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Why Repentance is Important to the Future of the United States

I woke up this morning with this thought persisting in my mind: the reason your country is in such disarray is due to the curses and confusion caused by sin. I was feeling a dependency and desperateness for God that I’ve not experienced in a long time.

Here are the three texts that need to be considered this morning in order to understand why our nation is in disarray:

Deuteronomy 8.10-20:

10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. 16 He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. 17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. 19 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

In short, our nation mirrors this text. We have eaten and are satisfied. No longer do we give *any* careful consideration of God laws or how we might follow them. We have built fine houses. Our businesses have expanded and increased. Our wealth has been multiplied. We are extremely arrogant in our ways and we have purposefully, forcefully and arrogantly jettisoned God out of the public square and for many of us, out of our lives as well. Conservatives love to tout self-reliance and Liberals love to tout community and/or government reliance. Neither side champions a reliance on God. We bow down to other gods, giving them the worship we think they are due. As a result, God is destroying us.

Deuteronomy 28.15-20:

15 However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:

16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.

17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.

18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.

20 The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.

Because of our sin, we are cursed. I have discussed curses and blessings previously. What I’ll draw out in this post is that confusion is also a result of sin. And is there anyone reading this who would take issue with the notion that we are a confused society? We don’t know right from wrong. We can’t discern between better and best. We just keep going in our sin. We are so confused that we actually applaud those who oppose God in the name of God. We are so confused that we now think in order to love someone deeply, you must first agree with them in lifestyle and philosophy. We are so confused that we now believe that any religion will get you to the same place – if any after-life even exists. We now believe that debt doesn’t matter, that love makes any relationship holy, that proper motive makes any action good and that all choices are morally equal.

2 Chronicles 7.13-15:

13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

So, we God does bring judgment on us, that judgment can be released if those who believe in Him – who are called by His name – will become counter-cultural and do four essential things: A) Humble ourselves before the Lord, B) Pray, C) seek God’s face and D) turn from our wicked ways.

Connect the Dots

 

To my way of thinking, this is pretty clear: our confusion is a result of our sin. But our sin need not be permanent. If God’s people will humble themselves and pray, seek His fact (instead of seeking that which our culture says we should seek) and if we clean out our own lives and repent of our sins……then God will hear our prayers, He will forgive our sin and will heal our land.

In short, if you’re a Christian Business Owner today, the best thing you can do to grow your business is to practice 2 Chronicles 7.14. Yes, do the rest of the stuff – hire well, market well, produce quality products, take care of your employees – do all this and do it well. But start with a repentant heart that goes before God regularly and asks God for forgiveness of sin.

We are in desperate need for millions of people who are desperate for God. Will you be one of them?

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Friday Five – December 27

dreamstimeextrasmall_3980647Here are some things I learned from this week. First, it didn’t take a research study to show that teaching kids to be thankful is a good idea. Gratitude necessarily precludes other attitudes, such as the ever-prominent sense of entitlement. Perhaps we should just be grateful that they did the study to validate common sense.

Secondly, while I don’t condone what Edward Snowden did, I do agree that technology has led to our loss of privacy. It seems we can’t go anywhere without technology following us – and keeping track of us. Freedom necessarily requires anonymity when needed. Technology has taken that anonymity away from us. Not good.

Thirdly, increased oil production is leading to a drop in prices – further confirming that when demand remains constant and supply increases, the price will drop. The national average retail price in October was almost 40 cents lower than last year’s price. Investing in our oil production infrastructure is a good thing – as we supply more oil, the price will drop and that will have ripple effects in all sorts of verticals in our economy. In spite of the significant drag the national debt has on our economy, that might be more than offset by the stimulus of the expanding energy sector.

Fourthly, speaking of the national debt – our total Federal debt now stands at $17.2T (learn all about our debt here). I’m told – though I can’t swiftly find it on the treasury’s site – that roughly half of the debt is money that we owe to ourselves and the other half is owed to foreign investors. We have a $14T economy and (apparently) owe ~$8.5T to foreign investors. One wonders at what point the dollar will no longer be considered the safest investment in the world. I realize that for now, we still have the healthiest economy in the world, but IMHO, that’s tantamount to saying we’re the best looking horse in the glue factory.

Lastly, even though small business revenue is up more than larger-sized business, they are creating new jobs at the slowest rate. This HBR article explains the nuances in which small business isn’t hiring. It’s a good read.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Cultivating a Risk Intelligent Culture

I was talking with a colleague this morning about common threads in businesses that need to be turned around. One of the common threads we discussed briefly was that of risk and agency costs. It should come as no surprise that in the privately-held business, estimating $50M and under in annual sales, one of the elements that is least managed and yet represents real harm to the business is that of agency cost – the ability of a key employee or an owner or partner to engage in activities that are personally beneficial but hurt the organization at-large.

In an interesting article published by Deloitte within the frame work of the Wall Street Journal, they suggest that owners take responsibility to build a “risk intelligent” culture – one in which each employee takes “personal responsibility for management risk in their work every day”. Costly errors often occur when well-intentioned employees make decisions without regard to the risks involved. For example, John was a fairly competent controller for his $9M/year company. But when the company started to experience cash flow problems due to declining sales, he became behind in making small tax payments to various states. None of these payments were over $100, but over time, as he ignored the repeated demand notices, the fines and interest costs levied by the various states grew to a collective payout of several thousand dollars. While sales continued to decline to less than half of what they were, John’s inactions came to light. Needless to say, John was fired. On his way out, in his own defense, John commented on how he didn’t have any money to pay the taxes in the first place, so “what was I supposed to do?” This statement was revealing on several levels, but at a minimum, it reveals that John didn’t have any appreciation for the risks involved in not paying taxes when they are due.

While John’s example (a real case scenario, I might add) is a bit extreme, it does illustrate the point that employees should understand and appreciate the core risks inherent in their decisions. John didn’t even connect what he was doing (or not doing) to any risks he was creating for the company. And since his CEO had too much trust in his person and work (another risk that the CEO himself only saw in hindsight), it made for the perfect storm. So at a time when the total tax bills would have been less than $1000, John’s actions created a total tax bill of nearly $5000 as well as incurring another ~$2500 in legal fees.

Cultivating a risk intelligent culture would have meant that John would have known and understood the risks he was creating and instead of being silent, he would have informed the CEO of his decisions and discussed them with him. In addition, it would have meant that the CEO would have trusted less and verified more the quality of John’s work. Early detection would have saved the company thousands of dollars.

So, take a look at the Deloitte article. I recommend it to you for your consideration.

Bill English, CEO
Mindsharp

Pithy Sayings About Life

What follows is a list of pithy sayings or undeniable truth of life.  I’ve gathered (and will continue to gather) these from a number of sources.  Where possible, I’ll give attribution.

  • A man fights, not because he hates what’s in front of him, but because he loves what’s behind him.  – G.K. Chesterton.
  • When you’re going through hell, don’t stop.  – Churchill
  • If there were no God, there would be no Atheists.  – G.K. Chesterton
  • Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.  – Churchill
  • What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?  – Jesus Christ
  • The real danger in life is not that you will fail, but that you will succeed at the wrong things. – Francis Chan
  • Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up. – G.K. Chesterton
  • Do not confuse activity with productivity. – John Wooden