In my forty plus years of reading the Bible, I have found the following ten promises are what make up my foundational belief system. I’m not saying these are the most important, simply they are my favorite promises from God. I hope they enrich your life as much as they have mine. Remember, if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything!!
1) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)
2) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV)
3) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12 KJV)
4) For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37 KJV)
5) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
6) And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22 KJV)
7) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16, 17 NIV)
8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV)
9) But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. (John 16:13 NASB)
10) These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NASB)
Israel had been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years, when God spoke to Moses about leading his children out of Egypt and into the promised land. It was about a twelve day journey to the promised land if they would trust God to do everything through them. He was so excited about blessing his children, Israel! The challenge came when as they spied out the land that God had given them, fear began to set in, and they allowed the fear to guide their decisions. That ended up costing them forty years of wandering around in the desert! They thought their freedom actually depended upon themselves, instead of the hands of Almighty God. Certainly, they needed to obey God, but it was God himself who would bring them deliverance.
The Promised Land of our work is very similar to what the Israelites encountered so many years ago. We look at our needs, or the needs of our company, and begin to have some anxiety about the future. Anxiety that is left unchecked, turns into full blown fear and fear then tries to drive all of our actions. We began to believe we have to do it all ourselves by working harder or longer. Before you know it, you’re in bondage to your work, instead of your work being the wonderful expression of worship he intended it to be.
We begin to chase the dollar as our primary focus, instead of the by-product, because we’ve allowed our lack of faith to be motivated by fear. Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life ? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:22-26 NIV)
Anything that takes us much beyond our normal workday, except an occasional deadline, or special project, is saying we have to do this ourselves and remove it from the hands of God. We must come out of the Babylonian or world system, and trust the Lord for all of our provision. Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? But it isn’t!! God is faithful all the time! Trust and glorify God in your work, and fear not!!
It was 9 AM on the fifth day of the month when the first call came in. Then a second, third, fourth and fifth. Five ladies from the same department contacted the chaplain, informing him they were leaving at lunch, and not coming back to work at the company. This latest compensation adjustment was the straw that broke the camel’s back. None of the employees knew that the others had contacted the chaplain. Each employee acted independently of each other, and yet, all were saying the exact same thing.
The employees were the most tenured in this department. If the company lost these crucial employees, there would be some devastating impacts. They worked in an industry where it takes about six months to learn the terminology, processes and nuances. The lost productivity alone would’ve cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then add the recruiting, hiring, training cost for new employees, and the potential loss of some key clients that this team related to, and you see the full potential loss associated with this issue.
They all communicated about the compensation adjustments, and most were saying how unresponsive and uncaring the company was. We knew the business owners and management team to be the exact opposite. There was a major disconnect here somewhere, and as it turns out, the department director was deficient in many leadership and management qualities. The senior leadership team was aware of some of those issues, and were already addressing them, but had grossly underestimated how severe the deficiencies were.
It was only the fifth day of the month and the chaplain had just turned in his previous month’s activity report, and this issue simply couldn’t wait for this month’s report, so contacting a senior leader was his only option. Communicating the issue without compromising the ladies’ confidentiality was going to be very challenging, but the chaplain was wise enough to share the issues without disclosing the individuals who had contacted him. The department was large enough that no one ever knew who the specific player or players were, and never would.
Senior leaders reviewed the compensation adjustments, and discovered there had been some mistakes, and quickly fixed that issue, and replaced the department leader as well. It would’ve been a huge financial impact if these employees had just silently left the company. The chaplain was informed later by the CEO, that he had probably saved the company in excess of $500,000! This is one of many stories of how having a corporate chaplain can make a bottom line difference! The players knew and trusted their chaplain, when there seemingly was no one else to turn to. Who do your employees have to turn to when they are at this point of frustration?
This was one issue in one company, that nearly had a devastating effect on the entire organization. Over the past twenty-five years, there have been numerous issues occur, resulting in millions of dollars being saved! This, in addition to all of the warm and fuzzy morale and cultural events that occur every day! Isn’t is time to move beyond compliance only, and genuinely care for your employees? Corporate Care!
As corporate chaplains, we learned many years ago that the
Lord fills our days with “Divine Appointments.” I define a divine
appointment like this: It’s when our humanity intersects with God’s
divinity at the exact perfect moment. Some people might call this
event a coincidence, but we do not believe in coincidences around
our company, we have learned that many times, God sets the table
for more than we’re aware of, or planned on. Below is a prime
example of one of those divine appointments that fill our days.
Enjoy the divine appointment below, and feel free to share one back
with us in your comments. [The following was written by a Metro
Denver Hospice physician] I was driving home from a meeting one
evening, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., when my car started to
choke and sputter before it died. I barely managed to coast
into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic
and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It
wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call for the
tow truck, I saw a woman walking out of the quick mart. She
appeared to slip on some ice and fell to the ground next to the gas
pump. I got out to see if she was alright. When I got
there it looked more like she was overcome by sobs. She was a
young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her
eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up. It was
a nickel. At that moment everything came into focus for me:
the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with
three kids in the back, one in a car seat, and the gas pump reading
$4.95. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed
help. She kept crying and said, “I don’t want my kids to see
me crying.” so we stood on the other side of the pump from the
car. She said she was driving to California and that
things were very hard for her at the time. I asked, “And you
were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but
I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you and
He sent me.” I took out my credit card and swiped it through
the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her tank, walked
next door to McDonalds and bought two sacks of food, some gift
certificates for more and a big cup of coffee. She gave the
food to the kids who attacked it like a pack of wolves and we stood
by the car eating and talking a little. She told me her name.
She lived in Kansas City where her boyfriend had left her two
months before. Since then she had not been able to make ends
meet. She had finally called her parents in California for
help. They had encouraged her to move out there and try to
get on her feet. So she packed up and took off for
California. I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick
prayer with her. As I was walking away, she asked, “So are
you like and angel or something?” This definitely made me cry
and I replied, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really
busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.” It was so
incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of
course, when I got in my car it started right up! I’ll put it
in the shop tomorrow but I’m pretty sure they won’t find anything
wrong with it. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain
thee.” Psalm 55:22
Many companies throughout the world have adopted an EAP, for employees who find themselves in a crisis moment of their lives. For most, its an 800 number posted on a wall they can call. All of us will experience challenging seasons, if we live and work long enough on this planet. Some may face termination of a job, healthcare issues, death of a friend or family member, financial issues, depression or divorce. How they make it through those challenging times, greatly impacts their workplace performance and bottom line results.
Employers have a rare moment, to earn lifetime loyalty from their employees, if they step up and assist their employees at their greatest time of need. So many times, employers ignore their “most valuable asset” their employees, when they need it the most. Employees never forget the encouragement or assistance that has been made on their behalf, not now, not ever.
Traditional EAP’s certainly had a place in their day, but most are hopelessly outdated, expensive, under utilized and ineffective. Being offsite, seldom utilized and expensive, leaves this sixty five year old business model floundering and ineffective. It has been reduced to being a compliance step, rather than an expression of care and compassion.
Conversely, having access to on-site corporate chaplains, who develop relationships with every employee, who are deeply in touch with your team, and the heartbeat of your organization, is making huge impacts. This dynamic, 21st century EAP, is very relational, highly utilized, and cost effective. The program is literally utilized over 100 times more than traditional off-site programs are.
Over the past twenty-five years we’ve discovered there are two times in life when employees need you…and that is when they need you, and when they need you! We must be there when our most valuable assets need us. Remember, they don’t care how much we know, until they know how much how much we care!
Isn’t it time to move beyond compliance only, and truly care for our most valuable assets? Corporate Care…
American culture is so diverse, and made up of many religions from around the world. American businesses are an exact mirror image of this religious diversity. Employers have made enormous strides in accommodating every employee’s religious or non-religious preferences in recent years. As always, productivity and results are the driving factors in every business. Offering a corporate chaplain to all employees is the objective, and improving productivity and overall results is our goal too!
It doesn’t matter if an employee is Methodist or Muslim, Baptist or Buddhist to receive care from our chaplains. Every human soul is a priceless treasure, and when they find themselves in one of life’s toughest situations, they equally deserve high quality care, and a compassionate chaplain to be there for them. To know they have a friend who is willing to come along side of them, and walk with them through tough seasons, is always welcomed appreciated.
Corporate chaplains are on-site building relationships with all employees, not just the ones who happen to share a similar faith. They are not evangelists, they are servants and care givers for all employees. The chaplain acts as the company employee assistance program (EAP), and is available for all employees 24/7/365, via email, text, phone or any other means. Because we all know that happy employees are productive employees, and isn’t that what this is all about anyway?
I’ve always heard that our lives are an open book or a letter that tells a special story. The story I want my life to tell, is that my life was not my own, but that I belonged to God! Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price… (1 Cor. 6:19, 20 NIV)
His multi-generational plan, and how my life fits into that plan, is what has always mattered most to me. I want to hear the still small voice of God, and simply do what he says to do, every moment of every day! My desire is for the Lord to fill my day with his divine appointments. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27 NIV)
Paul says, you yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
(2 Cor 3:2-6 NIV)
What is your letter saying about your desires, dreams and ambitions. Are they Christ and Kingdom focused, or are they mostly focused on you? “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
We have one life; and may we live it, and invest it in relationships with other people, in hope, that we might make a small difference. So many opportunities to use our life to touch others, if we will walk slowly enough to hear the whisper from the Master, and be intentional about our letter being open for others to read. What’s in your letter?
It was a day like most other days before it. Nothing early in the day indicated she would be faced with the largest decision of her young life, a decision that would change the course of history. It would require her to lay down all of her aspirations and dreams for the future. It quiet possibly would end her pending engagement, ruin her reputation and end in scandal. Her family name would be shamed, and to ask her to place everything at risk for this single decision, was almost too much for this beautiful young teen to bear. Yet deep inside, she sensed the magnitude of the moment and agreed to place it all on the back burner for Him.
Her response was quick, decisive and in every way selfless. Her cheerful heart, servant attitude and willful obedience was astonishing to all who would hear of her strategic decision, and how she managed the results in the days, weeks and months ahead. It did make no small splash in her immediate sphere of influence, and extended far beyond what she had ever envisioned. The impact was astonishing and far reaching, and yet accomplished exactly what it was supposed to accomplish.
You see, one decision from an ordinary person, on an ordinary day, changed the course of human history. Mary, the mother of Jesus, laid down all of her earthly dreams, for a purpose and a God that was far greater than any dream she could’ve ever imagined. His purpose for our life is infinitely more important than ours is.
What decision will you make today that is whispered by the angelic hosts of heaven? Are you willing to lay everything down for the multigenerational plan of Almighty God? His plan for our life, is infinitely more important than anything we could possibly put together on our own.
As I reflect on 2012, I realized that it was the toughest year of my life, yet in the midst of tremendous adversity, there was tremendous grace. My elderly mother-in-law who had been living in our home the past fifteen months passed away in February, right after losing one of my favorite dogs.
September brought three more deaths, with one being my lifetime best friend from high school and college. Two weeks later my father became very ill, and was gone in four days. I didn’t realize at the moment, but my mom was in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, and now requires around the clock care, so we moved her into the guest room in our home. This was pretty painful for my wife, because of coming so quickly after losing her mother.
Then there is the daunting task of managing their estate and preparing their home for going on the market, while 650 miles away. I realize I’m no different than anyone else, and my problems aren’t anymore challenging than others, but as I look back, I realize how much that took out of me. Our small church we founded and led over the previous twelve years, went through a merger, that initially was embraced, but became a little rocky for a few weeks, however things ended up wonderfully. The emotional requirement of handling all of these events began to take its toll. My health began to suffer, and I realized my immune system was simply worn out. I battled about virtually every illness that came my way for weeks on end.
So, as I reflect on 2012, I’m relieved that it has now passed into history, and a new year has begun. I know it will be filled with its own set of challenges, but The Lord promised me I could bring it all to him, and lay it at his feet. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV) His faithfulness is steadfast, his love is forever and his power gives me all I need to get through another year. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. He really is the lifter of my head! I’ve relearned that perseverance is simply trusting God one day at a time, one issue at a time and trusting God to be faithful again for another day. His mercies are new every morning.
All of us experince “life” in every form it comes in, and it is wonderful having a chaplain to lean on and to walk through it with you! Thank you to my incredible team of chaplains for the love, and living out with me what you do everyday for thousands of others. Jon Cook, my friend and my partner was and is simply as stellar as they come. Thank you!
I love the fact that a discussion like this is being offered. Both sides have identified all of the obvious landmines with religion in the marketplace, and have for the most part done so respectfully, and for that all are to be commended. The number one fear of American business owners today is legal litigation, because one major legal issue can take a small or medium business down. How topics like this are handled may be the very thing that makes or breaks a business.
St. Francis of Assisi probably stated it best, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel, but only use your mouth if you have to.” The best way to share your faith, is in the way you love and serve others, and with the excellence of your labor. If you do those things well, people will come and ask you about the peace in your heart, and the twinkle in your eye. Once you’re invited to share about the hope within you, then you’ve earned enough relational equity to be able to respond to someone’s request, but until then, work hard, serve passionately and keep quiet.
I have been a corporate chaplain in the marketplace of America for over twenty-five years, quietly serving tens of thousands of employees without even a hint of one single legal issue. It doesn’t matter if they’re Muslim or Methodist, or Buddhist or Baptist…these employees are priceless treasures, and every one of them deserve to be respected, valued and cared for in their time of need. Religion isn’t about always being right, rather it’s always about being righteous and respectful. I have never led a Bible study in the marketplace, because it has a tendency to polarize employees who believe differently. If one employee chooses not to attend the voluntary study, and later down the road feels they were bypassed for that last promotion for not attending, then there is a potential discrimination issue looming. It’s simply wiser to have a study off-site, to anyone desiring to learn more.
Do I agree with Jessica’s post, about banning God and religion, of course not, but neither do I believe religious dogma should be allowed to wound individuals or use the workplace to evangelize or convert others to their religious persuasion. Each company has its own unique personality and culture, and learning to reap the rewards of a caring culture, with or without religion present is a good thing.
We all need encouragement, direction and additional options from time to time, and a wise and experienced corporate chaplain has proven over and over to be a valued addition. You see, there are two times in life when people need you…and that’s when they need you, and when they need you! Too many times today employers miss that golden moment to solidify an employee for life, by not being there for them when they’re needed the most. They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
To read Jessica’s blog go to: http://www.blogging4jobs.com/hr/god-work-religious-discrimination/