2006-11-30

BJ#0 Business According to Jesus

Follow the Patterns of the Most Successful Organization in the World
(updated 27 Oct 2008)

This posting should actually be the first in this whole series of "Business by Jesus". The earlier postings are BJ#1 The Golden Rule for Business Success, BJ#2 Have a Mission Statement, BJ#3 Vision Statement.

One of the world most successful organization with the longest history and largest world wide following would likely to be the Church established by Jesus Christ. The founding pioneers, the disciples of Jesus, were generally fishermen, (though there was a good accountant and tax consultant called Matthew). What had Jesus taught them that such a big and growing organization was possible through average people. One may claimed it was God. But God works through people and give us the examples where other can follow. What are the principles and strategies that Jesus taught the Church. The answers are found in the Bible. Bible is more than just a moral and ethical standards of behavior. I strongly believe and will show in this series of postings that Bible also teach us the principles and the how-to, the strategies for building long lasting successful enterprises that contribute to the well beings of society.

Earlier postings have covered the Golden Rule for Business, Mission and Vision - what are the important things that make good mission and vision statements. This posting is like a table of content showing the additional topics that will be covered in future.

The TOC are:
I will use the current management terms to relate to the Bible so that we can find relevant and immediately useful guidelines for making our business successful. The next posting will be on Values - BJ#4 Values

Other Useful References

  1. There was a series of seminars held to cover the above topics....The Bible for Business Seminar Series.
  2. If you have issue with your calling into business and being a successful businessman, Secular vs Spiritual Jobs
  3. There is a complimentary series Kingdom Laws & Principles. Please refer to them too for laws and principles of His Kingdom Economy.
  4. Learning from Others: 
    1. Entrepreneur Leadership - Kingdom Principles in Business




2006-11-29

BJ#3 Vision Statement

Vision Statement

Vision Statement is a visualization, a picture of what it will look like as you accomplished the milestones in your mission. It is what you become in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. It is adding a time dimension and a visual dimension to mission. It makes the mission come alive.  It gives focus. It show the benefits of the mission clearly and gives the motivation. Mission gives the purpose, vision shows the picture. 
Hab 2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.

Vision gives a clear picture that can be easily recorded in the mind and in the heart, so that they can quickly run to bring it to pass.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.Mark 9:23

We need first to have picture that we can believe in and then it outcome will be certain. Prov 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish. Or in (ESV) Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint. Vision gives the guides.
Pro 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he
Examples of Vision Statements
Follow me and I will make you fishers of men Mt 4:19.
Jesus, when speaking to fishermen, used the picture that they could best understand. 'Making Disciples' is like having a big catch of fish - net breaking load of fish. They can associate with it and can feel the joy and excitement of such a catch.

To the woman at the well, he said, "Follow me and you will never be thirsty again". John 4:13 He also said "I am the bread of life;he who comes to Me shall not hunger" John 6:35

When painting a vision, use things that the readers can best understand and be motivated by. Put them in the context and background of the readers. Use their terms.

Here are additional visions:
John 3:16 "....whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 7:38 "He who believes in Me, .... From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"
John 8:32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies,
Mat 11:28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Notice that the benefits are to the people involved - who believed.

Vision must include the benefits to the corporations and to the customers, employees and owners in the order.

Vision must be as specific as possible so that the reader can have a clear vision in their mind and in their heart. Most corporate vision speaks of revenues, market ranking, and physical sizes like number of people and number of countries or cities they will be operating in. These are ok but there needs to be further illustrations and other areas as well. What do those measures mean to the customers, the employees and the owners. Listed corporations like to have measures in terms of the shares-owners values, such as Total Shareholder Return (TSR). But one should remember that profits is a by-product of providing good value to customers with good execution by the employees. In painting the vision, one should describe the impacts to the customers, and to the employees. The corporate cultures, the working environment, the pre-sale and after-sale, and other things that relate to employees and customers.

The clearer the vision, the easier it will be in deciding the strategies and their execution later.


Where are the measures and the timing?
The above vision statement like "become fishers of men" is visualized mission statement of "Go make disciples". Jesus used fishers of men because Peter and the others are fishermen. They will understand the vision and mission well. 


The measurement of the catch is very obvious - the number or the weight of the fish caught. The best measurement is one that is very easy to see. You don't need to have an instrument to tell. A good one is reaching a destination. When you reach a destination, you know you have arrived. 


Putting a man on the moon by end of the decade is a good vision statement.


The measure is obvious - a man landed on the moon (alive and return is implied).
The timing is before the end of the decade (it was by 1970).


Jesus did not specify the targets and timing then. It was up the disciples each to determine for themselves when they followed Jesus and learned more.

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BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--BJ#4 Your Values

2006-11-28

BJ#2 Have A Mission Statement

This is part 2 of the series "Principles and Strategies for Business Success according to Jesus". The 1st one is "The Golden Rule for Business Success". I have decided to change the long name into a short one - "Business by Jesus" or in short form BJ for easier identification of my postings.

Why You Need a Mission Statement
A mission statement gives us the purpose and meaning of our existence. It direct our efforts. Mission is for the long term. The methods used to achieve the mission could change with time but the purpose should remain. If the mission changes, then the corporate takes on a new identity.
  • Mat 6:21 Your heart will be where your treasure is.
Mission should be our treasure - the thing we hold to be of utmost important. If you don't feel for your mission, either the mission is wrong or you need to change. If you are the owner, then change it to the thing you treasure most. If you are working for a corporate where you could not change the mission, you should perhaps change your job. If you are the Chairman or the CEO, and you are passionate about your mission, you still need to do one more step, communicate your passion about the mission down the line, all the way to the one serving your customers. The mission should be the treasure in our heart and our heart should be for the mission. Everyone in the company should feel the same way for the mission.

Mission Statement has a Single Purpose
  • Mat 6:22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
Mission statement should create a single focus. If you felt that there are many targets you want to achieve, then you are still not at the right mission statement yet. You need to go a level higher, abstract all the targets to a single purpose. You may need to ask why ... why do you want to achieve this target or goal ? or What is the purpose you are trying to achieve when you want to reach this target. Some one says we should ask WHY 5 times. Eventually, we should have a hierarchy of goals with the top-most, the root, being the Mission. Mat 6:24 tells us that no man can serve two masters, so we need to get the mission down to one purpose.

Example of the Best Mission Statement
  • Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
  • Mat 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
  • Mat 28:20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
The mission statement is "Go make Jesus' Disciples of All Nations".

The single purpose is "make Jesus' disciples". It is action packed with GO and the extend and scope of work is "All Nations" or "Globally" in today language.

The other parts tell of the HOW to make disciples:
  1. Baptize them into the Body of the Church
  2. Teach them (what Jesus taught)
and the Resources given.
  1. Authority of Christ v18
  2. Presence & Empowerment of Christ v20
  3. The Bible - what Jesus taught.
What makes a Good Mission Statement
We can summarized into the following qualities:
  1. Of Long Term Value and Worth - treasures of the heart.
  2. Singleness in Purpose
  3. Action Verbs: GO, Become, Be .....
  4. The Scope, the How and the What of resources.
Can you apply the above 4 points to your present mission statement and see it can be improved ?

Additional Views for Christians about the Commission of Christ.
  1. We are called not just to make converts, though it is the first step, but to bring them up into disciples of Christ, or Clones of Christ in modern terms.
  2. We must, ourselves, be Christ's disciple, before we can help others to be like-Christ. We should have His Word in our hearts, think and feel as Him, through communicating with Him daily and through His Words, and behave as He would behave.
  3. We must be Role-Model for others to follow.The method is to teach His Word (not our opinions) and by our exemplified living out His Word. i.e teaching is more than talking. we teach by talking and walking, each reinforces the other.
  4. Some one put it this way... 1st I show you. 2nd You do as I do. 3rd You show others. 4th Others do as You .....

    2Ti 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

For a personal mission statement, please see #BJ2a Your Personal Mission Statement
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BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--BJ#3 Vision Statement

2006-11-27

Envious of Success through Short-cuts?

Habakkuk 1 reflected our feelings well when we saw the apparent successes of those who took nasty short-cuts and sacrificed others in their pursuit. We are angry at them and at God for not doing anything to right the injustice. Besides Hab, Ps 37 provided us with advices and assurance. God is not asleep and punishment will come upon the wicked.
Outcomes of the Wicked
The outcomes of the wicked will be: cut down (v2), cut-off (v9), no more(v10), killed by their own arrow(v15), their arms broken (v17), perished (v20), passed away(v35), destroyed (v38).
What are We to Do ?
Firstly, we are not to be angry or envious, otherwise, we ourselves will fall into sins.... giving up our standards and adopt their practices too.
Secondly, we are asked to trust the Lord. Continue to trust the Lord and do good (v3). Delight ourselves in the Lord (v4) with the promise that we will get the desires of our heart. Commit our ways to the Lord (v5). Rest in the Lord and wait patently for Him (v7).
Evidences of Trust
How can we know that we are trusting the Lord ? Here are the signs: not angry or envious (v8); meek (v11), peaceful (v11,37), contentment (v16), delighting in God's ways (v23) and hid God's laws in his heart(v31), do not give-up (v24),
Promises of Blessings for the Righteous
Their righteousness shall be known (v6). They shall have eternal inheritance(v18). They inherit the land(on earth here, not just in heaven) (v29), Their descendents will be blessed too (v25,26). They shall be delivered from the wicked (v40). The contrast is shown in v19, they shall not be ashamed in evil time and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
Conclusion
Our best decision is to trust the Lord fully not matter what - v39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble.

See also Take a Different View - Getting Rid of Grudges

2006-11-24

BJ#1 The Golden Rule for Business Success

This is the 1st in a series of meditations on "Principles and Strategies for Business Success according to Jesus". Being the first, the most important golden rule shall be covered here. I think the foundational principle, upon which others are built, is

(Mat 6:33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

God wants you to be successful
Firstly, it reveals God's intention - God wants us to be successful in life. That is why He is giving us the principle for success. It also reveals God's promise, or guarantee, or God's kingdom's operating laws (like the natural laws of gravity), for our success. Do it God's way and you get God's promised result. We can recall Joshua 1:8 - the Book is given that we may prosper. Now we talk about the HOW - the method.

1. Reality of Life - God must come first
'Seek First God's'. Follow after God and all these things (foods, covers, things for life, represented in money) will be added. The very 1st principle of Business Success is Put God first. When we chase after God, money chases after us. In Mat 6:24, we cannot serves both God and money. The advice is clear, serve God first and money will follows. Restated, money follows Godly practices.

2. God's Kingdom - The Right Things - The Right Strategies.
It is the operating principles and laws, like the natural law of gravity, the Newtonian Laws, Laws of Thermodynamics, etc of God's government. It is about the Right things to do. Jesus told of commandments and many parables of how the Kingdom of God works. We will discuss this in future postings.

3. God's Righteousness - Do Things Right - Walk the Talk. The Execution of Strategies.
Righteousness is not just about knowing the right things but to doing them right - reaching up to the standards. It is about quality. Jesus not only tells us about God's kingdom rules, he has to die for us (because we fail to do it!) to accomplish the requirements and obtain righteousness for us. Integrity is about walking the talk. Business success is not just about the right strategies but also about executing the strategies.

4. Do it Now.
Mat 6 ends with verse 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Let us not be paralyzed by fear of tomorrow. Tomorrow happenings is determined by today actions. Let us starting doing it now - to know God and to act on it.

5. Going Long Term
In Mat 6:19-20, we are taught to lay up treasures in heaven. Success is not short term or sporadic. It should last the test of time and stretches into eternality. The time period in our PV (Present Value) calculations should include the eternal perspective. Following the Golden Rule of God's 1st will create business that last.

6. A famous preacher rephrased this verse roughly as "Economic Success follows Spiritual Revival". This is definitely supported by the development of Europe and US after the rediscovery of salvation by faith alone.
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BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|-- BJ#2 Have A Mission Statement

2006-11-22

Creative God but a Boring Church

Why A Creative God with a Stale Church ?
When we think of creativity, do we think of the church or the Bible ? Why is it that the Church of the God of Creation is not associated with "Creativity"? The great artists and scientists of the last few centuries were Christians. What has happened that the Church has lost its creativity in Arts and Science ?

Religion - Forms Taking Over Substance
I think the key reason is "Religion". The Church has swapped the intimate relationship with Jesus for a set of Rules. We are more concern with sticking to a set of religious rules and practices than with the Person of Jesus. This is exactly when the Ephesians Church has fallen into... so good at discerning the false doctrines and false prophets and lost their first love for Jesus. To them, correct doctrines were more important than Love-Relationship with Jesus. Not that correct doctrine is not important but that there is a more important thing - one key principle - love Jesus. Loving Jesus can be expressed in many forms. But religion will insist on the particular form - usually the one that decided by those in power that suit themselves. It is outward form more than inward content. It is insisting on following the forms rather than letting the inward content expressing itself freely outward. No wonder the Church is not creative. It is bind by the forms.

Insisting On Past Methods than Sensing the Spirit
As an example, let's look in the area of Healing. The Church is after the methods that will result in healing. Is it laying of hands ? Or speaking the Word ? May be we should use spitting like Jesus. May be we need more faith. If we study into the healing incidences, we will realize that Jesus used all kinds of methods. Or to put it another way, Jesus use only one kind of method - the ONE that work. The ONE method that work has many variations depending on the person and the situations.

Situational Ethnics Need No Creativity
I am not talking about situation ethics where we bend the ethics to suit the situations. You don't need creativity here where you bend the rules to suit the situations. It is when you stick with principle and comes out with solution in seemingly impossible situations that needs creativity. Jesus' answer to the need of paying taxes is one such example. Mat 22:19-21.
   
Break Free with Grace
Rest in the peace and love of God. Let us live with the security that God loves us and delights in the things that we do. Know that God has rebirth us a new creation with righteousness, ability and creativity. Rooted and grounded in the love of God will keep us living right and free us to break with traditions and mental blocks to create new paths, new forms, new knowledge and expression to engage the new generations. Let the Church not only stay relevant, but also set the trend in fashion, thinking, movies, music, arts and other means to bring forth the true gospels of Jesus Christ. When Christians have given up on the media the devil will step into it to misuse and abuse it and deceiving many people. It is time now that Christians take back the creative media and the science for showing the glory of God.

Does that mean we throw away the Laws (as represented by the Ten Commandments)? No, Ten commandments are a mirror for our reflection. After we are saved, we have no fear of the ten-commandments as its requirements are fulfilled by Christ and there is no more condemnation. We use them as minimum checklist. We follow after a higher standard, the new commandment of love and life empowered by the grace of Christ within us. God is glorified through us - His grace shown forth through us through good work.

Related: A Re-look at the Ten Commandments ,
Principles & Insights from the Ten Commandments
Putting the Commandments in Order - From Ten Commandments to New Commandments

2006-11-11

Two Kinds of Knowledge

In Mat 22:23-32, the Sadducees, who does not believes in resurrection, are a good representation for people who believes in the natural knowledge (of and from human mind). They think have a good argument against resurrection - whose wife of the seven will she be ? 
 
Jesus, with revelation knowledge told them plainly that the resurrected life was not what they thought. They were all wrong.
 
Our limited mind with our limited knowledge is not able to understand things beyond the natural. Extrapolating into dimension we know not usually ends in error. We need some one else who has been there, like Jesus, to come to tell us what the other spiritual dimension is like. Bible is God's revelation knowledge to us. 
 
To know the truth, we need humbly to acknowledge our limitedness and to open-up ourselves to the revelation of God through the Bible. Then, we will get a better grasp of the truth, the purpose and the working of our natural world.

See also Two Kinds of Work

2006-11-04

Two Kinds of Work

In our Christian walk, it is very important to differentiate two kinds of work - dead work and fruitful work.

Dead work is work done, by following after the laws, to gain righteousness (Heb 6:1 repentance from dead works; Heb 9:14; Rev 3:1-3).  Dead work is useless work. Lots of effort but zero result. A monkey can behave like a man but that does not make it a man. A man can behave like a monkey and yet he remains a man. It is not by work to become but a transformation of new birth into a different kind that count. See
"Be-Do-Have" of Grace Based Doctrine.

Fruitful work is work done according to the desire of God that results in many fruits that bring glory to God. We are saved for good work. The order is we must be saved first then we are empowered and led to do the right kind of good work. Eph 2:8-10.

Before our salvation, we try to gain righteousness by doing the right things. After a while, we know it is futile. We heard of the Good News of Jesus Christ and His completed works for us that we may become righteous not by our effort but by believing and receiving Him. We are born anew into righteousness and not by our work which is useless and dead in giving our righteousness.

After our rebirth with attribute of righteousness, we are called to do fruitful work. John 15:5 abide in Christ tells us how to do work that produce good fruit. John 15:16 tells us that our Father is glorified when we bear fruit. Gal 5:16 echoed the same method of "walk in the Spirit" that result in Gal 5:23 fruit of the Spirit of Love, Joy, Peace,.....

As born again Christians, we should not try to 'preserve' our Salvation by going back to follow after the laws. There is not need to as we who are born of Christ is already righteous(1 John 3:9). We are called to act out the internal reality of Christ in us Phil 2:12 by His grace (strength) Phil 2:13.


Related: Two Kinds of Knowledge