VOL. I ISSUE 3
A CHRISTIAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE
NOT JUST SKIN-DEEP.......15
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: THE COST OF MONEY IN GOD’S ECONOMY .........................
NATION AT PRAYER: TRANSFORMING THE COUNTRY THROUGH INTERCESSION ...........
7 STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM ..............
HOW AN MBA CAN HELP PASTORS LEAD HEALTHY CHURCHES .................................
What’s Inside Volume 1 - Number 3 - Spring 2012
COLUMNS From the Publisher Unique Gifts 1 Renewing Business Where Is Your Money? 2 Lord, Help Me, I’m an Entrepreneur The Smart Phone: Friend or Foe 9 Around the Water Cooler The Fear of Being Discovered for Who We Are 19 My Father’s Business Trusting in God Gives Us Courage 23
7 Mountains of culture Media: Behind the Scenes Through God’s Lens 3 Arts & Entertainment: Rejoicing in the Lord What’s in Your Hand? 5 Government: State of the Nation Does Government Have a Prayer? 7 Business: Biblical Business Management A for Authentic Attitude 11 7 Steps to Financial Freedom 13 Called to the Marketplace 27 Church: His Kingdom Come Why I Got an MBA 21 Kony and the Widow’s Mite 26 Education: Equipping the Saints Are You a Barnabas? 24
MAIN FEATURE When God Closes a Door, He Opens a Floodgate The story of Sharlene Loveless and Enlighten Laser and Skin Care Clinics 15
ON THE COVER Sharlene Loveless shares how business success can be more than skin-deep because of her Godinspired vision for her business. The cover photo was taken noontime of a Nova Scotian spring day, along the banks of the stunningly beautiful Bedford Basin with Halifax’s MacKay bridge, or the “new bridge” as it is more fondly called, in the background.
From the Publisher
Unique Gifts Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same. And there are distinctive varieties of service and ministration, but it is the same Lord [Who is served]. (1 Corinthians 12:4-5, Amplified Bible) After reviewing the articles for this new issue, I am inspired with the gifts our Creator has endowed each of us with. It is one of the aspects that makes us unique and gives each of us the drive to excel at what we do every day. Every one of us is given unique gifts we bring to the table, and have received from God. Some of us more, and some less, but they are talents which we must use to glorify our Maker. Now what about the spiritual gifts which define us and our faith walk? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? We are called to grow our spiritual gifts as we grow in our faith. Here is a question I want to ask you then. If you know what your spiritual gifts are, do you try to bring them into your daily business life? Or do you just leave it for your church family to experience? Remember, God wants us to be light in the world, and we need to engage the greater business community with our gifts to be that light. From the perspective of business and our gifts, there are two in particular which I would like to highlight. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28, NKJV) First, there is the gift of administration, leadership and management. As people in business, we have been given certain gifts from the Lord, and they allow us to do the tasks set aside in running and managing our businesses. When your business is managed and administered well, the day-to-day operations will click, and you will be able to focus on the growth of your business. God is the perfect manager and sets the best example on how we should be managing our business. But remember the lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. (Deuteronomy 8:18, NIV) The second gift is the ability to produce wealth. God’s gift in enabling us to produce wealth, provides for us a unique insight into how our great Creator and Lord operates. To put it into perspective, everything comes from the Lord — including something as mundane as our sales leads. Understanding this gives me comfort knowing that He has the best in store for me and my business, since I am only the manager of what He has given me. I want to encourage you in exploring your gifts which God has given to you. Be encouraged that there are many gifts that have been bestowed upon us which we use. Remember, God only has the best in store for us, and our gifts should be seen in this perspective. Harm Geurs Publisher Rissa Singson Kawpeng Executive Editor
Integrity, a Christian business magazine, is a quarterly publication. PO Box 74, Ostrea Lake, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B0J 2L0
Max Murphy Photo Editor
Michael W. Mapplebeck Layout & Design
Hermen Atienza Editor-in-Chief
Where Is Your Money? By Hermen Atienza
It’s but a piece of paper with a length of 160 millimeters, width of 66 millimeters, and thickness of about one-tenth of a millimeter. It takes about 1,100 pieces of these to weigh one kilo.Yet it is quite possible that nothing man has ever invented receives so much attention, occupies so much time, and causes so much controversy as money. This is especially true today. At no other point in human history is money more dominant in man’s life. Even God recognized that financial matters are so significant to us. The Bible contains over 3,200 references to money and wealth. Some studies report that money-related issues are the most alluded to and discussed topic in the New Testament.
In the verse previous to this, the Lord told Adam, “Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17).
Money Was a Result of a Curse Private property, exchanging goods, buying and selling, and money are but products of man’s fallen and cursed nature. In Edenic existence, man had everything in abundance. There was no concept of an “economic good” or something that commands a price. Money became a necessary part of life only when God expelled man from Eden and brought him into the reality of economics of scarcity. Man now needed to allocate scarce resources for alternative uses. Man needed a monetary system because he had broken his fellowship with his Creator.
Is Money Good or Evil?
The word “pecuniary” (meaning monetary) comes from the Greek word “pekus” or “oxen.” The use of pekus as a measure of wealth One of the more important Bible passages about money is in Luke is first mentioned in the Scriptures in Genesis 13:2, “Now Abram 16:13 where Jesus says, “No servant can serve two masters. You was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.” cannot give yourself to God and money.” Gold has an earlier reference in the Bible in Genesis 2:10-12. Why did Jesus put God and money diametrically opposed to each Scripture tells of a river that flowed from Eden into a land called other? Is He implying that money is intrinsically evil and by its Havilah where there was gold — gold that was good. This explicit nature sinful? description of gold as being “good” is curious since man was still in his state of purity and friendship with God. Furthermore, Genesis 1:31 had declared, “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.”
Jesus cautioned about serving money because He knew that it’s so easy and almost so natural for man to fall in love with it.
Money is a medium of exchange. It evolved out of the barter system of primitive man. As population increased and as man began to produce goods in increasing quantity and variety, the barter system became inconvenient. Man needed an exchange medium that was portable, divisible and durable. This eventually evolved into our present paper and metal money system. Prior to this, hundreds of different objects served as money. These included stones, feathers, skulls, pig’s bones and even cattle. In Eden, man did not need money. There was no need to exchange goods with one another. God had provided for all of man’s needs and wants. The process of exchanging goods and services presumes private ownership of property. Private property is considered to be in accordance with the natural law as established in Scripture when God said to Adam, “By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat” (Genesis 3:19).
The Author of Life wanted to tell us that there is nothing intrinsically wrong or evil with money. On the contrary, He originally created gold as good.
Man Is Not Money’s Slave Jesus cautioned about serving money because He knew that it’s so easy and almost so natural for man to fall in love with money. “What do you do for a living?” This question illustrates society’s fascination over money. This really means, “What do you do to earn money?” It seems that money is the reason for living. Money is equal to life. Therefore, a love for life becomes a love for money. Scripture says, “The love of money is the root of all evil. Some men in their passion for it have strayed from the faith, and have come to grief amid great pain” (1 Timothy 6:10, emphasis added). When man disobeyed God, gold and money became like any other object or commodity. It’s just there. Man must treat money as a fact of life. The Christian has to manage money responsibly. (con’t on p. 4)
Through God’s Lens By Janice Keats
Where does a lifelong dream begin? Elementary school? Sunday School? Or, perhaps nearby a quiet stream? What if there were no dreams to aspire to? I spent the first 30 years of my life searching for that dream that didn’t exist until I encountered the One who could offer it — my God! From a disconnected child to the child of the Great I Am, I became the woman God designed me to be, a woman of self-worth and at peace with His calling upon my life. And a new dream was fulfilled.
When I made the decision to follow Christ, something immediately changed and my life was made new. My first written words was a poem “Where is He?” that detailed my quest for God. I have since written a poetry book and went on to publish three more books. My poetry book was the catalyst that propelled me to launch my homemade business. What began as producing bookmarks and notecards using my poetry, led to studying the craft of writing, which led to producing Bible study material. God instilled in me a passion to lead workshops using my written material based on God’s Word and one of my spiritual gifts became teaching. Where Is He? From my early adult years to now, I Where is He whom I’m searching for? have seen a tremendous turn around Where is He whom I adore? — a complete transformation of my I have to find Him if I can, mind. I sometimes wonder, Where So I can be fitted for His plan. was God during those first 30 years of Where is the One who can supply all my needs? my life only to show up now? Well, Where is the One to whom I cast all my pleas? my decision to follow God’s path Please help me find Him, I need Him now, came later, but I was ready for all If He satisfies, I will surely bow. He had to offer. There is no other His name is Jesus, the One I’ve found, explanation. Through His love I’m no longer bound, My life in Him continued to He came to give life, give life to the fullest, flourish. I knew that part of the So that you and I could have joy in the highest. strategy of my book sales was to My search is over now since I opened my heart’s door, promote it. As I approached various I let Him in and now I have peace forevermore, retail outlets, I stumbled upon a The same He that entered my heart longs to enter yours, radio station. I walked inside with my book in hand and presented my Won’t you let Him in and be rest assured? spiel. The next thing I remember is When I see my Jesus in His shining glory, sitting in a recording booth reciting I’ll have the privilege to tell Him my story, some of my poems. They were aired I love you Jesus, thank You for being my friend, We are together, just as You promised we would be, in the end!
throughout one entire summer. I was getting through the airwaves. I was getting feedback from listeners. I was being approached to write for people. One strange request came one day from a lady who asked me to write a eulogy for someone I didn’t even know. I obliged and was later informed that it went well. During the 9/11 pandemonium, while I was still living in NL, I was a part of the team that helped the 200 passengers who took up temporary residence in our church. I became acquainted with Jill Briscoe, a missionary and renowned author of several books. Thinking we would never meet again, I simply cherished our conversations. When I moved to Halifax, I attended the Keswick Convention and who should be the special guests? Stuart and
When I made the decision to follow Christ, something immediately changed and my life was made new. Jill Briscoe, of course. I approached Jill after the meeting and we reminisced of our time together in NL. Before we parted, she invited me to speak at her session the following morning. I was thrilled and blessed as we shared our experiences of that dreadful event of 9/11. The session was recorded and made available to the public. (Those recorded sessions could have reached a worldwide audience). We kept in touch since then, and when I was ready to publish my book, A Journey to the Heart of Evangelism, she happily agreed to write a foreword. Once again, I wondered how my life would have turned out had I not allowed God to enter my life to lead and guide me. There would be no book to write, no reaching out through the airwaves from the radio interview, no sharing with Jill Briscoe and her audience, no teaching tools to share with God’s people, no speaking engagements, and most importantly, no joy to pass on to others. God has used me to be the instrument of peace and love through His lens and a dream He had intended for me. My hands created the literary works that was inspired by Him, to be a part of His mission of sharing His love. Without Him, there would be no dream and no aspirations of a future. My joy in Him is complete. It is contagious and it pleases God. My joy grows stronger when God is pleased. He is my source of strength and I have allowed Him total access to my life. His business is my business and my business is His business. As my life yields to journeying with Him, the business of ministry has to grow. It has to be beneficial to the mission of the Gospel message, reaching others through all means possible! Janice Keats is a freelance writer, and speaker. She is the author of A Journey to the Heart of Evangelism and Poems of Inspiration and Occasion. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(continued from “ Where Is Your Money?” page 2) He should not shun nor worship it. I once had the opportunity to give a talk on National Renewal to a group of businessmen and top level business executives. I concluded my presentation with a proposal for them to introduce business renewal in their businesses.
dying on the cross for us (Galatians 3:13). All we can do is accept it and thank God for His generosity. Colossians 1:3 says that when a business owner becomes a Christian, he is transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Jesus. The question that many Christian business owners have to honestly answer is: Did your money accompany you when you entered the Kingdom of Jesus?
Subsequent discussions centered on proper tax payments, bribery, hidden incomes, double books and other matters related to money ethics. To my chagrin, only one business executive responded positively to my suggestion. The At the end of His discourse on heavenly treasure, Jesus said, “Where your others chose to avoid further discussions on Corporate Renewal. At that point, it treasure is, there your heart is also” (Matthew 6:21). was clear to me that love of money had taken precedence over love of God. Where is your money now?
The Cost of Money There are three basic principles that are essential to a proper understanding and use of money.
Hermen Atienza is the managing partner of Mashach Business Approach (MBA) Advisory Services. Email him at email@example.com or visit www. mbaadvisory.ca
First, God is the real owner of our money. The Lord in Haggai 2:8 proclaims, “Mine is the silver and mine the gold.” Second, we are but managers of what the Lord has entrusted to us. Luke 16:1011 says, “If you can trust a man with little things, you can also trust him in greater. If you cannot be trusted with elusive wealth, who will trust you with lasting (wealth)?” Third, we must follow the will of God in the management of money. We must trust that the Lord knows about all our financial needs (Matthew 6:32b). He has promised to supply all our needs fully in a way worthy of His magnificent riches (Philippians 4:19). I know of a well-to-do business executive who joined the Renewal and accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. He soon realized that he acquired his wealth through ways that did not please the Lord. He responded to the prodding of the Holy Spirit. He “gave back” all his possessions to the Lord and resolved to use his modest wealth to spread the Gospel and to give glory to Jesus. God did not take back the man’s possessions. The Lord instead fulfilled His promise in Philippians 4:19. Over a period of four years, God increased the personal net worth of the executive almost sevenfold.
Your Home Education Specialists 4 Exciting Choices Fully Online Teacher Taught Traditional Home School Parent Driven Individualized Learning Tailored Programs for Each Child Home Independent Studies Teacher Created - Parent Taught
Jesus wants us to have real money or what Matthew 6:20 refers to as heavenly treasure which endures forever rather than earthly treasures, which rust and corrode. He has made it so easy for us to be rich in heavenly wealth. The cost of real money is zero. It is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). It is free — by the blood of the Lamb!
Christ has ransomed us (and our money) from the curse of earthly treasures by
Journey with other business and ministry leaders in a peer-to-peer environment
L earn how to maximize your potential for the Kingdom at home, the church, your community, the marketplace and the world
Balance, Margin and Focus through life-designing and coaching for women in leadership
Rejoicing The Heart in the of
What’s in Your Hand? By Annemarie Johnson
In 1998, we were living in Lochaber, just outside of Antigonish, Nova Scotia where we were pastoring a small country church. (Me — a city girl!) Our children were still young so I decided to stay home to raise the kids. Feeling that we didn’t have enough, I asked God what I could do. What do I have to contribute? What was He calling me to do? It was then that my husband, Kevin, preached a sermon titled “What’s in Your Hand?” This sermon spoke to my heart and propelled me into the art world. Allow me to share a few points of the sermon.
An Insignificant Stick In Exodus 4, God asks Moses to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh. Moses asks, “How will I do this? How will they believe me?” God asks, “What is that in your hand?” Moses replies, “A shepherd’s staff.” It’s an important tool for shepherding, but otherwise insignificant. It’s just a stick. Still, God used the “insignificant” to do the “incredible.” Moses not only delivered the Israelites from oppression with this rod; he also separated the Red Sea so that a million people could walk through on dry ground.
“Don’t be afraid, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’” A Widow’s Last Supper In the case of Elijah, the Lord told him to stay at this widow’s home. The Lord told Elijah that he has commanded a widow to supply you with food. Elijah arrives at the said home and finds that the widow is about to prepare her last meal of bread that she will share with her son and then they are going to die. They ask Elijah, “How can we help you?” Elijah asks, “What is in your hand?” The widow responds, “I don’t have any bread, only a handful of flour and a little oil in a jug.” Elijah says, “Don’t be afraid, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’”
The widow did as Elijah had commanded, “and there was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (1 Kings 17:16).
The Jar of Unlimited Oil In 2 Kings 4:1-9, a prophet’s widow asks Elisha for help, since her creditors were coming to take away her two sons as slaves. Elisha asks, “What’s in your hand?” She responds that she has nothing except a little oil. She is instructed to go out to her neighbors and to ask for as many empty jars as she could get.Then she does as she is instructed closing the door behind herself and her sons.This was a family event.They begin to pour oil into all the jars.When all the jars were filled, the oil stopped flowing — a miraculous event. Out of obedience, and trusting God and the man of God, a widow is released from debt and even has excess to live on.
Don’t Hide Your Gift The last Scripture reference was about the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). This passage has always spoken to me, since as an artist, I am a holder of the talents. It reminds me that I am accountable before God for the gifts He has given me. What is in your hand? This was the haunting question God asked of me. This is the question He asks of you. The three servants were given different amounts of money (talents). Two of the servants doubled their investment. One hid it in the ground. I remember as a child of eight playing outside our home under the tree where the tire swing hung. There I found a special spot to bury my money. It wasn’t much, maybe 50 cents. I remember thinking about it when it rained, hoping it was still safe and that no one had found it. No one knew that I had buried it. A week or so later, when I brought it out from the hiding place, there was no celebration, no huge accomplishment, no great risk taken. It was just a couple coins back in my hands again. The third servant, I’m sure felt the same. He thought he had done well, lost nothing and returned to the Master what was entrusted for good keeping. What harm was there in this? The master’s response seemed surprisingly harsh. He ordered that the little that the third servant had be taken away from him. How could this be fair? What about having mercy, understanding, compassion — isn’t this what God is truly like? The message is strong and clear. If we hide the gift, what good is it to us? To others? To the Master? (con’t on p. 22)
Only when the
You shield your eyes against the glare of the morning sun. Your eyes dart back and forth as they scan the horizon, searching for the source of the sound as it echoes across the plain . . . Then it appears. A tiny dot at ﬁrst, but growing larger with every passing moment. It’s the MAF plane. Right on time. Just in time.
our Vi Vision: i
When disaster strikes, MAF delivers the kind of ‘ﬁrst on scene’ response that only light aircraft can provide.
That all people have access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the resources to meet their needs.
Whether surveying a disaster area or delivering food to refugees caught behind a war zone, when minutes saved can mean the difference between life and death for someone in need, Mission Aviation Fellowship is there.
MAF pilots and mechanics operate and maintain a ﬂeet of over 140 aircraft in and out of some 2,500 airstrips in more than 30 of the world’s poorest countries.
. . .They might be carrying doctors and their cargo of life-saving medicine or vaccines to a remote health clinic. . . .They might be taking a pastor or missionary to visit a village that lies two weeks away by foot or riverboat. . . .Or they might be carrying emergency food and water to a refugee camp, where victims of a natural disaster pray for a miracle. Whatever the task, MAF aircraft and support staff are there, providing transportation and logistics to the thousands of missionaries, relief workers and doctors who work to meet the needs of isolated families in more than 2,500 of the poorest communities on earth.
Every 3 minutes, somewhere in the world, an MAF plane takes off or lands.
To receive an information kit, visit us online at mafcanada.ca, or call us toll-free at 1.877.351.9344. Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada is a registered Canadian charity (Registration # 12994 2561 RR0001) and is able to issue receipts for income tax purposes. Scan this code with your smart phone to see a video of MAF in action. mission aviation fellowship of canada m 2 Woodlawn Rd. W., Guelph, ON N1H 1B6 264 toll-free: 1.877.351.9344 : fax: 519.823.1650 to www.mafcanada.ca : firstname.lastname@example.org w
Reaching for High Quality Printing Standards? That’s easy!
Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada Like us. Friend us. Follow us. Watch us.
2688 Robie Street, Halifax NS, Canada B3K 4N8 902-453-4511 email@example.com www.halcraftprinters.com
State of the
Does Government Have a Prayer? By Mel and Susan Finlay
Few people have greater impact on our daily lives, and on shaping our villages, towns, cities, rural areas, and even the nation itself, than politicians. No matter what level they’re elected in, each one, individually and collectively, influence nearly every aspect of our lives. Their job is challenging, controversial, and often lonely.Their lives are constantly open to public scrutiny and they are frequently the targets of rumours, innuendo and, sometimes, outright lies. On top of that, to paraphrase the comedian Rodney Dangerfield, they don’t get much respect. Polls that ask people to rank their level of trust and respect for a long list of professions, consistently show politicians around the 15 percent mark. Contrast that with one such poll that rated firefighters at 97 percent!
Nation At Prayer is built on four pillars.The first is one-on-one prayer in the name of Jesus Christ with elected representatives at every level of government. To say that politicians need prayer is something of an understatement. In the past few years, a number of prayer initiatives have arisen, with elected representatives as their primary focus. In 2003, when Susan was called to found Nation At Prayer, various parts of Canada were experiencing tremendous turmoil. Nationally, the definition of marriage was being debated in the House of Commons, with emotions running high on both sides of the issue. The Northeast Blackout, described at the time by CBC as “the most widespread electrical blackout in history,” left an estimated 10 million Ontarians and 45 million Americans without power for prolonged periods of time.The SARS epidemic killed 44 people in Toronto. A single case of mad cow disease in Alberta resulted in the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other countries closing their borders to Canadian cattle. Six hundred twenty thousand cattle were slaughtered. An infestation of flea beetles in Manitoba, and of grasshoppers in Saskatchewan, combined with drought to further threaten the livelihood of people on the Prairies. British Columbia was ravaged by almost 2,500 forest fires, the costliest natural disaster in the history of the province. On the east coast, Hurricane Juan made landfall in Nova Scotia as one of the most powerful and damaging hurricanes to ever affect Canada, then went on to cause further damage in Prince Edward Island.
In the face of all of that, people wondered whether politicians could deal effectively with the challenges. People had a renewed interest in prayer. It was in this setting that Nation At Prayer was born, stemming from a very clear vision rooted in Scripture and with a very specific mission: to transform the nation through prayer with and for elected representatives. From the outset, it has been non-partisan, not favouring any party over another; non-issue focused, despite the issuecharged atmosphere in which it came into existence; and transdenominational in the broadest sense of the term, encompassing the full range of Christians, from Orthodox and Roman Catholic, through Anglican and main line, to evangelical and charismatic. Imagine the transformational impact when we pray for every elected representative at every level of government everywhere in Canada every day of the year! One person recently captured the importance of such prayer this way: Just got back from Ottawa last night from our Canada Day holiday frivolity and thought much of you and your ministry. As I sat in the crowd on Parliament Hill watching our prime minister and governor general and others represent this nation, it occurred to me that all of their combined power and influence do not hold a candle to the power and influence of prayer as engaged in by God’s faithful ambassadors. As I listened to speeches, I had an overwhelming urge for someone to be on that stage praying over that throng and this nation.Then I realized that someone is, and I was thankful to God for Nation at Prayer. Nation At Prayer is built on four pillars.The first is one-on-one prayer in the name of Jesus Christ with elected representatives at every level of government. Prayer is vitally important to many elected representatives, as reflected by these comments: These times of prayer are so important to me with all the challenges and pressure here. Your prayer with my wife and me brought us a great sense of peace in the midst of turmoil. Thank you so much for your continued dedication to prayer and service to the Body of Christ.You are a real encouragement to me. Perhaps the comment we hear most often is, “You came at just the right time.You’ll never know how important this prayer time has been.”They often tell us of specific answers and of the refreshment that they have received as a result of timely prayers for them. It is not uncommon for one politician to refer us to a colleague across party lines.Their rationale is always that we are non-issue, respect strict confidentiality, and non-partisan, in that order. It is critically important to them that we are able to listen to their
concerns and challenges and meet them at the personal level, rather than attempting also requires a presence at the provincial and local levels.There are currently three to influence party policy or their voting behavior. Provincial Directors, with immediate plans for an additional two, and longer term plans to cover the entire nation, including working with First Nations leaders, as the But it is not just the effect of prayer on the individual.The physical presence Lord raises up financial resources and individuals with the appropriate combination of Nation At Prayer is important as well. One particular day in Ottawa, Susan of skills, experience, and personal qualities. met individually with six different Members of Parliament.Three of them, from different parties, used identical wording in describing the impact:Your presence is a reminder that we are here for a higher purpose. But physical presence and prayer with elected representatives is only one pillar of Nation At Prayer.The second pillar is calling Christians to pray for elected representatives at every level of government, without regard to party affiliation, policies, personal stands on issues, or other considerations. As one individual has said, “When we pray for our government, we are praying for people, not politics.” People in every province and all of the Territories are regularly engaged in prayer for their elected representatives, much of it carried on quietly and without recognition except by those engaged in it.
The Lord is also raising up Local Champions in communities across Canada who spark, encourage and assist Christians to be actively engaged in prayer for elected representatives. A number of very effective prayer initiatives have been developed over the past few years.We value the broad range of cooperative working relationships we currently have, and are actively promoting additional ones encompassing the full spectrum of the Christian community. At the same time, we are careful to respect our own boundaries in terms of remaining non-issue focused and non-partisan.
The most visible expression of prayer, of course, is in public gatherings. So Nation At Prayer has as its third pillar, encouraging the development of prayer gatherings that include prayer for elected representatives, where they do not currently exist.
In the past nine years, we have seen firsthand the impact of prayer in the lives of elected representatives, the explosion of prayer gatherings across the country, and the effect on communities as people gather to uphold leaders in prayer.We do not believe that any one ministry can take credit for this, but we are privileged to be among those God has called to provide leadership.
We are witnessing not only increased prayer activity in churches.There is also an explosion of interest in initiating community prayer gatherings, where Christians get together over breakfast or on other occasions for specific times of prayer for politicians and other community leaders. Imagine the impact as community after community gather to invite the Holy Spirit to infuse the hearts and minds of those who govern!
Of course, we recognize that prayer is not the only activity that Christians need to engage in in the political arena.There is an important place for attempting to influence public policy as well.That requires all the wisdom and discernment one can bring to bear, in order to do it in a way that is both effective and honours the Lord. As John Bunyan has said, “You can do more than pray, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
The fourth pillar of Nation At Prayer is resourcing and equipping individuals, churches, and other Christian groups to pray more effectively for elected representatives. Resources include personal consultation, workshops, and printed materials such as prayer guides and articles. Each year, people in every part of the country request thousands of the prayer guides.
The real question is not, “Does government have a prayer?” but, “Do our governments have your prayers?”
Praying with and for elected representatives, encouraging prayer gatherings, and developing resources requires more than a physical presence at the national level. It
Mel and Susan are National Directors of Nation At Prayer. Mel serves on the board of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. and CTS Television while Susan is on the board of Tyndale University College & Seminary and the corporation of World Vision Canada. Both are Board members of an organization doing development work in Afghanistan. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lord, help me,
I’m an Entrepreneur
The Smart Phone: Friend or Foe By Frances Leary
Go anywhere other than an isolated cabin in the woods in the Arctic, and you’re surrounded by people literally attached to their smart phones. I mean in hand and engaged! Whether they’re talking, checking email, sending texts or catching up on Facebook, business people everywhere rely on their smart phones for much of what they do each and every day. Admittedly, I am now one of them. Despite the fact that I was a slow convert, I now find myself on my phone constantly. Why? I have instant access to email, calendars, online news, social media, research and more… all elements that play a significant and beneficial role in my business.
contact requests and Facebook notifications, and yes even I am ultimately sucked into the black hole that is social media before I even know it’s happened. So, should I throw my smart phone out with the bath water? Would that take care of the problem? Unfortunately, no. Why? Because I know that in reality, the issue at hand is not my smart phone but rather my discipline. Lord, help me take back my time and use it wisely! Time wasted isn’t worth anything, and I don’t have time to waste. Discipline is important not only for business success but for personal development, and I know what I need to do: schedule times for email correspondence and social media, and stick to the schedule. Leave texting for personal time, and don’t take personal calls when I’m working. Seems simple enough — so I just need to do it. Lord, help me to be disciplined in all my business endeavors and to have the wisdom to do what I often need to do with my smart phone: turn it off. Thank You for guiding me to honour You with my time and my actions, every minute of every hour of every day.
Go anywhere other than an isolated cabin in the woods in the Arctic, and you’re surrounded by people literally attached to their smart phones. I mean in hand and engaged! However, while my beloved smart phone is now my mobile office, I seem to be spending more time with it than is required by business. Since email is so accessible, I check it far too often and it becomes not a time saver but rather a time waster. And texting during the workday? Well, that surely isn’t a productive use of time. Then there’s social media. As I tell all my clients, limit social media to a certain period of time and do not deviate! I know this inside and out, and yet I find even myself deviated by those LinkedIn
Frances Leary is a life-long Christian and mom entrepreneur who successfully runs her business and cares for her family, all while keeping her sanity and sense of humor — at least most of the time. She is a published author and experienced public speaker. At Wired Flare, Frances develops and implements exclusive online marketing campaigns for companies that want to increase exposure, increase traffic and ultimately increase sales. Email her at frances@ wiredflare.com or visit www.WiredFlare.com.
Taking care of the details … from the time you book, until the time you return!
Specializing in faith-based vacations! Wendy Dunham, Personal Travel Consultant 902-463-5393 or 1-866-929-5393 • email@example.com • www.wendydunham.ca
PARISH OF ST. JOHN’S ANGLICAN CHURCH Building a new facility at 787 Kearney Lake Road, West Bedford. Currently worshipping 10:00 am every Sunday at: J.A. Snow Memorial Chapel, 339 Lacewood Drive, Halifax www.stjohnshalifax.ca We believe that we, as a community, are called to witness to the presence of God in our lives using the example of Jesus’ selfless love for humanity as the model for our life together. God the Spirit inspires us to seek and serve all persons loving our neighbours as ourselves. As such, we see the parish to be a diverse, open, and welcoming community of faith for all who desire to further their relationship with Christ or deepen their spiritual journey. What should you expect of us? We strive to fashion our life as a community so to offer: literate preaching that invites you to think, a church that will walk with you in your questioning rather than tell you the answers it thinks you need to hear, a liberal view of scripture, a congregation and church community that cares about you and your family, and a church that invites diversity and does not judge you by what you are or who you love.
STEEPED IN TRADITION : CENTERED ON CHRIST : RELEVANT TO TODAY
Integrity LIG Half-Page.indd 1
12-06-18 9:43 AM
A for Authentic Attitude By Thomas Nolte
In our series called R.E.A.L., we have focused so far on R for Righteousness and E for Eternal perspective. Now we go to A for Authentic Attitude. To be successful in our walk with God and with those around us, and especially in business, we also need to be authentic in our attitudes. I assume that you have guessed by now that R.E.A.L. stands for real, being true to ourselves, becoming what God intended us to be. No more “faking it,” looking good in the eyes of others, or being clean on the outside yet hiding what’s on the inside. We should be done with pretending because we realize that we can’t fool God, ourselves and rarely even others. Many factors influence how we see ourselves, which impacts how we go through life. God has given us a clear goal and sets the bar high for all to see.
Consider this: by age 18 you likely have been told, “No, don’t do that,” (or something similar) about 100,000 times, hopefully most of it meant to teach you or correct harmful behavior. Philippians 2:5 states, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!” Here is our blueprint for success and leadership in life and in business. Following Jesus’ example (“having the same attitude as Christ”) will be the difficult choice, but the right one. As Christians in business, leading our companies, as well as in our homes, we will have to agree and adhere to this truth, though generally we find it hard to obey in daily life.
It is a call to control our thoughts and to guard our mind. Easier said than done, isn’t it? I heard it said that you can’t prevent a bird from flying over your head, but you can prevent it from building a nest in your hair. In the same way, you can’t prevent a thought from popping up in your mind, but you can prevent it from causing you to act against God’s will or your better judgment. Knowing this truth does not allow me to succeed in this all the time, which I deeply regret and resent. Pretending I didn’t think about it doesn’t help and distracting myself fails me usually just as much. If I don’t deal with certain thoughts decisively, I find myself following them instead of Christ. I end up in sin, regret and shame. Then the sickening feeling of failure leads to the thought of wanting to give up trying (“What’s the point if I will fail again anyway?”) and wanting to just give in to destructive thoughts, to stop fighting them and to take the easy way out. The Bible teaches this powerful way out of this struggle. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). I read advice like this and get discouraged. It sounds so easy, but is it? Judging by my experience and listening to others sharing similar stories, plus knowing the spiritual truth presented in the Scriptures about the state of this world, I know this isn’t just that easy! I believe that we, generally speaking, grow up in an environment of negativity rather than faith and positive thinking, which hinders this vital process of controlling our thoughts on a very deep level. Consider this: by age 18 you likely have been told, “No, don’t do that,” (or something similar) about 100,000 times, hopefully most of it meant to teach you or correct harmful behavior. This has contributed to certain habits of thought and inner attitudes which are hard to overcome and which influence us far deeper than we might like to admit. Here are four important areas of negativity to consider that influence our attitudes: Personal – Thinking things like, “Who cares about me or wants to be with me? I am too (fill in the blank) to be accepted.” Relational – “I can’t trust anyone. People don’t change.”
Why Is That? What Hinders Us? I believe it is a deeper issue than selfishness and even pride, though both are obvious aspects in our characters that have to be addressed to be a follower of our Lord. God asks of us to have the same “attitude” as Jesus. Not just the same behavior, action, result or success. The word “attitude” comes from the word proneo, which means “mentally decided.”
Circumstantial – “Things just aren’t right. If only things were different.” Spiritual – “Others are so much more spiritual than me.” As a result, we have a real fight on our hands, a fight for the right attitude, for authenticity, for being real, honest and being who we really are, as we strive to be in control of our thoughts and actions.
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:7-9, NIV)
There is good news. We can make a choice every time when confronted with ourselves. If we want to find wrong, we will find it. If we want to find God at work, we will find that too. It’s our choice. Recently, in a sermon that addressed this issue, the question was raised about who we’d rather want to be — a vulture or a hummingbird? Do we want to be attracted to death and decay, or to beauty and sweet nectar? Both are birds, yet what a difference.
Thank You, Lord, for promising us victory when we follow Your example. Thank You for the grace You give us when we don’t follow You, and thank You for Your patient kindness to allow us a fresh start every day. Thank You that this is the day the Lord has made. Thank You that we can rejoice and be happy in it because of You!
Consider any given day. Take Mondays. We can hate Mondays as many do, frustrated about having to go back to work after a nice, relaxing weekend. Or we can decide according to Psalm 118:24 — “This is the day the Lord has made, let us Thomas Nolte was born in 1962 in Germany. He is married and has two kids. rejoice and be happy in it.” It is purely our choice. Consider emotions. I personally can become insecure in certain relationships due to a lack of communication or misinterpretation of circumstances. Then I start feeling distant from those who have expressed that they are friends, whom I have known for years as faithful brothers and I start to withdraw or even resent them. Rather than calling to address the issue, I expect quietly that they will call me, that they know I am hurt and will apologize or do something to make me feel better. Usually this does not happen because they are often unaware of my feelings, which makes me even more upset.
He has been following Jesus since his baptism on February 7, 1993 and is part of the Halifax Church of Christ. He moved to Bedford, Nova Scotia in 2006. He owns and operates Curves Franchises in HRM. He is a “biblical fitness coach,” helping others to be fitter and to walk closer to God in their busy lives. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.curveshrm.com.
Being reminded that it’s my choice to control such thoughts and remembering that I can only control what goes through my mind, not theirs, helps me make this choice: why don’t I call them, serve them, draw close to them, without expecting anything in return? Wouldn’t that mean I am much more like Jesus, imitating His servant attitude and humbling myself? Does not Scripture teach clearly that in doing so, God will sustain me and give me grace (1 Peter 5:7)? Plus better relationships? What a victory and joy awaits me thinking and acting in that way. I am also reminded of Ephesians 4:22-24 — “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Renewed thoughts bring renewed hope and strength and love for God and others. The Holy Spirit will help. We are not alone in this. Things will change. I will be safe, secure and at peace. So in conclusion on how to strive for a holy attitude and being authentic in our walk with God, we are challenged not to dwell on negative thoughts, but rather to embrace Christ’s attitude and thinking. He shows grace, prays for others and even offers help and forgiveness when being mistreated. He finds out what is going on in their lives and shows compassion and understanding, than getting angry or hurt or down on them or Himself. We are commanded to express faith and confidence in God, to have the right thoughts and attitudes all the time. Impossible, you say? You are right. Impossible for you and me, but not with Jesus and His Spirit in us and in His strength (see Philippians 4:13 and Romans 8:32). The desired result? The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus! Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
Business Renewal Management Consultancy We help develop a Biblical business management framework for: √ Greater competitiveness and efficiency. √ Growth and optimum return on investment. √ Godly business success and peace of mind. Our satisfied clients include corporations, proprietorships, partnerships, executives, home businesses, independent business owners, trades persons.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. -1 Corinthians 10:31 www.mbaadvisory.ca • 1.902.431.2952 email@example.com
Seven Steps to Financial Freedom By Mohny Singh
“Where there is no vision, the people perish. ” (Proverbs 29:18, Amplified Bible)
such as fire and from liability through commercial insurance. They may or may not have these in place, but few have insurances in place to protect the owners and key people from death, disability The ultimate goal of any business and critical illness. It’s like protecting the golden eggs (physical should be financial freedom. Most assets) without protecting the goose (the people) that lays the eggs. business owners, particularly small Understand this: you, the business owner, and your key employees business owners, do not even have a profit goal for the current fiscal year, let are the business. If you or your key people do not show or cannot alone a lofty goal as “financial freedom” show up for work tomorrow because of death, a disability or critical illness, the survival of the business will be at risk. It may for the business. Case in point. Do you have a profit goal for your current fiscal year? So the question then, which begs answering, is, be the beginning of the end of the business. And here’s the kicker. You can use the revenue from the business to pay for these policies “Why am I in business?” with the business entity as the beneficiary of these policies. These As part of the business renewal process in converting the business expenses are not tax deductible to the business but neither will into a Kingdom business, the raison d’être (reason for being) of the the benefits received be taxable to the business. What it does is business has to be to glorify God as per 1 Corinthians 10:31 — resolutely answer the “what if ” questions related to the business “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” When this is so, owner and the key employees. achieving financial freedom will be instrumental in fulfilling any renewed vision, mission and business plan of the business. So what is financial freedom and how do you achieve it?
Proverbs 22:7 states that the “the borrower is a slave to the lender. Step 1: Stop Going into Debt As a bare minimum and as a first step, I think financial freedom should be the ability of the business to pay for its operating expenses without going into debt or further into it. If you never get past this stage, you will always be riding a tiger. And the more you feed the beast, the bigger it gets. The dilemma there is that you will never be able to get off the tiger without being eaten alive. Business owners who use debt necessarily and then use the increased sales revenue to pay off the debt and to generate a profit should continue to do so. But if the increased sales revenues are not there for whatever reason, the first step is to stop using debt to fund operating expenses. So how will you fund the ongoing operating expenses? It has to necessarily come from sales revenue generated from other creative efforts as part of the renewed business plan of the business renewal process.
Step 2: Protect Your Assets Assuming you are able to generate a profit with or without the use of debt, Step 2 towards financial freedom should be the protection of the assets of the business, both the physical and the people assets, particularly the key people. Most businesses owners understand the need to protect the physical assets of the business from perils
Step 3: Eliminate Debt
Step 3 towards financial freedom is the elimination of debt completely. Proverbs 22:7 states that the “the borrower is a slave to the lender.” If the business chooses to continue having debts, at some point the business owner will live out the reality of Solomon’s warning “when the wolves are at the business door.” If the business is debt-free, this will be a non-issue.
Step 4: Build an Emergency Fund
Step 7: Bless Others
Step 4 towards Financial Freedom is to build a six-month emergency fund of operating expenses as a buffer to avoid cash crunches. Most businesses use an operating line of credit for this purpose to the delight of the financial institution that holds their current chequing account who get to eat into the profits of the business through interest and loan fees. What you need to do here is list all your monthly operating expenses — fixed, variable and expected (pro-rating all annual, semi-annual, quarterly and weekly expenses on a monthly basis) — and multiply the grand total by six. Ensure that you carry six months worth of your operating expenses in your current account. Do not concern yourself with the negligible earnings on this account balance. This is a savings account and not an investment account that we will get to at a later step.
Step 7 towards financial freedom is to use the business (assuming it has metamorphosed into a Kingdom business through the business renewal process) as a conduit for the furtherance of God’s kingdom by blessing individuals, other businesses, organizations and ministries through the use of the excess retained earnings as directed by the Holy Spirit.
Step 5: Ensure You’re Tax-Efficient Step 5 towards financial freedom is to ensure that your business is tax-efficient. The small business tax rate on the first $400,000 of business net income in Nova Scotia is 15 percent. So depending on the net income of your business, consider incorporating if you are a sole proprietor or partnership, taking into consideration (a) the initial set up costs and additional annual ongoing accounting fees for the corporation, and (b) that the first $30,000 of dividend income at the personal level results in little or no personal income tax to each individual shareholder if there are no other sources of income. It baffles me to no end to come across highly profitable businesses that continue to operate as sole proprietors or partnerships.
I started out by stating that most businesses do not have a profit goal for the current fiscal year. I contend that they should not only have a profit goal and work backwards as part of the business planning process to determine what needs to be done to achieve it, but that they should realistically raise the bar each new fiscal year and incrementally increase their profit goals. My business has five profit goal levels for each fiscal year. The lowest level is the “water-level” where profits equal zero. Below this, I am underwater, i.e., my expenses are greater than my revenue and my business cannot make ends meet. That simply cannot and must not happen. I have focused on the use of profits as a means towards financial freedom. The underlying assumption is that the owners are drawing a salary and bonus (which are part of the operating expenses) and/or dividends or some combination thereof. Any dividend payout will of course reduce the retained earnings. In conclusion, financial freedom has to be intentional, planned for and worked towards. B4U Invest, Save B4U Save, Eliminate debt B4U Eliminate debt, Insure
Step 6: Invest Earnings Step 6 towards financial freedom is to invest the retained earnings of the business while maintaining their liquidity and protecting them from market risks, creditors and taxation. A portion of the retained earnings should be used to provide a retirement program for the business owner and other key employees through a corporateinsured retirement program. While a pension plan or some other retirement compensation arrangement can be also be used towards this end, the corporateinsured retirement program is the most liquid and tax-efficient while being creditor-proof and the least risky.
B4U Insure, Give 4FinanicalFreedomGo2 www.TheGPSProcess.com Mohny Singh is the president and CEO of Roone Financial Group Inc. He has been in the financial services industry since 1984. He has worked in various capacities within the insurance industry and has, since 1997, been operating as an Independent Financial Architect. He is a member of good standing of The Financial Advisors Association of Canada and the Chartered Insurance Professionals Society. Email him at info@ thefinancialarchitect.ca or visit www.thefinancialarchitect.ca.
When God Closes A Door, He Opens A Floodgate By Maxine Roberts
Do you remember those threedimensional photos that when you stood in front of them, all you saw were random lines and curves? It seemed as if there was not really any picture at all. The trick was to stand back from the photo and focus on a pinpoint until the “real” picture came into view. It was so neat to see this amazing photograph come to life! As often is the case in real life, things are not always as they appear. What we need to do is step back and adjust our perspective to see the true picture of what’s really there.
A Song to Sing As a child, Sharlene was academically and musically inclined. Upon leaving Newfoundland, she studied music both classically and professionally and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. She easily became employed utilizing her musical talents. It wasn’t difficult for her to get employment. Her outgoing and warm, approachable disposition, along with her natural talent, were strong assets. She even attempted a few businesses on a smaller scale, only to have them flounder. At the time, she concluded that “business was for others, but not for me.” “I never saw myself as business person at all!” Sharlene shares. At first glance, prior to opening Enlighten Laser and Skin Care Clinics, all signs pointed to a music career with her twin sister, Jolene. Sharlene felt strongly this would be the eventual path that her life would take. For over 10 years, The Keats performed together throughout Canada, North America and overseas, including performances in the Middle East for soldiers in wartorn Iraq.
From musical entertainer to successful owner of Enlighten Laser and Skin Care Clinics, Sharlene Loveless testifies to God’s clear guidance to prosperity Sitting with Sharlene Loveless, owner and franchisor of Enlighten Laser and Skin Care Clinics, this analogy comes to mind. At 28, she has independently developed and expanded a successfully thriving business, which has grown from one location in Halifax to nine locations across Canada in two and a half years. As of this writing, two more branches are on the cusp of opening and she has more requests from individuals asking to be part of her business! Her long-range plans are to have 50 locations opened within the next two years. All this from a woman who admittedly had no business training and had difficulty with something as simple as writing a cheque! So, how and why does someone with little to no prior formal business experience come to have success like this? Well, like those photographs, we need to step back and adjust our perspective. In Sharlene’s case, it means stepping back in time, to her childhood days, growing up in a small Newfoundland community. Not having the extras to enjoy, her childhood memories were ones filled with fun, family, and lots of music — a simple yet full life for which she is truly grateful. It’s this grateful attitude intertwined with her personal experiences that would take her on a life journey she never could have imagined.
While hope for a recording contract was always the goal, the rewards were many and her passion for music ran deep. In the demanding, highly competitive music industry, Sharlene learned a thing or two about hard work and what it takes to be involved — drive, passion, perseverance, along with rejection. Countless attempts to secure record deals were met with refusals and things just not quite coming together. Trips to Nashville were many, with each one potentially being “their” time. One booking to showcase at the Juno Awards — a tremendous opportunity and a possible turning point for their career — proved to be another confirmation of the change of direction that was ahead. After three attempts to land in poor weather conditions, their plane was forced to change direction and head back home. They didn’t get the much anticipated opportunity to perform. Symbolic of the life change that God was orchestrating in her life, Sharlene shares, “Now, I look back and say ‘Thank You, God, for closed doors!’ I do believe God was protecting me and leading me elsewhere.” That “elsewhere” is not anywhere she could have imagined! As the musical doors seem to be closing, Sharlene didn’t sit idle by any means. In her spare time, she studied business people, read biographies and learned about successful companies, finding out how they started and what made them unique. Her analytical nature drove her to get to the bottom of things. She even studied Bible characters who were involved in business. Like Job who lost everything, but God honored him and blessed the latter part of his life more than the former (Job 42:12). All the while,
unbeknownst to her, God was preparing her for something radically different in involved. While performing a menial task at her job in a small room, she felt God prompting her, “Here you are, you have clothes, good health, a family her life. that loves you — many people would sacrifice for this!” She felt this was God A defining moment for her happened during a Sunday service at her local challenging her to do something more and felt prompted to give $30 to a local church. Her pastor was speaking of business and sharing the message of the charity, money she didn’t really have at the time. She acted on this and gave the transference of wealth from the world to be used for Kingdom building. He money. She thanked God and believed this to be a turning point because she physically demonstrated this by extending one arm upward and the other was willing to be grateful in a time of lack. With God’s grace, it made her heart downward, using the analogy of the individual being a conduit for God, with the opportunities coming in and blessings going out. The pastor’s eyes met with more ready for how He would take her life and use it for His good. Sharlene’s and she felt clearly that this message was for her. She was to start a business! At the same time, she didn’t feel equipped. She felt like the most unlikely candidate and thought, “No, God, pick someone else!”
A Change of Tune As she felt led to venture into business, Sharlene believed God revealed to her one step at a time where she should go next. As she trusted Him to be in the details, He clearly showed her the kind of business in which she was to become
Soon, the type of business she would start became clear. Her analytical nature and fascination with technology led her to do more research — how changes and improvements could makes lives better. She was led to the medical esthetics industry. She looked for gaps in the industry as it related to customer service, equipment and more importantly, the reasons behind this growing business. With valuable experience gained while working with a reputable fitness company and being involved with the franchising operations, Sharlene’s interest in clinical skin care and the fitness industry were keys to helping her move forward. Amidst her fear, she was overwhelmed with the daunting task
Sharlene (left) with her twin sister, Jolene, during a photo session for their band, The Keats.
ahead of her — yet she knew full well that this is where God had led her. One night, she prayed with her husband for direction and clarity. The next day, she received an unsolicited phone call regarding the equipment she would need to start her business venture. This, she believes was another proof of God’s clear confirmation to her.
and referring others to her business. As a result, others were taking notice and wanting to team up with her. It was about this time that she and her husband received the exciting news that they were expecting their first child! With a growing business and now a growing family, a lot has changed in her life in a couple of short years.
His Will, Not Mine
Success — Not Just Skin-Deep
Armed with her research, training and necessary equipment, the first location of Enlighten Laser Skin Care Clinic opened. It was a one-room, one-person operation, with Sharlene doing everything herself — sales, marketing and accounting, in addition to running the salon herself. Her strong work ethic and determination came into play. She realized that the hard work she put in the music industry had prepared her well.
From her simple beginnings, Sharlene doesn’t characterize her life as a ragsto-riches story. She does believe that her appreciation and gratitude for all her blessings help her to operate a successful business. She is accepting of where God has placed her; she is at peace because she knows it’s God’s work. She believes she is operating in His will (and wants to continue so!) to accomplish what He sets before her, summed up in one of her favourite Scriptures: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:20). She openly admits, “I never started this business with the intention of getting rich.” But she does feel that God led her to use her skills and talents to become prosperous. Looking back when those musical doors closed on her, she believes God was protecting her and preparing her for His greater plan.
Every day, she began with a prayer for God to help her get through, with her first business priority being to pay back the loan she had taken for operation startup. She was not in favour of borrowing so it was imperative that she take care of this to be debt-free. During her first month, she exceeded her monthly cashflow projection by 400 percent! By the end of six weeks, she hired her first employee. Fighting feelings of being overwhelmed, she trusted God’s leading and moved ahead. Within two months, she was already thinking of expansion and more locations. During the first year, the business had expanded with three locations going strong. Others took notice. Soon, people were approaching her to franchise her business. She looked at this as God opening the door further — and she went through it. She developed the franchise plan singlehandedly, thinking she may expand to one franchise location. But the business quickly expanded. One by one, more individuals approached her to buy into her business through franchising. Furthermore, she sold some of the original locations as franchises. In all of this, Sharlene realized God was up to something big. Her desire was to be obedient and be ready to go where He was leading. During the second year of business, several more franchises opened. Sharlene observes, “I learned a lot things very quickly. I took the attitude of being very adaptable and relatable. I believe in the power of reaching out and helping others — not just a mere exchange of money for services but genuinely treating each person with respect and showing compassion to each client.” This humble and caring approach with her clients was key to them returning
aby L Curtiss, b
Beneath the surface of operating a successful business are the challenges that come with it. Sharlene is quick to point out that, by human standards, it’s not always popular to follow God’s will. At times, she feels that to be concerned for her reputation and what family or friends think, conflicts with her obedience to God and His will for her. However, she remains strong in her convictions and knows that it is only by His grace and strength that she is able to do what she does. Giving full credit for the success of her business to God, she boasts in her own weakness, recognizing full well that she didn’t feel equipped to do this. She takes seriously God’s call on her life — to be an example to others, and for her life and her business to be a reflection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:27). Her age, at times, has been an issue since it’s synonymous with a lack of business experience to some people. Also, the laser and skin care industry is a highly competitive and ever changing one. Sharlene points out that she didn’t approach her . 1 1 20 ristmas in h C business from a t rs fi gan’s lebrate Lo ce y point of vanity. Rather, she strives to e th s ne a
offer valuable services to people who might otherwise think it was not accessible or possible for them to avail of.
Band The Keats blings si featuring nd Jolene. a y ro T , n Sharle
“Education is a key to this,” she comments. By tapping into this niche market, she stresses the importance of strong relationships with clients, taking time to listen, showing compassion and being a friend. These have been simple suggestions that have proven quite successful for her and her franchises. Her desire is to operate her business with God’s biblical principles — specifically mindful not to argue when conflicts arise and not vindicate others when wronged. She aims to be thrifty and be a good steward of her money and resources. Sharing a song lyric, “it was never mine to hold,” Sharlene thoughtfully says, “This is how I think God wants me to view the resources of the world. They’re not ours, so why do we let society lie to us that we need this or that? We don’t. We were meant to be free of all that.” And this freedom comes only by truly knowing who we are in Christ. With newfound success, Sharlene is ever mindful from where she came. She references Philippians 4:12, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Sharlene is fully aware of the emphasis our current culture and world places on
money and success. “This is only our temporary life. Many understand this but live in direct contradiction to it. I am going to try not to with my vapour of a life!” she said. For her age and her success to date, only with God’s direction can she do this.
A New Lifesong So, stepping back and looking at the image of her life so far, what does Sharlene wish others to see? She hopes that her gratitude for a life changed and her obedience to God’s calling and greater purpose will encourage others to step out and allow their gifts and talents to be used for the Lord. “He knows best, even when we are unsure of the outcome,” she says. Fully relying on God’s leading, she is content for things to remain as they are, but adds, “If God has bigger plans, that’s OK too.” Her goal is to become “more righteous, not rich.” It’s not an easy creed to live by in today’s self-consumed culture. Her desire is to follow God’s vision for the transference of wealth to the righteous. Sharlene will always have a song in her heart. She is enjoying the early days of motherhood and the fruits of her labour so far. She sees God’s humour in choosing her to do her business His way. And, she is at peace. In Sharlene’s words, “Doing business God’s way is simple. Not easy, but simple.” Maxine Roberts is an avid reader whose passion for books has evolved into her enjoyment for writing. Her background includes teaching, sales and marketing/advertising. Being a wife and mother has been her most rewarding accomplishment to date. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE CLIP AND SEND WITH YOUR GIFT TODAY.
COMPLETE DINNER – $3.11 We need your help to serve hot meals or provide other essential services to hungry, homeless, hurting people in the Halifax area. For just $3.11, you can provide a hot meal or the safe shelter and spiritual help that can be the start of a new life. Please help us feed and care for hungry, homeless, hurting people by mailing your gift today. $15.55 helps 5 people $118.18 helps 38 people $27.99 helps 9 people $236.36 helps 76 people $________ to help as many people as possible Please charge my: Card No. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Expiry Date ____________________Signature ________________________________________________________
Donate online at www.shrm.ca, or call 405-HOME Name _______________________________________________________________________________________ Apt. _________________ Address ________________________________________________________________ City/Prov./PC __________________________________________________________________________________ Phone (_________)______________________ E-mail __________________ @ _____________________________ Please make your cheque payable to:
Souls Harbour RESCUE Mission PO Box 9255, Halifax, NS B3K 5M8 Location: 5568 Cunard St, Halifax www.SHRM.ca Costs are average and include the expense of preparing and providing meals. A receipt for income tax purposes will be sent to you. Souls Harbour RESCUE Mission is a Registered Canadian Charity #816097067RR0001 OUR FIRST YEAR OF SERVICE TO THE NEEDY
the Water Cooler
Fear of Being Discovered for Who We Are By Chris Harman
For the first 15 years of my ministry with Power to Change, I was in the campus ministry working with students in Calgary, and at SMU and Dalhousie here in Halifax. I knew why I was there. The university campus is a public space, yet there is the sense of a closed community. Typically, you can tell when someone was there that was not a part of the university community. Students and professors often have a look or feel about them. I would often face the question, verbally or unspoken, “Who are you and what do you do here?” This was easy. I would respond with, “I am a campus minister with Power to Change and I speak to students about their spiritual lives allowing them to discover Jesus.” We have a lot of creative, engaging and fun methods and ways of doing this, but that was the crux of it. I knew who I was and I, and they, knew why I was there and we had a lot of fun with it.
Jesus?” After all, it’s not like I’m telling them I’m some urban version of a tribal witch doctor. Then again, they might just find that interesting. There is a fear within each of us. It may be in varying degrees, but it’s there in most, if not each of us. Sometimes it’s a fear of identifying ourselves as a Christian. If so, it’s likely we are all too familiar with the feelings, thoughts and connotations conjured up in the emotions and minds of unchurched people at the very mention of the word Christian. Or maybe we know too many people who have had negative experiences with the church and we desperately want to distance ourselves from that. Sometimes the fear is simply not rational, but it’s there. It may be that we are fearful of identifying our business or our professional persona with the church. I have met individuals in business who tell me they are Christians, but their business is not. They say there is no such animal as a Christian business. Now it is true that a company, firm or proprietorship cannot make a personal decision to follow Christ. Let’s be real, it has no need. Although, it is also true that many would argue that their business needs to be saved.
There is also a fear of becoming, or at least being perceived as, radical. The logic is that if we are radical in our faith, then we must be putting too much time and energy into our religion and not enough into our business in order to make it grow and be profitable. Recently, I took a new role with Power to Change as the zone leader for Atlantic Canada. Since I’m now working with nonstudents, that is, people in the real world who do not know Jesus, explaining why I am there has been a challenge. Have you ever found this to be true in your experience? You know what you believe and you even know why you believe in Jesus, but you just cannot seem to get the words out of your mouth without feeling like you sound “not normal.”
Afraid of Being Identified as Christian? Once, a woman came up to me and introduced herself as a shaman. She was very excited about her faith. I watched as she proceeded to introduce herself and share her beliefs to other people who were seemingly quite interested. I stood there thinking to myself, “Why can I not be comfortable going up to people and I saying I work with Power to Change Ministries and I help people to discover
Still, I believe that if a Christian businessman or woman operates their business with biblical principles and uses it as a platform to express their faith in a relevant manner, it is a Christian business.
I think this scares some of us. There is also a fear of becoming, or at least being perceived as, radical. The logic is that if we are radical in our faith, then we must be putting too much time and energy into our religion and not enough into our business in order to make it grow and be profitable. The purpose of going into business or your profession in the first place was to make money, right? We don’t want to muddy the waters and confuse God and profits. God fits nicely into Sundays (it’s like Sundays were made for Him) and Monday to Friday is for our business with an option of Saturdays.
The Danger of the ‘God Box’ Possibly, the worst thing that ever happened to the church was the separation of church and state.Yes, the organized church should not run the country. We have too many examples of that going terribly wrong. I believe, though, we have taken it too far. We have separated church and state to the point where we have separated who we are
There is a danger in having a domain for religion. The danger is that we make it a domain for the Christian church, isolated from all the others. Everything to do with God, Jesus, faith and the Kingdom of God is placed into this domain. It exists because there is much religion in the world that does not worship God the Creator. I am concerned we have removed our relationship with God and the outpouring of His Holy Spirit from our Monday to Saturday. It is saved for the “church” domain that fits nicely into Sunday. In fact, we have become so adept at packaging God into a box, we can pack him away nicely into a Sunday morning. The very thought of unpacking the “God box” so that God reigns in our lives throughout the week no matter where, when, what the cost is or what we are asked to do scares us.
Bring God with You We need to overcome the fear of being a Christian in a non-Christian world. We need to overcome the fear of being Christian professionals and Christian businessmen and women. The reason your body did not drop dead the moment you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour is because He has ordained that we take Him into the world. As Paul taught us in his writings, we are not of this world, but most definitely in it. We already live in several domains. Do you have a family? Do you have a job? Do you go to school or are you in a sports team? How many domains are you a part of each and every day? Can you bring God out of the religion domain and bring Him with you onto the sports team, into the school, your neighborhood or your workplace? There is no need to be fearful. When we identify ourselves as Christians, we identify ourselves with Jesus. If people do not see that right away, they will eventually. Do not allow yourself to be associated with anything or anyone other than Jesus. Next time you are standing around the water cooler at work, somehow mention you are a Christian. Bring God with you. Be a witness for Him. There is so much more to life than profits and worrying about what people think of us. in Christ (our values, morals, ethics, our relationship with Jesus Himself) from Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Chris moved to Halifax in 2006 with his who we are in the world. Can you see how this connects to our fear of expressing wife of 20 years and four children. Chris and Heather have worked with Power to Change Ministries for the past 16 years in Calgary and Halifax, where he to others who we are in Christ? It’s coming. This magazine you are reading, Integrity, is developed on a shared principle with Power to Change (Campus Crusade for Christ, International). There are mountains, or as we refer to them, domains of society. For example, there is a family domain, a business domain, a sports domain, an education domain and a government domain, to name some of them. There is also a church or religion domain. This domain should not exist. Now, before you tear this page out of the magazine and throw it into some fiery furnace, hear me out.
serves today as Zone Leader for Atlantic Canada. Email him at chris.harman@ powertochange.org or visit www.powertochange.org.
THE HARVESTERS FAMILY OF RADIO STATIONS
HELPING YOU BRING
JESUS TO THE NATIONS
Why I Got An MBA By Kevin Johnson
The story goes that a young eager student approached Socrates and asked, “Master, I want wisdom and knowledge. How do I get it?” Socrates led the young man into the sea and asked, “What is it you desire?” The man answered “Wisdom, O wise Socrates.” Socrates pushed the man under the water and let him up 30 seconds later. “What is it you desire?” asked Socrates again. “Wisdom,” he sputtered. Socrates pushed him under the water several more times, each time asking the same question until the young man was gasping for his life. Finally, Socrates asked “What is it you desire young man?” “AIR! I want air!” To this Socrates replied, “When you desire wisdom as you have desired air to breathe, that is when you will have what you seek.”
their walk with God while at the same time understood leadership, systems, and the business side of the church. Don’t think for a minute that I’m suggesting all we need to do is be better leaders and be more organized. The issue for me was that I began to see that those who were experiencing the blessing of God in greater ways in their ministries were passionate in their relationship with God and at the same time were filling the vacuum in their leadership skills and organizational understanding of the church. Then there were those who refused to learn any kind of new skills that appeared “non-spiritual.” They wanted to pray more, preach more, do more, more, more. I’m all for those things but it seemed to me that when leadership was not seeing healthy growth or felt the church was struggling spiritually, either God got the blame because He was not moving in the church, or the people got the blame because they were uncommitted.
The Bible says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6).
Don’t get me wrong. I believe there is a always room for growth in prayer and other spiritual disciplines in the church today. However, what I began to wonder about was, “Am I the one that needs to change how I lead the church?” I wanted to be a pastor leading a healthy church! Desire and desperation are closely linked in my life. Desire, in that I I wanted to learn new skills I had not learned in my ministerial always want to learn more, to gain wisdom. Desperation, in that I’m training. After all, I prayed, studied Scripture, and felt I was not satisfied with the way things are. I refuse to quit! Because of spiritually growing and mature but was falling short of my dreams desire and desperation I moved outside my “profession” of ministry for the church. Besides, if other pastors could lead their churches to complete an MBA from Saint Mary’s University — apparently to effectively reach and disciple people to follow Christ, then there a strange step for an ordained pastor.Yet this leading seemed to be must be something I was missing. More of the same was not going from God and was building in my heart for many years. to bring about change. I was eager to learn anything that would When asked to write on “How has an MBA degree helped you in help me be a better leader in the church. ministry?” I have to begin with “Why?” Here are four “why’s” I wrestled with during my early years as a pastor. I wondered…
Why are some pastors leading healthy churches while others are leading weak ones?
Why were godly businessmen and women not using their gifts and talents to serve Christ in the church?
I don’t want you to think that I have a simple answer to this question. It’s just that early in ministry I began to see that, all things being equal (i.e. the pastor is spiritually passionate, a good preacher/ teacher, etc.) those who were building healthy churches were doing things differently behind the scenes. They were diligent in
I observed tension and frustration between business leaders and pastors. Sadly, this often occurred on church boards. On the one hand, we wanted their financial commitment to the church. After all, it’s the businessmen and women that have the big bucks to support our ministry vision! On the other hand, we resisted the
wisdom offered by business leaders because it seemed “unspiritual” to us. I believe a more accurate word would be “unfamiliar,” and that scares us. Mutual respect and understanding is needed. Business leaders need to take time to read good material on how leading the church is different than leading a business. For example, things move slower because we’re dealing with volunteers, not paid employees. Our goal is the unity and growth of the whole church and we do not want to sacrifice anyone for the sake of expediting a decision. Decisions must be “family-oriented” not bottom-line driven. The church’s mission is first and foremost about making disciples. Such understanding can help business leaders work productively with their pastor and provide them with a helpful leadership perspective on the church. Likewise, pastors would do well to gain an understanding of business disciplines such as how to read a financial statement and make a budget (this really helps in a board meeting), human resource practices, strategic planning, marketing (dare I say this is part of evangelism?), and organizational behavior. That way we can appreciate and receive help from our business leaders without feeling threatened or accusing that their insights are “unspiritual.” Such attitudes are birthed from ignorance. Here’s the rub. I found myself with an increasing desire to understand how business principles would benefit the church while ministering in a church or denominational culture that was often closed towards what could be learned from the business community.
Why didn’t they teach me this in Bible college or seminary? As the years passed, I found myself in leadership roles that required me to understand how to read multi-million dollar financial statements, advise on human resource issues and develop organizational strategies. I was out of my comfort zone in a huge way. I began to gasp for air! I needed to learn new concepts, skills and knowledge. My previous training was inadequate. That is not a negative comment on where I trained. Like any early training, it’s not until you get on the job that the depth and breadth of learning takes place. So, I had to wrestle with how I was going to fill the gaps in my learning. Because of my interests and aptitude, an MBA seemed like the perfect fit. Why would business leaders be attracted to the church when we eagerly accept their money yet frustrate them by shunning their ideas? I believe that if church leaders and business leaders would actually find cooperative ways to work together, we could achieve greater things for God’s Kingdom. Pastors, get interested in your business leaders. Spend time getting to know what drives them. Pray for them. Disciple them. Those with a heart to follow Christ are dying for an opportunity to use their skills and even their money for a great cause. Business leaders, please be patient with us. Pray for us. Encourage us. We need you but we often don’t realize it.You scare us. In your world, you are aggressive and bold. In the church world, we are told to be humble and gentle. But if you will walk with us as a friend, we can learn much from you. Kevin Johnson oversees 68 churches as Maritime District Superintendent of the PAOC. He served as a pastor for over 18 years before being elected as superintendent in 2011. His passion is to see church leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit and equipped to lead effective thriving churches. Prior to ministry Kevin was a business owner and entrepreneur. Kevin completed his biblical studies at Eastern Pentecostal Bible College (now Master’s College and Seminary) and holds a MBA from Saint Mary’s University. Email him at email@example.com. (continued from “ What’s in Your Hand?”page 5) I began my art career in 1999 with the launch of four pen and ink drawings titled “Portraits of Antigonish.” They were juried and entered two art exhibits that same year — first a group show at the Gathering of the Arts, and the second was a group show of local artists at The St FX Art Gallery. My last drawing of the four was completed at St Margaret’s Hospital after delivering Sarah, our youngest of five children. I was committed to what God was calling me to do. In my hand, I had a talent that could not be hidden. And today I give God the honor and the glory. I have accomplished more than my wildest dreams. What is it that God has given you? What’s in your hand? Don’t look at the
impossibilities; rather give God the little you have and see what He will do with it. When my head says it is impossible, I encourage myself with Proverbs 3:5,6 and remember that God works outside of the realm of my limitations. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Annemarie Johnson is an award-winning professional artist and owner of Trompe L’oeil Murals. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. annemariejohnson.ca
Trusting in God Gives Us Courage By Bruce J. Havill
“I break arms and legs,” the stranger said to me as I sat just inside the entrance of the Halifax Shopping Centre. “You’ve got to be kidding,” I replied. And as he walked away, he concluded our brief conversation by adding, “Just forget that you ever saw my face.” At first, this may not appear much like an article for the marketplace, although it actually happened during a workday, but stay with me for a few minutes because I hope to make an application to our lives. The foregoing conversation occurred following a visit to a customer in the mall. I decided to have coffee before returning to my car. It was during this brief time that a solidly built young man approached me and quietly asked if I needed some muscle. I inquired about what type of work he did and his answer is recorded in the opening words above. As he blended into the crowd, I sat in disbelief at what had just happened. I also decided that I wasn’t going to wear my leather jacket to work anymore! Then the Lord spoke to me saying, “That man needs to know about me. Find him and give him some good news.” I was horrified. “Oh, man,” I thought to myself, “I really didn’t want to hear that.” However, I absolutely knew that God had spoken and I had to make a choice.
Still standing, I said, “God has something better for you than breaking arms and legs. Do you want to hear about it?”To my surprise, he answered yes. He was just barely out of sight when I nervously got to my feet and went after him. My thought was that if I could find this guy in the mall, he probably wouldn’t risk beating me up in front of all the shoppers and witnesses. With this morsel of consolation, I pursued my target and walked the length of the mall and back. He was gone. “Thank You, Lord.You know that I was obeying Your voice and You have spared my life.” I left the building and headed out to the parking lot, quite satisfied with my act of courage. My blood pressure was coming back into the normal zone, the tension was easing, and the mass of bargain hunters and mall staff were now out of sight.There was only one other person leaving the mall at the very time as I was. He was just one exit door away and we spotted each other as we walked toward the parking garage. Again, the command of the Lord came clearly to my mind. I angled toward him through the rows of cars. He watched me as I approached. In my heart, I was saying to the Lord, “I am in Your hands. If I am to end up in the hospital today, then Your will be done.”
We came face to face. He looked me over, maybe to ascertain that I was unarmed. I said to him, “We need to talk.” He replied, “About what?” Still standing, I said, “God has something better for you than breaking arms and legs. Do you want to hear about it?” To my surprise, he answered yes. We ended up talking for about an hour in the former Marine Room Restaurant in Eaton’s. God kept pouring courage into me as I spoke of His love and what Jesus Christ had done for us all. The man across the table trembled as I told him why I had come looking for him. We may wonder why we experience certain situations in our lives. Most of us have experienced challenges that were much more difficult than this particular event was for me. I came out of this little adventure unscathed, but felt more a follower of Christ than ever as I dove more deeply into His Kingdom. Now for the application that I promised. You and I can trust God for our lives as well as everything connected to them. This certainly includes our jobs and businesses. In trusting, we acknowledge that He knows what is going on, He is in control, and He loves us. With any of these truths missing, it would be totally inadvisable to trust, because that person would not be God. As we commit ourselves daily to Him and follow His leading, we come to realize that He is everything and that He is looking after everything. We can take more risks and live with less fear. We become participants in the Scripture from Hebrews 11 — our faith pleases him — not our ability, or will, or strength, even if we are strong enough to break arms and legs. Bruce Havill owns and operates Roto-Static, a carpet and upholstery cleaning company. He is a church elder, and enjoys mentoring younger men, walking in the woods, golf, fishing, music, playing guitar and taking road trips with family. Email him at email@example.com or visit rotostatichalifax.com.
ARE YOU A BARNABAS? By Miriam Gallant
Do you have a defining moment in time, when you never forget an event or experience that completely affects or changes your life? In 1999, an opportunity arose in my life that, to me, could only have come from God. My pastor approached me to teach a course at the Bible school in our church. I had no formal Bible school training, so at first, I questioned their decision to ask me to do this. The answer I received surprised me. I was told I was not ordained by the school of man but by the school of the Holy Ghost. The course I was assigned to teach was called “Anointed Preaching.” I remember thinking, “Lord, I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know anything about how to preach.” The words I heard audibly were, “I have given you the Spirit of Barnabas.” These were words that the Lord spoke to me a number of years prior to this moment.
Barnabas was an encourager. The dictionary defines the word encouragement as: the act of giving courage, or confidence of success; incitement to action or to practice; incentive, and also, that which serves to incite, support, promote or advance and to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence, to stimulate by guidance, approval and to promote; foster. For several years, I’ve had a kitchen ministry of sorts by getting together with other hungry women around my kitchen table to read and study God’s Word. This was the beginning of my call to teach God’s Word. It was then I realized I am a Barnabas, an encourager. The passion I have is to encourage people. To inspire and guide, through God’s Word, to help those who want and desire a deeper, more intimate knowledge of God. I never really viewed this as being a teacher as well as an encourager.
For several years, I’ve had a kitchen ministry of sorts by getting together with other hungry women around my kitchen table to read and study God’s Word.
In the mid 90’s, a man by the name of Dwayne Swilley spoke at our church youth conference. Much of what he said excited me and motivated me to pursue a deeper relationship with God. I remember telling God, “I don’t just want to be a pew warmer. I want You to use me, Lord.” I had an Isaiah moment of, “Here I am, Lord, use me!” I wasn’t looking for a definite answer to that prayer that evening, but, unexpectedly, I heard God’s voice say, “I have given you the Spirit of Barnabas, but now I am going to use it for My glory.” Well, that got my attention. I am a word person. Words are important and I pay attention to people’s words. God said, “I have given” which is past tense, so I already had it and God was the one who gave it to me. I was excited until I realized I had no clue as to what He was talking about. The Spirit of Barnabas? What’s that, Lord? I asked. There was no audible answer to my question and I remember sitting in the remainder of that evening service thinking about it over and over again. As Dwayne Swilley was closing the service, I heard him say that he didn’t want anyone to miss the Sunday morning service because he would be speaking on something very important: The Spirit of Barnabas. I had Holy Ghost goose bumps! God had answered my prayer just like that. “Wow” and “thank You, Lord” was all I could say as I floated out of the building that night.
However, when God calls you to do something, which for me was to teach, the venue is not always what we think it should be. I remember telling God, “No way, Lord. This is too much responsibility.” I knew that I would be more accountable than the person receiving the teaching. That scared me. The first thing I
did was go to 1 Kings where King Solomon prayed for wisdom. I thought that was the prayer I needed to pray. I felt exactly like King Solomon. I was young in my wisdom and experience. So I prayed his words in 1 Kings 3:9 — “So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad.” Although I wasn’t called to judge or rule over people, I knew that I needed an understanding mind and a hearing heart, and I did not want to be guilty of teaching in error. I remember asking the Lord, “What could I possibly have to say or teach that would make anyone listen?” He told me, “You can teach them nothing, but through Me all things are possible.” From experience, I’ve learned that all that’s needed is for us to be willing vessels. The Amplified Bible version of Ephesians 4:12 says, “His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints… the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church).” God needs vessels He can flow through. He does the work, not me. I just needed to be available, obey and trust Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith. As Christians, we are vessels God wants to flow through to inspire others with courage, to show them there is hope in whatever walk of life they are in. I find myself doing that with the students I see every day at the university I work in. When I see these young students struggling to find their place in this world, trying to define who they are, I thank God for the experiences I have had in my life. I am able to share with them, encourage them, and let them know that tomorrow is a new day, with new hopes and, yes, even new struggles. I am reminded of what Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:2 (Amplified Bible): “Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.”
Employee Benefits Wealth Creation and Preservation Tax Reduction and Charitable Gifting Strategies
Keep dreaming, but start planning Your goals and dreams are unique. Your plans to get there should be just as unique. Find out more about how I can work with you to create a financial security plan to help achieve your goals at all stages of life. Please call today.
Ross Demont, CLU
Financial Security Advisor
902-422-1631, ext. 270 firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom 55 Financial and design are trademarks of London Life Insurance Company.
Each and every one of us teaches or encourages someone at some point in our lives. Regardless of our success, our positions or titles we may hold, whether you are a businessperson, a pastor, a mailman or a schoolteacher, everyone needs to be encouraged. And I know that all of us have the spirit of Barnabas in us. Who will you encourage today? Remember, it may just be the catalyst to change an entire person’s destiny. It could become that defining moment in your life! Miriam Gallant makes her home in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia with her husband, Norm, and two sons. She has been an administrative assistant for 30 years starting in the legal industry and then for the past 10 years at Mount Saint Vincent University. Her passion for sharing God’s Word birthed a desire for teaching and provoking others towards a greater intimacy with God. She deems herself a “lifer” in helping to set the captives free. Email her at Miriam.Gallant@msvu.ca.
Kony and the Widow’s Mite By Michelle Porter
Charities love it when their stories go viral. It’s their minute of fame and moment to shine. But it doesn’t always have a happy ending, and the saying that all press is good press just doesn’t ring true when it comes to non-profit organizations. If there’s one thing Kony 2012 has taught us, it’s that old adage that nothing is as it seems. We all want to be generous, but something comes before that. It’s the work. Not the work of writing a cheque. Not the work of running your business.
out for God. I need to know they are genuine with a heart of service.” Make sure you trust the leaders of your chosen charity.You don’t want those leaders to take your money and run.You want them to take your money and steward it. I’ve heard of leaders completely abandoning the board’s strategic plan. Others have taken expensive trips with their team under the false pretense of “leadership retreats.”You have a right to account for the money that you donate, so be sure that you do your homework. I love it when potential donors call me up and ask me questions like, “Will I receive an income tax receipt?” Many charities won’t give receipts for amounts under a certain dollar figure. This can make people on limited incomes feel like their donation doesn’t matter, or doesn’t count, or isn’t enough. Give to people who genuinely appreciate your gift. There is the principle of the widow’s mite here.
The number 1 rule of philanthropy is to do your homework. The number 2 rule is to be generous.
Remember the woman in the Bible who gave only a couple of pennies — all that she had? Pennies are so No matter what side you come out on the Kony debate, it’s clear invaluable that they are now being removed from circulation in that the majority of folks donating to this campaign were unaware our country! Jesus had something surprising to say about that that the money was mostly going to awareness. As a film and sacrificial gift. “This poor widow has put more into the offering advocacy through arts group, it makes sense that the donations than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she gave sought would be used towards furthering similar film projects. out of her poverty. She put in everything she had to live on.”
1. Do Your Homework
Have you ever seen a financial statement or annual report from your charity of choice? Did you know that the annual government returns are available for public perusal on the Internet? You can look up any charity or foundation in Canada at the Canada Revenue Agency website (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html). It was with great surprise that I had learned, several years ago, that one of the most prominent charities in the country had been sanctioned by the government. This happens more than you think, so don’t wait for it to break in the news. Do your research and see if the money is going to a charitable work that you are passionate about. Sometimes, sanctions are small enough that you can live with them, such as Kony’s sanction to have one more board member to meet minimum requirements. Other times, the obstacles are insurmountable, because the end game breaks down into corruption or offensiveness. I recently chatted with a friend who has a personal rags-toriches story. Let’s call her Missy Rich. Missy doesn’t give to organizations that don’t steward their finances in a godly manner. She explains, “First, I give to the poor — both at home and abroad. The Bible says we are to care for the poor, and I take that very seriously. Next, I give to people who are completely sold
2. Be Generous This brings us to the second principle: be generous.Yes, this comes second because the more you give, the more thorough your homework ought to be. When I asked Missy Rich why she tithed on her business income, she replied, “Because God tells us to. As simplistic as it sounds, doing what is right is win-win. It brings us closer to God and more in line with His will. And the closer we get to God, the more we love and trust Him. He is like a parent who only wants the best for their children.” Missy continued, “Tithes are just the start. Money won’t bring me joy. The joy is found in giving. There is an inherent blessing in tithing, but really, 10 percent in business tithes should be a minimum. After all, God is trusting you as a steward of your business. If you aren’t doing well, you need to really take stock, and evaluate if you are in His will. Get out of the way for a while, and let God show you His will.” We recently took in a volunteer intern at Souls Harbour. Justine was new to Christianity, yet she sold all she had, (con’t on p. 28)
Called to the Marketplace By Steve McEvoy
For years, the tradition of the church has worked hard to box in believers to a very limited understanding of the calling of God for their lives. Many have struggled to recognize God’s calling that is outside of a pastoral, local church or missionary context. The result is that men and women of God either deny their true unique design and try to fit in a narrow box; or step out, use their gifts and disengage from the kingdom of God.
The third word in this passage is the word “service.” This word in the Greek carries with it the word “ministry.” This is potentially a shocking revelation. We can translate it as saying, “equipping of the saints for the calling of ministry.” Each one of God’s kids is not only called, but they are called to the ministry. This can result in significant confusion. If our belief is that ministry is limited to pastoral leadership or any other function that plays a critical role within the local church, then it is impossible for every believer to be called by God and especially receive a paycheque for this calling.
In the book of Ephesians, St. Paul tells us that five gifts were given to do a very important thing. We read, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service” (Ephesians 4:11-12, NASB).
Called to Business Leadership As I have wrestled over the years to understand my own calling and worked with many in the church, I have discovered that this struggle exists in many lives. So, here is my conclusion. First, God has called you. God has placed His hand upon your life to serve Him, put His kingdom first and reveal Him to the world in which you move. Second, you are called to the ministry. This means that ministry is supposed to happen each and every day. Ministry happens as you use your gifts and personal uniqueness to serve God first and then serve others with those gifts as the top priority of your life.
Where do we need the kingdom of God to be revealed? The answer — everywhere! Where on our planet does the will of God need to be fulfilled? Again the answer is everywhere! Equipped for the Work of Service There are three key words that I want to make reference to. First, we are told that the saints (all of God’s children) are to be “equipped.” This word carries with it in the Greek language the idea of setting a bone. It’s like when someone injures himself, dislocates a bone and is in need of a surgeon to realign it. These five gifts are given to help every believer get into the true alignment for how they have been uniquely made by God. The second word is “work.” This word in the Greek carries the idea of “occupation” or “calling.” God’s plan for His children is that every individual is put in proper alignment for their occupation or calling. This tells us a few things. First, and perhaps the most important, is that God has called every child of His for a purpose. Where that calling takes us is dependent on our unique gifts within our life. Many have struggled with this one point. As we journey through life and suddenly have an awakening to our recognized need to put the Kingdom first in our lives, a tension arises to find our call within a small context of the local church. For many, the sense or awareness of a calling of God means that the application should take us into full-time, pastoral-type ministry. Is this God’s intent? Let’s go further and find out.
So, this raises a question. Can someone be “called” to business leadership? The answer is absolutely! Where you are called is determined by the gifts in your life. In light of this truth, look at one more Scripture. Jesus was training the disciples and they asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1-4). In response to their desire to grow in prayer, Jesus said an interesting line: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NASB). Jesus was telling His disciples and is telling us through His Word that it is His intent that the kingdom of God be released and the will of God is to come into manifestation upon the earth. So, here is the question. Where do we need the kingdom of God to be revealed? The answer — everywhere! Where on our planet does the will of God need to be fulfilled? Again the answer is everywhere! Our families, communities, schools, government, businesses and on so on, needs the kingdom of God to be revealed and the will of God to come to pass. So, who is it that prays this prayer and uses their gifts and abilities to bring the kingdom of God into manifestation? Every person who is called by God! That means that you, me and every other believer is designed by God to play a significant part in their calling to change the world in which they have been placed.
Use Me, Lord We have an enemy that doesn’t want the children of God to break free, discover that they are called, discover what that calling is and start bringing the kingdom truth into their world. I have worked as a consultant with a highly influential leader in the marketplace. I will keep his identity anonymous. After years of being a believer and churchgoer, he told me, “Steve, this is the first time that I have understood that God has called me, gifted me and placed me in my position.” So I am now praying this prayer for the first time in my life: “God, how do you want to release Your kingdom through my life, right where I am?” Presently, that prayer is being answered. I was told of another business leader who was exceptional in his gifts and abundantly prospering as he uses them. One day, he was awakened to his need for God to be first in his life. With a new sense of call, he left his business, went to Bible College and eventually became a pastor. Today he is taking depression medication and not bearing the fruit that God intended for his life. This may have been or is your struggle right now. If you are in business, you need to understand that God calls everyone and places them to serve Him and His Kingdom right where they are. If you know that you are working in proper alignment for how God has gifted you, then it is imperative that you recognize that God wants to reveal and release His Kingdom right where you are. Everything that you do matters to God. Press in to His heart and settle the fact that you are called. Spend time with Him to also settle that you are in the right place of your call. Then, begin to pray, “God, release Your Kingdom through my life today.” Dr. Steve McEvoy is a leader of leaders. With a completed doctorate in Leadership and Organizational Development, Steve works with leaders in the business, government and non-profit sector with a focus on personal development. He is a director with byDesign Group and founder of Steve McEvoy Ministries. Visit www.bydesigngroup.ca or www. stevemcevoyministries.org.
(continued from “Kony and the Widow’s Mite” page 26) including her successful business, her leather furniture and large screen TV to serve the poorest of the poor in Southern Africa for 20 months. She came home to Vancouver, and instead of starting over by rebuilding her personal empire, she contacted me and asked if she could spend a year working with the poor in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In fact, it was one of my mentors that knew we would be a great fit. He recommended Justine because our stories were so similar. Here we have the generosity of young people who are leading the way in giving. Those of us in business have much we can learn from the hearts of our
young missionaries. And we have a definite role to play — that of the generous giver. Let’s give, not like the rich man who grudgingly gives his meagre 10 percent, but like the widow, who graciously gave all she had in the service of her Saviour. Michelle Porter is the co-founder of Souls Harbour RESCUE Mission in Regina, SK and Halifax, NS, where she currently resides. As a social entreprenuer, she and her husband have helped hundreds find freedom from a life of addiction and homelessness. When she isn’t at the Mission, you can find her on her blog at MissionMusings.ca. Make a donation to the poor at shrm.ca.
There’s a fresh wind blowing... A new vision...
For Canada. For the world. A renewed passion for sharing God’s Word in the language of today. A new openness to partnering with others. A new excitement for a bold new direction. The Gideons inTernaTional in Canada draws on the leadership skills of Canadian men and women to connect people with God’s Word and share the message of Christ’s gospel. Today we’re using the New Living Translation—so even more people can clearly understand how much God loves them. Today we’re coming alongside local churches and ministries—to do more, share more and bring more people to the feet of Christ.
Are you ready to join us?
“Like” The Gideons on Facebook for stories, photos and updates on how God’s Word is changing people’s lives.
Contact The Gideons International In Canada today to help share God’s Word in Canada and around the world.