Archive | December, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness: A Businessman’s Walk Through Ecclesiastes

The Pursuit of Happiness: A Businessman’s Walk Through Ecclesiastes

Week 1: Ecclesiastes 1: 1-2

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:

2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!”

Live a Double Life, Please your Flesh& your Soul

You started a company. Good for you! Now you can rightfully gloat, accumulate depreciating possessions, economically discriminate and wrongfully attribute your selfish prayer life for your individualistic success. Harsh words I know but this is real. Many Christians enter the world of entrepreneurship for seemingly noble reasons that turn out to be anything but that. We are to be in the world but not of it, new creatures, a peculiar people. Unfortunately we live a double life. One which edifies our Savior and another that edifies our flesh.

How many of you engage every deed as though it were as immutable as the wind? I would imagine not many. The constant thought of ones own mortality is hardly a source of motivation, yet the Preacher confronts us with that very notion in the opening verses of Ecclesiastes 1. Although the words of the Preacher are hard to face they must be astutely heeded; especially as entrepreneurs.

Our Flesh Begs to be Innocent

“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!”, the Preacher shouts. These words are used to convey ideas of brevity, unreliability, frailty and futility, lack of discernible purpose; yet they also convey the need to be proven wrong. The Preacher seems to be screaming and pleading with God for an answer which we will find later is “beyond the sun” (throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher makes statements which allude to his observations being of the earthly realm not heaven.) Examining the paradigm of this scripture through the lenses of a Christian entrepreneur, one should immediately reconcile that total depravity upon God and his everlasting and exorbitantly sufficient grace is at the root of our faith; however, just as the Preacher, we should also concede to that fact that our flesh beckons to be exonerated. Even in perfection, Adam and Eve sought to be placed in higher esteem in the sight of God. That “innocent” desire lead to the first sin and a continuous fall from grace for all of man kind. As entrepreneurs, doesn’t our pursuit of higher esteem mirror the Preacher’s desperate cry for exoneration? We pursue every dollar as though it were the glory of God himself. We hasten to label our every “good” thing as a blessing. We seem to never stop to consider the frailty of filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

Invest Value into Others

Christian entrepreneurs must be of the greater good. The proverbial higher calling if you will. Our endeavors must always reflect an inward gratitude for the salvation we’ve been unrightfully awarded, lest we should boast (Ephesians 2:8-10). If our eyes are not constantly fixated on this truth, our works will be as forgotten as a single petal in a field of flowers. Whether you are new to entrepreneurship or working on your twentieth company, sojourn with a heart of empathy (mental or emotional understanding of the life experiences of others without personal infraction). Empathy will require that you invest value into others and their circumstances. If we leave for just a moment our own desire for monetary consumption, we’ll find that a whole world is drowning under the weight of vanity. They don’t need another person to sell them something, they need someone to show them the hope of a life centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Pursue the One that Endures Forever

The pursuit of happiness is a constitutional right of every living man; however when that pursuit is defined by the vanity of sin, it will most assuredly be forgotten. We all want our lives to count. As entrepreneurs, we can only hope our businesses will make a lasting impact on humanity. In light of all of this my friends, I urge you to pursue the one that endures forever. Do everything as unto his Glory with an empathetic heart and you will have the reward you seek.

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Do you know what business you are in?

Do you know what business you are in?

Business Owners are NOT CEO’s

I can hear the answers now: “I am a seller of this thing…”, “I am the provider of this service…”, and even “I am in business to make money.” What I am about to say next will shock most and even more are going to disagree with me. Being a seller of a thing or a provider of a service is not the business that you are in. You are in the marketing business. Your title isn’t CEO but CMO – Chief Marketing Officer. Before you decide not to read any further, let me explain.

Never Outsourced What Brings in Money

How can you be a seller of a thing or a provider of a service if you have no customers? You could have the best product or service, but if you have no customers/patients/clients then you have nothing! Too many business owners focus 80% of their energy (if not more) on non-income producing activities (i.e. activities that could be delegated to staff or outsourced). “But Ralph, I can just outsource my marketing.” Sure you can, but consider this: There are two things that should never be outsourced in a business, the thing that brings in the money (marketing) and the thing that distributes the money (accounting). Every business owner should have oversight over the flow of the money.

God Wants Us to Increase our ROI

As Christians, God calls us to be good stewards over all that He has given us – our souls and the souls we have tied to us, the communities we have influence over, the bodies He has blessed us with, and His finances He has entrusted us with (Luke 16:1-13). God has given each of us a gift, an anointing. He expects a return on what He has given us…A return that should yield increase for the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25:14-28).

As a Christianpreneur, God is looking for a return on the business he has blessed you with. Outsourcing your marketing is a bad idea because no one knows your customers, your niche, and your product/service like you do. Effective marketing is less about telling your customers and prospects about your latest sale, product, or service and more about connecting people with what they need, want, or desire. Who is going to know that better than you – “the seller/provider of a thing”?

The “Set It and Forget It” Mentality

Now don’t hear what I didn’t say. Seeking help from copywriters, direct-marketing experts, and other professionals to assist you in building an effective marketing system is ok, in fact, recommended, but outsourcing your marketing is ill-advised. The ‘set it and forget it’ mentality is detrimental to your business, thus your marketing. Using that mentality, you would wake up one morning and wonder why your business is crumbling around you (Luke 16:2).

So the thing that you sell or the service that you provide isn’t what makes your business…it is the customers that you foster, through effective marketing.

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Masking the Wounds

Masking the Wounds

Society say Happiness is determine by money, sex, drugs

Today’s society tells us that happiness is measured by external pleasures or “temporary highs”; success, money, “friends”, sex, drugs, appearance, etc. As long as we are solely relying on external pleasure to make us happy, real happiness is unfortunately very unlikely. The deceptive belief is that “our problems” are mere inconvenience and can be “fixed” by indulging in external pleasure.

True happiness is determine by internal peace

Does this concept really work? Think about it… we are all searching for external pleasure to make us happy but yet we are all still searching for happiness at the same time? Fact is, external pleasure just isn’t enough. Venting to your girlfriends or getting your nails done may feel good in the moment but will not make your problems go away. Your true person is not who you portray to the world but who lies beneath the surface. And true happiness is not defined by external pleasure but rather internal peace and achieving true love thru Jesus Christ. No matter who or what we are, we ALL have wounds and struggles in life. Without them, there would be no need for God.

Can’t Replace Internal Wounds with External Pleasure

If we are not seeking God to heal our wounds then we are relying on external pleasure to make us happy, we live life in circles, making the same mistakes over and over, never really experiencing unconditional love for ourselves or others. So the bottom line is this, no matter how hard we try, we cannot escape our problems, and we cannot replace internal wounds with external pleasure.

The good news is that your wounds can be healed thru the blood of Jesus Christ! Isaiah 53:5 says: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our sins; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by His wounds we are healed.” True healing comes from Jesus, not people, or things. Trust in him!

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Designing Your Vision?

Designing Your Vision?

Ben Kouba owner of leaf9, a media designer that designs websites, business cards, logos, and anything that our little hearts desire.

The reason for this post is to help my good friend and brother in Christ grow his business. Which is one of the main purpose of this magazine, to help Christian Entrepreneurs grow their companies. He has been a huge blessing to me in launching TheProsperMagazine.com. Furthermore, he did an awesome job designing this site (wouldn’t you agree??), unlike other web developers he also gave great advice when it came to business decisions and a few marketing tips. Many web developers are simply just that, nothing more, nothing less. And, when a entrepreneur is starting a company, we sometimes need that additional feedback.

leaf9

I fully endorse and personally recommend Ben to anyone in need of business cards, logos, new website or a website reconstruction etc. Oh, and here is the awesome part, he does all this at a great price. Prior to meeting him, a company quoted me double from what he charged me. So I saved BIG!

Please don’t hesitate to send him an email and tell him Pedro sent you. Also, help promote this site on popular social media sites such as digg.com, facebook, twitter etc.

Be Bless!

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Is Marketing In the Bible?

Is Marketing In the Bible?

This article really intrigued me. I discovered it on Church Marketing Sucks‘ website. A site that I follow to keep me up to date on marketing strategies for churches for my freelance company. Send me an email if your church or business needs help with marketing Pedro.

For all of the wisdom in the book of Proverbs, the word “marketing” is not found. Furthermore, a key word search through 18 different Bible translations returns just one finding with the word “marketing.” In The Message version, 2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture.” While I am not going to insert or extract a certain theology from this one verse (not to mention one translation), it does make for some interesting arguments, especially given its context.

The bigger picture here is the word “marketing” and how it relates to today, given its non-existence in word-form (at least how we understand it now) centuries ago.

Ray L. Edwards does an interesting job attempting to argue 5 adcopy principles pulled right from the pages of the Bible. David T. Pope does an even better job at convincing people why churches should not be marketing themselves.

Arguments on both sides of the coin exist everywhere. Obviously, the issue of marketing the church is a hot one.

Perhaps for a moment you could take off your hat on either side of the conversation and face the reality that people need to be reached. There are people right now in your community that don’t know God. There are children without fathers, families without hope. How are you reaching them? How do they know your church exists, and what it exists for?

If you’re against creating a brochure or postcard, how about just walking the streets, talking to people? How about doing an event in the park? How about actually going to the people instead of waiting for them to come to you? The Bible has plenty to say about that.

And if you do decide to create some marketing materials, please don’t create stuff that sucks.

Originally Posted: Is Marketing in the Bible? By Brad Abare. Please leave your thoughts.

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True Discipleship

True Discipleship

With the Christmas season just around the corner, many are considering the purchases they will be making for their families for Christmas. The economy has affected some Americans and some seem not to have been affected by it. Never the less, many are thinking about others who are less fortunate than we are. Some are in the habit of giving to causes such as the Angel Tree Giving program which ensures that children of incarcerated parents receive a Christmas gift.

One of the many lessons that Jesus taught to the disciples was that of giving to others. He said in Matthew 5:42, “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.” Some may find this difficult to do during the economic crisis, but God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, ” (Ephesians 2:19 NIV) is faithful.

Make It a Habit to Give

Jesus’ attitude toward the poor widow in Mark 12:42-44 who gave her last farthing makes it clear that everyone is capable of giving. He emphasized that those who give out of their poverty give more than those who give out of their abundance. The lesson here is that even though people struggle with providing food for the family, they should make it a habit to give something to someone in need. God promises to bless us when we give.

The HIV/AIDS virus has dramatically affected Africa’s families, particularly the children under fifteen years of age. Eighty percent of the world’s children under fifteen years of age who are afflicted with AIDS live in Kenya. Many of the children have lost one or both parents to this disease and are living in orphanages.

The Lord Promises that we will never be Homeless

God has always called his people to provide for widows and orphans. He say in Jeremiah 7:6 (KJV) that “If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” The Lord promises that we will never be homeless as long as we take care of the widows, orphans and foreigners and treat them with dignity. We will have a home to call our own. In addition, we must not cause the death of innocent victims nor worship any god other than God.

It is our reaction to situations such as the HIV/AIDS problem in Africa that determine whether we we are true disciples of Jesus. Jesus would not abandon these women and children. He would heal them, feed them, clothe them, and teach them. In doing so, he glorifies the Father.

Jesus says in John 15:8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: so shall ye be my disciples.” Therefore, by ministering to the the widows, orphans, and strangers, we will bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

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