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)
Most people, when they realize that God has a purpose(s) for their life, want to do all they can to accomplish His purpose(s). It is very common for individuals to sit and wait for God to reveal his purpose for their lives; and before you know it a year, a decade or a lifetime slips by, and they’ve done nothing for God or his Kingdom. You see, it’s always easier to sit and be available, than to aggressively listen to the still small voice of God, and go out and do what he’s just communicated to you.
For many years I believed that the purpose of God was some position or destination to arrive at, and in recent years I’ve shifted my position on the purpose of God in my life. Today, as I have walked with God over forty years, I’ve discovered that he desires obedience more than sacrifice. Obedience to his voice who is always speaking, always directing, always correcting and always yearning to show me more of himself.
As I stated earlier, it is easier to sit and wait on the purpose of God to come, verses obeying the voice of God right NOW. God’s will and purpose for my life is to be so close to God every minute of everyday that we can hear his smallest whisper, and feel his breath as he whispers in our ear. His purpose is to have a deep, intimate, vibrant moment-by-moment relationship with us. He is a living God, and he yearns to walk with us in the cool of the day, and just like your best friend who knows everything about you, and you them, that is what our Lord Jesus desires with us.
The voice of God you learn to listen to, converse with and relate to, has so many little tasks for us to accomplish every day! The more we listen and obey and faithfully fulfill those tasks, the more he offers to us, and our responsibilities in his kingdom grows. You see, he loves relating with his children and blessing them. He meets all our needs, and he gives us our heart’s desire, if we’ll simply delight in him.
I hear these six or seven words (the blog title) dozens of times each week. Pastors with twenty, twenty-five, or thirty years of pastoral ministry experience want to move into corporate chaplaincy. There is a real move in the heart of God today drawing thousands of men and women into the boardrooms of corporate America. They may have found themselves at an impasse with their church, so they look around on the internet, find us, and then explore the possibilities of being a corporate chaplain. Most have read about or know someone who is involved in corporate chaplaincy.Their interest is peaked as they look a little closer into all the incredible ways to build relationships and continue making a difference in the lives of people.
The number one ingredient in being a successful corporate chaplain is having numerous relationships with business owners who love you, know you, believe in you, and have witnessed the fruit of your ministry for years. They’ve been close enough to see you handle difficult personnel issues within the walls successfully, manage large teams, achieve successful results, navigate budgeting and P & L responsibilities, interface with the community and civic organizations by giving back, as well as being a solid leader of leaders, and leader of followers. You’re a pastor who has twenty-five years of experience, highly skilled and highly successful. Then there is the family, and the management of your home, marriage, finances, and children, and the skill and grace you’ve walked in as you served and loved your family. The employees within the companies are all dealing with “Life” issues every day like family, finances, children, stress and unimaginable pressure. They’ll see you how you raised your teens and tweens, and how you’ve loved your bride and draw strength and inspiration from your life experience. Having enough successful life experience, combined with marketplace and ministry experience is critical in the role of a corporate chaplain.
Being able to connect with people, really connect is paramount! “They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Connecting with these employees every time you walk through the company is critical. It’s those watershed moments that make the chaplain the valuable asset they are. You see, there are two times in life when people really need you… and that is when they need you, and when they need you. We must be there when others need us. I can’t think of a better way to “go into all the world” than this. If you are interested in being a corporate chaplain, or exploring what it would look like having a corporate chaplain in your company, go to the “contact” us tab and let us know.
By Jon Cook
I work in a profession where accountability is a frequent topic of conversation. Everyone needs to be accountable for their time, conduct, money, and their beliefs and work ethic. Pastors need accountability even more because of the nature of their work with people. I have had accountability partners for over 30 years…but that does not make me accountable. A man is only as accountable as he chooses to be. Even in an accountability relationship, one can choose to not share the whole truth about himself or even lie to cover up his sin.
Most of us see accountability as volunteering to participate in a relationship where freedom is given to ask a set of strategic questions for the purpose of discovering another’s sin. In fact, these relationships are frequently ineffective due to our refusal to be totally honest and open about the challenges in our life. We feel better about ourselves because we say we are accountable, yet in reality no real accountability ever takes place.
I have come to believe that the best kind of accountability is being involved in a relationship that provides the freedom and security to voluntarily confess your sin without being prompted by a set of questions. This means we invest in a relationship with another that eventually is characterized by an extraordinarily high level of trust, transparency, honesty, and security. This process takes time, effort, and commitment. I served on a church staff where we were paired with other staff members as accountability partners. I am not sure how much accountability took place. An accountability partner is someone God puts on our heart who we believe can provide the trust needed to encourage confession.
I start most of my days at the coffee shop. There I enjoy many wonderful relationships and stay in touch with people in my community. But the best part of my time at the coffee shop is spent talking with three men who provide safe relationships of accountability. The four of us did not set out to be accountability partners. Accountability has become a part of our friendship as we have invested time in one another through the years. I find myself voluntarily confessing sin and asking for help and prayer support. These special friends have also learned what questions to ask me that encourage confession. They know these questions because, through the years, they have learned what areas of sin I struggle with the most. Accountability is a natural part of our friendship. And it has taken years to develop.
By Boe Parrish
Beginning this journey some thirty-five years past,
With a prayer of faith most said wouldn’t last.
More peace and more challenge than I’d ever known,
But reading and praying I had steadily grown.
Now His Truth deep inside and guiding my choices,
He gave me daily assignments as I trust in His voice.
My life serving others, who are hurting and lost,
Is the model He left us regardless of cost.
To connect at their need no value is greater,
Their heart you’ll soon win as they discover the Savior.
The words have been few as I’ve lived out my walk,
Compassion in action I’ve allowed it to talk.
The lost as my target I know where to go,
Anyplace where they gather and my Savior I’ll show.
Walking among them so slowly at first,
Listening and serving and developing their thirst.
Affording many a man a glance of a Christian,
That’s living and serving and sitting to listen.
It’s not what we know that will change a man’s life,
But letting them know that they matter…their hurt and their strife.
You see walking with God day by day always changes,
Among the lost and the hurting and all of the strangers.
Staying in touch with God up above,
Receiving direction and being refueled by his love.
It’s so easy to do as we move all about,
Unless we skip our devotion and our love all runs out.
Then we’ll struggle and strain with our own strength we’ll strive,
And notice no difference with the hurt in their eyes.
Walking with God many mistakes have I made?
But growing and learning the foundation was laid.
And over the years as lives intertwine,
God’s purpose fulfilled with His life and mine.
The journey’s been worth it as I look at the fruit,
The lives that were changed, giving Satan the boot.
A fish out of water; some days I felt odd,
But I treasure my time I’ve spent walking with God.
By Boe Parrish
Today is like most days as we all prepare for another day at the office. Planning, thinking, executing, meetings, reports, deadlines, stress, pressures, bosses, co-workers, overtime, etc…Does Jesus really desire to have a meaningful presence in the midst of all of this? Can he breakthrough the corporate veil and touch lives in this setting? Do individuals check their souls at the door when they enter the marketplace? What kind of people would God select to use if he desired to manifest his presence in the middle of our business world? Would the servant in the marketplace wear robes, priest collars, suits, or other religious garb to set themselves apart from others working in the rank and file? Would the preachers that fill our churches be received by today’s work force? Would they be effective in their efforts to bring compassion into the boardroom? There are so many questions concerning the opportunities available in today’s marketplace.
Since we all have everything totally together at home there is no need to have any advice or assistance for marriage relationships, children, finances, health issues, mental or emotional bumps in the road, aging parents, or wayward teenagers, right? There are so many things employees face day in and day out which require wisdom and counsel. So much encouragement could be utilized if we could somehow bring the compassionate presence of our God into our second home…our office. Most of us continue to bottle up the “life issues” we deal with everyday and think I really must get some help with this when I can find a little time to sort everything out. Problem is, that day seems to never come unless there is a crisis which forces us to have to face our giants. We are all very similar in that if it isn’t broken…don’t fix it right? Wrong. If it’s not broken let’s break it and then we can put things back together the right way in a proactive manner verses a reactive manner.
I am always amazed at how many issues we deal with every day. Most of the time we do an admirable job, but what about the few times in life when nothing we do seems to make any difference, and the weight of all the pressures comes pressing in on us? What do we do then? Who can we turn to? Do we visit with our employer? Should we visit with our boss? Should I visit with a co-worker? The ideal person would be someone with years of practical life experience, deep business experience, comprehensive and wise understanding, compassionate heart, listening ears, and faithful hands. Where would we ever find someone with these attributes? The answer may surprise you when you look closely enough. It would be a person just like YOU! You are uniquely qualified to offer encouragement, counsel, guidance, options, and answers to life’s everyday challenges. How, you may ask would I be qualified? Many times you have already walked through the challenges which many of your co-workers are currently facing both personally and professionally. You have survived and even thrived through it all. By taking your life’s experiences and sharing them as the Lord leads you.
God is calling countless thousands back into the very marketplace we have vacated to venture into “full time” professional ministry. I am not knocking that if that is what God is calling you into, but for many professionals turning away from the culture and the people God has around you currently, and moving into a sphere of influence you have never worked or prepared for, can lead to some serious culture shock. Church business is very different from business in the marketplace, as you can only imagine. I realize many professionals are being tapped by the hand of God to work inside the walls of the church…but at the same time there is a huge need of God to have many thousands of individuals remain in the marketplace where the need is so great as well. I have been a minister inside the church walls, and I have served as a corporate chaplain for almost twenty years as well. It is equally rewarding in either role, when we are allowing God to use our gifts and talents to make a difference in the lives of others around us.
I grew up during a season of time where individuals who were preparing for a ministry position and in fact entered a full time church ministry position, were thought less of if they ever ventured outside of that role. Today is so different because there are some very exciting ministry opportunities existing outside the walls of the church. Corporate chaplaincy happens to be one of those positions. If you have a call of God on your life, and are finding it hard to face another church position roll, then a position in corporate chaplaincy might just be perfect for you.
God is invading the marketplace today and finding thousands of individuals hungry for knowledge about God, but may never find their way into the walls of a church setting. Ministry is so much more than sitting inside the walls of a church building and hanging a shingle out on the street. God wants us to go into all the world and preach, teach and baptize in his name. I have discovered a wonderful sense of acceptance and openness among the professionals in the marketplace for the Lord.
Most people enjoy conversations about God, heaven, and the Bible…they just do not want to be judged or condemned by some religious person who has some hidden motive. People love to engage in thought-provoking discussions and expanding their knowledge about the Creator of the universe. Building relationships with people long before any crisis occurs, opens the door of opportunity during the crises of life. Relationship positions us for being at the right place at the right time for people when they need us later. Remember there are two times in life when people need you…when they need you, and when they need you. We must be there when people need us.
Is it possible that maybe the Lord is calling you to a ministry outside the walls of the church, and into the confines of the boardroom? Search your heart and listen to the still small voice of God. You will not go wrong if for some strange reason God begins a movement of caring for the masses right where they work everyday. Is he calling you to a fulfilling ministry career in the marketplace? Only you and God know for sure.
It’s sometimes hard to put into words,
This feeling of hope that moves me and stirs.
But the moment in life when we find that there is none,
Is like a cold winter’s day without the warmth of the sun.
Brought to me daily through a shared laugh or a smile,
As we journey through life again mile after mile.
To imagine our lives as we are trying to cope,
Ending a day thinking God there’s no hope.
Unexpected knocking that comes at the door,
No one’s expected as I travel the floor,
Fling open the door and adjusting my eyes,
Adversity delivered, and hope vaporized.
Through hurt and through sorrow, does hope often wane?
Struggling and striving we’ll work through our pain.
The challenge begins as hope disappears,
And the voices of doubt now ring in our ears.
Day after day as we move all around,
Surviving a again but not uttering a sound,
To folks walking by with smiles on their faces,
Busily headed to all of their places.
All seem so bliss as they’re walking past me,
Struggling with nothing and shouting with glee.
Alone and exhausted and stress on my face,
No friend I can turn to as I ponder my fate.
Clouds gather and darken and swirl to and fro,
As I ponder inside which direction I’ll go.
Without hope to survive or a friend by my side,
No one will notice if I exit and die.
As the decision is made in my heart,
A companion stops by and it gives me a start.
To dinner he asks and then to a movie,
Warmth came inside, and I found that it moved me.
Compassionate talk and a few minutes of time,
Is all that I needed to help clear my mind.
Some day he will know of the darkness he broke,
With his listening heart and words that he spoke.
Tomorrow will come with new strength from a friend,
As I cry out to God and I trust him again.
For one step at a time I’m changing my scope,
Thanking God up above for delivering HOPE.
Our nation, our heritage, our dreams and our lives,
Have been placed at risk by deception and lies.
Congress and Senate have a passionate vision,
That includes special interest and improving positions.
Much time and effort for funds being raised,
So getting reelected is filling their days.
No vision for us or the red white and blue.
Consumes any leader, so what do we do?
We search far and wide and look for a candidate,
With national vision and passion and mandate.
A man or a woman willing to do what it takes,
To change status quo and raise high the stakes.
Every American who loves this great nation,
Must get out and vote and help change direction.
This nation so blessed doesn’t belong to the few,
It’s our great nation for me and for you!
We stand at a crossroads again in our lives,
An election of great magnitude awaiting our eyes.
The choices are different as the day and the night,
Don’t sit and complain if you’re unwilling to fight.
Go door to door and encourage the vote,
For the candidate of your choice, get out of the boat.
Make a difference today with the work of your hands,
Our future is now for the sake of our land.
Citizens of honor placing their hands to the work,
Can make all the difference in spoiling the pork.
We all have a voice if we unite arm and arm,
In reminding the boys we’re sounding the alarm.
The waste has to stop and accountability rise,
We expect our leaders to work and be wise,
With every bill that flows through their doors,
We’re going to be watching; holding their feet to the floor.
United we stand and divided we fall,
It’s time for our Congress to answer the call.
Govern for action and stop all the games,
Enact the solutions and stop laying the blame.
Your people are weary and tired of the frozen,
Get American moving or we’ll find new chosen,
Representatives who are willing and able,
To address all the issues and get votes on the table.
The hour is short and the need never greater,
We’re anxiously watching for more than debaters.
Action is needed from one and from all,
Who has the courage to stand up and stand tall?
Our nation a jewel and priceless the worth,
We tire of the interests spreading their girth.
Dividing attention and neglecting the simple,
We’re ready for action…Thus saith the people!
With all the creative changes going on in church staffing, one would think churches would consider adding a pastor to the marketplace to build relationships within the business community. Offering ideas like: job boards for local business owners and candidates to find each other, mentoring for older executives to mentor younger executives, pier to pier groups for executives of faith, assisting executives with integrating faith into their companies, executive lunches where successful executives gather around a meal, with one executive sharing his testimony of faith, and offering top notch networking events that would rival anything the local chambers would offer.
Additionally, virtual groups on Linked In or Facebook would be perfect in establishing a place for all business and marketplace individuals to meet, fellowship, encourage one another. Sadly, as I read about the church staffing trends, the trends continue to be inward-focused to the church, instead of outward-focused to the world He came and wept over. Everyone goes to work, and so precious few go to church. Shouldn’t we create, empower and equip professionals to connect with the world of work?
Developing and implementing a marketplace strategy is crucial if the church is going to touch and reach the world for Christ. Offering solutions, ideas, and tools for business professionals, opens up so many opportunities for unchurched relationships to occur. One of the greatest challenges the church faces today, is establishing relationships with the unchurched. We have a tendency to have the members of our churches down at the church two to four times a week, leaving no time for relationships with the lost and unchurched. We must resist the bait of programmania, and allow the church ample opportunities and time to connect with the world. Just a thought!
Maybe you’ve never considered whether or not there is a God. Possibly you were one who just knew from infancy that God was real, and never considered that the reality of God was ever in doubt. You also might be someone who at some point did believe there was a God, but due to some traumatic event, decided there is no way God would ever allow that event to happen, therefore, your belief in God has melted away. One final option may be where you are, that you do not believe there is, or has ever been a God. I wanted to share my thoughts about the reality of God for me personally, because a friend recently asked me this question.
I have come to the realization of God; because of some friends that I was playing baseball with who were living a different lifestyle that attracted me. It was the summer of 1971, and my family had just moved to Oklahoma from Western Kentucky. Once again, my dad had chosen to leave our current home, and move for a better job opportunity in Oklahoma. We had just settled in, when I discovered many of the guys on my new baseball team were so excited about going to a place called Falls Creek. That was all they were talking about for weeks leading up to the event. Their description of this summer-time event was, it’s a place where guys and girls connect, and there is a huge softball tournament with seventy-two teams entered. My two passions…girls and baseball, what could possibly be better than that! I should’ve been suspicious when we had to get on a church bus to get there, but oh well, what the heck.
Sure enough, there were thousands and thousands of girls and plenty of opportunities to play ball. However, there was something different about this place. Every evening we all had to attend a church service type-of-thing. The talks were amazing to say the least, and I found myself captivated by the speaker named Charlie Graves. On Thursday evening, Charlie spoke about baseball, for crying out loud. It was an amazing talk where he had woven the story of God, and how much he loves us, into a baseball talk. I remember thinking later that God customized this wonderful story of redemption into a format that was just perfect for me.
I was so captivated by the talk that I was moved to surrender my life to this Jesus, I had just heard about for the very first time. There was such a sense of the presence of God at that moment, I knew immediately that something supernatural had just occurred. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I think I may have been the kid in the cabin that year that everyone was praying for. Little did I know then, how much that single decision would completely change the course of my life? Literally, everything about me and my family would be different in a matter of a couple of years. The first thing I did was to buy a Bible, because I didn’t have one, and had never even heard of the Bible. Once I bought one and began reading it, I was hooked for life. I just couldn’t believe all of the promises that were in there for me! I began reading, and completely read the book from cover to cover three times the first year I invited Jesus into my life.
All of a sudden I began to see God everywhere in everything. The clouds, the sunrises, sunsets, fall leaves, mountains, streams, forests, people, everywhere! How could I have not seen the handiwork of God before now? How could I even draw a breath of air without him? I so hungered to understand and know more about this amazing God I had just discovered? Then, like a ton of bricks, it hit me. My family didn’t have a clue about this rich treasure I had discovered. They didn’t know about the Bible; they had no knowledge about heaven or hell, much less about church. I had to get them to believe in God, but I had no idea how to begin to make that happen. Then my friend, Loretta, shared another promise with me. Acts 16:31 states, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household, meaning everyone in your family. So, for the next two and a half years I prayed for my parents and brother and sister to come to know him, and give their lives to him. By March of my senior year in high school, my whole family had received Jesus into their hearts. As a result of this change in our family, over sixty of my extended family members also received Christ, because of my parent’s new-found faith. He so drastically changed my dysfunctional family and gave our lives meaning, purpose and peace. How could I not serve him all the days of my life.
Next, he led me to the college where I would meet the girl of my dreams, and begin shaping my future forever. Through what I would describe as divine events, he allowed me to cross paths with what would become my life partner, wife, lover and friend. I looked into the blue eyes of this beautiful red headed girl and knew in an instant, she was going to be my wife and lifetime companion. After marrying my bride and finishing school, the Lord brought us three beautiful daughters and a vision for using our lives to serve others while we are on this planet. There have been numerous challenges over the years with health, relationships, wealth, career, and certainly marriage, but through it all, God has performed so many miracles it is hard to recant all of them.
I have now walked with God for forty years. I’ve learned so much and yet still feel like I know nothing about him. But I do know that he has never let me down even one time, and I let him down daily. It isn’t because I want to, but because my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. God has transformed me and my family by the power that only comes from on high! There have been financial miracles, healings, victories over weaknesses, revelation of his nature, and most importantly, he placed his very own Spirit within me so I can hear his voice, which is softer than a whisper and wiser than the wisest man to ever walk this earth. His power, presence and purpose all reside within me. His Spirit teaches me about himself with such clarity that is hard for me to fathom it all. I see him everywhere, I hear his voice, I feel his presence, I marvel at his Word and I’ve received a thousand blessings from his people.
Every fiber of my being declares there is a God who loves me, and knows my very name, and even knows the number of hairs on my head. I can’t help but tell others about the eternal greatness of my God. He is the God of gods, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and Prince of peace. He is absolutely everything to me! YES, you better believe, I believe there is a GOD!