“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit . . .”

— Luke 12:35

DRESSED FOR ACTION

On 9/11 two planes hit the World Trade Center, causing them to collapse. When they collapsed, thousands of lives were lost and our country was thrown into mourning. It was a great national tragedy. Not only were lives lost in the towers, but the buildings surrounding the Trade Center were crushed. One of the buildings was the Verizon communications center. In that moment Foot Locker lost its ability to communicate with our four thousand stores throughout North America. Immediately we were in a position of mourning for our neighbors and had lost the ability to run our business.

“Bill was always prepared and dressed for action.”

Bill Johnson, who worked for me and was in charge of our communications network, was ready. I called him by cell phone and asked him what his plans were for recovery. Bill informed me that he had already put his plan in place and by eight the next morning we would have full communications online again. This was classic Bill. He constantly surprised all of us with his ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Regardless of the situation, Bill was always prepared and dressed for action. As he had told me, the next morning our multibillion-dollar business was running normally.

“Jesus tell us, always be dressed for action and have our lamps lit. We never know what each day will bring.”

Jesus tells us to be prepared for anything. Jesus tell us, always be dressed for action and have our lamps lit. We never know what each day will bring. It could be joy or unique sorrow. But if we are to react well, preparation must be a lifelong commitment. Whether in our business, personal, or spiritual life, this should be how we think, live, and pray. We never know when an important event will occur. Each day is a day of possibility. Each day a sharp turn can occur. Jesus asks us to be prepared.

Two years later, the Northeast was hit with a major electrical outage. With it our corporate headquarters went dark. We had many people stranded in our building who couldn’t go home. We needed power to keep them safe. I called Bill again. He replied, “My guys are reversing the power on the phone system and you can run the building off the battery.” It didn’t surprise me this time that Bill had the answer.

As always he was prepared.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Are we prepared spiritually?

What events have been sharp turns in our lives and were we prepared?

How do we prepare on a daily basis?

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman you are set free from your ailment.’”

— Luke 13:12

REFRAMING OUR LIVES

A sweet and caring woman, whom we will call Grace, asked me to help with her life goals. A major goal Grace listed was mobility. Having been involved in an accident that had left her paralyzed since her youth, she experienced movement as a critical issue.

Her handicap accessible car of fourteen years had recently had broken down and she believed she didn’t have the money to buy a new one. She felt housebound. Since the accident, in many subtle ways, she had felt disabled. Not just with her paralysis, but with her life. Not having access to car only made these feelings worse. She didn’t believe she could afford a new car. Each month she was barely able to pay her bills.

“Together we made some cuts by looking at things differently that saved her a substantial amount of money.”

We started by looking at her income and expenses. She was actually receiving a decent income and her credit was good. Her problem lay in her expenses. She was spending too much. Together we made some cuts by looking at things differently that saved her a substantial amount of money.  With these cuts in her spending we created a budget and crafted a plan for her to buy a new car. We reframed the way she looked at her expenses and how she spent her money.

Grace worked hard and stuck to this new budget, which included money to go out once a week. Grace found a handicap-accessible car and applied for credit to buy her new car, now knowing she had the money to pay for it on a monthly basis. After a lifetime of having to overcome obstacles she was certain she would be rejected. Even though she paid her bills on time and was conscientious with her credit, her past of constant rejection made her feel that it wouldn’t work out. However, the following Tuesday she was notified that she had been approved and could now buy a new car. When I received her text excitedly telling me she had been approved, I could feel that the weight had lifted from her. She had mobility back. She could be free in the world.

“Sometimes we are bound more by our past than by anything physical. We begin to believe there is no other way.”

Sometimes we are bound more by our past than by anything physical. We begin to believe there is no other way. We have been told all our lives about our limitations, and they have become the only existence we know. In today’s verse, Jesus tells the woman she is free from her ailment. This may have been a supernatural miracle Jesus was talking about. But perhaps it was actually the reframing of a life. Reframing in the sense that what the woman had been told or had thought about herself wasn’t true.

Perhaps for a miracle to occur we only have to look at life slightly different. Many times prayer will reveal a different way.

Reframing and someone like Jesus telling us we are free enables us to change our lives. It means giving up the past and living today as we want to live. The steps away from our past are always difficult and beset with fear. We may have regrets that bind us to what’s come before. Or perhaps stories people told us about ourselves. Or even horrific experiences. The past will bind us; the future will free us. When the past lurks in us and tells us we will fail, remembering the word “Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us,” can release us.

God wants us to have a future and to free us from those things in our past that bind us. Emmanuel!

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What ailments do we have to be freed from?

How do we think of the past?

What does “Emmanuel” mean to us?

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit . . .”

— Luke 12:35

DRESSED FOR ACTION

On 9/11 two planes hit the World Trade Center, causing them to collapse. When they collapsed, thousands of lives were lost and our country was thrown into mourning. It was a great national tragedy. Not only were lives lost in the towers, but the buildings surrounding the Trade Center were crushed. One of the buildings was the Verizon communications center. In that moment Foot Locker lost its ability to communicate with our four thousand stores throughout North America. Immediately we were in a position of mourning for our neighbors and had lost the ability to run our business.

“Bill was always prepared and dressed for action.”

Bill Johnson, who worked for me and was in charge of our communications network, was ready. I called him by cell phone and asked him what his plans were for recovery. Bill informed me that he had already put his plan in place and by eight the next morning we would have full communications online again. This was classic Bill. He constantly surprised all of us with his ingenuity and thoughtfulness. Regardless of the situation, Bill was always prepared and dressed for action. As he had told me, the next morning our multibillion-dollar business was running normally.

“Jesus tell us, always be dressed for action and have our lamps lit. We never know what each day will bring.”

Jesus tells us to be prepared for anything. Jesus tell us, always be dressed for action and have our lamps lit. We never know what each day will bring. It could be joy or unique sorrow. But if we are to react well, preparation must be a lifelong commitment. Whether in our business, personal, or spiritual life, this should be how we think, live, and pray. We never know when an important event will occur. Each day is a day of possibility. Each day a sharp turn can occur. Jesus asks us to be prepared.

Two years later, the Northeast was hit with a major electrical outage. With it our corporate headquarters went dark. We had many people stranded in our building who couldn’t go home. We needed power to keep them safe. I called Bill again. He replied, “My guys are reversing the power on the phone system and you can run the building off the battery.” It didn’t surprise me this time that Bill had the answer.

As always he was prepared.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Are we prepared spiritually?

What events have been sharp turns in our lives and were we prepared?

How do we prepare on a daily basis?

“But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God”

– John 3:21

EMBRACING THE LIGHT

Chris Gardner, the real-life main character in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, was at one time homeless, a foster child, a single dad, and penniless. He rose to be one of the first African-Americans to start a brokerage firm. When asked, “Where did you discover your faith?” He replied, “My mom, I chose to embrace the light I saw in my mom.” He goes on to say he could have embraced darkness like the other young men from his neighborhood but chose instead to embrace the light of Jesus.

Life wasn’t easy for Chris. An abusive stepfather forced him at times to live in a foster home. He enlisted in the navy and then moved on to start a business, selling medical devices. His business failed and his wife left both him and his two-year-old son. He then entered an internship program with Dean Witter, a brokerage firm. Unpaid for six months and with only a 5 percent chance of getting hired he sold all he owned. Along the way he and his son were evicted from their rented apartment, thrown out of a motel room, and slept in a subway station. He never gave up on his dreams. He followed “plan A” and embraced the light. Outwardly he expressed a positive and trustworthy attitude that allowed him to gain clients for his firm. He was unfailingly optimistic and faithful, and as you would guess, he became the stockbroker he wanted to be.

Seven years later he started his own firm. After twenty-five years of running a successful business, he sold his business and became a philanthropist and an inspirational speaker.

“Embrace the light of Jesus and press on. We are tested by obstacles. When we surmount our obstacles, we signal to God that we have faith.”

The last Gospel, John, encourages us to embrace the light. Light being many things that are good, but most importantly being the light of Jesus. The book of John uses the imagery of light as a contrast to darkness. Darkness representing evil, materialism, and a disregard of our neighbor; light being “the way” and an option to despair and broken dreams. When we have obstacles that prevent our path to the dreams we hold dear, the Gospel of John reminds us to embrace the light of Jesus and press on. We are tested by obstacles. When we surmount our obstacles, we signal to God that we have faith.

In the marketplace we are often confronted with compromises and shortcuts. Our dreams become diminished. We go along to get along. Our plan A becomes plan B. Chris Gardner’s plan was simple: do what gave him passion and be a good dad. He put this plan under the light of God. He succeeded and achieved his dreams. He stayed riveted and focused on both his dreams and God. He endured under impossible circumstances, motivated by his partnership with God.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. HartmanWhat are our dreams?

Are we centered with God with our dreams?

Are we willing to have a plan A or plan B?

Do we embrace the light or embrace darkness?