Is business…pleasure?

John 1:3

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

I was on a business trip this week to Wisconsin. I drove though Wisconsin several years ago. I found very little of interest. Long straight roads with boredom stretching out for miles either side.

But this time I was taken into the heart of what was either side of that road. I had a glimpse behind the curtain and God revealed to me true beauty. Some soft and gentle. Other beauty, dramatic and exciting. It taught me a lesson. How could I dare think that God had created something boring?  But still He invited me in. God’s beauty is everywhere. Beyond roads. Inside people or just round the corner of the road we are sometimes fearful of going down. And an 8 hour journey from Boston. It was a trek, but God wasn’t going to make it easy. But to answer my question above. Yes, it was a true pleasure.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, as we gaze out of the windows of cars, buses, trains and offices, we give thanks for all that you have created. We ask that you speak to us through the beauty you have made – Amen!

Here’s just a glimpse of what I saw.

dogIMG_6402beessepia housetruck

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Here today. Here tomorrow.

Matthew 8:20

‘…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’

Throughout our lives things are continuously coming and going. There’s never any real permanence. Even when it feels like there is, there really isn’t. We may live in the same house all our lives but life within that house changes. Children come. Children go. Our loved ones pass away. Jobs change. Cars change. Brown hair to grey hair! We’re happy with the wallpaper but 2 years later we change it. We plant a tree but 20 years later we cut it down because it’s blocking out light.

As believers in Christ, it’s possible that God comes and goes in our lives. We may think about Him some days more than others. Or even go through periods of weeks and months when we forget He even exists. Amazing that someone who we know in our hearts is incredibly important to us, can disappear from our minds. Our God is a gracious and a forgiving God. And even though we forget Him, He never forgets or stops loving us. He’s waiting for us to connect with Him. There’s many ways we can do that. Opening our Bibles and reading just one verse can re-boot that relationship. Praying a simple prayer for God to guide us. Downloading an app that delivers a verse to your Smartphone. I have  Proverbs and Psalms apps that pop up on my phone 3 times a day. It’s amazing how timely they can be. Making that effort means we are inviting God into our lives and asking Him to speak to us. For any of us in business I highly recommend a few Proverbs verses a day.

So, wherever you are now perhaps stop reading those emails and go to the apps store and download one. There are thousands of them and most of them are free. You won’t always read them but not to worry, there will be one the next day and the next and the next…

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, thank you for always being with us, even when we’re not with you. We pray we can be with you through prayer and scripture. And with faith! – Amen!

Think small.

Luke 12:15

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for ones life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

I watched a documentary a few days back called ‘Tiny’. It was full of a lot of great messages. It’s not a christian film and it doesn’t have christian values as such but it does have in it many things that The Bible teaches us. A tiny house in CT is one of those 3 bedroom capes. In this movie those capes are mansions in comparison. It’s an inspiring film and will for sure get you thinking and maybe wanting. You can find it on i-tunes. Here’s the trailer:

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for film makers that get us thinking. And for those films that inspire and move us. May you speak to us through these films – Amen!

Is this the happiest day of your life?

John 8:47

‘Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God’

We were recently moving house. One of the men that worked for the moving company seemed particularly happy. After a while he came up to me and said “Today is the happiest day of my life”. Moving us made it the happiest day of his life? No. It turns out the man was going to see his Mother next month. He is from Brasil and his Mother had been granted a visa to visit the USA. He had not seen her in 10 years.

I almost felt like crying. He really did have a reason the be happy. And then it made me think. I am not always at home. I am away from my family a lot. But I can see them as often as I like and I’m not that far away from them. Even my family in the UK are not that far away. And, unlike the moving man, who couldn’t pay his way back to Brasil, we can occasionally afford to go back to the UK and visit. I felt fortunate compared to him. He was probably in his late teens when he left his Mother. God blesses us and shows us grace in abundance but sometimes we need to hear someone else’s story to appreciate how blessed we are.

The man was very happy. He was not sad. Not that day. But I am sure he had many sad days up until then. Praise God for sending his Mother to him and praise God for sending me His message through that man.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we ask that we can be attentive to Your word both through scripture and other other vessels You choose to communicate with. We pray that we will pause and listen carefully to the message You send us – Amen!

 

Are we ‘up to the job’?

Isaiah 48:17

‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’

Rejection. It’s tough. Feeling worthless and incapable of doing something we thought we could do but then being told we’re not ‘up to the job’ is one of the hardest things in the business world.

I have been rejected for very senior jobs in ad agencies that I was fairly confident I could do and it was odd to me that I wasn’t getting them. But after a while, I just said “Okay God, what is that you want me to do”. Just because I hadn’t been given the opportunity I wanted it didn’t mean that God didn’t have something else equally challenging for me. For example, I was filming in Prague this past week, merrily going about my job as a Commercial’s Director. When filming, most of the crew stand behind the Director’s chair and the actors stand in front, obviously. For most of the shoot, I had been comfortably doing the job but I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t give direction because my brain froze. In that moment, the actors were staring at me. (Actors that didn’t speak much English) and when I glanced behind me all the film crew were looking at me as well.  And there was this weird ‘are you up to the job’ silence. They were all looking to me for direction. And I had to act quickly. Something came to me and I shouted out some words and I was back on track. I sensed that God had put me in that place and thankfully given me the words to do my job. I also realized that I was in a very senior position on the set but not the position I had once expected, during those times of rejection. I don’t crave or seek out senior positions any more but God had put me in one. One, that in many ways was more challenging than that of being in an ad agency but I believe it to be a better use of my skills. I also believe that it’s all God’s work. So, ‘are you up to the job’? Maybe not the one  you think you want but God will have something else for you that’s most likely even more challenging or unexpected. Are you up for praying about that?

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we ask that you guide us in our work. We want to follow your path so we do what you have planned for us not what we plan for ourselves. Give us the confidence and strength to believe in you and take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises that we weren’t expecting – Amen!

You can’t always get what you want…

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you

but if you pray sometimes, you’ll get what you need. That’s a little twist on the Jagger/Richards song (see the video below). ‘You can’t always get what you want’. The word ‘try’ replaced by ‘pray’. It’s a song that’s been in my head a lot and I’m realizing those words ring true with me. I have tried not praying for specifics but instead praying for guidance, wisdom and to glorify God. It seems to work better than wanting things. I think we are all guilty of that occasionally, especially when we get drawn into the career wants. And when we don’t get what we want then we feel let down and our confidence or self-esteem is dented. When we pray for what’s right in His name then I think we get what we need. It’s like we give ourselves up to Him. So, as the lyrics go…You ought to try some time. You just might find. You’ll get what you need!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we pray that you will guide us along the path to what we need and not what we want – Amen!

 

    

What are we thankful for?

Ephesians 5:20

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

As we approach Thanksgiving it’s worth pausing to think about thankfulness. What are we thankful for? I am occasionally guilty of being thankful for something that is beyond what I usually have. An example is being thankful for a pay increase but not being thankful that we even had a job in the first place! And how far can we go back? Where do we stop being thankful? We don’t. Because we can be thankful for the fact that we actually exist. And that we have been gifted with the skills we need to do our work. And that God created the earth for us to live in – ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ Or that he created people who paved the way for us to live our lives in relative peace. Or people who made breakthroughs in our business that allow us to work and think in different ways. In truth, the list of things to be thankful for is mind-boggling. Perhaps with humility we should just close our eyes, bow our heads and simply tell God we’re thankful for Him and for everything He does for us. I think He likes being thanked!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we’re thankful for You and all You do for us – Amen!

God wants you on his team!

Colossians 3:23

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than the people

I recently met someone about some potential work who said to me “You’ve been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work”. I feel like I’ve dedicated all of my energy over the last 26 years to the business I’m in. I’ve pushed any creative skills I’ve been blessed with as far as I can. And occasionally further than I could ever imagined. I was at first put out by what the guy said. “Done ‘some’ good work” but I wondered later if they were words from God. On my path with God “Been around a bit. Done ‘some’ good work” is probably a fair review. I haven’t excelled but I don’t think God isn’t looking at me and thinking ‘You’re best years are behind you’. I believe I have my best work for God ahead of me because I don’t feel I’ve reached my potential with Him. And I find that an exciting prospect. God loves us and knows we have tremendous potential. In his eyes we’re fledglings about to embark on a career or journey with Him as our leader. This is not about us all giving up our day jobs or trying less hard at them. But as my very first post on this blog said ‘It is God who we work for’. It is He who judges our performance and how successful we really are, not anyone else.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, help us realize that our best work is done through you and for you – Amen!

“What a save!”

Psalm 119:105

‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’

“What a save!” is a common phrase in a soccer commentator’s vocabulary. The video below is the probably the best save in the history of soccer. Be sure to watch the replay for the slow motion as you won’t catch it the first time. One miraculous save. By an Englishman…of course.

When we come to Christ we talk about being saved. We accept Jesus as our Lord and savior and then we move on with our lives. But God continues with great saves everyday. Lots of small miraculous saves. He saves us from saying something that may offend. Or being tempted by something we crave, that isn’t good for our souls like money, success and fame. How does he save us? Through scripture. We can turn to God’s word when we’re tempted away from the precious thing that saved us in the first place. Our faith and understanding that God’s way is the only way. Thousands of verses of encouragement, warnings and day-to-day advice. Thousands of saves! So, not for the first time I’d urge us all to carry scripture with us. We don’t have to carry books any more. There are thousands of bible apps and daily devotionals. Perhaps use that smart phone to look at scripture for a minute or two, rather than emails? The ‘Bible Verses Companion’ app automatically sends us scripture three times a day if we download the app. That’s three saves a day!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for Your word. Help us to look to Your word so we can be guided skillfully through our lives – Amen!

He’s here. He’s there. He’s everywhere.

Psalm 51:11

Do not cast me away from Your presence. and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

At the risk of sounding like a child I sometimes wish that I could see God. Sit down, over a coffee and have a chit-chat. Ask questions like “So, what do you have in store for me this week” or “Do you think I should take that job”? Or maybe just have a good old grumble! God exists in three persons. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Three persons! And we still can’t see him? Yes, we can see him. He is in everything and everywhere. Does the sun on your face make you feel good? God’s gift. Someone gives you a reassuring smile or gesture?  From God perhaps. Getting good advice from a close friend? God speaking. Of course, prayer comes into it. Praying for God to speak to you is important. He then speaks through different channels. At that point, we need awareness. If we’ve prayed for guidance in a work situation it could come from anywhere. Scripture, something someone says in a meeting or during a phone call. An article online. God speaks to us everywhere. A keen eye, ear and a heightened awareness will help us. By doing that, we get to have a closer relationship with God. Let’s not think of Him as someone who’s ticking ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on stone tablets somewhere in the universe. He’s our Father. He loves us and wants to chit-chat with us here on earth. Be on the look out!

God with us on vacation in Cape Cod. Every day was a gift!

God with us on vacation in Cape Cod. Every day was a gift!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, teach us to look out for you when You speak to us. We pray for guidance and answers from You. And may we seek guidance in a way that glorifies You, and not ourselves – Amen!