that I can contribute to? What is evil that I can stop ? What is broken that I can restore?”  Listen to the podcast (especially from about 24:30  to the end) and let us know what you think.