You Are Called to a Life of Fruitfulness

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By Hugh Whelchel

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

God has always been with us at work. And he wants us to be fruitful there as well as all the other areas of our lives. Yet, we often find it difficult.

During a recent trip to London, I had the incredible opportunity to spend time with Mark Greene and some of the staff of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC). John Stott founded LICC in the mid-1980s, and over the years they have worked diligently to “engage closely with Christians on the frontline to develop the wisdom and practices that can help us all live fruitfully for Christ in a complex and rapidly changing world.” LICC views Christians in their everyday work (not just missionaries overseas) as serving on the “frontlines” of God’s mission in this world.

The following quote from John Stott serves as a cornerstone for LICC’s work, “Contemporary Christians are called to the difficult and even painful task of ‘double listening.’ That is, we are to listen carefully both to the ancient Word and to the modern world, in order to relate the one to the other.”

One of the tools they have developed through this way of thinking about the way we interact with the world is a framework Mark calls his “6 M’s for fruitfulness.” It’s a simple framework for helping Christians see where they are fruitful in their everyday lives and how to think through ways to be more fruitful:

  1. Modeling Godly Character – On our frontlines, godly character is both modeled and displayed. This character includes love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
  2. Making Good Work – There is dignity and value in the everyday tasks we do, and everything we do, we do for Christ.
  3. Ministering Grace & Love – God has shown us grace and love, how might we minister to those around us? How do we go the extra mile for others?
  4. Molding Culture – How can we influence the culture on our frontlines so people will flourish more? How do we find ways to make a change for the better?
  5. Mouthpiece for Truth & Justice – Becoming champions of right living and fair dealing in our everyday lives by combating lies and working for justice.
  6. Messenger of the Gospel – Growing in confidence in talking about Jesus with people on our frontlines.

The “6 M’s” is an excellent tool, but let’s take a step back and ask why fruitfulness matters at all. What do we find in scripture about this idea?

Fruitfulness in the Old and New Testaments

The picture of bearing fruit is an archetype image in both the Old and New Testament. We read in Psalm 1,

Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

In one of his most profound statements about true discipleship, Jesus tells us that he is the vine and we are the branches, and the only way we will ever bear the fruit that matters is to be in him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:5-8).

Even the Apostle Paul picked up on this theme in his letter to the Colossians:

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:9-10).

As we look across the entire scope of scripture from the opening chapters on creation to the closing vision of the new heaven and new earth, we see this idea of fruitfulness woven throughout God’s word. It symbolizes God’s plan for the restoration of his entire creation through his son Jesus Christ. As we are obedient to God’s word in our own lives, we bear the fruit of righteousness which comes from the Spirit working within each of us as believers. As Antony Billington, another member of LICC’s staff writes:

Fruitfulness, then, is bound up with the larger biblical drama of creation and redemption, God’s relationship with his people and his plan for the nations. And it’s our privilege as disciples of Christ to take our place in his grand scheme, working out the implications of the gospel on our frontlines, our lives reflecting the scope of his reign, our relationships displaying the arrival of the kingdom and anticipating its future completion, all the while bearing fruit to the glory of God.

As it says on LICC’s website, the opportunities to bear such fruit are endless: “With Christ, there is no ordinary. With Christ, every encounter, every task, every situation brims with divine possibility.”

This article is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org).

Bella Realty Group

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Contact Name: Kari Northern, Owner

Business Name: Bella Realty Group

Business Address: 6 W. Franklin St. Bellbrook, OH 45305

Website: http://bellarealtors.com

Business Phone: 937-572-2759

Business Description:
We help people like you buy and sell their home or properties! We do our best to keep you informed and make this business transaction as smooth as possible along the way!

What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
As a mother and daughter team, we decided to get our real estate license years ago while flipping houses as a family. We love helping people find homes and seeing their faces light up when they have found “the one!” It is exciting getting to look inside houses and see the various types in the area!

How did you come to faith in Christ?
We both came to faith in Christ as young girls who grew up in church!

How does your faith impact the way you do business?
Our faith allows us to not only help our clients but also pray for them along the way. We have a prayer list for our clients and pray that God will be there with them and us each step to provide for them!

Hess Tree Stump and Landscaping

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Contact Name: Jeremiah Hess, Owner

Business Name: Hess Tree Stump and Landscaping

Business Address: 5133 Monterey Maple Grove Rd Batavia Ohio

Website: https://www.thumbtack.com/oh/batavia/tree-trimming/hess-tree-stump-landscaping/service/221190980836582471?from_native_webview=true

Business Phone: 937-701-2912

Business Description:
Hess Tree Stump and Landscaping is a professional tree and landscaping company with customer service at it’s core.100% customer satisfaction guaranteed.   Serving the entire Southwest Ohio area with Tree Trimming, Tree Removal, Mulching, Shrub Trimming, Gutter Cleaning, and Residential & Commercial Landscaping & Hardscapes. 24 Hour Service — Bonded & Insured.

What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
Till the ground all your days.  Out of all the things I could do outdoors, trees are my favorite.

How did you come to faith in Christ?
Realized I was a sinner and I was going to Hell without Jesus.

How does your faith impact the way you do business?
Honesty and fairness… ’cause that’s how our Lord wants us to be. I consider how the world does business, and it’s not how Jesus would have us be.  

Childress & Cunningham Architects

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Contact Name:Allan Childress, Principal

Business Name: Childress & Cunningham Architects 

Business Address: 2355 Park Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45206

Website: http://www.cc-architects.com

Business Phone: 513-281-3500

Business Description:
Since its inception in 1986, Childress & Cunningham Architects continues to be an architecture and construction management firm providing value-added designs for organizations, businesses and home owners across the greater Cincinnati area.  We provide individualized attention to our clients, encouraging their involvement throughout the process to ensure that what they envision becomes reality.

What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
I developed a desire to be an architect before leaving elementary school.  It was just something discovered in my soul, that seemed to be there almost from the beginning. I designed my high school curriculum with architecture school as my goal.

I believe that the built environment not only reflects our philosophy of life, but often has a larger impact on the emotional and relational aspects of our lives than we realize. Therefore, each building we design is an opportunity to positively impact the lives of those in the community which the building serves.

How did you come to faith in Christ?
My journey started when my grandmother suggested my brothers and I go to church. During elementary school, we asked our parents, and they allowed us to begin attending a neighborhood church. Though I had a desire to please God and live out some of the scriptures I was taught, I’m not sure I understood the nature of salvation until a friend invited me to attend his church when I started university. I responded to an invitation, and entered into a relationship with Christ which has continued to this day.

How does your faith impact the way you do business?
Faith affects everything about my life and relationships. My life is in the continual process of being refined through consideration of the scriptures, self-examination, prayer, and interaction with believers and non-believers, while seeking to be an ambassador of Christ in this age. I strive to achieve the highest quality in my work, which can be appreciated not only by the average person, but also recognized by those within our industry.

AdvicePeriod

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Business Address: 9145 Governors Way, Suite B Cincinnati, Ohio 45249

Contact Name: Josh Styrcula

Website: https://www.adviceperiod.com/client/

Business Phone: 513-504-1803

Business Description:
Think of us as advisors with a loftier goal.
Twenty years ago, our thinking was unique — put clients first and deliver institutional-quality advice to high net worth families. Today every banker, broker and advisor claims to offer the same level of service, leaving clients wondering where to turn. In all this sameness, AdvicePeriod offers a new direction. Our thinking has led us to start-up a wealth management practice that focuses on providing clients actionable advice with tangible impact.
Our efforts as complex planners and qualified fiduciaries deliver a better view of the big picture, and enable you to keep more of your wealth to provide for future generations. Working with top industry professionals, including your existing trusted advisors, we ensure follow-through on decisions that impact your wealth.

What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
Growing up I always had a passion for business and finance. My faith instilled in me a desire to help others. So when I entered college I realized we, as a society, have a huge lack of financial literacy. My passion for finances and the desire to help families led me down the path to personal financial planning. I saw a way I could combine education with financial services to really help families navigate some of the most difficult decisions in their lives. 

I have now been in the industry for almost 15 years and I have seen a lot of different ways to provide financial services. I think the industry as a whole drastically needs to change. Most people don’t know or understand what fees they are being charged and what services are actually being provided for those fees. The industry is riddled with commission salespeople just selling their brokers newest hot product and not providing unbiased financial advice. It’s unfortunate that we do not have better differentiators between investment salespeople and advice providing financial planners. That is why I am a fee-only planner. We need to do a better job looking out for clients and educating the public to make informed decisions on who they will entrust with their money and financial future.

How did you come to faith in Christ?
I was blessed to grow up in a home where my parents took me to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesdays. But just as important as that they lived out the bible every day. I learned just as much from Sunday morning class as I did from watching my parents growing up.  It was through that upbringing and my own individual study that brought me to know Christ and his message of saving grace.

How does your faith impact the way you do business?
My faith greatly impacts my business in almost everything I do. It starts with having a strong faith and understanding that God will provide and take care of my family. That takes so much pressure off of me as a business owner. Then it extends to every interaction I have with my clients. I want them to see God’s light and his amazing message through me with my actions and words. It helps me look at Financial Planning a little differently, too. It isn’t simply about money and rates of return. While those things are obviously important to meeting your goals I try to get my clients to look past that and go deeper into their purpose. Once we can identify the true purpose and connect that emotionally to their goals the chances of success increase dramatically. It is my faith that first pushed me to look beyond the superficial and dive deeper with my clients.

Covenant Financial Advisors

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Business Address: 785 Dover Rd. NE PO Box 765 Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681

Website: http://www.getcovenant.com

Business Phone: 3308527800

•Business Description:
Covenant Financial Advisors (CFA) is a faith based independent financial advisory firm.  We help people organize the individual pieces of their financial life into a clear picture.  Special consideration is given to integrating our client’s faith values into many of the recommendations that we make.

•What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
We love helping bring organization and confidence to our client’s financial lives.  When people first come to us, they often have many different investment accounts, insurance policies, and various other financial instruments that have been acquired at various times of their life- often in a reactive way and without coordination with other areas of their financial life.  We help our clients see how the decisions they make in one area of their financial life can and often does impact other areas of their financial life and strive to help them view their financial life in a more coordinated way so that these instruments are working together efficiently.  When people first come to us, they often have a lot of “stuff”.  Rarely do they have a “plan”.  We guide our clients through the process of developing a clear, coordinated plan for themselves and their loved ones.

•How did you come to faith in Christ?
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home where I was introduced to Christ at the age of 12.

•How does your faith impact the way you do business?
My faith impacts my work because I realize that finances present an opportunity to both meet our temporal needs as well as an opportunity to have an eternal impact.  I have always seen my profession as a calling.  I have been a financial advisor for more than 30 years.  I began when I was 16 in a support capacity in a financial services office, obtained my license at age 18, and it is literally all that I have ever done on a full-time basis.  It has been said that if you find something that you love to do, you will never have to work a day in your life.  I was blessed to find my calling at a very young age, and I love what I do in developing relationships with and serving our clients along with my wonderful support team.

Your Neighbor Physical Therapy

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Contact Name: Jack Pan, Owner

Business Address: 70 Rhoads Center Dr. Suite A, Centerville OH 45458

Website: http://www.YourNeighborPT.com

Business Phone: 937-419-3431

Business Description:
Your Neighbor Physical Therapy is a physical therapy clinic that specializes in spine care and other musculoskeletal impairments. We provide one-on-one care and utilize advanced hands-on manipulation to provide pain relief to our clients. You will work only with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and will not spend your time laying on a hot pack or doing exercises you could do at home. This is what sets us apart from larger, hospital-based clinics. Since we do not accept insurance, your sessions will never be dictated by insurance rules and regulations. Typical clients are people who have failed multiple interventions in the past or people who have minimal or no insurance benefits. With our healthcare system getting more complicated each year, a cash-based clinic like Your Neighbor Physical Therapy has become the alternative for such clients who wish to pay out-of-pocket at an affordable rate. For more information, please visit our website at www.YourNeighborPT.com.

What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
Passion in sports while in high school and college has driven my desire for medical care. I originally contemplated going to medical school to become a physician in sports medicine until I learned about the field of physical therapy. It is a job full of movement and action, which allows me to stay active while working. I love the fact that I can spend a longer amount of time with my patients and this creates opportunities to connect with them on a personal level. Most importantly, I can help my patients gain mobility, and provide them with pain relief without surgeries, steroid injections,  or pain medications. Realizing the healing power of a hands-on approach early on in my career, I decided to pursue post-graduate training through the University of St. Augustine which offers a highly reputable program in manual therapy in the field of physical therapy. When I see the positive outcome through my interventions, I know that all of the commitment and devotion was worth it. While my participation in sports has faded, my passion in physical therapy continues to grow every day.

How did you come to faith in Christ?
When I came to the United States at the age of 14, my parents started to go to church with the intention of meeting new people, even though they were not believers. While I didn’t remember much of the gospel from that time, the church members’ love and care towards us left a deep impression. Knowing that I struggle in English and schoolwork, a woman named Wendy would come and tutor my sister and I for free on a regular basis. I remember she was a very nice lady who loved Jesus. After I graduated from college, one of my close friends gave his life to Christ as he was going through a hard time. I witnessed firsthand how his life was turned from despair to hope, and how he changed as a person. Hearing his personal testimony, I knew that kind of hope and joy is something I wished to have. Coincidentally, I started to go through a challenging time of my own shortly after. In college, all the classes I had taken were to prepare me to go to medical school. It was not until after graduation that I realized that I didn’t have much passion for becoming a physician. With my biology degree, I wanted to find a full-time job but it was almost impossible in the year of 2008 when the economy crashed. I remember doing different odd jobs to make a little money here and there. My social support system also crumbled as my close friends all moved out of the city. I felt lonely, trapped, and had no way out of it. The good news is that Jesus is gracious and compassionate, and he is the way and the life. I recalled how nice church people were when I was in high school, and decided to go to a local church for support.  

I have always been more of a left-brained individual who likes to reason, and it was no exception when I was trying to learn about God. I remember raising questions about the existence of God and the creation of mankind. Fortunately, the church I attended had like-minded believers who were able to give me answers with undeniable evidence. When I was unable to refute anymore, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at the age of 24. Since then, whether I feel like I am on the mountain top or the valley, Jesus is always right by my side, drawing me closer to Him every day. Looking back, accepting Jesus was the best decision I have made in my life.

How does your faith impact the way you do business?
I believe in providing the best quality of care to my clients. In the book of Luke, the good Samaritan goes above and beyond to take care of a stranger to the best of his capability. This story has inspired me to name my business as “Your Neighbor”. Knowing that one day I would be a clinic owner, I have been preparing myself ever since I was a physical therapy student, taking relevant coursework and seminars. While I was working in the hospital full-time early on in my career, I have traveled to different cities for advanced manual therapy courses at my own expense. Here at Your Neighbor Physical Therapy, patients will only receive one-on-one care from a physical therapist with doctoral training, and will not be handed off to an assistant for their care. Treatments will be individualized instead of following a protocol. Your care will revolve around your goals, not insurance reimbursement. This is and will always be the case for patients who walk through the door.

Why Does God Have Me in This Lowly Job?

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By Dr. Art Lindsley

“Climbing the corporate ladder” is a phrase frequently used in a negative way to describe someone who is selfishly advancing their career at the expense of others. Millennials, however, view rapid upward mobility as something to be desired and praised. According to Entrepreneur magazine, one of the most significant issues for this generation and, likely those following it, is forward progression in their careers.

Career mobility is not a bad thing to want. The question is, why do you want it? And, what do you do if it’s not happening right away and you feel stuck in some “lowly” position?

This is where we need to reorient our thinking around work as a calling from God. What might the Lord be doing in and through you during this time of waiting? Also, do you believe the work you’re doing now is less valuable than the work you will do in the future? Let’s look at two key biblical passages on this point.

1. We often need to take a lower position and wait for God to use us in greater ways.

In Luke 14, Jesus tells a parable when he notices guests are picking places of honor at a meal:

When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, “Give your place to this person,” and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher.” Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Lk. 14:8-11).

Note that it is better to take the lower place and wait for the appropriate time to be moved to the higher place. It is hard, especially for gifted young people, to start in a lower position in a job. We are often impatient to use our gifts more fully. If we are faithful in little tasks, we will prove worthy of greater responsibility.

Francis Schaeffer once said that in the lower place you have more peace and quiet and opportunity to spend time with the Lord. If you reach the highest position, you are weighed down with many cares, concerns, as well as a very demanding schedule that leaves you little time to rest and reflect on what you are doing. Schaeffer said it is better to stay in the lower place until the Lord sees you are prepared for the demands of the higher place. He will then “extrude” you to that higher responsibility (just as toothpaste is extruded out of a tube). You don’t have to be passive when opportunity comes, but it is important to realize the importance of being prepared.

2. God created people for every position in the Body, and every position on the corporate flowchart.

1 Corinthians 12 is an important reminder for those who feel they are a lesser part of the body:

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body (1 Cor. 12:14-20).

I have found some interesting cases among the hundreds of vocational profiles I have done. Relatively few people are made to be CEOs. Some are best as the second in command. Some are made to be inventors. Others love managing the details of an organization.

I interviewed one man whose greatest desire was to be janitor of the local school and make those floors shine. Another interviewee wanted to help the boss succeed and loved being a support person. Some love to be up front, to star, and others want to be out of the spotlight.

It is critical to know what you are made for, and not to desire, envy, or covet another’s position. Few are created to be Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, or Ravi Zacharias—but you can still find your place and delight in it.

Why Calling Matters

Seeing our work as a calling helps to reorient our thinking about its value. God calls people to a variety of different things and at different levels of responsibility. No job is more valuable than the other. Our identity is not in our job title but in the One who called us to the work in the first place. When we put too much stock in how far we’ve climbed, we tend to climb on top of others, not with them or for them.

In 1985, Robert Bellah wrote a classic book called Habits of the Heart. Bellah and his team interviewed many people throughout America about why they were committed to friends, spouses, community, and political life. They found that people had great difficulty articulating reasons for their commitment other than their own selfish interests. The language of commitment to others was lacking.

Bellah maintained that our nation desperately needed to recover the idea of calling. We are called out of our autonomous, self-centered existence in order to love God and others. To paraphrase President Kennedy, we need to ask “not what another can do for you, but what you can do for another.”

We live before an audience of One and are called by him to give our lives for others.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org). The original article appears here. It is an adapted excerpt from Art Lindsley’s new booklet, Be Transformed: Essential Principles for Personal and Public LifeIFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Visit https://tifwe.org/subscribe to subscribe to the free IFWE blog.

HJ Benken Florist, Home & Garden Center

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Contact Name: Kathy Benken, Owner

Business Address: 6000 Plainfield Rd Cincinnati, OH 45213

Website: http://www.benkens.com

Business Phone: 513-891-1040

Business Description: A family business since 1939, H.J. Benken is celebrating their 80th year in business in 2019. With one location at 6000 Plainfield Rd in Silverton, the 37-acre business is the largest florist, greenhouse and garden center in Cincinnati.

What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?
Michael grew up in the business, tagging behind his Grandpa Harry, digging in the soil bins and playing hide and seek in the greenhouses. My father was an avid gardener and my childhood was spent at his side
as he tended his Peace roses and vegetable plantings.
We were a natural fit for the hard work that lay ahead.

How did you come to faith in Christ?
Michael and I were both searching for meaning in our life and for a Church to feed the need we were beginning to experience when he was invited to go to Nigeria with a small group from Grace Chapel. It was there that he saw the power of prayer in action and the belief that God would answer those prayers. And boy, did He answer!

How does your faith impact the way you do business?
Working with family on a daily basis can be challenging, and we (my husband Mike and I) are trying by our words and actions to leave a legacy founded in love and mutual respect.  We both have tried since coming to Christ to share our faith with our employees and in our interactions with customers, as well. 
We support and give back to our local community, schools and churches and special causes.

Eight Steps Along the Path to Wisdom

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By: Dr. Art Lindsley

If I were to take you in a helicopter to Afghanistan and parachute you into the middle of the country without a map and without knowledge of how to discern where one of 10 million land mines are located, how long do you think you would last?

Being dropped into minefields without knowing how to avoid them is like life without wisdom. It is important to know life’s terrain in order to negotiate it safely as well as to experience the fullness of life.

If we are to pursue our callings to the best of our ability, we need to obtain wisdom.

Really wise people have put a lifetime of effort into gaining wisdom. How do they do it? Here are eight steps.

1. Fear the Lord

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom because when we are in awe of him we are humbled. We realize our finitude and fallenness. There are several verses throughout Proverbs that note this, including:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7).

The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom (Prov. 15:33).

Calvin began his Institutes by saying that all our knowledge comes down to knowledge of God and the self. The more we truly know God the more we can see who we are as created in God’s image, fallen, redeemed, and destined for eternal life. We then know our need of knowledge, wisdom, and grace to live our lives.

2. Be teachable

The humility that comes from properly fearing the Lord leads to a lifelong hunger to learn. Wise people are always teachable. They never feel like they have arrived. Note the following verses:

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil (Prov. 3:7).

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning (Prov. 9:8)

The wise desire to gain more knowledge, and they are also open to correction and reproof. Wise reproof is like an accurate mirror that gives a clear reflection of how you really look.

3. Learn from the wise

There is a tendency to learn from and model the people we are around the most. For instance, scripture warns us about associating with a habitually angry person:

Do not associate with a man given to anger, or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself (Prov. 22:24-25).

On the contrary, associating with and listening to the wise is highly commended:

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory (Prov. 11:14).

Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed (Prov. 15:22).

Cultivate relationships with wise people, then consult them on important decisions.

4. Watch out for spiritual entropy

As long as we keep listening and learning, we can continue to gain wisdom. Once we stop listening, things tend toward disorder, as with the thermodynamic law of entropy.

For example, Solomon started out as the wisest of kings, but later in his life he did some very unwise things. How was this possible?

I believe that he forgot the teaching ascribed to him (see Prov. 10:10), as recorded in Proverbs 19:27:

Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

If you cease to listen, you will stray. Perhaps we all know those who seemed wise but have done foolish, life-altering things. In many cases, they fell in private before they fell in public. Spiritual entropy took over when they stopped listening to wisdom.

5. Seek wisdom every day

One of my favorite Old Testament passages is Isaiah 50:4-5:

The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning, he awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not disobedient…

Wouldn’t it be tremendous to gain a wise tongue so we could speak the right word at the right time in the right way? But, how?

Whether your best time is early in the morning or later in the day, it is important to orient your life to the Lord when you wake up. Unless we spend time with the Lord daily, we will not grow or gain wisdom. We need him to open our hearts and minds on a daily basis, enabling us to taste the goodness, power, and beauty of the scriptures and pray in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).

6. Note the difference

Wisdom notes the differences. What does that mean?

We face many different situations throughout our workdays. Just because you have experienced similar situations in the past doesn’t mean that the present one is exactly the same.

The wise person perceives the similarities and the differences in each situation. The wise realize that they never experience exactly the same person, people, dynamic, or circumstances twice. Although past experience may be very helpful, it is essential to ask, “how is this situation different from anything I have experienced?”

7. Ask God for wisdom

Solomon asked for wisdom and received it. We are urged to do the same. James 1:5 says,

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Often we have not because we ask not. While we must ask God to provide wisdom, we are not to forsake the disciplined process by which we gain it.

We are to work, study, pray, fast, and fellowship to the best of our ability, but realize we have God to thank when we make progress.

8. Recognize that wisdom leads to flourishing

Those who gain wisdom are compared to a tree firmly planted, that yields fruit in abundance in due season, whose leaves do not wither; whatever they do prospers (Ps. 1:3).

They experience the Lord’s blessing (Ps. 1:1), which entails the Lord’s favor and peace in every direction of their lives.

Above all, remember that we are being made like him, conformed to his image, who is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24).

This article is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org). The original article appears here. It is an adapted excerpt from Art Lindsley’s new booklet, Be Transformed: Essential Principles for Personal and Public LifeIFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Visit https://tifwe.org/subscribe to subscribe to the free IFWE blog.

Regal Maid Cleaning Service

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Contact Name: Andy Venneman

Your Title:  Owner/Manager

Company/Organization Name: Regal Maid Cleaning Service      

Phone Number:  859.781.3300                                    

Web Address:  www.regalmaid.com

Address: Servicing Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati     

  • Business Description:

Regal Maid has been serving the Northern Kentucky / Greater Cincinnati area since 1986.  Regal Maid is a 2nd generation family-owned cleaning business. The staff is insured, bonded and covered with Worker’s Compensation. Regal Maid sends two uniformed staff members to your location in a company car loaded with the cleaning supplies, and offers FREE estimates both On-Line and at your location.  

  • How did you come to faith in Christ? 

I have been a member of my church since baptism as an infant.  I truly believe that without Christ in our life, we are not living to our fullest potential.

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?

In my business I follow the “Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  At Regal Maid, I treat my cleaning staff, customers and vendors with honesty and fairness.  I go above and beyond what I am required to do for them from a business point of view.  Being in business since 1986, we have proven ourselves to our staff and customers.  Following the Golden Rule in my business practice now and the future will preserve my company’s reputation for years to come.

  • Please share a story where you saw God move in your business or impact a customer.

We recently were made aware of a parishioner with cancer.  We made our cleaning service available to the family while they are going through treatment at no cost.   They family was SO excited about not worrying about the cleaning of there home and spending the time with their family member going through treatment. 

Costanzo Insurance Agency

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Contact Name: Dino Costanzo, Owner

Business Address: 800 Compton Rd #33, Cincinnati, OH. 45231

Website: http://www.costanzoinsurance.com

Business Phone: 513-522-3838

  • Business Description:

Costanzo Insurance is a third generation family-run insurance agency that handles all lines of personal and commercial insurance – Auto, Home, Life, Commercial, Health, and Medicare. They are a 26 year member of the Christian Blue Network.

  • What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?

My father started in the insurance business after he graduated in college in 1959, and I never really thought I would do anything else. As a child growing up, clients and agents would share evenings at our family’s kitchen table discussing insurance and their life. I always enjoyed as my Dad would help take care of their needs and problems, whether it was insurance or life circumstances.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

My father and I came to Christ through the reading of the Bible. We were searching for something more, and at age 50, my father made his decision to follow the Lord, and I followed at age 29, less than 6 months later. I started reading the Bible from the beginning, and 4 months later when I was reading Isaiah, the Lord gave me a vision of Hell.  I saw Heaven in the distance, with bright lights shining all around it, but I was forever on the outside, never allowed to enter. It was more horrifying than just being dead, and my wife shook me out of this vision, and from that point on, I was changed forever. I never wanted to be separated from God again.

I recognized very early on that the Bible was a story of redemption through our savior, Jesus Christ and that these books were pointing and telling his story. All of this was before ever reading the New Testament. Three weeks before my vision of hell, I was jogging and listening to Scripture, when the Holy Spirit revealed to me that God was indeed real. When I stopped after receiving this feeling that overwhelmed me, I looked down, and on the ground was a playing card laying upside down. I had always wore the number 9 through all of the years that I played baseball, and I knew that that card would be the 9 of hearts, the moment I saw it laying there, upside down. Yes, it was the 9 of hearts!! 

I am ever grateful for God’s free gift of Grace through our Lord Jesus.
My friends recognized the difference in me, and they finally realized that I was Born Again!

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?

When my Dad started our agency in 1988, he dedicated our agency to serving the Lord first, and we have continued that way ever since. Our family considers it a calling, and we are now continuing into a 3rd generation, as my son has also joined the agency with the same convictions that my Dad, wife, and I personally have. We are here to help our clients with their insurance needs and spiritual needs as well.

Heartland on Heritage Retreat Lodge and Barn Event

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Business Name: Heartland on Heritage Retreat Lodge and Barn Event Center
Address: 7340 Heritage Road Magnolia, Oh 44643

Contact Name: Dean and Jenny Petersen, Owners

Website: https://heartlandonheritage.com/

Business Phone: 3304952833

Business Description:

Heartland on Heritage Retreat Lodge and Barn Event Center is located in rural Carroll County, and provides a peaceful, scenic retreat that allows guests to disconnect from daily distractions in order to reconnect with family and friends. The Heartland Lodge accommodates up to 50 day guests and 16 overnight guests; perfect for retreats, multi-family getaways, weddings and more. The Lodge is complete with breathtaking views, a recreational game and movie room, fully equipped kitchen, and large common areas to spend time together. The Heartland on Heritage Barn Event Center accommodates up to 100 guests and provides a beautiful, rustic setting for parties, reunions, receptions and gatherings. The upper level of the barn houses a ninja course for kids and adults to be challenged and enjoy, a great place for kids to hang out while adults celebrate on the main floor. The Heartland grounds provide fishing, hiking, and a farm animal experience including cows, sheep, ponies, alpacas and a horse.

  • What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?

We are farmers. Our family of four owns an 82 acre hardwood tree farm that we manage according to God’s principles of stewardship. Also on the farm we plant, harvest, and sell about 2 acres of pumpkins a year. It’s a grueling family event that teaches patience, perseverance, and teamwork. The girls take on a lot of 4H projects each year and they are hard at work training hogs and sheep, steer and turkeys and more while complementing their knowledge with natural resource and photography projects. But God put on our heart a desire for more. Not more material things but a desire to make a difference in other’s lives and to find a way to show Jesus to others. April 2018 we purchased the neighboring farm with the vision of developing it into Heartland on Heritage Retreat Lodge and Barn Event Center. Our work in the corporate world, education, youth ministry and raising a family gave us the God size vision to provide a place where people, groups, families, friends could disconnect from the daily distractions and reconnect with family and friends, combating several issues found in our culture including decreased physical activity levels, increased screen time at the cost of face to face interactions, and a decreased awareness of our natural world around us. We desired to use this unique retreat  venue to show Christ to others through our love and actions.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

Heartland on Heritage was developed as an extension of our faith. We profess a personal relationship with Jesus, and each of us continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Our faith is based on the fact that time and time again God has shown us He loves us in a way that is greater than our understanding.  Additionally, when we look around at the waters and woodlands and wonders of the natural world, it is clear that man is without excuse.  Heartland offers this opportunity.

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?

It is our hope that Heartland on Heritage and our personal interactions will be a reflection of Jesus. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Proverbs 16:3 tells us to commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.  That scriptural truth in the context of Proverbs 15:22, which says that  plans fail for lack of counsel, is why we we surrounded ourselves with wise advisers and skillful workers as we applied scripture to meeting the needs in the market place while being good stewards of the resources we were blessed with.   We believe social media has made us less social so that is why we want families and groups to disconnect to reconnect.  Disconnect from social media and devices and reconnect with family and friends.  In addition, the Barn Event Center allows for larger groups of people to experience a connection with the country by enjoying God’s creation while celebrating a wedding, reception, reunion, or any number of life events.

Knowing the Why, What, and How of Your Calling

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By Dr. Art Lindsley

Our culture has a crisis in calling. We’ve been exploring this crisis, and how a biblical perspective on work can help us address it.

A biblical view of work runs throughout all of scripture. We are given the cultural mandate (Gen. 1:28) in Genesis to use our gifts to cultivate the kingdom of God. Our work then plays a part in God’s plan for restoration laid out in the book of Revelation.

We have lost sight of this perspective, and, as a result, we have lost any sense of calling. What is calling, and what does it mean for our lives?

Types of Calling

I want to focus on two types of callings:

  • General Calling: The primary meaning of calling in scripture is a general one—we are called out of an old, sinful way of life into a new, redeemed, and faithful way of life. There are numerous references to this general calling throughout the New Testament, especially in Romans.
  • Particular Calling: This type of calling, used in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24, refers to our state or condition of life. 1 Corinthians 7:20 and 7:24 repeat the refrain, “Let each man remain in that calling in which he was called.”

Even though the particular calling does not speak specifically to our jobs, it is important to note that the general call is sufficient to understand that we should be faithful to the Lord in all areas of our lives, including in our work.

Implications of Calling

The primary emphasis of scripture is on the general call. We are called to a new way of life and faithfulness to our Lord. This means being faithful to God, our families, our church, our nation (as citizens), and our work.

Our faithfulness can sometimes be gauged by examining our priorities, or how we spend our time. When we are faithful to the callings God has placed upon our lives, we will experience meaning, significance, and wholeness. If our priorities are askew, we will not.

If we are faithful, calling impacts and orients our lives in a variety of ways:

  • A sense of calling gives us perspective on what we do. Whether we succeed or fail, we can sustain motivation to our calling if we remain faithful. For instance, William Wilberforce fought for the abolition of slavery in England for almost thirty years. He endured constant vilification and many disheartening obstacles. Yet he pressed on towards his goal because he knew what God had called him to do.
  • Calling can keep us from compromising. Sometimes in our work we face the temptation to compromise our values. We may be challenged to act unethically in order to advance in our careers. I have a friend who became a whistleblower.  He worked for a state government and found out that some workers were being treated in a way that was not right. He was warned that exposing the issue would lead him to lose his job and worse. Because of his faith in Christ, he decided to do what was right. What was most important to him was faithfulness to Christ—faithfulness to calling, not to compromise.
  • We are called to be good stewards of our gifts. If you look at 1 Corinthians 12:8-10Romans 12:6-8, and Ephesians 4:11-13, you will find various lists of gifts to be used in the body of Christ. We are called to know what our gifts are and to use them vigorously for his kingdom. We are to use the same gifts in the world with respect to our work. Our “natural” gifts are our “created” gifts—given to us by God. The Fall has withered, misdirected, or twisted our natural gifts. However, the Holy Spirit can redirect these gifts to benefit both the church and the world.
  • Don’t expect a “perfect” use of your gifts. We live in a world that is far from perfect. It is often difficult to find a job that fully fits your gifts. Even if you could land the perfect job, you would find that it wasn’t perfect because you are fallen, and the people around you are fallen. Although you shouldn’t expect perfection, you should strive to be a good steward of the gifts you were given.

You have been called for a purpose—to use your gifts to serve the common good, bring glory to God, and to advance his kingdom. By God’s grace, we can know whywe are called, what we are called to do, and how we are to do it.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org). The original article appears here. IFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Visit https://tifwe.org/subscribeto subscribe to the free IFWE Blog.

Viox Windows & Remodeling

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Business Name: Viox Windows & Remodeling

Business Address:1387 State Route 28, Loveland Ohio 45140

Contact Name: Mike Viox, Owner

Website: http://vioxwindows@gmail.com

Business Phone: 5135751111

  • Business Description:

Viox Windows specializes in replacement vinyl windows and all types of doors. They also offer remodeling services such as vinyl siding, roofing, basements, kitchens, bathrooms and other remodeling jobs for your home or business.   Viox Windows is a 27 year member of the Christian Blue Network.

  • What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today?

I put windows in for a friend 40 years ago and realized I liked to do it…I got satisfaction out of it, and I like helping people get their house fixed up at a reasonable price. I’m still doing it today, and don’t have any plans to quit.  It’s nice getting out, meeting people, and helping them with their home.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

As newlyweds, my wife and I attended church, but then after watching a Billy Graham movie and hearing the Word preached, I decided to commit my life to Jesus. I made it public in 1975 on Palm Sunday, and then I followed up by getting baptized.  There’s no going back, and I have a life of joy.

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?

I do not believe that we need to separate our business from our personal life – all should all tie together, and we are called to be witnesses of Christ all the time.

Neely Dental Team

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Business Name: Neely Dental Team

Contact Name: Dr. Matthew Neely

Business Address: 39 Dellsing Drive, Vandalia, OH 45377

Website: http://www.neelydentalteam.com

Business Phone: 937-898-8798

  • Business Description: 

Neely Dental Team practices General Dentistry. We have two Doctors, myself and Dr. Barton on our team. We offer dental exams, cleanings, fillings, and other services such as: Teeth whitening, veneers, and cosmetic dentistry, Endodontic therapy (root canals), extractions, crowns, and dental implants, Periodontal care for gum disease, Pediatric dentistry and emergency dental care.

  • What first inspired you to get into your line of work? And what motivates you to do the work you do still today? 

I knew early on that I had a passion for serving others and I have always been interested in the healthcare. I love serving my patients and providing the best care for them. It motivates me everyday knowing that I can make an immediate change in the oral health of our patients.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

The need for Christ was instilled in me as a child. I attended a Christian university and as  I grew and matured I came to find my own faith that has continued to strengthen.

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?

My faith is the foundation upon the which I live my life and conduct my business. I try to treat others the way Christ has always treated me, with mercy, grace and love. This includes my family, my co-workers and my patients.

Fulfillment | You can find fulfillment by living into who God created you to be

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By: Hugh Whelchel, originally posted on July 2, 2015.

You wake up in the morning hoping your actions will have purpose.

You want the work you do during the day to be affirmed, to be directed towards a meaningful end, and to have an impact on the lives of those around you.

You want to lie down at night and feel satisfied, content that the work you did was your very best and made a difference in the grand scheme of things.

You want the peace of mind, the satisfaction that comes with living out your purpose in the world.

You want fulfillment.

And you know what? You can find it. Everyone can.

Each person is created in God’s image, and like him, has the desire – and the ability – to be creative and find fulfillment using their God-given talents.

You can find fulfillment in many ways, by knowing your place and purpose in your community, your family, your church, and especially in work.

You can find fulfillment by living into who God created you to be, and doing what he created you to do.

In short, you find fulfillment when you discover and carry out your calling. This fulfillment finds expression in many ways – in serving your community, church, and family. In these places, you can make contributions that have eternal significance.

Work especially is an area where you can find fulfillment. Your daily work provides you with the challenges and opportunities to serve God and others. In fact, it’s the best way to serve others. And service is key – ultimately, work isn’t just about your personal fulfillment. It’s about serving your neighbors and even complete strangers by using your God-given gifts, talents, and resources to help meet their needs. Your service gives people a glimpse of how things will be when Christ returns and restores creation in full.

There are, of course, times when work may be difficult. Some days you feel the “thorns and thistles,” the stress, the burden of your responsibilities more than others. Through it all, work remains a formative activity for finding fulfillment by teaching us about God and ourselves.

Fulfillment can be found in whatever work God places in front of you, regardless of whether it’s your dream job or not. When we work hard everyday at the work God has given us, it’s pleasing to him and way more fulfilling for us.

Ultimately, fulfillment is not found in our circumstances, but in the actions – and attitudes we take towards our work, family, church, and community each and everyday. It’s found in working diligently to glorify God, serve the common good, and advance the kingdom of God in all that we do.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics (www.tifwe.org). The original article appears here.IFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Visit https://tifwe.org/subscribeto subscribe to the free IFWE Blog.

Rosalind Smith Sistrunk

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Contact Name: Rosalind Smith Sistrunk

Title:  Licensed Professional Counselor

Company Name: Rosalind Smith Counseling, LLC

Phone Number:  513-370-7460  

Web Address: www.rosalindsmithcounseling.com

Address: 431 Ohio Pike, Suite 156, Cincinnati, OH 45255

  • Please describe your business here: 

Rosalind Smith Counseling LLC is a Christian-based mental health private practice that helps individuals, couples, and families heal from emotional pain and trauma. The focus is on relationship counseling because life involves the development and maintenance of various types of relationships. Clients will obtain tools and concepts that can be used to help repair and prevent future relationship ruptures. This process will help them develop a mindset that is focused on building and maintaining healthy relationships. The clients receive a personalized counseling experience tailored to help cultivate a stronger foundation by identifying and removing barriers that negatively impact their relationships.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

I grew up in a Christian home with parents who had significant leadership roles in our Church. My Dad is a Deacon, and my Mom has served in several ministries over the years. I also have been in leadership since an early age. I grew up with Christ. He has been with me throughout my entire life. I don’t know what it is like not to have Him with me, and I don’t want to experience life without Him.

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?

My faith drives every aspect of the way that I do business. I couldn’t connect and positively impact people’s lives if I didn’t rely on my relationship with God. He is the ultimate source of knowledge when it comes to caring for his children. It is an honor and privilege to be chosen by God to help support kingdom building in this capacity.

  • Please share a story where you saw God move in your business or impact a customer.

Throughout my life, I have found myself in many listening and advice seeking situations initiated by family, friends, and members of my church, a real gift that I realized much later in life. God impacted my business long before I became a licensed counselor. My journey began one Sunday after church, I was shocked when one of my fellow church members asked me to counsel her and her husband. I immediately said, “I’m not a counselor,” and suggested that they set up some appointments with the Pastor, but she said, “No, we want you.” I went to my Pastor’s wife and said, “Are you kidding me? They want me to counsel them? I’m trying to work on my own marriage. Besides, I’m not a counselor how could I possibly help them?” She said, “God sent them to you so go pray and ask Him what to do.” I did just that. I asked Him to show me what He needed me to do. The couple was able to work through their issues to develop and maintain a healthy relationship. It has been over ten years since I first met with that couple and every now and then, I let them know that they are my inspiration. Unfortunately, my own marriage did not survive; however, the joy of seeing one that was so troubled survive was a special blessing to me. During the divorce process, I sought counsel for myself and my son. My counselor noticed my gift and encouraged me to pursue a degree in counseling. Through my work in counseling, my heart and mind clearly opened for me to see how God used me as His vessel to help encourage and support so many lives. My life has been richly blessed by each of them.

God paved the way for me to start my own private practice after obtaining my license. All those years ago, He was preparing me for such a time as this. I have had the awesome opportunity to witness many individuals and couples connect with God and improve the quality of their lives and relationships. I have learned a great deal about myself experiencing these moments in my life. I learned that even a spiritually strong person can benefit from counseling. My passion for learning and helping others has always been with me. I think the most impactful thing that I learned was that it is never too late for God to use you and to pursue your passion. Today, God has allowed me to use the most painful points in my life to experience some beautiful and wonderful moments in my life. I feel great joy while working with my clients and seeing the transformation of their lives from our initial meeting. There is no doubt in my mind that I was purposed to be a counselor. I absolutely love my work!

International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen (IFCB)

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Contact Name:  Earl J. Blanks, MBA

Your Title:  President, Cincinnati Chapter, IFCB

Company/Organization Name:  International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen                        

Phone Number:  513-236-9126                                    

Web Address:  www.ifcbcincinnati.com

Address:  IFCB; P.O. Box 498274; Cincinnati, Ohio 45249                               

  • Please describe your business here: 

IFCB is an organization of Christian and Professional businessmen whose purpose is to impact business culture by promoting sound moral and ethical standards in the workplace.  These standards are based on Godly, Biblical principles.  To accomplish this goal, IFCB creates an environment for Christians and like-minded business and professional men to: (1)learn  how to use the wisdom of the power of  the Word of God in their business and professional lives; and (2) create a culture where men can find relationships they can count on.  The IFCB Fellowship is facilitated by monthly luncheons with “Salt Talks” from fellow Christian Businessmen or  “guest speakers”;  monthly Roundtables – “small groups” ; and other special activities.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

I came to know the Lord decades ago as a child of 12 years old when I joined the “Mourner’s bench” during a revival at my southern Baptist church.  After confessing my belief in Christ that night, I also asked God to let me feel the power of the Holy Spirit in a way that I would remember.  I soon received a “Spiritual” burning all over my body that led me to openly express praises to the Lord during the revival service.  From that day, my faith in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit has grown and been the enabling force in my life and the life of my family each day.

  •  How does your faith impact the way you do business?

My Faith in God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit impacts the way I do business because I view God as my partner in every business decision.  I have discovered that by viewing God as my partner and praying before any new undertaking, things always go better.  There is a certain peace to be experienced, regardless of what one is going through.  This peace extends to my customers, employees, suppliers and others with whom I work.   God always provides.

  • Please share a story where you saw God move in your business or impact a customer.

Three years ago, the Founder and President of IFCB Cincinnati Chapter stepped down after 26 years of dedicated service to the Cincinnati Chapter of IFCB, due to health concerns.  Attendance at the luncheons began to falter.  However, through prayer and the focus on creating a “Spiritual” experience for the men,  God has allowed the current Management Team to inject a new vitality in the monthly luncheons.  Attendance this year is up 34% versus a year ago, with an increasingly diverse group of Christians.  We pray that there will always be men willing to help share the Gospel of Jesus Christ (The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19&20).

THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY.  PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL ME WITH ANY QUESTIONS… AT 513-236-9126.

To Be Salt and Light Requires Risk-Taking

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Many of us often wonder what our true calling might be.

We ponder what it is we can bring to the world, something that is uniquely “us.”

We ask the questions “what difference can I make?”, “Am I significant?”, “When it’s all said and done, will my life have counted for something?”

One of my favorite scriptures gives us some insight as a starting point for answering these questions:

Let me tell you why you’re here, You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth… Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world (Matt. 5:13-14, The Message).

This scripture conveys two rich metaphors, of salt bringing out God-flavors and light bringing out God-colors in the world. When you think about it, there are infinite flavors and colors, and our task is to uniquely reveal some piece of those infinite ranges

Each of us is necessary if we’re going to reveal the entire palette of God’s flavors and the entire range of all God’s colors! That’s great news, for it’s an assurance that there is a unique story we each get to convey with our lives—a story that is part of God’s larger story. Each individual story is important, no matter how different or unconventional that story might be.

Many of us struggle with discovering our story, or understanding the significance of our story. Society tells us that in order to be successful, x, y, or z has to occur. One common notion is that we have to be front and center. We have to be the star.

But this is not what God is telling us. Just like one dish is composed of multiple ingredients and flavors, the same can be said of your life in relation to those around you.

Just because you aren’t the pasta of the dish doesn’t mean that your small amount of oregano isn’t essential in making the dish sing. We are all integral parts of a bigger entrée, ultimately making it taste great. In the same way, a painting has both soft and bold colors, each essential in creating the masterpiece and conveying its beauty and message to the viewer.

So how do you become salt and light, giving expression to your unique role in revealing God’s flavors and colors to the world around you?

One key way you can do this is through risk-taking. God is constantly speaking to us and inviting us to take risks, ranging from small and simple to looming and large. He’s asking us to get outside our comfort zones. As we do, we become salt and light. Our stories gain depth and nuance.

Risks are varied and diverse, of course—saying hello to someone, helping a neighbor you don’t know too well, asking for a promotion, taking a new job, moving across the country, going back to school, making a call to a relative, resolving a conflict with a co-worker, the list goes on. God’s invitation to risk for you is going to look different from his invitation to someone else.

We can’t expect to fully be salt and light without first stepping out in faith and taking steps of risk toward who and what we are meant to become.

This might feel daunting at times, but remember: God has promised us that we are all salt and light. What we have to bring to the table is indeed enough. Not only is it enough—it is essential!

I want to encourage each of you that through risk, your personal story can come alive! Through risk, you become an expression of salt and light to the world around you. Through risk, you can step into and align with God’s far bigger story.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics ( www.tifwe.org ). The original article appears here . IFWE is a Christian research organization committed to advancing biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society. Visit https://tifwe.org/subscribe to subscribe to the free IFWE blog.