Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Power of Small... ministering to the Lord, The Body of Christ (10)

by Dale Shumaker

In The Power of Small, the authors, Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, have noted first hand how our smallest actions had a positive impact on their business and relationships. They attribute their continued success to the power of small in all things.

"We can do no great things... only small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

The Power of Small takes you on a journey of many ways that small is power. In addition to the small of becoming big, Linda and Robin have numerous real-world cases that will inspire the entrepreneur. These will keep the entrepreneur flame burning in you. We are coming into a new age for pioneering new opportunities.

The positive impressions we make through little words, deeds, and gestures are what lay the ground work for success in life. Focusing on the trees as well as the forest works small miracles in our lives.

Some small truths.
Truth #1: It's a byte-size world.
Train yourself to use the zoom lens in your career and private life. Your ability to pay attention to the smallest details can set you apart from your competitors; overlooking it can leave you in the dust.
Truth #2: Small acts tell a larger story.
Small nuances of a personality, a phrase, can say mammoth things about what's inside. Listen, look for these.
Truth #3: Everyone matters.
Listen to the ideas of everyone around you. The dishwasher, janitor, errand guy may have some small insights that will yield a giant result.
Truth #4: A little good goes a long way.
Our grand plans, at times, need to be dismantled and broken down into smallest actions. Every contact with customers, and suppliers give you a chance to do the unexpected, many times small and over looked, to create a great impression... that shows your true self, the truth of that you are honest and care.

Do the mini-tasks... create small steps easy to do; appreciate little things... think about them around you; make small impressions... hold the elevator door open for others.

Make small talk.
Much can be learned when taking time to casually chat before the formal meeting. Small talk brings out personal information that you really can benefit knowing, or get to the root of someone's real interests. Small talk is the social lubricant that brings people together. The rewards of small talk with those you love are monumental. Schmooze or lose, lighten up, say please, and your genuine "I-find-this-interesting" curiosity will kill the competition.

Go the extra inch.
Send the thank you note; look before you leap and recheck details; pay a little more attention; read twice, send once. Keep your small antenna up and notice what is important to people. Be ready to help someone even if it's not your problem. Taking time to help someone in a small way may come back to you in surprisingly big ways. Continue to make small changes.

Take baby steps.
Solve problems in small steps. Chip away and mentally dismantle a challenge into smaller, less formidable pieces. Set small achievable little goals and build confidence through a continuous series of small successes. Small actions assure you of success, which makes you want to take more actions.

Watch your cues and clues.
Slow down and know what is going on around you.The signals are there. Pay attention to external clues, and internal cues. Heed to the intuitive and unconscious intelligence that prods us. Be micro-behavior smart. Your experiences in life helps you spot the one minute actions that say a lot about the person. These little indicators are trying to tell you something. Like Yogi Berra, the great Yankee's catcher, study each batter's details (what and where he hits and misses) and direct your pitches accordingly. Yogi simply says, "You can observe a lot just by watching."

Little mistakes spell disaster.
What you ignore becomes more. One letter can change the meaning of a whole thought. It was discovered many guys didn't call a girl back the second time for one small thing she did or said. If you don't know ask, so you get it right. Spell it right, say it right, and be in the moment. Don't be afraid to ask. Be proof positive. Question yourself. Teach, don't preach.

Make it big by thinking small.
Niche businesses are growing by 20 to 25 percent a year. These small market segments are considered to be underserved. These are great for the would-be entrepreneur as they can be launched on a small scale, and without as much competition in many cases. Many business ideas are waiting to be born and sometimes all you need is a little sparkle to bring it to life. Fill a need, find your sweet spot, and your pet peeve may be a problem many others want solved as well. Fill the half-empty glass with your vision and talent.

Small changes the world.
By following the tenets of thinking small there is no limit to how great a difference we can make in the world. Each and everyone of us have the power to leave the world a better place. Our small day-to-day actions and decisions, combined with millions of others doing the same, can transform the world. Our technology today allows us to reach humanity like never before. We all can address the thought, "There's got to be a better way."

Social entrepreneurs can make a positive difference beyond entitlement and government induced programs. The business can be the cornerstone strength that establishes a strong community, a strong nation. We in business can make the difference.

Expand into the world of The Power of Small at:

"He who is faithful in the smallest of things will be made ruler over many."

In Ministering to the Lord, The Body of Christ by Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft, the church was vibrant where ever it met. To remind us, a church meeting is when two or three come together in Jesus Name. In Acts in the Bible, the early days of ministry were by laymen.

The power in the church is more in the dynamics of small, in close-bonded relationships, than in big groups. It is a network, a web of small cells, linking to others and the assistance each freely gives the other.

When reading Acts 11 and 13 we see in Antioch, the establishing of what is called today Christian. All the followers were unnamed laymen. Just men collaborating in concert with the teachings and ideals of Jesus, groups who united as followers of Jesus. This Gospel was being spread by new believers. Missions were established as they went everywhere to tell people about the marvelous possibilities of us being united with Christ.

Antioch is important as it illustrates the power there is in the unity of the Body of Christ... as the Believers connecting in Spirit as One. Another observation is that it came from such an unlikely place. The theme line keeps shouting out loud the power of unity and where there is unity God manifests Himself.

Each individual within the Body of Christ is important. It's not just a gathering of people or not just a crowd. We are all very special people. We may be likened to cells in a body. Each one is different, but each one is important to the whole. Gifts, special ministries, were given to each member. It is possible for everyone to have a ministry to help meet the needs of other individuals of the body. (Note 1 Corinthians 12:27)

We must, as cells, be in the Body to be alive, but we must also function as unique individuals. In the human body no cell can survive very long by itself. It needs to be joined by other cells. Cancer, it is said, are cells out of sync with the body. Cancer destroys itself and the body it invades. Cells out of sync in Spirit in the Body of Believers cause this same disaster to happen there too. These cells contaminate healthy cells.

This new lay church was made up of regular people not ordained, or specifically called to a particular position in ministry. They had gifts of the Spirit and began to minister to each other. The church is not the Body of Christ if it is a place where each member is not ministering in some way to other members of the Body. The differences in the Body is a paradox. It actually enhances the Body to function at peak levels when unity exists. As the body, or gathering, submits to the Holy Spirit, in humility, every reason for conflict will be subordinated to God. Some groups allow their differences to separate them from others who do not share their views. Paul, the Apostle, had to deal with this kind of discrimination as it diluted the group of its Power in Spirit. Antioch was not like this, and Paul noted that great grace was there. Great grace implies great giving and forgiving.

One of the chief purposes of the leader of a group is to strive for unity as given by the Holy Spirit. What is the basis for a great Spiritual life in a gathering...
"They ministered to the Lord, and fasted." (Acts 13:1)
The two points are revealed:
1. Ministry to the Lord
2. Fasting (discipline of the self)

Ministry to the Lord is significant, and exercise in choice of primary importance. It is adoration, surrender, commitment and obedience in service.

Adoration is the concentration of the heart. Plus it is a longing for more of knowing Him, praising Him for who He is. Such a pre-occupation with the Lord drives us away from all of the detrimental influences of the world.

Adoration is the key to our unity.
When each of us is making Christ the Lord of our lives, it is no problem finding unity among us as believers. When we are oriented to self, unity becomes impossible.

On the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:8) they saw no man but Jesus. The vision of Jesus was compelling and their concentration was only on the brightness of Jesus. In our gatherings no expression of the Lord is left out... art, music, vocal or physical demonstration.

There is more... fasting. It goes beyond abstinence from food, this fasting is abstinence from any dependency on physical gratification. This may include abstinence of mind and body. Such fasting makes us break from being co-dependent to the physical demands and desires of the human body. It makes us forget our own program of interests. It makes us forget our criteria for social relationships. All demands of our person or place are submerged in the total denial of self and absence of self-awareness. Can we achieve this same depth of communion with the Lord? Yes, but it won't be easy. It takes decision, training, discipline and often spiritual leadership to bring us in such communion with the Lord.

With such worship to God and denial of self, there is a readiness to do whatever the Lord commands. True worship encompasses full submission, and obedience. It is service to others in need. Obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). It is easier to write and talk about this than to bring it about. The Holy Spirit gives directions to the believers... as individuals and as a group.

When those who meet in Jesus Name center their lives around the Holy Spirit, a common mission and purpose emerges from the group. This mission uses the talents, Spiritual Gifts, of the group as One orchestrated concert in action to complete the mission and vision set before them.

Know your target and how to move in the direction of such High Achievement. We need to keep reminding ourselves that visions from God may seem impossible in the natural but we are super-charged by the Supernatural to accomplish what God puts on our hearts. We can then as One Body, as a group, do all things through the Powers of Jesus Christ being manifested through us. It requires a discipline in lifestyle for the cause we are in. It will take hours of meditation and prayer to the Lord to bring us on the journey to achieve such Lofty Goals.

Like Barnabas and Saul were separated to go into new territory. We may be separated by the Holy Spirit to go into new territory. This direction will come after much fasting and prayer. That's taking time to be completely focused on the Holy Spirit's direction for us... and leaving normal activity that is part of our lives for a while to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying...and allowing time for The Spirit to assist us in crafting the strategy He has in mind for it to be carried out.

After fasting, after denial of self, there comes consideration for others. It naturally follows. This is the climate of obedience. Worship is not worship if it does not culminate in obedient action in the interest of those less fortunate than ourselves. When sent by the Holy Spirit you can be assured of the Spirit paving the way for your ministry (and this includes all laymen in the church... everyone has a ministry).

When faced with opposition, the opposition is immobilized as in the case of Elymas (Acts 13:6-12), the sorcerer. He was made blind by the Spirit so Barnabas and Saul could not be deterred.

In a mission that is directed by the Holy Spirit we will be directed by the Spirit along the way. If it is made up by men and organizations outside the Spirit, we may not be assured the Power of God with us. But if we go in obedience to the clear direction of the Holy Spirit and with the covenant community, we are assured of the results.

Our relationships, covenant relationships, in Spirit are essential for all that God sends us to. As One in Spirit we are very powerful and nothing can stop these advances.
All Things Are Possible!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Guerrilla Marketing... in Action, The Body of Christ (9)

by Dale Shumaker

Guerrilla Marketing (2007) by Jay Conrad Levinson has been updated since its initial release in the early 1980's. This latest addition has been updated to include today's technology advances and new culture affecting how we market today. It is very timely in that the current economic conditions bring acute relevancy to its ideas and principles. Guerrilla marketing is not based on how much money you have to spend, but the time, energy, imagination and information you have to spend. We are in an era of innovation. This puts Guerrilla Marketing in excellent position to make the most of these times.

Guerrilla Marketing simplifies, explains how entrepreneurs can use marketing to generate maximum profits from minimum investments. The small business is in a better position to get up close and personal with its customers.

When you fully see the true nature of your business, your goal, your strengths and weaknesses, your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, and the needs of your target market, your positioning will be that much easier to determine and your strategy that much easier to plan. Small businesses have an advantage over large businesses in that they can occupy smaller niches and prosper by dominating them. Identify your target markets and take aim.

The seven-sentence Guerrilla Marketing Strategy:
1. The purpose of marketing is the physical action you take.
2. How you'll achieve that purpose... your competitive advantage and benefits.
3. Your target market.
4. The marketing weapons you will use.
5. Your niche and your position and what you stand for.
6. The identity of your business.
7. Your budget expressed in a percentage of gross sales you'll spend on marketing.

Creative marketing is only creative to the effect it sells the offering. To be successful in your creative marketing follow these seven steps.
1. Find the inherent drama within your offering.
2. Translate the inherent drama into a meaningful benefit.
3. State your benefits in as believable a way as possible.
4. Get people's attention.
5. Motivate your audience to get involved.
6. Be sure you are communicating clearly.
7. Measure your finished advertisement, commercial, letter, etc., against your creative strategy.

The key to successful marketing is a smart creative strategy. Talk about the experience the prospect will experience after owning what you are selling.

Every marketing vehicle has its own particular strengths. Limitless marketing weapons are available to you. Which do you choose? Choose the one's you can do well. Be aware of the marketing weapons available. Launch many of them. Stay aware which are failing and which are working wonders. Eliminate those missing the mark and double the ones hitting the bull's eye.

When you choose your weapons, create your marketing calendar. The calendar may be weeks or a year in length. Launch as many weapons as you can effectively. But only those you know will be read, seen or heard by your target market.

As an example, a handyman used the marketing methods at minimal costs: Canvassing, personal letters, circulars, brochures, signs on bulletin boards, classified ads, yellow pages, direct mail, free seminars, trade show booth, public relations, production, on-line classified ads. A music mart used brochures, newspaper displays, radio and TV spots, search lights, website. The idea is to create a synergy among what you use. Two great marketing methods combined with two other media creates an impact greater than four.

Today the small business can research more effectively than ever. With Internet search getting better and more exhaustive, much information can be obtained and networks formed with key business relationships than ever. Websites, files on line, chats, professional social networks, surveys.

Levinson goes into detail on how to use mini-media marketing. The areas covered include canvassing (how to make presentations flow), business cards, personal letters, telephone marketing, circulars, brochures, classified advertising, gift certificates, signs (big and little ones), signs on bulletin boards, desktop publishing, yellow pages. Then he has another section on maximedia marketing. This includes newspapers, magazines, radio, television, direct-mail marketing, envelopes, postcards, catalogs, direct-mail wrap-up.

A new-media marketing is taking a strong foothold. Internet marketing is coming up as the most powerful new media for marketing. Remember the rule of thirds. Develop a budget for online marketing. Spend a third of it in developing your site, a third in promoting your site, and a third in maintaining your site. Internet marketing has these three components.
1. Begin with a wonderful product or service.
2. Create a motivational website.
3. Send emails with hyperlinks to your website.

Create a blog. Provide information in an informal, entertaining style. Everyone can be an author or publisher. Many blog sites can be hosted free. You can be current with information daily. (Note Levinson's blog applications at his website below.)

Podcasting, the distribution of audio, video over the internet are great to listen to and view what you want to, when you want to.

Nanocasting is like podcasting but targeted to a specific audience. It
blends podcasting, streaming, and e-commerce technologies. It is a narrow casting to a defined market group.

Email is the most widely used. Emails should be brief, short paragraphs, getting to the point quickly. Updates, newsletters. special offers, preferred customer offers are some ways to use it to stay personal with your customers.

Websites now can be built with many Internet tools available including templates so that the average business person can make his own. Keep it simple, friendly and make it easy to get around. Subscription websites are common with periodicals, publications and professional services.

Other applications are teleseminars (live seminars conducted over the phone), webinars (a visual seminar conducted over the web), E-books are becoming part of websites, automated marketing with payment made on line, and search engine optimization gets them to you faster.

Info-Media Marketing provides valuable information that leads to more sales.They include free consultations, writing for publications, having free seminars, doing free demonstrations, doing an e-zine (a digital magazine), columns and articles and hitting the club circuit with free speeches.

Human-media marketing is marketing yourself. Be likable. Be a personality others like to be around. Arm your sales people with media weapons. Provide your employees with a business fashionable look, clothes that look nice and carry your name and slogans. Establish an inner circle who will market you, and make frequent contact with your customers. Develop skills in saying hello and goodbye... smile, make eye contact, and use the person's name. Tell your stories and stories using real customer experiences. Provide sales training, network and make sure you get as many business cards as you can. Become an affiliate with others. Above all build satisfied customers who will tell great stories about you.

Levinson concludes this section with these general thoughts.You are really in four businesses at once... the one on your business card, the marketing business, the service business, and the people business. You serve people by finding out what their interests really are and showing them that you really care about them.

Levinson concludes the book with nonmedia marketing. These don't cost you to do them but they will cost you if you don't. First, service is everything a customer really wants, what they pray for.

Public relations is making the most of every relationship you have with everybody. Everyone gives you free publicity. Make sure it's good publicity.

Trade shows are a great place to meet people, both the attendees and the exhibitors. You will be amazed how much other exhibitors will spread the word after spending a day getting to know you more in depth.

Fusion marketing is the mutual helping of each other through collaborations, co-marketing, partnering, etc. Get involved in the community, join groups, clubs, associations.

Following up is a great marketing tool as most people appreciate you staying in touch. Always look for ways to stir up word of mouth. It's amazing how many times someone comes to you because a friend recommended you.

Sponsor contests and create a competitive advantage that makes you stand out from others. Get your elevator speech down so you can get this across in a minute or less. And guarantee what you do to limit the risk others may carry in their mind as they consider using you.

The Guerrilla Marketing attitudes are passion, generosity, speed, neatness, good telephone demeanor, value, easy to do business with and flexibility.

At the conclusion of Guerrilla Marketing is a list of 200 marketing weapons to strategically, with synergy, combine to advance your marketing position. Additional resources are at the end of the book and more on Guerrilla Marketing at the website. Since the Guerrilla Marketing concept was introduced in 1983, Levinson has written many books on a variety of applications he has for many businesses. Be sure to check out the hundreds of article topics and relevant blog.

In the second part of the Body of Christ in Action, Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft spends most of his time in 1 Corinthians 13 and 14.

The fulfillment of all the functions of the gifts rests on the power of the love the Holy Spirit gives us. To be in one accord and have pure unity is the central nerve of the best of everything. John expresses this in 1 John 4: 8-13:

"But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us." (NLT)

Paul refers to love as the most excellent way. We should follow the path of love, especially in the Body of Christ. It is a sacrificial love as every one considers others more important than themselves. This is the cement that holds, creates a bonding unity, in the relationship of the Believers. Then in this Agape love of God all the Supernatural power of God can be manifested. God is there in all of His Supernatural power, if we are in His love.

All the eloquence we possess is nothing without love. Without a demonstration of love in all we do, all we do amounts to nothing.

As we consider the Supernatural gifts of the Spirit of eloquence, prophecy, understanding mysteries, all knowledge, faith, meeting needs of the poor, even becoming a martyr, if we do not have love it amounts to nothing and we profit nothing by it. Within the Body of Christ it accomplishes nothing. Our highest priority is to be completely yielded to the Holy Spirit.

In our own humanity it is impossible to achieve the quality of love. So we are locked into a total dependence upon the Holy Spirit. The emphasis and practice of waiting for the Holy Spirit must be our first consideration. Such a challenge must be kept ever before us in our present environment.

These rudiments of love must never leave our conscious and functional is patient, always kind, not envying others, or boasting about ourselves, being constantly unselfish, mild and even tempered, not being suspicious of others, unhappy with evil, rejoicing in truth, surviving in pressure, full of stubborn faith, with and unwavering confidence in God's power, enduring to the end in all challenges and goals, and refusing to relent in love, love never fails.

To attain love is to grow up in our faith, have a clear vision of Jesus and what He has done for us, holding an honest knowledge of ourselves, practice this highest and greatest virtue throughout all we do, making love supreme. To have unity in and among believers is the key to our power as the Body of Christ in Spirit. Love must be practiced first, last and always by those in the Body of Christ in their actions and attitudes to each other.

To strengthen the unity of the Body of Christ, these mandates will preserve the unity... to be informed, be unselfish and be courteous.

Be Informed
Follow after love. With love we have no divisions between those who put love up front in all they do. The Supernatural is free to work as it expands to the levels only it can. Desire Spiritual Gifts. So it requires to wait for them, wait in God's presence. Tarry until they come. It is important to give time to tarry, or wait for, the leading of the Holy Spirit to show itself. Of all the Spiritual Gifts desire to prophesy. Make this a top priority in order to communicate the Word of the Lord to the Believers.

Be Unselfish
In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul suggests that if someone has a message in a tongue not known to the group, to share it... only if there is an interpreter. Otherwise keep it in private and not for public expression. Although, if more than one has a message as such, it should be kept to two or three at the most. Paul goes on to say that we should not forbid people to speak who have a gift of tongues. The point being made is that we should be considerate of others and cooperation should rule the operation of the Gifts of the Spirit in a group.

Above all prophesy... then everyone can understand you. Again, if you have a Word from Spirit it should be limited by two or three as well. The Spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophets. What this implies is all things are in control and there is not a spirit of things being out of control. All things should carry with them a sense of agreement among the group and the unity then brings the manifest presence of God's Spirit. As we agree together in His Name we can expect all kinds of unexpected workings of the Spirit among us.

Be Courteous
The Spirit is gentle. The Spirit came on Jesus like a dove. A dove can be easily frightened away. We are to be building up the community of believers. We will see this accomplished if we find the grace from the Holy Spirit to treat one another with respect, neither grieving the Holy Spirit or our fellow believers.

When we apply the love in 1 Corinthians 13 and the etiquette expressed in 1 Corinthians 14, we will go a long way to insure the unity of the Body of Christ. Thus we make ourselves candidates for the manifest presence of the Lord. Where He is, the Power of Jesus looms in all His mighty power.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

100 Best Business Books of All Time... In Action, The Body of Christ (8)

by Dale Shumaker

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten, has summaries of their choices of the 100 best business books. This is a great compilation to use as a reference to start your own business library, and have available to check out to your staff and associates. One of the best ideas going around today is the business book club from within companies and with colleagues from other businesses. If business owners and entrepreneurs would form their own clubs and discussion groups, they would create a powerful development tool among themselves.

Outside trainers can be costly and not as relevant, while inside personally-directed skill development can be enduring with timely business books and group interactions.

In a group each person could read a different chapter and come together, share a summary of the chapter, and takeaway what they can use. This will make the learning experience relevant and expedient. If five people did this, you can cover 5 chapters a week, and in two weeks as a team apply the book's principles to your business. In a month, you can get the gist of information from two great books a month... that's 24 books a year. You would stay on top of business ideas, and principles and be a cutting edge company or group.

The criteria Covert and Sattersten followed to pick their top 100 is as follows.

1. What is the quality of the idea in the book.
2. How applicable is the idea for someone in business.
3. The key information needs to be readily accessible. That is you can get to the key principles quickly and easily.

Most business people want to get to the point quickly, then be able to go more indepth where they see value to a current need. The organization of a business book is very important so the authors have made the 100 best biz books a great resources to find, scan and glean quickly. Each short summary is about 3 or 4 pages with recommendations on where to go next in the book.
What are the 100 best business books of all time? They list them on their website. (See below.)

Covert and Sattersten have two top ten lists... the top ten best-seller list and the top ten list from a reader's poll of their top ten favorite business books of all time.

The Top Ten Best-Selling Business Books
Based on Nielsen BookScan
1. Good to Great
2. Freakonomics
3. Blink
4. Who Moved My Cheese?
5. Now Discover Your Strengths
6. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
7. Winning
8. Little Red Book of Selling
9. Getting Things Done
10. StrengthsFinder 2.0
(My blog spot, the Spirit Savvy Business, has most of the above titles summarized as well. Just type the book title in the search engine; it will take you right to it.)

The Reader's Choice Top Ten
1. The Goal
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
3. Good to Great
4. The Effective Executive
5. How to Win Friends and Influence People
6. The Tipping Point
7. Purple Cow
8. Freakonomics
9. The World Is Flat
10. Flow

The categories covered in the book are
You: improving life, your person, and your strengths.
Leadership: inspiration, challenge, courage, change.
Strategy: eight organizational blueprints from which to draft your own.
Sales and Marketing: approaches and pitfalls in the ongoing process of creating customers.
Rules and Scorekeeping: the all-important numbers behind the game.
Management: guiding and directing the people around you.
Biographies: seven lives, unlimited lessons.
Entrepreneurship: seven guides to the passion and practicality necessary for any new venture.
Narratives: six industry tales of both fortune and failure.Innovation and creativity: insight into the process of developing new ideas.
Big Ideas: the future of business books lies here.
Takeaways: what everyone is looking for.
This is a good balance of themes, business categories, for any business person to use as a guide for ongoing personal growth.

At their website, they included in their blog, 4/8/09, the Inc. Magazine's top 30 business books you should read.
And more at their website

God manifests Himself today through the Body of Christ.
This is the theme for Chapter 8, In Action, from The Body of Christ by Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft.

Jesus was the ultimate witness to all mankind.

"He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son."
(John 1:10-14, NLT)

"God wrapped all of Himself in the womb of Mary. 'We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. '"
(1 John 1:1, NLT)

Then Jesus said it was expedient that He go away so that greater things will be done which may not be done while He was still present on earth. It was God's plan from all this is that the Spirit we saw with Christ is now with us as the Body of Christ as One in Christ. What was expected of the physical Body of Jesus while on earth is also now expected from the Spiritual formation of the Body of Christ of Believers which is now presently manifested on earth.

"‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things."

(Luke 24:47, 48, NLT)

For this reason, the forming of believers into the Body of Christ, the bonding, yes Bonding of Believers, is absolutely necessary for the fulfillment of God's purposes.

Water Baptism suggests burial, death to the control of the physical nature in our lives. When we come to Christ, surrender our lives to Him, we end the rule of the natural man over us and come under the sovereign rule of the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus did. We are to be completely oriented to the Holy Spirit and dedicate ourselves to service to the needs of others. We die to a life of selfishness and come into a life of sharing. When we die to self, we minister to others. All this is contingent to our sensitivity to the needs of the believers or of humanity at large.

The manifestations of the Holy Spirit are not possessions by a certain person, but are functions of the Holy Spirit. It is for the good of all and are not given as an exclusive possession for the use of one individual. There is mutual sharing of need and supply. When Believers as the Body of Christ are in unity there is opportunity to communicate a specific need, and receive an answer to any specific need.

The Body of Christ is the instrument through which God has chosen to reveal Himself and to accomplish His work in the world. All of it is under the administration of Christ Himself, as the Head of the Body. Jesus is The Body's chief administrating officer, our CEO, as the Body of Christ. Note that a gathering or congregation may not be the Body of Christ. It takes being knit together. Where this exists, this is a true, or the true Body of Christ. Where there is love, mutual sharing, a heart of agreement, Jesus as we know Him manifests Himself not just to the level for while he was on earth, but now to even greater levels.

What we must watch are things that Divide. If it be doctrine, loyalties, sacraments, spiritual gifts, these are faults to power when they become issues of conflict and separation. We are to be reconciled to one Body (Ephesians 2:16). What brings a group to total unity from their hearts and the love of Christ in action in them... only the Holy Spirit can do it. Talk and negotiations may get minds to agree, but hearts can be distant, and the close knit fellowship not present. Only as we pray together, and the Holy Spirit welds our hearts together as one can divisions be dissolved.

It's equally important that we be not be led away with sensuality in our meetings. That's emotions that make us feel good, but not motivated by the Holy Spirit. We can be drawn under the spell of the self-life and pleasing one's own sensual desires. Spirit induces a spirit of love and self-sacrifice for the good of others. We are not to be carried away by sense-related experiences. They worshiped dumb idols, but were not aware of the Holy Spirit in some meetings in the New Testament. We must guard against that too. Their objects of worship were material things, or oriented to physical pleasure.

It is so important we become Spirit-led, Spirit-controlled, and that Christ be our consciousness, our life as directed by His Holy Spirit. Simply, Christ lives in us and He must be allowed to run us, to navigate life through us. He is the boss, we are the employee to carry out His orders. Just because we can say the word spirituality and relate it to our ideas, we may not be Spiritual. Only when we are controlled and run by Spirit are we then genuinely Spiritual.

Diversity is allowed to flow in Spirit. We have the same spirit but diverse and different gifts. There are differences, but not divisions. As orchestrated by the Spirit and each allows this, we created an orchestra effect of great music, precision in how we do things. We become refined in being efficient in Spirit.

Spiritual Intelligence, communications, physical needs, material necessities are provided under the leadership of the Holy Spirit to the believers in the community: the Christian community. As believers come together in worship they must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to learn from whom and to whom ministry is to be given. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of all the manifestations which meet the needs of the members of the Body of Christ.

Each time the believers gather in the spirit of unity and koinonia (that's a spirit of sharing), each believer looks about to see whom he may minister to in the Body of Christ. It will be obvious at once that humility and meekness are an absolute necessity for such a fellowship to have God's blessing and approval. There is no room for any self aggrandizement or self exaltation at all.

The human body is what Paul used to impress upon the Corinthians how the Holy Spirit will fulfill the ministry. As we look at 1 Corinthians 12, we see these patterns for us to follow:

1. The believers are intricately woven together. Any action or inaction inevitably affects every other believer.
2. Each part of the body has a unique role to play.
3. The default of any part of the Body to perform his or her role limits the Body in its ministry.
4. To suffer is the degree to which each member must be prepared to participate.

We should have the same care for one another. The manifestation of the supernatural for the benefit of the Body of Christ is a priority. The world outside becomes a beneficiary of the powers of the Holy Spirit. So much hinges upon the practice of caring for one another. "If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad."
(1 Corinthians 12:26, NLT)

This implies the degree to which each member participates in the need of other members of the Body of Christ... the entire Body. This is also the price of discipleship. So much depends upon the application of this practice.

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."
(Luke 9:23, NLT)

To implement these marvelous miracles, we have the ministries and gifts within the Body of Christ for that purpose.

Each of us has a distinct ministry to each believer. The Body of Christ has been given these glorious provisions for the meeting of needs of each member. To be used by God in His Supernatural provision should be the desire, the higher goal of every believer. Once this spirit of ministry prevails within the Body of Christ, it creates the basis for successfully reaching those outside the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

It's Not What You Sell... Covenant Connection, The Body of Christ (7)

by Dale Shumaker

It's Not What you Sell, It's What You Stand For by Roy Spence, Jr. is about creating purpose that drives your business. The book's primary goal is to get you to the same level as the purpose-driven companies he identifies in the book. It's an action road map to discover your purpose, bring it to life, and then actively market and practice the purpose.

Your purpose is the definitive statement of how you are making a difference in the world. Everything circles around the question, "does it further our cause?"
Your purpose holds you steady in turbulent times, injects your brand with healthy doses of reality and draws passionate people to you.

So your higher purpose is to discover your purpose. You do this by revisiting your heritage. By going back and digging out the "why" of your company in the first place. Ask the original owners why they formed the company. Talk to those retired from the company and ask them why they formed the company. If you are the owner, ask yourself why you did this in the beginning. Was your original purpose given up too soon? What should you get back to? Ask yourself and everyone around you, who knew you from the beginning...Why? Why do you do what you do? Why does your existence matter? Reread all your original notes and plans that will reveal the original zeal of why you did this. What was and is the functional, emotional, ultimate benefit to your customer and constituents?

Spencer likes to use Southwest Airlines as a favorite example and the Hedgehog concept from Good To Great.... What are you passionate about; what you can be the best in the world at; and what drives your economic engine? Ask your customers and fans what difference your business and product has made in their lives? What would they miss the most if you ceased to exist? What do they see that makes you better, standout from everyone else?

Your vision comes clear when you look into your heart, so make it a heart-felt matter. Now refine the difference you are out to make in the world and make it simple enough that everyone can understand.

As you craft a great purpose keep in mind to keep it simple, aim high, and don't be too vague that others don't see it. Focus on what you do rather than how you do it. Some purpose statements Spencer shares are from Southwest Airlines, "To give people the freedom to fly;" Wal-Mart, "To save people money so they can live better;" American Red Cross, "Enabling Americans to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies."

The purpose is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world.
The mission is your core strategy or what must be undertaken to fulfill the purpose.
The vision is a vivid, imaginative concept or view of the world once your purpose has been fulfilled.

Find the thrill, have the will and ignite the passion. Be the leader of your purpose, or the steward of the purpose. Help people believe in themselves.

To fulfill the promise of the purpose get the handle on the business you are really in, position yourself so people can see what you have that the competition doesn't. Bring it to life by getting the employees on board. Figure out what really matters to people and develop marketing solutions accordingly. Fulfill your purpose everywhere you go.

Spencer continues to address how a purpose can take corporations higher with several in depth case studies of companies driven by purpose, and its place in membership, nonprofit, higher education, sports organizations.

High performing organizations are build with a meaningful difference, with leaders who are stewards of great purpose, and bring life in meaningful and relevant ways in the marketplace.

For more note the USAToday review:

And Roy Spence's website:

Every group that meets, a purpose evolves from it. The Spiritual pattern is it starts in prayer, seeking God's ways, getting His Divine insights. As love abounds in the group and covenant connections are cemented and grow, the power for Divine revelation and Divine Purpose increase.

The crucial thing to know is Covenant Connections increase the Power that goes with Divine Purpose... as we discover it and execute it.

We can hold on to The Apostle Paul's thoughts in Ephesians:
"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:11-14, TNIV)

All this has been created for us long ago. We tap it in Spirit.

The promise continues for the Power to accompany it, as is continued in Ephesians "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that can be invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians 1:17-23, TNIV)

In Chapter 7, The Body of Christ , Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft expounds on this more. It is the Body, The New Body of Christ, now as a corporate unity of all the Believers as one, that this is fulfilled through. Thus, Covenant Connection takes on a very important characteristic to make it all work to the level the Scriptures exhort it will.

Jesus' teachings applies to this New Body, which is now His Body reformed or could we say morphed into another kind of Body of people in a covenant connection with each other. As we look at how this New Body functions in the Early Church a lot can be learned from this. They had problems in almost every conceivable form of fellowship... messages, ministers, morals, marriage, money.

One of greatest sections in the New Testament which deals with corporate operation come from 1 Corinthians 11, 12, 13,and 14. The chief concern of this section is the Covenant connection. References to the theme here are from Luke 22:14-23 and John 6:53-63.

When He told His disciples that this is "my body given to you" Jesus had something more "world changing" in His mind. They would literally turn the world upside down. It is a proclamation relevant for us today.The synagogue needed 10 men to function. But Jesus said that that there can be just two or three. Again the issue is the unity of the believers is what is most important versus the number.

The early Church had four main elements. Reading the Scriptures; expounding on the Scriptures; singing of hymns and Psalms; prayers and intercession. They had a mandate to celebrate the Lord's Supper. What was the significance of the Lord's Supper?

Paul in the Corinthians letter was attempting to correct the loss of unity and oneness that belonged to the Body of Christ. One of the differences was how they celebrated the Lord's Supper. This sharing had to do with the Covenant Connection they shared.

Covenant is a powerful word. A covenant is the binding of two parties. The Bible has many covenants it refers to... covenant of circumcision, covenant of promise, everlasting covenant, first covenant, old covenant, covenant of blood. The covenant of blood suggests the binding relationship of the Body of Believers in the Body of Christ.... Christ's New Body now representing Him on earth.

David and Jonathan had a covenant relationship. Jonathan gave up his robe and sword giving up his rights. This is a love covenant and prime example of how the Body of Christ is to be. They would cut their wrists and rub their wounds together to form a blood covenant or bond between them. They were known to squeeze their blood into glass of wine and drink it jointly. Today we may use a written contract, but then these actions became binding covenants between them.... to the point of being willing to give their life for each other.

Many times the Blood Covenant was accompanied by a meal to celebrate the binding agreement. So the passover meal that Jesus asked to be prepared as His final statement of his relationship to them would continue in Spirit. It is the relationship we are to continue with each other on earth. This is referred to as the New Covenant in the Bible.... the true meaning of the Communion service... a reminder of our binding in Spirit to Christ and our binding in relationship to each other.

When Jesus talked about eating His flesh could very well be His reference to the truth of His miraculous birth, sinless life, teaching and message, and the Power of His redemptive and healing ministry. The drinking of His blood appears to be about His death. We participate in Christ to bring His vicarious blessings to us. Intercessory prayer is a place of where we sweat drops of blood in our spirit for others. We shed our blood when we serve at the expense of self. We don't bless until we bleed. This is drinking His blood.

He washed the disciple's feet to demonstrate His humility in service. We should demonstrate the same humility in how we serve each other. Jesus said to serve one another. This is His love in action. His act is an act of service in the time of need. As we take the role of a servant and serve each other we practice the spirit of foot washing Jesus illustrated. We should practice acts of serving members of the New Body of Christ and others when they are in need. If we do not have a serving attitude toward those in need, we suffer the loss of the manifestation of His Presence. Only as we share with others do we have Part with Him.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul points out the infections coming into their times of communion. He said when they came together, they came together not for the better, there were divisions. It was not for the Lord's supper but to eat and feast. He told them they were to tarry one for another and minister to each other. Instead they lost value of their covenant connection and need for unity. Satan's goal is to divide. The Holy Spirit can't work when there is not unity.

When there is absolute unity, the windows of Heaven open for us and all of God's blessings fall on us. That's why Jesus pronounced heavy judgment on those who cause divisions. When people do that, they kill the Spirit and it doesn't manifest in the group. So we can't overemphasize the significance and value of the unity among the Believers.

We could say there is malpractice in communion when there are divisions, intoxication in other things than Spirit. When the lesser fortunate are not taken care of, and there is a glutton spirit among the ones there who indulge in overeating, then the sense of koinonia is lost.

Communion is an incarnation. It is when the Body of Believers are in Spiritual relationship to one another and in Christ. The relationship of believers is the residency for the presence of Christ. It is the Spirit affinity of the believers that Christ wishes to be present. To eat His flesh is the when we are feeding on His Spirit. We eat off of each other's personality. In that we are becoming like those with whom we associate. When we are asked to examine ourselves, we are asked to examine our relationship with each other. We are to correct wrong attitudes and adjust our attitudes to be loving and tolerant, understanding and accepting to each other.

Love heals. Love heals the loneliness away, it heals the negative emotions away, it heals blood pressure, ulcers, it heals all there is that surrounds us and in us both emotionally and physically. Our covenant connection between believers provides a way for healing love that heals the sick.

The covenant connection also brings to our attention our relationship with other believers. What comes into play are our relationships of servanthood. Are we willing to serve our associates, our fellow believers, even our enemies? When we unite, it connects us to heaven. Believer plus Believer equals unity with the Father. The Power of the Spirit is again present when we do this.

As Jesus said in John 13, a New Commandment I give to you. As I have loved you, you love each other. This is a lofty goal that is out of possibility of man. But not with God. Through God all things are possible. God knows our limitations and He has provided the Holy Spirit as One who we can make this possible. With men many things are impossible; with God All Things are Possible.