Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Knack... the living power of the Body of Christ (1)

by Dale Shumaker

The Knack by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham is how street-smart entrepreneurs learn to handle whatever comes up. Business is not something that can be learned with a step-by-step formula. It is a way of thinking that allows someone to deal with many different situations and many different opportunities that come up. This will not guarantee success but it will improve your chances significantly.

Brodsky concludes each chapter with his bottom line... key points of the chapter. One way to quick read the book, as most entrepreneurs are in a hurry to get to the point, is to read the end of each chapter's key points. Then go back into the chapter for more detail on areas of particular interest.

So this summary will deal with a sampling of these critical points, much like business proverbs. There are seventeen chapters. With four points a chapter, that's a bunch for a summary. Although this will serve as a guide for points of interest you may want to explore more in detail.

How to Succeed in Business

Don't let your emotions lead you into hasty decisions that will make it difficult for you to achieve your goals. Figure out in advance the cash necessary for the business and what you must do to maintain it. Control the sales mentality and balance it with a business mentality. Have a good feel for the business and its numbers.

The Right Stuff
Perseverance wins, be resilient and welcome failure. When things go wrong look deep inside you for why it went wrong. Solutions are seldom right in front of you. Learn how to spot them out of the corner of your eye.

Why Startups Fail
Your first business should be simple and write your business plan for yourself. Your time is more valuable than money, so learn to use it well and not waste it.

Where the money is
Treat bankers like you would want your customers to treat you. Your receivables are loans to your customers.

Magic Numbers
Find your numbers that help you follow your business in real time. More sales mean less cash flow. Make sure you keep your cash flow up. Know how to figure a true value of your business.

The Art of the Deal
Know what is really being said. Assume the other side is smarter than you. Dig deeper, there is more to it than what meets the eye on the surface. Not all parts of a deal will make both sides happy.

It Begins with a Sale
What business are you really in... know your niche in time. If you don't ask you won't get. You won't find your niche until after you've launched your business, and no niche lasts forever.

Good Sales, Bad Sales
You are better off with more smaller customers. Showing is better then telling. They need to experience it, and listen well.

Customers for Keeps
Teach them your business.

Always treat old customers like the new prospects. As you grow, make sure you keep face to face time with them.

How to Lose Customers
Customers don't like to think they are feeding lavish lifestyles. Avoid big jumps in prices. Increase prices to maintain needed margins slowing and over time.

The Decision to Grow
Do a life plan before your business plan. Make sure you have good reasons for why you want to grow. Bigger is not always better. Small companies have some advantages over larger companies.

Becoming the Boss
Even though you become close to your employees, the business relationship needs to be treated as such. Keep good systems so people can be trusted, and they guard employee integrity.

The One Thing you Can't Delegate
You shape the culture of your business and it is the most powerful for finding and keeping good employees. You can't delegate this responsibility to craft your culture. You need to get everyone involved in controlling expenses. Let your employees know you care about them and they will care about keeping expenses down.

Selling is a Team Sport
Choose sales people that represent you well. Your market sees your company in how they represent themselves. Commission only sales takes away from a company team effort. Involve all your employees in selling.

Help! I need Somebody
Accountants are good at seeing what has happened in the past, but don't go to them for business advice. Talk to an experienced business owner instead. Attorneys are good at law, but don't go to them for business advice. World class executives will work for you if you make sure they make money and are having fun.

When the Student is Ready the Teacher Appears
When problems come up, first stop the bleeding then find the underlying causes. Be sure to read and re-read a contract to make sure what is in it. The harder someone pushes you to make a quick decision, the more you should insist about taking your time.

Keeping Up with the Stones
Be prepared to carry sales people for a year before getting the kind of production that will justify their cost. Sales people need to know how you make money. Watch your numbers and when they change find out why; there is a reason. Enthusiasm is the life blood of a business, be generous with it.

For more on The Knack,
Norm Brodsky is a regular contributor to Inc. magazine,

The Body of Christ by Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft was the life work of Dr. Ashcroft. He wanted the Church, the Body of Christ, the living organism of Jesus alive and well among us so we know what we really have. As an Inspired visionary, his hope was to help us all realize and live in the same power as recorded in the Acts Church of the New Testament.

Here's a beginning of a summary of the Body of Christ, a devotional study by Dr. Ashcroft... (introduction and chapter 1), Jesus establishes a new body.

Dr. Ashcroft had a theme line which came out of the forward to his book. "How can we love God whom we have not seen if we do not love man who we do see." (1 John 4:20) "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these you have done it to me." (Matthew 24:40)

I recall the initial words in the beginning of what became a 7-year relationship... the last 7 years of his life. "The Power of the 21st Century Church will be in the home." At the time he didn't have the cultural research we have today. He was a man of Spirit and Spirit informed him that by 2000 with the Internet and new cultures emerging we long for connection and intimacy among each other. We connect in our homes via the Internet and smart phones keep us in touch in all places we go.

Dr. Ashcroft goes on to say in the forward, "It is my conviction that our churches will never enjoy the fuller measures of grace and gifts of the Spirit until there is Spiritual Affinity among the believers of our congregations." Today people prefer to relate in smaller environments like homes and offices. "Affinity" means to merge or progressively grow as one. "May they also be one as we are One."(John 17:21)

And Jesus said if we become One as He and our Father in Heaven are One, there will be greater things than ever in our lives. Jesus promised this. (John 14:12) This study is about the conditions we must meet to see this manifest presence of Jesus in the world around us, how we must prepare for this manifest presence. Our mandate is to seek out those who have strayed from the flock of Christ, and rekindle the fire that agreement sparks in our activities. "Where two agree as touching anything that they shall ask, we are guaranteed it will be done." (Matthew 18:18) The key word is what "agree" is. Ashcroft takes great care to define that.

Where does the Body of Christ begin? It begins with a child. "Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" The child. (Matthew 18:1) Jesus saw the individual. He was aware of crowds, but it was the individual that was important to Him. We must see individuals, persons, not just audiences. Why a child? A child is most teachable. A person's best time for learning is as a child, in both speed and quality. A child is the Biblical quality of meekness. To be meek is to put oneself at the disposal of the Lord. It is this character that marks the leader that is put in charge. The seat of authority, the transfer of power is to the meek and teachable as a child; to those who receive these little ones in the Name of Jesus.

This means that a person must have an appropriate attitude about oneself, that is humble and teachable. And one must have an attitude of concern and acceptance toward others, especially the little ones. To offend a little one, the least of these, is a serious matter in the Kingdom of God. So the power to fulfill the ministry of the Kingdom of God is in the Relationship between the disciples in this way. The attitude is to be servant of all. "You cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless you become like (the meekness of) a little child." (Matthew 18:3)

What should be noted is the significance of receiving a little child. If we receive a little child in His name, it is as though we are receiving Jesus. How we act and receive the humblest person or the most unlovable in the body of Christ may determine how we are able to "receive" Christ Himself. It goes back to our relationship, and including even the least of those around us. Each person is important to Jesus. Too often the abjectly poor, the unschooled, different classes and races are ignored. Those who ignore these, the least, may not be in the Body of Christ. So this first part is foundationally critical to establish as a base....the importance of the individual, relating to individuals in the Name of Jesus, what Jesus stands for.

Everything depends upon our relationship to each other. Where harmony prevails we know that God commands a blessing. "Where brothers dwell in unity, the Lord commanded the blessing..." (Psalm 133:1,3) We should be careful not to offend anyone, even the least or the most insignificant, and in the smallest matters. So we do not allow the smallest of offense to hinder the harmony we should hold up to maintain. All matters that create disharmony should be resolved quickly. When disharmony prevails, it prevents the power of Spirit to function fluidly. Condemnation is not a prerequisite of an individual. Every effort at reconciliation is to be made by the individual.

Too often we focus on the numbers (two or three) as the reason for the manifest presence of Christ. The critical issue is not the number, but the relationship between the two or three. It is easier to get harmony, too, between two or three than a mass of people. The real issue is: are we relating to each other? If not, the number means nothing. Most groups are really crowds. Most are there for individual interests. These groups are ineffective when relationship qualities are weak or don't exist. Spirit is neutralized and we do not see the benefits realized.

Note that action on earth is validated by action in heaven. This is the germ of truth for this principle. The key phrase to remember is when two or three are gathered together in my name. We involve heaven when we meet in His Name. (Matthew 18:20)

This truth is supported then by the promise in Matthew 18:20. This brings us to the universal principle in Spirit which opens the door for its Supernatural power. Our relationship to others On Earth Releases God's power in Heaven.

Why? Jesus also promises to be in our midst, In Spirit in our presence, when two or three agree. With Jesus right here with us, all the creative, healing, relational powers of God are in full operation, at work with and around us. This is A Super WOW, when we take a minute to contemplate the implications of this.

We can be sure when Jesus is in our midst, present with us, all of His wisdom for guidance is with us, loving forgiveness prevails, revelation is present, knowledge beyond our understanding comes to mind, and everything about God's literal creative powers is manifested. When Jesus, the Christ, is the center of our lives and in our efforts, we have all the potential of His manifested presence.

What builds relationships more than anything else... Forgiveness.
We are to forgive without limits (Matthew 18:21, 22) This is to be a permanent attitude. When in doubt ask for forgiveness. It takes a humble person to ask for forgiveness. It takes a person confident in the resilient power of the Spirit to seek forgiveness... even when it may be someone else's fault. We ask, and relationships are built around this one principle of Spiritual Power.

The spirit of forgiveness is permanent. No individual condemnation. No grudges. No personal recrimination. This spirit of forgiveness is of staggering magnitude.
The foundation for power then is ...
do the Father's will,
love vicariously and sacrificially,
and be humble and forgiving.

When we are attentive to the Name of the Lord and are honest in our good attitude toward and sharing with one another, we can expect God to be joined with us in our purposes. Private or selfish interest cannot play a part in our enjoying the privilege of being a part of the Body of Christ. The private interests of any one must be sacrificed to the community. We need each other.

The word "agree" originates from the word symphony. The word "symphony" implies a harmony being heard as in a great symphonic orchestra where every instrument is in perfect harmony. They are under the synchronized directions of the conductor, being subject to the refined signs of the conductor. The conductor keeps everyone in tune, at the right volume, and with the right emotional quality to get the message across.

This is what agreement is about. A depth of spiritual agreement is much like an orchestra. When meeting in His name and this level of spiritual affinity exists, we create the power of harmony where we then see the manifest presence of Jesus among us. This takes humility and forgiveness. Thus forgiveness is the essential component of harmony among believers.

To summarize chapter one of the Body of Christ, the fundamental Spirit that guides us manifests itself in the humility of a child, a willingness to learn, and forgiveness of Jesus Spirit that is at work in us.