#101: People around the World are Struggling and Need God

Christianity Today ran an interesting article that summarized YouVersion’s top 10 most popular Bible verses of 2014 based on 164 million users of the app. Because the app is translated into 1,000 languages, 70% of the world’s population can read the bible in their heart language. And because the base of users is huge it tells a story of what is on people’s minds.

Bible, YouVerse

Summarizing the World’s Bible Readers

We don’t know how many of the people around the world reading the YouVersion app are believers, but from the top 10 verses I’ve drawn five conclusions:

  • People want to know that they can trust God.
  • People want to know how God expects them to live out their lives.
  • People want to know how to deal with difficult situations.
  • People want to know how to find peace in their lives.
  • People are generally fearful about their current and future situations and are looking to Scripture for comfort and guidance.

The Top 10 with My Affirmations

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#100: If God Renamed You, What Would Your Name Be?

A name, in the Biblical tradition, was thought to convey the essence of an individual’s character. If God renamed you, what would your name be?

Renamed

Jacob, for example, means usurper, describing his attempt to become first born by grabbing his brother Esau’s heel, and later, when he deceived his father into blessing him as the first born (Genesis 25:19-34).

A name could also be indicative of the individual’s destiny. Daniel means “God is my judge” (1 Chronicles 3:1). Lazarus means “God has helped” (Luke 16:20).

Often a child was named after a revered relative in hopes that characteristic of the relative would be seen in the child. For example, Simon was referred to by Jesus as Simon bar-Jonah (Matthew 16:17), which means “Simon son of Jonah.”

Sometimes a person’s name was changed by their peers as in the case of Barnabas (Acts 4:36). He was named Joseph at birth, but his apostle friends referred to him as Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.”

Occasionally God renamed someone to reflect their new identity. Abram, for example, was renamed Abraham which means “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:1-5). Jacob was renamed Israel which means “having striven with God and men” (Genesis 32:28).

Four people in the New Testament had their names changed. Simon was renamed Peter which means “little stone,” by Jesus (John 1:40-42). James and John the sons of Zebedee were renamed Boanerges by Jesus, which means “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:16-17).

Finally, Saul became Paul which means “little” (Acts 13:9). Saul’s name would have had both positive and negative implications. Saul was the first king of Israel, but he ultimately came to ruin in the later stages of his life.

We don’t know if God changed Saul’s name to Paul, or if Saul himself might have changed his name. We are not even sure of exactly when the change occurred, except that it seems to have changed after his baptism, and after he and Barnabas were sent off on their missionary journey by the leaders of the church. From this point forward Saul is always referred to as Paul.

If God renamed you….

If God were to rename you and that name was a reflection of your character what name would you have? Would your name be, cheater? Liar? Arguer? Manipulator?

Or would your name be, encourager? Supporter? Leader? Faithful? Honest? Brave? Servant? 

As we begin the New Year, let’s spend just a few minutes thinking about what we want to be known for this year. If you aren’t happy with the name you were known for in the past, then be like Joseph who became Barnabas, or Saul who became Paul.

Start today! Be the person you want to be known for! Focus on becoming the man or woman God intends you to be! Do that today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life, and someday you will hear “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! If your name was a reflection of your character have you had different names over the course of your life? If so, what made you change? How did you change? Considering where you are in your life, do you need to change your name?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

#099: My Most Popular Posts of 2014 (And What I Learned from Them)

Like most (if not all of you), I take time at the end of the year to review the past 12 months with an eye to understanding what worked well, and what didn't work so well.

Popular Posts

I started publishing this blog regularly in July 2013. I had no idea where God would lead me this past year, but I was determined to follow Him. I learned a lot, and despite all my flailing about, God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.

Traffic on the site increased over 1,200% July-December 2014 vs. July-December 2013. On December 29 we passed the 500,000 pages viewed mark, and ended the year at an incredible 502,550 pages viewed. Finally, people from 132 countries visited the site at some point during the year (I couldn't find half of them on a map if I had to!).

All this is absolutely amazing to me. I attribute this increase to you, my faithful readers, who have come back week after week, and have shared my articles with friends, relatives, and co-workers. Without you I would not be here doing what I love to do, doing what God has called me to do!

​Here are my top six most read posts in 2014:

  1. #039: 6 Steps to Building Healthy Alliances that will Build Your Business
  2. #038: 3 Elements of Proper Motivation in our Work
  3. #030: Four Steps to Failure
  4. #078: 5 Signs You are Rebelling Against God's Call on Your Life
  5. #036: Climbing the Success Ladder in Seven Easy Steps
  6. #045: Do You Need Encouragement? Be an Encourager!

These six posts accounted for a whopping 53.4% of all the page views for the entire YEAR!

#030: Four Steps to Failure
We often experience failure at the point where we are strongest. Moses was known for his humility, but became angry,[...]
#036: Climbing the Success Ladder in 7 Easy Steps
College degree in hand, the young fresh faced graduates begin the quest and the upward climb towards career success. I[...]
#038: Three Elements of Proper Motivation in our Work
Paul said the motivation demonstrated in our work was important for the Christian. He spoke of the importance of being[...]
#039: Six Steps to Building Healthy Alliances that will Build Your Business
I am embarrassed to say that I was pretty self-centered in the early stages of my career. I was focused[...]
#045: Do You Need Encouragement? Be An Encourager!
Are you feeling lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut? Do you need someone to lift you out[...]
#078: 5 Signs You are Rebelling against God’s Call on Your Life
Last week's article, Do You have Enough Faith to Weather Life's Storms? touched on the prophet Jonah. He had to[...]

Based on my analysis here are my observations for what worked (and what didn't):​

  • Personal Development Rules. Readers are most interested in topics that apply to their personal development. 8 of the top 10 posts were Personal Development category posts. Overall, Personal Development category posts accounted for 56.7% of all pages viewed.
  • Relationship Development is a high priority. Readers are also very interested in how to better develop relationships in their workplace. Relationship Development posts accounted for only 10.9% of posts, but 31.7% of pages viewed!
  • Skill Development is not a high priority. Posts on developing skills in the workplace were the least interesting to the majority of readers. Skill Development category posts accounted for 24.4% of posts, but only 11.6% of pages viewed.
  • Lists Rule! 5 of the top 6 posts were "list" type posts, and 10 of the top 20 posts were list posts. That makes sense. You're busy and lists are a great way to summarize information.
  • Archives are important. 5 of the top 6 most popular posts this year were actually written and posted in  2013! That means readers are searching for information specific to your interests.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome! What was your favorite post that you read this year (regardless of when it was originally posted)?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Business Review

 

 

 

#098: 8 Critical Attributes for Leaders You Didn’t Learn About in Business School

The establishment of resolutions often marks the beginning of the year. For some, New Year’s resolutions are the result of serious introspection. It is perhaps the one time in the year when an individual sits down to take stock of him or herself and ponder such serious subjects as the meaning and purpose of life.

Attributes, Light

Whether your resolutions are light-hearted or serious, or perhaps nonexistent, the New Year seems a fitting time to review our lives as business people. We spend an average of 52 hours a week at work, some more, some less. What we do and how we act during those hours is a reflection on us and makes a tremendous impression on the people with whom we share our lives.

 We Are A Light To The World

Jesus, teaching the disciples said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16).

Let’s take a look at this passage a little bit at a time. “You are the light of the world” Jesus’ declaration is simple and direct: if you are His disciple you are a light to the world. As a disciple, you represent His teaching to others.

A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.” Both of these statements get at the purpose of being a light to the world. You can’t hide a city, especially one perched on top of a hill. The purpose of lighting a lamp is not to hide its light but to use it to light up a room: “Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

As disciples who are a light to the world we should not attempt to hide our light but, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Not only are we not to hide our light but we are to make sure it shines before men.

This is very important. Non-believers will see the light, realize that God is working our lives, and want to develop a personal relationship with Him also.

What is this “light” we are to let shine forth? Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). The light in our hearts is the knowledge of Jesus Christ: he lived his life as an example to us, he died for our sins, and he rose from the grave to take His place at the right hand of God. So if the light in our life is Jesus and we are to let this light shine forth then we must try to live our lives like Jesus did his.

8 Critical Attributes for Leaders

Let’s look at some standards of behavior found in the Bible that applies to our business lives.

Matthew recorded Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in which He taught the essence of the Christian life, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3-10).

We do not have to guess what the blessing will bring since in each case the blessing is followed by a second clause that defines the result of the blessing. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary defines the word blessed as, “A description of a believer’s inner condition.” Thus the Beatitudes do not describe how to become saved but rather the characteristics of one who is saved. It would be wrong to think that having three or four of these characteristics would be sufficient. We should make every effort to obtain all of these blessings as a group.

1. Poor In Spirit

Poor in spirit describes an attitude of the heart. It is the opposite of being proud in spirit. To be poor in spirit means that we recognize our spiritual bankruptcy apart from Christ and depend on Him for spiritual fulfillment.

A control addict would be an example of someone who is not poor in spirit. They try through their own power to control events and the world around them. It seldom occurs to a control addict to put problems in God’s hands, they prefer to work things out for themselves.

2. Mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted,” is not to suggest that we should walk around with sad faces all the time. However, we should mourn the sin in the world that separates man from God. While we believers have the comfort of knowing that Christ died for our sins there are many in the world whose sin is what keeps them from knowing God.

3. Meek

The “meek will inherit the earth” is a direct reference to Psalm 37 where the characteristics of the meek are contrasted with the wicked.

In this case the meek, who have submitted themselves to the will of God, will receive His blessings while the wicked will be cut off.

For us, to be meek means that we need to submit to the will of God. Peter and James refer to meekness in our relationships and in these cases it is clear that meekness suggests gentleness and the ability to exercise self-control.

4. Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness

We should be driven to lead a life of personal righteousness. A simple way to think about personal righteousness is to ask yourself in any situation, “What would Jesus do?”

A story was written by Charles Sheldon, In His Steps, that tells the story of several children who encounter many difficult times and the wise old man who counsels them by always asking the question, “What would Jesus do?”

Often, in the rush of completing an assignment, or while under the pressure of taking care of an emergency, business people rush in with answers and never ask, “Is this the right thing?”, or “Is this what Jesus would do?”

5. Merciful

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says, “Mercy embraces both forgiveness for the guilty and compassion for the suffering and the needy.”

Forgiveness does not mean that we fail to punish or train those who make mistakes. These are two completely separate things. Compassion for the suffering and the needy does not mean that we should rush in to take care of everyone’s hurts. Sometimes the most compassionate thing is to teach someone how to avoid making the same mistake again in the future.

For example, you forgive the person who makes a mistake that costs you a sale, or damages inventory. Once forgiven you should still discipline the employee who made the mistake. How else will they learn?

You may feel compassion for the starving people in a poor country and you may take action to help feed them. But true compassion goes on to teach them how to become self-sufficient. It’s like the old line, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for life.”

6. Pure in Heart

Double-minded people are constantly in a struggle. That is why Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matt 6:24). To be pure in heart means to have a single focus on God and in doing His will.

A contemporary example of a double-minded businessman is someone who knows that it is wrong to lie about what his product will do, but he does it anyway to make the sale.

Another example is the CEO who will let his or her employees do whatever is necessary to be successful, even if that means being deceptive or dishonest.

7. Peacemakers

The peacemakers are not the pacifists you may remember from the 1960’s. Peacemakers are those who take delight in reconciliation rather than division, or strife. Some consider the Bible to portray anything but peace, especially as they read about the wars between the nations. But Jesus came as the ultimate peacemaker; to reconcile man with God, and to each other.

The desire for peace does not give way to principle, however. Remember that Jesus stormed into the temple and turned over the tables of the moneychangers and called them a den of robbers (Matt 21:13). The principle was at stake and on this principle, there was no room for compromise.

8. Persecuted

Those that follow Christ can expect persecution for their beliefs. Similarly, business people who hold to Biblical standards of behavior can expect persecution. I read a comment in a performance review file that said, “His integrity sometimes gets in the way of getting the job done.” If you hold to high standards there will be those that will try to bring you down.

Bonus Whitepaper

8 Critical attributes for Christian business people that you didn’t learn in business school is also available in the form of a bonus whitepaper. This 10-page bonus whitepaper includes more in-depth content covering the example we are to set, some great quotes, 10 virtues of a Godly executive, and a key points summary. You can download it here:

8 Critical Attributes for Business People You Didn’t Learn in Business School 

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome! How are you doing living out these attributes? Are there any in particular that you struggle with? Is there an attribute in which you feel particularly blessed?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

Category: Personal Development | Values