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Archive for April, 2017

If you are a Christian who works in the marketplace but you also feel the need, the pull to serve God, you may be wondering, “Should I leave my job, the workplace, and go work for a ministry? Or should I go work for a nonprofit that helps people and brings the Gospel to the lost?” I believe most of us who are believers working in the marketplace—or any place other than in ministry, missions or a church—battle with these thoughts. How can God use me here, at work? Where is “my mission field”? Where does God need ME?”

Well, search no more. God needs YOU right where you are—in the marketplace. That’s exactly where He placed you and that is your mission field where the laborers are truly few and the harvest is plenty and ready. Working people need God the same as people in remote areas of the world. When I left my job at the church where I worked (and where God trained me in ministry) I told the senior Pastor, “You know how God sends some people to distant lands like Asia, Africa, or South America? Well, God is calling me to Corporate America. That’s my mission field. That’s where God needs ME so that’s where I’m going. I’m going to start a bank with my previous boss and work in the banking industry again.”

The financial services industry needs God. Isn’t that evident these days? The corporate executives, the wealthy customers, board directors—they all need God, so that’s where I felt God called me to go. I started my career in banking and after thirteen years, God took out completely and brought me to ministry, to a church. While I was there for five years, I not only gained new work skills and experience in IT, HR, and Finance. I also learned nonprofit corporate governance as the Secretary of the Board in addition to learning what it means to work in a ministry, “doing the work of God on a daily basis.”

While I was there, however, God showed that we can do the work of God daily—in the workplace—wherever our workplace is. Some believers are called to nonprofits that are not Christian. Others are called to work in government and politics. God calls others to be entrepreneurs and start businesses. Yet others will work with the wealthiest in America and bring them the good news of the Gospel. The harvest is indeed plenty and God is looking for believers who are willing to work in this mission field, and sometimes even risk their careers, for the sake of the Gospel.

Two and one half years ago (after ten years with the new bank) I left the comfort of my banking executive job to fulfill the calling in my life—to go where I had never gone before, to go deeper into the marketplace and expand my territory beyond just one small bank. God always has bigger plans for us. And His plans for you and me are bigger than we think. So now my workplace is the stage! As a professional speaker I have now a bigger opportunity, and thus responsibility, to influence my audience. So my new question was, how do I bring my faith to my new workplace—the stage?

When I started public speaking about seventeen years ago I told God, “You open doors and I promise you I will mention your name at least once.” And He continues to open new doors. I go speak wherever there is an open door—both in the secular arena as well as the faith based. In the faith based events it’s very easy to talk about God and even Jesus. I can mention “Christ” as my Savior. That’s easy and I love it.

But when I’m asked to speak on a technical banking topic at a banking conference, that’s a little more challenging. How do I incorporate God into my speech or educational topic? Well, it’s actually easy. I share a little bit of my life and background and somehow, there is always someone who asks me a question that leads me to share about my faith—and I go for it. The fulfillment I get from sharing at least one word—God—during my speech is so amazing. I come away satisfied and knowing I just planted the little seed of God’s Word in someone’s heart. Now I pray that someone else can water that seed so the Word of God can start growing in that person’s heart.

If you are a Christian public speaker, ask God to show you a way to incorporate Him into your speech wherever you go, whatever the topic. God is God and He will give you the opportunity. I’ve noticed people actually welcome the idea that the speaker’s faith has helped him or her throughout his or her life. Audiences usually accept the words “faith” and “God” and many people have told me afterwards that they appreciated that I had the courage to share about my faith. They connected now at the spiritual level. That is the best way you, as a speaker, can influence your audience—with the encouragement that being a believer in the workplace is ok. That’s how I incorporate my faith now in my new workplace—the stage. What a great opportunity and great responsibility. You can do it too!

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Dear Friends,

I started reading a new Bible—Life Application Study Bible (New International Version) to learn more about the history that went on during the time that Jesus came to earth. I decided to start reading Matthew and purposed myself to read all the explanations from the study Bible as I go along. One of the things I learned today, for example, is that in the 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, when God remained silent, He was actually preparing the perfect time and place for Jesus’ arrival. This reminded me that when we are waiting on God (for what seems an eternity) for a prayer to be answered is precisely because God is preparing the perfect time and place to answer our prayer. This makes complete sense yet it’s so hard for us to wait on His promises. But we must not lose hope and continue to have faith.

The other thing I learned today is that Matthew wrote the Gospel originally for the Jews only. They were his intended audience and the purpose was solely to prove that Jesus was the true Messiah—the One they had been waiting for. He started by proving that Jesus came from the royal line of God’s chosen people—from Abraham, the father of all Jews, all the way to Joseph, the husband of Mary. On the other hand, Luke wrote the Gospel directed to the Gentiles to prove that Jesus came to save all humankind—Jews, Gentiles, men, and women.

The third thing I already knew but that caused me to ponder on today was the fact that all the Jews that continued to believe during that time that God was sending the Messiah—a Savior to save them from oppression, from punishment from their sins, and that would rule in a new Kingdom—were expecting a warrior. And instead, God sends them a little baby who was born in a manger, in some little town called Bethlehem. Isn’t God amazing? He has the ability to surprise us and His plans are definitely not our plans and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Why did God do this? Why did God not just send a warrior that came down directly from heaven to show the world that He is King—powerful, majestic, conqueror, and invincible? Well, the thing is Jesus IS all of those things. God simply chose for Jesus to come into this world just like every other human being because He is and had to be part human in order to be here with us and fulfill the bigger plan of God.

Jesus came to earth directly from heaven because of God’s unending love for us. Jesus knew His mission and fulfilled it completely, to the very last minute. He started His ministry at around 30 years of age and worked in His ministry for three years and, at the end, He died on the cross. He fulfilled all the prophesies from the Old Testament. But the story doesn’t end with Jesus dead. The story ends with a new beginning—with Jesus conquering death and evil once and for all. He rose from the dead. And it begins with the proposal for each of us to choose life eternally with Jesus in heaven. So in the end, which was the beginning for us, Jesus IS a warrior—He fought evil and He won. Jesus’ Kingdom will never end unlike all the earthly kingdoms that do end. Jesus is powerful, majestic, conqueror, and indeed invincible. He conquered death. He has the power of the Holy Spirit, which is the same power He left for us to use as His followers. He is majestic for He is in His glory right now, waiting for us to get there when our turn comes. He is forever our Lord and King of Kings!

Follow Jesus. Make Him your Lord and never let go of Him. And if you are already a follower, then continue Jesus’ work by making disciples of all nations!

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Dear Friends,

Each year on Easter weekend I read one chapter of the book “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. This chapter is called “The Medical Evidence” and the purpose is to explain the medical reasons of how Jesus died on the cross. It’s a step by step medical explanation of what Jesus went through from the moment he went to pray all night and sweat blood to the moment he had his last breath and said, “It is finished.”

I read this chapter each year to remind myself the horrible death that Jesus went through—all because He loves ME—all because of LOVE! That was his only mission on earth, his purpose—to die on the cross for each one of us. Wow! And we get scared when we discover God’s purpose for our lives. We get sometimes overwhelmed by our calling as if it was anywhere close to the calling Jesus had.

I also attended the Good Friday service at my church last night. They shared the various statements that Jesus said right before and up to his death. The one that stuck with me was when Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matthew 27:46 NKJV). Imagine, even Jesus, the Son of God, thought and felt as if God had forsaken him. How can that be? Didn’t Jesus know that very soon He was going to be with the Father again? Didn’t He know that this was part of the plan from the beginning and that He had to go through this horrible pain in order to get the victory—a victory that would be eternal? But I think it was the human side of Jesus who spoke at that moment and asked God “why have you forsaken me”? Other versions say, “Why have you abandoned me?”

This brings me to address two points: First, even Jesus had to wait for God’s timing. He had to wait for God’s power to manifest in His life—for the promise. In this instance, Jesus had to wait for God to resurrect Him from the dead. He had to wait three days! Many times we feel forsaken and abandoned by God but the Bible also tells us that God “never leaves nor forsakes us” (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). We simply need to wait and not give up on our faith. Second, even Jesus, the Son of God, received silence from God. God cannot be in the presence of sin so He turned His back on Jesus. That was the only reason (and the only time) God was silent and turn away from Jesus for three days as Jesus visited hell on our behalf so we don’t have to spend eternity there separated from God. What a mission! What a promise!

Before Jesus came to earth, in between the Old Testament and the New Testament, 400 years passed where God was silent to the Israelites! 400 years! That’s so many generations that passed and they never heard a word from God. People were born and died and never heard from God. They never experienced the promise here on earth. They had to believe by faith and never saw the promise of the Messiah realized during their entire lives on earth.

I thank God daily that I was born in these times. Even though these times seem full of hatred and evil, Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit so we CAN communicate with God daily! We don’t have to wait years and our entire lives for the promise to come true. It already did! All we have to do is believe and accept the free gift of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He already paid the prize for our sins. He already came and fulfilled His mission—He died on the cross, went to hell for us, and resurrected from the dead. He’s already sitting at the right hand of the Father. All we have to do is say, “Yes, Lord. I accept your invitation. I believe in you. I repent of my sins. I want to go to heaven and be with you for eternity.”

I know we are all waiting on God for something. We continue to pray and wait (sometimes patiently and other times very impatiently) but we wait until God’s promises in our lives come true. Let’s just keep the eternal perspective knowing that the biggest promise that God gave His people (all of us) already came true. Now you have to appropriate that promise and make it a reality in your life. The worldly things we wait on are not important in the eternal perspective. Only the conversion of those we love is of that importance. So let’s not get weary in our prayers and believing for those who don’t yet know Christ. Let’s never quit praying for the lost souls who have not yet heard the promise and for our loved ones who have heard and are resisting to believe. Let’s pray they accept the free gift of salvation so we can all be together in eternity. Truly, the “happily ever after” idea can happen to all of us in heaven.

Give your life to Christ today. Don’t waste another day of your life without God in it.

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Dear Friends,

I love birthdays! Yesterday was my special day. Some people don’t celebrate birthdays and say it’s just one more day or hate getting old. But I disagree. Your birthday is special. It’s the day God chose for you to be born into this world. And it’s the day we get to celebrate YOU! We get to tell you how loved you are, how much we care about you, and get to wish good things upon your life.

I celebrate my birthday because I celebrate one more year of my life, one more year that I got to be with my family, with all my friends, and simply enjoyed being alive! On my birthday I celebrate life itself. I celebrate with thankfulness in my heart that Jesus chose ME! I celebrate that God cared so much for me that He sent Jesus to die for me on the cross so I could have eternal life—birthdays forever! It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to remember the good things in our lives. Yes, I also don’t like getting old but, on the positive side, I don’t mind the years of life experience that I attain with each passing year. I take care of my body and health to the best of my ability and I leave the rest to God to take care of me. And when I had a bad year (because we can all have those), then I celebrate it’s over and now I can look forward to a new year in my life.

Yesterday, all of your thoughts, good wishes, prayers, and blessings that you sent my way made me feel so special. I truly enjoyed being remembered and I appreciated each one of your messages. I don’t visit Facebook every day because it can be a distraction from my work. However, I do check my notifications almost daily to ensure I don’t miss anyone’s birthday. I always like to send at least those two words, “Happy Birthday!” I may have missed a few in the past but I try to wish all my friends a happy day on their special day.

But I was pondering on this concept of wishing our loved ones well and telling them how much we love them, and asked myself. Why do we only say those things to our friends and family on their birthday? Why is it that we usually only reach out to others when we hear they’re not doing well? Why not reach out just because? When our friends and family are healthy and happy? Why not take advantage of life and enjoy our relationships every day? That’s why whenever I think of someone or feel the urge to pray for that person, I send them a short text, email, or sometimes even a voice mail. Those unexpected messages go such a long way to the person receiving it. You mean, getting a love message out of the blue, just because? Wow! We’re not used to getting those. We’re all too busy and disregard those little nudges that I believe is God telling us to reach out.

Yesterday, I got messages from my friends from Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Kenya, Armenia, Mexico, Philippines, and of course from many different states in the U.S. I loved it! With technology these days, there is really no excuse to not stay connected with the people we love and appreciate.

Today, I encourage you to reach out. Stay connected with the people you love. Reach out—in the good times—when you can still enjoy life together. Enjoy each relationship and thank God for it, for each friend is a gift from God to YOU!

Happy Birthday everyone! Every day is your special day in my calendar!

 

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