We had a wonderful meeting in December and if you missed it, or would like to review the content, we have the video and transcript here!
Have many of you had a pretty good year from a business standpoint? It seems like many people have had a great year from a business standpoint. We’ve had a great year, from a business standpoint. Part of that message we started the year with was making sure we tried to stay on the path that God has for us and allow success, abundance and other things or greater prosperity to get us off track. I hope that’s been true for you. I think it’s been true for us, in our business.
It’s probably fitting that we close the year, I think, with this talk. Just as an example, as Larry said, one of the things we try to do is, I always try to look at a message and bring in some aspects specific to business, because I think we have many great pastors, including at this church. Really good pastors.
You don’t need another pastor talking to you just about scripture but I think the unique thing about KBA is we can bring in the business aspect to it. I’m going to try to do that with this message as well. This message really had its start in my heart.
About a month ago, I was in Washington, DC at a meeting. We were actually trying to establish a larger presence in China. We had some meetings with a large Chinese company in the DC area. I was in my hotel room and I was clicking through the channels and I ended up watching a Daystar event. It was the Hillsong conference in Sydney. It occurs, I think, in June or something like that. It was the second night I was there.
I listened to a pastor and he gave a message … he’s from Dallas, Genesis 1:14 that I wrote down here, about the days and the seasons and the years. His message was a little bit different than what we’re going to cover, but it really stirred by heart, because as he was talking about it, his main message was that in life, in a season, there’s good and bad, but in almost every season of our life, we always want a different season. Any one through the four seasons that we have and how some people will like spring. Anyone here thinks spring is the best season?
We said, okay. Spring is great. I like spring, but man, those allergies are just a killer. Anyone through each of the four seasons, you’ve got the good and the bad. Then when you look at life, he was speaking more on a personal level, there are seasons in life when things seem to be going much better than others, when they’re not going well, is that there’s a tendency to not want to be in that season.
We kept pointing to the fact that there are days, there are years, there are seasons, but the word of God stands forever.
I thought, “What a great message!” Man, I was really stirred with that. Then as I started praying about this and as Larry mentioned, I had this three times confirmed that this is a message from God about seasons. I think from a business standpoint, it’s going to be a blessing. It’s already been a blessing to us at our business.
Before we talk about the notes there, we mentioned the passing of Myles Munroe, which was so tragic, but I’ve been pulling out some of his books and rereading. Myles had such a great understanding of the kingdom of God. No wonder he was so influential. His funeral was attended by royalty. This guy really touched a lot of nations. He touched this country, but also the continent of Africa and Asia.
He was really influential in the kingdom. I think it’s important, before we get into this message, to talk about just briefly the context. Miles does such a great job on this. What he’s doing upfront in setting a stage for the kingdom, he’s talking about religion. Again, we’re not anti-church. We’re not anti-establishment. We love this church and we love many churches.
What Myles was trying to set apart as he talked around the world, is that there’s an institution and Jesus himself talked about the institution of religion and actually, he was casting down and calling out a false religion.
Myles does a great job at describing what the world has established as religion versus what Jesus came to proclaim as the Kingdom of God. Just real briefly, because I think it sets the stage well as we look at the seasons.
Myles writes, “Man and his never ending struggle for survival is significant, separated and obscured from God and created him … ” Meaning Adam’s fall. Invented religion is a vehicle and is intent to find a lost kingdom’s state of rulership and control earth’s resources to meet it’s needs.
A careful study of all forms of religion, reveals that all religions are designed and built on the promise of meeting needs. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, you name it. Even in some cases, Christianity, all without exception, seem to draw followers by promising to make their lives better, improve their circumstances, give some sense of control over the environment and offers to the answers of death and the afterlife.
It includes the motivation by pleasing a deity in order to secure basic needs. You have to stop there and I think that the highest level, isn’t that true? When you look at other religions and the beautiful thing about what Jesus came to bring down from heaven is a religion that’s based on a relationship with our Heavenly Father.
First is these things, but there’s a trapping and this is where we taught before in Matthew 6:43. Jesus said, “Seek not these things, but seek first the kingdom.” He was trying to make that distinction. He goes onto say, his main message, Jesus’ main message as we talked many times, as you’re already there, just to set the stage for this talk was “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Change your way of thinking. Stop working about your needs. Stop working about the provisions. Stop worrying about those things that the pagans go after. Pagans meaning those who didn’t worship the one God of Israel.
What Jesus brought, and what we celebrate this season, is this personal relationship with God Almighty. It’s not about us seeking our own needs, because as Jesus said, they’re already there. It’s about being in relationship and manifest in the kingdom every day of our lives and in the marketplace.
What a powerful message and what a change. No wonder Jesus had to say, “Repent or change your way of thinking.” It changes everything. As we look at the seasons, I think it’s important that we embrace that understanding. How many of you believe that God has a plan? God had a plan from before Adam, through Adam, to the return of Jesus Christ and throughout the Bible.
There’s a plan. There’s a set plan. It’s not that God changed his mind. There’s some religious traditions that suggest that God had a plan for Jesus and that didn’t work out, so he went to plan B. There was no plan B. It was always plan A.
When we look at God’s plans for days and seasons and years, but let’s think about that, is that I can ask him today, what day is it? I don’t know. What day is it? I think it’s the ninth or the tenth?
It’s easy for us to determine what day it is. What day is it?
11th. All right. Then we can look at a calendar. We can know the year. Our year is different from a Hebrew year, but okay. We can know the year. These are things that are visual, we can measure, we can see.
What about the seasons? I’m not talking about the four seasons, but each one of us has a season in life that we’re currently partaking in and we’ve had past seasons and God willing, we’re going to have future seasons.
How do you define those? How do you know what those are? This talk is about trying to think through those. As we looked the coming of Jesus Christ, is that Paul writes in Galatians, as he was speaking to the church in Galatia, that Jesus came in the fullness of time.
We can look through all of the Old Testament and study that Jesus’ arrival came at the perfect time of God’s plan. We could justify with Romans and Greeks and all kinds of things and the preparation for that.
With the three lines that God’s plan is moving and beautiful thing about our personal relationship through Jesus Christ is that we had the chance in our business, in our lives, to move with it. We’ve become part of that river that’s moving or we could stand on the sideline and not. I know that you’re here, you’ve been here. Surely, your heart is … you want to be part of that river that’s moving God’s plan.
What about these seasons? The first thing that we have to realize is that God alone establishes our seasons. You can’t change your season. God sets the seasons in our life. How does he do that? Think about the big picture again, is because each of you has a purpose. Each of us has a plan. God has a plan for you in the kingdom. God has a plan for your career and your business in the kingdom. He, alone, establishes the seasons that you’re in. He knows the seasons that are to come, so that you’re purposely and perfectly prepared for what’s to come.
When we don’t embrace our season, we can fight that season, it would be like winter. I’m not a big fan of winter. My says, “We live in Colorado. Stop complaining?” I just don’t like winter. I like golf. I like bike riding. I like all these things, but it doesn’t matter that Jim complains about winter. I checked and the snow is coming again on Saturday and Sunday. It is what it is.
The same thing, the seasons of our lives. There are people who go through many difficult things in life and we probably know some people that are struggling with health or cancer or other things. Not every season is necessarily a joyful season but every season has a purpose. I think part of the message of the Christmas season of seasons is that every one of these has a reason.
When we look at the seasons of business, Solomon writes that to everything there is a season, which we’re going to talk about. I thought about the seasons in business. We’ve been in business, our own business, for 14 years, in business since 1982, but our business for 14 years.
You’ve been in business for many years and if you think about the seasons, I started to write about the seasons. First of all, in a business or a career, there’s always a beginning. Maybe you changed a career. Maybe you started a business or multiple businesses, but there’s always a beginning. Those are exciting times and challenging times and risky times. That’s about starting. It’s about developing something. It could be going back to school for your career or whatever. That’s a season in life.
That’s a different season than at the end, maybe. There’s a season to … at some point, a few years ago, we had to establish our business, reestablish our Godly foundation and reestablish service lines and business lines and product lines. That was a season. It didn’t come automatically. It didn’t come overnight. There was a period of time that we had to spend, that we had to purposely work at, in order to reestablish that business and to reestablish who we were and how we were going to serve the kingdom.
There’s seasons where you’re building. There’s seasons where you’re growing. For instance, if you’re in a growing season, then that’s probably not the time to spend your effort building a foundation.
Do you see where I’m going? There are things we’re to do and to embrace in those seasons. What happens many times in our life is that season in our business, we either don’t want to be there or we make a decision and we don’t discern the times and we’re doing the wrong thing in our season. We could hinder our season.
I wrote down a couple more. There’s a season of being a good steward and saving being conservative. There’s a season of harvest. I’m going to say, that’s a great season. I’ll tell you. This year was a season of harvest for us. We doubled our business, praise God. This was a season of harvest. It was everything you could do to just harvest. I didn’t have a lot of time for other things.
You have to understand that season. We’re also in the season … seasons kind of overlap. You guys could probably look back at the past or where you’re at. There’s some overlap, but we just have to understand where they are.
The point being is, how do seasons occur in business? I’ve listed a couple of things here that I’ve found that can give us an appreciation of the season we’re in, because some seasons are easy to discern. I remember a season in our business, where we couldn’t get any business. That wasn’t an easy business to discern.
We had to let everybody go. I laid off my wife. I made $25,000 a year, trying to make business happen. I knew what season I was in. I had three kids in college at the time. It was a season. I would have asked for a shorter season, but it was in that season that we discovered the Kingdom of God. It was in that season that I understand and began to appreciate that there was business doing it God’s way.
Each season has a revelation of an ability to know our Lord and the Father in a deeper way, because remember, it’s not about our needs. It’s about the fact that I needed food and clothing and tuition and other things. It’s about the relationship with God. I’m here. My wife is alive and we’re alive and doing fine. We made it.
I just want to encourage us that because we look back … that’s what I say. There’s the past. There’s the current. We can look at these types of areas, if you would, and help to determine what season we’re in. The resources is a key one. We need to gather an abundant amount of resources or a lack of resources, or maybe they’re not even financial.
Resources are people and ideas and technology and products. Think about a broader aspect of what resources God has placed in your hands. Resources. Knowledge. I can tell you there’s periods in our business, where God gave us … “God gave us,” I use that term. Sometimes people get nervous with that term, but if it’s an idea, God gave you that idea.
If somebody shared something with me, I gave you that idea. Sometimes I dream. God deliberately gives it to me, but God gives you things in different ways, but knowledge … What difference? Maybe it’s a different perspective.
Also, you can look at hindrance. If in your career or business, you’re encountering hindrances, especially when they’re freedom and they’re simpler hindrances and there’s something that we need to figure out about this season that we’re going to need in order to grow.
I’ll give you an example. In our business, one of the things we focused on this year is what I call “formality of operations.” As a smaller business, entrepreneurialism and the ability to respond grow fast and these other things as a great asset.
Also, when you take on larger and larger things, lack of institutional control and lack of procedures and processes and checks and balances, the business is in trouble. God is God of order. God is a God of structure.
For us, we’ve tried to put together a formality of operations. I think it’s important, in that season, to know where you’re at. About obstacles, I can think of times past where it seemed like we get running so fast and then we always run into an obstacle. Whether that was not getting paid. That’s always an obstacle.
Other things … I’m trying to think of … lack of new technology was an obstacle. In this environment, whether it’s computer systems or recording systems, I’m looking at other video systems. Whatever they are. There’s a time frame for knowledge. There’s a time frame for technology.
In today’s environment, it’s not very vulnerable. Before that, the competitive edge that we had goes away. It’s a season. What are we doing to recognize that? Again, in the current, how do we recognize it?
How do we think about embracing it? Rather than thinking about, “Oh my gosh. I didn’t make as much money as I hoped. My needs aren’t being met. All these needs I have…” How about embracing the season and asking in prayer, “Lord, show me what it is about this season that I need to learn from,” then put that into practice. Not worrying so much about whatever we feel we’re lacking.
Being in summer and not worrying so much about the heat or being in winter and not worrying about the snow, necessarily. Then there’s also, and this is the key part of the message that I wanted to highlight, is that you have had past seasons. You’ve had past seasons where … I remember a time, after the hard time, for a period of time, we didn’t lose anything.
Everything we went after, we won, as far as business. Everything we touched prospered. It was an amazing time. All of us remember it. You come after those two and there’s a trap that the enemy tries to place within us. Whether you had a season where nothing worked, or whether you had a season where everything worked, that season is over.
There’s a tendency in business, we want to sustain the lessons learned, but there’s also a tendency to be fearful of, “That didn’t work. That really hurt in the past. What about the future?” That’s going to happen the same in the future.
When we look at God’s big plan and we look at the seasons, is maybe there was a season where it hurt bad and where it didn’t work, but that doesn’t that the next season is not meant to prosper and to succeed. We hold on to that hurt. We hold on to what stopped us. We missed God’s new season, but it works the opposite. Maybe it did work really well and when I had a business plan for five years or whatever, this really prospered or my career really went well with the company I worked with, but then I lost the job or I lost that … I’m sorry. It really went well, but then we say, “Well, that will always work.” It won’t always work. Whatever we did in the past that worked, doesn’t mean it’s going to work again.
That was the season that we were in. I think it’s important. I’ve seen in my whole life, where I went back and I prayed about this, and even in our business is we need to close out the past seasons. There are things that linger. I’ve had some things I’ve seen that the enemy himself will try to delay your closing out of the season, because you leave one season, you’re ready to go into the new season.
Think about this, as you spend all this time and energy and emotion and you know there’s a new season coming but you’re stuck and you can’t move. The enemy is keeping you there. You see it. You want to go to it but you can’t get there, because sometimes there’s things … whether it be relationships, whether it be events, whether it be that we didn’t purposely close out the season … we went through recently and we started thinking back about some of the things that occurred in our business.
We started closing the door, in prayer, on those things in the past. We closed the door on some success. We closed the door, in prayer, on some hindrances. We closed the door … We were owed money, like I don’t know, like four or five clients that just go on and on. It’s like, that’s enough! I prayed closure and getting the payments we need so that we can move into our new view.
I know each and every one of us from the past has those things. It could be pride. If you say, “I don’t know about those things.” I could tell you, pride is a big trap. If we’re not humble before the Lord, then the seasons of the past can be a trap that would prevent us from moving forward.
Then there’s the future. When are you going to be preparing for the future? Instead of worrying about our needs, payments and finances and all these other things, I think that when we put too much focus on that, especially in business, that you’ll lose the ability to see the new season and to get ready for where God wants to take us next.
He’s got the whole plan. Why in the world would we be so worried about the balance sheet, income statement and making all that money? If we truly trust God, why would we be so worried about that? Maybe that’s the hindrance and the obstacle and thing of the past, is maybe you haven’t really learned to trust God, that he has a new season for you and that there’s a new thing coming up and that he’s for you and not against you.
No matter what that new season is, there’s going to be something in it good for you. There’s a Biblical model that exists in this area, that helped the Israelites and is intended to help us with closing out the seasons.
What that has to do with is … Did you know that in the Bible … you guys are aware of some of the Jewish feasts. All their holidays. There’s a lot of them. Doing business in Israel, all the time they’re off or somehow, they are doing nothing. Like I want to be a part of you guys. You’re off for weeks on end, for crying out loud. What I discovered there’s only three God called festivals in Israel. Only three. Through tradition, it’s been changed, but when you read the scriptures, there’s only three.
Why I want to bring it up for business is that two of those deal with business. Two of those are marketplace. Thing about this is God says, “Celebrate a festival to me three times.” The first one is the day after Passover, unleavened bread, which is about deliverance, but you got to think of them as the Chabad, the holy day, is not the day of Passover. It’s the following day, the first day of unleavened bread. One day. It’s about deliverance.
In business, we need deliverance. I say that applies, but the next two are specifically related to the marketplace in business. The first one is the Feast of Harvest, which is known as the Feast of Wheats. We know it as Shavuot, as well as Pentecost. From a Christian standpoint, many have a great appreciation for Pentecost.
The interesting thing is it’s also called the Festival of Wheats because it’s seven weeks after the high holy day of Passover, which is already nine days. Pentecost being 50 days. Okay, so what?
All right. Let me jump to the … It’s about the first fruits. It’s about the wheat harvest. In that day, most people that are in the marketplace dealt with agriculture. Remember these people hadn’t even entered the land yet to do this before God gave it to them. God gave them these festivals, along with The Ten Commandments. They’re in the middle of the desert. What does that have to do with Rain Harvest?
What I’m trying to get the point across is that the second God-ordained festival, which is a festival to God, not for man, but as our relationship to God, deals with the harvest, the wheat harvest, the marketplace. Interesting.
The third one is what they call in-gathering, which today is known as tabernacles, but really it’s about celebrating the work of their hands and the threshing floor. This is about, again, agriculture. You had a threshing floor and that’s how you made whatever needed to be made out of the rain and in the wine.
If that’s your business, that’s marketplace. These festivals with celebrated at the direction of the Lord to close a season. There was a beginning of the season and it closed the season. God knew we needed to embrace a new season and close out an old season.
What he did is that by celebrating these festivals and then allowed for the new season to come, because this is for the part that we all liked, but the promise was that the Lord will open to you as a way to give you a rain and season and plus all the work of your hands. Why aren’t we receiving all the blessings of the work of our hands?
Because we haven’t closed out the old season. What’s the model for closing out the old season? You come before the Lord. It says, here are the conditions, you can read it in Deuteronomy and Exodus. It said, one, be joyful. Don’t be moaning and complaining about the season. It doesn’t say here, “If you had a great rain harvest and if you come to be joyful.” It says, “Come to be joyful.” Period.
Then it says, “Appear before God.” “Come to me. Don’t look at everybody else and clients and who did this and how did that occur? Come to me.” Lastly, it says, “Bring an offering.” Do not come empty handed to the Lord,” it says. I think this is great model for our businesses. It was God’s model to begin with.
Jesus taught on this in many ways. The only one I picked just for essence of time, was that towards the end, after he directed his disciples to find the donkey and, “Get ready. I’m coming to Jerusalem,” and they were walking back up to gregarious enemy in Bethany and he looked at the fig tree. He went to the fig tree. It didn’t have any figs, because it was out of season.
He cursed the fig tree. I thought, “Wow.” Why would you curse a fig tree out of season for not having figs? Perhaps it’s trying to teach us something. I think what he was trying to teach us is that whether it’s in season or out of season, be fruitful, because you’re in a season.”
I think there’s also a warning here, is that if we’re not fruitful in doing kingdom work, that he might not be so happy with you. I don’t know how else to say that. I’ve researched this a little bit.
There’s another scripture that I’m going to close with is Daniel 2:21. Daniel is praising God. He said, “Blessed be the name of God.” The second thing he says is, he changes the times and the seasons. I think what Jesus is trying to illustrate to us is that what you’ve had alone, since the establishment, can change the season.
If we come to him in this manner, we have the opportunity to partner with him. It may be that he changes the season. Not that I can change it, but he might change us. I just want to encourage us to think about what season you’re in, in your business and career. I want you to really think about … it’s a very valuable exercise I found. I’ve been doing this over the last 30 days. It’s amazing, I think, when God wants to show you about the past to prepare you for your future. What can you do to appreciate this season?
Lastly, I just closed with … this kind of occurred to me this morning, is isn’t this what the Christmas season is about? The Christmas season is about deliverance and it’s about giving gifts and about giving praise to God and about a newness. This is the essence of Christmas.
I think it would be helpful, for all of us, if we have time to stick around, we can talk about the seasons and what you’ve learned about the seasons, because there’s a lot of wisdom in this room. I just want to wish you a Merry Christmas.
If you’d like, I can pray and then we can have our time together. Okay.
Father, we do want to give you thanks for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the perfect timing that you brought him here.
Lord, we so much want to embrace your kingdom, Lord. We want to follow in your ways, Lord. We just give you praise that you’re not a God of condemnation but a God of freedom and a God of love and a God who wants a personal relationship with us.
Lord, we embrace that, too. Lord, we ask you to close the doors of the seasons of the past that are hindering us in anyway. We want to thank you for the current seasons that we’re in, Lord. We embrace all the aspects of those, as they train us and equip us, Lord. Lord, we’re so excited for the new seasons you have for us, Lord, and we will not be afraid, that we look to those seasons, Lord, knowing that we can trust you. That you’re a good God and you have good things for us.
Lord, we just thank you for the spirit of Christmas, Lord. The spirit of salvation, the spirit of giving, the spirit of goodness and the spirit of love. We embrace that now, Lord. I bless your people here today, in the name of Jesus. We give you praise for everything always. In Jesus’ name. Amen.