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Why we don’t pray for those in business

May 25, 2010 1 comment

Six reasons from Mark D. Roberts. Be sure to read his other posts that begin here and culminate here.

  1. We don’t pray for business because we don’t pray for business.

    Conversion of Zaccaeus by Strozzi

  2. We don’t pray for business because those who lead us in prayer have not been trained to do so.
  3. We don’t pray for business because our worship leaders have been trained in settings that are indifferent or negative to business.
  4. We don’t pray for business because Scripture does not command us to do so.
  5. We don’t pray for business because we don’t have a vision for how business could be part of God’s business in the world.
  6. We don’t pray for business because we divide reality into the sacred and the secular, with prayer falling on the sacred side, and business on the secular side, and never the twain shall meet.
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A Prayer for those in the business world

May 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Outstanding series of posts by Mark Roberts culminated with the following prayer for those in the business world: Found this on Kruse Kronicle

Gracious God, thank you for creating the world and all that is in it. Thank you for creating us in your image, calling us to be fruitful and to be faithful stewards of your creation. Thank you for the opportunity to give us to serve you in the context of business, as we seek to fulfill our calling as human beings. Thank you for these who are standing today, for their desire to live out their faith in their workplace.

Give them wisdom, Lord, to know what it means to be your disciple at work. Help them as they face difficult decisions, sometimes wondering how to balance the priorities of business and your kingdom. Empower them in their relationships at work, so that they might treat all of their colleagues, including those they supervise and those who supervise them, with respect and love. Encourage them when they feel alone, when they struggle to serve you and be faithful in their jobs. Show these folks how they can bear witness to you at work, in both word and deed. Help them to do so in a way that is appropriate and respectful.

For those in leadership in their companies, may they know how best to implement your call to justice, for those they employ, for their customers, for their clients, and for the larger world. Help them to see how to be good stewards of all you have entrusted to them.

May this church, dear Lord, be a place of encouragement and support for these who seek to serve you at work. May we listen to them, bear their burdens, speak your truth in love, and continue to pray for them. Fill them now with your Spirit, so they might live for you in their workplaces.

We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Living in the land of the debit card

January 6, 2010 Leave a comment

After living in a largely cash economy in the Philippines, it is quite a shock to return to the U.S. and pay for everything with a plastic card–and I mean the debit cards, not credit cards.

Debit cards save us from carrying around cash and are less stressful.  Well, I am not sure about less stressful.  Last time we were home, my wife often asked me, debit or credit and she was referring only to the debit card.  I didn’t think there was a difference but now I discover that there are big differences for visa, banks, and the merchants and of course for us!

According to an article by Andrew Martin in the NY Times on Jan 4, merchants pay significantly higher fees when we use our debit cards like credit cards as opposed to when you punch in your pin.   Some merchants don’t even make you sign when you are using your debit card as a credit card. Have not figured that one out yet. But, whether you sign or not, punch in a pin or not, the money is coming directly out of your bank account.  Better to punch in that pin.

But, according to another article by Terry Cettina on readersdigest.com, debit cards are not protected in the same way as are credit cards.  She writes, “Many people wrongly assume that debit cards offer the same protection against fraud as credit cards. But when a debit card is stolen or copied, there’s no grace period while you contest the charges. Your cash has already been electronically zapped from your checking account.”  You may be able to get your money back but apparently it will come from the merchant and not the bank issuing the debit cards.

Not only that, but merchants often place a “hold” on your debit card for a minimum amount–Cettina says often there is a $75 hold on gas transactions which may not be removed for a few days.  Sounds unfair to me–but she said holds are a “common practice in the “travel and hospitality business.”

So, she suggests that you use credit cards when shopping online or eating out.  Or, if you must use your debit card, be sure to key in your pin rather than just swiping your card.

Hope this helps and I welcome any correction or confirmation on these practices.

Maybe I should have bought visa stock when it went public a few years ago! Seems like they have a racket going.

Socialnomics

November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

A packed video showing the potential and power of socialnomics.

Two leadership books for Christmas

November 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Once again Michael Hyatt shows the way to two leadership books that I hope to see under the tree at Christmas.  Timely since I  just completed the fourth week of our organizational leadership training program last week.

First, he describes A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a book about the Presidency of Lincoln.  Hyatt noted five flaws in the leadership of one of Lincoln’s Generals, George B.  McClellan.

  1. Hesitating to take definitive action.
  2. Complaining about a lack of resources.
  3. Refusing to take responsibility.
  4. Abusing the privileges of leadership.
  5. Engaging in acts of insubordination.

Hyatt also writes a lengthy review about Derailed, a book by Tim Irwin about the failed leadershipof six business leaders.  They failed in their leadership because of a lack of character in one of the following:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Self-management
  3. Humility
  4. Courage

There is also a free online assessment that will let you know how vulnerable you might be to these kind of failures.  I just took it and of course, it served its purpose–made me want to read the book even more!

How do underdogs win?

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

An underdog is a “participant in a fight, conflict, or game who is not expected to win”

If you like sports, history, technology and Bible stories, you might want to read the fascinating article, How David Beats Goliath, in the New Yorker on May 11, 2009. Malcolm Gladwell (of Tipping Point and Outliers fame) explains how it is possible that underdogs can win against overwhelming odds.

The key is that underdogs must acknowledge their weakness and choose an unconventional strategy. Gladwell cited the research by Arreguin-Toft, How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2005) with the following comment, “When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win, Arreguín-Toft concluded, “even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.” Underdogs must “challenge the conventions about how battles are supposed to be fought.”

In a review of Arreguin-Toft’s book, Michael A. Jensen in International Studies Review (2006) provides one conclusion from Arreguin-Toft about the use of indirect versus direct strategies.  “Indirect strategies seek to destroy an opponent’s will to continue fighting through tactics such as barbarism (the systematic targeting of noncombatants), guerilla warfare, terrorism, conciliation, or nonviolence.”

Gladwell weaves throughout his article, the story of how an inexperienced girl’s basketball team with an inexperienced coach ends up in the final championship game of their league.  How did they do it?  They decided that their team “would play a real full-court press, every game, all the time.”

In a similar way, you learn how David beat Goliath by using an unconventional strategy.

I wonder if there is something here for those of us in cross-cultural or counter-cultural ministry?

Keep on asking those questions!

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Here is an article that encourages my inquisitive side!!

From How Do Innovators Think in Harvard Business Review, September 28, 2009, by Bronwyn Fryer in an interview with Professors Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University and Hal Gregersen of Insead.  Found this in Kruse Kronicles.

The following are the top five most discovery skills that creative executives possess:

  1. “associating.” It’s a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas.
  2. questioning — an ability to ask “what if”, “why”, and “why not” questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture.
  3. ability to closely observe details, particularly the details of people’s behavior.
  4. ability to experiment — the people we studied are always trying on new experiences and exploring new worlds.
  5. good at networking with smart people who have little in common with them, but from whom they can learn.

Most important?

Questioning turbo-charges observing, experimenting, and networking, but questioning on its own doesn’t have a direct effect without the others. Overall, associating is the key skill because new ideas aren’t created without connecting problems or ideas in ways that they haven’t been connected before. The other behaviors are inputs that trigger associating — so they are a means of getting to a creative end.

Summary

You might summarize all of the skills we’ve noted in one word: “inquisitiveness.”

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