The world’s credit versus God’s credit

Even if people don’t recognize or appreciate your ministry, God knows all about it & will reward you accordingly. No deed goes unnoticed by the Father.

Creditworthiness by the world’s standards is either counterfeit or loses value very quickly. Your accomplishments for the Kingdom compound infinitely.  Invest and work accordingly.

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Devotional: Do what’s best

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“May He equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen!” (Heb. 13:21)

“God’s will done God’s way never lacks God’s support,” as Pastor Rick Warren would always say.

If I am doing what I am shaped to do; if I am doing work at the highest level, with love, with the intention of giving Him the glory, and that serves my brothers and sisters…I have nothing to worry about, and God’s strength will be with me and it will be successful.

It might not be success on our terms – money, possessions, power, recognition, or even results that payoff in my lifetime – but it’s something that lasts forever, is important, and I will be rewarded.

If the work I do doesn’t inspire me, doesn’t exhibit His love, doesn’t serve the people that Jesus died for, and I can’t or won’t do it to the best of my ability…I’ll need to eliminate it, and make room for activities that do fit the bill. I don’t have enough resources for mediocre, misaligned work that won’t have an eternal ROI.

Throwback: Rwanda- and purpose-bound

This is part of a series called “Throwback” – where I revive journal entries and blog posts written/posted on this very day, years ago.

Written on May 23rd, 2013 (four years ago), after I had asked my CEO Dan Rowe for a temporary leave to prepare for and serve on a missionary trip in the country of Rwanda – where a team of us spent time with the poor and helped them build sustainable preschools that hopefully gave them life-changing power.  

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I had a hope that reset blog would be done just in time for my mission trip to Africa; and thanks to making time and an amazing web site designer, it met the deadline.

I am very entrepreneurial and hard-working by nature; and I used to subscribe to the philosophies of: “I work 80 hours a week so that I can avoid working 40 hours;” “I can sleep all I want when I’m dead;” “Work now so that you can enjoy life later;” and a host of other Kool-Aid flavors I was drinking and getting unhealthy sugar-highs from.

There are a series of events that happened in my life that caused me to change all that – and I’ll save that for future blog posts – but learning the hard way, finding my way back to God, being introduced to Tim Ferriss and the 4-Hour Workweek philosophy, Zen Habits, and other signs and nudges…compelled me to make some major, major changes.

For the focus of this blog post, I’ll mention the major one: I changed employers.

Whereas I used to work for Fransmart full-time as their Senior Director – I am now working full-time for God and serving people. Fransmart gives me work I enjoy, and I do quite successfully at it – but my main purpose is to do eternity-based work that I was created to do, and money does not last.

What lasts are God, His Word, and people. That’s a compensation that no firm on earth can match; a retirement that lasts forever; work that is recession proof; and work that is truly meaningful.

It was scary and I am taking a huge risk and leap of faith…but I have confidence that God will provide. And so far, because of the move to leave my career, Fransmart generously offered to keep me on payroll as an advisor. I’ve learned that I don’t need too much money to be happy (in fact, it may be a hindrance, actually); I am no longer stressed by and make any money-based decisions (and those type of decisions are always poorly-played out); and I am thoroughly enjoying my new lifestyle.

One of my biggest life decisions was to go on a mission trip to Rwanda to build preschools for the materially poor children there. It’s an initiative under The PEACE Plan via Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California – one of the biggest churches in America. The idea that I could be used by God to bring people closer to Him; lift the materially poor out of poverty and its horrible effects (sex/labor trafficking, drugs, violence, gangs, etc.); help people become self-sustainable; and in the meantime work on my own brokenness, because I have issues, too…I couldn’t think of a better use of my time, than time spent with and for Him.

 

It’s crazy – I don’t know anything about construction, school planning, caring for children, teaching, etc. but I love children and knew that God would fill in the gaps and details.

And fill in, He did – God has blessed this initiative above and beyond, and I haven’t even touched down in Kigali, yet:

  1. For me, He used my love and knowledge of social media, business, and marketing to build awareness and shared excitement for this and future trips. I believe He’s been working on me in preparation for this – and spiritual maturity takes time.
  2. Financially, the initiative has gotten so much monetary support – that not only are the intended project needs met, there are enough funds to build 1 more school than initially planned (I am out there to follow-up on 3 schools already up and running, and identify sites for 3 more). I am so humbled by God’s people and their like-heartedness, and the power of prayer.
  3. And for my team – teachers, child psychologists, and people who have been to Rwanda have joined my team and will be working alongside me.

Whoa. Talk about getting hooked up.

I am currently typing this blog post from my plane flight from New York City to Brussels, before making the final connection from there to Kigali, Rwanda. I’m not sure how the Internet access will be there; nor will I know if I’ll even have time to write – as I might be out all day working – but I am honored to be doing this mission and sharing it with you.

You can keep your job; but reset your answer when asked who you are truly working for.

Devotional: Re-thinking ministry

This is part of a series called “Devotionals.”

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“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” (Rom. 12:1, The Message)

This is an insight that changed everything for me years ago. After coming back from serving in Rwanda (I went with a team there to build pre-schools for poor communities with no access to education), I felt bad to not want to go back and do more ministry work there.

I was so confused – I love the Lord, the country of Rwanda and its people were incredible, it was a heavily-rewarding experience, I was blessed to do what most can’t or won’t do, and I got to travel and see more of God’s glory. I couldn’t stop raving about my teammates and the work that God made happen.

“What is wrong with me?!” I thought.

A few months after my trip, I was listening to Pastor Rick Warren speak on an episode of Daily Hope, and his message shifted my perspective.

I can’t remember the exact wording, but his point was this:

God created everybody differently – from your biological make-up, to your talents, experiences, your ministry, and your ultimate calling. He loves variety. Some people are not called to make money, but called to go into the mission field and carry out God’s initiatives. And then there are others who may not be called into the mission field, but they’re great in business and have been blessed with obtaining financial resources – they can produce the income needed to fuel these life-changing missionary initiatives.

There is no one better ministry than the other. Both are necessary.

It made me think about my work at Fransmart, The Halal Guys, and consulting gigs differently. I realized that while I may work for a CEO or I may be a business owner – God is the true boss that I serve, and that the money I make can enable mission trips and other important causes that would either not happen or be delayed.

It led me to look at even my everyday tasks differently as well – like brushing my teeth, eating meals, driving to work, playing with my boys, talking with my wife, etc…that they are also an opportunity to serve Him and give Him glory. It doesn’t need to be massive, public activities to make God smile – they are all critical.

If your heart doesn’t tug you towards being a pastor, missionary, nonprofit worker, or be any other position that carries the obvious Christian banner….don’t fret and feel you aren’t doing what God wants you to do. Sometimes He wants you to be knee-deep in non-Christian environments – where God’s love is needed even more – so that you can make way bigger ripples.

Overall – Take your passions, skills, experience, and love of helping people, and using those to cause the impact that God custom-built YOU to make. Forget the labels and expectations – they only take your eyes off of your important work.

SHAFT: More than a bank account

Attachment-1This is part of a journey my family and I are embarking on – in starting, running, and growing a nonprofit organization with a mission that’s dear to our hearts.

You can read the backstory here, and all of the entries here

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This past Thursday my wife and I visited our local Chase Bank and opened SHAFT Foundation’s bank account!

This was exciting because we’ve been anxiously waiting to transfer our own tithe over, and to start spreading the word to fundraise.

And apparently God was pretty anxious, too; because after we shared the purpose of our nonprofit while our banker helped us open the account, he called me the next day and said he felt called to donate to what we’re doing on a MONTHLY basis!

SUCH a God thing!

I believe it’s what happens when you take on a project much bigger than you can handle on your own; it forces you to depend on Him, and doing His will His way always gets His support. And it’s also what happens when you don’t keep your work a secret, but put it out there to the universe; it will attract those who care about what you care about, too.

What’s next? Taking inventory of what shoebox supplies we currently have (we’ve lost our garage to those cause lol!) and announcing that our donor contributions are 100% tax free. Some of you will be getting a call/email/meeting request soon =P

We’re so jacked up on what’s to come for this initiative!