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Within the Christian community there seems to be a recent obsession with building a “Family Business”. On the outset permit me to say that a family business is a good thing provided it is really about building the Kingdom of God and not being used only as a pretext for that end. Too many “Christian Family Businesses” are actually structured to advance the legacy of the individual family and not the legacy of the Lord. To this I say “Anathema!” God will not bless such hypocritical blasphemy. To use the Name of Christ to advance anything but the Glory of God will be met with much sorrow.
That being said, not every family is called to build a family business. A family business is not the only identifying mark of fidelity. God does not call every family to build an economic program around the family unit. While the Body is One, it is made up of many parts. Families are made up of individuals each being called by God to a specific end. One must take into consideration the variables within the family make-up before launching a family business. An assessment of each family member, their gifts and character should be considered before a family business begins. To insinuate that a family business is the only path to the fulfillment of the Dominion Mandate is to totally misunderstand the Scriptures.
Furthermore, not every family should consider starting a family business. The Dominion Mandate must be spread throughout every aspect and institution within the marketplace and not simply sequestered to the family unit. This is what the Amish do. They are so afraid of the secularism in the market place that they shun it. They are not of the world simply because they are not in the world. Jesus commands the people of God to be in the world but not of it. One must be in it to change it. This is why the Apostle tells his brethren that they ought to obey their masters while working in the marketplace. They are told to work diligently, as unto the Lord, while in the employ of others. Not everyone is called to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone has the gift of business administration. Not every should covet that if it is not in their gift. To do so only invites frustration and despair.
So how should Christians view this new family business phenomenon? Is there a distinction between the family business and the business of the family? Consider the following:
A Christian family business, in the modern sense, usually holds to the presupposition that via economic prosperity, and or security, the Kingdom of God is advanced. In this case the focus is economic. The inheritance in view is the family business and the success thereof. This is a very appealing path since it promises both God and money. But is this the inheritance that God calls families to build? Is this truly the business that the family needs to be concerned about establishing?
Let me be perfectly clear. God does not need money to advance His Truth. Money is not the end all for the advancement of the Kingdom. It is, however, a helpful tool. To be sure money makes things easier. We can do much with money, and with it can make significant strides if it is stewarded properly. But that is not the issue. What we must learn is how to do much without it. To be faithful in little is the key to fidelity. Money is only given as an added tool for His Kingdom’s advance but it is only given after we have proven our fidelity in a little.
Money is never to be confused with prosperity. Nor is it to be confused with what God has in mind concerning inheritance. The inheritance He calls each father to give to his children is the Lord Jesus and the understanding of His Law. That is the father’s leadership responsibility under the Covenant. God is the exceeding and great reward and His Law is the Light to every child’s path.
The inheritance left to the family is also an inheritance of understanding and wisdom, both of which have nothing to do with money or a family business. It is the business of God that the family needs to be about. The business of the family of God. Jesus said, “I must be about My Father’s Business’. Luke 2:29 That was His Family Business. That must be our primary family business focus. The business of the family, God-ward, must be the focus if that family is to be blessed and faithful in the execution of the Dominion Mandate. Family business, in its most basic form, should be defined as being trained in the Word of God for the Kingdom’s advance. Simply because a family has a undertaken a economic business venture does not make it a Christian family business, nor does it satisfy the command of being about the Father’s kingdom business. Jesus said, “As My Father hath sent Me, so send I you.” John 20:21
As a result of technology and the rapid change in social networking and internet communication we have been inundated with distractions. The majority of these distractions are unprofitable. Some even dangerous as in texting while driving or checking Face Book instead of paying attention to where one is either walking or even driving.
Most electronic devices, all of which are pandemically common within our day to day living, are a constant interruption with their beeps, buzzes and alarms. These only add to our attention deficit disorder which makes it almost impossible to think clearly or focus on any given project or task. Mankind has become a slave to email, Face Book, Twitter, Linked In and a myriad of other techno-interrupters all designed to make us productively impotent.
Time: Friend or Foe?
Time waits for no one. It is given as a Divine investment into one’s life in order for that individual to do something of worth with it. It can be a friend or a foe depending on how it is either used or squandered. Time cannot be horded. It cannot be saved in some hour-glass bank account. It must be spent immediately when it is given. This is why the Apostle tells us that the saint must redeem Time. Time wasting is a sin. It is a simple as that.
One of the ways that time can be redeemed is through Goal Setting. Without goals, there can be no measurable success, especially when it comes to advancing the Kingdom of God. In order to maximize time, each day must be carefully planned so as to not waste it on those things that distract us. Focus is key. Brian Tracy in his book “Get Smart” explains.
“Goals are essential. Goals enable you to control the direction of change, to assure that your life and work are self-determined rather than being dictated by outside events.” Pg 57
Goals can be short or long term. You can set goals for the day, week, month or year. You can even set goals for a 5 or 10-year vision. The key is to set your sights on something tangible. Then your progress can be measured. Tracy says,
“Goal setting requires long term thinking, slow thinking and informed thinking. A key to sues is for you to think on paper. The very act of writing down what you want to dramatically increases your probability or achieving it.” Pg 58
For the committed Christian commitment to Kingdom Goals is paramount. The legacy of Christ and His global reconstruction is the focus and legacy of the committed saint. And while distractions remain a thorn, the saint, as a result of his focused Kingdom commitment, is able to side step the lure of distraction. This however is not the case for far too many within the realm of Christendom today.
The Face Book Leviathan
Face Book’s distraction is the granddaddy of all distractions. It has become the great Red Dragon of both distraction and destruction for many in the ranks of the faithful. In man’s desire to know and be known Facebook provides a powerful venue. This desire is not only rampant within the secular world but also within Christendom. Every little thing we do, say, eat, or where we go is now logged into the World Wide Web via Facebook for all to see. But it doesn’t end there. In a desire to declare our existence and relevancy to the world, we want to tell others what we are thinking, doing, saying, eating or where we are going. Facebook addiction also compels the individual to weigh in on every discussion or comment just to be heard. With a simply click we can “Like”, “Unlike”, “Happy Face”, “Sad Face”, “Crying Face” “Cute Animal Face” and dozens of other icons that give us a worldwide audience.
Facebook also provides a venue of voyeurism. It is the voyeur’s dream since it can be accessed without the threat of being arrested allowing us to peer into everyone else’s business. What is disturbing about this is not so much what is being posted, since most of it is innocent, it is the fact that so much precious time is being wasted. We are caring more about what others are doing, eating, saying or going than we do about creating something of life long importance. Hours upon hours are spend on Facebook in order to become narcissistically cyber relevant.
But there is an even greater danger at hand other than narcissism or voyeurism. Within some of the private theological groups there appears to be a greater evil than being simply a time waster.
Instead of it being a venue for Spiritual encouragement and the sharing of ideas, strategies and tactics for cultural revitalization, it has devolved into a battle ground of slander and arrogance. This is both a distraction and a discouragement to those that are honestly seeking an honest discussion about the things of God through the internet venue.
A Violation of Matthew 18
Facebook has provided the perfect storm for those that desire theological pre-eminence. In an attempt to gain followers Facebook has become the vehicle of slander, criticism and offence. Rather than seeking a face to face discussion with those brethren that either disagree or have a different opinion on a theological matter Facebook has given the excuse of violating Matthew 18. This has become increasingly disheartening and if not repented of it will destroy any hope of Reformation within this and possibly future generations. If today’s theologians are setting the example for the next generation what is it that they are actually exemplifying? And so, while professing to be Theologically proficient in the Scriptures these folks have violated the most basic of commandments.
I have long avoided such people since they eat up the precious Time God has entrusted me with to do His will. While so many Facebook pontificators talk about the things of God and cultural renewal, very few are actually doing something productive. Talk is cheap. Argumentative talk is disruptive and distractive. It leads nowhere and therefore we should not enter into such avenues.
In order to regain lost time Christians must master the art of focus. Focusing upon the really important things will result in action and action will result in change. Change is what we want so why waste time talking about it and arguing about the incidentals of the Faith? We must resist the temptation of distraction and build a legacy for the LORD Christ. This can only be accomplished if we learn how to mortify the many Leviathans that threaten to derail us in our quest to fulfill the Great Commission that the Lord has commanded. As Nehemiah declared,
“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3
The trend for starting a business is becoming quite popular among the Christian community. Of course, as a “Christian business” it is to be structured according to the ethical standards of Scripture. But what is the motivation and characteristic of a Christian business? How does a Christian business distinguish itself from any other business? Is what is considered a Christian business simply a business that prides itself on the Scriptural principles of honesty, integrity and fair pricing? If that is what determines the identity of a Christian business, then we might agree that those businesses are in fact Christian. But these traits alone what makes a business Christian?
When a Christian Business is Not a Christian Business
Most business entrepreneurs never go into business with the intention on ripping people off. They go into business to provide a skill or service that is unique, and which serves the local or global community in a way that can be profitable. All businesses exist to make a profit. Christian businesses are no exception nor should they be. But that should never be the end goal.
For any business to survive it must have an honest reputation for good and prompt service, a unique skill or talent which addresses a market need, competitive pricing, friendly customer relationships, and an overall ethical approach to business relations. But that, in and of itself, does not make the business Christian. Many businesses that do not claim the title “Christian” follow these principles. So what’s the difference?
A Family Business
Some Christian businesses are family owned and operated. This structure keeps the family together in a unified effort to support itself. It is then passed down to the next generation. While a worthy endeavor this, in and of itself, does not make the family business a Christian business. There are thousands of family owned and operated businesses that are distinctly not Christian. They are established in an effort to support the family and to hopefully pass it on to the next generation.
Another popular reason why some Christians start a business is so they can maintain their piety within the secular marketplace. They want to close on Sunday, maintain a customer base which conforms to their standard of ethics, or seek to shun any employment which mandates working for a non-Christian employer. But this does not make the business a Christian business. Many non-Christian individuals start businesses to be free from tyrannical employers. Some start a business to be more flexible with their work schedule or to pick and choose their customer base. But this does not make the company Christian. Starting a business and calling it “Christian” simply because the owners and employees are professing Christians does not make the business distinctly Christian.
The Distinguishing Marks of a Christian Business
There is a dramatic difference between a Christian owned business and a Christ Centered business. While the structure and the methodologies might be somewhat the same, the reason and motivation behind starting a Christ-o-centric business is vastly distinct.
A Christ-o-centric is Covenant based God ward. It is not motivated by personal goals or to maintain familial stability within the marketplace, but rather it is motivated by the Dominion Mandate of Genesis 1:28 and Deuteronomy 8:18.
Ge 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
De 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get
wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
The Christ-o-centric motivation is a result of the New Birth and the desire to “spend and be spent” for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, on earth in time and history. It is not about the self in anyway whatsoever. The reason, motivation, purpose and goal of a Christ-o-centric business focuses upon what the business can do for the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom and how it can fulfill the Covenant obligations which is Divinely imposed upon every believer.
How Does the Christ-o-centric Business Differ?
- A Christ-o-centric business seeks to maximize profits so they can support Christ-o-centric ministries in their efforts to build the Kingdom of God. The money generated by a Christ-o-centric business, after expenses and employee/owner support, is always being funneled to building God’s kingdom. Profits are not to be used for fancy cars, expansive vacations, bonuses or other frivolous expenditures.
- A Christ-o-centric business faithfully tithes to its church and then makes quarterly donations to a faithful para-church ministry of its choice from the business profits. The key distinction here is that monies earned by the business are targeted for the work of the Kingdom according to Deuteronomy 8.
- A Christ-o-centric business budgets a percentage of its profits for carefully chosen projects above and beyond the commanded tithe or quarterly donation. Support for the publishing of faithful theological books, Christian colleges, Christian political candidates, even the support of a local Christian newspaper can be part of a special project.
- A Christ-o-centric business also may see its way clear to expand into other areas in order to maximize profits for the express purpose of funding Christ’s Kingdom.There are many ways in which Christian businesses can transform themselves into Christ-o-centric businesses provided they have the right Christ Center motivation intact. Otherwise, they will simply be another business with a Christian name as an outward show without any depth of root.
In a rapidly changing world most young people aren’t sure what career to choose. Parents of high school age children are especially confused and are not always able to direct their sons and daughters effectively when it comes to academic and career direction. The Christian home educating community is no exception to this dilemma. In today’s marketplace no one is immune to this confusion.
In the realm of higher education, there seems to be three, or perhaps four, major choices afforded to the Christian. Secular colleges and universities, the so-called Bible colleges and universities, and those colleges and universities which are explicitly Christ-centered which prepare its students to be culturally relevant in the advancement of God’s Kingdom which, sadly, are few and far between. Of course, there are also trade schools which provide rich on-hands education related to a particular skill but do not necessarily fall into the category of Academia. Yet, even here we must confess that if Christians are to be faithful to their professed worldview, every trade must be taught from a Christ-centered presupposition. There can be no neutrality.
College Tuition and Debt
Invariably, whenever decisions are made as to where a Christian young person is to receive an education the topic of career comes to the fore-front as if education and its anticipation of financial success is the determining factor which college or university the student attends. Once lucrative financial possibilities become the dominant deciding factor in choosing a college or university, both parent and student are then more easily able to justify going into debt in order to pay exorbitant tuition which, in truth, cannot guarantee future financial prosperity.
The decision to go into debt, in hope that the education will somehow automatically result in some future financial prosperity, is a clear violation of one of the most basic principles of Biblical Economics. If debt is the status quo of our modern education strategy can we expect God to bless the taking on of large debt for an education that may or may not be comprehensively Biblical? Certainly He will not bless any education motive that does not conform to His commandment to advance His Kingdom.
Yet, how many Christian families are drowning in debt, or considering debt, due to outrageous tuition? Even if one can justify spending the money on what is actually being taught by that institution? Does the mere price tag of an educational institution translate into a good education that is culturally relevant to the Glory of God? Not usually. So what should Christian parents and students consider when choosing higher education?
The most important criteria for choosing an educational institution must be, if it is to be God glorifying, “What college can best equip my child to advance God’s Kingdom within the scope of his or her chosen area of study?” None of God’s true saints ought to be educated for the sake of learning or for the sake of financial advancement. Our lives are to be invested for the Glory of God. All learning must be devoted to the call of God in advancing His Truth. I think the Christian community has forgotten that and has defaulted to a secular world and life view concerning higher education.
A Christ Centered Alternative
We developed New Geneva as a solution to the college dilemma. Geneva is a unique higher learning institution providing both the learning necessary for individual advancement within whatever field the student seeks to enter into. More importantly Geneva directly mentors and challenges each student to use that learning for the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Without application learning is simply a head-scratching exercise.
New Geneva is a private College patterned after Calvin’s Geneva during the European Reformation and follows a system of learning much like that of the University at Cambridge.
Definition: Arousal is a state of activation and readiness for action.
Arousal shows itself validated as genuine when there is action associated with it and when it is executed in the realm of time and reality. Arousal without an actionable end is simply emotional euphoria.
The Christian community is full of individuals that are emotionally charged by the Truth of God’s Word who will, unfortunately, never act upon that emotion beyond their own personal pietistic gratification. This type of emotional euphoria is useless except to the self-serving nature of the individual. It is an arousal which is fueled by the carnality of the fleshly mind which makes it antagonistic to the Spirit of God. It is not an arousal unto conviction of what needs to be done in light of the Truth, and therefore it does not conform to the definition given above.
Psychological Arousal: Theistic v Humanistic
There is a difference between carnal arousal and arousal for Kingdom building produced by the Preaching of God’s Truth. Whenever the Holy Spirit applies the faithfully preached Word of God to individuals, Theistic Christo-centric psychological arousal results. Its validation is action. When Christians are aroused by God’s intervention things get done. Strategies for cultural change are discussed, planned, and then executed. When aroused by God, Christians do things. They do not sit on the side lines of the culture war. Rather, they are right in its midst of it, getting things done. When God wakes up His people, not only are they ready to make a difference, they begin by actually making a difference. Their theology is actionable. It is applied, making it powerfully effective. Only then is Christianity real.
Kindle the Fire
The preaching of God’s Word, whether it is in the context of general discussion, market evangelism, or from the pulpit on the LORD’s Day, needs to excite those in attendance. It needs to instill in them a passion for the Truth of God’s Word and a desire to see it manifested in the real world. There is however a grave distinction between carnal excitement and Biblical Excitement. By referring to excitement, I am not taking about the carnal excitement of the modern evangelical, self-help, ‘Name it Claim it’ prosperity type charlatans within the ranks of what is now called Christianity. I am taking about the excitement that comes only by the faithful preaching and application of Scripture where the Holy Spirit is intervening.
The purpose of declaring Scripture is not simply to relate knowledge to individuals. It is to kindle the fire of regeneration and reconstruction in the life of the individual and the world at large. God’s Word is meant to be actionable both upon the life of people and the structure of society. Its purpose is to move God’s people to conquer the land of Canaan and claim their rightful inheritance for the glory of God.
How do we arouse God’s people to action? How do we make people care about God’s Law and His commission to teach all nations so that one day they will bow to the majesty of His Glory? How do we inspire others to move into the ranks of ‘Doers’ and not hearers only?
First: You cannot inspire others if you are not inspired yourself. Likewise, if you are not thinking in concrete actionable terms of strategies and tactics you cannot move others to think in those terms either.
Second: Be sincere. People are very astute when it comes to assessing others and whether or not they are sincere. If your passion is real, then it will be evident. If it is not, you will be found out, eventually.
Third: Don’t be afraid to be openly passionate about your desire to advance the Kingdom of Christ.
Most people are emotionally driven. Emotions drive people to action. Share your emotion with others who desire direction and a way to engage the culture. Don’t waste time on those that are apathetic. There are many who are already aroused, you simply need to network with them, plan your strategy and then execute it. Lead by example. Preach by getting things done.
Fourth: What you win people with you win people to. Do not try to entertain people, like so many modern churches do today. It is a losing, even damnable strategy. Those that are serious do not want to be entertained, they want to be moved. They want to be led. Some of them just want to be involved in concrete efforts to change the way things are to the way God has commanded them to be. Look for those people when building your team of shakers and movers. Disregard the rest. Perhaps one day they will grasp the vision. Perhaps they will not and remain blind and ineffective in the battle. Nevertheless, you have a duty to perform. Get to it.
New Geneva is dedicated to the advancement of Christendom by teaching, challenging and mentoring those saints who desire to execute God’s Kingdom commission in time and in history for a complete and total cultural reconstruction to the Glory of God. www.newgeneva.us