Knowing the Why, What, and How of Your Calling

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By Dr. Art Lindsley, originally posted on March 8, 2019.

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 Dentisty. 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.

American Eagle Mortgage Co.

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Contact Name: Ron Thomas

Your Title: Loan Officer

Company/Organization Name: American Eagle Mortgage Co

Phone Number: 740-654-6000

Web Address: www.aemc.cc

Address: 2682 N Columbus St. Suite B, Lancaster, Oh 43130

  • Please describe your business here:

American Eagle Mortgage Co provides home mortgage loans for purchase & refinance in all of Ohio, providing conventional, VA, FHA, & USDA loans along with down payment assistance programs.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ? I had the privilege of growing up with Christian parents who prayed, read scripture & faithfully attended Church. I made a profession of faith in Christ in 1964 at the Billy Graham Crusade in Columbus that year. I continued to grow spiritually through College and seminary, and later having the opportunity to pastor in 2 local churches.
  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?  I believe that every believer is a minister wherever the Lord places him or her. As I am equipped to do “the work of the ministry”, I then reach the lost where the LORD had placed me, in the “marketplace”. As a result, I represent the LORD in doing the very best for the benefit of my customers. In my vocation, that means the best home loan terms possible, and even directing them to other lenders if I cannot provide them with what is best for them. Scripture tells me that I am to love my neighbor as myself, and the work I do is an expression of that love. I work “as unto the Lord”, which effects the integrity, honesty, kindness, & servanthood that reflects the character of God in all I do.
  • Please share a story where you saw God move in your business or impact a customer.

I do many loans for customers who are not able to get home loans anywhere else. One customer was buying a house after her husband passed away unexpectedly, and she needed someone to come alongside her in the loan process. She had never bought a home by herself, and her husband had handled all the finances previously. It was a very emotional process for her, but as I was able to help her get to the closing table, it was a blessing to me to be able to be Christ’s representative to her in the process, and for her to have a home where she knew that the Lord had provided this home for her.

Premier Clean

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Contact Name:   Ric & Melissa Bridgett

Your Title: Owners

Company Name: Premier Clean

Phone Number: (614)772-4270 (Ric)/ (808)783-5042 (Melissa)

Web Address: www.premierclean.biz

Please describe your business here:

Premier Clean is a veteran-owned, customer-focused cleaning company dedicated to providing tailored residential and commercial cleaning solutions. Premier Clean understands how important TRUST and CHOICE are when considering a service provider, using the company’s Core Values as the benchmark with every customer engagement. Premier Clean uses off-the-shelf, environmentally approved cleaning products to ensure quality results with minimal risk to the customer. Premier Clean understands the customer is the cornerstone of success and strives to deliver an exceptional service experience, every time.

How did you come to faith in Christ?

Ric – Originally when he was in 8th grade during an altar call when attending a church service with a neighborhood friend.

Melissa – Originally in 7th grade during church Confirmation/Catechism classes.

Ric & Melissa (together) – Ric started attending a Men’s Bible study group in late 1995, while working at the Post Office. Melissa was a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids under 3 and unable to attend church activities until they both started attending a couples’ Bible Study in January 1996. The leader of the group identified that if a person had already accepted Christ in his/her heart, the next step would be water baptism. Ric & Melissa were both baptized on February 20, 1996 and began their walk with Christ together. On September 4, 2005, Ric & Melissa re-affirmed their faith as their 3 children decided to be baptized – resulting in the entire family being “baptized” in the Pacific Ocean at Kailua Beach Park, Hawaii by their church pastoral staff during open baptisms (New Hope Windward).

How does your faith impact the way you do business?

As a family that lives by faith, this company was founded on faith. While we have been in public service roles for decades as part of our individual careers, we have always been entrepreneurs at heart. This business was born approximately 9 years ago, as our relationship with our own personal house cleaner was beginning and the idea was introduced. Over the past 3 years, we felt God had called us to be obedient with numerous parts of our lives. Our obedience paved the way for the idea to become a plan, and the subsequent launch of Premier Clean. This company represents more than just a business for us, it’s an opportunity to have more freedom and to serve as a couple. This business represents our opportunity to develop relationships and continually serve those that we interact with and those we serve. Finally, it allows us to pursue other areas of the small business world, including leaving a legacy for our children and grandchildren. As we step out in obedience in this new adventure, our faith continues grow as does our reliance on Christ. He’s never failed us yet and continues to lead us down paths to new relationships, just as He’s done with The Christian Blue Pages!

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

This business has been in the making for 9 years, first through Ric & our lead cleaner, Celma. Five years later, Melissa and Celma discussed the vision of the business. Ric had been living out of state since 2009, only coming home on weekends, holidays and some occasional remote weeks. 2 ½ years ago, we felt prompted by God to “downsize” by selling our larger home, moving into a temporary apartment for a year and move back into our “old” home (that had been a rental for 13 years) after it had been flipped/rehabbed. We moved back into our home in 2017 and the only step “left” was for Ric to secure employment somewhere in Central Ohio, which ended up being a job at Wright-Patterson AFB. Side note, Ric had been trying on his own to get a job at WPAFB for the previous 9 years, to no avail.

We both prayed and felt like God was still stirring the business idea within both of us. We prayed and said that Ric needs to be in Ohio for this business to become a reality. That was earlier in 2018. In July 2018, Ric was “by-named” to a key position at WPAFB by a former supervisor, with whom he worked with 5 years ago. Once he secured the job (perfect in his role/duties and in pay), we both realized that God had answered a HUGE prayer and we had our part to do by starting the business. We stand here today, just 3 ½ months after starting the process!

The 2nd story relates to a customer. Our 4th customer since starting the business 6 weeks ago. The customer called Melissa’s personal cell phone and asked about the cleaning services. During the conversation, it was realized that the customer needed a One-time deep clean, in order to get their home “Market ready” the day after the clean. The call came in on Thursday afternoon and the main cleaning team was to be out of the office until Tuesday evening. The customer wanted the cleaning to occur on a Monday, as their house was to be put on the market on Tuesday morning. While talking to the customer, Melissa felt very strongly that she and her husband were to go and clean the home, in place of the lead clean team. Having another job, her prayer was that her schedule would be clear in order to have time to go clean. Her main job’s meeting schedule was adjusted by her Director, leaving Monday completely open to clean. Melissa, Jamie (the Office Administrator) and Ric (who took a half day off) all cleaned this family’s home from 10am – 6pm. After the cleaning was finished, the customer made a comment that he had never had his home professionally cleaned before, although his wife had been asking for this service. He said, “From here on out, I will never have my house professionally cleaned again UNLESS it is your company or my wife or myself.” “The reason being is that if the OWNERS can come and clean my home on their hands and knees, that tells me about the dedication and integrity you both have, as well as the nature of your business!” He then asked for more than a handful of business cards so he could pass them out!

What we didn’t realize going into this job was the valuable lesson our leadership team would learn as the result. It really opened our eyes to the level/amount of work we are asking our teams to complete. That day, we learned the value of doing work the right way, not cutting corners for the sake of saving time, and what we’re asking of our staff. It was definitely an eye-opening experience and at the same time a tremendous blessing!

Prayer | October 2018 Word from the President

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The staff of the Christian Blue Network has had the privilege over the past 23 years to open our work week on Monday mornings with staff prayer. During that time, we’ve committed to praying systematically through the alphabet for our business clients (businesses whose names start with “A” one week, B the next, etc.), and other prayer concerns that come into our office regularly. As a result, God has shown us, time and time again, that the prayers of the righteous do avail much (James 5:16).

During our prayer time this week, I shared about the 40 Day Prayer Covenant, a Cincinnati, Ohio based, international prayer movement which focus on 10 areas of prayer for believers in Christ – Grace, Love, Compassion, Repentance, Worship, Commitment, Dependence, Influence, Discipleship, and Authority.

Having recently attended a Christian business networking meeting where Stephen Eyre, Executive for Ministry Support shared about their 40 Day Prayer Covenant, I was greatly inspired by their Bible-centered prayer ministry, so I’m led to share it with you.

The mission of the 40 Day Prayer Covenant is to inspire and encourage Christ-centered covenant prayer partnerships among adults and children that empower discipleship, transformation and evangelism. Their vision is to see the Prayer Covenant be a catalyst for an awakening to the supremacy of Jesus Christ as Lord throughout His church and His world.

Here are the 10 prayers they recommend you pray daily for 40 days…

Grace – Dear Father, thank you for your grace that has made me one of your dearly loved children.

Love – By your grace, make being with you, loving you and obeying you my highest priority.

Compassion – Empower me to love others the way you love me.

Repentance – Wash me clean of every sin.

Worship – Enable me to Praise You, O Lord, with all my heart.

Commitment – Jesus, be Lord of my life today in new ways, and change me any way you want.

Dependence – Fill me with your Holy Spirit.

Influence – Make me an instrument of your grace, truth, forgiveness, righteousness and justice.

Discipleship – Use me today For Your Glory, as a witness to your kingdom, and to invite others to follow Jesus Christ as Lord.

Authority – Gracious father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

So, if you feel led, visit www.theprayercovenant.org to find out more about how to incorporate this prayer covenant into your daily walk with the Lord.

May God bless you abundantly in all that you do, in Jesus’ name!

Darrel Geis
President
Christian Blue Network

Work, Dignity, and the Source of Our True Value

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By Daniel Darling, originally posted August 20, 2018.

Because we live in a Genesis-3 (fallen) world, we are tempted to think wrongly about our work in two ways.

First, we can make our work everything: an object of worship and devotion instead of the good gift God created it to be.

Our careers are often seen as a marker of identity and worth. Consider the way a conversation goes when you meet someone for the first time. Next time you greet a visitor at church or strike up conversation on the train or meet a new family in your neighborhood, you will likely, without even thinking, ask, “So, what do you do for a living?” Their answer will, to some extent, inform the way you think of them.

I spend much of my time in either Nashville or Washington, D.C.—two cities where this question takes on heightened significance. In Nashville, a city blessed with a vibrant artist community, people are often defined by their creative acts. I’m a songwriter. I’m working on a project with so-and-so. I’m working in marketing for this or that label/company/nonprofit. In D.C., it’s a power game, where business cards are exchanged and contacts are stored to leverage influence. I work on the Hill on Ways and Means. I just started at this think tank. I work at this government agency.

Think about the questions work often provokes:

  • Is my job significant?
  • Does it give me influence?
  • Do people know what I do and do they think it matters?

We don’t ask these questions out loud, of course, but we think them, subconsciously.

And so it is very easy to end up worshiping work as that which gives us our significance, our ultimate fulfillment. Sometimes it’s important for us to step back and see what work, when worshiped as an idol, demands of us. We don’t just leave it at the office or the factory floor—we take it home. It is in our pocket, always pulling us away from our family and friends with one more check of our email, one more phone call, one more quick project. Work whispers in our ears that we are God-like, without a need for rest.

If we are not careful, we will load our vocations with the weight of a significance they were not meant to bear. As long as we are working, productive, and influential, we think we are happy. We often don’t even realize we’ve worshiped this faceless god until we’ve looked up and seen all of the unnecessary sacrifices we’ve made to it.

Work matters, and it matters to God, but it makes a poor god. We were not created in the image of our salaries or our positions or the organization for which we work. These good things will one day pass away, leaving us, if we are not careful, empty and unfulfilled.

This is why we must return, again and again, to the truth that our identity is not dependent on our utility or our influence or our paycheck, but is grounded in the love God has for his image-bearers. And in Christ, we know we are not merely laborers for corporations, but co-heirs with him forever. Tim Keller says that “faith gives you an inner ballast without which work could destroy you.”

As much as we are tempted to exalt our work, we are tempted to diminish it as well.

I’ve heard variations of this sentiment in the churches I have served: “Pastor, I wish I could really serve Jesus like you do. I have to sling it in a factory or stuff bags on an airplane or serve coffee to college students.”

This reflects an underdeveloped view of work, as if only what we do on Sundays when we meet as a church “counts” as Christian service, and work is just the way we get a paycheck and the place we go to try to evangelize.

Sadly, much of this exists because of misguided teaching and preaching. We pastors have often failed to teach a robust doctrine of work and have often elevated our own vocations higher on the heavenly org chart than God does. When we reduce the significance of our callings to mere utilitarian purposes, we diminish our own dignity. God did not create us as mere money-generating bots, but as creators, even if much of our creating seems mundane and monotonous.

Perhaps I’m particularly sensitive to this because I felt that everyday vocations such as my father’s were considered second-class by the church culture in which I grew up. It is too easy for those of us who receive paychecks from Christian organizations to consider our callings more sacred than those of the people we serve.

Constructive work is in and of itself a way we live as image-bearers. And the way we work can be a way we demonstrate that we understand the value of those we work alongside, and those we interact with. Our work is how we love and serve our neighbors.

When my father gave full attention to installing plumbing systems that work, he was serving the family whose house he worked on, and thus the community and the world. A craftsman should make good products because fellow image-bearers will use them. A baker should produce delicious baked goods because they will be consumed by fellow image-bearers. A retail employee should stock shelves with excellence because those shelves will be perused by fellow image-bearers looking to purchase goods. And in all of this, our Father is watching, pleased with our honest labor (Col. 3:23).

This article is copied with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics ( www.tifwe.org ). The original article appeared 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 Daily Blog.

Prime Accounting Services, LLC

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Contact Name: Tom Strauss
Your Title: Owner
Company Name: Prime Accounting Services, LLC
Phone Number: 317-804-1174
Web Address: www.myprimeaccounting.com
Address: 3501 Westfield Rd (St Rd 32), Westfield, IN 46062

1) Please describe your business here:
Prime Accounting Services, LLC provides bookkeeping, tax return preparation and IRS representation to individuals and small businesses. Prime Accounting Services was started to assist small businesses with the many financial issues they encounter. This is in addition to preparing personal federal and state income tax returns. As an Enrolled Agent for the IRS, you can feel confident that Tom Strauss will be able to handle your particular tax situation, including helping you with resolving back tax issues and dealing with the IRS. When you are ready to learn more about how you can be helped, please feel free to contact Tom Strauss.

2) How did you come to faith in Christ?
There was this girl I wanted to get to know, and early on I discovered she was a Christian. I decided that to really know her, I had to understand her faith. The process of learning about the faith she displayed was my own personal journey of encountering and, eventually, accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Oh, Sherry and I did get married, in July of 1998!

3) How does your faith impact the way you do business? 
My current and potential clients are my mission field. The way I interact with them can have an eternal impact on their lives. I try to treat everyone as Christ has treated me: with love, as a servant, willing to put their needs ahead of mine. Every client is a person, loved by God. To Him, every one of them has immeasurable worth. I strive to view them the same way, as a unique child of God, rather than just a client paying for my services.

4) Please share a story where you saw God move in your business, or impacted a customer.
Just a few years ago, I was working my business on a part-time basis while holding down a full-time job. My business grew, by word of mouth, each year. Two years ago, it had gotten to the point where I wouldn’t be able to accept any more clients and continue working full-time. I asked God to give me some direction; I wanted to be an entrepreneur but wasn’t sure that’s what He had planned for me. Well, He answered by taking away my job! And ever since, my business has thrived. I had prepared myself with all the necessary training in tax preparation, and when He saw that I was ready, He made it happen for me! What an awesome God we serve!

Logan Bravard, Realtor with Coldwell Banker King Thompson

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Contact Name: Logan Bravard
Your Title: Realtor
Company Name: Logan Bravard, Realtor with Coldwell Banker King Thompson
Phone Number: 614-216-1980
Web Address: www.buyorsellhomeswithlogan.com
Address: 960 N. Hamilton Rd. Gahanna, Ohio 43230

1) Please describe your business here:

Logan Bravard, Realtor® with Coldwell Banker King Thompson proudly serves the Central Ohio Area representing Sellers and Buyers of real estate. A client of Logan Bravard’s is typically someone who wants to sell their home for the highest net possible. As a listing agent, stats are what set him apart; he has a 102% sold price vs. list price average. A full 5% higher than the average for the entire Columbus market which is 97%. Working with Logan Bravard and Coldwell Banker King Thompson is a great way to ensure your experience in real estate is excellent.

2) How is your business different from others in the same line of work?

How does that difference benefit your customers? : We help Sellers make more substantial financial profits by selling their homes for 5% more than the average in the Columbus Market. We are also very blessed to help buyers find and win their dream home in this very crazy and competitive real estate market. Another area that God has blessed me as a listing agent is my average days on market which is currently six, where the total in Columbus averages forty-two days on the market. I know I am very blessed. My business stands out with the many successes God has provided my clients and me.

3) How did you come to faith in Christ?

I was called to Christ during my junior year in high school. I confessed Jesus as my savior then, but never really followed him or sought him. Luckily for me, God never stopped pursuing me! I was called back to Christ again in 2012, was baptized, and fully committed to Him, and my life as a follower of Christ has changed the course of my life in every way possible for the better.

4) How does being a Christian affect how you conduct your business?

It takes faith in general to be a real estate agent, I have faith that God will continue to bless my Sellers and buyers, and me through them. I know that each client entrusted to me, it is another opportunity to worship God, by serving my client’s needs, accomplishing their goals, and by providing excellence for them.

5) What ministry/cause is near and dear to your heart, and why?

My ministry is to try daily to show people Christ in me. The cause that is most dear to me is the Children’s ministry at my church, Faith Life, in New Albany, Ohio. They (Faith Life) genuinely understand how crucial it is to have these younger generations keep a relationship with Christ. I have two sons Asher and Judah, and they love learning about Jesus there!

6) What is one interesting thing about you or your business that most people would not know?

I love to sing; I was a voice major at The Ohio State University

7) Why do you advertise in the Christian Blue Network?

I felt God led me to advertise with the Christian Blue Network; God can continue to bless the work of my hands and bless my clients if more people know about me. I find a lot of joy and honor in helping God’s people Sell and Buy homes. It is an honor to serve people in their real estate needs.

Shank & Company, CPA

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Contact Name: Randy Shank

Your Title: President

Company/Organization Name: Shank & Company, CPA

Phone Number: 513-535-0100

Web Address: www.shankandcompanycpa.com

Address: Harrison, Ohio 45030

  • Please describe your business:

Shank & Company, CPA is a state of the art public accounting firm specializing in taxation, budgeting, payroll, and accounting for businesses and individuals. The firm is small enough to be personal, yet experienced in all facets of business. Shank & Company, CPA currently has clients in 37 states, specializing in business start-ups all the way through third generation well-established businesses.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

As a young boy, I was raised attending Euclid Nottingham Baptist Church, in Euclid, Ohio, and not only had a fine pastor, but a number of excellent Sunday School teachers who influenced me. Because of them, I received Christ as my Savior at 8 years of age.

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

My Christian values are evident in every facet of my life, whether it be family, in my business, public areas as well as in church. My faith is visible in my business by how I treat people. I attend Friendship Baptist Church in Cincinnati where Brother Gary Jackson is my pastor. My parents raised me to treat people the way I want to be treated. This means I understand folks experience personal difficulties, illnesses, unemployment, and other life situations. Life sometimes just happens regardless of how much we try to plan for it, but it’s important to try to plan so that everything isn’t a surprise. We help take the peaks and valleys out of businesses and individuals’ lives, economically. After thirty seven years in business we run with the expectation of honesty. We are going to be honest with you and you must be honest with us. We handle any and all correspondence with any governmental entity so that you won’t have to, at no additional charge to our clients. Because of this, most of the time we can eliminate problems before they become serious issues for our clients.

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

Shank & Company, CPA has been a leader in our industry by being among the very first to not charge any active US military personnel for income tax preparation. We have a stack of thank you notes from clients for things we have done for them, but perhaps the best one I could share would be this one. We picked up a new tax client who was going through a divorce. The taxpayer and her husband were selling the house, and it sold the same week it went on the market. I advised the client to contact one of my connections in real estate, but the house closed so quickly, there was no time for that. She called me and said, “I have to move in one week. We closed on our house!” I picked up the phone and called a friend, and found her a home to lease in the same community so that her daughter could stay in the same school system and could continue to play softball on her local team. The daughter is now the recipient of a sports scholarship she might never have gotten, had her mom had to move to another community. God made that vacancy at my friend’s property. This was this client’s first time to do business here. All of this transpired within three days. Only God can work things out with that kind of timing.

Integrity Automotive Service

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Contact Name: Pete Esposito

Your Title: Owner

Company/Organization Name: Integrity Automotive Service

Phone Number: 513-727-8191

Web Address: www.integrityautoshop.com

Address: 1320 Elliott Dr., Middletown, OH 45044

  • Please describe your business:

A full-service automotive repair facility which provides honest and consistent service and repairs on most makes and models while always putting the customer’s needs and concerns first and foremost. Customer service goals of complete satisfaction with Integrity is our aim.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

23 years ago I had a crisis in my personal and professional life that landed me at a crossroad…a decision to surrender all to my Maker or simply run away from my problem(s). Thankfully, I chose Christ and my life was totally transformed from that day forward.

 

  • How does your faith impact the way you do business?  Simple. The Lord has shown me through His awesome power how to serve others. My faith in Christ has made that a pretty easy task. Put other first in your life, and at work, that means my customers!

 

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

Our parking lot was in severe need of repairs in 2016. The best quote I got to blacktop it was $5,500.00. I prayed about getting a loan for the project because I didn’t have that amount of  ‘extra’ money in our account. I decided to go ahead with the repairs as the bank informed me they could loan me the money. When the project was near completion, I got a ‘Refund’ check in the mail from the Bureau of Workman’s Compensation (BWC) that I had no idea I was getting. The check amount was $5,496.00……only God can do that!

Our Rally Cry | Word from the President

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As the summer of 2018 winds to a close, I am excited to share with you an update on our ministry here at the Christian Blue Network. This summer, while our team worked diligently to update the logos of our core brands, we began to dialogue on how we could more effectively engage Christians with our mission and purpose – so we can more faithfully serve you. By God’s grace – through much discussion and prayer – we’ve updated our mission statement to better reflect the heart of why we do what we do:

Our mission is to rally the body of Christ in support of one another in business and ministry – to make connections, meet needs, and honor God.

We believe the word “rally” more clearly beckons our team – and brothers and sisters in Christ – to place more urgent attention to the Biblical exhortation to love one another and be united under the “banner” of Jesus.

As our world gets darker, this battle cry must get louder. We must stand together as believers in Jesus, commit to encouraging one another, supporting one another, and showing the world that we are Christians because of our love for one another (John 13: 34-35).

Although we are too often divided denominational and racially on Sunday mornings, the marketplace is a great place to bridge the gap and take new ground for the kingdom of God together.

Will… you… join us?

In addition, every month in our newsletter, we carefully select articles and features that are meant to challenge and inspire you as you seek to integrate your faith and work. Therefore, I urge you to read on in this newsletter, especially the article “Work, Success, and the Parable of the Talents” by Hugh Whelchel of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics in Washington, D.C. Hugh has contributed a number of articles for our newsletters – his insights are extraordinary, and certainly worth a couple minutes of your time to explore.

Have a safe, restful Labor Day weekend!

Darrel Geis

President

Christian Blue Network

Work, Success, and the Parable of the Talents

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By Hugh Whelchel, originally posted September 3, 2012.

Recently I saw a bumper sticker that read,

He who dies with the most toys wins, but he is still dead.  

This must be a post-modern version of the late 1990’s original, which simply read, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”

If bumper stickers are a reflection of the soul of our culture (and I am not sure that is true) are we in the 21st century moving away from the idea that the acquisition of “things” and the pursuit of pleasure are the driving forces and measuring rods of a successful life?

If so, what does success look like today?  What is the measure of success? Does it look different for Christians? What is the Biblical definition of success?

I was asked to preach this weekend as part of the Labor Day Weekend Service at my church. I set out to try to answer these questions.  My sermon title was “The Biblical Meaning of Success,” and I used the Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25:14-30 as my text.

I told the congregation they had been lied to. Two great lies have been told to them by everyone from their kindergarten teacher to the U.S. Government:

  1. You can be anything you want to be.
  2. You can be the best in the world.

These two lies distort the Biblical meaning of success, and set all of us up for disappointment and failure.

The antidote for these two great lies is the Parable of the Talents, which teaches us three important lessons:

1.  We are called to work while we wait for the return of the King.

The Parable of the Talents teaches us how to work while we wait for the second coming of Christ. Many Christians believe that our salvation is a bus ticket to heaven, and what we do while we wait for the bus makes little difference. The parable makes it clear this belief is false.

One of my favorite quotes is spoken by General Maximus in the opening scenes of the film, “Gladiator.” General Maximus tells his troops, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”  While this may not have been true about them, it is certainly true for Christians. Our work matters to God.

2.  We are given everything we need to do what God has called us to do.

Do you know what a talent is worth in today’s dollars? Somewhere between five hundred thousand and a million dollars.  Even the servant that was given only one talent was given more than enough to set up a business and produce the expected return for the master.

God has given each of us unique resources and talents to be used in everything we do, especially our vocational callings. The master gave out a different number of talents to each servant “according to the servant’s ability.”  The one talent servant was not expected to produce five talents.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We seldom associate this verse with our vocational work, but we should.

3.  We will be held accountable for what we do with what God has given us.

As Christians we work “as unto the Lord,” not for an earthy boss. The Parable of the Talents shows us we will be held accountable for what we do while we wait for the return of our King. Thankfully, we are not held to some arbitrary standard. What God expects from us is based on what he has given us.

However, it will take just as much effort for the two talent servant to produce two additional talents as it does the five talent servant to produce five additional talents. This is why the reward for both is the same. This is the great lesson of this story.

So what does this parable tell us about the Biblical meaning of success?

We are called to use all the resources God has given us and work diligently at our callings, maximizing the return for the Master while we expectantly await His return.

The late John Wooden, the most successful college basketball coach in history and a committed Christian, was asked how he would define success. He replied:

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

This is what the Parable of the Talents is all about.

We labor at the pleasure of the Lord God Almighty. Our work is driven by our love of the Master. Our only desire should be to hear his praise at the end of our days on this earth:

Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the master.

What do you think? What does the Parable of the Talents say to you about your work? About success? 

This article is copied with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics ( www.tifwe.org ). The original article appeared 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 Daily Blog.

Faith Christian Bookstore

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Contact Name: Todd Anderson

Your Title: Owner

Company Name: Faith Christian Bookstore

Phone Number: 937-878-1073

Address: 4 E Main Street Fairborn, OH 45324

 

  • Please describe your business:

Faith Christian Bookstore has been providing Fairborn and the surrounding areas with faith-based gifts, music, Bibles and church supplies for over 35 years.

  • How is your business different from others in the same line of work? How does that difference benefit your customers?

We offer a more intimate shopping experience than other larger stores. We are committed to taking the time required to meet each of our customer’s individual needs. This commitment to our customers encourages more personal relationships that ultimately allow us to better serve them.

  • How did you come to faith in Christ?

I was raised in a Christian home but chose to turn my back on God and run away believing I could hide. After years of this, I found myself lost and wandering without any sense of purpose. It was then that Christ in His mercy reached down and pulled me up and opened my eyes. He showed me that He was the truth I had been seeking.

  • How does being a Christian affect how you conduct your business?

We are representatives of Christ in all we do. As Christians, we are called to be a Light in a dark world. We place this duty at the forefront of all our business practices.

  • What ministry/cause is near and dear to your heart, and why?

Miami Valley Women’s Center is near and dear to our hearts. Abortion and the right to life are principal to our missions as Christians and in this country being informed about the connection between our healthcare system and abortion should be vital to our walk with Christ. Miami Valley Women’s Center is a Christ-centered outreach that has become a prominent force informing our community about these very real issues.

  • Why do you advertise in the Christian Blue Network?

Christian Blue Network is our go-to source for finding Christian services offered in our area, therefore, we want to be part of this wonderful Christian networking system.

 

Word from the President – July 2018

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Growing up in the 70s, my siblings and I used to love watching the School House Rock educational songs on television. From School House Grammar’s “Conjunction Junction”, “Interjections”, and “A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing”, to their America history lessons like “I’m Just a Bill”, “No More Kings – A Shot Heard Round the World”, and “The Preamble (to the Constitution)”, the Geis kids all joyfully sang along, and learned some valuable lessons along the way.

The American history songs seemed to impact me the most and made me proud to be an American.   Having just participated in the city of Montgomery, Ohio, 4th of July parade with the staff of the Christian Blue Network (and our mascot, Trusty the Lion), I was amazed at the thousands of people – young and old, wealthy and (seemingly) not – of all ethnicities – that had gathered to celebrate our nation’s independence. It was truly remarkable, and humbling at the same time.

For some reason, God, by His sovereign grace, chose for each of us to be born in the most wealthy and free country in the world, at the most prosperous time in human history. While we know (and read in the news) that all is not right in the United States, nor anywhere else on the planet, we do (still) have one freedom that daily illuminates our lives as believers – religious freedom, ensured by our Founding Fathers in the Constitution of the United States.

In this month’s guest blog “To Whom Much Is Given: Celebrating Freedom and America’s Independence Day”, our dear friend and regular contributor Hugh Whelchel of the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics, poses the question “How are we stewarding this (religious) freedom?” As followers of Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that true freedom can only be found in a relationship with Him, so we, therefore, have an ongoing moral and civic responsibility to engage our culture.

I encourage you to read on, and, like me, be enlightened by Hugh’s perspectives.

Darrel Geis

President

Christian Blue Network

 

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America

To Whom Much Is Given: Celebrating Freedom and America’s Independence Day

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By Hugh Whelchel, Originally posted July 2, 2018

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

— Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. Declaration of Independence

Former U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall challenged Americans, “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” As we prepare to celebrate the 242nd birthday of the United States of America, the question is, how are we stewarding our freedom?

The week Congress voted to declare independence, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail, declaring the events he had just witnessed would “be the most memorable Epoch, in the History of America.” He went on to write:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

And celebrate we have. But over the years, have we forgotten the most important, self-evident, unalienable right alluded to by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence and codified by Madison in the U.S. Constitution: the right to religious freedom?

Freedom and Flourishing

We see the best examples of human flourishing today where people enjoy religious freedom, which we believe is foundational for economic freedom and self-government. Unfortunately, our exercise of this inalienable right, as defined by Jefferson, Madison, and America’s founders, is under attack today.

There are those who would replace religious freedom with religious tolerance or worse—allow anti-discrimination laws to trump religious freedom completely. Those who should be most uneasy with this development—people of faith—seem unaware or unconcerned. As Os Guinness writes in A Free People’s Suicide, the long-held truth of America’s founders, that “freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith requires freedom,” has been lost, even by the faithful.

At IFWE, we believe religious, economic, and political freedom form the basis of uniquely American values and are essential to the flourishing we have enjoyed as a nation. Among these freedoms, religious freedom—our “first freedom”—is one of the most important things the American experiment gave the world.

Legal scholars throughout American history have believed that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution recognized the right to lead a life according to our faith and religious moral code, not only in our churches but also in our homes, our places of work, and in the public square. Yet, in recent years, that belief has been challenged.

We view this attack on religious freedom as an alarming development because it threatens to negate the guarantee of individual liberty afforded every person, regardless of their faith. Left unchecked, it will threaten the culture of freedom upon which our system of republican government was founded. Religious freedom provides a strong foundation for limited government because it is the bedrock for all human freedom. Freedom of conscience not only demands but ultimately justifies limited government.

Freedom and Responsibility

Conversely and consequently, limited government requires individual responsibility. Religious freedom necessitates the engagement of the moral responsibility of every person. In a free society, religion is an ally of good government as it forms the moral character of individuals and communities.

Today, a culture that exhibits an ever-decreasing sense of individual moral and civic responsibility seems to be pervasive. Religious liberties we took for granted twenty years ago are now being challenged in the courts. Ironically, those who support religious tolerance over religious freedom are proving the subtle danger of this concept by becoming intolerant of and excluding views other than those deemed politically correct in the public square.

In his first year as president, President Ronald Reagan was asked by Parade magazine to write about what Independence Day meant to him. The article, written in Reagan’s own hand, after describing his memories of the Fourth of July as a child, ends with the following:

In recent years, however, I’ve come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation. It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history. Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government. Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.

Free Indeed

As followers of Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that true freedom can only be found in a relationship in him. As Jesus said in the Book of John, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). We, among all people, should understand the importance of religious freedom, not just for Christians but for everyone, whether at home or work.

In our diverse, pluralistic culture, everyone must be free to live out their beliefs in matters of conscience, both in private and in the public square. If we all are not free to do thisnone of us are free to do this. The former was the vision of our founding fathers, and we should not allow that vision to be lost.

 

This article is copied with permission from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics ( www.tifwe.org ). The original article appeared 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. Visithttps://tifwe.org/subscribe to subscribe to the free IFWE Daily Blog.