Most Popular Content at Bible and Business

Did you know there are over 400 posts and close to 100 pages of content on this site?  Wow.

Anyways, here are the top five pages/posts on this site, since it was first stood up in August of 2011k as of October, 2017:

Most popular: What the Bible has to say about Opportunity. I don’t understand why this post is more popular, but it is.  I need to research this a bit more, I guess and figure out what people are really seeking when they click on this link.

2nd: Chapter 5, Engaging in Spiritual Warfare. This page is Chapter 5 in my online book about What the Bible has to say about Running a Business.

3rd: Leadership Lessons for Christian Business Owners

4th: Managing Office Politics in a God-Honoring Way

5th:  Assuming Risk as a Business Owner

Managing Difficult Business Conversations Seminar

Bill English, Founder of Bible and Business, is bringing a new seminar to business and health care professions – Managing Difficult Business Conversations. In this seminar, you’ll learn six speaking and five listening skills which will help you manage your most difficult conversations in a more mature and professional manner.

You can hear Bill discuss this two-day seminar with Vince Miller,  founding President of Resolute.

Bill had three different discussions with Vince, which you can listen to:

Be sure to check out the Resolute ministry with Vince has started.  We think you’ll be interested to learn from him and partner with him moving forward.

Foundations of Christian Stewardship Part II: It’s about God’s Agenda

The second element in understanding Biblical stewardship for Christian business owners is a natural follow-on to the first element, which was God owns everything and it is this:

All events are orchestrated by God to serve God’s agenda

This can be a bit disconcerting to us Type A people who like to control everything. We like to roll up our sleeves and get stuff done. But Proverbs 16.4 is clear: “The Lord works out everything for His own ends – even the wicked for a day of disaster.” (There are other passages that could be cited beyond this one)

As Christian business owners, we need to understand that trusting in God and replacing our agenda with His is the essence of trusting in God. Garrett writes:

“Biblical righteousness is fundamentally an attitude of trust in God, an attitude implicitly and explicitly demanded in 16:1, 3. Wickedness, too, is more than simple disobedience to the commandments; it is above all manifest in an attitude of pride” (Garrett, D. A. (1993). Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of songs (Vol. 14, pp. 152–153). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers).

It is natural for us business owners to think about our agenda for our business. But have you ever taken time to learn from God what His agenda is for His business that He has entrusted to you? This directly goes to the core purposes for business: Passions, Products, Profits and Philanthropy. The four core purposes for business, collectively, need to be the organizing principle to which our businesses – our entrustment from the Lord – are tethered.

What is the Lord asking you to do with His business? How is He asking you to manage it, grow it, use it to further His kingdom? Are you developing the passions and talents in the people God has brought to you? Are you developing new products and services that will enable your community to flourish? Are you using your profits as directed by God – perhaps giving away more than is normal because God wants to bless you as a giver and wants to bless others engaged in other ministries? Does God’s agenda for your business drive your strategy and tactics?

Take time today to do an inventory of your person and work. Remember that God owns everything – including your business – and He will orchestrate the events of your life and your business so that you are working in concert with Him to accomplish His agenda.

Bill English

Power and Narcissism: Can Hollywood Be Honest with Themselves and Us?

I wonder how long it will take for a movie to be made that uses Harvey Weinstein‘s persona as the basis for the movie. I wonder if Hollywood can be honest with themselves in this movie about how they have contributed to a culture where sometimes, a woman is put in a position of having to serve a man sexually in order to get what she needs or wants. An example is in Forrest Gump, where Forrest’s mom trades sex with the school superintendent to get Forrest into the local school. After sex, the superintendent says to Forrest, “You mommy sure does care about your schoolin’ son.” The movie never explicitly portrays this as sexual abuse, but it is nevertheless. It’s a man with power taking advantage of a woman who lacks power.

When any given man (or woman – Martha Stewart is a good example) amasses too much power, his chances of becoming narcissistic is quite high. Men with power abusing women who lack power is well known and not uncommon: JFK, Jim Bakker, Bill Clinton and King Henry VIII come to mind. The proverbial “casting couch” also comes to mind – and that was Mr. Weinstein’s modus operandi (here and here). The fact that a casting couch was both well known and accepted in Tinseltown is an implicit admission that the entire industry has accommodated men like Mr. Weinstein for decades.

Countless movies portray women as sexual objects whose value is found primarily in the man’s selfish enjoyment of their body parts. Their core role is portrayed as serving the man’s narcissistic needs even while it injures the woman – the Huffington Post reports on the phrase “making women ‘rape-ready'”. Nearly all pornography promotes this narrative and it is estimated that roughly 10% of all internet traffic is pornographic (an opposing view puts it at 35%), so it’s no wonder that Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was minimized for so many years. I suspect most of the men in Hollywood are regular consumers pornography, so it probably seemed more natural to them that a casting couch existed in the first place.

But if those with power don’t abuse women sexually, they certainly abuse in other ways. Men like Martin Shkreli, Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers, Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and others abused thousands (perhaps millions collectively) through their financial schemes and they didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. This is one of the core points of the book “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work” – these people (usually men, but not always) have significant talent and charisma that causes others around them to look the other way when their peccadillos and abusive behavior is known, but isn’t damaging the organization as a whole. So, those around them have a choice: Either confront this highly talented man about his abusive behavior or look the other way. I think those around them conclude that either A) he is too powerful to confront or B) he is bringing so much good to the table (in one sense) that his abusive behaviors are are seen as minimal by comparison.

Power and narcissism is especially harmful in churches and ministries, where, I don’t like saying, my experience is that a plurality of Pastors and ministry leaders can be both abusive and power-hungry guys. They start out well-intentioned, but as their ministries grow, they change. They are usually very gifted communicators with significant leadership abilities. Their theology and exegesis are impeccable. But their public lives can be highly choreographed which hides their narcissism. Privately – don’t cross them or you *will be* on the receiving end of a rather unpleasant experience. I’ve been there several times. It’s not sexual harassment, but it is abuse nevertheless. Experience it enough times and you conclude its’ easier just to sit in the pew and be blissfully ignorant of all the dirt that’s going on behind closed doors. Power and narcissism don’t stop at the front door of a church or ministry.

Politics is filled with elected officials who are both powerful and narcissistic. Our election system is geared to elevate Snakes in Suits. Both parties, mind you, elect these people. Even though the Snakes in Suits book doesn’t allude to this, I was struck by how much what they describe in the book is actually applauded and pursued in our political system. Power and narcissism is apolitical. The fact that a sitting President of the United States could engage in sexual acts (I think harassment solely due to the power imbalance) with an intern working in the White House, lie to the nation about it and then have an entire political party defend his actions is an example of the Snakes in Suits principles on full display.

Sexual harassment is about power and narcissism, not sex. Mr. Weinstein is not a sex addict as much as he is a power addict with lots of narcissism baked in. He expresses his power and narcissism through sexual acts, but he would be no less destructive had he expressed himself in other ways. Hollywood may very well make a movie based on his life, but I doubt they will really deal with the larger issue of people in power who develop significant narcissism and the damage it does to others as well as themselves. You and I see it and experience it every so often in our grassroots lives, but I wonder if Hollywood will be able to get to our grassroots level and become real with us and with themselves.

I’m not holding my breath.

Best Practices Conference

The 2017 Best Practices Conference is for business owners who need to interact with experts who can help them solve their most pressing problems.

The conference is happening on October 26 at the Edinburgh Golf Course in Brooklyn Park, MN.

If you are a business owner with $5M or more in sales, then this conference is for you.

www.bestpracticesconference.com

Foundations of Christian Stewardship Part I: God Owns Everything

I’m starting a series I’m titling the Foundations of Christian Stewardship. This series will codify what I believe to be the foundational passages and principles for Christian Business Owners to adopt and follow if they are going to be faithful stewards of the business that God has given to them.

The first foundational principle is this:

God owns everything.

Corollary: We own nothing.

The Scripture that teaches us that we own nothing and God owns everything are numerous:

Psalm 50.10-12: for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.

Deuteronomy 10.14: To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.

Exodus 19.5-6: Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

1 Corinthians 10.23: …for the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it…

Psalm 24.1: The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters

Job 41.11: Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.

Psalm 89.11: The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it

There are over a dozen more passages like this in the Bible. God owns everything and we own nothing. Regardless of our current legal systems which bestows on us ownership of material goods, in God’s economy, we’re merely stewards of that which he has entrusted to us.

Application

I think there are several applications:

  1. Any wealth that we create through business is not ours to spend as we see fit. Instead, we should be asking God how He wants this wealth utilized.
  2. Our business is to be managed as well as possible. Our overriding goal should be to fulfill the four purposes that God has established for business: Passions, Products, Profits and Philanthropy
  3. Our identity, self-worth and security should be found in our relationship to God as His steward, not in our temporal positions as a business owner
  4. We should hold our businesses with an open hand, being willing to give up ownership should God call us to other entrustments
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