“Freely you have received; freely give.”

—Matthew 10:8 (NIV)

THE DEEPER STORY BEHIND WHY WE GIVE

A friend of mine, Tom Locke, runs an extraordinarily successful organization called the Texas Methodist Foundation, based in Austin Texas. Tom is a premier networker and is very open about his faith. It is not uncommon to get a call from Tom where his only objective is to stay connected. An unusual trait in our busy world. Tom starts every conversation with, “How are you doing?” A sincere question with a desired interest in hearing your answer. Gracious and giving in all that he does, Tom is an advocate for God. In the meals I have had with Tom, he asks that we pray. When Tom makes this request, it lifts my spirits and heartens my soul. Also, Tom frequently expresses his gratitude to God for the wonderful life he has been given. He is an earnest man with a sense of responsibility to his work, that those of us who know him greatly admire. He leads a blessed life, with a wonderful wife, children and grandchildren.

Tom has run the Texas Methodist Foundation for decades. Over that period, it has grown from having a few million in assets to close to a billion dollars in assets. It lends money to churches, helps the poor and provides leadership training for the church. Tom has been able to blend his faithful life with great business acumen. Tom will quickly tell you that it is not because of him that his organization has thrived, it is because of the many people who work with him. It is true that Tom has surrounded himself with extraordinary people, however, he has also created an environment where they can excel and express their own faithful desires. Tom attracts good people because he gives.

“When was the first time you gave in your life?”

One of Tom’s jobs is fund raising to support the many giving programs of the Texas Methodist Foundation. His approach to this effort is highly unusual. First, he asks one question to everyone he meets, “When was the first time you gave in your life?” This demonstrates his sincere interest in knowing the story, and also to learn more about the individual.

In these answers, he finds very deep and personal stories about faithful Christians. He finds a deepness of gratitude that will bring many to tears when they tell Tom why they first gave. A cleansing that occurs as people reflect on all they have received. He discovers that they give because they have received from God. To most, it is an overwhelming response of gratitude at both knowing God exists and a very intense appreciation of what they have been given.

Tom does not ask this question to stir up the emotion that lies beneath the surface but is always amazed at its intensity. Many of these conversations become a therapeutic response to his simple question. As Tom and I talked about why this happens, we are both amazed at the strong current of emotion that exists when people are in a safe environment to discuss their faith. I saw this same emotion in many of my interviews for this book. A drawing out of the gratitude that simmers beneath the exterior of all who believe.

As I reflected on therapeutic responses received, I went back to Genesis 1:27 where it states, So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” As we are made in the image of God, one of the wonderful attributes acquired is that of generosity. A desire to give and to help injected in each of us from our birth. When we give, we act in the spirit of God. We live into our image of God and whenever we give, we satisfy this spirit of generosity. We are left with a joy that is directly connected to our birthright of being made in the image of God. Tom’s questions draw this sense of joy to the surface and invokes the strong human emotion that is directly connected to our desire to have a God-like sense of compassion. We are in this moment connected to God.

Tom gives us a beacon of responsibility to our Lord that inspires each of us to give freely.

Tom continues to work as hard today as he did yesterday. Each day Tom is driven by his sense of responsibility to his organization’s wonderful mission of serving God and his desire to help. Tom has many friends who trust him because he cares first and asks second. He inspires us because he gives each of us space to be creative and express ourselves. In addition, Tom gives us a beacon of responsibility to our Lord that inspires each of us to give freely.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Photo by Jony Ariadi on Unsplash

“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”

— Romans 7:19

FOUR WAYS TO RESOLVE THE INNER CONFLICT OF DOING GOOD

When I first read this verse, I was stunned. How could Paul think this about himself? The Apostle Paul was the earliest Christian writer of the Bible. Inspired by God, he is credited with thirteen of the books in the New Testament. He was largely responsible for starting the Christian movement outside of Jerusalem. His travels to spread the Gospel were extensive, dangerous, and met with skepticism wherever he went. How could this man of extraordinary faith write this verse?

“We all want to think of ourselves as good, but are inherently disappointed when we aren’t.”

In reflection, I realized that Paul is answering one of the most basic questions each of us has with ourselves. We all want to think of ourselves as good, but are inherently disappointed when we sometimes aren’t. We don’t always do the things we know we should, and later in our internal dialogue we question our actions. We go to an important business meeting or interview, full of hope on what we want to accomplish and say, and at times we fall short of being perfect in doing what we hoped. This is the dilemma Paul is talking about. How come we can’t  always be who we know we should be?

The verse gives us hope in the natural human condition, that we all know good. The test is converting this knowledge into action. When we are in an interview, we hope to get the job. But when confronted with a tough question, do we answer completely honestly or do we shade our answers slightly? It is the lure and need of the job that begins to twist us away. Our failures arise from things we want and have the freedom we have to spin the truth to get them. Perhaps it’s also taking a shortcut when no one else is looking. Perhaps it’s massaging some numbers to make our projects look better. It is these points that cause us sometimes to drift into not being who we want to be.

“Through a life of connected prayer and reflection, Jesus helps us move away from our internal conflicts.”

There are many solutions to this dilemma.

  • The first is to become more aware of these temptations.
  • The second is to see the benefit to our reputation of being honest over the long term.
  • The third is to recognize that our responsibility is to helping others.
  • Lastly and most importantly is the realization that we are inherently good and that our feeling of personal want in these situations needs to diminish to create this greater sense of self-worth.

Even Paul, the greatest of all evangelists, struggled with this concept. It is the natural human condition.

Through a life of connected prayer and reflection, Jesus helps us move away from our internal conflicts.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How often do we reflect on our inner condition?

What are the things we do to diminish our goodness?

How do we strengthen ourselves to avoid the natural state of want?

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

—John 17:17

COLORING OURSELVES WITH TRUTH

I met Bishop Earnest Lyght at Drew University. He was the resident bishop for Drew and was frequently available to the students. When you talked with Bishop Lyght, you could feel his truth. Whatever he said, he meant. When he talked, he talked without agenda. What he believed came from his heart. Not varnished, just a humble recitation of what he believed. He said what he believed with the knowledge that he needed to know more. A conversation with Bishop Lyght was a mutual dialogue. I am sure in silent moments of prayer, he searched his heart and desired only to tell God what was right.

Bishop Lyght was one of the early black bishops of the Methodist Church. He grew up at a time when the Methodist Church was segregated. It wasn’t until 1968 that these separate entities of race were dissolved and black pastors were welcome throughout the church. In spite of this obvious racism, Bishop Lyght continued his ministry with grace and truth. He commonly spoke out for the denied. He worked hard for equal rights of women and the poor. He wrote four books. But when you sat with him, you were with him. He listened and replied. His “thank-you’s” and “good days” were sincere. If something had to be fixed, regardless of the cost, he fixed it. His heart was always centered on the truth.

“Jesus says that our word is the truth.”

Jesus says that our word is the truth. That all we do should be centered on a sanctifying truth. A truth that courses through us to be the only thing we speak and do. In today’s world of fake news,  quick thank-yous that are said as an obligation and sleight of hand, Jesus’s ancient statement still applies. When we meet someone, we should be glad to meet that person. Our thanks in our emails should be sincere. When we tell a story, we should tell the whole story. What comes from us should always be the truth.

“When we do embody the truth, we set ourselves apart. We create a tapestry of ourselves that reflects the color of truth.”

It is sometimes hard to tell the truth. It can compromise our lives. We worry and fret about the consequences. When we do embody the truth, we set ourselves apart. We create a tapestry of ourselves that reflects the color of truth. We need to be always on guard about where our stories are leading us. Is it to gain favor? Is it to get something? When we say thank you, are we sincere? When we leave out facts, what is our purpose? Each day we struggle to be sincere. Each day we struggle to say what we mean. Each day we desire to be truthful. Some days we accomplish our tasks. Some days we don’t.

I am glad to have met Bishop Lyght. He is, in fact, a beacon of light. He is one of those people we aspire to be. His truth guides us.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What is truth in conversation?

What is truth in action?

How do we feel after we have been sincere?

“So God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

— Genesis 1:27

IMAGO DEI

George  was raised in a wealthy home and went to Harvard. Instead of studying economics or business, he pursued a path of social advocacy. He eventually graduated with a master’s in Social Work. From there, with his wife, he started an organization called Street Squash, a program that provided inner city youth with access to college. The sport of squash was used to add an advantageous credit for the young people when applying to college, but it was not the primary focus of Street Squash. The students were provided with a place to go after school and study. They had tutors and visited college campuses. The goal was to create access for a segment of our population that needed a head start. George could have been a great investment banker, but chose instead a life of helping.

From his kitchen table George built an organization that has sent thousands of youth to college. And he has helped in the establishment of fourteen other programs throughout the country.   The graduation rate of students from these programs is substantially higher than national statistics. The youth from Street Squash achieve an almost 90 percent graduation rate. Without Street Squash, their chances were 15 percent. George only sees goals. He only sees that the youth are people. He knew that squash gave the students athletic content for their college résumés, and he knew Squash would help him with fund-raising.

“George reflects the Imago Dei, and his life focus is on helping, not labeling.”

Today’s verse comes from the book of Genesis and reflects the earliest statement from God on how humankind is viewed. We are all made in the image of God. Theologians call this Imago Dei. In today’s world of labeling from all corners,  people like George gets lost in the din of noise about racism, liberalism, conservatism, misogyny, and all the other labels we use to describe one another. Our news media encourages labeling because it increases viewership, which in turn increases revenue. All at the expense of the imago Dei. I know George and wish he was better known by others. George reflects the imago Dei, and his life focus is on helping, not labeling.

“There are no differences or labels from one to another when we think of people as images of God.”

In this time of great divide between all the various factions, it is important for us to reflect on what God means with the image of God. There are no differences or labels from one to another when we think of people as images of God. When we label, we diminish the intent of God. The solution to this great divide is turning back to God’s original intent and away from the commercialization of labels.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How do we see people when we first meet them?

What does the imago Dei look like?

How do we feel when we are labeled?

“Do you want to be made well?” John 5:6 “Stand up, take your mat and walk”

John 5:8 (NRSV)

WHAT IS OUR ROAD BLOCK?

In my coaching business, I often wonder, do they really want to move forward? Do they really want to get a new job, fix their business or change their lives? Many times, I hear, “I had a bad week.” Or I will see a lack of follow through with the assigned goals from the previous week. This is the point where I can either be judgmental or help reframe the individuals vision of how to move forward. Being judgmental fails to recognize that the lethargy in solving their problem is part of the solution. Reframing and changing our behavior expands the solution required to help us move forward.

“The solution to our problems many times is looking at the problem differently and being committed to a different path.”

Many of us get stuck in a rut and can’t seem to make our way out. We skip over, that part of our problem is our habitual behavior.  We keep failing and feel inadequate when we can’t seem to move forward. We judge ourselves in a bad light. We know we should do something different, but can’t seem to rise up on a consistent basis to solve our problems. The solution, isn’t to just promise to ourselves we want to be better. The solution to our problems many times is looking at the problem differently and being committed to a different path. Instead of trying the same old way, try a different way. By doing this we set up a new course that changes the way we solve  problems.

“Jesus says, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.”

In Today’s verse, Jesus approaches a man at a healing pool. The man had been going to the pool for thirty-eight years. For thirty-eight years the man had failed to make it into the pool to be healed. For thirty-eight years he thought his solution was the healing pool. For thirty-eight years, he waited for someone to help him into the pool. For thirty-eight years, no one helped him. Jesus says, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” The man picks up his mat and began to walk. Did Jesus cure him supernaturally or did Jesus give him good advice? Both could be true. What is certainly true, the man recognized the power of Jesus’ word. At the moment of healing he recognized that Jesus was providing a different solution, which didn’t include going to the pool that he had been trying for thirty-eight years.

When we listen to Jesus, perhaps he heals us supernaturally. Or perhaps his life lessons heal us. Both can be true. Sometimes the solution is as simple as asking ourselves, “what would Jesus do?” It may seem trite to say this is all we have to do. It is perhaps too simple. It is an overused platitude. But this question is immensely  valid, “what would Jesus do?’ Part of the value of the Gospels is that they lay out for us the lessons of Jesus. When we are stuck in trying to solve a problem and our method of solving isn’t working. We have to change the method of solving our problems. Many times our solutions don’t happen, because we habitually use the same method to solve our problems. If we want to be healed, we have to change our methods.

Changing our life habits and working with Jesus is our best solution to life’s problems.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What problems can’t we seem to shake?

Is there a different way to solve our problems?

“Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

Matthew 26:28

JESUS THE KING OF THE FORGIVENESS

One of my clients, whom we will call Bill, lost his job and expressed to me his frustration that he felt he once again had let Jesus down. He felt that Jesus had put him in a spot to get the job he lost and in losing it he had failed. His self esteem took a big hit and he wondered why he kept failing Jesus. He had done nothing wrong other than try to help his company, but became a victim of circumstance and was released. Over and over in his mind he wondered, what if I had done this? Perhaps I should have done that. His feeling that he had failed Jesus was the darkest part of his remorse. His sense of failure was complete and deep.

“Jesus is the essence of love.”

He wondered if Jesus would forgive him. He promised to himself he would do better next time. He prayed for a second chance. I reminded him of the covenant he had with Jesus. I reminded him that Jesus is the essence of love. Greater than the love of parent for a child. All these things he knew as a lifelong believer. But this was personal. Alone with his thoughts he couldn’t shake the sense of failure.

We can look no further than Apostle Peter to see this attitude of forgiveness and love that Jesus has for humankind. Peter, after being taught to walk on water with faith, failed. Peter, was usually the voice for the other twelve when they failed to understand the messages of Jesus. In a complete act of failure Peter denied Jesus three times on the fateful night before the crucifixion. Peter had a long history of failure. Jesus held firm in commitment and called Peter, “The rock upon which I will build my church.” As we know, after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, Peter became the leader of the group that carried forward the messages of Jesus.

Bill had called me on a Monday after he found out the bad news and we talked for a long time. He went back and forth between despair and hope. Intellectually he knew Jesus was with him. But emotionally he couldn’t shake the sense of failure. He prayed constantly that day.

The following morning, after a difficult night of sleep, he rose to find a message on his phone. A company wanted to hire him. A job that would pay him more. A job that was better suited for who he was. A job that reminded him that Jesus was with him.

“With Jesus, when we have a repentant heart, we have a life of second chances.”

With Jesus, when we have a repentant heart, we have a life of second chances. A life that unfurls Jesus’ majesty. A life, when approached with Jesus at our center, reveals Jesus’s love and forgiveness. A life of completeness.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How often during times of stress do we remember the covenant made by Jesus?

What prevents us from accepting the covenant?

How important is prayer and repentance to accepting the covenant?

mountains

“Rise up, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”

(Genesis 13:17)

WALKING THE TRAILS

On a recent hike on the Appalachian trail in Massachusetts, a friend of mine, exclaimed, “This is boring! Aren’t there any sights to see?” We were on a stretch of this famous route, which stretches from Springer mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Encompassing well over two thousand miles. This stretch had no waterfalls or great vistas or flowing streams. A seven-mile stretch, that flowed over small rises and descended into valleys filled with ferns. Nothing existed on this silent path except the large green trees, rocks to avoid and a brown path. That’s all there was. A place to wander to get to the next segment.

“During our walk through life we will meet ordinary people and walk by ordinary places. In these ordinary people and places exist extraordinary stories.”

It took me back to my own professional career and reminded me of the many days and months where all I had to do was my job. Ambition always pushed me to want the next great step in my life. Just doing my job wasn’t enough. What was next for me would ramble in my mind, luring me to put my focus on the excitement of a new promotion and accomplishment. But most of my days were spent walking through these stretches of my career that were no more than just doing my job, being a faithful employee and helping my company. When we are young we are told of the great things that lie at the end of the segment of the trail we are on. We look expectedly to that future. Along the way we hope that our efforts lead to an extraordinary life. During our walk through life we will meet ordinary people and walk by ordinary places. In these ordinary people and places exist extraordinary stories. We only have to stop and observe to find them. They frame our lives, values and friendships. It is in these moments we find extraordinary things.

“Surely, Abraham would see great vistas, running streams and waterfalls. But most of his journey would be with the ordinary.”

Today’s verse is about God’s promise to Abraham. God was about to give him a land that would be the source of our great faith. But first, Abraham had to walk its entire breadth. To see the ordinary and learn about its ways. A walk where observing was more important than the finish. Surely, Abraham would see great vistas, running streams and waterfalls. But most of his journey would be with the ordinary. Jesus himself, wandered thousands of mile in his great mission to reveal God’s values to humanity. We read about his miracles and those he helped, but most of his time was walking the trails of life.

“God’s promise is an extraordinary life, when we have walked the length and breadth of His land.”

Surely, when we walk with faith and an eye towards the values of Jesus, we will see great things. But most of our walk will be in everyday life. Our careers will have those days of great success, but most days will be spent doing ordinary things. Just doing our jobs, raising our children and living a life. God’s promise is an extraordinary life, when we have walked the length and breadth of His land. Not in just what we see in the end, but in what we see along the way.

Enjoy the walk and observe all you can!

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How often do we reflect on where we are?

How often do we wonder about the ordinary things of life and see a deeper story?

How often do we take the time to go beyond a quick hello and discover an extraordinary person?

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not to harm, to give you a future with hope.

(Jer. 29:11)

ERASING WORTHLESSNESS

In my current business, Gideon Partners, I have clients who have lost their job and have come to me for advice. The most common thing I hear that connects all these individuals together is a sense of worthlessness. They all have suffered a loss and wonder how did they allow themselves to get into this situation. What could they have done differently? Many times the answer doesn’t lie with them, but with circumstances out of their control. Perhaps their company had to downsize, they had a conflict with their boss or their job wasn’t a good fit. Regardless of the reason they all have a sense of worthlessness that is overstated in their minds.

“This sense of worthlessness comes from a loss of identity.”

This sense of worthlessness comes from a loss of identity. Many times they are alone all day, while their friends go to work. They often are alone with their thoughts and take too much of the blame. They will hear things like, “It was probably for the best.” Or “Take advantage of the time off.” These statements will bring a momentary smile, but they still have bills to pay and worry about their future. They miss the camaraderie of the work place. They are alone.

“Like many of life’s problems, the only way out is to move forward and not stay behind.”

It is a terrible place to be, yet the vast majority of people will spend some portion of their life without a job. This sense of worthlessness is also debilitating. The very thing they want and need is finding a job, yet this worthlessness makes them lethargic in their search. The hardest thing to do is to stay positive and move forward in spite of this feeling of worthlessness. Like many of life’s problems, the only way out is to move forward and not stay behind.

“To claim our future, we must work with God.”

In today’s verse, God states He has plans for us and not to harm us. Plans that move us from worthlessness to hope. While this is an encouraging verse for those who believe, there are conditions to having a future with hope. There are things we must do in conjunction with God’s plans for us. Perhaps it is some soul searching of what we could have done better. Perhaps it is a very careful evaluation of what we should do next. For those without a job it means enthusiastically embracing the task of finding a new job. To claim our future, we must work with God.

Most new jobs are found through your personal network. Seventy to eighty percent of new jobs are obtained by using our networks. While difficult and sometimes embarrassing to ask for help and insight, our networks, many times are the source of a regained identity. They will know you and will mention you to other people, who might have a job. When we contact these people our goals should be to stay positive and demonstrate trustworthiness. While this seems obvious, becoming “riveted” on these two traits is paramount to finding a new job. We all have networks and when we approach them with a positive sense of mutuality, they will help.

Applying for jobs on-line can and will be frustrating. Many times there will be no reply back or rejection. In spite of this we all must continue to apply. While not as effective as our networks, we still must apply and ignore the repetition of negative feedback. Our goal is always to press forward when we work with God. To keep searching and pray. He will answer.

God does have plans for us, but God works “with” us and not for us. To claim the “future with hope,” we have to work hard. We have to rise up and even on the tough days. Smile when we are interviewing. To claim our future, we have to be honest with ourselves and others. God is there and will answer. God will give us this answer through our efforts of searching and personal reflection.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What are the biggest obstacles to staying positive in the face of adversity?

In tough times, do we believe in ourselves or doubt ourselves?

How does God help us?

ocean scene

“Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”

— John 2:16

DO YOU USE GOD OR DOES GOD USE YOU?

Strive Masiyiwa is one of the leading African industrialists. In the 1980s, while still in his twenties, he started a telecom company in Zimbabwe with seventy-five dollars. Over time the company grew and became a force in his country, until the president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, issued an order that would effectively bankrupt Strive’s company. He went on to fight the ruling and win, while at the brink of bankruptcy. In 1998 the company, now called Econet Wireless, had its first cellphone subscriber. Econet has gone on to operate in twenty countries and was a key driver in bringing cellphone service to Africa.

During the recent Ebola outbreak, he set up funding sources to help fight the deadly disease. Amid all of this he reads the Bible every day.

What we should know about Strive is that he is a born again Christian. Each year he funds the education of forty thousand orphans. He has provided one hundred thousand scholarships. Strive is one of the ten members of the African Progress Panel that advocates for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. He is a member of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s initiative called the “The Giving Pledge.” During the recent Ebola outbreak, he set up funding sources to help fight the deadly disease. Amid all of this he reads the Bible every day.

Beyond the ethics of using God to take advantage of people, there was a defilement of the sacred. A dangerous game of commerce.

Jesus said today’s words when he discovered that the local merchants were using the great temple of Jerusalem as an ancient shopping mall. Beyond that, the merchants were taking advantage of those worshipping in the temple, by overcharging on items they needed for worship. Travelers would need to convert their foreign coins into the local currency, but were charged inflated rates. People would need to buy doves for worship, but were charged above market prices. The merchants had a ready-made market. God’s market. Beyond the ethics of using God to take advantage of people, there was a defilement of the sacred. A dangerous game of commerce.  

Jesus wants us to make a living by having God in our lives, but cautions us not to make a living at God’s expense.

Jesus wasn’t angry because of the commerce, Jesus was angry because merchants were taking advantage of people who were living out their faith. Certainly, Jesus knew people had to make a living. In fact, over 80 percent of his parables relate to the marketplace in some manner. It was how they were earning their livelihood that Jesus was railing against. On one hand we have Strive Masiyiwa, who became wealthy and gives back to God’s people. On the other hand, we have merchants using God to make money and take advantage of God’s people. Jesus wants us to make a living by having God in our lives, but cautions us not to make a living at God’s expense.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How do we make a living with God in our lives?

What is Jesus’s perspective on earning a living?

“As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the church, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

– Revelation 1:20

THE NUMBER SEVEN AND BUSINESS PLANNING

One of my favorite things in helping a business or a businessperson is to review the company’s or the individual’s strategic plan or purpose. How do they guide themselves? How do they think about their customers? What is important to them? It shows up in their strategic plan. Good businesses can articulate their mission crisply and quickly. Both their employees and their customers know the mission. Those that have a long, extensive strategic plan are usually unfocused. Those that have no plan or are unsure are rudderless. It almost always shows up in their results.

“In the Bible the number seven represents perfection and is considered divine.”

An exercise I do for businesses is to get them to write their mission in seven words. It forces them to be both concise and focused. Listing out the seven words is hard; it involves looking again at what the purpose of the business is. The next step is to list the seven actions a business needs to take to accomplish this mission. Are the seven action steps harmonious with the mission and are they consistent with how the business is being run? Would the employees and customers agree? In its simplicity, a focused approach makes us think beyond the seven words and seven actions, but it isn’t overbearing and doesn’t require massive committees. This also works for the rest of our lives. When looking for a job or trying to be more successful with your career, do we have a plan?

“In its simplicity, a focused approach makes us think…it isn’t overbearing and doesn’t require massive committees. This also works for the rest of our lives.”

In the Bible the number seven means perfection or completeness. It is tied to the creation of the world. While I am not a fan of numerology, we can see that the number seven is important to God, by the fact that throughout the Bible it is used 860 times. If we were taking a Bible test, the number seven would be on the test. The first act by God for humankind was the seven days of creation. Jesus performed seven miracles on the seventh day. In the Bible the number seven represents perfection and is considered divine.

When using the method of seven in our business or life plans, not only are we focused, but we are honoring our Christian values. In a sense we are asking God to bless our plan. The plan of seven doesn’t take long, but it requires thought and insight. It highlights where we have to get better and where we are doing well. The seven actions we need to take will awaken us to the state of our business. If we take out the business or life plan once a week, it becomes part of our daily thinking. We can hire high-priced consultants to tell us what we already know, but I am not sure it is any more effective than to follow the roadmap of God.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Do we have a life or business plan?

How does it measure up to what our employees and customers think?

Do we have a life plan and are we following the plan?