The topic of today’s talk really came … Have you guys seen those yard posters where they’re announcing The Psychic Life Coaching? I saw quite a few about a month ago. Ever since I picked that title, I haven’t seen too many. Have you guys seen those? I think it’s some kind of multi-tier marketing program. Basically, we’re all familiar with the life coaching that’s really taken hold, but now they want to add the psychic element to that. I wanted to stop the car and pull them out, but I figured it wouldn’t be very Christian-like. Somebody paid for that poster, but I was tempted, twice at least, to just stop the car and get them.
I know that you all here are mature in your walk, and you understand that that’s probably, from a Christian standpoint, not a good idea, but it got me thinking, as well as some other things. I just have a quick talk, and it’s really, at the end of the day I think my message that I want to share, and thank you, God, for the shade, is that as Christian people in business I think we really should have a higher expectation of what we’re able to accomplish. I hope to share a little insight into that. Let me get started.
If we think about it from a Kingdom perspective that every time that there’s a business that has a breakthrough, that also impacts society, and it impacts people. That’s one of the cool things about being in business is, whether it’s a big family business in a local town that has great influence … I grew up in a small town in Wyoming in high school and the sugar plant, and the Pepsi plant, actually, employed a lot of people. They had a lot of influence. You can think of other businesses, as well. There’s always a society impact and a personal. I was thinking about that.
If we look at even the last 30 or 40 years, maybe I chose 30 years because I’m in my early 50s, and that’s kind of my realm of reference from business standpoint. What was going on at the time that Jesus walked this earth? What was going on in the Old Testament that God was revealing revelations, and new discoveries, and new techniques, and methods and stuff. This really came home to me this last week. We spent a couple of days down in Mesa Verde. Have you guys been to Mesa Verde in Southwest Colorado? Beautiful place, and the cliff dwellings and stuff.
What caught my eye is that apparently the Pueblo, the Native Americans, at that time kind of came down to that area in like 500 AD or so, and then they lived there till like 1200 AD, and then they moved on. What was interesting to me is that, at first it’s like most Native American, they were more the hunter/gatherer, but then they started to set up these communities, which is why they have the dwellings and stuff. What jumped out to me is that what this group is well known for is their pottery, but also the baskets that they would make. What really jumped out is that it was because of their ability to make these baskets that they were able to become a sedentary agricultural community. Without making these baskets that was not possible. Wow, wait a minute. Just one simple thing had such a huge impact.
As I thought, then, back through my time in Israel, what’s interesting to me is that these woven baskets in the Middle East had been around since the time of Egypt. Think of Moses in the basket going down the river. There’s a disconnect. Baskets in the Middle East had been around at least 1500 years before that. Interesting, not that it didn’t have an impact. It also tied in that, again in my time in Israel … Do you guys know what one of the meanings of Nazareth is, Jesus from Nazareth, and the community of Nazareth? My first time in Israel as I was sitting on Mount Carmel, some of my Jewish friends were pointing over there and said, “Oh, that’s Nazareth.” One of them actually said, “Nothing good ever came out of Nazareth,” which I thought was prophetic.
What I did discover, from a Jewish perspective is, did you know what Nazareth was famous for? Baskets, because Nazareth is like one to two miles out of the Jezreel Valley, and the Jezreel Valley at that time would flood, and it was like a swamp. The community and the businesses around Nazareth, including at the time of Jesus, what they were most known for was making these high-end baskets. My guess is, someone in Jesus’ family probably made high-end baskets. We know that even though in the English translation when it says Jesus was a carpenter, it really is Jesus was a craftsman, and Jesus’ dad, Joseph, was a craftsman. Wait a minute. I wonder. Maybe they made baskets, and maybe they had a high-end product, and maybe that’s how they sustained themselves.
What it goes back to is like, every time that there’s a business that’s able to make something, it has a societal impact and a kingdom impact, as well as a personal impact. The choice we have, of course, is we can go to the psychic and ask them to interpret what our job should do and what our business should do, which we don’t want to do, right? Or, of course, we could go to God. I pulled out a couple of the Scriptures that specifically deal with this. The first one is in Deuteronomy 18 where God is providing the guidelines on how to live in His kingdom and do His work. This was very clear to the Israelites. Let no one be found, basically no one be found in the family of Israel, that is a medium or spiritualist or who consults the dead. The other way to look at that, if you are found to do those things, you are no longer part of God’s family.
Isaiah is really a good one because it says that, and this is the Lord speaking through Isaiah, “Should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” In our businesses, and in our careers, this is pretty clear to me is that we really need to be inquiring of God in not just the big things, but in the little things. I was reminded of what Jesus had to say in Matthew 22, when He said that this is of the Father, this is Jesus, “I am the God of Abraham, God, He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” Of course, we could carry that on beyond just this realm. That really opens the door. If He’s the God of the living and we have eternal life, then we can tie those two together. Again, it goes back to where do we get our understanding and whom do we seek it from.
Lastly, and we know that in our own walk that the Holy Spirit plays an important role in this. If we go to John 14, Jesus confirms that, “If you love me and keep my commandments, and I will ask the Father and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever,” including the title The Spirit of Truth. One of the important things that jumped out and reminded me here is that there’s a condition to that advocate and to that Spirit of Truth, and it’s the first part to this. “If you love me, and if you obey my commandments,” keep my commandments. That’s conditional. Lastly, in John 14:25, this Holy Spirit, this advocate, will teach you all things and will remind you. Instead of seeking a psychic then we have access to this, and it has some conditions to it.
I’m reminded of our talk a couple months ago at this event that happened at Pentecost, which if you go back and remember what we said is that this Pentecost was Shavuot, it was a business festival. That’s why the Jews were gathered in Jerusalem, because it was a commandment that they gather four times, and this being one of the high holy days, that they gathered, but it was all about the harvest, and it was about the people coming to Jerusalem with their harvest and sharing it. What we mentioned at that time is that the marketplace has always been at the forefront of God’s plans in His society, in His group, right? Again, when a business succeeds, then society succeeds, and then there’s personal break through.
We know that the enemy is a corrupter, and a copycat, and a deceiver, and so he also knows that that’s true, so just as good produces good, evil produces evil. In our business, if we do evil then we can also have the opposite effect. I’m trying to encourage us and think through that we have this access to our advocate and to our counselor, and it was always part of God’s plan in business to have that access and have that be a regular part of the walk. When you look at the early days of Israel in the Bible that was true.
What I also wanted to emphasize is that at the end of the day is that event, what we call Pentecost, which was called the Feast of Weeks, and Shavuot, in Israel, something changed forevermore on that day. What changed forevermore is that, up until that time there was a God in heaven and He lived, His house, His presence, was in a heavenly realm. On that day, God’s plan was fulfilled through the sacrifice of Jesus that allowed something to change forevermore. It had never been that way before, and it will be changed forever after that. As we all know, what changed is that through God’s great plan He changed where He lived. His presence changed from a place of distance to a place of closeness.
When Jesus spoke in John 17, He said that, “My prayer is that they would be one with the Father just as I am one with the Father.” He wasn’t speaking about us being one as a community, even though that’s important, He said that we would be one just as He is one. We need to grasp more of that, that we are one just as Jesus is one with the Father. In part of that Holy Spirit then is that the Spirit, the very Spirit of God Himself, the Spirit that created the universe, now lives inside of you and me. The more we embrace the oneness that Jesus demonstrated Himself, that He was our model, that He perfected what it meant to be one, and He also allowed us to be one.
Not only in our personal walk, as we obey His commands, and as we seek His way, in business now as we seek more being one, then we have access to this advocate and counselor, and then we have access to this societal, and business, and personal breakthrough through your business. Think about the basket, how significant is a basket? I did a lot of research on the basket to do this, but one of the great stories of the basket is the loaves and the fishes. When Jesus was done feeding the multitudes, He said go pick up the loaves and the fishes and put them in the basket, and there were seven times. If God could use a basket to be part of His stories of Jesus Christ, if God could use a basket to change a whole nation people from being nomads and hunters to being gathered and sedentary, what could he do in your business, what could we do, what basket could we come up with?
I think what I’ll do, I’ll just stop for a moment. I heard a song on the radio that I thought tied to this. I’d just like to take a minute because I think when the Holy Spirit rests in us and lives in us, and we got all this business in the world, so many demands on our time and taking us away, I don’t want to move from that question. What could God do in your business, what basket could He give you that could change your community, and change society so that we’re not fighting to operate a Christian business in an airport, to solve a problem and maybe even change the way a nation moves. If He can do it with a basket, He can do it in your business, and in your job. Just open your heart and listen to this song and then we’ll close with another word.
I don’t know if you took any notes, but it might be a good time to write something down. That same power that rose Jesus from the dead is in us, right? I think the Lord wants to see His people in business do more. I think we have the chance to do more. There’s baskets. I was trying to think through as far as in the last 30 years what kind of breakthroughs have we seen? We think, “Okay, yeah, I got the iPhone and got my tablet and other things,” but I don’t know, yeah, those have changed the way we do business and life, but there are other things that are much more simple that have changed how we live. Can you think of any?
I mean, who’d have thought that 30 years ago that … I did some research … 30% of the U.S. beverage market is bottled water, and that the first plastic bottle was patented in 1973 by DuPont. There are 50 billion plastic bottles sold in the U.S. alone every year. Couldn’t you come up with a plastic bottle? I think I could have. Hasn’t this changed the way we live? What about these? Some of you are as old as me, some might be a day or two older than me. I mean, you remember the day when these weren’t around. It was all paper. Couldn’t you come up with this? These were introduced in the late 70s. There are now 100 billion used each year in the U.S., 100 billion. In 1982, Safeway and Kroger started to use these, and they were supplied by Exxon Mobile. Today, they represent over 80% of the bags, baskets if you would, that are being used. Couldn’t you come up with this?
I think God’s got some things he wants to put into Christian hands, he wants to put into your hands. What did these do, and what did the basket do? It met an immediate need. We don’t have to necessarily sit there and think 20 years down the road what this society needs. There are needs right here today and now, services and products. Ask God, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what’s needed today. I think you’re going to get a good answer.
We’ll close on a word of prayer. We’ll ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to us and, again, please feel free to stick around and meet others and maybe talk about what kind of needs we have here.
Father, we do thank you that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us. Lord, not only do we have an eternal life promised to us that ensures that we know the one true God and Jesus whom He sent, but that we have access to all the wisdom, all the knowledge, all the understanding to the Spirit of Truth, to the advocate who wants to guide us into all truth. Not only that, but we have the grace through the Lord Jesus Christ to obey your command, to see your ways, so that we can be one with you, so that we can solve problems, Lord, that we can meet the needs of a world that’s desperate with so many needs, and through being in the marketplace we can change society.
We can change the business world, we can change personal lives, Lord, in a very practical way, because you’re a very practical God. Just as you gave baskets and you put Nazareth in the area where reeds were grown so that they could make these baskets, you put each and every person here, Lord, in a place where they could use what’s at their hands to solve a problem and to meet a need. Holy Spirit, I just pray that today, and this week, and this month you would reveal to us what it is that you have intended for us. Lord, we just call upon your name. We know that it’s all possible because of the great sacrifice and the model, Jesus, that you exemplified. We don’t do it in our own strength, and we don’t do it out of our own will, but we do it in submission to you. Lord, we call forth for breakthroughs. We call forth for innovations. We call forth for new methods.
We call forth for more of your Kingdom, Lord. Jesus, as you taught us to pray, the very first part was that your Kingdom come today, not just your will but your actual Kingdom come. Father, let your Kingdom come in this group, and we give you the praise in the name of every name, in Jesus’ name.