Welcome to Moral MoneyEphesians 5:11"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them."Psalms 15:5"Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow."
OKLAHOMA CITY – Some investors follow guidelines beyond mere profit margins and dividends.
“There’s a Bible verse that sums it up, I think: When Jesus sent out his disciples, he told them to be as wise as serpents but as gentle as doves,” said Mark Minnella, president of Missouri-based Integrity Investors LLC. “And if we apply that to finance, it means that if you’re not intelligent with finance, you’ll be eaten alive. But if you do have worldly knowledge you need to apply it in a way that honors God and cares for others, because otherwise you’ll end up leaving bodies in the wake.
NEW YORK – As many Americans turn to religion for strength and direction in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S., a related phenomenon enjoys unprecedented growth on Wall Street – faith-based investing.
Faith-based mutual funds are those that invest only in companies that fit a certain set of moral criteria, thus ensuring the investor that his money is not benefiting firms engaged in activity he would find morally questionable.
Socially responsible Investing: An Imperfect World
By Bruce Most
FPA Journal Thu, Jul. 24 2008 10:27 AM MST
Whales. That’s what one of Spring Leonard’s financial planning clients demanded as an investment constraint in her portfolio. She didn’t want to invest in any country—country, not company—that hunted whales. Another Leonard client didn’t want to invest in certain broadcasting companies that the client viewed as treating sex irresponsibly, and there was the client who wanted to invest only in companies owned, headed or predominately managed by women.
Eternal Perspectives Ministries Tue, Sep. 02 2008 11:05 AM MST
By Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, 39085 Pioneer Blvd., Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055, 503-668-5200, www.epm.org, www.randyalcorn.blogspot.com
Read 2 Cor. 8:1-9; 14-15
God has given more to us than we need, so that we may help others who have less than they need. God will provide for his children across the globe, and he will provide for the task of world evangelism and church planting and growth and discipleship. However, often his plan is not to provide directly, but indirectly, through his people—He has distributed resources unequally, with the plan that we will help each other. So, God provides his children with material abundance not primarily to raise our standard of living but to raise our standard of giving.
Giving is a great privilege, but also a great responsibility—and sometimes a confusing one. While the biggest hurdle is to gain a vision for giving, and to overcome our reluctance to give, once we’ve bought into God’s call to eternal investment, once we’ve determined to plunge into giving then we must ask, where and to whom and in what wayand for how longshould we give? Where should I invest the money God has entrusted to me as his steward, his money manager? How can I tell what’s a good place to give to and what isn’t? God used to tell people, “everybody give to the temple now,” but we have to discern God’s direction in a way that’s not so clear.
I served fourteen years as a local church pastor, and in my last four years I was responsible for our missions outreach. I visited missionaries on the field and met with representatives of mission boards and compared and looked around and visited fields and observed missions dollars at work.
For the last ten years I’ve been director of a nonprofit ministry that serves as an eternal investment brokerage where we recommend to donors other ministries, including missions and relief and prolife works. Sometimes we raise funds on behalf of these ministries, never at their request, always because I’ve come to believe in what they’re doing, and am convinced they’re worthy of support.
Beyond our recommendations to others, our ministry itself is committed to substantially supporting other ministries we believe in. The royalties from my books are owned by our ministry, and the books have been selling well, so we’ve had the privilege of dispensing funds as a small foundation might do. By God’s grace, this past year our ministry was able to give about $400,000 to missions and other ministries. I can’t describe the joy this has brought to my family and this organization.
Like all of you, on a personal and family level my wife and daughters and I are always weighing what ministries to support personally. In each of the roles I’ve described—as a pastor, a parachurch director, head of household and individual—I’ve needed to figure out what questions to ask to properly evaluate ministries and decide which to support and how much support to give.
1. Are there things about this ministry that make it uniquely worth investing in instead of a thousand other good causes?
God does not call us to support every ministry, and not even every worthy ministry, and not even every extremely worthy ministry. This is the principle of selectivity.
We all have the same amount of time, and we have different amounts of money, but both are finite. Like time, money is limited. Wisdom is the discernment to do with our lives, our gifting, our time and our money what is most strategic for the kingdom of God. Years ago I said “yes” to speaking invitations just because it was a worthy opportunity and a good cause. But my time is finite, and I had to learn to say “no” to many opportunities that were very good, just so I could say “yes” to those that were the very best.
Our mailboxes are filled with urgent requests from innumerable ministries. The needs may be real, and need are important, but they are also endless. So needs alone are not sufficient reason. For the glory of God, we must say “no” to many need-meeting opportunities, even most of them, the vast majority of them, in order that we may say a strong “yes” to those that God has uniquely called us to support.
Of thousands of companies you might invest in, you or your broker choose a relatively small number. Even mutual funds are selective in their choices. Likewise, our eternal investment portfolios might have only a few dozen ministries, maybe a half dozen out of thousands of worthy ministries. I can almost guarantee you that God is calling all of us to give more than we’re presently giving, but to give to less than 1% of all the ministries we could give to.
So, when it comes to investing in eternity, when it comes to giving, what shall I select—and what shall I neglect—for the glory of God? Feel guilty if you don’t give, and if you don’t give very generously. But don’t feel guilty because you don’t give to every good cause. You cannot and you should not give to every good cause. It is not the will of God for you to give to themajority of good causes, but only to the small minority of great causes he has called you to.
2. Before giving elsewhere, have I fulfilled my primary giving responsibility to my local church? Missions, evangelistic crusades, hunger relief organizations, Christian schools, and campus outreaches are all “parachurch” ministries. Their function is to minister alongside of or beyond the scope of local churches. Originally, there was no “parachurch,” only local churches. History has demonstrated, however, that there is much local churches have been either unable or in some cases unwilling to do. Parachurch groups have stood by the churches to fill this ministry gap.
Giving should be done first to the local church because it is the giver’s primary spiritual community. (“Electronic churches” are a contradiction in terms—they are programs with viewers and supporters, not churches with members and participants.) Church leaders are paid in order to free them to singlemindedly devote their time to ministry. Paul calls this the minister’s “right of support” from the church (1 Cor. 9:3-14). Those who sit under the teaching and leadership of godly servants should do their part by helping support them. In Galatians 6:6 Paul says, “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.”
I admit that some churches use their money poorly and spend way too much money on themselves, especially on facilities, rather than strategic and needy causes to promote the kingdom. But sometimes when we balk against giving to the local church, it may also reflect our desire to control what isn’t ours to control.
Provided the church teaches the Bible and exalts the Lord Jesus—and if it doesn’t we need to be part of a church that does—we have to learn to trust and submit, and recognize our giving is to the Lord, and when it comes to the church we can voice our opinions, but we can’t and shouldn’t seek to control where everything goes. In the early church believers laid their money at the feet of the apostles so it could be distributed as there was need.
If pastors are not aware of or connected with strategic ministry opportunities, it’s our job to gently, in a spirit of partnership, share our vision with them. If you cannot give money to your church it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong either with the church or with you, and some changes need to be made.
I was a pastor for fourteen years, and for the last eight I’ve directed a parachurch ministry. I’m sensitive to the legitimacy and needs of both. I believe that beyond most people’s giving to the local church there are abundant resources for giving to parachurch groups. Personally, our family gives a minimum of 10% to our local church, and with special offerings to the church, it comes out to more. Only after that do we look beyond to the wide array of international opportunities for kingdom investments. Giving need not end in the local church, but it should begin there.
3. Have I not only studied the literature from this ministry, but talked with others who know it close up but have no vested interests in it?
How can a man whose ministry is in Chicago or Dallas or Los Angeles be accountable in any meaningful way to donors living in a small town in Oregon or Vermont? How can supporters evaluate whether he lives up to biblical standards?
In most churches, people sometimes see their own pastors in real life situations, and have some feel for their character and qualifications. But what they know about this man and his ministry is primarily what he tells them through the mail or on radio or television. Before giving to ministries that we aren’t intimately familiar with, we should do our homework.
Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” Every time we read a fundraising letter or any other publication of a ministry—and I do recommend reading them—we have to keep in mind that these words are coming from their mouths, their lips, not from an objective third party. It’s like a student recommendation form filled out by the student or a political candidate saying “here’s why you should vote for me“—there’s a built-in subjectivity. While it’s right for them to produce this material, it’s also right for us to seek confirmation from others about the value of their work.
Are their stories and ministry reports verifiable? I know of a ministry in one part of the world which claims to be planting three hundred churches a year. But credible Christian leaders who have worked in the same part of the world for decades have never heard of this ministry. That is a very big red flag!
Most ministry groups do not excel at negative self-disclosure. If you never read anything about weakness and struggle and failure, if you only read about success and accomplishment, you’re not getting the full story. Ask them what their weaknesses are. If they can’t answer, it shows a serious lack of self-evaluation and a lack of initiative for improvement.
This homework can include consulting with others who may know first-hand what the ministry is really like. Ask your pastor what he knows about this organization and its leaders. Missionaries are often good resources. Larger churches, like mine, may have missions pastors who travel extensively and keep abreast of which organizations are doing what, and how well. Missions professors at Bible colleges and seminaries are often familiar with foreign ministries.
Years ago when I was missions pastor we decided we were neglecting the ministry of famine relief and needed to get involved. So we called the head of the missions department at Western Seminary in Portland and asked which famine relief organization he most recommended. Without hesitation he said World Relief, the relief arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. He had no connection with World Relief, but he had some substantial reasons to support his recommendation, which began a relationship with World Relief that has resulted in a tremendous church-wide vision for helping the needy.
Though our missions budget was only $60,000 at the time, we took a famine relief offering of $25,000 and were informed that made us World Relief’s largest church supporter. (Which I thought was very sad, considering all the big churches part of the NAE.) God has grabbed hold of our church in the years since, and under the leadership of our current global outreach pastor, missions has become a huge part of our fellowship. In 1998, our church’s missions budget was $384,000. Above that we gave $200,000 to various missions projects and $253,000 to World Relief, for a total of $830,000. Our confidence in World Relief’s work was a major part of our catching a great vision for famine relief.
4. Have I considered a ministry or vision trip to see and participate in what this ministry is actually doing on the field?
Those of you who have been overseas and gotten involved in ministry know how exhilarating it is. I look back on trips to Egypt, Kenya, Greece, eastern Europe, the USSR, China, Cambodia and other places as some of the most rewarding and strategic experiences in my life. There’s just nothing like seeing missions work first-hand. I will never forget, for instance, watching people riveted to the Jesus Film on back streets and abandoned lots in some countries, and in private homes with the curtains drawn in others. I saw with my own eyes how God was using this wonderful instrument to win people to Christ and plant churches.
As great as vision trips are, however, we have to realize they too have limits. For one thing, you may have been part of a very good work, but there may be a better one you haven’t seen first hand. Plus, remember you’re not seeing everything. You may be seeing an organization’s best work, with their best face put on it in light of your visit. If you’re traveling with the head of a mission you will be receiving some special attention.
My daughter was on a missions trip in China just before President Clinton visited, and she saw how all the streets on the presidential travel route were cleaned and spruced up to show the television cameras China at its very best. But just a block or two behind the beautiful faηade were the dirty, stinky decaying streets and shops of China. In a parallel sense, a mission may choose to show you their very best work, not their mediocre and struggling works. But even then you will get a vision and a feel for what they’re doing that will help you evaluate them and inspire you to further giving.
Of course, you don’t need to take a trip to see every ministry you support. But maybe you can talk to someone you trust who’s made such a trip. I put alot of trust in my church’s missions pastor, Barry Arnold (who now pastors another church). I knew he had a discerning eye—he’d look for the right things, and he’d see weaknesses along with strengths. I trusted his evaluation, so when he came back from a missions trip and I read his report and talked with him, I was confident I was getting a trustworthy appraisal of the ministry. On a few occasions, before our ministry distributed funds I’ve emailed him and asked, if he had $10,000 to send out this week, where would he send it? I then took some of my ideas and integrated some of his.
5. Does the ministry’s staff demonstrate a servant-hearted concern for those to whom they minister?
Does the literature and day to day operation reflect a ministry that is not just project-centered, but people-centered? Does the organization serve people, or simply administer programs? Programs should serve people, but sometimes people fall through the cracks in the name of accomplishing visible and quantifiable achievements that serve to promote the organization’s visibility and fundraising efforts.
Do these people demonstrate a spirit of servanthood and humility? Or do you detect presumption, self-importance or arrogance? Is the organization more concerned about its image, or what it actually does for others? Is it better at talking about ministry, or actually doing the ministry?
6. Do the organization’s workers demonstrate a sense of unity, camaraderie and mutual respect?
Whether in a home office or on the field, how well do staff members get along with each other? Is there a family atmosphere? Are they quick to encourage each other? Do they appear to be a team, or is there a feeling of distance or competition among them? Do you hear laughter in the halls and lunch table, or do you sense a climate of tension or unrest?
Here’s a question to ask employees—for what reasons have people left this organization in the last year?
7. Have I talked directly with people at the “lower levels” of this ministry, not just executives and PR people?
Examining an organization’s literature or listening to its broadcasts is necessary, but not sufficient. The ministry will rarely report failures, infighting, immorality, or misappropriation of funds (except in the form of a defense when alleged abuses reach the media). While no organization is perfect, we are responsible to take reasonable steps to insure we are supporting ministries which live by God’s principles.
Does the ministry have an Internet web site? Examine it. See if you can pick up not only the beliefs and projects, but the attitude and spirit behind the ministry. See what other organizations they provide links to. (You can tell something about an organization by who else they recommend.)
If you give regularly or substantially to a ministry, visit its nearest office, without making an appointment. You can learn a great deal by personally interacting with the ministry’s staff, or with the faculty and students of a Christian school. Find someone who’s worked there ten years and ask them “how has this ministry changed over the years?”
Ask employees if they enjoy their work. Take them aside and ask, “Off the record, how do you feel about the leadership of this organization?” With some leaders, the better you know them the more you respect them. With others it’s just the opposite. Secretaries and janitors may know their character better than board members.
Years ago when I was on Larry Burkett’s radio program, afterwards I hung around the Christian Financial Concepts office and asked a lot of questions of people. I was really impressed at the responses I got—they were all sold on the ministry and deeply respected the leadership. On that basis—not just what I’ve seen from the outside and not just from my positive impressions of Larry Burkett—I have often recommended this ministry.
I speak at Christian colleges. At one of them, when I was having lunch with the Academic Vice President, I told him, “I’ve seen a lot of Christian liberal arts colleges that have hired a lot of teachers that aren’t strong believers and have lost their distinctives and no longer hold to the Scriptures as their standard. What’s it like here?” He said this to me: “If the parents of most of these kids knew what they are actually being taught in their classes, they’d pull them out before the end of the term.”
What does that tell you? How many alumni of this college are supporting it? How many estates are being distributed to this school by sincere Christians who think they’re investing in eternity but are actually investing in anything from lukewarmness to apostasy?
8. Is this ministry biblically sound and Christ-centered?
Take a good look at a ministry’s statement of faith. Is it true to the Scriptures? If the answer is no, go no farther.
If it’s a Christian school, and there’s need for a sociology teacher, will it hire an academically qualified but spiritually unqualified professor just to maintain accreditation? If it will, the school will eventually go the way of countless other once-Christian schools that are now Christian in name only. This sometimes happens in ministry organizations as well.
If the doctrine is sound, is it reflected in the lives of those working for the organization? Does the literature give you the impression the organization is trying to low-key its Christian identity, in order to appeal to a broader base of supporters? If so, does this result in the erosion of a distinctively Christian ministry? Do staff members compromise their convictions in order to generate more financial support? If so, why support a generic “Christian” work when you can support more distinctively biblical ministries?
An organization can be doctrinally sound but spiritually dead. Is there evidence of a vital relationship with Christ? What is the spiritual pulse of faculty and students? If it isn’t what it should be, are you perpetuating the spiritual problem by giving your money? Or are there other schools and other ministries more worthy of your support?
Is there a prayerful dependence on God? Or does the ministry seem to put more hope in current marketing strategies than the movement of God’s spirit in human hearts? Has the ministry maintained its spiritual goals? If it is a relief organization, is there a clear understanding of the full human dilemma? Does it take into account the sin problem as well as poverty and hunger?
Some once-Christian schools and benevolence organizations are faithfully supported by the giving and estates of believers who would be heart-sick if they really understood that their beneficiaries long ago abandoned their Christian beliefs and spiritual vitality. Consider the “Christian” liberal arts college where the academic vice president wouldn’t consider sending his kids there. If he wouldn’t (and his kids could go at a huge discount), why should you support it? Don’t give blindly, exercise discernment. And have current information—the fact that this was a good school or ministry thirty years ago isn’t relevant. Would you invest in a company that is now in shambles on the basis that it was a strong company thirty years ago? The funds you give will not go to the work of thirty years ago, they will go to the work of today. Make sure this ministry is on the right track today.
9. What kind of character, integrity, purity and humility is demonstrated by the ministry leaders?
No ministry will rise above the spiritual level of those who lead it. The Christian leader is to be above reproach, self-controlled and in right relationship to his family. He is not to be a lover of money, quarrelsome, conceited, or one who will bend the truth for financial gain (1 Tim. 3:1-10). An unholy world will never be won to Christ by unholy messengers.
Christian leaders should realize that the sun does not rise or set on their particular organization. It should simply be a tool at God’s disposal, for him to use as—and as long as—he chooses (2 Tim. 2:21). Is this a God-centered rather than man-centered operation? Are those who should be humble servants made to look like heroes or celebrities? If someone other than God is getting the glory, do your giving elsewhere.
I spoke to the staff of Action International years ago and was blown away by the modesty, the humility, the servant-heartedness of the leadership and the entire staff. These are people of conviction and character. Their literature isn’t slick, it looks like it came of a mimeograph machine. They make the most of every dollar that comes in.
What kind of vision is at the top and is this contagiously passed along? George Verwer of Operation Mobilization and Doug Nichols of Action International are masters at passing on great books and vision for ministry. Clive Calver at World Relief passionately labors to tell the story of the poor and empower third world churches to care for them.
A leader might sometimes be a maverick, even a “loose cannon,” but if he can lead and motivate and impassion he is far better than a bureaucrat who is a good manager but not a visionary.
10. What kind of accountability structures does the organization have?
Is it part of an external accountability affiliation such as the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability? Such groups have certain requirements that may include standards of financial record keeping, periodic audits, and guidelines for board membership. (On the other hand, some good organizations do not belong to these groups, and some that do may not be living up to the affiliation’s standards.)
External affiliations are no substitute for internal checks and balances. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Is the board comprised of a good cross section of spiritually qualified people? Do board members represent a breadth of background, experience, gifting and interests? Are they capable of asking perceptive questions that challenge the status quo? Will they stand up to key leaders in the organization, and challenge them on the wisdom or rightness of certain actions or policies? Or are they the leader’s extended family members and “Yes men” who routinely serve as rubber stamps? These kinds of board members give an illusion of accountability when there really is none.
“Accountability” is a critical concept, but it has become a buzzword often used where true accountability doesn’t exist. If you asked the PR department if the ministry maintains accountability, you’ll be told “yes,” because everyone knows that’s the right answer.
No one man is morally invulnerable, has all the gifts of the Spirit, or a monopoly on the wisdom of the Lord. Is the key leader a team player who is open to advice, counsel and even rebuke? If not, the ministry will not rise above his weaknesses or limitations. It’s a scandal waiting to happen.
How carefully do the decision-makers listen to those on the field who actually see the situation day after day? How open are the decision-makers to your input as an informed donor? Be careful—don’t try to control what isn’t yours to control. But do take the responsibility to be a wise steward.
God works through groups—no lone rangers, 2-3 for accusations and church discipline. Why? Because one by himself is not trustworthy. The same thing is true in ministry. E.g. guy in eastern Europe. In an abundance of counselors there is wisdom and victory. One person by himself is prone to exaggeration, laziness, myopia, and cultural insensitivity without even being aware.
Warning: accountability shouldn’t be a noose around neck of missionary. Often the career missionary understands his field better than anyone. Too many missions groups shuffle people around without regard to gifting and strategic ministry. Sometimes missionaries are pulled from a place where years of ministry are about to come to fruition, and a premature move undermines what’s been accomplished.
If someone you support is being moved from direct ministry to an administrative role, ask why, and what affect this will have on the field work. Our church once needed to confront a missions organization about what was clearly a poorly timed move to fill an administrative hole, a move that would set back the field work seriously. Since we provided 80% of this strategic missionary’s monthly support, reluctantly we finally concluded it was necessary to say we would support him independently, without the mission, if that’s what we needed to do to let him finish his work. The mission changed their mind.
Many effective missionaries are independent, and while missionaries must respect those in authority, leaders should respect their insights and take very seriously their input and ideas and concerns as to missions policy that affect the work on the field. An organization that doesn’t listen to its field workers—or that has a pattern of moving their most effective workers to administrative positions—isn’t worthy of support. 11. If this is a secular or semi-Christian organization rather than a distinctively Christian one, what are the compelling reasons for giving to it?
Secular organizations such as the United Way support many good things, along with some bad, including Planned Parenthood and its abortion agenda. But even when they do good there is a basic philosophical difference. They focus on the short term needs of people, without a view to their eternal welfare. Most of the organization’s leaders and workers do not believe in Christ as God’s Son, or in redemption, justification by faith, eternal life, or heaven and hell. When a woman is dying in their arms, they cannot offer her the living water she needs more than anything else.
If the only way to help people was to give to a nonchristian organization, of course I’d give to it. But it isn’t. Let’s do the good works in the name of Christ, for his glory.
Take two famine relief organizations working in the same area. One distributes food through local Christian churches. The other distributes food through government channels or hires locals, some of whom will be Muslims or animists. Why wouldn’t I give through the one who works through the national churches? Won’t God be better glorified by this, and his church more edified?
12. How clear are this organization’s goals and objectives, strategies and tactics, and how effective are they in carrying them out?
Is effectiveness judged by activity or by results, or both? How is it really measured? How can you interpret the numbers they list in mailings and reports?If 10,000 pieces of literature were passed out in this project, how well-written and effective was the literature? Would 1,000 pieces of better literature have been more effective? Was it distributed to people who have heard the gospel a number of times, while the same amount of cost and effort could have gotten 500 pieces to people in outlying areas who’ve never heard the gospel? (If so, would the 500 pieces have been more strategic than the 10,000?)
If 20,000 Bibles were distributed, how many are being read? What is the literacy rate? How many of those receiving the Bibles are literate, but read in a different language than the Bible is in?
If 100 tons of food were delivered, how much got directly into the hands of hungry people and how much was confiscated by government officials or stolen and sold on the black market? Is there another organization that gets more food to people in need more effectively and better utilizes Christian churches to do it? Was gospel literature distributed with the food? If not, why not? Was there a good reason (maybe there was) or was this a missed opportunity reflecting the mission’s disinterest in evangelism?
If this organization has 200 people on the field, that may appear impressive, but is it possible they have oversaturated the area and created their own bureaucracy and inhibited the ministry involvement of nationals? Would they do better to have half as many missionaries there, those who are most skilled at equipping and training nationals to fish rather than just fishing for them year after year? Consider Gideon—sometimes more is less and less is more.
Are there so many missionaries in the same area that they live on a compound, separated from the nationals they’re supposed to be ministering to? A missions pastor told me the most discouraging thing he’s ever seen on the mission field is a walled compound of ten square miles, where local merchants deliver food and goods, so there is little need for missionaries ever to leave the fortress. One of the missionaries said, “please don’t take pictures of our house. I’d be embarrassed if our supporters saw how beautiful it is.” Now, I’m not suggesting missionaries have to live in huts. But I’m saying that even these missionaries sense something is wrong that they live so far above the level of nationals in their segregated walled country. Ironically, there are people giving generously to maintain this effort.
If 10,000 people have come to Christ, how many were baptized and are now part of Bible-teaching churches? Does this organization follow up and evaluate the effectiveness of past projects and take this into consideration in future ones?
If there were 1500 professed conversions, is this an accurate gauge of eternal results? How much are cultural factors involved, and how many people have professed conversion dozens of times out of politeness and agreeability rather than true repentance and transformation? If a missionary in Morocco sees three conversions in ten years, has his ministry been only one thousandth as effective as a missionary in the Philippines who has seen 3,000 conversions?
Almost everything you do in the Philippines will have more tangible results than almost everything you do in Morocco. On the other hand, lack of fruit in Morocco may not just be because “it’s a hard field,” but because the best strategies are not being employed and adequate prayer and spiritual warfare is not taking place.
13. Is this organization teachable and open to improvement to become more strategic in their efforts?
Do they look for new ways to convey the timeless message, or do they put themselves above evaluation by uncritically “doing the Lord’s work” the same way they always have?
Some ministries try to do the work of the Holy Spirit, by controlling results. But some neglect their responsibility by spiritualizing the ministry, saying they’re just doing what God told them to do. They may quote 1 Corinthians 4:2, “it is required of a steward that he be found faithful.” Yes, that’s most important, but isn’t part of faithfulness working at being effective and productive?
Character and attitude are the most important, but they’re not enough. You can be very godly and very sincere, but also do a very poor job in effectively meeting needs. Are leaders and missionaries participating in forums and conferences that put them on the forward edge of methodologies?
A closed-minded organization can never be strategic. Those who don’t recognize their mistakes can’t learn from them. In terms of wisdom and experience, an organization that’s fifty years old may have advantages, but only if they do continuous self-evaluation and focus just not on maintaining old programs, but creating new ones to correspond to the present need and most effective strategy.
14. Am I certain I’ve gotten an objective view of this ministry, or have they given me the red carpet treatment so I’ve seen the positives without the negatives?
Do they present their best side to those who are potential supporters, while showing their worst side to their own workers and/or those they are supposed to be reaching? They may give you the red carpet treatment if they recognize you as a big donor or as big donor potential, but servantheartedness is best demonstrated in how they treat those who cannot help them and who they feel no compulsion to impress.
James 2:1-4 says, “My brothers, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
Beware of any ministry that violates James 2 by showing partiality to the rich while dishonoring the poor. If you’re put on hold when you call or it takes them a while to return your call, maybe it just means they’re treating you like everyone else, and not giving you preference just because you’re a big donor. Instead of being unimpressed with this, maybe you should be impressed at their impartiality and faithfulness to Scripture.
Don’t expect to be coddled, and don’t give to a ministry because they’ve stroked you and romanced you, but because they’re bringing glory to God by doing a faithful kingdom work. If a college stewardship director is soliciting funds for a new library and talking about naming it after you, ask yourself if he’s appealing to strategic kingdom giving or to your pride and ego and desire for recognition. Jesus said in Matthew 6, “When you give to the needy don’t announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do, to be honored by men, because they have received their reward in full. But when you give, do it in secret, then your Father in heaven will reward you.” Having your name plastered over everything you give to isn’t giving in secret.
Be careful when you give out your name or business card on your vision and missions trips, especially in the third world. You’ll receive many hand-written letters asking for your financial support. Often they’ll say they have named a ministry after you. In the three years since visiting Liberia, my friend and missions pastor has received ten letter telling him churches and ministries have been named after him. (His business card has his name, Barry Arnold, followed by his two positions, Global Outreach and Men’s Ministry. He received one letter telling him they had renamed their church Barry Arnold Global Outreach Men’s Ministry.) The reason these letters are written is that they sometimes work. Giving appeals to ego are not right, but because they are effective they’re used.
I had the opportunity in October to speak at the Green Bay Packers chapel. I spoke on the difference between image and character, and the fact that when we’re rich or famous people treat us differently but God just isn’t impressed. Character is who we are in the dark, in secret, where no one but God sees us. Unfortunately, it’s easy for us to start thinking we’re more important because people treat us that way, because they want to rub shoulders with us or benefit from our wealth.
When it comes to investing in eternity, we need to get over ourselves—it’s not about you and me, the donors, it’s about the glory of God. It’s about supporting ministries that fulfill the great commandments to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
15. What view of God and people is demonstrated in this organization’s fundraising techniques?
I heard a radio preacher beg listeners, “Please be sensitive to God—send us your contribution.” A commercial on one of the Christian television network says, “$10,000 will purchase a satellite earth station which will receive and bring twenty-four hour a day Christian television to your home! Your family could be in heaven because you cared.”
Though it’s no doubt sincere in many cases, the promise of prayer for the giver’s needs and loved ones can be manipulative fundraising. “You pay, and we’ll pray.” Prayers are thus bought and sold, reminiscent of the indulgences that outraged the reformers.
Another common tactic is the manufactured crisis—“We must receive $300,000 by the end of the month or we’ll have to close our doors.” Yet $100,000 comes in and the doors stay open. So, how is this different than lying?
Many ministries reflect prosperity theology or health and wealth gospel. I deal with that in Money, Possessions and Eternity, and I’m not going to get into it here. But personally, no matter what good work they may be doing, I will not give to any organization that buys into prosperity theology, any more than I would buy rotten fruit and hope for the best.
Every week I receive dozens of fundraising appeals from different ministries, and most of them are appropriate, but over the years some of them have gotten worse and worse. Some are specifically designed to look like a mailing from the IRS. Some are unnecessarily expensive telegrams, others are third class mail designed to look like a telegram or a Fed-X delivery. Some organizations don’t put their name on the return address, or put an assumed name, knowing the recipient might not open it if he knew what it really was. In other words, the goal of the mailing is out and out deception—what does that say about a ministry? (Hint—Jesus called Satan the father of the lies.) If they’ve tried to deceive you by the outside of the letter, why would you think they wouldn’t deceive you with the inside of the letter? This kind of fundraising is immoral—it’s scandalous and Christians should not tolerate it.
I received a notice for a registered letter requiring a personal trip to the Post Office. It turned out to be a mass mailing from a Christian organization, which cost ten times the postage of the nonprofit rate. The organization just wanted to get my attention. They did. But they didn’t get my money, and they never will, because I will not reward and subsidize trickery and deception. Unfortunately, these organizations have found out these techniques work. It’s our responsibility to show and tell them they don’t work with us.
Some organizations offer names on bricks and plaques to commemorate and publicize donor giving. When the organization puts this forth as a motive for giving, they violate Matthew 6 which says our giving is to be done quietly and discreetly, and those who give to be recognized have their reward, man’s approval, but forfeit reward for God. So if you’re giving to get your name on a brick I sure hope you like that brick, because that’s all you’re getting! Any ministry that appeals to my worst motives and results in my loss of reward is not an organization I want to support.
I counseled a young woman who received a large financial settlement when she was burned horribly in a car crash. She shared her testimony in a newspaper article and soon she was being contacted by Christian organizations, including a Christian college that wanted to give her a tour of their facilities and share some of their plans. One missions organization asked her to be on their board—a twenty-one year old girl. When she told me that I knew something was wrong, and sure enough it ended up being a situation of a maverick young man traveling around eastern Europe, accountable to no one, giving his own reports of his own work, and looking at this sincere young woman as his unlimited source of income. Eventually she resigned and withdrew her support, and now supports strategic mission works and is herself on the mission field.
Pioneer missionary to China Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” Even the best ministries will sometimes be running tight financially. But if a work constantly lacks money, if it’s always begging for donations, does this suggest something may be fundamentally wrong? Perhaps that it’s either not God’s work or it’s not being done in God’s way.
A distressed woman wrote to Horace Greeley, telling him that her church was going bankrupt. She explained they had tried fairs, festivals, suppers, mock weddings, and socials, but none had generated enough money to keep the church afloat. “Do you have any suggestions of what else we could do,” she asked. Greeley wrote back, “Why not try religion?”
If Christian organizations are doing what God wants them to do, is it really an oversimplification to expect God will meet their needs without an endless stream of desperate fundraising appeals? If Philippians 4:19 is true, why do so many Christian organizations always speak of their financial woes? Are the “needs” they speak of really only wants? How many more desperate and exaggerated claims will we hear? How many more deceptive techniques will be tested on us? How many more times will the Christian public be begged to save God from bankruptcy? Can I in good conscience give to organizations who rely on such methods to raise funds?
16. How much money does the organization spend on overhead expenses and fundraising, and how much in actual ministry to people?
Every organization has legitimate overhead and “home office” expenses. These are not nonessentials. Secretaries and janitors and cleaning supplies and phone bills are part of ministry. But some are unnecessarily high. And as important as support personnel are, when you give to an organization, it’s fair to ask how much is actually getting to the ministry you intended to support. (I hesitate to state a specific percentage to look for, because each ministry is unique, and many define “overhead” in different ways.)
What percentage of funds goes to raising more funds? What portion of every dollar sent in goes not to the work itself, but to raise more dollars? Are you impressed with the quality of videos and infomercials? I like nice videos too—but remember, the better they look, the more ministry funds are spent to produce them.
When you are giving to a special project you believe in, how much of it will go to the organization’s general fund? (10-15% is common.) If your gift is $200,000, it’s actually $170,000 if the processing fee is 15%. Do you wish to make this $30,000 general fund contribution, or are there ways you can fund the project directly?
If you can visit a ministry office, look at the furnishings. They may be attractive without being expensive and ostentatious. What about the lifestyles of the ministry staff? Does the organization disclose financial information that includes staff salaries? If not, why not? Some organizations fly their personnel first class, doubling or tripling or even quadrupling standard economy plane fares. Some have their executives stay in only the finest and most expensive hotels. Is this really necessary? Does it fit with Christ’s example of servanthood? (Years ago a head of a mission organization spoke at our church and actually bragged that he always flew first class. I admit that whenever I consider giving to that organization, his comments come to mind.)
Of course, travel and accommodations costs are sometimes necessary. But when an otherwise comparable ministry operates at more reasonable costs, that means more of your money will go to the actual ministry you wish to support.
If it seems judgmental or inappropriate to ask such questions, remember that you are God’s money manager looking to invest his assets. You are not your own, you’ve been bought with a price—so “your” money belongs to God. You have not only the right but the responsibility to discern where this money is actually going. If you have a money manager, don’t you expect him to be careful? God expects the same of you. 17. Does this ministry show a clear understanding of cross-cultural ministry factors and local conditions and how the flow of money may affect them?
Some organizations are masters at the difficult task of cross-cultural ministry. Others are sincere but culturally ignorant or insensitive. They may have poor contacts or distribution methods in foreign countries. They sometimes pursue short-term solutions that contribute to long-term problems.
The outpouring of efforts in the former Soviet Union several years ago was admirable. I was there seven years ago, with a missionary from Slavic Gospel Union, shortly before the USSR fell. Unfortunately, in subsequent years many inexperienced organizations brought in Bibles and material goods without working with the churches and most reputable contacts, and often those goods became part of the black market. There was needless misuse, theft and confiscation of funds and goods, most by organizations that wanted to plant their own flags while overlooking the church that had survived seventy years of communism.
There have been cases where local farmers in the third world have been put out of business by deliveries of free food from famine relief organizations. The farmers have worked all year to grow their crops, only to see their food go to waste and their efforts go unrewarded, because no one will buy them when they can get free food. Consequently, the farmers lose their incentive and choose to no longer grow food. This insures the crisis will get worse for the long haul, and perpetuates an endless cycle of dependence on the outside world.
A sensitive relief and development organization with a long-term perspective—and there are some excellent ones—will work toward encouraging rather than discouraging local workers and the local economy, with a goal not only of immediate famine relief, but ongoing famine prevention.
Warning—ask legitimate questions, but do not use examples of misappropriated or unwise funding as an excuse not to give to critical needs. It’s always better to give than to not give. I don’t believe a single one of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and hear him say, “I’d like to tell you ‘well done, my good and faithful servant,’ but I’m sorry, you just gave away too much to my kingdom.” It’s not going to happen.
If we failed to feed the hungry because we thought some of the food would end up on the black market and failed to help free Christian slaves in Sudan because some might be enslaved again, and failed to try to rescue children from abortions because we can’t find a perfect prolife group, we have failed to obey Matthew 25, the sheep and the goats, and Luke 10, the Good Samaritan.
The solution is never to give less, it is to give more, but to give it selectively to the ministries that are doing the best job to the glory of God. I support a number of organizations which I know to be imperfect, which have significant weaknesses in certain areas. You’ve maybe heard the old saying, “If you find the perfect church, don’t join it, because then it won’t be perfect anymore.” In this case it goes, “if you wait to find the perfect ministry before you give, you’ll never give at all.”
18. Does this organization speak well of others and cooperate with them?
There have been cases where two and even three missionary organizations have been simultaneously working on reducing the same tribal language to an alphabet and doing Bible translation, without consulting with each other. This is a waste—why not cooperate, pool our efforts and work side by side?
I once met with a group of prolife leaders, only to discover that one group was working hard to develop an abstinence program for use in local schools, while another group, located five miles away, had developed such a program and had been using it in schools for years. This was due to ignorance, but if leaders of these groups had just had lunch together a huge amount of work could have been saved.
Does this ministry have a cooperative rather than competitive relationship with other ministries? Does it avoid duplication of efforts? Or does it reinvent the wheel with no regard for what others in different ministries and denominations have learned and accomplished? Do local churches and nationals speak highly of this ministry? If so, good. If not, why not?
Check the ministry’s newsletter and see if there are references to cooperation with other groups and churches. Call and ask what joint projects they are involved with. A self-sufficient ministry hesitant to share success with others is myopic and counterproductive. There is no end to what we can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. In fact, it should never matter who gets the credit as long as God gets the glory. Our giving should go to ministries committed to partnerships, to joining their brethren in building God’s kingdom, not their own.
InterDev, headed by Phil Butler, is a good example of a mission devoted to cooperation. InterDev links existing missions organizations and helps them work in concert to further the kingdom agenda.
19. Is this ministry pervaded by a distinctly eternal perspective on life, ministry and resources?
Some organizations have one year, five year and ten year goals, but fail to operate with an eternal perspective. True long-term accomplishments are not those that will last ten years or even a hundred. They should last a billion years and beyond. They should make a difference for eternity.
Beautiful buildings and real estate holdings may serve a ministry purpose, but we must never forget that Scripture warns us of the coming holocaust of things. The entire world will be burned with fire and nothing will survive (2 Peter 3:9). Nothing, that is, except those efforts built solidly on the foundation of Jesus Christ—“Each one should be careful how he builds . . . his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light” (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
Martin Luther said there were only two days on his calendar—“today and That Day.” John Wesley said, “I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.” C. T. Studd added, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Immediately on leaving this world all who know Christ will gain the right perspective on ministry. The good news is we don’t have to wait until then. We can and should live now—and invest in eternity now—with the perspective that will be ours one minute after we die.
Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is the act of abstaining from investing in companies that produce or promote certain products or lifestyles that conflict with the morals taught in the bible. This means that if a company produces products that are contradictory to the Christian lifestyle, such as pornography, or supports companies that do the same, such as Planned Parenthood who provides elective abortion services, then investing in that company is avoided. BRI is practiced for several reasons. The first is a personal belief that God is the true owner of everything we have, including our money, and that he has entrusted it to us as his stewards to use for his will. The parable of the good servant shows us that God appreciates and acknowledges appropriate and responsible use of the resources he gives us and despises the careless use of them. With that in mind, how you spend and invest the resources that God has entrusted to you should not be a decision to be taken lightly. How much to give, how much to use to take care of your family and how much to save and invest for a future purpose are all questions that should be asked and prayed over. For many people, including born-again Christians, once those questions are answered and they have decided what portion of their resources to invest, they forget to include God in the rest of the process. This may be because there is a common belief in the business world that the only purpose of investing money is to make money. Unfortunately, for Christians, this is not the case. Our main purpose in investing, like everything else in life, is to honor God through our actions. This does not mean that growing our investments is not important. This simply means that when we do invest, we should not be compromising the beliefs and moral values that God has given us to adhere to. Supporting immoral companies such as pornography studios, abortion clinics, or those who promote sexually immoral lifestyles is clearly against so much of what Jesus taught. This is why it is important to include God while choosing our investments and not just when making the decision to invest. When you purchase stock in a company, you receive ownership over a certain portion of that company. If the company is one of those mentioned above then you have quite literally chosen to grow the finances that God entrusted you with by buying part of an abortion clinic or pornography studio. That may be more of a clear cut example then many of the situations that could be faced but it illustrates the importance of taking the time to be aware of what you are investing in. Even if the company you are buying doesn’t produce immoral products, that doesn’t mean that it’s not participating in them. Companies, just like individuals, support many causes. If the software company that you own is supporting Planned Parenthood, the number one provider of abortions in
, or promoting movies that glamorize pre-marital sex or violence, then Gods resources are being used dishonorably. The same is true if the company is advancing the homosexual agenda by offering benefits to same sex domestic partners but not to married couples. We believe that it is our duty as Gods stewards to educate ourselves and to make responsible choices that do not compromise our faith in any area of our lives including investing. In this way we are able to honor God by acknowledging him as our master and provider in the hopes of being welcomed into his joy as a “good and faithful servant”. The second reason that someone may choose to invest in biblically responsible companies is an act of activism. While Biblically Responsible Investing is, in many ways, a personal matter, it is also way to demonstrate your approval or disapproval of a company’s purpose or actions. By choosing only to invest in companies that operate on a moral basis, you are not only making a statement about your refusal to compromise your beliefs but you are also keeping money in the hands of responsible companies. As the increased popularity of BRI brings it into the main stream of investing, the public will become more aware of companies actions and hopefully will understand the need to hold corporations responsible for their actions.It is our goal at Moral Money to help spread awareness and understanding of BRI to the public in order to help Christians understand the spiritual nature of stewardship and its application in their investments. We also aim to make the information and resources needed to engage in BRI as accessible and inexpensive as possible while offering assistance and guidance to those who desire it. While it is our desire to see Christians grow in faith and understanding in all areas of their walk with Christ, we believe that God has called us to become missionaries to the land of mammon, using the talents that God has given us to teach stewardship in the investment world. We pray that this site is of value to you and if you have any questions or concerns I would be glad to talk with you about them.
Thank you and God bless,
Mark Minnella Jr.PresidentMoral Money Inc.Mark@MoralMoney.com
HRCs 195 100-Percent Pro-Homosexual Corporations
By Peter Labarbera
Americans For Truth About Homosexuality Wed, Aug. 06 2008 10:24 PM MST
In 2008, the following 195 ‘Fortune 1,000′ corporations received a perfect 100-percent score from the pro-homosexual lobby group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in its “2008 Corporate Equality Index.”
Hundreds gather, signs raised with conviction. A group huddles, holding hands, some on their
knees, praying. Cars honk in response to
the message. Some in agreement .. some
in angry rebuttal. Across the street a
lady talks at a camera, using the scene as a backdrop as she broadcasts the
event for the morning news. Skillfully
she chooses her words as she slants her broadcast regarding the human chain
across America. A human chain dedicated
to enlightening the nation to the God given right to life, the sanctity of the
unborn. Sally is one link in that Chain.
There she stands, giving her time,
her life, to save the unborn. But this
is normal for her and many of the others she stands with. Sally has always been available to spread the
message “life is sacred”. Volunteering
every precious moment possible to counsel pregnant women. Dedicated to prayer and giving whenever and
whatever is needed.
Yet Satan laughs!
Monday comes and
on her way out of the office Sally picks up her paycheck. Her mind anxiously focused on tonight’s Right
to Life meeting. Does she know she just
contributed a part of her hard-earned pay to an organization that supports
The laugh grows even wickeder!
Does she realize
the voluntary contribution she makes to her 401k plan is being invested in
companies that promote many of the principles she fights so hard against? Is it possible she doesn’t know her mutual
fund is investing in companies that manufacture RU486! With all her dedication, with all her
conviction and clearly rightful heart the only conclusion is she just doesn’t know.
sickly laugh . . . Continues.
disturbing bit of fiction that quite possibly is happening day in and day out
across the nation. Whether it is
abortion, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, or any other moral conviction, some of us
are, often unknowingly, compromising our principles with the investments we
hold. Unknowingly financing the very
concerns we so strenuously oppose.
Because of quick mergers and takeovers, and the utilization of mutual
funds it has become very difficult to be conscious of what your investment portfolio is supporting.
The haze of
misinformation or lack of information has hindered or totally hidden the
possibility of making a person’s principles a part of the investment
criteria. But, what if it was possible
to invest without compromising your principles or rate of return? Why would anyone do otherwise?
investing is accepting the responsibility for the impact our financial
decisions make in this world.
Responsible investors realize that
their financial decisions affect the future, for themselves, their children and
their children’s children. Investing money, irrespective of your values, will
fund a future that may be void of your values.
By realizing your financial influence and
being aware of the choices you have available, you can begin to shape your
society. You do this by rewarding those
companies that strive to do well in the site of the Lord,
Fueling family friendly companies,
Funding pro life alternatives, and
Financially encouraging moral entertainment.
By positioning your financial resources in this manner
they fuel the flames of a moral society and starve the wild fires of an out of
Some may argue
that over the years there have been discussions that Socially Responsible
Investing does not keep up with unscreened investments. If this were true then
you would have a decision to make.
Either compromise your investment return or compromise your
principles. However, results from recent
studies save us from either compromise, showing no significant difference in
investment returns of a screened portfolio compared to a corresponding now
Once we conclude
that we can invest without compromise we are free to develop an investment plan
that includes the best of both worlds.
We need to be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove. We must utilize strategic investment concepts
such as asset allocation formulas, historic data research, and analytical
analysis and other worldly knowledge of investments to be wise as
serpents. Only investing in companies
that do not actively harm people and/or compromise your values, confirm being
as gentle as doves. To be the good
steward I believe God calls us to be we must not forsake one for the
Integrity is a choice. God gives us each
a free will to choose how we spend our money, how we invest. Don’t underestimate the power of your
investments; they may bring about more than just a good rate of return. In Gods hands our limited finances become
infinite finance. Look what he did with
a couple of loaves of bread and a few
Some say that our
culture is at war. The good new is our
God has extended each and every one of us an invitation to participate on the
side of the Victor. You may already be
doing this with your prayers or your personal involvement in outreaches,
helping the poor, feeding the hungry, filtering your internet, not spending
your money on products or services you find offensive. And after reading this I hope you have seen
how the same integrity can be brought to your investments.
I encourage you
today to actively seek out the investment adviser who can help you realize
financial peace within your investments by helping you invest your principles
and convictions as well as your money.
For more information on how you can
have faith in your investments you can contact Mark Minnella at email@example.com.
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Tue, Nov. 18 2008 09:49 AM MST
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Faithfulness is a steadfast allegiance or affection toward God’s Word and God’s eternal will no matter what the circumstances. It is a spirit-led determination to do God’s will no matter what. Those who are faithful do not quit in the face of trials. Faithfulness is time-tested and requires perseverance. To be faithful to God’s will you need faith. To have faith you need a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Faithfulness requires a revelation of God’s will for your life. Without knowledge of God’s will for your life, you can become discouraged along the journey. The question becomes, “Why am I doing all this?” I call this the “so-what” factor. The “so-what” factor is our need to have a clear revelation of God’s will and his purpose for our lives. A revelation of God’s will gives you perspective and insight beyond the circumstances that you see with your natural eyes. The assurance of eternal life and heavenly rewards also keeps us full of faith. “For he who comes to God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrew 11:6b). Our assurance of God’s character as a rewarder keeps us looking upward and keeps us enthusiastic no matter what we face now. Hebrews 11 profiles some of the biblical heroes who were faithful in spite of very difficult and challenging circumstances. Let us reflect on these passages: By faith Abel offered God a more excellent sacrifice then Cain (verse 4). By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death and was not found because God had taken him; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God (verse 5). By faith Noah being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (verse 7). By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going (verse 8). By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past age because she judged Him faithful who had promised (verse 11). By faith Moses when he was born was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command (verse 12). By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days (verse 30). By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace (verse 31) And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthat, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. (verses 32-38). What are you facing right now? How is it compared to what these early heroes of the faith went through? Can God count you among the faithful? Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2a).
eHarmoney Chastised for Abandoning Battle for Marriage
By Eric Young
The Christain Post Mon, Nov. 24 2008 08:50 AM MST
For nearly a decade, born-again Christian Neil Clark Warren has been working to pair up men and women to help create lasting marriages.
MAITLAND, Fla., Dec. 4, 2008—Is it purely a coincidence that the Christmas shopping season kicks off with a day called ‘Black Friday’? Maybe so, but how is it then explained that the gifts in the most demand this year seem to be violent video games? Art Ally’s Group, The Timothy Plan, is a Mutual Fund company that only invests in companies who reach very quantifiable moral and ethical standards. Suffice it to say, Ally draws the line well before investing in companies that provide products that harm children. In fact, The Timothy Plan took this matter so seriously, that it performed an exhaustive amount of research in identifying games that parents should think twice about before letting Santa put them under the tree. For shoppers buying video games on Black Friday, the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season, and beyond, it could wind up being a black day indeed. Violent video games have become increasingly more popular as graphics and improvements in technology have improved over the years. Studies have shown that aggressive attitudes and even actions can be increased after playing violent games for as little as 20 minutes. Yet, video games have emerged as one of the most popular forms of entertainment for children, with over 70% living in a home with at least one video game player and 33% of children have one in their bedroom. Art Ally, president, of the Timothy Plan family of mutual funds contends that, “Many, if not most, parents who buy their kids video games really don’t know the extent of sex and violence imbedded in them. From drug use, prostitution, murder and mayhem to vulgar profanity and blasphemy these games have become a powerfully negative influence on our kids.” Mr. Ally is offering concerned parents a complimentary report detailing the myriad of shocking gaming choices now available in the marketplace. At Timothy Plan’s web site, www.timothyplan.com , you can download and print a report detailing what Ally describes as “some of the most violent and offensive video games ever to be available in my lifetime.” “I believe, if parents would take a moment to look at the report we’ve created, their game selections would be quite different,” he continues. The Timothy Plan family of funds conducts proprietary research on publicly traded companies based on their moral integrity. They then apply that information to maintain a “Do Not Buy List” for their family of morally responsible mutual funds. They do not invest in companies that are involved in abortion, pornography, anti-family entertainment, alternative lifestyles, as well as alcohol, tobacco and gambling. Timothy’s research process for the funds’ Anti-Family Entertainment screen, includes (but is not limited to) gathering information on popular video games and, with Christmas and the gift giving season approaching, they are offering this information to anyone concerned about the content of the video games they may consider buying as gifts for their children. T h e T i m o t h y P l a n ® 1055 Maitland Center Commons Maitand, Florida 32751 (407) 644-1986 http://www.timothyplan.com (800) 846-7526 _____________________________________________________________ Distributed by Timothy Partners, Ltd. (Member FINRA) INVESTORS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONSIDER THE INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES, RISKS, AND CHARGES AND EXPENSES OF THE INVESTMENT COMPANY CAREFULLY BEFORE INVESTING. A PROSPECTUS IS AVAILABLE FROM THE FUND THAT CONTAINS THIS AND OTHER MORE COMPLETE, IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE INVESTMENT COMPANY. YOU MAY RECEIVE A PROSPECTUS BY CALLING THE FUND AT 1-800-846-7526, BY CALLING YOUR FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL, OR AT THE FUND’S WEB SITE, WWW.TIMOTHYPLAN.COM
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Tue, Mar. 03 2009 11:52 AM MST
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Those of us who took economic classes in high school or college learned that economics is the management of limited or scarce resources. This view of scarcity breeds greed and competition. This is the result of this type of thinking: Since there is not enough, we all must compete to get as much as we can and protect what we have.
This view is contrary to God’s view of economics. God created the earth with all- sufficient resources. Even sin did not limit the earth’s resources. It is the misuse and violation of God’s economic principles that have limited the earth’s resources. God promises to provide for the needs of all believers as long as they do not misuse the resources He entrusts them with. When the believer properly stewards the resources God places under his care without violating God’s principles, God will provide.
In the same way, God’s promise is that as long as the earth remains, “There will be seed time and harvest” (Genesis 8:22a). Matthew 6:33 states that if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, everything that we need will be provided for. This is not a promise for only some believers, but for all believers at all times.
Why then are we suffering from such lack, given that God created the earth with sufficient resources? Why is the world economy in chaos? Why are believers suffering along with the world?
· Man refuses to give God the honor and glory as Creator · Man’s stubborn pursuit of other gods · Man’s violation of God’s economic principles · Man’s misuse of God’s creation
Many Christians are suffering along with the world because we did not heed the early warnings of men such as the late Larry Burkett and others who prophetically challenged us to return to God’s principles in how we handle our finances.
Prior to sin, it was impossible for man to lack because man operated by God’s principles, and everything man did was pleasing to God. If we are to experience the abundance and sufficiency that God intended, we must realign our lives and businesses with the unchanging principles of God’s word. Running our lives and businesses in line with biblical principles insulates us during tough times and gives us internal assurance in the midst of external uncertainty.
Biblical economics is a biblically-based process of producing, distributing, and consuming the resources of God. Three main activities are present in every economy: production, distribution, and consumption. In a biblical economy, production and distribution are based on love and integrity. Each person works for his or her individual provision, and consumption is in line with the principle of contentment.
The world is currently suffering the consequences of the violation of each of these principles. We have for so long operated based on greed, violated the principle of work, and consumed based on our lust rather than our needs. The world’s answer to fix the economy is not to save and limit our consumption to what we need, but to spend and keep allowing our appetites to lust after more things. According to the world, the key is to keep buying, which keeps the economy turning. This is an artificial solution. It works only as long as we can print money and manipulate currencies, until we are forced to operate based on integrity.
In God’s economy, the answer to economic challenges is to save, to consume only what you need, to invest in productive work, and to give to those in need and to the work of the kingdom. Consider operating your business based on these seven principles so that you can be in the world and not of the world.
· Everything we have belongs to the Lord (Psalm 24:1-2). · Our business ideas must be based on our calling and not on personal ambitions (Romans 8:28-30, Philippians 2:3). · Products and services are distributed based on needs (Acts 4:34-35). · The Lord determines the increase of wealth (I Corinthians 3:5-8). · Profits are used to improve production, efficiency, and to benefit the kingdom of God (Deuteronomy 8:18). · Production and distribution are motivated by love (1 John 3:16, Galatians 5:13). · Production, distribution, and consumption are based on the Word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).
What is your worldview? Are you operating based on a biblical economy? Seek the Lord for guidance and wisdom on how to obey His word during these difficult times
Porn Companies Looking to Profit from Financial Bailout
By Mark A. Minnella Jr.
Thu, Jan. 08 2009 09:44 AM MST
Even pornographers have started jumping on the government bailout bandwagon.
Joe Francis, the producer of the “Girls Gone Wild” videos and Larry Flynt, the publisher of Hustler magazine announced Wednesday that they were asking Congress for $5 billion in federal assistance. According to the porn chiefs, the recession “has acted like a national cold shower,” causing a 22 percent drop in DVD sales and rentals over the last year. This is believed to be a result of more and more people turning to the internet for pornography.
“With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind,” Mr. Flynt said in a statement. “It’s time for Congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.”
So will Treasure Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. actually hand porn companies $5 billion in TARP money. Sources say it is unlikely and that what the companies are really after is publicity. Mr. Flynt and Mr. Francis admitted in their press release, “The $13 billion industry is in no fear of collapse, but why take chances?”
Why Sit Here and Die?
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Mon, Dec. 15 2008 09:48 AM MST
It is important to us that you know what our free public screening service is screening for. If the companies that you have submitted for screening returned positive results, you can be confident that those companies are not involved in any of the following.
Abortion – Companies that manufacture, license or market abortifacients or emergency contraceptives (i.e. The morning after pill) or offer elective abortions. We also screen for companies that are involved either directly or through proxy arrangements, in research involving human embryonic stem cells and/or fetal tissue.
The bible teaches that man was created in the image of God and that all human life is sacred. Therefore, we believe that as Christians, we cannot condone the willful destruction of human life in any form. We also cannot support research that involves the intentional destruction of human life.
Tobacco – Companies that produce, process or sell tobacco products as wholesale products (This does not include retail outlets such as convenient stores or pharmacies) and companies who manufacture materials (excluding tobacco) that is intended primarily for use in tobacco products.
While we understand that many Christians use tobacco and that using tobacco in itself is not necessarily a sin, the fact remains that tobacco companies are mass producing and promoting an unnecessary product that is known to cause extreme damage to the body and even kill. In addition, chemicals such as nicotine have been added to make it difficult for people to stop smoking. We believe that the body is a temple for the Holy Spirit and that as Christians we are responsible for maintaining it. Therefore, we can not endorse companies who intentionally destroy Gods creations for profit.
Gambling – Companies that own or operate casinos, race tracks or other establishments were gaming is permitted such as gaming parlors. Companies that host of operate online gaming services or manufacture gaming equipment for use in gaming operations such as casino and lottery operations.
We do not mean to imply that gambling in itself is a sin. However, we do feel that gambling establishments glamorize materialism and create misleading expectations of wealth without limiting their patrons’ losses. We believe that their advertisements are misleading and this can easily lead to the drawing in and victimization those who are not aware of the full dangers of excessive gambling. For this reason we choose not condone these companies with the money that God has given us to be stewards over.
Alcohol – Companies who manufacture, market, sell alcohol under their brand name (even if they are not the manufacturers) and companies who distribute alcohol (not including retail outlets).
Like tobacco and gambling, we do not believe that Alcohol in itself is a sin. The bible teaches moderation in this aspect. However, alcohol is a substance that has enslaved many people and has a greater potential for abuse then most other legal substances that are easily attainable. Due to this, and the fact that alcohol producing companies promote their products by glamorizing immoral behavior and anti-Christian lifestyles, we choose not to support these companies.
Adult entertainment – Companies who produce, distribute, publish, sell or operate products of an adult nature including the following;
· Motion pictures that have received a rating of NC-17 or have not been rated by the MPAA,
· TV shows that have received a TV-MA rating from the FCC’s TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board
· Sexually explicit video or audio through satellite, cable or rental programs
· Sexually explicit internet downloads (including podcasts)
· Sexually explicit magazines
· Phone sex operations
· Clubs providing live adult entertainment
· Hosting of websites of an adult nature
Because the bible warns us many times against sexual immorality and giving in to the temptations of the flesh we cannot condone or support companies who profit from or advertise materials or operations that treat sex irresponsibly.
Immoral lifestyles – Companies who provide domestic benefits to unmarried couples (regardless of genders) or offer diversity training which includes sexual orientation. We also screen for companies included on the Citizen Action Now, Focus on the Family, and American Family Association boycott lists.
We believe that the biblical definition of marriage is one man and one woman and that the bible condemns any sexual relations outside of this definition of marriage. For this reason, we cannot support companies who advance immoral lifestyles by providing domestic benefits to unmarried couples or who attempt to further public acceptance of these actions.
Those McFabulous Rainbow Arches
By J. Matt Barber
WorldNet Daily Fri, Aug. 15 2008 10:33 AM MST
I’m always mystified when allegedly intelligent, bottom-line-obsessed corporate types abandon the fiscally secure milieu of political neutrality and take sides,
The Florida Baptist Witness Mon, Aug. 25 2008 11:24 AM MST
You may have watched two people haggling, er, um, “negotiating,” over the price of an object. Finally the prospective buyer pulls out a wallet, places an amount of cash on the table, and says, “That’s it. Take it or leave it.”
The Florida Baptist Witness Fri, Aug. 08 2008 10:37 AM MST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The American Family Association launched a boycott of McDonald’s July 3, saying the restaurant chain’s corporate leaders refuse “to remain neutral in the culture wars” by promoting the homosexual agenda.
ASPEN — The Aspen Skiing Co. will start offering same-sex benefits to its employees this fall — matching the existing policies of other major ski resorts and quelling growing criticism from the gay community.
Recall that according to the Bible, God-honoring investing is a critical element of good stewardship. You are absolutely accountable to God for the way in which you manage the resources He gives you, including saving and investing resources
Monday, August 11, 2008 – West Hollywood
At a fundraiser in Beverly Hills last Monday, Ken McNeely, president of AT&T California, presented a donation of $25,000 to the Homosexual rights group Equality California to support their fight against Proposition 8. Passing proposition 8 in CA would amend the CA state constitution to define marriage as “The union of 1 man and 1 woman” and protect the sanctity of marriage in California. Over the course of the night EQCA managed to raise a total of $2 Million to fight the passage of Prop 8.
Other contributions came from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU-California) with a donation of $500,000 presented by United Healthcare Workers-West President Sal Rosselli as well as a $250,000 donation from the California Teachers Association (CTA). EQCA supporters at the event also pledged an additional combined $350,000. All of those contributions will help fund the “NO on 8” campaign.
Altogether, EQCA has raised more than $3 Million to fight Proposition 8.
Faith-Based Investing - Do Money and Faith Mix?
By Jay Peroni
Blogspot Fri, Sep. 05 2008 08:43 AM MST
In the book of Mark, this question is posed: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (8:36 nasb).
www.pacificjustice.org Wed, Sep. 03 2008 07:56 AM MST
Sacramento, CA – After San Francisco based PG&E recently decided to donate $250,000 to oppose Proposition 8, thousands of their pro-marriage customers have expressed their outrage. However, while many feel compelled to sign petitions of protest, legal researchers of Pacific Justice Institute have found that all PG&E natural gas users have a legal right to drop PG&E.
Specifically, all residential and non-residential consumers can choose an alternative natural gas provider that does not agree with PG&E’s controversial positions and actions. In addition, it was also uncovered that alternative providers, year over year, have reported saving their customers up to 15% off their natural gas bill compared to PG&E.
“There is no reason why pro-marriage homes, small businesses, corporations, apartment owners, schools or churches should continue to support a company like PG&E that is so opposed to the preservation of marriage,” said Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute. “When one also realizes the large historic savings for those who switch, this really becomes a no-brainer. It is just a matter of getting out the information to the many who are simply unaware of their rights under law.”
Please feel free to share this timely communication to anyone who may object to utility companies choosing to financially oppose the preservation of marriage.Please respond, however you feel led, by making a secure online contribution to PJI now. Donate Here.
It’s spelled NLGJA, but they pronounce it “Negligee.” The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) just held its annual convention here in Washington, DC, attracting hundreds of journalists – and ringing endorsements – from virtually every major publication and broadcaster in the news media.
More U.S. Companies Cater to 'Transgendered' Employees
CitizenLink.com Fri, Sep. 05 2008 08:42 AM MST
Across the country, particularly at larger companies, “transgender” workers are receiving special rights and benefits, The New York Times reported. Of Fortune 500 companies, 125 provide special protections based on employees’ “gender identity.”
Investing in Eternity - Every Christian is a Steward
By Ross Rhoads
Billy Grahm Evangelical Association Wed, Sep. 10 2008 10:28 AM MST
Can we ever say that anything is truly ours? All things—possessions, talents, jobs, ministries, loved ones, even our very lives—belong to God. Our responsibility is to use these gifts to glorify Him and point people to Christ.
Beginning in Oct, Levi’s 501 jeans will be sponsoring 30 weeks of paid programming aimed at and supporting gay and lesbian audiences. The Levi’s 501 button-fly line of jeans sold by Levi Strauss & Co is partnering up with a unit of MTV know as Logo, a network aimed at gay and lesbian viewers, to launch an estimated $1 Million campaign called “Logo Unbuttoned”. The sponsorship deal, which includes promotions, events and social media, also makes Levi’s 501 the sole sponsor of a program block that will air from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Sunday morning. Known as “Saturday Nights Unbuttoned Presented by Levi’s” this schedule is set to feature programs such as “The Big Gay Sketch Show”, “Queer as Folk” and “The L Word” as well as music videos, theatrical movies and short films. All of the programming will be unedited for language or other content. In addition to the shows, there will be commercial and video clips featuring gay men and lesbians talking frankly about trying to live life “unbuttoned.”
Logo is a unit of MTV which is owned by Viacom Inc. (VIA) and is a basic cable channel available in 33 million homes.
PG&E in Hot Water over Anti-Marriage Donation
Citizen Link Fri, Sep. 19 2008 03:01 PM MST
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) has filed a complaint against PG&E after the California utility company donated $250,000 to defeat California’s marriage-protection amendment.
AFT Questions MillerCoors on Participation in Heinous, Anti-Christian Folsom Street Fair
By Peter LaBarbera
Americans for Truth Mon, Sep. 22 2008 09:23 AM MST
We are highlighting MillerCoor’s support of and advertising at the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco [to be held Sunday, September 28]. I am president of a conservative pro-family group, Americans For Truth (www.aftah.org).
Google has changed its policy on allowing religious organizations to take out ads using the keyword “abortion” after a lawsuit from a Christian anti-abortion group. This past March, Google refused to show an ad from the Christian Institute, a British organization, that contained the phrase, “UK abortion law: Key news and views on abortion law from The Christian Institute.” The group wanted to advertise because the House of Commons was considering a bill involving abortion issues.
Previous to the lawsuit, Google would not sell the keyword “abortion” to religious groups, but would offer it to secular organizations that offer abortions and resource sites like Our Bodies, Ourselves. Google traditionally has limits on what can be advertised on their site and regularly disallows ads that promote immoral or illegal acts such as violence or products derived from endangered species. “We build out our policies based upon local customs and business practices and, as any sensible business would do, review them from time to time to make sure they are up to date and current,” said Ben Novick, a London-Based Google spokesman.
Google reviewed its policy on allowing the keyword “abortion” to be linked to religious ads and announced on Sept. 17 that a settlement with The Christian Institute had been reached. The terms were not disclosed, but Google soon after began allowing ads from religious groups as long as they were not graphic or emotional, and the ads were determined to be factual. “We are pleased with Google’s constructive response to this matter,” the Christian institute said in a statement.
National Road to Bankruptcy
By Jack Adamo
Forbes.com Wed, Sep. 24 2008 10:56 AM MST
Most Americans are just now starting to get an inkling of how serious the financial crisis is in this country. In fact, although it is most dire here, it is dragging down the entire world economy.
Google Comes out of the Closet about Gay Marriage Amendment
Liberty Counsel Mon, Sep. 29 2008 04:11 PM MST
Mountain View, CA - Google’s cofounder and President of Technology, Sergey Brin, posted a statement Friday on the company blog against Proposition 8, the proposed constitutional amendment that would protect marriage in California as the union of one man and one woman.
In a move that is angering many conservatives, the PepsiCo Foundation strengthened its relationship with Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) earlier this week by authorizing a $500,000 grant to support the Straight of Equality campaign. Straight for Equality is a national education campaign created to teach straight supporters of gay rights how to stand up for gay family members, coworkers, and communities.
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with PFLAG,” Jacqueline Millan, PepsiCo’s corporate contributions director, said in a statement. While some wonder if the grant will cause conservative groups to call for a boycott of the company, Millan said the company stands by the donation.
PepsiCo has also previously given large sums of money to other gay advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign.
The Rapid Growth of Faith-Based Investing
By William Donovan
About.com Thu, Oct. 02 2008 01:38 PM MST
The total of assets under management in faith-based funds has grown from less than $500 million 11 years ago to more than $31 billion today, according to Morningstar.
Great news! McDonald’s has told AFA they will remain neutral in the culture war regarding homosexual marriage. AFA is ending the Boycott of McDonald’s. As you know, AFA called for the boycott in May after McDonald’s joined the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
McDonald’s said McDonald’s Vice President Richard Ellis has resigned his position on the board of NGLCC and that his seat on the board will not be replaced. McDonald’s also said that the company has no plans to renew their membership in NGLCC when it expires in December.
In an e-mail to McDonald’s franchised owners the company said, “it is our policy to not be involved in political and social issues. McDonald’s remains neutral on same sex marriage or any ‘homosexual agenda’ as defined by the American Family Association.“
We appreciate the decision by McDonald’s to no longer support political activity by homosexual activist organizations. You might want to thank you local McDonald’s manager.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.“ Matthew 5:14
Imagine you wake up during the night and there is no light in your house because of a storm which knocked the electricity out. You open your curtains hoping that the light outside the window will light up the house but there is no light on the outside either. The entire neighborhood has no light. The storm was unexpected and no one was prepared. No candles, no lamps, no flash lights. One by one, your neighbors begin to get up and notice the same thing, they begin to worry. It is dark, damp and no one has a light. The entire neighborhood is concerned and scared. Without light people cannot see where they are going, the elderly, the children and the handicapped are at risk of hurting themselves. Without light thieves can easily break into houses and stores because no one will notice them. Imagine that this lasts for days, weeks, months and years. Of course overtime people will develop alternatives to illuminate the night until the real light comes back but no matter how great the alternative, it will only provide a temporary fix until the real light appears.
When Jesus appeared on the scene over 2000 years ago to begin His public ministry, He found Himself in the midst of darkness; the poor faced economic uncertainty, the church and state were corrupt and oppressive, and entrepreneurs were greedy and manipulative. There was complete darkness. Although temporary lights provided direction until His appearance, Jesus, the real Light, was now here. As followers came to Him for answers concerning their conditions and how to address the problems of their day within the government, church and economy; His response was not an escape plan from the world nor ammunition to overthrow the government and church leaders, rather He reminded them that they are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Jesus recognized that the reason the world was in such darkness was because there was no light. He encouraged them to not run and hide from a world full of darkness but to make themselves visible to all by the works that they do. Over 2000 years later, much has not changed; we still face economic uncertainty, corruption, oppression, and a marketplace full of greed and manipulation. The consequences are mortgage crises, bankruptcy and corporate bailout by the government. The marketplace is in darkness and in need of light.
Light is something that enlightens and illuminates, and provides direction and awareness. Biblical Entrepreneurs and kingdom businesses are the light of the marketplace. Our economy is facing tremendous turbulence - illustrated by the mortgage and financial crises - and the only hope seems to be government bailout. We all know that the government cannot solve market problems; all it can do is bandage the problems or provide a short fix. Solutions to permanently address market problems must come from the market and not the government. The role of government is to provide sound economic policies that are market friendly. Since the solution of the market crisis must come from the market and not the government, Biblical Entrepreneurs and kingdom businesses must provide leadership to solve the problems of the market. We are the light of the world; the reason why there is darkness in the marketplace, causing uncertainty and financial crisis, is because we are not letting our light shine. Our light must not be kept under a bushel nor hidden. This is the moment to let our light so shine before men so they can see our good works and glorify our Lord who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Are you letting your light shine in your industry?
The Fall of Babylon
By Patrice Tsague
Thu, Oct. 16 2008 11:54 AM MST
With a mighty voice he shouted: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird! Revelation 18:2
Babylon, an ancient city in the Old Testament, lies between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It served as the capital of the Babylonian Empire and is one of the oldest cities in the ancient world. Babylon was founded by Nimrod the Great who attempted to lead people into building a tower that would reach the heavens. This was an act of pride and rebellion against God. As a result, God confounded their language. Babylon was known for its worship of false gods, its power, wealth, extravagance, and cruelty. It destroyed Jerusalem and deported the citizens of Judah. Jeremiah predicted its downfall. Eventually, Babylon fell. The book of Revelation uses the term “Babylon” as a symbol of a nation that has turned its back on God and turned the nations of the world with it. An angel in Revelation states, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” (Rev 14:8 “For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries” (Rev 18:3). This nation has raised many kings of the earth into prominence. It has made many business men and women rich and wealthy while promoting a way of life that is full of excess. It has rejected God and promoted lifestyles, products and services that do not glorify God and are inconsistent with the Word of God. This nation is predicted to suffer under the wrath of God because of its defiance and its rebellion against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When she falls, those who have benefited from her will stand at a distance because they will not want to go down with her. They will cry because they stand to lose a great deal by her downfall. They will be shocked because in an hour its great riches will come to nothing. Biblical Entrepreneurs must be discerning as they operate in the world but not be of the world, so that they do not fall prey to the lust and greed of this Babylonian spirit. We must be salt and light in the world rather than blending into the system; otherwise we will suffer the consequences of its downfall. We cannot be so determined to build our businesses that we buy into the Babylonian ways, because they lead to death and destruction. If we are so profit-driven that we compromise our values, we will lose our souls in the end. Our principle must be this: “It is better that I have a little and be right with my God, than to have a whole lot and not be right with my God. Pleasing Jesus is the most important thing in my life.” Everything else must be subject to that purpose.
Google 'reintroduces' gambling ads to Adwords
e-consultancy Mon, Oct. 20 2008 10:34 AM MST
Licensed gaming operators will from tomorrow be able to buy paid search ads. Google previously allowed free games to be promoted via Adwords, but a blanket ban (of sorts, as we shall discover) came into effect in summer 2007.
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord and His wanders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23-24
I have always seen business as one of those activities that could cause an atheist to become a Christian and a Christian to be converted to become a true follower of Christ. Business is an activity of great risks and those who truly succeed at it, whether Christian or not, go through great challenges before experiencing success and victory. Many have found Christ in the midst of failed businesses, and some in the midst of trials within the business. There are very few activities that test your faith as much as starting and growing a business to its fullest potential. Those who achieve business success must do business on great waters.
The unfortunate thing is that many Christians are unable to grow successful businesses because they are afraid of the great waters; they do not realize that the great waters are where you experience the power, provision and protection of God. In Psalm 107:23-24 the Psalmist describes those who see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep as entrepreneurs who go down to the sea in ships and do business on great waters. Furthermore, he says that as they do business on those great waters they are able to see God command and raise the stormy wind and as they cry out to the Lord in their trouble He brings them out of their distress; He calms the storm so that its waves are still and guides them to their desired haven.
Do you want to see the works of the Lord? Do you want to experience the goodness of God? Do you want to see His power and His saving grace? Move from the seashore and take your business in the middle of the sea onto the great waters. On the great waters there is a harvest, on the great waters there is mercy and the grace of God, on the great waters there is divine protection and provision. The great waters are symbolic of the turbulence of the market. They are the places where you take the most risks and must put your total trust and confidence in God. I am reminded of Luke 5:16, where the story is told of Jesus meeting four entrepreneurs who operated a fishing business. These fishermen had been fishing all night and had caught nothing because they were fishing in the shallow areas of the sea. Jesus came and borrowed their boats to use as a pulpit to preach to the multitude that was following Him, and as a thank you He instructed them about catching fish. His instruction was that they should launch out into the deep. In other words, they should go out into the great waters and there they would get the provisions of God.
Our concern about the great waters is that we will be totally insecure and the risk seems to be so high. What we must realize is that the place where we have the greatest protection and provision is in the great waters. You don’t need God in the shallow waters. You don’t need God to help you do want you can do yourself. You need God to help you do what you cannot do on your own. So you want to experience God’s power, God’s provision and God’s protection? Take your business to the next level, move from the shallow areas of the market and go out and do business on great waters - there you will experience His Power, His Provision and His Protection. As you do, thank Him for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to His children. Exalt Him among others and praise Him in the company of the elders for He is good and His mercy endures forever.
7 Business Lessons From the Master
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project International Ministry Tue, Jan. 06 2009 10:28 AM MST
After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. Matthew 25:19
In Matthew 25, there are important lessons that the master of the servants, who represents our Lord Jesus Christ, can teach us, based on how he managed his servants. Usually, we tend to focus on how the servants handled their talents. The real businessman in this story is the master. What business lessons can we learn from him? 1. He had some assets to invest - The master gave his servants his assets to invest; he made sure they did not remain idle while he was traveling (Matthew 25:14). An asset is something you have of value that can generate revenue. Make sure that you are always aware of your assets and how to put them to work. Revenue generation begins with proper asset allocation. 2. He prepared his servants - He gave them talents according to their abilities (Matthew 25:15-16). He made sure that his servants were equipped to handle the talents he gave them. He did not give them more than they could handle but what he knew they could manage. We must ensure that our staff members are properly trained and equipped to do what we expect of them. 3. He diversified his investments - The master put his investments in the hands of his most trusted servants. He could have given all the investments to the servant who was able to multiply them the most, but that would have increased his risk of entrusting all of his eggs to only one basket. Thus, he diversified them. Diversifying ensures that you minimize your risks, maximize your returns, and protect your assets against possible loss. 4. He delegated responsibility - After he gave them the talents, he went on a journey (Matthew 25:15). He left them to take full responsibility for their assignments. We must not micro-manage our staff members, but rather, we must demonstrate our trust in their abilities by allowing them to handle their responsibilities. 5. He held them accountable - After a long time the master returned and settled accounts with them (Matthew 25:19). Although he trusted their ability, he kept them accountable. A lack of accountability produces a lack of performance and even hurts morale. 6. He rewarded them for their productivity - Individuals are driven by incentives. Hopefully you have a strategic plan with clear measurable goals and objectives. Tie those goals to a reward system to teach your team that productivity will be rewarded. Do not reward people for what they should be doing already, and do not delegate their rewards to eternity, they need them now. 7. He disciplined the unproductive servant - The master rebuked the unproductive servant and gave his talent to the one with the 10 talents (Matthew 25:26-28). He confronted the unproductive servant, explained his disappointment, told him what he should have done, and administered the appropriate discipline. In the name of Christian love, some Christian owners or managers tend to create an undisciplined workplace. Remember, God chastises those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). If you do not have the courage to discipline your staff, you either do not love them or you are operating out of fear, which is not of God. Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). It is our responsibility to apply these principles in our business affairs; otherwise we will suffer the consequence of being disciplined by Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. That discipline may manifest itself in business failure and perhaps eventually in eternal punishment, as it did with the servant who had the one talent. Examine the way you handle your business affairs. How can you apply these principles to the way you do business?
California supporters of Proposition 8 are taking issue with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
Proposition 8 is designed to overturn the state Supreme Court decision legalizing homosexual “marriage.” Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute tells OneNewsNow why many voters are upset with the utility.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him“ 2 Chronicles 16:9a
Declining stock value, foreclosures, bankruptcies, rising unemployment, etc. The current global economic crisis makes you wonder where God is in all of this. Has God abandoned His creation? Is this the end time? Whether or not these are the end times, the reality is that God is with us. He is looking for His ambassadors to represent him in these times (2 Chronicles 16:9a). He has entrusted the work of His hands to His people. Psalm 8:6 tells us that we have the legal right and authority to take dominion over His creation. In Genesis we learn about a time in biblical history when the world faced an economic crisis worse than this one, but God had prepared a man named Joseph to respond and take authority over the situation (Genesis 41:57). Where are the Josephs of our times?
Unfortunately, today many of God’s people are afraid. They are just as anxious over the current crisis as the heathen. In some cases, the world cannot tell the difference between the children of God and non-believers. Many of God’s children have bought into an economic worldview that is worldly and secular. They have blended in with the world; they have lost their savor (see Matthew 5:13).
Biblical history shows that God’s people in the marketplace can retain a vital role in preserving the earth in times of crisis:
1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth. (Genesis 1:1)
2. God creates man in His image and His likeness.
3. God gives man dominion overHis creation.
4. Man violates God’s command. Sin enters God’s
creation. (Genesis 3:6)
5. God does not take away the gift of dominion
from man. (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 11:29)
6. Two groups now seek to take dominion over the
works of God’s hand. (Genesis 4:1-5)
a. Those who reject God and continue to walk in
disobedience to God.
b. Those who have repented of their sin and
returned back to God.
7. Man develops an economic system to exercise
the gift and responsibility of his dominion
mandate. (Psalm 8, Genesis 41:37 - 41)
a. Those who reject God are the ones who
control the macro economy (the overall
b.Those who are obedient to God have the
opportunity to develop micro economies (how
we govern our lives, our homes, our
businessesand the industries we are a part of)
that model God’s intent and influence the macro
economy. The current crisis is the result of the failure of believers to influence the macro economy. God is right here with us. His purposes will be done through us, His people, as we reject fear and know that we are here, even in turbulent times, to advance His kingdom.
Spend some time this week renewing your mind to the scriptures that promise God’s establishment of your work and well-being, even during crises. Related Scriptures: Psalm 33: 18-19; II Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 13:5.
They Base Money Advice on the Bible
By Rich Barlow
Boston.com Mon, Nov. 03 2008 08:55 AM MST
Financial adviser Alan Siegel typically begins his client meetings with a prayer. Even granting that a lot of investors may be on their knees to God during the current credit crisis, this is not standard operating procedure among money people.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 No matter your political affiliation, no matter your race, no matter your country of origin, and no matter who you voted for, all citizens of this great nation must concede the fact that November 4, 2008 will go down in our history as a defining moment. For those of us who are conservative Christians, there are considerable questions in the face of this significant period. Are we about to experience the end of our great democracy and the free enterprise system? Will those who hate this nation see this as a sign of weakness and take advantage? Will we now experience a fast-paced erosion of any spiritual edge we have in this nation? Those concerns may be valid considering the liberal views of our new president, and the Democratic congress, but I choose not to be overwhelmed by fear but to embrace faith. II Timothy 1:7 reminds us that “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” We can also be comforted by Romans 8:28 which states that “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” What could God be up to and what opportunities are presented by this recent event? Since the end of the civil rights movement there has been an unspoken divide between Christian blacks and whites. This divide is more evident on Sunday morning - which is still the most segregated time in our nation. Though the marketplace has been integrated through legislated policies and the incentives of trade, the church for the most part has remained segregated. Attempts have been made by many, but fear, lack of forgiveness, ignorance and perhaps other issues on both sides have created a wall so thick that even the Gospel has not been able to penetrate. I believe there is no greater time for reconciliation than now. America electing its first African-American president is evidence of a new America many did not realize existed. It forces some blacks to reject the excuses of the past and take responsibility to do their part to create a united America, and it forces some whites to face any prejudice or fear they may possess to embrace the possibility of a united America where there is “neither Jew nor Greek,” or racial division, but rather a uniting in love for one another because of our family status in Christ. In the development of the early church, one of the obstacles that stood in the way of the apostles in their attempt to build the church was the cultural prejudices and biases of their times. People were judged not by their relationship with Christ but by their cultural identification, ethnicity and gender. They could not work together to advance the Gospel of our Lord, fight the unrighteousness of their time, and reflect the image and likeness of Christ if they remained a divided body. They were challenged to come together as one so that the world might know Jesus Christ. As they did that, the Gospel was able to spread and God’s will advance in the earth. We now have the same opportunity to come together as believers inspired by our progress and optimistic of our future to reject the notion of a divided body and embrace the teaching of our Lord, that in Him there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. But we all are one in Christ brought together for a common purpose, with a common destiny: to love God, hate sin, love one another and be a light for Him in a dark and dying world.
FCC has Rare Opportunity to Rein in Time Warner, Inc.
By Jennifer Mesko
Citizen Link Tue, Nov. 18 2008 09:44 AM MST
Time Warner Inc. is seeking permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to spin off its cable division into a separate entity.
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Mon, Dec. 29 2008 08:44 AM MST
See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain. Exodus 25:40
Planning is the ability to tap into the mind of God and gather the necessary details on how the vision He gave you will be implemented. It requires that you carefully do your research so you can effectively support and communicate the assumptions you make throughout the plan based upon the revelations that the Lord has giving you. Planning is essential to the success of any business. It is key to not only starting the business, but to managing it as well. Can you imagine Moses building the tabernacle of God without a plan from God, or Jesus fulfilling His purpose on the earth without the blueprints of the Old Testament to refer to and be guided by? Effective management begins with planning, which leads to goal setting. Planning is the most important function in establishing a business. The sad reality is that most entrepreneurs do not bother to plan. Often, their excuses are time, know how, or they just feel that planning is not necessary. No doubt about it, planning is hard work. It involves thinking and thinking is hard work. In essence, planning is solving future problems before they occur, making decisions, speculating on the future (both far and near), setting objectives (long and short range), considering alternatives, and making choices. Planning for the future requires flexibility to cope with the unexpected. You must set timetables, establish priorities and decide on the methods to use and the people to involve. You must analyze the existing situation and formulate and apply targets, logic and creativity to all details in between. Planning gives purpose and direction to your daily activities. Without it, your activities are aimless and uncoordinated. Whether you are a start-up or growing business, if you have not developed a plan, it is essential that you do so, not for your sake alone, but also for the sake of those who are called to co-labor with you. Eliminate the excuses, overcome the procrastination, discipline yourself and write your plan. Just doing it will be a reward in itself.
University of WI to Offer Second Trimester Abortions
By Mark A. Minnella Jr.
Tue, Jan. 06 2009 01:23 PM MST
The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group that advocates for religious freedom, sent a message to The University of Wisconsin on Tuesday asking the State sponsored University to abandon their plan to provide second-trimester abortions at a Madison clinic. According to the ADF, the plan may violate a state law that prohibits state or federal money from being used to pay doctors or clinics to perform abortions.
UW Health spokeswoman Lisa Brunette acknowledged state-paid gynecologists would be providing the services while working for the university but that UW lawyers were comfortable that the plan is legal because the abortions would be paid for by patient fees, and insurance, not public money.
The University decided to begin offering abortion services for patients who are between 13 and 22 weeks pregnant after the December retirement of Dr. Dennis Christensen of the Madison Abortion Clinic which has left no local provider that performs second-trimester abortions. Sense his retirement, Planned Parenthood has taken over his clinic and now offers abortions services for those up to 18 weeks pregnant while referring those further along to a clinic in Milwaukee. The services offered by UW would make second-trimester abortions available in the Madison area again.
Another anti-abortions group, Pro-Life Wisconsin, also condemned the University and warned that its members would protest regularly outside the clinic should the plan go through.
“We strongly urge them to abandon this morally reprehensible, potentially illegal plan,” the group said in a statement.
This will be the first time in over 30 years that UW Health has performed abortions. About 8200 women obtained abortions in Wisconsin in 2007, the lowest total since the state started keeping track in 1974.
A Christian Mindset Towards Investing
By Randy Alcorn
From the Book Fri, Jan. 09 2009 11:14 AM MST
Not all risk-taking is gambling. But if the risk becomes great enough, it crosses the line. The stock market certainly involves risk. Yet for some it’s a reasonable place to invest. Especially if the choose their stocks carefully. Of course, no matter how careful we are it’s possible to lose a great deal of money, even all of it. Every decade or so, the market takes a huge dip that should remind us we cannot count on a steady upward movement. Some people are comfortable investing venture capital in young, emerging companies, taking more risk with the possibility of greater returns. (Also, by underwriting young companies, these investors arguably provide a valuable service to society.) Such risk taking requires a certain kind of personality – one that’s not prone to worry.
Those who invest in the stock market must be patient and detached enough so that investments don’t become their primary focus, distracting them from their single-minded purpose as Christ’s followers. Any Christian whose heart and happiness go up and down with the stock market has no business investing there. But because our hearts will naturally follow our treasures (Matthew 6:21), worry-free investing doesn’t come naturally.
Occasionally, I’ve invested small amounts of money. Fifteen years ago when I was a pastor, I put six hundred dollars in a particular computer company. Three months later it had tripled in value. I decided to sell in one morning and take the profits. As I was about to make the call, the phone rang. Someone from our church was in the hospital. I needed to get there immediately. I spent the whole day with one of our church families. The next morning when I called to sell the stock, I discovered that in one day the value of the shares had dropped dramatically. My visit to the hospital had cost eight hundred dollars.
Fortunately, I was able to realize that God was in that hospital call. Ministering to a needy family was far more important than the money. I didn’t need to worry about the “loss.” I was still four hundred dollars ahead (although the same principle would apply if I’d lost it all). The point is that it was God’s money, not mine. He wasn’t going to worry about it-why should I?
If we invest, we must understand and be comfortable with risk. When we evaluate whether or not to invest, we need to look not only at the money, but also at the amount of time, energy, and emotional attachment required. Sometimes, money is the smallest cost of investing.
From the book Money, Possessions, and Eternity By: Randy Alcorn
Thank you all for visiting MoralMoney.com and for caring enough to subscribe to our newsletter. Now, Moral Money also has a company blog that will cover the topics of stewardship and money in the bible as well as give all of our readers a chance to get to know the people who operate Moral Money every day. We will also be featuring guest blogs from Christian authors, financial professionals, and others. We hope that this blog will encourage healthy discussions that will promote spiritual growth and understanding of what God expects of us as stewards. Thank you again for reading and I look forward to getting to meet you.
This past Monday (1/12/09) the American Family Association called for a boycott of PepsiCo because of its aggressive support of pro-homosexual groups. Pepsi, who also owns Frito Lay, Dole Juices, Lipton Tea, Gatorade, Aquafina water, and Quaker Oatmeal, was one of the first soft drink companies to “break into” the gay market supporting the movement with both advertising dollars and large financial contributions to homosexual friendly groups and causes. In addition to over a million dollars give to pro-homosexual groups in the last year, PepsiCo also requires its employees to undergo sexual orientation and gender-identity/expression training “where they are taught to accept homosexuality”.
Twice in October the AFA contacted PepsiCo requesting a meeting to discuss the company’s role in the culture war. According to the AFA it is their desire that the company “remain neutral, neither supporting nor opposing the homosexual agenda”. Pepsi still has not addressed the companies support of the pro-homosexual movement but in November, Paul Boykas, Pepsi’s Public Policy Director, did respond to the AFA by acknowledging a half-million dollar grant that the company made to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) which was part of an initiative designed to “promote further understanding and equality in the workplace”.
Randy Sharp, the special projects director with AFA claims that it’s time for Pepsi to feel some heat from Christian consumers. “We’re asking people, number one, not to buy these products; and number two, and more importantly, to let Pepsi know that they’re joining the boycott by going [online] and signing the boycott pledge,” he explains.
In the past, PepsiCo has supported homosexual causes in many ways.
In 2002, the company amended it equal employment opportunity statement to include sexual orientations, and again in 2004 to add “gender identity and expression” as well as domestic partner benefits for same sex couples. It also began offering insurance coverage for transgender employees, including hormone therapy, and surgical procedures.
Also in 2002, PepsiCo’s Doritos brand chips launched a “gay” tease commercial where a singer appeared to be falling in love with one of his male audience members only to find that he is actually after his bag of chips.
In 2003, in Canada, a “bisexual” man comes out of the closet on a commercial and declared his love for Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. More recently, in the UK, a man drinks Pepsi to find the courage to ask someone out. He passes up two women and expresses interest in a man.
On June 29, 2004, the online magazine “The Gully” documented PepsiCo’s participation in the 35th annual Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Pepsi employees handed out free cans of Pepsi alongside members of the local “gay” softball league.
In its 2005 Super bowl spot, Pepsi featured “Queer Eye” star Carson Kressley, gaping at and attractive man on the street. Pepsi was also one of the first sponsors of PrideVision, a 24-hour gay TV network launched in Canada.
Pepsi has also given $500,000 to the Straight for Equality program (PFLAG) and another $500,000 to the Human Rights Campaign, a group that describes itself as “Americas largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality”, according to the AFA.
PepsiCo has received a 100 percent rating for the fifth year in a row from the Human Rights Campaign 2009 Corporate Equality Index – a system that ranks employers on a scale from 0-100 percent on their treatment of LGBT employees, consumers and investors.
The More Abundant Life
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Tue, Jan. 13 2009 09:43 AM MST
“The thief does not come except to steal, kill and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Each year for the last seven years, as a part of our strategic action plan for the year, we develop a theme that serves as a spiritual compass for us. That theme directs us and keeps us aligned in the Lord’s direction for the year. Identifying a theme keeps me personally focused and spiritually alert to make decisions throughout the year, to address challenges, and to embrace the opportunities of the year. Last year our theme was contentment. This theme enabled us to have a deeper appreciation for what the Lord had done for us, what we had, and who we were in Him.
This year, our theme is the more abundant life. For the next several weeks, the weekly devotional topics will amplify this theme. I pray you will be blessed as we journey together into how to walk in the more abundant life that Jesus promised all those who will believe in him. I also encourage you, if it is not a part of your practice already, to begin developing your own theme, based, of course, on your own plan for the year. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs, including kingdom entrepreneurs, do not make planning as a part of their business culture, which limits their ability to achieve God’s best for their business. Whatever you have accomplished without proactive, consistent planning, I guarantee, with proactive planning, you will do at least fifty percent more.
I will be honest, when the Lord first gave me this theme last year, my first impression was that it had to do with bringing us as an organization into abundant prosperity. But with further study and prayer, I concluded that even though the more abundant life does not preclude material prosperity, it is deeper than that. Material prosperity is merely one of the benefits of the more abundant life, but not the goal. You can have a materially prosperous life without an abundant life, but you cannot have an abundant life without being materially prosperous. Material prosperity is not defined by a certain lifestyle or a certain income, but rather it is defined by the quality of your lifestyle and income. Jesus was materially prosperous but had no income. Many of us today would not want to have the lifestyle he had since he did not live in a castle, did not drive a luxurious car, and did not wear fancy clothes and jewelry.
But he lacked nothing and was the most prosperous man who ever lived. Of course, there is nothing wrong with all those things I listed above. The problem is when you begin to use them to serve as a measurement of your spiritual well-being or worth. So what is an abundant life for the kingdom business steward and why is it so critical in today’s uncertain business environment?
Notice that Jesus began His statement in John 10:10 by first contrasting with the work of the enemy. He stated that the thief, meaning the devil, comes for three reasons only: to steal, kill, and destroy. So where there is theft, killing, and destruction, it is either the direct work of Satan or the result of sin which is caused by cooperating with the work of Satan.
Yes, I realize that the economy is bad, and we continue to hear nothing but bad news. But you do not have to buy into the lie that suggests you have to be a victim of the recession. If you do so, you are cooperating with the works of darkness that are seeking to bring an end to the plans of God in your life by destroying you and your business. As someone stated, you can choose not to participate in this recession and the devil cannot force you.
Of course, not all bad things we go through are caused by the enemy; some of them are caused by our own bad choices and sin in the world, but whatever the cause, God does give us a way of escape. The more abundant life is an existence in Christ that is overflowing with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not say you will have life which is mere existence, and he did not say you will have an abundant life which is an existence that is above the norm; rather, he said you will have a more abundant life, a life that overflows with more than you need.
Do you have an overflowing experience right now? Do you want an overflowing experience? Join me next week as will discuss how to get that experience. This experience will not only bless your business but your personal and family life. It will cause you to have a bounty year in mist of a drought, a harvest in midst of a famine, and hope in mist of despair, but you have to want it and seek it.
Merck to Only Sell Vaccines Made With Aborted Cells
By Mark A. Minnella Jr.
Wed, Jan. 14 2009 08:43 AM MST
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck & Co. has decided to abandon production and sales of its monovalent vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella. It instead plans to focus on its more popular combination vaccine MMR11 which accounts for 98 percent of sales but are produced using only cells from aborted babies. The monovalent vaccines, while only 2 percent of Merck’s sales, are important to pro-lifers because they are made from animal cells instead of aborted baby cells.
The ministry Children of God for Life is hoping to stir concern about the decision by launching a public awareness campaign. Debi Vinnedge, ministry spokesperson for Children of God for Life, was asked if there is any other source of “moral monovalent vaccines” available in America.
“In the United States right now, Merck is the sole provider for the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines,” she explains, “It’s almost like they have a monopoly here and a stranglehold on parents because when they make a decision to stop providing the moral doses, we’re left with no ethical alternative in the United States.”
Vinnedge hopes that Americans will join Children of God for Life in a campaign to continue the moral vaccines. “Well, we’re hoping that if enough parents and medical professionals, especially, complain that Merck will reconsider it.” Vinnedge also wrote Merck a letter, asking the company to reverse its decision. She believes that millions of pro-life Americans are willing to wait for, and even pay higher costs for alternative, moral vaccines.
A Japanese firm produces a vaccine that does not use cells from unborn babies, but it is not yet approved in the U.S.
The More Abundant Life (part 2)
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project Tue, Jan. 27 2009 11:59 AM MST
The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy; I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
In last’s week devotional, we defined the more abundant life as an existence in Christ that is overflowing with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We asked the question, “Do you desire this overflowing experience?” Assuming the answer was, “Yes” we will now address how to have this experience.
Walking in the more abundant life begins with abiding in Christ. This means that you find your existence, your very survival, and your source, in being connected to Him, the Vine. Jesus explains this when He calls Himself the True Vine in John 15:1-8: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.“
Jesus begins this statement by emphasizing that He is the True Vine, which means that there are other vines that are not true. Similarly, He states in John 10 that there are false shepherds who bring destruction, while He brings the more abundant life. These false shepherds include new age philosophers, psychics, the god of materialism, etc. These false shepherds lead entrepreneurs and other individuals to a material success that is void of a life of fulfillment and eternity.
The more abundant life is also a life that includes bearing much fruit. This “much fruit” is the overflowing experience, a life that provides you with more than enough in spiritual things and enhances your natural condition. This “much fruit”, because of the power of the Holy Spirit, overflows into wise business practices and profitable, long-term decision making for your Kingdom Business. This, of course, cannot be achieved outside of Christ.
How do you achieve this?
1. You must be attached to the True Vine. 2. You must allow Him to prune you. 3. His Word must abide in you.
The Apostle Paul understood this because he walked in the more abundant life. Despite prison, persecution, shipwreck, and a thorn in the flesh, he was able to write more of the New Testament than any other person and touched more territory with the Gospel than any other person in His time. What was his secret? His existence was in Christ.
Here is what he said: “But whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead“ (Philippians 3:7-11).
Do you want to overflow in your life and business? Get lost in Jesus, immerse yourself in His Word, and allow Him to prune your life through the trials you are currently facing so that you may bear much fruit.
Next week we will discuss the attributes of the abundant life.
The Nehemiah Project International Ministries Tue, Jan. 27 2009 12:17 PM MST
The thief does not come except to steal, kill and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Now that we understand the importance of having our existence in Christ, as we seek to achieve the more abundant life, let us discuss walking in the abundant life. Three attributes set apart the abundant life: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Today we will discuss righteousness.
As we stated before, the more abundant life is not about achieving material prosperity, though it does not preclude it. Jesus states in Matthew 6:32b that He knows that we have need of things. After stating this, Jesus says, “...but in order to acquire these things, you must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and then the material things you need will follow.
What does it mean to be righteous? You are righteous when you live your life in line with God’s will. None of us lives completely without sin while on this earth, but once saved, we can live by His power in such a way that He is pleased. His righteousness in us causes us to please God through our actions, thoughts, and behavior. This righteousness is a manifestation of having an existence in Christ. When we move in Him and have our being in Him, the fruit that we bear is a righteous lifestyle.
There are two types of righteousness: a righteousness which is of God and our own standard of righteousness. Unfortunately, many of us who have a zeal for the Lord and are serving Him in the marketplace fall prey to walking in our own standard of righteousness. The Apostle Paul states in Philippians 3:9 that he wants “to be found in Jesus, not having his own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ; a righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
He also states in Romans 10:2-3, speaking of the Israelites, that they had zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. In their zeal, they established their own righteousness because they were ignorant of the righteousness of God. What is this righteousness that is “of the law”?
It is actions and behaviors that are based on the letter of the law but ignorant of the spirit of the law. This zealous self-righteousness is using God’s word to realize one’s own will and desires without taking into account the effect on others. It is a stubborn pursuit of one’s rights based on scripture at the expense of love. Without any regard to the spirit of the law, it is a defense of one’s rights based on scripture. It is void of faith.
Those who have their own standard of righteousness may not be involved in immoral acts such as murder, adultery, and so forth, but their actions do not please God because they are based on their own sense of righteousness rather than God’s.
How do I know if I am walking in my own righteousness?
1. I always justify my position. 2. I do not operate out of love. 3. I seek more to be understood than to understand. 4. I fight for my rights rather than for what is right. 5. I am not led by the Spirit. 6. I lack compassion. 7. I am presumptuous.
Unfortunately, some of us Christians have earned a reputation of self-righteousness. This means that we have fallen into our own standards of righteousness, not God’s. As a result, our message of the Good News has at times been lost and often falls on deaf ears because we are perceived to be more concerned about our agenda than caring for people.
As a Kingdom Business steward, if you are not careful, you may fall into this trap. This trap of self-righteousness will impact the success of your business. Or even if your business succeeds financially, you will lose your ability to transform the marketplace because of your self-righteousness.
How then do I ensure that I operate in God’s righteousness? 1. I should not always justify myself. 2. I should operate in love. 3. I should seek to understand. 4. I should focus on what is right and not on who is right. (Ignore your rights; you have none.) 5. I should be led by the Spirit. 6. I should be compassionate. 7. I should not assume.
As Paul emphasizes in Philippians 3:9, to be found in Jesus is to operate in God’s righteousness through faith. God’s gift of faith enables us to lay aside worldly righteousness based on performance, self-sufficiency, maneuvering, and conniving. Instead, by faith we trust God and His goodness to justify and cover us. We rest in the love of Jesus Christ.
Walking and resting in God’s righteousness demonstrates that your existence is in Christ. Once you have established the foundation of your existence in Christ, and add to that God’s righteousness in your life, you are ready to build toward the subsequent steps of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. In next week’s devotional, we will discuss peace, the second attribute of the more abundant life.
<P>I received an email this morning, which I was asked to pass on. It was written by personal friend and American patriot, William Federer. For those of you who are unfamiliar, he is the author of 16 books including “Americas God and Country” which sits on the bookshelves of many politicians and judges today. He also ran for congress twice in Missouri against Dick Gephardt, one of the most powerful, pro-choice, Democrats in the house. He is a strong Catholic and a historian who has dedicated his time and resources to writing and teaching about Americas Christian heritage and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television interviews nationwide. You may know him from his “American Minute” daily radio broadcast which is heard around the country and read online by thousands. His books have been used by politicians, leaders, teachers, students and have even been used in the defense of Christianity in court cases. You can find out more about Bill, his books, and his not-for-profit organization <A href=“http://www.amerisearch.net/about.php”>here</A>.</P> <P>I have known Bill personally for a little over a year but he has been a personal friend of my families for over ten years. Most of the work he does is free of charge including his public speaking arrangements. He has given away thousands of books and CD’s over the years. There is currently a dire need to have intelligent, educated and dedicated people like Bill on the front lines of politics and culture, fighting for true Christianity and our rights in America today. His letter is posted below.</P> <P><B>Letter from Bill Federer:</B></P> <P>You may remember I campaigned for Congress against the Dick Gephardt!</P> <P>Well, I want to update you on what I have been doing these last four years!</P> <P>I have been a voice for conservative principles, speaking on American noble history on over 1,600 radio and television interviews in every State of the Union, including CSPAN, FOX, NPR, INSP, TCT, Coral Ridge Hour, SALEM Radio, BOTT Radio Network, USA Radio, American Family Radio, Phyllis Schlafly Live, G. Gordon Liddy, Armstrong Williams and others.</P> <P>I have spoken in person in over 100 cities, from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC to Mount Rushmore, to San Diego to Seattle and Boise to Tampa. (Let me know if you want me to speak at an event:<A href=“mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</A>)</P> <P>The American Minutes, which you may know are sent out to thousands via the Internet, are broadcast everyday on over 100 radio stations, and internationally on a worldwide television network.</P> <P>I also have a weekly 30 minute television program on the TCT Network, broadcasting into 170 nations, titled “Faith in20History.” (We have received responses from South Africa to the Philippines.)</P> <P>I have spoken in hundreds of churches, pastor’s conferences, American Legions Conventions, political events, schools, business lunches, university lectures, literary societies and military bases.</P> <P>I have published 5 more books. (bringing the total to 16), plus written chapters for other books. (see <A href=“http://www.amerisearch.net/store/” target=_blank>http://www.amerisearch.net/store/</A>)</P> <P>There is an URGENT need to getinformation to the public<SPAN style=“TEXT-DECORATION: underline“>before policies are put in place to SILENCE free-market ideas and traditional Judeo-Christian voices.</SPAN></P> <P>Will you help me?</P> <P>Articles referencing or quoting me have appeared inUSA Today, Human Events, New York Times, Washington Times, Washington Post, Roll Call, Harper’s Magazine, Insight Magazine, WorldNetDaily.com, TownHall.com, NewsMax.com, Catholic.org, Crosswalk.org, CitizenLink.com, as well as Federal Court Cases.</P> <P>I have given away thousands of books to students, teachers, schools, prisons, chaplains, missionaries20and military personnel - books such as:</P> <P>AMERICA’S GOD AND COUNTRY Encyclopedia of Quotations</P> <P>WHAT EVERY AMERICAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THE QUR’AN – A History of Islam & the United States</P> <P>GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER – His Life & Faith in His Own Words</P> <P>BACKFIRED-A Nation Born For Religious Tolerance No Longer Tolerates Religion<BR><BR>And the latest book:</P> <P>ENDANGERED SPEECHES – How the ACLU, IRS & LBJ Threaten Extinction of Free Speech</P> <P>Paul Weyrich ‘s last book endorsement was of my latest book <A href=“http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=39662” target=_blank>http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=39662</A><A href=“http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=39662” target=_blank> </A></P> <P>In Paul Weyrich’s article “Movement to Silence Pastors and Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine,” he wrote: </P> <P>“Read Federer’s book to understand how American churches fit into the political process. Then gear up for the fight on the re-christened Censorship Doctrine and the Internet.” </P> <P><SPAN style=“TEXT-DECORATION: underline“><BR>New doors</SPAN> are opening every day for me to make <SPAN style=“TEXT-DECORATION: underline“>an even greater impact</SPAN> on the policy debate in America and the world.</P> <P><SPAN style=“TEXT-DECORATION: underline“>But I need your help!</SPAN></P> <P>Just imagine how many people can be reached <SPAN style=“TEXT-DECORATION: underline“>with your support!</SPAN></P> <P>Can you make a one-time, tax-deductible gift to AMERICAN PRIORITIES FOUNDATION (Congressional District Program - 501(c)3) to help me make up an urgent budget shortfall?</P> <P>Or can you give a regular monthly amount to help reach out in a more powerful way!</P> <P>We are asking for 100 individuals to help us with a generous gift of $1000.</P> <P>If you are not able to, please consider $500 or $250.</P> <P>Your donation to AMERICAN PRIORITIES is an investment in a proven voice to help educate and change millions of minds in America to conservative principles.</P> <P><BR>The AMERICAN PRIORITIES on line donation page is <A href=“http://cdprograms.newc.com/Templates/SearchDetails.aspx?ProgID=5008552” target=_blank>http://cdprograms.newc.com/Templates/SearchDetails.aspx?ProgID=5008552</A></P> <P>Or you can send a check to:</P> <P>AMERICAN PRIORITIES</P> <P>P.O. Box 4363</P> <P>St. Louis, MO 63123</P> <P>Thank you in advance <SPAN style=“TEXT-DECORATION: underline“>at this urgent time!</SPAN></P> <P><BR>May God abundantly bless you!</P> <P>Sincerely,</P> <P>Bill Federer</P> <P><A href=“http://www.americanminute.com/” target=_blank>http://www.americanminute.com/</A></P> <P>P.S. If you have not already, sign up to receive the free AMERICAN MINUTE daily emails at <A href=“http://www.amerisearch.net/index.php” target=_blank>http://www.amerisearch.net/index.php</A></P> <P>P.P.S. Even if you can’t give$1000, butonly$100 or less, it is a great blessing to us and tremendously appreciated!</P> <P>Please donate here <A href=“http://cdprograms.newc.com/Templates/SearchDetails.aspx?ProgID=5008552” target=_blank>http://cdprograms.newc.com/Templates/SearchDetails.aspx?ProgID=5008552</A></P> <P>You are enormously appreciated!</P>
The More Abundant Life (part 4)
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project Wed, Feb. 04 2009 12:36 PM MST
The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
Once you reject your own righteousness and put on the righteousness of God, the second attribute to the more abundant life is peace. Peace is the inner tranquility and poise of the believer whose trust is in God through Jesus Christ.
The world sees peace as a lack of external conflict or trouble; however, in God’s kingdom, peace can be present in the midst of conflict and trouble. Peace gives you the internal comfort and courage to face difficult situations and external problems. Without God’s internal peace, you cannot address problems effectively nor can you obtain external peace.
The prophecy in Isaiah 9:6 describes Jesus as the Prince of Peace. A prince is the son of a sovereign ruler; so Prince of Peace means that Jesus is the bearer, or ambassador, of peace. When Jesus talks about giving us the more abundant life, He is talking about a life that will allow us to experience peace with God, with ourselves, with nature, and with those who choose peace. This peace is not the empty promises that the world offers through materialism, false religions, and false treaties. It is a godly peace that passes all earthly understanding.
This peace is beyond the world’s comprehension. In the midst of an economic meltdown, you have peace; in the midst of bad news from the doctor, you have peace; in the midst of limited cash flow, you have peace; and in the midst of uncertainty about the future, you have peace. This peace is not circumstantial, but rather it is based on a complete trust in God through Jesus Christ.
As a kingdom business steward, how do you achieve this peace? You achieve it by abiding in Christ. Here are five things that keep you abiding, or finding your existence, in Him:
1. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which gives you peace with God 2. Keeping your mind on Him 3. Being spiritually-minded no matter the circumstances 4. Prayer - drawing near to Him with your worship and expressing your needs to Him 5. Keeping the Word of God in your heart
This peace disappears the minute you take your eyes off Jesus and begin to focus on yourself or your situation and not on His perspective and promises.
Why is this peace so necessary? It is a peace that the world cannot take away, and it guards our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This peace is a spiritual shield around your heart and your internal nervous system to protect you against sudden heart attack or mental breakdown.
Many people in business have experienced heart failures and mental breakdowns as a result of bad news that they received about their businesses. This news can range from market changes, loss of contracts, loss of investments, or lawsuits. Remember, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy; he uses people, things, and information to achieve his goal. But Jesus came that you may have life abundantly.
What are you facing right now? Are you experiencing the abundant life? Do you have a peace that passes all understanding? If not, seek the Prince of Peace, set your mind on Him, remain spiritually-minded, pray, and put His Word in your heart. Before you know it, peace will start coming over you. Although your problems may not disappear, this peace will give you comfort and the courage to face your problems; this is what it means to walk in the more abundant life.
Next week, we will discuss the final and most critical attribute of the more abundant life; joy in the Holy Spirit
New York Times Caught in Donation to Planned Parrenthood
By Life Site News
Life Site News Tue, Feb. 17 2009 08:34 AM MST
NEW YORK, February 13, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Times Watch, a project of the Media Research Center, dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times, reports that the NYT parent company has donated money to Planned Parenthood.
Times Watch’s Clay Waters reports today: “When it comes to advancing a liberal agenda, the New York Times not only gives at the office through slanted reporting, but also through the New York Times Company Foundation, according to the Foundation’s 2007 annual report, released in May 2008.“
Waters adds: “Matching the liberal advocacy carried out every day in the pages of the Times, the New York Times Co. handed over a $5,000 grant to an abortion group, Planned Parenthood of New York City, for ‘educational outreach in schools and the community,’ the second of two installments.“
The Nehemiah Project Tue, Feb. 17 2009 09:16 AM MST
The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
We began this series by defining the more abundant life as an existence in Christ that is overflowing with righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. We then stated that there are three attributes for walking in the more abundant life: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
So far, we learned that righteousness is living your life in line with God’s will by His power and not our own. We also learned that peace is the inner tranquility and poise of the believer whose trust is in God through Jesus Christ. This peace is not an absence of trouble, but rather a result of trusting Him in a way that gives us comfort and courage to face trouble.
Now we will conclude our series with how to experience joy in the Holy Spirit. Joy in the Holy Spirit is an emotion of profound happiness that comes from the Spirit of God. Jesus came to bring joy to the world, especially to those who would believe in Him. Because of a deep, inward excitement about the blessings of God, joy produces outward expressions of praise. Sincere expressions of joy, along with God’s righteousness, are the outward evidence of the abundant life.
Why is this joy important? The Bible states in James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” And Hebrews 12:2 states that “For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame.“
Joy is important because it gets us through the difficult moments of life. Joy is the outward expression of an internal assurance of God’s ability to see me through. It is confidence that the challenge I now face is not in vain, but that there are great rewards that await me as a result of my obedience. I possess joy when I believe He sees me and intimately knows my needs in this situation. He is with me and on my side even when circumstances are beyond my control. He promises to work all things for my good, and He is faithful. What great happiness and joy to have confidence in His nearness and promises!
A lack of joy says that I am not confident that I will make it and that there is no reward for my suffering. You cannot lack joy in the Holy Spirit and experience the abundant life at the same time. This is critical, since the more abundant life is a blessed life; it is an exciting life; it is a life that is completely dependent on the Vine, Jesus.
How do you experience joy in the Holy Spirit?
Ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit
Seek God’s wisdom to handle trials with joy and hope
Choose obedience to God’s Word
Assure yourself of His promises, even during difficult times
As a kingdom business steward, how do you know you have joy in the Holy Spirit?
You exemplify the fruit of the Spirit in times of pressure.
You persevere through trials and challenges.
You rejoice in the midst of difficulties.
You choose obedience to God’s instructions no matter the cost.
There is no greater moment than now to walk in this attribute. While the world is anxious, angry, and afraid of the current economic meltdown, kingdom business stewards allow the limitation of credit, the loss of contracts and clients, the cash flow challenges, and the reduction in our investments to cultivate patience in us. Patience produces godly character. In times like these, we are challenged to conform to God’s Word like never before. We spend more time drawing near to Him and experience deeper fellowship with Him. As a result, our faith, trust, and joy increase and mature. We rejoice because we know that “our light affliction which is for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
My prayer for you is that the Lord will cause you to walk in the more abundant life this year like never before, that you will be immune from the ups and downs of the economy, that your business will prosper in the midst of lack, that He will work everything together for your good, and your existence will always be found in Him. May He give you wisdom to manage any crisis or challenge that comes your way, and may He prosper the works of your hands. I pray that He will show you favor with your customers, vendors, creditors, and employees. Above all, I pray that righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit will be the evidence and testimony-to you and others-of the abundant life of Christ in you.
The Nehemiah Project International Ministries Fri, Feb. 20 2009 08:56 AM MST
I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given me to do. John 17:4
To finish means to complete an assignment, or to bring a work to its end or to the point of self-sustainability. How many unfinished projects do you have? Before you allow yourself to start a new business or embark on a new project, do you finish the previous one?
Entrepreneurs are often great starters, but poor finishers. They get a thrill out of starting a work, a business, or a project, but later get bored with the routine of managing and developing the work. To deal with this boredom, they often make the mistake of taking on another work or starting a new business. Some even allow themselves to get distracted solely because they are experiencing difficulties in the current work they are doing. Unfortunately, in doing this they compromise their ability to finish their previous work since they now have a divided focus. This does not glorify God. As kingdom business stewards, we do not just start businesses, but our aim should be to take those businesses to their end. This means we must be committed to building our businesses to the point of self-sustainability beyond our ongoing day-to-day involvement. Too many of us enjoy starting, but we are not committed to finishing because finishing is hard work. It requires perseverance, discipline, focus, and determination. Successful Biblical Entrepreneurs are finishers.
Scripture is very clear about the importance of finishing. Luke 14:28-30 states, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”
After finishing the work that His Father had given him, Jesus states in John 17: 4-5, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
The Apostle Paul, after finishing his work, states: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)
What does it take to take a kingdom business to the finish? Taking a kingdom business to the finish means that the business is either self-sustainable without your day-to-day involvement, or you pass it on to the next generation.
If you are the first generation to build the business, your commitment should be to lay a foundation so solid that it can withstand at least two generations beyond you just as God gave a vision to Abraham, who passed it on to Isaac, and Isaac passed it on to Jacob. Each of them kept referring back to the vision that God gave Abraham. Jacob became Israel; the manifestation of the vision God gave Abraham. It took several other generations before they walked physically into the Promised Land and became a nation. Had Abraham not laid a solid foundation, the vision would not have come to pass. Here are some things to consider as you seek to lay a course to finish:
1. Make sure you have a clear mission and vision. 2. Count the cost. 3. Have a clear strategic plan. 4. Plan to work hard. 5. Define the finish point for you (have a clear exit strategy). 6. Resist the temptation to be divided in your focus. 7. Focus and persevere during difficult times.
Wherever you are in the development of your business, approach your plans with a sense of urgency and soberness about the limited nature of time. Although you have control over your plan and your work, you do not have control over time. Therefore work as though today is your last day, but hope as though you have forever - because you do. Your last day will be a transition from here to eternity with Jesus. Make a list of all projects that you have not finished and develop a timeline to begin working toward finishing them. As you work and pray about each step, the Lord will give you the grace to finish so that you will one day hear those wonderful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:21.
Faithshares, the first faith-based exchange-traded fund provider will open for business this summer with the rollout of five new ETFs. Headed by Tom Phillips and Garrett Stevens of T.S. Phillips Investments, the company seeks to offer ETFs that are designed to adhere to the investing principles of five major Christian denominations-Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and non-denominational. While none of the funds will invest in biblically immoral activities such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography or defense equities, there was no mention of whether the funds will avoid companies that support same sex marriage or domestic benefits for unmarried couples.
Faithshares will target small-scale investors such as hospitals with religious affiliations or individuals looking to align their investments with those of their church. Scott Burns, director of ETF research at Morningstar, noted that the expense fee is high for an ETF, charging 90 basis points when most sector-specific ETFs fees rarely exceed 50 bps. When asked about the increased fees, Stephens noted that Faithshares’ main competition is not other ETFs but rather other faith-based funds, such as The Timothy Plan and Ave Maria, which typically average fees of 140-150 bps. He added that the fees are higher than typical ETFs because the company is a start-up firm but the fees will go down as assets increase. According to FundAction.com, The Timothy Plan and Ave Maria Mutual Funds who both offer Christian faith-based mutual funds, currently have no plans to launch ETFs.
Notre Dame University Establishes Pro-Life Fund
By Kathleen Gilbert
LifeSiteNews.com Tue, Feb. 24 2009 08:58 AM MST
SOUTH BEND, Indiana, February 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Notre Dame University has established a new pro-life fund to in an effort to bolster the Catholic school’s pro-life identity and activity.
The Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life will be conducted under the auspices of the University’s Center for Ethics and Culture.
Despite the broad title, the school says the fund is intended to protect vulnerable human life in its earliest stages. “While the sanctity of human life ought to be protected in all stages, these beginning stages are particularly vulnerable ones in our contemporary culture and represent points at which human dignity and human life are subject to the most egregious attacks,” states a University press release announcing the establishment of the fund.
The University said the main purpose of the fund is “to educate Notre Dame students in the rich intellectual tradition supporting the dignity of human life, specifically in its beginning stages, and to prepare those students - through personal witness, public service and prayer - to transform the culture into one in which every human life is respected.”
The fund is also intended “to encourage relevant understanding, support and involvement among the administration and faculty; and to promote activities and projects that will enhance the university’s institutional involvement and reputation as a leader in issues pertaining to the dignity and worth of human life in its beginning stages.”
The fund is an expendable fund, which means that money within the fund can be spent immediately as needed for purposes deemed worthwhile and within the scope of the fund’s premise. Allocations from the new fund will be determined by a committee of five pro-life scholars, including the chair, David Solomon, who is director of the Center for Ethics and Culture.
Funds will go to such causes as transportation to the March for Life, supporting student pro-life clubs, pro-life speakers, seminars, research, and curriculum development, among other possibilities.
The University explained that the fund would narrow itself to advocating respect for life in its earliest stages because, while the school already addresses human-rights issues such as endemic poverty and genocide, right-to-life issues “have generally received short shrift at Notre Dame.” The student right-to-life club, it noted, currently receives little financial support or encouragement from the administration, and the pro-life identity enjoys very little recognition in such areas as the school’s website and in its freshman orientation program.
“The Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life is therefore specifically designed to fill this void at Notre Dame and to fund activities that will complete the Circle of Sanctity of Life commitment so central to an institution claiming Catholic character,” stated the release.
Members of the Center for Ethics and Culture were unavailable for comment.
The Nehemiah Project Mon, Feb. 23 2009 01:00 PM MST
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves.’” Genesis 1:28
The gift of dominion is a divine legal right and power given to man by God to exercise stewardship over the works of God’s hand. It took God six days to create the world and then He rested. But before resting He created man and delegated to man the responsibility to manage the earth.
God has ordained three institutions through which we can exercise the gift of dominion: the family, which is primarily responsible for procreation; the government, which is primarily responsible for law and order, and business, which is primarily responsible for provision.
Business is a tool used to exercise the gift of dominion in the marketplace. Our effectiveness through business - to subdue, multiply and have dominion over the resources God made - depends on our understanding of how business works. Unfortunately, after sin God did not limit this gift of dominion to those who would accept Him, but made it available to every human being.
This gift has enabled man to tame animals, walk on the moon, discover new territories, develop major medical discoveries and technological advancements, build bridges, airplanes, and automobiles - even weapons of mass destruction. Every major invention, discovery or achievement man has been able to accomplish, is as a result of this age-old gift.
Throughout the history of the world, many discoveries, innovations and inventions were developed by Christians motivated by this call and for the purpose of serving humanity. The difference between the Christian who exercises the gift of dominion and the non-Christian is that the Christian is motivated by the desire to glorify his God and serve humanity, while the nonbeliever is motivated by a self-centered ambition, pride and personal greed. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” Genesis 11:6.
Successful kingdom business entrepreneurs walk in dominion. They trust God’s promises to bless them. They are not intimidated by market changes or circumstances, but rather take control over the market and their circumstances. They have an internal belief of God’s destiny for their lives and do not succumb to fear and doubt. They maintain the courage to press on no matter what the circumstances. “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:6
To effectively walk in the gift of dominion, you must posses some, if not all, of these characteristics:
· Faith - a strong belief in a supernatural power that controls human destiny. · Knowledge - skills acquired by a person through experience or education · Discipline - a systematic approach to life that requires willpower · Industriousness - the ability to work hard and persevere · Organization - to form into a structured or coherent whole · Planning - creating a series of steps to be carried out by a specific time · Follow-through - to bring something to its end, to a finish.
Have you allowed the forces of the market to intimidate you? Are you in doubt as a result of your current circumstances? Reflect upon the following scriptures: Psalm 8, Jeremiah 29:11, Mathew 17:20. Begin to exercise the unconditional gift of dominion that God has given you.
The Wall Street Journal designated the Eventide Gilead Fund (ETGLX) as the top-performing multi-cap growth fund for the month of January. Funds considered were ranked by year-to-date total returns. The Gilead Fund outperformed the S&P 500 by a large margin by showing an increase in value of 2.9% in a period where Wall street Journal indicates that only two other multi-cap growth funds increased in value.
The Gilead Fund is a no-load, multi-cap growth fund that seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation. It invests in a broad range of equity securities without limitation to market capitalization, with the majority of its holdings falling into the mid- and small–cap range. The advisor for the Fund is Eventide Asset Management, a Boston-based investment advisory firm which reviews potential investments to ensure that the securities chosen for the fund do not conflict with core Christian values. Eventide seeks to avoid investing in companies that support abortion, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, weaponry, violent video gaming, animal cruelty, or environmentally irresponsible actions.
The Gilead Fund, launched on July 1, 2008, is Eventide’s first mutual fund.
Below is an email that I recieved this morning from Bill Johnson of the American Decency Association. It’s nice to see someone keeping track of who is doing things right. If you would like to contact Bill, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there a company today we can support? Maybe we need to come up with a good will list and really praise them and ask people to send encouraging letters to them. I am getting a bit overwhelmed with the negative news and am beginning to lose heart and hope. The evil forces are certainly set upon destroying our country. Maybe love is the secret weapon. Maybe we need to trust in Jesus. Let’s start finding people we can reward. What do you think?
We have no national shopping list nor does any organization that we are aware of. We believe that it is next to impossible to develop such a list.
Prescriptions? Gasoline? Groceries? Automobile? Department store?
Where to shop for items where we can be assured that our monies aren’t going to empower pornography, indecency, obscenity, abortion, gambling, etc.?
It isn’t that we take delight in listing companies that sponsor trash.
Through this mechanism, however, you can see who some of the regular purveyors of trash.
But, we do believe it’s possible for you to develop your own list - a list of businesses in your area that only those in your area might be aware of.
Below represents a few of my thoughts regarding a small list of companies - mostly positive --
Russ’ Restaurant - it’s a small restaurant chain in West Michigan that is Christian-based and doesn’t do business on Sundays and even clearly advertises their policy on exit signs off the expressways [Not open on Sunday]. My wife and I go to one of these locations on a fairly regular basis.
Chick-fil-A - this is a fairly broad-based company doing business in a variety of regions across America. It is Christian-based and doesn’t do business on Sundays. It is a privately held company. We have no Chick-fil-A in our area but when we are traveling we will go out of our way to give them our business.
Bob Evans - They seldom advertise on concerning television programs and when they have been contacted they have a strong tendency to avoid that program in the future.
Ukrops - this is a grocery store chain in Virginia. I was referred to it while on break. It says on its webpage, as part of its leadership qualities,
- “Respect for Diversity”. What does that mean?
Just another example of how difficult it can be.
A friend of this ministry stated “Generally when we see ‘respect for diversity’ we ignore it, because the language is totally without definition.
I think the public perception of diversity is leaning towards acceptance of the homosexual community, but as we look at company reports, the definition is more universally used to include race, color, creed, etc, and probably more so than homosexuality.
We certainly don’t cast stones at companies for hiring homosexuals because all of God’s creation has a right to make a living. If, however, diversity is defined by a company in its publication as a policy that officially acknowledges or supports (time, facility, money) the homosexual agenda, then we respond accordingly and place the company on our do-not-buy list.
Meijer - this is a very popular grocery store in the Midwest. It is based in Grand Rapids. However, though there is much that is commendable about Meijer, they do display certain magazines of the Cosmopolitan variety without shields at the checkout counter though they have made an effort to shield Cosmopolitan. [However, that effort is spotty at best at certain locations.] We make our concerns known quite regularly and will be doing so again very soon.
Hobby Lobby - They do not do business on Sundays.
Here are a few phrases from their purpose statement: “
Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.
Offering our customers an exceptional selection and value.
Serving our employees and their families by establishing a work environment and company policies that build character, strengthen individuals, and nurture families.
Providing a return on the owners’ investment, sharing the Lord’s blessings with our employees, and investing in our community.
We believe that it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.”
Ace Hardware - a very infrequent advertiser on television.
Why do we care? It doesn’t tell us specifically in the Bible anywhere where we are to shop or not shop. Yet, we believe that it is part of being a good steward. “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:17]
A number of Bible verses come to mind.
“Test all things. Hold fast what is good. Abstain from all forms of evil. [I Thessalonians 5:21-22]
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. [Ephesians 5:11]
“.. but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” [I Peter 1:15,16]
What about you? What guides your decision making? What Bible verses?
What places do you have confidence in your area shopping? Help encourage others by providing me your thoughts. Thanks.
Lastly, remember this.
Indeed, we are strangers in a foreign land. That’s what the Bible says.
Have The Moral Money Blog Delivered To Your Email
Tue, Mar. 10 2009 07:23 AM MST
The Moral Money Blog is published 3 times weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and can be delivered directly to your email. it focus’ on an in-depth study of what the bible teaches about money and stewardship written by the President of Moral Money, Mark A. Minnella Jr. It’s loaded with bible studies, question and answer posts and updates. And it’s FREE!
To subscribe to the blog, just visit www.MoralMoney.com/blog and enter your email in the field in the right-hand column.
Norte Dame Extinguishes 'Queer Film Festival'
By Mark A. Minnella Jr.
Wed, Mar. 18 2009 02:22 PM MST
Sense 2004, homosexual activists had been allowed to hold a yearly “Queer Film Festival” on the campus of Norte Dame University. According to a February 16, article in The Observer, “not only will there be no gay film festival this year, it’s probably kaput for good.”
This is thanks to TFP Student Action who led multiple petitions of protests requesting that the event be canceled. As a result, thousands of emails and letters poured into the administration offices of Notre Dame, calling for a restoration of the institutes Catholic identity. Concerned Catholics also pledged to pray for students, that they receive the courage to resist the dictatorship of relativism, and reject the promotion of homosexual films and plays.
The University did not immediately dispose of the festivals, but slowly, over a period of time, the “Queer Film Festival” organizers were quietly instructed to delete the words “festival,””gay,””lesbian,” and “queer” from the event titles. According to pro-homosexual advocate O’Neil in The Observer, “That nearly killed it”. Last year’s pro-homosexual film event at Notre Dame was such a failure that “no plans were made to stage it again this year,” he stated.
The “Queer Film Festival” was known in the past hosting extremely offensive events that flew in the face of Catholic morality including featuring the author of the blasphemous production “Corpus Christi” which portrays Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles as homosexuals.
Look At The Birds
By Patrice Tsague
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Mon, Mar. 30 2009 10:39 PM MST
Look at the birds of the air,
for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father
feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Which of you by worrying can
add a cubit to his stature? Matthew 6:26
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, man’s foundational needs are
physiological. These needs - food, drink, and clothing - are the literal
requirements for human survival. If they are not met, the human body cannot
continue to survive. Although Maslow’s hierarchy is incomplete - in that it
does not include man’s need for God - it does speak to those natural elements
that cause man to worry and become anxious. Nothing creates anxiety and worry
like the feeling that one will run out of food and natural provision.
This is why Jesus addresses this issue head-on during His Sermon on the Mount.
He states in Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you do not worry about your
life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you
will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”
As if that were not enough, He continues in verse 26 to challenge us to look at
the birds of the air and learn from them.
What can we learn from birds?
Jesus states, “For they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet
your heavenly father feeds them.” Whoa, you mean birds do not work, yet
our God feeds them? Now isn’t this a violation of God’s economic principles of
sowing and reaping? The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in II Thessalonians
3:10b, that “If anyone will not work, neither should he eat.” God
Himself states in Genesis 3:19a “In the sweat of your face you shall eat
bread, till you return to the ground.”
Why does God give birds preferential treatment? He does not. Jesus is teaching
us about a law higher than the law of sowing and reaping-the law of
sovereignty. The law of sovereignty is God’s complete authority and power over
His entire universe. The way laws work is that any law can be overridden by a
higher law. For instance, according to the law, it is illegal to drive past a
red traffic light. However, if there is a policeman driving his car with his
siren on, not only can he pass the red light, but if you are blocking his car,
you must move to make way for him.
The law of sowing and reaping states that if a man will not work (sow), he
shall not eat (reap). The law of sovereignty, however, states that God has
authority and rule over the entire creation, and He will provide for anyone He
chooses in any way He chooses. The lesson here is that if God can feed a
non-working bird that is not made in His image and likeness, what about you and
me, who not only are made in His image and likeness, but also work to bring Him
Why did Jesus use this example? I imagine that He was ministering to people who
were worried about their provision, not necessarily because they were not
willing to work, but perhaps because they could not find jobs as a result of
discrimination towards Jews in a Roman colony.
In their day, just like today, there was possibly limited job availability.
Maybe there were people who had jobs, but who were not making enough money to
meet their basic needs. As one of my friends puts it, they had more days in the
month than they had money. I am sure that there were businessmen in His
midst who were unfairly and heavily taxed which impacted their profitability.
Some may have been forced to close their businesses, and others may have faced
low demand since customers themselves were economically challenged.
The questions the people must have asked Jesus were, “How will we feed
ourselves and our families? How will we pay our workers and pay our
expenses?” Jesus responded by saying, “Do not worry; do not be
anxious; do not take the problem into your own hands. God has not forsaken you;
man does not live by bread alone.“
To illustrate His point, He pointed to the birds of the air. God, the Sovereign
Ruler of the universe, the Sustainer of life, the Creator of all things, the
Faithful Wonder Himself feeds them.
El Elyon - the Lord most high,
El Shaddai- the God who is sufficient for the needs of His people,
Jehovah Elohim - the Eternal Creator,
El Olam - the Everlasting God,
Jehovah Jireh - the Lord our Provider,
Jehovah Shalom - the Lord our Peace,
Jehovah Shammah - the Lord is present,
Jehovah Rohi - the Lord our Shepherd,
Jehovah Huseemu - the Lord our Maker,
Jehovah Eloheenu - the Lord our Maker,
He cares for them!
Now if God takes care of birds that do not work, what about you and me who are
not only created in His image and likeness and whose difficulty is not as a
result of slothfulness on our part or even our lack of a desire to work? Will
God not take care of us in the midst of circumstances outside our control? Even
if our circumstances are due to mistakes on our part, we serve a God who is
merciful, kind, gentle, generous, forgiving, and who works all things “together
for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His
purpose” Romans 8:28.
How are you doing? Have you lost your job? Is revenue down? Are you worried
about meeting your needs, meeting payroll, or paying the bills? Follow Jesus’
instructions: look at the birds of the air and know that you have more
value than they do. My prayer for you is that, “my God shall supply
all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
Philippians 4:19. Think about His goodness in the morning and thank Him for His
faithfulness as you lay down at night. He will take care of you.
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Fri, Apr. 24 2009 09:36 AM MST
/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;}
panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073750139 0 0 159 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
Therefore give your servant an understanding heart to
judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to
judge this great people of yours? I Kings 3:9
If you could make only one request to God, what would that request be? Would
you ask for money, fame, more customers, long life, or good health?
Young Solomon, King David’s son, had just been handed the kingdom by his
father, while at Gibeon the Lord appeared to him and informed him that he could
request anything. God was prepared to grant it to him. Solomon did not ask for
long life for himself, nor for riches, or the life of his enemies, but he asked
for understanding to discern justice.
This request pleased God, and the Lord granted Solomon not only wisdom, but
also riches and honor. With God’s favor poured out on him, Solomon became the
richest man of his day.
Unfortunately, praying for wisdom has become rare in our days. Many people
spend most of their precious times with God asking for riches and other natural
blessings. Yet those things cannot really solve our problems. The real thing
that we need is the wisdom to manage our businesses God’s way. His way is to
serve our clients, investors, and employees with integrity and to represent God
faithfully in the marketplace.
What have you been asking God for lately?
Why ask for wisdom? Wisdom is the understanding of knowledge with the fear of
the Lord. It is the ability to know how God would respond in every situation
and respond that way. When you have the wisdom of God, you have the mind of
God. When you have the mind of God, you have the ability to have everything
that is at God’s disposal and is in His plan for your life.
Proverbs 3:13-18 states,
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she
is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more
precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in
her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant
ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who
embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. And Proverbs 8:14-21
says, Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.
By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and
all nobles who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who
seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk
in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on
those who love me and making their treasuries full.
According to the scriptures, everything that we need to build strong, viable
businesses and to prosper financially and spiritually can be found in wisdom.
The natural things that we want are a by-product of the wisdom of God. Without
wisdom, even if these things come to you, you will lose them or they will
control you. Wisdom not only gives you the ability to acquire things, but to
manage them in such a way that they do not control you.
Many have gotten riches, achieved powerful positions of influence, and built
large businesses only to lose everything or to be controlled by them. This is
not wisdom. Wisdom says whether I have little or much is not what concerns me.
My most important measure of success is whether I have gained my profits
honestly and whether I control them instead of them controlling me.
Let’s follow the instructions of Proverbs 4:5-9:
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do
not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over
you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you
have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and
she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present
you with a crown of splendor.”
May the Lord grant you the wisdom to grow a viable, sustainable kingdom
business that glorifies him, serves customers with integrity, and is a witness
for him in the marketplace.
/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:“Times New Roman”;
This is a copy of an email send out today by the American
Family Association. You can find out more about them here.
When PepsiCo said it would
continue to promote the gay agenda, it meant it. The latest promotion of the
homosexual agenda by PepsiCo came during the April 19 episode of “Brothers
and Sisters” on ABC. PepsiCo helped sponsor a very explicit, aggressive
scene featuring two men.
You can see the video of the
scene by clicking
here. Warning, this
scene is extremely graphic.
AFA has repeatedly asked PepsiCo
to be neutral in the culture war, and PepsiCo has adamantly refused -
choosing to promote the gay agenda, including same sex-marriage. Also, PepsiCo
employees are required to attend diversity classes teaching them how to accept
gay behavior as being normal and acceptable.
In the recent Miss USA pageant
Perez Hilton, a homosexual activist who was one of the judges, asked Miss
California where she stood on homosexual marriage. She gave a politically
incorrect answer, saying marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Shortly after the pageant, Hilton went on a hate-filled tirade against Miss
California. You can see his behavior by clicking
PepsiCo has given over a million
dollars to homosexual organizations that condone this kind of behavior.
Now then we are
ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in
Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
Ambassadors are official representatives of a foreign government in a foreign land.
Ambassadors have a specific mission from their government that they must carry
out while on assignment. They enjoy certain privileges that are unique to their
position. Biblical Entrepreneurs are God’s ambassadors in the marketplace,
specifically, in their industries. As ambassadors for Christ, we have the
responsibility to be witnesses for Jesus and reconcile others to Him.
The way we run our businesses must exemplify God’s excellence and serve as an
example to others. Others are watching us. Based on how we conduct ourselves,
they may be brought closer to the Lord or driven further from Him. As
ambassadors for Christ, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Go the extra mile with your customers; serve
them as though you are serving Christ.
- Serve your employees; wash their feet as Jesus washed
those of His disciples.
- Think of yourself as a steward and not an owner;
recognize that God has made you a temporary caretaker of the business.
- Pay your vendors on time, and when that is not
possible, communicate with them. Recognize that this will speak loudly
about who you are in Christ.
- Go out of your way to interact with
nonbelievers. How will you reconcile others to Him if you are not interacting
- Contribute at least 10 percent of your net profit to
kingdom work; business tithing is a noteworthy demonstration of the lordship of
Christ over your business.
- In all things, give God thanks. Whether
business is good or bad, thank God for who He is and for entrusting you with
your assignment. This will keep you focused on Him - not on your problems - and
will give you a grateful spirit.
As you seek to carry out your responsibilities as an ambassador, walk in
complete confidence in Christ and the assurance that ambassadors enjoy great
privileges. As an ambassador for Christ, you posses these advantages:
Diplomatic immunity - you operate based on heavenly laws
and are not bound by earthly laws.
Security - you are protected by angels and the blood of
Direct, secure communication to the Government - you have
direct access to your Commander in Chief, Jesus Christ, through prayer.
Provision - as long as you remain kingdom-minded,
everything you need shall be provided.
Mr. or Ms. Ambassador, His or Her Excellency, may the Lord be with you this
week as you seek to represent Him in your industry; reconciling others to Him.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Levi Strauss & Co., the
jeans manufacturer that has long been a leader in corporate support for the
homosexual activist movement, has come out with a new marketing scheme that may
dupe consumers who buy their products into displaying support for same-sex
Company owned stores in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco
will be displaying their summer line-up of jeans and shirts adorned with
“White Knots for Equality,” a symbol that denotes support for
The symbol, a white ribbon tied in a knot, was developed by a California
media company to capitalize on the opposition to the passage of Proposition 8,
the California voter-approved constitutional marriage amendment. The knotted
white cloth mimics the various ribbon campaigns such as the pink ribbon for
breast cancer campaign.
Commenting on the company’s amalgamation of marketing and political
activism, senior vice president for global creative services for Levi’s, Rene
Holguin, said, “Our design team was seeking something that would resonate
beyond just fashion but also fit with our white product theme.”
The staff members of the stores that are displaying the clothing with white
knots have been instructed to engage customers with explanations of the
homosexual agenda symbol, hoping that customers will be educated through an
“We have weekly calls with our store managers and we sent out detailed
information about the White Knot organization and also ways in which we’re
supporting marriage equality overall as a company,” Levi’s director of
brand marketing and public relations, Erica Archambault, told the New York Times.
She added that she wants sales staff “to be educated and able to have an
informed conversation that’s more interactive than reading off a card or
San Francisco-based Levi Strauss was the first Fortune 500 company to extend
health benefits to homosexual couples and was a major financial supporter of
the “No On Prop 8 Equality Business Council,” which was formed to
oppose efforts to define marriage as being between one man and one woman in the
The company gave $25,000 to Equality for All, the coalition leading the No
on 8 campaign, while Robert Haas, the company’s chairman emeritus and his wife
gave a further $100,000, according to a company spokesman.
by Business Wire states that the Levi Strauss Foundation announced yesterday
that it will make a $25,000 donation to the National Center For Lesbian Rights
(NCLR) and $25,000 to The San Francisco LGBT Community Center (“The Center”).
NCLR was the lead counsel on the effort to overturn Proposition 8 in the
California Supreme Court.
“The Center” is a homosexual drop-in facility that “organizes and plans
the political and cultural future for the LGBT community” in San
Ministry in the Marketplace: The Rise of Socially Responsible Investing
By Kate Shellnut
Thu, Apr. 30 2009 07:20 AM MST
A growing number of investment companies are using their portfolio picks to model organizational values, like Christian morals or concern for the environment.
Wall Street Journal Thu, Apr. 30 2009 07:21 AM MST
The broad decline across financial markets in the past year has persuaded a small but growing number of financial advisers to abandon the traditional buy-and-hold strategy—which emphasizes long-term investing in a mix of assets—for a new approach geared to sidestep future market plunges and ease volatility.
Kingdom businesses must be profitable. Without profit, wealth cannot be
generated. Deuteronomy 8:18 states that without wealth God’s covenant will not
According to the Google dictionary, wealth is the state of being rich and
affluent; having a plentiful supply of material goods and money. It is also
defined as an abundance of material possessions and resources.
Of course, kingdom wealth goes beyond material possessions. It also includes
spiritual riches such as righteousness, peace, and joy. So then, the definition
of kingdom wealth is the abundance of material possessions and resources with
righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Natural abundance without
spiritual abundance is empty and useless.
Unfortunately there is great confusion in the world and in the body of Christ
about what true wealth is, how it is acquired, and its purpose. The world
limits wealth to material things. Some in the body of Christ define wealth by
the income people make rather than the sustained profit that is generated
through industrious activities. True wealth must include spiritual abundance
and must be sustainable; otherwise it is empty and short lived.
Scripture is clear. God has given us (the body of Christ) power to get wealth.
If this is so, why is it that the body of Christ still suffers from lack of
resources to carry out the mandate of Christ?
There are four key reasons:
-We are not obeying the scriptures in all aspects of our lives.
- We tend to employ worldly strategies to acquire wealth.
-We have an income-based model rather than a wealth
-We attempt to limit our strategies to miracles rather
blending miracles with industry.
Kingdom wealth is acquired through obedience to the word of God, industry, and
sustained profits. Obeying God’s word gives us His favor, while industry allows
us to use our God-given gifts, skills, and treasures to diligently take
advantage of market opportunities.
What is sustained profit? Sustained profit is the net difference between
expenses and income over a period of time. Profitable businesses are able to
keep their expenses below their income, which begins the process of wealth
Wealth is built by sustaining profits over the long term, minimizing business
liabilities, and investing the profits in other income-generating activities.
You know you are beginning to generate wealth when you no longer depend on
merely your labor to generate income; rather, you generate income by reinvested
What is the purpose of wealth? God blesses us with wealth so that we can use
the wealth to fulfill His covenant. What is God’s covenant? God’s covenant is
the will of God for all mankind.
What is God’s will for all mankind? Although all of mankind will not realize it
because of man’s rebellion and disobedience, God’s will includes these provisions:
-That all be saved-John 3:16
-That all experience the abundant life-John 10:10
-That the works of the enemy be destroyed-1 John 3:8
-That none of His children suffer lack-1 Thessalonians 4:11-12,
Is your kingdom business profitable? Do you understand God’s purpose for
wealth? My prayer for you this week is that the Lord will grant you the grace
and wisdom to profit from marketplace opportunities so you can begin to
generate wealth to fulfill His covenant.
The Nehemiah Project International Ministries Mon, Jun. 15 2009 11:47 AM MST
/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1107304683 0 0 159 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";}
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
Let this mind be in you
which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider
it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking on
the form of a bond servant and coming in the likeness of men. Philippians
Privilege is defined as a special advantage or immunity not embraced by all, or
a right reserved exclusively for a particular person or group. Throughout the
history of mankind, there has always been a group of people who were more
privileged than others. In many situations there are several individuals
who enjoy certain privileges based on their position, their family, or their
personal accomplishments. Having groups or individuals who are privileged
is not something that was invented by man. Throughout the Bible we see
groups and individuals who enjoy special advantages or rights because of their
relationship with God. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came as one who
was privileged. He enjoyed special advantages as the only begotten Son of
God, being God in the flesh and having all powers under His command. The
key to privilege is not the privilege itself but rather how you use the
privilege. Jesus did not deny nor reject His privilege but used it to
fulfill the will of His father. He was not ashamed of it but rather
through meekness, called upon His privilege to achieve the mission He was given
There are many believers who find themselves privileged because of the family
they are born into, the country they are from, or just by the mere fact that
that they have accomplished success in their vocation or business; however,
they are ashamed or feel guilty that they are able to enjoy certain privileges
or rights that others do not have. Like Jesus Christ, you must not be
ashamed of your privilege but rather embrace it and seek the Lord as to how you
ought to use that privilege to fulfill His will in the earth realm. By
the grace of God I grew up privileged; the son of a successful business woman
and politician. My family enjoyed the privileges of the ruling class of
my country. Because of this privilege, I was able to come to the United
States and enjoyed a certain education early in my development; I had certain
exposure to business and government that the average person does not
have. I enjoyed relationships with individuals who inspired me to believe
in myself and pursue my dreams. With this privilege came a
responsibility, thank God I had a mother who taught us about the responsibility
of privilege. You’re not privileged so that you can enjoy the finest
things in life, but rather so that you can be of service to others.
Coming to Christ brought an eternal dimension to this concept. Every
child of God is privileged. The Bible tells us that we are joint heirs
with Christ, we are kings and priests and God has given us stewardship over the
works of His hands. What a privilege! Someone more powerful then my
mother, richer then Bill Gates, and wiser than Einstein, has made us joint
heirs with His only begotten Son. He has made us to be kings and priests,
meaning that we are little rulers in our own rights and can come to Him boldly
for spiritual matters. He also placed His resources at our
disposal. Wow! Thank God for men and women of God who have historically
used their privilege to accomplish God’s will in the earth. Should your
business become a financial success so that your children and grand children
enjoy the privileges I enjoyed, make sure they understand the responsibility of
privilege and its eternal implications so they may build upon your legacy to
continue to advance the will of God in the earth.
Calvin Klein is currently under fire from several family
values organizations after the company unveiled a 50 ft., sexually explicit billboard
at the intersection of Houston and Lafayette Streets in downtown Manhattan.
The ad depicts two young men and a young woman entwined in a semi-nude
threesome, as another man undresses and while many of the locals seem to think
that it fits right in with many of the racier ads posted around the city, visitors
aren’t being quite as accepting.
“It’s soft pornography is what it is,” said Laurie
Baranowski, who said she was in New York for a visit. “I don’t think that
just because you put Calvin Klein’s name on it makes it acceptable.
Randy Sharp of the American Family Association was
interviewed shortly after the ad was unveiled. “I think that this company
has a moral obligation to our country to display their product in an
appropriate manner, especially in a public venue where you have thousands of
thousands of children who will see this ad.
I find this kind of ad repulsive, I find it disgusting, I find it
inappropriate for a public venue. For my family of five, Calvin Klein will
never see a dollar of our money.”
While a spokesman for Calvin
Klein could not be reached Monday morning, his earlier statement affirmed that
the company’s “intention was to create a very sexy campaign that speaks to
our targeted demographic.”
Whatever demographic they have in
mind, Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said the ad seems
designed to offend just about everyone.
“This is graphic and
intended to shock any sensibility — even in New York,” said Wright.
“New York tries to sell itself as a place for tourists, not just sexually
By Patrice Tsague
The Nehemiah Project Tue, Jun. 16 2009 09:53 AM MST
/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";}
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13
There are three types of love found in the Greek language to which the Bible
makes reference: Eros love, a love that is expressed through physical and
sexual desire; Philos love, an esteem and affection found in casual friendship;
Agape love, love based on the deliberate choice of the one who loves rather
than the worthiness of the one who is loved. This type of love goes
against our natural instinct and is best demonstrated by the love that Christ
expressed for us by dying on the cross for our sins. Biblical Entrepreneurs are
called to express this type of love to their customers, employees, and all of
those they encounter in business. This type of love is called
unconditional love, a love that is expressed without conditions or
expectations. Agape is a love that is undeserved and could not be
purchased by the recipient. It is a love that is sacrificial and,
therefore, Christ-like. Loving your customers this way will increase your
bottom line and make you a more effective witness for Christ before them.
Loving your employees this way will increase their fulfillment on the job and
their loyalty to the company. How does one express this type of love,
especially to people who are undeserving and unappreciative?
The following four points will help you express unconditional love:
1. Make Christ the object of your love and not the person -
As you express love to individuals focus on Christ and let the individual be
the mere beneficiary of your love for Christ.
2. Put your love above their actions - If you focus on
individuals’ actions, you will find many reasons not to love them since they
are imperfect beings. Raise your love above what they may or may not do
3. Remember that Christ died for them - For God so loved the
world that He sent Jesus to die for sinners like you and me. No matter
how bad individuals behave, just remember the price that Christ paid for
them. Would you want to be the reason they do not embrace the Gospel?
4. Christ commands you to love - Jesus was asked by someone
what the greatest commandment is. His response was, “Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is
like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets
hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). Your neighbor could be
your customer or your employee.
Since this type of love is so demanding, are there any benefits to it?
Yes there are. Some of the key benefits of expressing this type of love
to PepsiCo representative Philene Frazar, PepsiCo is a founding member in
establishing a homosexual activist group in Chicago.
a presentation during a 2009 homosexual advocacy conference, announced PepsiCo
was instrumental in forming Chicago’s “Citywide Pride” (see presentation
slide here). The Citywide Pride website says it “strives to educate
and empower the LGBT workforce and their allies.”
Pride events listed for 2009 include:
Seminar on how gays can successfully adopt children
- Same-sex marriage tutorials
- “Recruitment and engagement” techniques training
- “Family Pride” days (this one particularly hosted by PepsiCo)
addition, Frazer noted that PepsiCo regularly recruits and invites employees
from smaller companies to attend a variety of gay pride parades with them,
“It really is a true celebration of the entire
community when PepsiCo steps out to be part of a parade. In most of these
cities, we are giving out a sampling of all our product lines, which are as
diverse as Tropicana juice, all the way to Frito-Lay chips. We also hand out
cups and banners and whistles. It’s really a true corporate presence once we
hit the parade route.“
Eventide Gilead Fund Best Performing Midcap Core Fund for 12 Months Ended June 30, 2009
By Robin John
Fri, Jul. 10 2009 07:45 AM MST
The Eventide Gilead Fund (NASDAQ: ETGLX), a
no-load mutual fund practicing values-based and socially responsible
investing, achieved the highest performance among 359 mutual funds
categorized by Lipper as U.S. midcap core during its first year of
operation from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. During this period, the Fund
generated a return of -3.40% compared with the S&P 500 Index return of
-28.45%. The Fund has also been named a “Category King” four times in 2009
by the Wall Street Journal in recognition of ranking within the top ten
funds in its category for year-to-date performance.
Eventide seeks to invest in companies adding value to customers and the
world. According to lead portfolio manager Finny Kuruvilla, “We ask the
deep and thoughtful questions about integrity, business practice, and
value-creation. We are committed to investing in companies that are both
successful and admirable."
The Eventide Gilead Fund is managed by Eventide Asset Management, a
Boston-based investment advisory firm that is committed to investing in
values-based companies and was launched on July 1, 2008.
This performance is historic and does not guarantee future results. An
investor should consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges
and expenses carefully before investing. This and other important
information about the Eventide Gilead Fund can be found in the Fund’s
prospectus. For a copy of the prospectus, please call 1.877.453.7877. The
Fund is distributed by Matrix Capital Group, Inc., New York, NY 10017.
has given thousands of dollars to become a sponsor of the homosexual “Out
& Equal Workplace Summit” scheduled for Oct. 6-9 at Disney’s Coronado
Springs Resort in Florida.
Out & Equal Workshop meetings are designed to show corporate leaders how
they can promote the homosexual agenda in their corporation.
becoming a sponsor of the Out & Equal conference PepsiCo has once again
refused to give any support to those who are hurting and want to come out of
this destructive and aberrant lifestyle.
homosexual activists continually tell corporate leaders (including PepsiCo)
that it is impossible for an individual to leave the gay lifestyle. By helping
fund the meeting, PepsiCo has decided to support that premise. PepsiCo gives thousands of dollars
to promote homosexuality, but not one penny to help those who want out.
organizers of the workshop say they are inviting “Political leaders and
activists interested in understanding the impact of the equality movement in
First Christian ETFs Launched
FaithShares Advisors, LLC. Fri, Dec. 11 2009 08:24 AM MST
OKLAHOMA CITY, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/—FaithShares Trust today
launched the first three exchange-traded funds (ETFs) addressing the
investment needs of Christian investors. The funds are managed by
FaithShares Advisors, LLC.
securities held in each of the funds, FaithShares Catholic Values Fund
(FCV), FaithShares Methodist Values Fund (FMV) and FaithShares
Christian Values Fund (FOC), are tailored to each denomination’s
teachings and recommendations for investing. FaithShares Advisors, LLC
worked with the FTSE Group, the leading global index provider, and KLD
Research & Analytics, a leading provider of environmental, social
and governance (ESG) research and indexes, to create a series of custom
indexes on which the funds are based.
created these funds to meet the needs of investors who want to
participate in the potential of the stock market, yet be good stewards
of their money,” said Thompson S. Phillips Jr., President of
FaithShares. “As an ETF, each of our funds will include 100 stocks of
large, well-known companies but specifically exclude those considered
to be ‘objectionable industries’ by a specific denomination. Our funds
are the first Christian ETFs in the market.”
FaithShares Funds allow individuals and groups to invest in accordance
with the tenets of their faith in one security, while still getting
exposure to the broad market. The portfolios will be screened to
exclude companies that benefit from gambling, alcohol, tobacco,
pornography, weaponry and other activities that are included in each
denomination’s published criteria.
did a great deal of research on the covenants of the various
denominations in designing these funds,” said Garrett Stevens, CEO and
portfolio manager. “The Christian Values Fund is the most conservative
and we feel it answers the needs of non-denominational church members
and other denominations not specifically represented by our other ETFs.”
December 15, FaithShares anticipates launching two additional funds
specifically aligned with the Baptist (FaithShares Baptist Values Fund
- FXB) and Lutheran (FaithShares Lutheran Values Fund - FKL) faiths.
FaithShares Advisors, the management company of FaithShares, will give
a minimum of ten percent of its net income to a ministry associated
with the respective denominations.
funds will be rebalanced annually and offer complete transparency about
their holdings. ETFs offer an inexpensive way to invest in the market.
2000 to 2006, assets in other faith-based investments have grown
seven-fold underscoring the public’s interest in investing according to
Investors can purchase the funds through their investment advisor or discount broker.
About FaithShares Advisors
Phillips and Mr. Stevens together bring over 40 years of investment
experience to this endeavor. Mr. Phillips also owns a broker-dealer,
T.S. Phillips Investments, Inc., which is comprised of 17 investment
consultants and oversees approximately $1 billion in client assets, as
well as an RIA, Phillips Capital Advisors. Mr. Phillips and Mr. Stevens
have worked closely together for 10 years and in that time have
experienced firsthand the frustrations encountered by Christian
organizations as they attempt to balance their desire for long-term
investment growth with their desire to avoid objectionable industries.
They currently provide investment performance analysis services for
over $3 billion in investor assets. The daily operations of FaithShares
will be conducted primarily by Mr. Stevens, while Mr. Phillips will
take on the role of corporate spokesperson.
About FTSE Group
Group (“FTSE”) is a world-leader in the creation and management of
indexes. With offices in Boston, Beijing, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong,
Madrid, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo,
FTSE works with investors in 77 countries globally. It calculates and
manages a comprehensive range of equity, fixed income, real estate and
investment strategy indices, on both a standard and custom basis. The
company has collaborative arrangements with a number of stock
exchanges, trade bodies and asset class specialists around the world.
indexes are used extensively by investors world-wide for investment
analysis, performance measurement, asset allocation and portfolio
hedging and for creating a wide range of index tracking funds.
About KLD Indexes
Indexes is a business unit of KLD Research & Analytics, Inc., a
wholly-owned subsidiary of RiskMetrics Group, Inc. KLD is a leading
provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) research for
institutional investors, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.
Indexes develops and licenses benchmark, strategy and custom indexes
that investment managers use to integrate ESG criteria into their
investment decisions. KLD Indexes are designed to be transparent,
representative and investable. Products based on KLD Indexes include
Mutual Funds, ETFs, Separately Managed Accounts, Unit Investment
Trusts, Variable Annuities, and Structured Products. For more
information, go to www.kld.com/indexes.
consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risk factors, charges, and
expenses before investing. This and additional information can be found
in the Funds’ prospectus, which may be obtained by calling
1-877-FAITH55 (1.877.324.8455), or by visiting www.faithshares.com.
Read the prospectus carefully before investing.
information is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to
buy shares of any Fund to any person in any jurisdiction in which an
offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful under the
securities laws of such jurisdiction.
involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. In addition to
the normal risks associated with investing, narrowly focused
investments typically exhibit higher volatility.
are bought and sold at market price (not NAV) and are not individually
redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns.
FaithShares Funds are distributed by SEI, which is not affiliated with FaithShares Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates.
The Nehemiah Project Mon, Aug. 24 2009 12:45 PM MST
/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";}
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to
God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek
Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Faithfulness is a steadfast allegiance or affection toward God’s Word and God’s
eternal will no matter what the circumstances. It is a spirit-led determination
to do God’s will no matter what. Those who are faithful do not quit in the face
of trials. Faithfulness is time-tested and requires perseverance.
To be faithful to God’s will you need faith. To have faith you need a personal
relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
Faithfulness requires a revelation of God’s will for your life. Without
knowledge of God’s will for your life, you can become discouraged along the
journey. The question becomes, “Why am I doing all this?” I
call this the “so-what” factor. The “so-what” factor
is our need to have a clear revelation of God’s will and his purpose for our
lives. A revelation of God’s will gives you perspective and insight beyond the
circumstances that you see with your natural eyes.
The assurance of eternal life and heavenly rewards also keeps us full of faith.
“For he who comes to God must believe that He is and is a rewarder of
those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrew 11:6b). Our assurance of God’s
character as a rewarder keeps us looking upward and keeps us enthusiastic no
matter what we face now.
Hebrews 11 profiles some of the biblical heroes who were faithful in spite of
very difficult and challenging circumstances. Let us reflect on these passages:
By faith Abel offered God a
more excellent sacrifice then Cain (verse 4).
By faith Enoch was taken away
so that he did not see death and was not found because God had taken him; for
before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God (verse 5).
By faith Noah being divinely
warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the
saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the
righteousness which is according to faith (verse 7).
By faith Abraham obeyed when he
was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an
inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going (verse 8).
By faith Sarah herself also
received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past age
because she judged Him faithful who had promised (verse 11).
By faith Moses when he was born
was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful
child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command (verse 12).
By faith the walls of Jericho
fell down after they were encircled for seven days (verse 30).
By faith the harlot Rahab did
not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with
peace (verse 31)
And what more shall I say? For
the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthat,
also of David and Samuel and the prophets: Who through faith subdued
kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises stopped the mouth of lions,
quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness
were made strong became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the
aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured,
not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still
others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and
imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain
with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being
destitute, afflicted, tormented-of whom the world was not worthy. They
wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. (verses
What are you facing right now? How is it compared to what these early
heroes of the faith went through? Can God count you among the faithful?
Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let
us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the
author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2a).
Same-gender marriage is now legal in The Green Mountain State, and Ben & Jerry’s has announced that it will temporarily change its “Chubby Hubby” ice cream to “Hubby Hubby” in honor of homosexual marriage
According to Associated Press, Redmond based Microsoft Corp.
has made the largest single donation in favor of Washington state’s Referendum
71, which asks voters to approve or reject a new law expanding domestic
partnerships for gay and lesbian couples.
The $100,000 donation was made to the group, Washington Families
Standing Together (WFST) who is pushing for approval of the law and expansion
of partnership rights for gay Washington couples.
In total WFST has raised about $780,000 overall and has
spend about $200,000. The counter effort, called Protect Marriage Washington, has
raised about $60,000, and spent about $35,000.
By Patrice Tsague
The Nehemiah Project International Ministries Tue, Nov. 03 2009 08:17 AM MST
/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1107304683 0 0 159 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";}
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
“I beseech you
therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable
service.” Romans 12:1
Have you ever seen a sacrifice alive? Of course not! There is not such a
thing as a living sacrifice. What then does the Apostle Paul mean when he
instructs us and even pleads with us that we are to be living sacrifices?
A clue is found in a similar statement he makes in Galatians 2:20 - when, in
referring to himself, he states that he is crucified with Christ; it is no
longer he who lives but it is Christ who lives in him; and the life which he
now lives in the flesh he lives by faith in the Son of God, who loved him and
gave Himself for him. Wow! What a statement.
Like the Apostle Paul those of us who operate in the marketplace must crucify
ourselves with Christ. We must put to death our agendas, our personal
goals, our ambitions, our desires and our feelings. We must completely
surrender our lives and everything we are about to Christ’s agenda.
We must, in a sense, commit (spiritual) suicide. This is right, unless we
commit physical suicide our spirit man will not come alive. Doing this
ensures that we do not stand in the way of what God wants us to do in the
marketplace and even in our lives. Marketplace ministry cannot be about
entrepreneurs trying to build monuments and accomplish goals for God. It must
be about God doing His work through us and imposing His will in the
His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. How
do I know if I am truly crucified?
1. I do not get disappointed but see everything as God’s
appointment for me
2. I accept every outcome as being God’s will and do not
3. I am not moved by things or power but by the spirit
4. My decisions are not based on how I feel but on how
5. I do not have a personal agenda but I have a kingdom
What are the benefits of a sacrificial lifestyle?
1. Jesus Christ is glorified in everything that you do
2. The Kingdom of God is advanced
3. You will finish the race
4. You will inherit eternal rewards
5. You live a life of personal fulfillment
6. You are able to resist temptation
7. God can trust you with wealth, power and influence
If the most beautiful woman in the world were to walk into a cemetery naked not
one body will rise to look, not one head would turn, and not one eye would wink
because they are all dead. If all of the gold in Fort Knox was to be
placed there nobody would move. If all the power in Washington was to be
released there no one would move an inch. Why? Because they are all dead.
What moves you? Are you dead? Or are you still struggling with accepting
the death covenant that you made with Jesus. The Bible reminds us that
“for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose
his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Go ahead and pull the
trigger; die to self so that you may live in Christ.
he cried out with a loud voice saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,
and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and
a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” Revelation 18:2
Babylon, an ancient city in the Old Testament between the
Tigris and Euphrates rivers, was the capital of the Babylonian Empire. It is
one of the oldest cities in the ancient world. It was founded by Nimrod,
a descendent of Noah through Ham, and known as a great and mighty hunter in the
eyes of the Lord (Gen 10:9). Nimrod led people to build a tower “whose
top may reach unto heaven.” (Gen 11:1-9)As a result, God confounded
their languages because of their arrogance and rebellion against Him. Indeed,
Babylon became known for worshipping false gods, its power, wealth,
extravagance and cruelty. It destroyed Jerusalem and deported the
citizens of Judah, a sequence of events Jeremiah predicted - along with the
fall of Babylon. Babylon became a symbol of the confusion caused by godlessness
- a symbol of a nation that turned its back on God, turning the nations of the world
another angel followed, saying Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,
because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her
all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the
kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of
the earth have become rich through the abundance of her
luxury.” Revelation 18:3
nation brought to prominence many kings of the earth; rewarding many business
men and women with riches and wealth. It birthed a way of life that is full of
excess. It has rejected God and promoted products and services that do not
glorify God. It has also promoted lifestyles inconsistent with the Word of
God. This nation is predicted to suffer under the wrath of God because of
its defiance and rebellion against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When
it falls, those who have benefited from her will stand at a distance because
they will not want to go down with her, they will cry because they stand to
lose a great deal by her downfall, they will be shocked because “in an
hour” its great riches will come to nothing.
operating your business in Babylon? Can you discern between the
Babylonian ways and the ways of God? Biblical Entrepreneurs must be
discerning as they operate in the world (but not of the world) that they do not
fall prey to the lust and greed of the Babylonian spirit. We must be salt
and light in the world and not just blend into the system - otherwise we will
suffer the consequences of its downfall. We cannot be so determined to
build our businesses that we buy into the Babylonian ways because the only sure
consequence to that path is death and destruction, and the loss of our soul.
Our commitment must be that it is better to have a little and be right with God
rather than to have a lot and not be right with God. Pleasing Jesus is
the most important thing in life...everything else must be subject to
Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
From Mission Impossible to Possible
By Patrice Tsague
The Nehemiah Project International Ministries Fri, Dec. 11 2009 08:36 AM MST
/* Font Definitions */
panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;
mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;}
/* Style Definitions */
p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal
font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";}
margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;
But Jesus looked at them
and said to them, “with men this is impossible but with God all things are
possible.” Matthew 19:26.
Have you ever had an assignment or project that you felt in your heart there is
no way I can do this? Is your business facing a challenge that seems
impossible for you to overcome? The fact is most kingdom assignments are
impossible for us to carry out in our own strength. They require
supernatural intervention if we are going to be successful.
In Matthew 19:16-22, we learn of a rich young ruler who had obeyed the Ten
Commandments from his youth but now desired to ensure that he can make claims
to eternity. Jesus’ response to him requires an act of compassion towards
the poor and a commitment to follow Him forsaking all that is important to him.
However, the rich young ruler did not value eternity enough to make the
necessary sacrifice. For the rich young ruler this request of Jesus was
an impossible mission. In contrast, we find another rich young ruler in
the Old Testament in the book of Genesis Chapter 12 called Abraham; God calls
him to leave his father’s house and his country and go to a land that He will
show him. Forsake all that you know and follow me to a place that you do
not know. This young ruler obeyed and God made him very wealthy and he
became the father of many nations.
What impossible task has God ask you to carry out? Like the rich young ruler
you may have faithfully obeyed God’s word for years but yet God is requiring
more from you. He is requiring you to do something that will require you
to exercise another dimension of your faith. Kingdom assignments are
never solely based on our own ability but based on God’s ability. How do
you turn an impossible mission into a possible mission?
The difference between the rich young ruler and Abraham was the following:
1. Abraham believed he had heard from God while the rich
young ruler was uncertain of the deity of Jesus
· Make sure that
your instructions are from God
2. Abraham believed God while the rich young ruler did not
believe Jesus since he did not trust in
· Make sure you believe
God, because the scripture
says all things are possible to those who
believe. Mark 9:23
3. Abraham trusted God while the rich young ruler put his
faith in his riches;
· Make sure you put your
trust not in what you have
acquired or accomplished but in God and
Operating a kingdom business is an impossible mission; it is impossible for man
on his own to make decisions that risks his natural stability trusting heavenly
stability. It is impossible for man to love his customer more than
money. It is impossible for man to love his employees more than their
productivity in the business. It is impossible for man to love and pray
for his competitors. It is impossible for man to be more concerned about
community transformation then business growth. It is impossible for man
to conduct his business in an environment where bribery and corruption is
the norm for business profitability. It is impossible for certain
businesses to be profitable or even maintain positive cash flow in the current
economic environment. All these things are impossible with man but with
God all things are possible. Not just some things but all things that are
according to His will. Whatever your situation, make sure your
instructions are from God. Believe God and put your complete trust in Him
and not only will He turn your impossible mission into a possible mission but
he will reward your faithfulness in the process.
Nehemiah Project International Ministries Thu, Jan. 28 2010 08:37 AM MST
recently heard a story of a kingdom business steward who, after many years of
sharing the Gospel with one of his employees who worked in the sales
department, finally won him over to the Lord. During an event the
employee was asked to share his testimony with the guests. He stood up
and shared how excited he was when his boss kept talking to him about the great
commission. As a sales person who was primarily paid on commission,
talk of a great commission excited him. Of course the commission
his boss was referring to was a commission more valuable than a percentage of
any sales transaction. This commission would give him an invaluable and
eternal compensation. Like this sales person, I too was brought to
the Lord as a result of seeking finances. It was in the early
1990’s when I was introduced to a kingdom business steward. While my interest
in him was purely driven by economic incentives, his interest in me was
motivated by the fact that I was a lost soul who desperately needed to be
saved. As I pursued him for money and wisdom, his commitment to
fulfilling the Great Commission was unwavering which finally led to me
accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. My life
has never been the same since. How did you come to Christ? Who was
the disciple whose commitment to the Great Commission led you to accept Jesus
Christ as your Lord and Savior?
The Great Commission is an eternal mandate to all those who claim to be
disciples of Jesus Christ. As Christians we have an obligation to
share the good news we have received with the lost with a commitment to
disciple them to conform to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This
commission originated from God the father Himself. The first one to
receive the commission was Adam, the first earthly son. Since the earth
was unpopulated, Adam’s commission was to populate the earth with other
children of God who would reflect His image and likeness and carry out His will
in the earthly realm, (Genesis 1:28). After Adam sinned the Lord rose up
Abraham and gave him the same mandate. It would be through Abraham
that all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3).
Though Abraham’s commission would bring blessings to the people of world it
could not undo the spiritual damage that Adam committed since that required the
sheding of blood. So God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to
restore spiritual order by dying on the Cross on Calvary (John 3:16).
Jesus then passed the commission on to His disciples and to all those who would
come to believe in Him (Mark 16:15).
Among all of Jesus’ disciples’ kingdom business stewards are uniquely
positioned to fulfill this great mandate since the marketplace is where most
unsaved people spend much of their time. So no matter what industry
or type of business you are involved in each of us must have as a part of our
business plan a great commission strategy. How will you, through
your businesses, share this great news with others and support those who accept
it towards maturity in Christ?
There are 7 steps in developing a great commission strategy for a kingdom
1. Clearly define your mission and vision as a company - how
you fulfill the great commission as a company must be in line with your mission
and vision as a company
2. Determine your circle of influence as a company - your
circle of influence includes your customers, employees, vendors, investors,
business associates, and those in the community where you conduct your
3. Determine the points of contact with the lost - what are
the points of contact where you are able to reach the lost through your
4. Ensure business excellence and 100% customer satisfaction
- they will not receive from you if you cannot demonstrate good business
practices. Show them before you tell them. The way you conduct
yourself and your business must cause the lost to want to know what makes you
the way you are. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
5. Determine your communication methods and those who will
carry them out - make sure your methods of communication are in line with your
corporate culture. You do not always have to use words or religious
terminologies. Everyone may not be able to communicate this.
6. Be all things to all people - Everyone will not receive
the same message so be flexible and sensitive to the various personalities and
types of people you are dealing with.
7. How will this be measured? - if you do not measure it, you
will not do it. Develop measurements for both lives saved and disciples
Caution: Unfortunately governments in the US are taking greater stands to
discriminate against Christians so make sure you do not do anything that could
violate any federal or state laws unless the law is clearly unjust, you are led
by conviction and have the grace to go through unnecessary legal fights.
Every kingdom business is different. Therefore the way each business fulfills
the Great Commission will vary based on the mission of the business, the type
of business and industry. Ultimately, all we can do is share; Jesus is
the one who saves.
How are you fulfilling the Great Commission mandate? Do you have a great
commission strategy? Will Jesus be able to say to you “well done good and
A successful business model does not need corruption to succeed – and cannot afford it warns George Dallas, F&C
Why should investors care about corruption? Put simply, it can impose a significant cost on business that eats into wealth creation and loses investors money.
In some parts of the world isn’t a $1m bribe to obtain a $100m contract simply good business that adds value for investors? Isn’t it also naive for investors to express concern about bribery and corruption, given its ubiquity in many markets around the world?
The answer to these two questions is an increasingly clear “no”. The growing legal focus on corrupt activity suggests that the expected value – or more accurately expected loss of value – relating to corrupt activity is increasing, in terms of the magnitude of possible impact and the probability of increased enforcement. This loss of value can be expressed in both an investment in an individual company and in a broader economic context.
Ethical misconduct has become a fundamental business risk with potentially serious financial, operational and reputational implications. Anti-corruption must now be a governance priority for executive management and for boards of all listed companies. Pension scheme trustees need to take note: poor business ethics pose a potentially severe business risk. Gone are the days when businesses could thrive without any kind of moral compass and there is now an ever increasing realisation across all sectors that poor ethics are bad for business.
Strong ethical culture
To avoid such risks – which can surface both in the near and longer term – companies and their boards must clearly and explicitly promote a strong ethical culture and support this culture actively with appropriate policies, management systems, incentives and disclosures. Most importantly, all investors – including both asset owners and asset managers – must encourage companies to place these issues high up the board agenda. They should demand that the board champions anti-corruption, set a positive tone and drive the company’s culture accordingly. This needs to be embodied in both the audit and risk management functions of the company and should have explicit board oversight.
Remuneration systems should not implicitly encourage any form of corrupt activity; indeed performance metrics and clawback mechanisms should provide financial incentives to motivate ethical behaviour and penalise corruption. Of course, transparency is key.
There is now an ever increasing realisation across all sectors that poor ethics are bad for business. George Dallas
In the same way that sunlight can be the best disinfectant, investors should call for comprehensive, full and transparent reporting on a company’s ethical initiatives, policies, procedures and reporting systems. Anti-corruption is only one area of focus here under the broader business ethics umbrella. Ultimately this focus should be extended to many more dimensions of ethical conduct, including fraud prevention, political lobbying and donations, product safety, human rights, environmental stewardship and labour conditions.
Since the 1970s, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has set tough standards, affecting not only US companies, but also companies domiciled in other jurisdictions that do business with US companies. Importantly, the FCPA has an extra-territorial reach for acts of bribery and corruption outside US borders. Moreover, enforcement of the FCPA by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission is becoming more stringent: 36 individual charges were brought against companies and individuals in the first quarter of 2010 – a sharp rise as compared with 2009 and 2008. These prosecutions have included a number of prominent public international firms including BAE Systems plc and Siemens AG.
Growing concern is also building outside the US. The FCPA has been followed on a multilateral level by the OECD Convention on Anti-corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruptions. These initiatives have sought to combat bribery and corruption in many jurisdictions around the world through stiffer legal sanctions.
In 2010 the UK dropped to 20th place in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. The UK Bribery Act is welcome and overdue. However, its scheduled implementation for April 2011 has been postponed by the UK government. This Act contains similar features to the FCPA, including extra-territorial reach outside the UK. It has the potential to transform behaviour by making it costly not only to get caught, but also to fail to have in place strong prevention and detection systems. It ushers in stiff criminal and civil penalties for acts of bribery or corruption and is arguably as strong, if not stronger, than the FCPA, particularly with regard to the sometimes grey area of facilitation payments.
Taken together, FCPA and the UK Bribery Act are raising the stakes for those companies that take the risk of corrupt behaviour either in the US or the UK – or in any jurisdiction involving US or UK companies or law. There is also growing international co-operation in anti-corruption investigations, with the BAE Systems settlement in 2010 marking the first time the US Department of Justice and the UK’s Serious Fraud office have joined forces to resolve an investigation.
Concerns have been expressed that this law is naive and out of touch with the way business is done in many parts of the world. It is likely companies may experience some pain, at least at the outset. Some companies will get caught, and some, perhaps many, will elect to pull out of certain deals or markets rather than take an unacceptable risk. But ultimately, this law will bed down and business should look back in a decade or two and marvel at the lower standards that were once the status quo.
Getting caught with corruption offences is increasingly costly for individual companies. Siemens AG had fines totalling $1.6bn imposed on it by authorities in Germany and the US relating to various bribery charges – a substantial sum by any standard. Legal fees can also be onerous, involving thousands of billable hours for legal defences.
However, fines and fees paid are only the tip of the iceberg. The business implications of a conviction for bribery can be even more profound. Corruption convictions for companies dependent on government contracts in the US, European Union or supra-national bodies have the potential for contract blacklisting that could tear into the core of a firm’s business.
For example, Siemens’ bribery scandal resulted in a two-year blacklisting from World Bank financed projects; news of this announcement had the immediate effect of reducing Siemens’ share price by 5%.
Less quantifiable, but no less real, are the qualitative impacts on individual firms.
This includes the management disruption resulting from corruption investigations, which has had the effect of causing the resignation of the chief executive officer and other subsequent major board changes. Not only does such an investigation distract management and the board from their full focus on business operations, competitive strategy and value creation, there are also substantial risks relating to reputational damage, staff morale, customer loyalty and the corrosion of corporate values and culture.
While emerging markets are often associated with high levels of corruption, recent bribery charges relating to BAE Systems, Siemens, Daimler, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and HP show that companies in developed markets are vulnerable as well.
Increasingly it is the case that, for an individual company, the costs of engaging in corrupt activity offset potential benefits; the business case does not support corruption.
Wider systemic effects
Corruption also has wider systemic effects. It imposes a cost on economies, often through tax avoidance and inefficient markets. Unfortunately, in the short term, non-corrupt companies can be disadvantaged by those paying bribes or engaging in other forms of corruption.
It also has the effect of reducing transparency for investors seeking promising investment opportunities and can destabilise free market activity.
Corruption is a major contributor to country risk indicators and, for those countries regarded as having high levels of corruption, this can result in significant market discounts for companies listed in these jurisdictions. In turn, this can raise the cost of capital for companies and result in systemic loss of value for investors.
Both at a macro and micro level, it is increasingly clear that a successful business model does not need corruption to succeed.
Looking to spur sales of retirement plans to charitable and religious organizations, the Hartford Financial Services Group has added three faith-based fund offerings to its menu of investment options for defined contribution plans.
HOT AIR (Green Room) Fri, Jul. 20 2012 06:48 AM MST
...and claim that civil
rights are being infringed upon somehow somewhere. Or something. But no,
really, does this move actually surprise anyone? Chik-fil-A is closed
on Sunday for crying out loud. In the past, President Dan Cathy has
urged his staff to treat customers with honor and respect while applying
Biblical principles. Chick-fil-A is about as Christian an organization
as they come, and you know what? I think that’s great. There’s no
problem with a private business making the decision to proclaim their religious views openly.
Too bad Hollywood disagrees. Again. In response to Chick-fil-A’s
announcement, Actor Ed Helms (who I love, by the way) and gay rights
organization NOH8 has suggested that a boycott
is in order for the “intolerance” of Dan Cathy and his restaurant. Give
me a break. Sure, the Hollywood crazies have every right to boycott and
protest so long as they don’t descend into Occupy territory. However, I
find myself asking, “What’s the point?” I doubt that their efforts will
produce any sort of financial strain on the restaurant.
Hollywood-driven liberal boycotts are rarely successful. What’s more,
conservatives will probably flock (no pun intended) to gobble up chicken
in “solidarity” with Cathy’s freedom of religion. Dan Cathy’s
statements have brought his restaurant into the spotlight and in this
case any publicity is good publicity.
Perhaps those behind this boycott believe that they are making some
massively brave statement by selecting from one of the other 10 billion
fast food restaurants in the US instead of Chick-fil-A, but I tend to
believe otherwise. It’s not brave to cling to an ideology (i.e. pro-gay
marriage) supported by almost all of the media, academic elite and
Hollywood. Rather, it’s cowardly. Hey Ed Helms, don’t be a chicken. What
is really brave is making a statement you KNOW could possibly hurt your
business. If you want a look at fearlessness, divert your eyes toward
Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A. He had to know that his platform would
illicit such a response. However, he stuck by his guns and proclaimed
his Christian beliefs. For that, I commend him.
Christians are not “intolerant” for hating the sin, but not the
person. Just last week, my church pastor made the following statement:
“You can be outside God’s will but not outside God’s grace” in regards
to homosexuality. Liberals like to claim that hating gays and opposing
gay marriage go hand in hand. Not so. We are all people, regardless of
sexual orientation. Christians, like Dan Cathy or me, tend to believe
that all people are covered by God’s grace; even when their actions go
against His will. Intolerant? I think not.
Just like I’m not surprised that the Sabbath-honoring owners of
Chick-fil-A support the Biblical principle of traditional marriage, I’m
not surprised that liberals went insane in response. It’s just another
case of intolerant “tolerance” from the left. They scream and cry that
that social conservatives are “intolerant” for not backing their pet
issue of gay marriage, but act differently when their backs are against
the wall. You want to know what intolerance looks like? This is what
intolerance looks like: boycotting a restaurant because the President
dares admit that he is a Christian. Liberals preach tolerance but are
often incapable of espousing it themselves. Opposing gay marriage does
not make you intolerant. Now if Dan Cathy refused to serve homosexuals,
that would be an entirely different story. However, that’s not the case.
Chick-fil-A is a private business based upon Biblical principles. Dan
Cathy is not exactly the poster child for intolerance. However,
panicking because someone disagrees with you and refusing to buy their
products because of it is intolerant. So, can we all just take a
chill pill and disagree without being disagreeable? I’m all for talking
about our political disagreements over a nice chicken sandwich and
MICHIGAN, July 22, 2013 – A friend recently asked me: “Do Christians have a responsibility to vote?”
This person expressed that he was disillusioned towards the political
process and disinterested in voting in the November 2012 election
because he didn’t like either President Obama or Governor Mitt Romney.
Thus, he stated that he was going to stay home and “pray” rather than vote in November.
I respectfully explained to my friend that we cannot use prayer as a
substitute for action, particularly when that action is a moral
obligation. Every Christian has a moral obligation to exercise
citizenship by voting in the upcoming election.
James Muffett, President of Citizens for Traditional Values
weighs in on the question: “We must remember that politics will not
save us. That has already been accomplished through Jesus Christ.
However, we are stewards of God’s world and like a garden, we either
tend it carefully or we can expect nothing good to be produced.
Informed voting is the least we should be committed to as a part of that
The Word of God offers us guiding principles that show us that
casting our vote is also how we can and should glorify God and exalt
righteousness in our nation (Prov. 13:34)
The Bible encourages us to “pray for our rulers” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We are also commanded to be “subject to the higher powers” (Romans
God has given the church both the privilege and the responsibility to
make this world a better place to live, work, and play, describing us
as “the salt of the earth”. (Matthew 5:13)
While the Bible does not “command” Christians to vote, if we abstain
from voting, we miss out on an opportunity to impact a corrupt political
system to the glory of God.
By voting our Christian values, in local, state and national elections, we have a chance to exalt righteousness in government.
The Bible says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34)
If Christians sit on the sidelines during elections and those who do
not believe in Biblical principles are elected, those Christians who do
not vote are profoundly responsible for the unrighteous principles that,
ultimately, govern the nation.
God commands us, furthermore, to “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Prov. 31:9).
There is no better way to plead the cause of the poor than the ballot
box, where we have an opportunity to vote for someone who supports
solutions that line up with Godly concepts of helping the poor to help
themselves through repentance from dead works, faith towards God and
“It is important now that all people who are called Christians
understand that we are now engaged on a great battlefield.” stated Rev.
C.L. Bryant, Founder of the national movement One Nation Back To God and
Fellow with Freedom Works in Washington, D.C.
Rev. Bryant, who is also an Independent filmmaker of the documentary Runaway Slave,
concluded: “We are locked in a struggle to determine the lifespan of
what our founding Fathers called Inalienable rights, granted by our
Creator. This is why it is imperative that all God fearing America
loving people of faith register to vote… And then VOTE!!!”
I encourage, therefore, every true Christian to vote this November.
But not in the name of a political party, but in the name of Jesus
Cast your vote to the glory of God and on the basis of the Biblical principles that you believe and live!
On a day when increased violence in the streets of Cairo is casting a shadow over stock markets worldwide, it’s interesting to note that one broad, U.S.-focused fund is managing to stay above the fray.
The FaithShares Catholic Values ETF (FCV) is up more that 5.8% heading into the closing minutes of today’s session.
As its name implies, the fund screens companies based on a faith-based moral compass. Such so-called “socially responsible investing” funds have done well in down cycles, since the same screens they apply to weeding out businesses on SRI grounds tend to also eliminate more risky prospects.
Today, such a strategy is certainly working for FCV. It’s portfolio is made up of names such as Autodesk (ADSK) and Deere & Co. (DE). The former is up 2.9% and the latter is ahead by more than 1%..
By contrast, the broad-market SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) is down 0.3%.
FaithShares Pulls Plug On Quartet Of Christian ETFs
By Dave Lindorff
June 6, 2011
Serving mammon and making money, all while adhering more or less to one’s Christian value system, just got a little more difficult after FaithShares announced it would soon shut down four exchange traded funds (ETFs) tailored to the presumed values and strictures of Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists.
The four ETFs were among five offered for the past three years by the Oklahoma-based firm in an effort to target a Christian investor base it estimated at more than 150 million households nationwide. Within a few weeks, Christian investors looking for type of specialized investment will only have one FaithShares ETF to invest in: the FaithShares Christian Values Fund ETF (FOC). All five of the company’s ETFs were originally classified as large-cap blend equities ETFs.
The four funds being closed are the FaithShares Baptist Values Fund (FZB), the FaithShares Catholic Values Fund (FCV), the FaithShares Lutheran Values Fund (FKL) and the FaithShares Methodist Values Fund (FMV).
The funds are being closed because there’s only minimal investor interest. The Baptist and Methodist ETFs, for example, each only have about $1.5 million in assets and report average daily trading volumes of just 1,000 shares.
Investors holding any of the closed ETFs in their portfolios who want to switch over to the remaining FaithShares Christian Values Fund will have to accept some investments that their earlier and more specialized ETFs proscribed. And, in some cases, they will find themselves avoiding some investments that they might have been included in their original portfolios.
For example, Baptists will find that the remaining Christian Values ETF is very similar to the Baptists Values Fund in its holdings, except that where their earlier fund might not have been investing in companies doing medical research with stem cells, such companies would not be proscribed. At the same time, where they might earlier have been invested in defense contractors that make land mines, those companies are not included in the remaining Christian Values Fund ETF.
Lutherans, meanwhile, who in their specialty ETF were staying away of companies involved in making nuclear weapons or that had bad environmental records, would find no such limits with the Christian Values Fund. And Catholics, whose special ETF focused on companies that were working to “reduce arms production, pursue economic justice, protect the environment and encourage corporate responsibility,” would find no such concerns addressed in the Christian Values Fund.
Methodists, whose specialty ETF sought to invest in “nurturing community, the social community” and to avoid companies producing “harmful products and services” would find no such concerns in the investment guidelines of the Christian Values ETF, which has more than $3 million in total assets.
The closure of an ETF can be problematic for investors holding them in a portfolio. The automatic redemption can be a tax event, triggering a capital gain, experts warn.
So far, 2011 has been a year of expansion for ETFs, with 80 new products added and only a handful of liquidations. But with more than 500 ETFs currently having less than $50 million in assets under management and equities markets weakening, the FaithShares closures could be a sign that more closures are the horizon.
Are you unknowingly supporting companies profiting from Abortion, Alcohol, Gambling, Pornography, and/or Tobacco? Unfortunately, for many Christian churches and individual investors, the answer is often, “I’m not sure.” TitheCapital LLC, a newly established Christian faith based investment management firm, has created a solution many feel has been a long time coming.
Joshua A. Fritchman, the founder of TitheCapital states, “As stewards of God’s gifts it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure His money is being invested ethically. We, at TitheCapital, are devoted to helping Christian stewards manage these gifts within a Christian values based framework. While traditional money managers may focus on absolute return and outperforming benchmarks, we focus on long term growth, reduced risk, and Christian values.” The firm prides itself in never investing in firms that profit from abortion, alcohol, gambling, pornography, and/or tobacco or openly support alternative lifestyles.
When asked what made TitheCapital different from other faith based investment options Mr. Fritchman answered, “There are three major factors differentiating TitheCapital from other faith based investment options. First, we tithe ten percent of our gross management fee to Christian charities selected by our investors. The accumulated funds are donated at year-end on behalf of each investor, not TitheCapital. Second, as a boutique investment manager, we are able to provide a direct relationship between the investor and the portfolio manager. There are no middlemen, salesmen, or “financial advisors” to muddy the communication and increase cost. We are paid a fee based on asset size, not investment recommendations or selling high margin products. TitheCapital is a lean operation devoted to its clients, not just another broker. Lastly, but just as important, our fees are some of the lowest in the industry. We never charge front end (to get into the fund) or back end (to cash out) load fees, 12b-1 fees (sales fee used to pay traditional financial advisors), or any other confusing fee common within the industry. We charge a clearly stated asset based management fee, nothing else. We encourage all Christian stewards to compare our fees with our competition; it’s our duty to be informed investors of God’s gifts.”
Mr. Fritchman is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with a Masters degree in Business Administration and a Bachelors degree with Distinction in Finance. He also holds the FINRA Series 65/Uniform Investment Advisor License and is a Registered Investment Advisor. Prior to establishing TitheCapital he was an equity trader and analyst for OppenheimerFunds Institutional Asset Management and a senior fixed income investment analyst for AmeriServ Associates Inc. He and his wife, Danielle, have two sons, Caleb and Carson.
Faith Based Fund Eventide Gilead Rated at the Top by Morningstar
By Robin John
Press Releas Fri, Jul. 08 2011 08:35 AM MST
BOSTON, MA—(Marketwire - 07/07/11) - The Eventide Gilead Fund’s no-load class (NASDAQ:ETGLX - News) was ranked by Morningstar within the top decile of all U.S. mid-cap growth mutual funds among 680 funds for the three year period ending July 1, 2011.
For the three years ending June 30, 2011, the Eventide Gilead Fund generated an annualized total return of 15.50%, compared to an annualized total return of 3.51% for S&P 500. During this period, ETGLX has outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 11.99% annualized.
The following table highlights the Fund’s performance over the past three years:
Expenses ratios: Gross Expenses 4.13%, Net Expenses 1.63%. The advisor has agreed to maintain the Fund’s total annual operating expenses at 1.63% until at least October 31, 2011.
The Eventide portfolio management team attributes the Fund’s long-term outperformance to its values-driven investment approach.
“We believe that companies that prosper best over the long-term are those that serve others. Accordingly, we invest in companies that operate with integrity and excel at creating value. Just as importantly, we avoid investing in companies that engage in predatory behavior or harm customers, society, and eventually shareholders. The result is ‘values-based investing’ and it not only gives us the potential for outperformance, it also provides a unique opportunity to invest in companies whose products and practices help create a better world,” explains Eventide portfolio manager Finny Kuruvilla, MD, PhD.
Dr. Kuruvilla continues, “We are honored that according to Morningstar we have surpassed the performance of 99% of mid-cap growth funds, a competitive category of 680 funds that includes many funds run by high quality managers at prestigious firms. The last three years have included the worst period in the markets since the Great Depression as well as a tremendous rally. Our outperformance through these tumultuous market periods is a testament to the strength of our approach. We believe that the vast majority of investors are neglecting the alpha that comes from values-based investing.”
According to co-portfolio manager David Barksdale, “Eventide actively manages the Gilead Fund in pursuit of performance that is not merely reflective of the movement of broad market indices. We believe this provides better diversification benefits for our investors and allows for a greater potential for outperformance.”
The Gilead Fund is managed by Eventide Asset Management, LLC, a Boston-based investment advisor practicing faith-based and socially responsible investing.
The performance pertains to the no-load* class. The Fund offers multiple classes of shares for which performance will differ, based upon fees and commissions. *Other expenses that apply to a continued investment in the fund are described in the Fund’s prospectus.
The S&P 500 is an index created by Standard & Poor’s and is considered to represent the performance of the stock market generally. It is not an investment product available for purchase.
Alpha is the mean performance of a fund over a time period that is not explained by price movements of a related market index.
Morningstar Mid-Cap Growth Category Description: Category includes both mid-cap growth funds that invest in stocks of companies of all sizes, thus leading to a mid-cap profile, and those that focus on midsize companies. Normally, the Gilead Fund invests primarily in a broad range of equity securities without limitation to market capitalization.
Performance is historic and does not guarantee future results. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate with changing market conditions so that when redeemed, shares may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. To obtain the most recent month end performance information or the fund’s prospectus please call the fund, toll free at 1-877-771-EVEN (3836). You can also obtain a prospectus at www.eventidefunds.com. An investor should consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing or sending money. This and other important information about the Eventide Gilead Fund can be found in the Fund’s prospectus. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing. The Fund is distributed by Matrix Capital Group, Inc., New York, NY 10017.
We often hear pastors and teachers teach about the 10% that we are to tithe. But what about the other 90% required for good Christian stewardship? Have we ever considered what we are to do with that and who really owns it?
In Genesis 14:19b, we are told “God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth.” He owns everything.
We are even told we cannot out give God in any way. “Your, O Lord, is everything that is in the heavens and the earth who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. For we are sojourners before You, and tenants all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.” (1 Chronicles 29:11,14-16).
He continuously repeats that point in Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” And “For the earth is the Lord’s, and everything that is in it.” (1 Corinthians 10:26)
He even gets specific “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” declares the Lord of hosts (Haggai 2:8) and “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the fields is Mine.” (Psalm 50:10-11)
So assuming that we’ve got the 10% is God’s done, have we really thought about the remaining 90% and what is required for good Christian stewardship? Most of us do not really think about it any other way than what I own and can use personally. Have you ever stopped to think that it is really owned by God and entrusted to us to use for His glory and the provision of our family? The verses we checked out show us that YHVH our God owns EVERYTHING even down to the gold and silver. I don’t own anything but do I live like that? I know that I often just purchase something according to my desires. But that is not how I should live.
The real question then becomes “So how do I live like God owns everything?” First of all, I dedicate it all to Him and entrust it back to Him coming to the mental realization that it is just entrusted to me. I can then say “He gave, He takes away.” I also then seek to use everything I have entrusted to me for His glory. Am I willing to open my home to visitors? Or someone in need? Or do I think “they might mess up ‘my’ house? Do I take good care of the items entrusted to me as I know they are really owned by the Father? It is all contained in our heart and thereby our actions.
So this week, I’m purposing to stop and think about my care of the “other 90% and practicing good Christian stewardship.” Will you do the same with me?
The San Diego Comic-Con, possibly the largest convention of its kind in the world, has faced criticism for attracting and supporting all that is unwholesome in pop culture and the media. Comic-Con is not just an innocent gathering of artists, fans, and celebrities supporting their industry, and the annual event promotes worldly values and only serves to corrupt young minds, critics charge. So what could Jesus Christ and Comic-Con possibly have in common?
Plenty, according to Scott Shuford, Vice President of the Christian Comics Art Society (CCAS), whose group, along with Chalice Press, has several events organized for this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International.
Shuford insists he and his CCAS associates are following Christ’s example by engaging the culture. For him, Comic-Con is not just about networking and fostering potential business opportunities.
“The comics industry, as evidence by the blockbuster summer films, is the heart and center of pop culture-at least one of the heart and centers,” Shuford explained. “For Christians not to be here would be basically silly. We would be completely abandoning Christ in the context of that discussion.”
Comic-Con, which attracts more than 100,000 attendees every year, kicks off Thursday, July 21 and runs through Sunday, July 24, has made San Diego the place to be for comic book fans, sci-fi geeks, and all-around pop culture junkies.
Fans get to meet their favorite artists, writers, actors, snap up collectibles, get autographs, and more. Some do the Con decked out in costumes, dressing like their favorite superhero, movie character, or video game figure.
Like us on Facebook
So where exactly does CCAS fit in?
The Christian Comics Art Society, a collective that supports Christian professionals in the comic book industry and their fans by offering mentoring and fellowship opportunities, currently has more than a thousand members online so they expect to get plenty of traffic this year at Comic-Con.
CCAS will not only be showcasing art work, screening short films, and mingling with fans, but also sharing the Good News about Jesus Christ-which is their main business every year at Comic-Con.
“Part of it is just having a presence, giving a voice to the Gospel and Biblically-related themes so that we are involved in the culture and the discussion that’s going on,” Shuford explained about CCAS’s yearly presence at Comic-Con.
Shuford, who is also the founder of FrontGate Media, which produces various faith-based products, has helped organized a variety of panels to engage convention-goers who may be curious about how Christ fits into the culture.
Saturday’s panel is focused on the emergence of popular religious-oriented works in comics, film, and even on Broadway that in no way glorify Christ but instead seem to lambast religion. Panel organizers pose the question: “Is Mass Media our New Church?”
Sunday’s discussion seems to delve a little deeper as the discussion centers on “The Calling of the Artist” and the fine line some Christians in the creative arts face when it comes to staying true to their faith while working in the secular market.
Several industry professionals will be on hand for that discussion, including: Sergio Cariello, illustrator of The Action Bible; John Shore, author of I’m OK-You’re Not OK; and Buzz Dixon, a stalwart in the industry who has written for dozens of popular comics and cartoons.
Last year, members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church picketed the convention, blasting the gathering of fanboys and fangirls as ungodly. Westboro often pickets the funerals of service members and directs much of their attention to gays and lesbians, proclaiming that God hates homosexuals.
There has not been any sign of the controversial group’s presence this year at the Comic-Con. But what would Shuford say if confronted with a sign that read “God hates comics?”
“It’s easier to judge from the outside,” Shuford said of those who may want to criticize him for participating in Comic-Con.
“We certainly espouse to the ‘be in, but not of the world’ philosophy,” Shuford explained. “Just because the Comic-Con draws a cross section of every part of society, that is not a reason to not have a Christian presence there.”
And God is moving in the comic book and pop culture industries, according to Shuford.
“It’s just very clear that, along with the placement or the position the industry holds in pop culture, God has got a very vibrant movement. He’s called an army of Christians into that environment to serve at various levels and it’s just amazing to see what everyone’s doing.”
Ave Maria Mutual Funds Opens Branch Office in Florida
Ave Maria Mutual Funds Thu, Sep. 08 2011 07:37 AM MST
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/—Schwartz Investment Counsel Inc., the investment adviser for the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, has announced the opening of a branch office in Ave Maria, Fla. The town of Ave Maria is adjacent to Ave Maria University and is located near Naples, Fla. Michael J. Schwartz, vice president and national sales manager, will manage the office. Joining him are Tim Schwartz, vice president and portfolio manager, and Christopher E. O’Rourke, account representative.
Patrick Kiley, the host of the Christian Radio show Follow the Money, has been indicted in a $194 million Ponzi scheme in Minnesota.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the scheme involved solicitation of investments in a foreign currency trading program using the acronym UBS. The UBS referenced was not the huge Swiss-based bank with offices in 50 countries, employing over 65,000 people. This UBS was Universal Brokerage Services, an entity allegedly used to defraud investors. Kiley’s program was carried on more than 200 stations around the world, including the Worldwide Christian Radio network. He told his listeners he was a senior financial adviser and warned them about a “coming financial Armageddon”, which could only be avoided by investing in the foreign currency trading scheme. Kiley now claims he was only reading from a script prepared by others and he believed in the scheme.
Kiley is the latest in a string of scams perpetuated by advisers who gain the trust of their victims by invoking common religious beliefs. An Internet missionary church bilked fundamentalist Christians out of $550 million by quoting Luke 6:38: “Give and it shall be given unto you.” Another scam targeted members of churches in rural areas, promising outsized returns in foreign bank instruments. Some 125 church members lost $7.4 million. In 2009, two Maryland men were charged and arrested for allegedly fleecing 21 Michigan churches out of $660,000. The pastors of these churches gave the scammers access to church bank accounts.
This is only a small sampling of scams using religion as the means to gain the trust of the victims. It is difficult to conceive of more despicable conduct than fleecing people whose trust you have gained through shared values. Fortunately, by taking a few simple precautions, you can avoid falling victim to these scams:
The golden rule of investing. Remember the golden rule of investing: Increased returns always come at the expense of increased risk. There are no exceptions to this rule. Every scam is premised on convincing you the investment being proposed will give you high returns with little or no risk. It’s ironic that these investments are the opposite of what they promise. They are all risk, with no return, except to those sponsoring them.
Diversification mitigates risk. It’s surprising how common it is to hear victims tell stories of being scammed out of their entire life savings. No one should invest a significant portion of their funds in any one investment, no matter how good it sounds. Enron, Worldcom, and Lehman Brothers were all touted as terrific investments before they filed for bankruptcy.
Avoid all private investments. Private deals of all stripes share characteristics that should be a red flag for investors. They are typically illiquid. They are not subject to supervision by the Securities and Exchange Commission. They often don’t have financial statements audited by major accounting firms. The investments are not transparent. You would be well advised to avoid all private investments. Instead, consider a globally diversified portfolio of low management fee index funds, passively managed funds, or exchange traded funds in an asset allocation appropriate for your tolerance for risk.
Use a major custodian for your assets. Your funds should be held by a major custodian like T.D. Ameritrade, Fidelity, or Charles Schwab. Funds should be deposited directly with the custodian. You should be able to access your account on the web site of your custodian and should receive reports directly from the custodian. Following these simple rules will insure that you will never be a victim of any scammer, regardless of his religious persuasion.
07 Sep 2011.
The ethical investment stance taken by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church’s has resulted in market beating returns, according to the manager’s latest report. The CFB has continued to vote down the majority of company remuneration reports.
Salem Communications to Ring NASDAQ Closing Bell and to Present at New York Investor Conference
Salem Comminications Fri, Sep. 30 2011 11:21 AM MST
Salem Communications to Ring NASDAQ Closing Bell and to Present at New York
CAMARILLO, CA, Sep 29, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX)—Salem Communications
leading U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book
publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content
and conservative values, announced today that the Company has been invited by
NASDAQ to ring the closing bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite on October 5, 2011. A
live webcast of the event will be available at
In addition, the Company will participate at the Imperial Capital Global
Opportunities Conference, being held October 5-6, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel
in New York City. Salem will present on October 6, 2011 and the webcast of the
presentation will be available on the investor relations portion of Salem’s
website at www.salem.cc . During the conference, Salem management will confirm
third quarter 2011 guidance, which was provided on August 4, 2011. For the third
quarter of 2011, Salem is projecting total revenue to increase 4% to 6% over
third quarter 2010 total revenue of $51.4 million. Salem is also projecting
operating expenses before gain or loss on disposal of assets, terminated
transaction costs and abandoned license upgrades and impairments to increase 3%
to 6% as compared to the third quarter of 2010 operating expenses of $43.2
Salem Communications Corporation is the largest commercial U.S. radio
broadcasting company that provides programming targeted at audiences interested
in Christian and family-themed radio content, as measured by the number of
stations and audience coverage. Upon completion of all announced transactions,
the company will own and/or operate a national portfolio of 95 radio stations in
37 markets, including 59 stations in 22 of the top 25 markets. We also program
the Family Talk (TM) Christian-themed talk format on SiriusXM Channel 131.
Salem also owns Salem Radio Network, a national radio network that syndicates
talk, news and music programming to approximately 2,000 affiliated radio
stations and Salem Media Representatives, a national media advertising sales
firm with offices across the country.
In addition to its radio broadcast business, Salem owns an Internet and a
publishing division. Salem Web Network is a provider of online Christian and
conservative-themed content and streaming and includes websites such as
Christian faith focused Christianity.com, Questions and Answers about Jesus
Christ at Jesus.org, Christian living focused Crosswalk.com(R), online Bible at
BibleStudyTools.com, Christian videos at GodTube.com, a leading website
providing church media at WorshipHouseMedia.com and Christian radio ministries
online at OnePlace.com. Additionally Salem owns conservative news leader
Townhall.com(R) and conservative political blog HotAir.com, providing
conservative commentary, news and blogging. Salem Publishing(TM) circulates
Christian and conservative magazines such as Homecoming(R) The Magazine,
YouthWorker Journal(TM), The Singing News, FaithTalk Magazine, Preaching and
Townhall Magazine(TM). Xulon Press(TM) is a provider of self publishing services
targeting the Christian audience.
Forward-Looking Statements Statements used in this press release that relate
to future plans, events, financial results, prospects or performance are
forward-looking statements as defined under the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those anticipated
as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to the
ability of Salem to close and integrate announced transactions, market
acceptance of Salem’s radio station formats, competition from new technologies,
adverse economic conditions, and other risks and uncertainties detailed from
time to time in Salem’s reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q, 8-K and other filings filed
with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are
cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which
speak only as of the date hereof. Salem undertakes no obligation to update or
revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, changed
circumstances or unanticipated events.
Evan D. Masyr
<h1>The Truth About Investing</h1><p></p><p class=“f8black”><strong></strong></p><p class=“f8black”> Tue, Oct. 04, 2011 Posted: 11:07 AM </p><hr><div id=“text” class=“f9black” align=“left”><p>Okay. I’ll admit it. I’ve been more than a little bit nervous about my investments over the last year. It seems as though we’ve all stepped through the looking glass and what used to be up is now down. Many of us have stared in the headlights as our 401(k)’s have begun to resemble our paychecks. And, yes, the near-term future still appears fraught with all sorts of hazards and the possibly of more Bernie Madoff’s. So, the big question: What do we do now?</p><p>Since I’m not one of those Bob Blow-dry TV pundits with a glib answer to every question, let me begin with the truth. I don’t know what’s going to happen. In fact, no mortal does. The best we can do is make educated guesses based on past market performances. But, with your permission, allow me to share a few thoughts.</p><p><strong>1. As I just said, no one knows what the future holds.</strong> Let that sink in for a moment because it flies in the face of much of what we’re told by some high-powered money managers and advisors. Many of these people claim to be able to “maximize our returns by selecting the right stocks,” or “beat the market averages with our insights.” Sure, telling people to buy low and sell high sounds great—but what do you do if that doesn’t work? Studies have shown that when some of these big-brag fund managers are tracked over extended periods (say, 20 years or more), over 90 percent of them frequently don’t even meet market averages. And, the trouble is, you don’t know 20 years ahead what 5 or 10 percent of them will do it!</p><p><strong>2. Don’t bet the farm on a few hot tips.</strong> Although it runs counterintuitive to much of the noise and hype, historically, many successful investors have staked their careers on this basic principle. Instead, they diversify over a wide range of investments (possibly with some in various domestic stock mutual funds, foreign funds, bonds, and cash-related investments.) Personally, I have my own investment dollars diversified in more than 15,000 stocks in over twenty countries. Does this guarantee the highest possible return? No, but historically and when done correctly, proper diversification has been a successful way to grow value over a long periods of time. Part of the reason for this is that different investments tend to perform differently in the same period of time. For instance, when one investment is down others are likely to be up—or, at least not as far down.</p><p><strong>3. Avoid risky investments to make up for recent losses.</strong> Too often I see people (often nearing retirement age) throw caution to the wind and jump into high-risk commodity trading or buying and selling shorts to recoup money that’s already gone. Unless you’re a true pro, the risk is high that you’ll leave this party hurting even worse.</p><p><strong>4. Pay attention to the costs and fees.</strong> Don’t let someone lean back in his chair and say, “Hey, what’s the big deal? It’s just another half a percent.” That half percent can cost you thousands over the years. Here’s the plan: If it’s no big deal to him—we’re going to let him pay it! Watch the fees and ferret out hidden expenses in all of your investments. High costs can decimate long-term returns.</p><p><strong>5. Don’t push the panic button without thinking.</strong> One sure way to fail at investing is to buy high and sell low. Too many people wait until markets are sailing along at record highs—and then they jump in. Then, when the markets go down, they get spooked and sell. Recently, more people at my speaking engagements have come up and announced that, “When I realized I’d lost half my money, I decided to sell.” Admittedly, this may make sense in some cases (i.e. if you’re in retirement). But as a strategy, it can be very costly.</p><p>The fact is, I don’t know what’s going to happen. No one does. But I do have a general<br>belief that the markets will repair themselves eventually. Each of us must do what we feel is best. But as for me and my household, I plan to stay the course.</p><p>But on a deeper level, as Christians we can put our trust in God to provide. His principles always work. Proverbs 13:11 echoes through the ages: “<em>Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow</em>.“</p><p><strong>Steve Diggs </strong>presents the <em>Re-Tooled & Re-Fueled </em>and <em>No Debt No Sweat!</em> Christian Money Management Seminars at churches and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve on the Web at <a href=“http://www.retooledandrefueled.com/” target=“_blank”><span style=“color: rgb(36, 130, 227);“>http://www.retooledandrefueled.com</span></a> or <a href=“http://www.nodebtnosweat.com/”><span style=“color: rgb(36, 130, 227);“>www.nodebtnosweat.com</span></a> or call 615-300-8263. The author of several books, today Steve serves as a minister for the Antioch Church in Nashville. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four grown children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, TN</p><p></p></div><p class=“f9black”> Steve Diggs</p>
Christian Investment Newsletter Among 2011's Top Five
By Richard Williams
Christian Newswire Tue, Jan. 03 2012 08:34 AM MST
Christian Investment Newsletter Among 2011’s Top Five
Contact: Richard Williams, 716-938-6623
SALAMANCA, N.Y., Dec. 30, 2011 /Christian Newswire/—On Dec 26 Peter Brimelow of MarketWatch published his annual Top 10 list of Investment Newsletters. Placing in the top five out of the 196 Investment Newsletters currently tracked by Hulbert Financial Digest whose data he cites was The Christian Value Investor that he first profiled in his column Nov 21. His headline for that column was: “Christian letter among 2011 top performers. Commentary: But it’s based on established investing theory.”
Following the New York dateline of his company—one member of the family of financial firms that include the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, Barrons and Hulbert Financial Digest—the sub-headline reads: “Praise the Lord! A new letter is among this year’s top-performers. It’s explicitly Christian.” The full text of that article can easily be found by entering The Christian Value Investor within quotation marks into Google or other search engines.
It was indeed exciting to the founders of Faithful Servant LLC, the company that publishes The Christian Value Investor to have as well known and respected a financial analyst as Brimelow—whose biography is likewise easily searched—not only credit a newcomer to this field for their success, but also to give credit to their newsletter’s Christian principles. Brimelow clearly acknowledges there is a worldly bias against such entities that he terms Christophobia, illustrating this contention with the erosion of “Merry Christmas” greetings into “Happy Holidays.”
He paraphrases from TCVI’s Mission Statement that announces their model portfolio’s avoidance of “sin stocks” such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling casinos, pornography etc. likening this moral position as rather like the various environment-conscious funds that avoid alleged polluters.
About their investment strategy he states “Certainly the Christian Value Investor editors have a bold and incisive investing technique.” A refreshing feature of this piece in a secular column is his parallel credit to one other overtly Christian letter among those Hulbert rates for having consistently edged out the market over the last 15 years despite being somewhat down this year.
To learn more about The Christian Value Investor or its two sister publications that focus on the Utility and Transportation segments of the market one can visit the website that combines the publication’s initials and the fact that they’re always available into www.TCVI-24-7.com.
The Christian Value Investor’s prayer for 2012 is that you have a joyous and prosperous New Year and tithe your good fortune.
When Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy unveiled his fried, boneless breast of chicken sandwich in 1946, he had no idea that 66 years later college students like Taylor Cotter would protest his restaurant’s inclusion on their campuses.
Last week the Student Senate at Northeastern University in Boston voted to halt discussions with the privately held Atlanta, Ga.-based restaurant chain, citing the company’s affiliation with Christian organizations they say have an “anti-gay” agenda.
Taylor Cotter, a senior journalism major who has been a member of the school’s student senate for three years, led the protest to oust Chick-fil-A, but was “shocked” when the university gave in so quickly to the students’ demands.
“I first found out that the school was interested in Chick-fil-A in January of 2011,” Cotter told The Christian Post in a phone interview. “Only about 15 of us knew of the school’s plan for several months and that’s when I grew concerned about a company who supports causes that I feet are divisive.“
Cotter stated there were two primary issues that led her to lead the protest.
First, since Northeastern is not a school that is affiliated with any religious entity, she felt the school should not support businesses that choose to contribute to organizations that she sees as having an “anti-gay” agenda. Some of the organizations that Chick-fil-A support are Focus on the Family, Exodus International and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Chick-fil-A normally operates through franchise agreements with individuals and companies, but Cotter claims that was not the case at Northeastern and that the university would have entered into a business arrangement with their food vendor that would ultimately involve money derived from students.
“The other reason I opposed Chick-fil-A on campus was that I didn’t want any portion of my student tuition going to support a company that I don’t agree with,” added Cotter.
However, officials with schools such as New York University who have similar arrangements with Chick-fil-A, say no portion of student dollars are going directly to the company.
“The University does not have a direct relationship with Chick-Fil-A,” Philip Lentz , the school’s director of Public Affairs told HuffPost. “ARAMARK is the University’s restaurant vendor and Chick-Fil-A is licensed by ARAMARK to lease a restaurant on NYU’s Greenwich Village campus.“
Students at NYU have also circulated a petition to oust Chick-fil-A, but the university has taken no action on their request.
When asked if she agreed that any organization or company has the right to support causes they agree with, she said “definitely, I’m totally in support of any organization doing whatever they want with their money. But I also wanted students to feel safe and accepted when they were in the Student Center.“
Cotter, who will graduate in May, says she grew up “Irish” Catholic and attended Catholic schools before entering Northeastern. “I’m not personally ‘anti-Christian,’” she said. “I consider myself a Democrat and someone who cares about equality.“
But Chick-fil-A disagrees with the issues brought forward by the students.
“We’re a restaurant that has a hospitality that says we’re here to embrace everyone who wants to come and be part of Chick-fil-A,” said Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy. “So to be identified with some sort of hate group that has a political agenda – that is not Chick-fil-A at all.“
The Christian Post attempted to contact officials at Northeastern University but were unable to reach anyone prior to publication.
GuideStone Funds honored with premier financial award
By Tim Head
Baptist Press Wed, Mar. 14 2012 06:26 PM MST
GuideStone Funds has won one of the most prestigious awards in the financial world for mutual fund families with up to $40 billion in assets—the 2012 Lipper Award for Best Overall Small Fund Group in the U.S.
As the first Christian-based socially screened fund family to win the premier Lipper honor, GuideStone was ranked No. 1 among 182 eligible companies for its consistently strong risk-adjusted investment performance across broad asset classes.
GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins, chief operating officer John Jones and chief investment officer Roddy Cummins, along with Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, were in New York City Thursday night, March 8, to receive the Lipper trophy at a dinner sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, Thomson Reuters and Investment News.
Hawkins said the Lipper Award for Best Overall Small Fund Group “recognizes a standard of excellence that we pursue every day as we seek to honor the Lord and enable our faithful participants to invest according to their biblical principles.“
Page said it was “an incredible night, not just for GuideStone, but for the entire Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelicals who are seeking biblical integrity not only with their lives and families but also with their finances.“
”On Thursday night, the financial world publicly acknowledged that people can successfully invest their money in a God-honoring way,” Page said.
At a celebration event in Dallas Monday morning, March 12, Cummins first thanked the Lord for His favor and then recognized the daily collaborative efforts of GuideStone’s 450 employees as well as the team of outside sub-advisers to the fund group.
“People often think that they have to compromise biblical integrity for investment performance,” said Cummins, who has overseen the growth of the GuideStone Funds family from 13 funds at its inception in 2001 to 27 funds today. “We are dispelling that myth, which is evidenced by the Lipper Award for Best Overall Small Fund Group that now resides at GuideStone headquarters in Dallas, Texas.“
GuideStone Funds has achieved its leading level of excellence through its sophisticated proprietary manager-of-managers investment platform that leverages what GuideStone believes to be the best possible intellectual capital worldwide. The 27 funds in the GuideStone Fund group are managed by more than 20 professionals dedicated to its investment process and committed to GuideStone’s biblically based, social screening guidelines.
“The Lipper Award is a very meaningful accomplishment professionally for our team,” Cummins said, “but most importantly it brings honor to the Lord and reflects favorably on our client base that is faithfully fulfilling their call to Christian ministry or raising their family on biblical values. It’s a joy to receive this award on behalf of the pastors, church workers, missionaries and others who are invested in GuideStone Funds. While they are out there living their lives and doing their work for God’s Kingdom, we strive to enhance their financial security by delivering the highest quality investment program that reflects their biblical values. They deserve the best and we are thrilled for them in receiving the Lipper trophy.“
GuideStone Funds are available to Southern Baptist and evangelical Christian churches and ministry organizations that GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention is authorized to serve. In addition, the funds are sold to individuals associated with those organizations that are eligible to utilize products and services made available by GuideStone Financial Resources. For more information, visit www.GuideStone.org.
Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company, is one of the financial world’s leading fund research and analysis organizations, covering more than 122,000 funds, with 231,000-plus share classes, in 61 registered for sale (RFS) universes. Lipper, in providing independent insight on global collective investments, analyzes mutual funds, retirement funds, hedge funds, fund fees and expenses to the asset management and media communities. Additional information is available at www.lipperweb.com.
Criteria for consideration for the Best Overall-Small Fund Group Award include:
-- Funds are registered for sale in the respective country as of the end of the calendar year of the respective evaluation year.
-- At least 36 months of performance history as of the end of the calendar year of the respective evaluation year.
-- Small fund groups with at least three equity funds, three bond funds and three mixed-asset funds. —30— Tim Head is executive officer for denominational and public relations services at GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Finally, a Goldman Sachs Executive Speaks the Truth
By GREG SMITH
Huffington Post Wed, Mar. 14 2012 06:30 PM MST
I was pleasantly surprised this morning to read in the New York Times an op-ed piece by Greg Smith, a senior derivatives executive at my old employer, Goldman Sachs, who had decided to leave the firm on moral grounds.
I wanted to tell Greg that he is not alone in his feelings. There are many Goldman alumni who feel like I do that the firm is headed in the wrong direction. Here is an excerpt from the preface to my new book, Survival Investing: How to Prosper Amid Thieving Banks and Corrupt Governments.
I wake each morning to a world that feels progressively more surreal, and I wonder how this can be the same America I grew up in. Every day there are new announcements of unethical behavior by bankers and politicians, and every day it goes unpunished. I’m talking about thousands of incidents over decades that have ended up costing Americans—and people around the world their jobs, incomes, and life savings.
In the interest of full disclosure I must tell you I was once an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. It’s funny, because getting the job was one of the proudest moments of my life. Goldman Sachs in the 1980s had established itself as the premier investment bank in the world. Investment bankers were regarded as some of the brightest, most hardworking, and most dedicated people in business. Now when I am asked for a short bio, I often leave out mention of Goldman Sachs. I find it stereotypes me as supportive of a corrupt system that, in reality, I have worked much of my adult life to overturn.
Goldman Sachs was not always as it is today. We weren’t saints back in the 1980s, but most of us were highly ethical people. We knew we were conducting business, not “God’s work”. We were seeking profitable transactions, but we understood that we had clients that were issuing securities and clients that were investing in those securities and both had to be happy with each transaction. And we understood that our reputation was everything, and that if we didn’t keep our clients happy on both sides of a transaction, we risked damage to our franchise.
We had a trading operation at the time, and the beginnings of a principal investment business in which we invested our own money, but they were relatively small compared with our investment banking division, which provided advice to corporations about public offerings of securities and mergers.
Two big changes occurred over time. The first was that the firm went public and began to play with other people’s money. When the firm was a private partnership, it acted conservatively. This changed. Partners took out a great majority of their capital and replaced it with public monies.
I remember giving a presentation to John Weinberg, our senior partner back in the 1980’s, and the management committee and telling them, “If the transaction is successful, we’ll get our money back in four years.” So Weinberg asked, “Why do I want my money back in four years? I’ve got my money now.” Weinberg was so conservative with partners’ capital that when we presented to him one of the first leveraged buyouts ever completed, he refused to buy any of the equity, thinking it was enormously risky, even though the very reason to do leveraged buyouts is to create highly leveraged equity that has enormous upside and limited downside.
The second major change came when the principal‑investing business and the trading business became the most important parts of the firm. Investment banking was still successful, but its profits were dwarfed by the trading business and the principal‑investing business, and Goldman Sachs has always been oriented to the bottom line. And so it rewarded these trading and principal‑investing partners with more senior management positions. Eventually most of the executive suite came from the trading side of the business.
The current CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, comes out of the commodities trading business, and it shows. In his testimony before Congress, he tried to present all of Goldman Sachs’s business as just a matter of trades in which Goldman had no responsibility or fiduciary duty to its clients. He argued that Goldman’s clients were sophisticated people, and that the firm’s job was to maximize profits regardless of what it meant to the profitability of its investing clients. This is how traders think. When traders rip off clients for $1 million, it is met with whoops and cheers across the trading floor. Investment bankers spend a great deal of time trying to find loopholes in the tax laws and accounting regulations so as to maximize cash flows and reported earnings for their clients, so they are not completely without sin, but what traders do every day is much more egregious.
And there is very little value in it, other than to the trader himself. When an investment banker takes a small firm public, the banker raises capital for the firm, which creates jobs and new products and services. When a trader packages a bunch of worthless mortgages and lies to investors about their creditworthiness—he’s created no value for society. The client is worse off by exactly the amount that Goldman Sachs profits. It’s a zero-sum game.
Academics like to argue that trading increases liquidity, thus reducing the friction, or costs, at which trades and economic transactions occur. This is partly true, but it’s hardly a justification for the liberties traders take. Look at the damage done to the global economy in this latest crisis. Could all the despair of hundreds of millions of people across the planet possibly be worth slightly lower bid‑ask spreads?
So for the last 12 years, I’ve been writing books explaining what I think is the greatest crisis facing our country and the world—that big banks and corporations have taken over the US government with campaign contributions and lobbying. People think that banks and corporations lobby the government to get tax breaks and minor government subsidies. No, they lobby to write regulations that help them and to remove regulations that they find cumbersome. And they lobby to obtain trillions of dollars in government contracts, especially the defense companies who push weapons systems we don’t really need. The problems of the United States are myriad, yet almost all can be traced to the corporate and banking stranglehold over our government and its politicians.
John R. Talbott, previously a Goldman Sachs investment banker, is a best selling author and economic consultant to families whose books predicted the economic crisis. You can read more about his books, the accuracy of his predictions and his financial consulting activities at www.stopthelying.com
Pro-Life Groups: Boycott Pepsi for Using Aborted Fetal Cell Lines
By Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Fri, Mar. 16 2012 09:51 AM MST
Dozens of pro-life groups are calling on pro-life Americans to
boycott PepsiCo because it has contracted with a company that uses fetal
cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce
artificial flavor enhancers.
LifeNews.com reported on the controversy
in March when information came to light showing biotech company Senomyx
was found to be testing their food additives using fetal cells from
abortions. Senomyx ignored a letter from the pro-life group Children of
God for Life, which complained about its practices.
company’s key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of
savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow
for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products,”
the Senomyx web site says. “Using isolated human taste receptors, we
created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a
biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts
with the receptor.”
Debi Vinnedge, of the pro-life group, explained, “What they don’t
tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney
cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors.
They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained
human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”
Now, Vinnedge says today that PepsiCo is funding the research and
development by paying royalties to Senomyx to use the human embryonic
kidney cells to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.
“There are many options PepsiCo could be using instead of aborted
fetal cells, including animal, insect, or other morally obtained human
cells,” she told LifeNews. “The revelation—a potential public relations
nightmare—motivated Campbell Soup to sever all relations with Senomyx.
However, PepsiCo continues their business relationship despite the
abortion connection. Their response earlier this year drew public ire
when they wrote that “our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited
to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers.”
“When pressed further, PepsiCo attempted to pacify angry consumers
with a form letter response in which they insinuated they had been
accused of conducting aborted fetal tissue research,” she added. “Their
duplicity again drew public outrage.”
Brad Mattes of the Life Issues Institute is another pro-life leader calling for a boycott.
“While aborted fetal cells aren’t actually in the product itself, the
close relationship is enough to repulse most consumers. To our
knowledge, this is the first time a food product has been publicly
associated with abortion,” he said.
Senomyx boasts they have over 800,000 unique flavors for foods,
Vinnedge says, but cells expressing certain proteins produce a chemical
signal when the flavors are introduced, which determines if they have
achieved the proper flavor. The aborted fetal cells are not in the
Pro-life organizations are asking the public to boycott all Pepsi
drink products and encourage consumers to contact Pepsi management
requesting that they sever all ties with Senomyx. Consumers are also
encouraged to contact Campbell Soup and thank them for responding to
Pro-life groups joining Children of God for Life in the boycott to
date are: American Life League, Life Issues Institute, Concerned Women
for America, Colorado Right to Life, American Right to Life, Sound
Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, ALL Arizona, Central Nebraskans for
Life, Pro-Life Waco, Houston Coalition for Life, Mother and Unborn Baby
Fox Valley, Womankind, Billboards for Life, Movement for a Better
America, Defenders of the Unborn, Focus Pregnancy Help Center, Idaho
Chooses Life, EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers of NY, Four Seasons for
Life, CREDO, Life Choices, STOPP Dallas, CA Right To Life, Human Life
Alliance, International Right to Life Federation, Operation Rescue and
Pro-Life Nation. LifeNews.com has joined the boycott call as well.
I had assumed this was just a wild rumor, but Pepsi really is using the bodies of aborted children to make its products–not for cannibalism but in product testing. And the Obama administration has given its approval. From Lifesite:
PepsiCo has come under fire from pro-life advocates because it has been contracting with a research firm that uses fetal cells from babies victimized by abortions to test and produce artificial flavor enhancers.
Now, the Obama administration is set to face more criticism because an agency has declared that Pepsi’s use of the company and its controversial flavor testing process constitutes “ordinary business.”
In a decision delivered February 28, the Security and Exchange Commission ruled that PepsiCo’s use of aborted fetal remains in their research and development agreement with Senomyx to produce flavor enhancers falls under “ordinary business operations.”
Debi Vinnedge, Executive Director of Children of God for Life, the organization that exposed the PepsiCo- Senomyx collaboration last year, informed LifeNews today that a letter signed by Attorney Brian Pitko of the SEC Office of Chief Counsel was sent in response to a 36-page document submitted by PepsiCo attorneys in January 2012. In that filing, PepsiCo pleaded with the SEC to reject a Shareholder’s Resolution filed in October 2011 that the company “adopt a corporate policy that recognizes human rights and employs ethical standards which do not involve using the remains of aborted human beings in both private and collaborative research and development agreements.”
PepsiCo lead attorney George A. Schieren noted that the resolution should be excluded because it “deals with matters related to the company’s ordinary business operations” and that “certain tasks are so fundamental to run a company on a day-to-day basis that they could not be subject to stockholder oversight.”
Vinnedge said she is appalled by the apathy and insensitivity of both PepsiCo executives and the Obama administration.
“We’re not talking about what kind of pencils PepsiCo wants to use – we are talking about exploiting the remains of an aborted child for profit,” she said. “Using human embryonic kidney (HEK-293) to produce flavor enhancers for their beverages is a far cry from routine operations.” . . . .
“The company’s key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products,” the Senomyx web site says. “Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”Vinnedge explained, “What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors. They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”
Comments from a source that isn’t pro-life, as such, focused instead on environmental and food issues:
To be clear, the aborted fetal tissue used to make Pepsi’s flavor chemicals does not end up in the final product sold to customers, according to reports — it is used, instead, to evaluate how actual human taste receptors respond to these chemical flavorings. But the fact that Pepsi uses them at all when viable, non-human alternatives are available illustrates the company’s blatant disregard for ethical and moral concerns in the matter.
Pepsi is not the only corporation doing this sort of thing. Senomyx’s other customers include the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Merck.
So it has come to this: the commodification of aborted babies.
Will Republicans go along with this, since it’s a matter of corporate practice and they are committed to being pro-business? Will Libertarians defend this practice, since it’s all free enterprise? Will Democrats who are normally critical of big business support these corporations, with pro-choicers not seeing a problem since they think fetuses are not human beings and since using fetuses as commodities reinforces a woman’s right to choose?
UPDATE: Read the comments for some facts that might put Pepsi and federal regulators (not the Obama administration as such) in a more positive light. But they also might not. You tell me.
Millions of pounds from pension funds held for local authority workers across Cumbria have been invested in major tobacco firms.
Cumbria County Council, which also manages pension money for district councils such as Carlisle Copeland and Allerdale, has confirmed that more than £8m of the fund has been ploughed into the tobacco industry.
One senior county councillor today called for an urgent review of the investment strategy adopted by the authority, which is a leading campaigner on the health risks of smoking. The county’s director of public health, Professor John Ashton, has also questioned the investment strategy, urging the county council to turn its back on tobacco.
Experts estimate that smoking-related illness kills 900 people in the county every year and some councillors have expressed dismay that the fund helps prop up the international tobacco industry. Figures obtained by the News & Star show that in September last year £8,325,355 from the county’s local authorities pensions pot had been invested in three tobacco giants – Japan Tobacco Incorporated, British American Tobacco PLC, and the Imperial Tobacco Group PLC.
With the total pension fund worth £1.4bn, the investment is less than one per cent of the total.
The information was released following a Freedom of Information request.
Colin Pawson, 60, from Frizington, was a smoker for 30 years when he was diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago.
“It’s shocking to find out they’re investing in something that is killing millions of people,” said Mr Pawson, a father of four.
“They’d be better off investing their money in something local. They have a moral duty not to invest in tobacco.”
County councillor Bill Wearing, chairman of the authority’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee, was also taken aback to learn that local pension money is supporting tobacco. He said: “It’s something we need to look at urgently.”
Barbara Cannon, who represents Workington’s Moss Bay ward on the county council, also has a specialist interest in health issues. She said of the tobacco firm investments: “This shouldn’t be happening. I’m disappointed this is the case.”
Willie Whalen represents Castle ward on the county and Carlisle City councils, and has campaigned on the health dangers of asbestos.
He said: “I wouldn’t criticise people who are addicted to tobacco, but as a local authority we should be setting an example. We can’t be telling people not to smoke for health reasons while at the same time putting funds into tobacco. We have a responsibility to do the right moral thing.
“You also have to ask, when our country is on its uppers financially, why are we investing in a Japanese tobacco company? That money should go into British industry.”
Carlisle city councillor Doreen Parsons, a former Marie Curie cancer nurse, said: “I don’t think this investment is a good idea at all. “Only last week we had No Smoking Day. It’s not a healthy investment.”
Some councillors said they appreciated that fund managers were trying to achieve the best returns.
“It’s the job of fund managers to get the best return, but when that council is against smoking the one aim contravenes the other,” said Alan Toole, who represents Belah in Carlisle.
Cockermouth county councillor Eric Nicholson said the investments were “not ideal,” but added: “But we need to get the best value for our investment.”
Professor Ashton, director of public health for the NHS Cumbria primary care trust, said: “Cumbria needs to put itself alongside the most progressive councils which have turned their back on investing in tobacco. Smoking is the single most important behavioural thing that we can change to improve health and increase a person’s life expectancy.
““If we wish to be seen as a pioneer, and at the forefront of public health, then we need to sort this out.”
On Cumbria County Council’s website, the authority has issued a clear statement of its determination tackle the health risks of smoking. It states: “Smoking is one of Cumbria’s biggest killers. Every year 900 people in the county die due to smoking related diseases. “The Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee has been looking at what’s being done in Cumbria to help people stop smoking and to curb illegal trading in tobacco.”
Newham Borough Council in London has excluded tobacco firms from its pension investments portfolio.
Salem Communications Corporation Stock Upgraded (SALM)
By TheStreet RatingsStaff
TheStreet.com Wed, Apr. 11 2012 09:24 AM MST
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Salem Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:SALM)
has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The
company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid
stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth
and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also
find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income and poor
Highlights from the ratings report include:
Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared
with the industry average of 19.7%. Since the same quarter one year
prior, revenues rose by 10.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have
trickled down to the company’s bottom line, improving the earnings per
Powered by its strong earnings growth of 33.33% and
other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 34.13% over
the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during
the same period. Although SALM had significant growth over the past
year, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional
investment in this stock at the current time.
Even though the
current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.31, it is still below the industry
average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the
Media industry. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the
debt-to-equity ratio, the company’s quick ratio of 0.85 is weak.
The gross profit margin for SALEM COMMUNICATIONS CORP is currently
lower than what is desirable, coming in at 33.80%. Regardless of SALM’s
low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last
year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net
profit margin of 0.80% trails the industry average.
company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one
year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the
S&P 500 and the Media industry. The net income has significantly
decreased by 35.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago,
falling from $0.69 million to $0.45 million.
Salem Communications Corporation, a multi-media company, develops
programs for audiences interested in Christian and conservative opinion
content. The company has a P/E ratio of 19.2, above the average media
industry P/E ratio of 12.5 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7.
Salem has a market cap of $53.9 million and is part of the services sector and media industry. Shares are up 94.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.
Independent Broker/Dealer Leading the Biblically Responsible Investing Movement
By Steve Ensley
Earned Media Thu, Mar. 22 2012 12:48 PM MST
Contact: Steve Ensley, 850-362-6180
KOKOMO, Ind., March 22, 2012 /Christian Newswire/—Purity Network Ministries, a ministry dedicated to finding and recommending resources that uphold Biblical values is pleased to announce an organization that adheres to Biblical financial responsibility. In these uncertain times, it is extremely important to invest with moral and financial values.
cfd Investments, Inc., a registered broker/dealer firm with a mission statement that reads “ dedicated to providing Financial Advisers with the necessary support, tools, techniques, quality financial products, and technologies for the achievement of their clients’ goals and objectives through a team of home office personnel committed to serving advisers in a Christ-like manner ”, is taking their commitment to a new level.
cfd Investments has purchased a site license to a screening tool called the eVALUEator. This tool will grant their Financial Advisers (FAs) access to a service that will provide them with the ability to perform complementary “moral audits” for their clients and prospects.
The eVALUEator Services software gives financial professionals the ability to show their clients the cumulative percentage of assets they may unknowingly have invested in companies involved in areas such as abortion, pornography and anti-family types of activities.
Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) has become an ever increasingly popular approach for both culturally conservative investors and advisers. “While cfd Investments sees the BRI market as being virtually untapped, they also believe that offering their clients the opportunity to match their moral convictions with their investment decisions is a necessary service”, said Brent Owens, President of cfd Investments.
While noting that being a registered FA at cfd does not mandate one utilize this screening tool, Mr. Owens indicates that making it available to all reps is the right thing to do. He says, “We expect all of our Financial Advisers to know and follow the FINRA Suitability and Know Your Customer Rules, especially in light of the new Rule 2111 (Suitability) and Rule 2090 (Know Your Customer), which will become effective July 9, 2012. We are making this tool available because, in my opinion, far too many Advisers in our industry neglect to ask many important questions.“
Mr. Owens states that, although the use of the eVALUEator screening tool is not required, they do hope that their FAs will at least ask all of their clients and prospects simple questions like “are there any moral, ethical or spiritual issues you would like me to consider before I make any investment recommendations?“
cfd Investments currently employs 170 registered Financial Advisers. Owens says, “Our goal is to have grown that Adviser base by 5% to 10% by the end of 2012 and we are confident that, by being a broker/dealer who provides these types of tools and encourages our Advisers to be strong in their faith, that goal is attainable.“
For more information regarding cfd Investments, Inc. visit www.cfdinvestments.com, or to speak with Mr. Brent Owens, call 800-745-7776.
Holy iPad slayer! Company releases world`s first Christian tablet
By Alec Liu
FoxNews.com Thu, Jul. 12 2012 11:03 AM MST
Billed as the world’s first Christian tablet, its genesis came with
the inevitable intersection of technology and religion, according to
Brian Honorable, a technology supervisor at Family Christian, the group
that sells the tablet.
“We wanted to be able to offer our customers the ability to use our
Holy Bible application, which has 27 different English translations of
the Bible,” Honorable told FoxNews.com in an interview.
“We basically wanted to spread God’s word through a tablet.”
- Brian Honorable, Family Christian
“It goes along with our mission: trying to get people closer to God through a tablet.”
The Android-based tablet is manufactured by South Korean firm Cydle,
and sports a resistive touch screen (480x800 resolution), 512MB of RAM,
and 8GB of expandable storage. If it sounds like the Kindle Fire, it
should: Honorable said the company has Amazon squarely in its sights.
“We basically stacked it up to [Amazon’s] Kindle Fire,” Honorable
said. “Only theirs is $199.99. Ours is $149.99. The battery is actually
stronger than everybody else out there on the market.”
But the Christian tablet is more than just an e-reader. It also comes
with movie-watching capabilities, Christian radio stations, and even a
web browser with built-in “safe search,” so the tablet is safe for the
whole family. “We put that on there just in case it was given as a gift
to a child, so they wouldn’t have access to things they shouldn’t have
access to,” said Honorable. “We definitely had to tailor it to our
And the company already has plans for future versions.
“When the next version comes out we’ll make changes,” he told
FoxNews.com. “We’re looking at other things, probably a newer tablet,
with better screen technology,” he said. But don’t pray for a Christian
smartphone—that’s not in the works.
The Family Christian Edifi tablet, which came out last month, comes
with earphones, a wall charger, a removable stand, a protective cover, a
stylus and a tablet pouch. Honorable declined to specify sales figures,
other than to note they were “strong” so far. The world’s tablet can be
purchased through the Family Christian website or from one of the company’s 300 stores across the U.S.
This isn’t the first time technology has helped bridge the gap with God. Last week, the Telegraph reported the Hotel Indigo in Britain was replacing bedside Bibles with Kindle e-readers pre-loaded with a digital copy.
Nor is it technically the first religious tablet. That honor, of course, goes to Moses and the Jews.
For the first time in American history, both candidates on a
major ticket in presidential politics aren’t Protestants. And for that
matter, religiously speaking, none of the four candidates leading the
Democratic and Republican tickets will be WASPs either - from a white,
Anglo-Saxon Protestant background.
We’ve come a long way from
1776 when North Carolina’s Constitution, to take one example, provided
“(t)hat no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the
Protestant religion ... shall be capable of holding any office ...
within this State.” Over time, religious tests at the state level were
eliminated in line with Article VI of the U.S. Constitution.
Today, Americans seem to consider specific religious affiliation less
and less in elective politics. But we also see signs of an intolerant
“new tolerance” toward the ways in which fellow citizens walk out their
In a tolerant, diverse public square, it’s easy enough
to buy a car from a Muslim, a house from a Catholic, a television from a
Mormon or a chicken sandwich from a Southern Baptist. The merchant’s
religious views usually aren’t a consideration for customers - or for
If the merchant chooses to sell at a price the
customer is willing to pay, both are better off for the transaction. No
theological examination is necessary.
This cultural norm is a
good thing and promotes harmony in a pluralistic society. Merchants and
customers are free to engage in market transactions on their terms.
Neither side is forced to agree with the other’s theological perspective
to participate. Both have to be willing, however - neither can be
Business owners differ from one another not only in
service and price but also how they operate based on their religious
beliefs (or lack of same). So Chick-fil-A is famously closed on Sundays,
a Jewish- or Muslim-owned deli may not offer a BLT, and a Calvinist
painter may not depict Jesus Christ.
This form of tolerance
works pretty well. The merchant or vendor doesn’t have to violate his
conscience. Most likely, the customer can find waffle fries, a BLT or a
painting somewhere else.
True tolerance shrugs a shoulder and
maybe engages in a civil conversation seeking understanding when
encountering a religious reason for not providing a good or service.
Today, though, we see instances of a disturbing “tolerance” that is
hostile and intolerant toward religious differences. States sometimes
exhibit the same type of intolerance that states wrote into law early in
America’s founding period. Two examples:
In New Mexico, a
Christian photographer was ordered to pay more than $6,000 by the
state’s Human Rights Commission because, based on her religious
convictions, she didn’t want to take pictures of a same-sex commitment
ceremony. In Illinois, before a court intervened, pharmacists were
required to dispense the “morning-after pill” even if they had a moral
or religious objection.
In both cases, other vendors with different religious beliefs would have been glad for the business.
Worse is yet to come. As of Aug. 1, Obamacare now mandates that
employers and insurance plans - with narrow, wholly inadequate
exemptions - must provide employees with “free” coverage for
abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization no matter their
religious beliefs. Astonishingly, the Obama administration’s Department
of Health and Human Services essentially makes the argument that a
private business owner loses his religious liberty once he enters the
So why is government forcing men and women to
violate their conscience just because they happen to be in the
marketplace? It smacks of state-enforced purity: Agree with us or you’re
The trend turns religious liberty and tolerance
on their heads. In the classical formulation, individuals participate in
an open market; government isn’t allowed to play favorites among sects.
In this new scheme, government forces a photographer or pharmacist to
violate her conscience - apparently so as to not offend or inconvenience
This doesn’t promote a healthy public square or
promote true tolerance. Sadly, an FBI affidavit indicates that the man
who shot a security guard Aug. 15 inside the Washington headquarters of
the Family Research Council may have been intolerant of that faith-based
policy organization’s traditional view of marriage.
good that Americans seem to be less inclined to religious bigotry
against particular sects. But we’re in danger of trading real tolerance
for the idea that we can’t operate businesses or organizations according
to our conscience - and that religious views are invalid or hateful.
Moving in that direction will trample liberty and increase strife. Ultimately, it will produce a less civil society.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Derrick Morgan is vice president for domestic and economic policy
at The Heritage Foundation. Readers may write to the author in care of
The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, D.C.
20002; Web site: www.heritage.org. Information about Heritage’s funding
may be found at h http://www.heritage.org/about/reports.cfm.
This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers.
McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the
opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the
views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors.
The Ryan Group (Bank of America/Merrill Lynch): Conscience is Key.
By Jerry Gleeson
Registered Rep. Fri, Apr. 06 2012 12:41 PM MST
The Catholic Church is deeply hierarchical, but broad discretion is left to member organizations in the area of investing, Merrill Lynch advisor James Ryan says. “So every parish is responsible for its money, every order of priests is responsible for its money, and the bishop in that diocese really has no control over it. There are tens of thousands of portfolios and tens of thousands of decision makers out there,” he says.
Ryan and his team of four have developed an expertise in the area of faith-based investing, mostly for Catholic institutional clients, over the past five years. About 25 percent of their institutional clients fit that description, representing $500 million in assets under management. Ryan knows his way around a church as well as a brokerage; the youngest of five, he has one brother who’s a priest and another who’s a Trappist monk. “With my family background, it’s very easy for me to play in these circles,” he says.
When Ryan sits down with Catholic clients, the conversation usually starts around guidelines composed in 2003 by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops on socially responsible investing. “But it does not say, ‘Thou shalt not own this’ or ‘Thou shalt do that.’ It’s based on the premise that you’re going to form your own conscience.” Ryan says. Firms with strong connections to abortion are excluded by his clients, but beyond that, much remains on the table for discussion.
For example, a screen that Ryan uses for investment selections once flagged drugmaker Pfizer because a chemotherapy drug it produces had an off-label use as an abortifacent. That surprised a group of nuns who were Ryan’s clients; they were impressed with the company’s efforts to provide sub-Saharan Africa with AIDS drugs. Ryan told them the company collected less than 1 percent of revenues from the product. He said the nuns decided to include it in their portfolio, regarding the company’s involvement in Africa as a greater good.
Technology and other changes in the industry have made faith-based investing easier. Separately managed accounts offer more flexibility than mutual funds when choosing faith-suitable companies to own stock in, but SMAs used to have higher investment thresholds. “Now you can hire an emerging market portfolio manager with a separately managed account that allows you to screen the individual names for a half-million dollars,” Ryan’s partner, Courtney Moore, says.
By Rev. Seamus P. Finn, OMI Rev. Seamus P. Finn, OMI
Huffington Post Sat, Apr. 14 2012 06:18 PM MST
The relationship between faith-consistent (FCI) and socially
responsible investing (SRI) was on the agenda of the Tenth Harvard
University Forum on Islamic Finance and is a question that surfaces
frequently. As both sectors continue to increase in size and therefore
influence it may be instructive to consider a few of the learnings that
have emerged when this question surfaces.
From the outset it is useful to recall that SRI has its roots in the
customs and practice of religious traditions and in practice today the
two approaches to the the investment process display a number of
similarities. Both the Jewish and Christian communities from their
earliest documents display a debate about with the foundational
questions of ownership, agency, interest and usury. The Holy Quran also
offers some unique teachings on the accumulation of wealth and the
accrual of interest and other principles for praxis have emerged from
the teachings of other traditions.
The teachings from different faith traditions were further enhanced
by the contributions of the Quakers, other Christian denominations and
movements. they were also enriched by the commitment of individual
believers who were determined to refine the principles and tools that
could be applied to the investment process.
The evolution of these disciplines (FCI and SRI) demonstrates a
significant overlap on the principles, criteria and tools that guide
both approaches. The institutions and practitioners in both fields find
common ground in many of the coalitions and guiding mechanisms that have
been developed and they cooperate frequently in their application.
For the FCI community the point of departure is explicitly grounded
in the teaching of their particular faith tradition and is informed by a
vision and horizon that is rooted in the transcendent. This starting
point immediately provides a deep and expansive foundation for the work
that is undertaken related to all social and environmental issues.
Belief hat the Divine is the source of all that exists and that all that
is created is a reflection of the Divine establishes a series of
principles for guiding and evaluating all human-human and human-earth
relationships and interactions.
General principles and criteria that have been developed to guide the
application of these beliefs are grouped around human dignity, human
rights, sustainability, responsibility and the precautionary principle.
These are further delineated in various legal definitions and standards
that have been codified into various laws, treaties and agreements. They
have also been elaborated in various voluntary principles and codes
that have been proposed and or adopted by institutions, corporations or
The starting point for SRI funds or practitioners can, depending how
long they have been around, historically have been a particular faith
tradition that is not explicitly referenced to ground their mission or
operations today. It can also be rooted in the values or experiences of
the individual who create the funds or in the values and experiences of
While the SRI community shares many of the general principles and
criteria that are found in the FCI community they have more recently
pioneered much of the work that has been done around corporate
governance. These benchmarks which promote transparency, accountability
and greater checks and balances have also been adopted in the FCI
The tools of screening and the exercise of active ownership of shares
in corporations are widely used by both groups. So too are the
practices of filing resolutions and active engagement with the
management of corporations. These alliances are important both for the
resources and the leverage that they can bring together in fulfilling
the respective missions of their institutions. Initiatives in micro
finance and positive social impact investing are some of the more recent
areas of collaboration.
They have both also remained steadfast in their commitment to both
belief and values driven investing while expecting market rate returns.
For a long time they were rebuffed by mainstream investment institutions
and practitioners who insisted that profits were being sacrificed
because of the introduction of beliefs and values into the long standing
accepted investment process. Fortunately their approach and their
perseverance have been vindicated and drawing attention from many
The good news for both groups is that more people and institutions
are learning about their approaches and want to participate. This means
that the hard work that has been invested in developing principles,
criteria, screens and tools is paying off. It has also been enhanced by
advances in technology that have refined their tools and operations and
made them accessible to larger audiences.
Fostering and preserving both of these sectors as options in the
investment community is important. Their appeal to important segments of
civil society and the unique insights that they contribute to the
investment process can continue to enrich and engage the dominate
Christian Biz Thirty-One Gifts Faces Heat for Planned Parenthood Tie
By Susan Michelle Tyrrell
LifeNews.com Thu, Apr. 19 2012 09:45 AM MST
It seems like every time I turn around my Christian friends are
having “Thirty-One parties.” I’m not much for girl parties, but I have
to admit, this stuff looked cute even to me, at least until I found out
this Christian organization was helping to fund Planned Parenthood.
is a company based on principles from Proverbs 31 and is much lauded by
ladies across the nation as being a “Christian” organization because of
this. Many of its consultants are Christian women, even ministry
leaders. On the outside it looks like a worthy place to build a business
with biblical values; however, it’s funding arm, Thirty-One Gives is giving money to abortion providers.
Without question Thirty-One Gives is funding places that provide abortions. I have to wonder how this fits with its motto: “Empowering Women. Strengthening Families. Changing Lives.”
There’s a tragic sentimentality of thought in our nation now that
says being pro-woman somehow includes being supportive of abortion
rights. We’ve seen it with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which
continues to fund Planned Parenthood, as well as with the Girl Scouts,
and now we see it with Thirty-One Gifts, which has parties hosted by
church women’s groups across the nation. Komen and Girl Scouts don’t
claim to be based on biblical principles, but this one does. None of
these ties to Planned Parenthood are secret or hidden away from seekers.
It behooves any corporation to do some basic research to assure its own
Ironically, Proverbs 31 isn’t only about being a godly woman. Verses 8
and 9 are often quoted by those of us who are fighting for the lives of
Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
It’s a sadly ironic day when a company founded on biblical principles
publicly supports agencies that help take the lives of the speechless
appointed to die.
Thirty-One Gifts and Thirty-One Gives are taking the profits made
from many well-meaning Christian people who want to support a Christian
business and are giving some of that money to organizations that go
against the values of its very customer base. This is unconscionable.
No doubt the same argument will be made by many that has been made in
regards to Komen’s funding and others: That the money goes for things
like education, not abortion.
Money is fungible. I can’t say that enough. You can’t give money to
an organization that does something you oppose and not have it impact
that. Money given to education frees up more money for abortion. It’s
not valid to excuse darkness by saying that places offer some light.
Some organizations that fund abortion do many good works too, but it
doesn’t cancel out the potential deaths funded at the hands of the
business, whatever it is.
Certainly it’s anyone’s choice where to give money or purchase
products but it seems especially deceptive to be marketing a company
based on one chapter of the Bible while ignoring other verses from the
There’s nothing empowering to women or strengthening to families when
it helps kill the children in the womb. To be marketed on a scripture
and knowingly drawing Christian women, then to fund the shedding of
innocent blood is a tragic unholy alliance.
Many have been contacting Thirty-One Gives to ask them to stop
funding places that support abortion and remain true to their biblical
foundation. If you’d like to ask them to stop, please email them at email@example.com
Let’s ask them politely, but firmly. Perhaps it will take an outcry of
people to cause them to change; let’s be part of the solution.
Despite lacking a formal college education, Steve Green was able to
advance up the corporate ladder and is currently president of Hobby
Lobby Stores, Inc.
The School of Business hosted Steve Green as the keynote speaker for
the Prince-Chavanne Distinguished Lecture Series, held in the Morris
Cultural Arts Center April 16.
Steve Green began his career with Hobby Lobby, after graduating high
school, as store operations supervisor. Hobby Lobby is America’s largest
privately owned arts and crafts corporation, which sells products
ranging from picture frames to home accents.
Green said differentiating factors, such as being closed on Sundays
or increasing minimum wages, allow Hobby Lobby to have better quality
employees. The company also offers education and “faith assistance” to
In addition to these workplace benefits, Hobby Lobby pays its
employees a premium wage. Full time employees are paid $12.00 per hour,
while part time employees receive $9.00, $1.75 above the current federal
minimum wage, the lowest wage permitted to be legally paid to an
Dr. Karen Morton-King, assistant professor of management at the
University, felt very strongly about Hobby Lobby’s corporate outlook.
“While most companies look to expand their hours to gain profit,
Hobby Lobby has actually reduced their hours by adopting a 6-day
business plan”, she said. Despite being closed on a high-volume retail
day, they continue to experience increasing profits.”
Steve Green’s father, David Green, spent his time in daily prayer,
which resulted in a revelation. “This is not our company, it is God’s,
and we should be His stewards.” After he came to this conclusion in
1995, he refocused Hobby Lobby and transformed its core mission into
revealing the message of Christ.
Starting in the winter of 1996, Hobby Lobby began an advertising
campaign to showcase the company’s Christian nature. These newspaper
inserts had an entirely new message — not displaying the stores sale
items, but rather the true meaning of Christmas, Christ and His love.
The Hobby Lobby corporation expanded this theme in advertising and
placed half page Easter advertisements in 1997. Hobby Lobby includes the
religious themed advertisements in every newspaper in which they use
for normal retail circulars, with a combined readership of over 47
Steve Green feels that he has a life purpose more than to make money
— his mission is to tell others about Christ. Hobby Lobby is passionate
about literature distribution, and partnered with One Hope, a Christian
based mission, to distribute biblical literature worldwide. This
partnership has allowed them to impact children and families in over one
hundred countries worldwide. Since the partnership with One Hope, Hobby
Lobby’s corporate giving to this group has enabled the distribution of
over 100 million religious books, which are each estimated to have made
an impression on three to four people.
Green also said that in the past few years, Hobby Lobby has given
forty to fifty percent of their end of year profits to charity. After
noting this fact, Green revealed that average store profits doubled from
the fiscal years 2008-2011.
Senior Kenia Cadiz said she was inspired after hearing the lecture.
“It was a blessing knowing that there are business professionals out
there who still acknowledge God’s mercy within their organizations,” she
Hobby Lobby is the largest private owner of biblical artifacts, with
over 40,000 biblical antiquities in The Green Collection, the official
title of Hobby Lobby’s private collection. The Green Scholars Initiative
is currently studying some of the 40,000 artifacts in the company’s
possession, so they can further use these historical artifacts to lead
others to Christ.
Hobby Lobby also has a traveling exhibit, Passages, which displays
400 artifacts in a 20,000 square foot museum space, which is currently
residing in Atlanta, Georgia.
Green said that the traveling museum is in high demand, and wanted in
cities from Quebec, Canada to Havana, Cuba. Green added that Hobby
Lobby is looking for a permanent location to enable the creation of a
museum, so they can hold all of the artifacts his company has acquired.
In his closing statement, Green said that God has a plan and purpose
for everyone, and that each person can have the opportunity to impact
lives all over the world.
“We all have an opportunity spiritually,” he said. “We can have eternal life. We can all accept this gift through God.”
Senior Christina Rodriguez said she was impacted by the lecture series.
“It was very enlightening to see that the president of a store, such
as Hobby Lobby, can impact the ministry of Jesus Christ worldwide.”
There is a simple truth about business: individuals, not “the
organization” or “the law,” make the moral decisions behind each and
every action a business takes. In a piece just released by the
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, this vital point is
highlighted: the unequivocal responsibility of the individual within the
business context is at the center of every major business crisis and
success we’ve experienced from the Wall Street mortgage meltdowns and
the lingering echoes of Enron to inspiring entrepreneurs starting
companies that cure cancer and bring essential services to poor
From this new reflection on the vocation of the
business leader we learn that it is our individual aim that matters, not
only the “system,” the environment, the perceived cultural or
institutional constraints on our actions. No sum of laws and regulations
prevent malignant intentions from achieving their goal. Personal
responsibility, then, must be a part of any solution to corruption,
power-mongering, and cheating in any aspect of human action, business
Wise business leaders, the document points out, create
both profit and well being; “just wages for employees, just prices for
customers and suppliers, just taxes for the community, and just returns
It is true that sometimes we encounter an obsessive
focus on financial profit to the exclusion of any other aspect in
business; but this is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is the practice
of separating our business from our faith and moral life. “Dividing the
demands of one’s faith from one’s work in business is a fundamental
error which contributes much to the damage done by business in our world
today, including overwork to the detriment of family or spiritual life,
an unhealthy attachment to power to the detriment of one’s own good,
and the abuse of economic power in order to make even greater economic
Most business professionals know this and are searching
for answers and ways out of that division of their lives. Thus the
business community represents a fertile field for the practice of the
Gospels and this is, I think, the aim of the Justice and Peace document.
It is, alas, common in our age to separate faith from business and promote a dualism between secular and holy.
Church represents a counterpoint to that worldview: At the root of
Christianity stands the fact that our path to spiritual fulfillment
passes through our physical life and actions. Jewish and Christian faith
is not only spiritual but also physical. Judaism emphasizes this by
focusing on an actual city in this world: Jerusalem and a single
historical people, the Jewish people. Christianity emphasizes the
incarnate nature of the divine. On the last day, we will be raised in
both body and spirit.
The document is a loud and clear call to a
strong inner life for business leaders. It is also a call to develop
among them a “spirituality of work.” It is even more important to
provide a religious “formation” for business leaders and for students in
our universities. We have long done the latter. We have barely begun
Justice and Peace picks up Michael Novak’s call for the inculturation of our faith in the inventive, free market economy.
This document is the first draft of a remarkable vision:
“The vocation of the businessperson is a genuine human and Christian
calling. Its importance in the life of the Church and in the world
economy can hardly be overstated.” The business vocation is “God’s
calling to be collaborators in creation.” Businesses and the free market
“make an irreplaceable contribution to the material and even the
spiritual well-being of humankind.” “Where businesses succeed, people’s
lives can be significantly improved; but where they fail, great harm can
There are internal and external obstacles to living out
this vocation well: Externally, the document points out, many are
impeded by an absence of the rule of law, corruption, destructive
competition, excessive state intervention or, in other places a culture
hostile to entrepreneurship.
Internally to the firm, there are
other obstacles: regarding the workforce as a mere “resource,” and the
company as mere impersonal, irresponsible organization. Other obstacles
are the rejection of the proper role of government regulation, allowing
inferior products and services to go forward, and the heedless waste of
natural and human resources.
Does business help you become holy?
For everybody, holiness is found in doing ordinary daily tasks with an
awareness of their importance to our God, and with Gratitude to him. If
we try to perform everyday things in a way that will please and honor
him, we follow his law and fulfill his even higher expectations.
Foreword: Aside from rampant spelling errors, this is a telling tale of how even though prosperity and religion struggle against each other,yet they both manage to co-exist and work together in a sort of love-hate relationship. -DS
THOMAS Carlyle’s fulminations against the spiritual damage
wrought by factories are almost two centuries old, but the sentiment is current
wherever industrialisation is rampant.
“The huge demon of Mechanism,” he wrote,
“smokes and thunders, panting at his great task, oversetting whole
multitudes of workmen… so that the wisest no longer knows his
In China today, government leaders and dissidents alike
worry that, as one commentator put it, “frenzied competition for a better
life (has) lobotomised the people of inherent values like common decency,
compassion and feelings of fellowship“”.
A century ago, Max Weber described the process as
“disenchantment”. The German sociologist thought the transition from
a culture of faith and farming to the narrow-minded and bureaucratic “iron
cage” of modern civilisation required the destruction of a spiritual world
He saw a modern society made up of “specialists without
spirit, sensualists without heart”.
Weber was certainly on to something: industrialisation does
break down old religious ways. In pre-industrial societies, the transcendental
and the everyday were closely woven together.
Social rituals couldn’t be separated from ethical
expectations. Such unity is impossible in a world of material plenty, big
cities, and high technology.
Vast increases in wealth, consumption and education create
opportunities for personal expression and eliminate the economic rationale for
many socio-religious restrictions. Urbanisation brings people physically
closer, but often as anonymous neighbours rather than in communities with
telecommunications and transport erode the borders between the “us”
of family or village and the “them” of the outside world. The old
religious and spiritual ways cannot survive this transition.
But Carlyle, Weber and many modern social observers make
bolder claims: common religious belief and shared moral values are gone
forever; modern society has no room for old-fashioned certainties; there is no
exit from what the philosopher Charles Taylor calls “A Secular Age”.
Are they right? In a rich economy, the grim fight for
survival is eased and there is more time for emotional and religious
exploration. Modern scientific knowledge invites speculation and wonder.
As Weber noted, spiritual discipline is required for the
“worldly asceticism” which makes modern economies so productive.
Prosperity and urbanisation might engender greater spirituality.
Karl Marx condemned religion and shared morality as
“illusory happiness of the people“”. His case is weakened by the
failure of his alternative.
Marxists in opposition were often idealistic, but in power
their rule was both inefficient and cruel. Their promise of an economic justice
which would make life satisfying now sounds like a bad joke.
While Marxism has been an outstanding failure, its more
successful modern counterparts have failed to convert everyone to secularism.
Democracy is desired, but is hardly inspirational, and there’s no need to
travel to China to hear complaints about excessive materialism, selfishness and
In less restrictive nations, praise for freedom is often
matched with complaints about the tyranny of the media, the government and
society in general.
Relatively few people seem to make prosperity serve
spiritual ends. Industrialisation and secularisation have come together,
mostly, as inseparable elements of the turn from the transcendental to the
The modern package of high consumption and individual
freedom appears irresistible, even if the loss of old ways is sometimes
But the facts do not support the case for permanent radical
secularity. While religion is down in many parts of the world, it is hardly
out. In many countries, industrialisation and prosperity seem to nourish Islam.
Even Christianity, the religion first threatened by industrialisation
and urbanisation, is not doing badly outside increasingly atheistic Europe. In
China, the lamentations over the loss of a moral compass should be set against
the rapid growth of indigenous and imported spiritual teachings.
The new middle class there seems to be particularly
More fundamentally, questions of religion and morality are
questions of human nature. How strong and how universal is the desire to find
something that is higher and more certain than anything offered by the physical
The answers are not changed by the onset of
Religious practices organised around old economic patterns,
social relations and folk beliefs will wither away, but that decline could be
followed by the growth of spiritual organisations and the development of moral
standards which fit with urbanised, industrialised, societies.
In the words of a Chinese investment banker, “The
desire to make sense of life doesn’t go away just because I’m rich”.
He has been spending more time at a Buddhist temple.
In response to objections over a public statement made earlier this
year backing Washington’s same-sex marriage bill, the leadership of
Starbucks Corporation assured its investors not to worry, for profits
have never been better.
Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz fielded questions from
shareholders over whether taking a stance on the controversial issue
would dilute the company’s bottom line, particularly in nations where
the company is expanding but homosexuality is widely considered immoral.
“I would say, candidly, since we made that decision, there has not
been any dilution whatsoever in our business, and as you can see,
shareholder value has increased significantly,” Schultz replied.
“Performance in many ways should be one of the metrics to decide whether
or not this decision in any way has been dilutive, and it hasn’t.”
In fact, it was Jonathan Baker, both a Starbucks shareholder and head
of NOM’s Corporate Fairness Project, who initially posed the question
at the investors meeting.
Schultz answered that the decision to back same-sex marriage was
deemed at Starbucks’ highest levels to be in line with “the heritage and
tradition of the company” – even if that decision is “inconsistent with
one group’s view of the world.”
Dissatisfied with Schultz’s answer, Baker is now spearheading the boycott effort.
“Here’s our goal: If Howard Schultz and his insular Seattle liberals
hear from enough of us, management will move to a more genuinely
inclusive attitude toward its customers’ and partners’ diverse views on
marriage,” Baker states on the NOM website. “People should be able to
drink or serve a great cup of coffee without betraying their own core
values on marriage.”
Already, over 36,000 people have signed the Dump Starbucks pledge,
which states, “I am deeply offended by your corporate position to
support same-sex marriage and your decision to wage a culture war
against the moral views of half your U.S. customers and the vast
majority of your international consumers. Starbucks is using its
resources to invalidate traditional marriage in the U.S. and redefine
the institution of marriage, despite the strongly held views of so many
of its customers, including me. Therefore, I will no longer purchase
anything from Starbucks until you change your corporate values to be
more reflective of my own.”
“In our first week, we gained 25,000 pledge signers in the U.S.
alone;” NOM President Brian Brown said in an announcement posted last
month, “today we go international, expanding DumpStarbucks.com campaigns
into Mandarin, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, and Bahasa (one of the chief
languages of Indonesia). DumpStarbucks.com online ads will also start
running in Egypt, Beijing, Hong Kong, the Yunnan region of China, United
Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait.”
“The support [for same-sex marriage] is not just the personal
endorsement of a senior executive, but is the official corporate
position of the company,” Baker told the Christian Post. “Obviously this
position does not reflect the views of all customers and employees, and
the NOM protest and DumpStarbucks.com [are] designed to enable these
customers and employees to have a voice.”
The controversy began earlier this year, when Kalen Holmes, Starbucks’ executive vice president of partner resources, released a memo to the company’s U.S. partners backing legislative efforts in Washington state to legalize same-sex marriage.
“Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in
support of Washington state legislation recognizing marriage equality
for same-sex couples,” Holmes wrote. “It is core to who we are and what
we value as a company. We are proud of our Pride Alliance Partner
Network group, which is one of the largest Employer Resource Groups for
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) employees in the U.S.,
helping to raise awareness about issues in the communities where we live
The memo also boasted that Starbucks has been at the forefront of the
issue, offering domestic partner benefits, such as health and dental
plans, for the last 20 years.
The video of Schultz’s answers to Baker and other concerned shareholders can be at the source location.
the past few months, there have been hunks of bad news about Groupon,
the original “Deal of the Day” web site, which currently has 16 million
users. According to Reuters, the once innovative company “has lost more
than half its market value this year on concern about waning demand for
its daily deals and the company’s accounting troubles.”
Now, Morality in Media, a longtime Christian conservative organization
is adding to Groupon’s woes by launching a nationwide boycott of the
company, claiming that Groupon is shamelessly offering discounts to
businesses involved in hardcore pornography.
MIM’s five-decade fight against porn
According to the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow news service,
Morality in Media, a five-decade long determined fighter against
pornography, has launched a nationwide boycott of Groupon, accusing it
of: “offering discounts on tours of the San Francisco-based porn studio,
Kink, which it claims produces violent, extreme pornography”; and, it
is offering a Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp package with Steven Tyler of
Aerosmith to be held at the Playboy Mansion.
It was the offer of an “employee-led 60-minute walking tours through a
porn company’s studio in San Francisco,” that set off MIM’s
According to The Christian Post, “Two weeks ago, Groupon offered
discounts on tours of Calif.-based torture porn studio Kink for the
second time this year. It sent out thousands of emails to advertise the
tour where people could view a live filming of sadomasochistic, torture
porn. Kink advertised that they had `young sexy teens who are
overwhelmed and outnumbered ... who need to learn a lesson by multiple
men;’ women being `bound, whipped, objectified and humiliated. They are
immobilized, caged and humiliated as objects;’ women `suspended and tied
in rope bondage ... tormented beyond all reason;’ and women `naked,
tied up, bound, punished, exposed in public ... who are taken to public
bars for public humiliation,’ Kink said on its website.”
“It’s definitely not censorship of commerce. Companies can chose who
they do business with. And we expect Groupon to have more corporate
responsibility and to not do business with companies that specialize in
abusing, torturing, urinating on women,” MIM executive director Dawn
Regarding Groupon’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp offer, Hawkins told
OneNewsNow that “One of our young supporters forwarded me a picture that
he took on his iPhone. The picture was an alert from the Groupon app,
which said, ‘47 percent off party and concert at Playboy mansion.’ And
that was going to everyone on their contact list in the Southern
California area, including children.”
Morality in Media is a non-profit faith-based group that was founded in
New York City in 1962. Its current CEO and President is Patrick A.
Trueman, a former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section,
Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. from
1988 to 1993, and a former member of the secretive Council for National
Policy and chief lobbyist for Donald Wildmon’s American family
Robert Peters, is General Counsel and President Emeritus of the
organization, and its most recognizable figure. MIM’s main focus is
pornography, as it aims to “combat obscenity and uphold standards of
decency in the media.”
Speaking at the Fourth International Congress on Life and Family at the
Autonomous University of Baja California a few years back, Peters
claimed that “at least 10% of the world’s population is addicted to
pornography and that the vice causes many failed marriages.” According
to the Catholic News Agency, in his speech, titled “The Effects of
Pornography on Our Children,” “Peters noted that one of the problems
pornography poses to marriages is that the one with the addiction begins
to lose interest in his or her spouse and wants to re-create the acts
depicted in pornography.”
According to Peters’ MIM bio, he has written articles for such
publications as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Boston Globe,
Boston Herald, Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free
Press, Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, The New York Times, New York
Daily News and Newsday, New York Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San
Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, and USA Today.
Peters has also been a guest on “Larry King Live”; CNN Headline News’
Glenn Beck Program (before he moved over to the Fox News Channel and now
the Internet); Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” (before Colmes was
moved out); Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor”; MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris
Matthews” and “Scarborough Country”; PBS’ “The News Hour with Jim
Lehrer”; ABC Evening News and “PrimeTime”; CBS Evening News and “48
Hours”; and NBC Nightly News and “Today” show.
As of this writing, seven organizations have jumped aboard MIM’s boycott
wagon, Groupon removed the ad for the tour of the Kink studios and for
the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp at the Playboy mansion, Morality in Media
has established a web site and Facebook page called “Porn Harms,” which
as of Tuesday night had more than 89,000 likes, and, it is estimating
that 15,000 Groupon customers are participating in its boycott. The
group is aiming for at least 50,000 Groupon dropouts.
Gov. Brewer signs law exempting religious businesses from providing contraceptives
By Hank Dean
Inside Tucson Business Mon, May. 21 2012 09:50 AM MST
PHOENIX — Religiously
affiliated Arizona businesses will no longer have to offer contraceptive
coverage in the health insurance packages provided to employees under a
new law signed May 11 by Gov. Jan Brewer.
The law expands exemptions to
the requirement that employers who offer prescription drugs in their
employee health insurance packages must include contraceptives. It also
augments the definition of religiously affiliated employer to include
businesses that have articles of incorporation stating it is a
religiously motivated organization whose religious beliefs are central
to their operating principles.
In a statement, Brewer said she expected the law to
apply to only a small number of businesses with religious ties that
would have a moral or ethical objection to providing contraceptives.
“In its final form, this bill is about nothing more
than preserving the religious freedom to which we are all
Constitutionally-entitled,” Brewer said in the statement. “With this
common sense bill, we can ensure that Arizona women have access to the
health services they need and religious institutions have their faith
and freedom protected.”
The legislation passed through the House and Senate
with Democrats in firm opposition, saying that the definition of a
religiously affiliated business is too broad and could include any
employer who was willing to change their articles of incorporation to
game the system.
The original version of the law only required
employers to claim a religious belief or moral objection to
contraception to be exempt from providing it. State law already allows
exemptions for churches and some church run charities.
Democrats called the measure part of the larger “war on women.”
“The plain and simple fact is in the state of Arizona
women are not protected,” said Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson. “The freedom
of women to manage and control their own bodies is being denied once
Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson, called the bill
insulting and asked her colleagues why they didn’t choose to focus on
issues affecting men’s reproductive health.
“Nobody seems to be concerned about the prescription
coverage for Viagra,” she said. “I think women are being discriminated
against, and I think we really aught to concentrate more on what’s
happening with men’s reproductive rights.”
However, Republicans said fears were unfounded and that birth control would still be readily available to those who want it.
The new law still requires companies to pay for
contraception if it is used for reasons besides birth control, though a
woman would have to purchase the prescription and then be reimbursed
after providing the insurance company with proof of a medical reason.
Catholic bishops, who pushed the legislation, issued a
statement thanking the governor for approving the measure and calling
it “very helpful in protecting religious liberty.”
Recently, I received a comment on one of my posts and I would like to
address the issue more fully in this post. The comment (quoted in full
below), basically said we, as Christian business owners and leaders,
need to be careful to comply with “the separation of Church and State”
issues placed on us by our government. I believe there are likely many
people who temper their witness as a result of this issue and I would
like to liberate you from that fear!
A Christian should run their business on Biblical
principles honesty, integrity, love, truth, etc. However, if you start
requiring people partake of “COMMUNION”, or complying with Jesus’
command .to “go ye into all the world ” you will be hard-pressed to
comply with “the separation of Church and State” issues placed upon us
by our government.
First, I would like to address the big picture. After that, I will
tell you how we address the overall issue in our business. Finally, I
will give you some resources that will allow you to seek further
Is Christian Business Against The Law?
Obviously, with the overwhelming number of laws and regulations we
have at almost every level of government these days, it is impossible
for me to address all areas of the law relating to Christian business.
That is not the intent of this post. Instead, I want to hit the main
points and then give you the resources to go further if necessary.
While it certainly looks as if every corner of today’s culture is
opposed to our Christian faith, it may surprise you to know that our law
is actually friendly to our Christian witness. In fact, there is very
little in the way of regulations that will hinder you in integrating
your faith into your business.
The main area that can trip up the Christian business owner or leader is Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law is not designed to keep our
faith out of the business. Instead, it is written to forbid
discrimination in hiring, compensation, and promotions based on race,
color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Our responsibility as Christian business owners and leaders is to
comply with this law in a straight-forward manner. So, how do we do
The following material from the C12 Group answers this question well:
General Guidelines For Compliance
Owners and managers are able to communicate their religious beliefs through company policies, practices, and witnessing if they stick to the following simple guidelines:
Don’t give current or prospective employees the perception that
employment or advancement requires workers to adopt a certain religious
Accommodate employee objections and provide equal opportunity of
expression and use of resources/facilities (unless incompatible with
stated company core principles).
Don’t require employees to participate in worship.
Ensure company written materials (e.g., application, manuals, etc.)
inform employees that their religious beliefs or non-beliefs play no
role in hiring, termination, promotion, or in the terms, conditions or
privileges of employment.
These guidelines are general and are not a substitute for detailed legal advice.
Building a unified team while avoiding legal issues
Always be clear in communicating and reinforcing the core principles of the firm
Recruit & interview employees with these principles firmly in view
Ask candidates how they will contribute in such an environment; hire accordingly
Hold all your people accountable for abiding by these core principles
Give everyone committed to achieving these core principles an equal
opportunity to be hired, developed, promoted, and compensated
Maintain a policy requiring internal disputes to be resolved
according to a clearly defined conflict resolution process with the
‘final step’ being third party mediation or arbitration
When we first begin our interview process, we let the prospective
employee know that we consider ourselves a Christian business and we
operate on Biblical principles. We explain that we do not hire,
compensate, or promote based on that, but we are open about our faith.
The Mike Patton Auto Family seeks to honor God through impacting the lives of our employees, customers, and community.
We tell them about our mission statement (above) and let them know
about some of our practices such as monthly devotions, opening meetings
with prayer, etc. We explain that they are not required to participate
in these activities, but we do want them to know about them up front.
We are working on way to reinforce this approach during orientation
so that the awareness does not fade. After that, we simply attempt to
live this out to the best of our abilities.
We are not perfect and we very well may face legal opposition one day
in the future. In that event, I pray we have behaved according to God’s
will and that He will protect us. Regardless of the consequences here
on earth, we will continue to bear witness of our faith as well as we
Facebook will be the first social media company honored at the GLAAD Media Awards, hosted annually by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
Representatives from Facebook will accept a Special Recognition Award
at tonight’s event, held at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in
This will be the 23rd Annual Media Awards for the notable lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation
organization, recognizing fair and inclusive representations of the LGBT
community in television, journalism, music and more.
GLAAD announced in March that Facebook would receive the award,
citing the social media company’s efforts against bullying as well as
the inclusion of various options — such as relationship statuses — for
LGBT users of the social network.
Throughout the past two years, Facebook has taken many initiatives to promote and enable LGBT rights and equality. The company worked with GLAAD
in October 2010 to monitor a memorial page for LGBT youth after users
posted violent anti-gay images and comments. It also launched the Network of Support, a panel of five leading LGBT advocacy organizations with MTV’s A Thin Line campaign to help Facebook address LGBT issues.
More recently, Facebook launched the Stop Bullying: Speak Up
campaign with Time Warner, which empowers students, teachers and
parents to help prevent bullying. The campaign just launched across
Latin America this week. Facebook also added Help Center content that
provides guidance on how users can help an LGBT person who has posted suicidal content.
“Facebook has set the bar high for ensuring LGBT people have a safe
space to connect with friends and family,” said GLAAD President Herndon
Graddick in a statement on Thursday. “GLAAD is pleased to present this
award to Facebook in recognition of its efforts to make their platform
welcoming to everyone.”
Brittany McMillan, the high school student who founded Spirit Day,
will present the Special Recognition Award. Facebook was among leading
companies that participated in Spirit Day on Oct. 20, 2011, encouraging
employees to turn their Facebook profile pictures purple and wear the
color to show support for LGBT youth.
Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s manager of public policy and communications,
will accept the award on behalf of the company with Sara Sperling, head
of diversity and inclusion. Noyes, who acts as the liaison between
Facebook and LGBT groups, was influential in launching the Network of
Although Facebook’s higher-up executives will not be in attendance, a
recorded thank-you video from Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg
will be played at the awards.
Geneva College lawsuit against federal health-care act adds plaintiffs
By Rich Lord
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Mon, Jun. 04 2012 10:10 AM MST
A lawsuit by Geneva College seeking to overturn part of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act was broadened late Thursday to
include private business people who do not want to offer insurance plans
that cover morning after drugs and other pregnancy stopping treatments.
a Christian school, sued in February with the help of the Washington,
D.C.-based Alliance Defense Fund because it said the health-care act
would compel it to pay for abortion-causing drugs.
ADF have now added as plaintiffs Wayne L. Helper and Carrie E. Kolesar,
father-daughter co-owners of the Cranberry-based Seneca Hardwood Lumber
Co. and a related sawmill company.
The amended complaint filed
Thursday said the family’s members are practicing Catholics and the
insurance offered to employees of their companies “has for multiple
years omitted abortifacients, contraception, sterilization, and related
education and counseling.”
It said the health-care law would force
them “to pay for and otherwise facilitate the use of morally
objectionable drugs, devices” and counseling.
In previous court
filings in the case, the Department of Justice asked U.S. District Judge
Joy Flowers Conti to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that enforcement of
the mandate wouldn’t start until 2014, and provisions are in the works
that might accommodate the concerns of religious organizations.
The ADF filed a motion today to dismiss as moot the Department of Justice’s effort to have the case thrown out.
“[T]he Target Corporation is donating $120,000 to same-sex
marriage advocates who are official participants in the campaign, is
saying that the debate will be bad for the Minnesota business community,
and still has the nerve to say they are not taking a position on the
marriage amendment itself.“—Jonathan Baker, Director of the Corporate
Fairness Project, NOM—
WASHINGTON, D.C.—At the Target 2012 annual
shareholder meeting yesterday in Chicago, Illinois, a Target shareholder
took corporate leadership to task for Target’s ill-advised donation to
the Family Equality Council, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that
is actively opposing the marriage amendment in Minnesota.
“In the midst of the campaign over the definition of marriage in
Minnesota, the Target Corporation is donating $120,000 to same-sex
marriage advocates who are official participants in the campaign, is
saying that the debate will be bad for the Minnesota business community,
and still has the nerve to say they are not taking a position on the
marriage amendment itself,” said Jonathan Baker, Director of the
Corporate Fairness Project for the National Organization for Marriage.
“This is a patronizing and incoherent stance for a corporation to adopt,
particularly when the funds in question are supposed to be a charitable
donation that creates good will toward the corporation. It’s good to
know that expressing concern over corporate support for a radical social
agenda is now just taking an “unfair shot” at corporate leadership.
A long-time Target shareholder who attended the annual meeting
roundly criticized Target for their donation to the Family Equality
Council. Not only was the shareholder upset that the donation had drawn
Target into the cultural war over marriage in which they have no
business interest, but he was also concerned with how the donation would
affect Target as a national retailer. Protests and boycotts have
already been started, and Target does not seem to take the shareholder’s
best interests to heart, argued the shareholder.
Target corporate leadership responded by ignoring the questions about
the recipient of the funds raised through the sale of the PRIDE
t-shirts and simply said the question was an “unfair shot” at the team
that works very hard to deliver shareholder value.
###To schedule an interview with Jonathan
Baker, Director of the Corporate Fairness Project at the National
Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130),
firstname.lastname@example.org, or Anath Hartmann (x166)
email@example.com, at 703-683-5004Paid for by The National Organization for
Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s
committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).
As we all know, everyone is entitled to their own opinions; or at least
they should be. People should be able to like what they want, believe
what they want and live the way they want — within reason.
Everyone has different beliefs and some of the strongest involve
social issues and faith or religion. Many people live their entire
lives based on religious beliefs, and some go out of their way to be
I must say that investments can also be in balance with your belief system.
The majority of people aren’t aware that many things they’re
invested in might possibly go against their beliefs, either socially or
Think of an issue you have strong feelings against.
If you discovered that your investment dollars were helping move
that issue forward, would it bother you? If so, would you like to avoid
Well, you can. Whether it’s pornography, war, oil, gambling or
another common concern, with the right programs you can avoid it in your
When setting up an investment account, certain options will
allow you to invest in line with your beliefs. These are typically
called socially responsible or faith-based options. Many years ago,
these opportunities were very general and sometimes somewhat
underperformed, due to the restrictions.
More recently, and with the help of advanced technology, you
might be pleased to know of great advances in this style of investing.
Your desires to avoid things you don’t believe in or choose not to
support can now be satisfied. You can also focus on things you do
believe in and would like to advance.
You’d be very surprised about what some companies support. The
research and statistics are actually pretty amazing. The screening
process can also look into issues relating to employees and the way a
company might treat them. Simply put, if there’s something you don’t
believe in, you no longer have to turn a blind eye with regard to your
Some companies will offer a “packaged” product that will have a
stated goal or theme, such as Christian-based beliefs or those of other
religions. Others will have a general socially responsible theme,
avoiding typical things many people would disagree with, such as
The programs I like even more are those that allow investors to
specifically choose what they want to avoid. One company I use has about
a dozen very specific topics or concerns that you can actually choose
as options to avoid. You’re given the choice to specifically determine
what your beliefs are. For instance, you might be OK with companies that
invest in gambling but definitely don’t want to support animal testing.
The choice is yours.
I’m not here to tell you what your beliefs should be and I’m
definitely not saying you should invest in programs like these. What I
am here to do is inform you about something I often hear would be
desirable but is not well-known. Is it interesting to you? If you want
more information about these programs or would like to actually look
into some options, you definitely should look into it.
Most advisers don’t use these opportunities and may only work
with basic options set up as funds with predetermined screening, but
many advisers will have more advanced experience and opportunities. As I
always say, if you have an interest in this topic be sure to find
someone who is qualified to help you. There’s no reason your beliefs
should not be in line with your money.
Jerry Citarella is the owner of Infinity Wealth Management
www.InfinityGoals.com. 23734 Valencia Blvd., Suite 301, Valencia, (661)
255-9555, ext. 11. He is also the author of The Truth Helps Series of
financial planning books. Mr. Citarella’s column reflects his own views
and not necessarily those of The Signal. Submit questions to:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Securities and investment advisory
services offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.
Infinity Wealth Management is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group
Religious groups vie for Internet space in domain name grab
By Daniel Burke
The Christian Century Thu, Jun. 21 2012 10:37 AM MST
For the first time in its history, the international nonprofit that
doles out generic Internet domain names such as “.com” and “.edu” will
allow more specific web address extensions like “.church.”
of companies, Internet entrepreneurs and cities submitted nearly 2,000
applications, seeking the right to own everything from .app to .zulu,
the Britain-based International Corporation for Assigned Names and
Numbers announced last Wednesday (June 14).
ICANN called the
expansion “a new era of online innovation” that will bring “new
businesses, new marketing tools, new jobs, and new ways to link
communities and share information.”
But corporations like Amazon
and Apple are not the only applicants for coveted online addresses.
Religious power players such as the Vatican, the Mormon Church and the
American Bible Society are in the mix as well.
At a time when
answers to life’s questions seem just a mouse click away, the online
land grab could become a lucrative investment for savvy spiritual
leaders, said Heidi Campbell, an associate professor at Texas A&M
Nearly 8 in 10 religious Americans are active
Internet users, according to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center’s
Internet and American Life Project. And 69 percent of the estimated
335,000 churches in the United States have a website, according to a
separate study conducted by the Hartford Institute for Religious
In other words, there are scores of spiritual seekers online and millions of websites competing for their attention.
groups clearly see the importance and potential profitability—in
ideological or financial terms—to defining the Internet or web space
in this way,” said Campbell, an expert on how religious groups interact
The applications don’t come cheap. ICANN charges an
$185,000 application fee and $25,000 yearly for the right to own and
operate the registry. The Vatican paid $740,000 to apply for .Catholic
in four languages. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bid
on .LDS and .Mormon.
Other religious domain names applied for
include: .Christmas, .Faith, .Islam, .Kosher, .Yoga, and .CBN, the
initials of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network.
more than 100 million “.coms” crowding the web, most Bible- related
addresses have been claimed, leaving little room for new websites to
spread the Word online, said American Bible Society spokesman Geoffrey
The domain name .BIBLE would open vast tracts of Internet
real estate for churches and companies that want to associate
themselves with Scripture.
“Opening this realm gives us a new
digital mission territory to bring people the Bible,” Morin said. “It’s
where millions of people are looking for answers right now.”
Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for
Social Communications, has said .Catholic will help his church deliver
its message online.
But only entities, parishes and religious
orders formally recognized under canon law would be allowed to use
.Catholic, “so people online—Catholics and non-Catholics—will know
a site is authentically Catholic,” Tighe told Catholic News Service.
a time when the Vatican is battling liberal theologians and American
nuns over the definition of modern Catholicism, .Catholic would also
allow the church hierarchy to monitor and control its brand—just as
Apple is attempting to do with .Apple.
Latter-day Saint leaders
made a similar argument in their ICANN applications, saying .Mormon and
.LDS would be “highly restricted” to official church and
church-affiliated entities. Like the Vatican, Mormon leaders carefully
protect their public image and warily watch dissenters.
rely on LDS leaders for “religious instruction, personal direction, and
administrative instructions,” according to the church’s application.
It’s essential that Mormons know that such information comes from a
“trusted online source,” the church said.
multisite megachurch and technocentric ministry headquartered in Edmond,
Okla., applied to create a more open-ended registry at .church.
with its popular Bible app and video sermon series, the tech savvy
church wants to put digital tools in the hands of congregations—
Christian or not—said Bobby Gruenewald, LifeChurch’s “innovation
“We do lot of things and invest a lot of time and money
for the good of the global church,” Gruenewald said, adding that there
will be a minimal fee for .church users.
As long as a proposed
.church address is not vulgar, illegal or a trademarked name, LifeChurch
will likely allow it, he said. Their application broadly defines church
as any group that “shares similar religious beliefs.” Ministries and
companies such as pew makers will also be allowed, according to
Still, the megachurch’s application raises thorny
questions, said Scott Thumma, an expert on religion and the Internet at
the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.
For example, how
will LifeChurch decide who gets in-demand names like
FirstBaptist.church? And what happens if conservative churches object to
sharing web space with FlyingSpaghettiMonster.church?
something as divisive and diverse as what it means to be a church and a
religious community, to allow a successful evangelical congregation all
of that control seems to be inviting difficulties,” Thumma said.
has secular competition as well. A for-profit company called Holly
Fields Inc. has also applied for .church. ICANN is soliciting public
comments and will roll out the new domain names in 2013. Under ICANN
rules, LifeChurch and Holly Fields may have to work out an agreement.
said he is encouraged that many of the public comments thus far favor
LifeChurch, but there is still a lengthy process ahead.
General Mills CEO's Opposition to Minn. Marriage Amendment Called 'Dumb PR Stunt'
By Michael Gryboski
Christian Post Sat, Jun. 23 2012 01:44 PM MST
General Mills CEO Ken Powell declared his opposition last week to the
amendment that if approved by voters would be added to the constitution
of the state where his company is headquartered. In response, Jonathan
Baker, director of the Corporate Fairness Project at the National
Organization for Marriage, told The Christian Post that General Mills’
position was “one of the dumbest PR stunts I have ever seen.“
proper business decision is to stay neutral so as to respect the
diverse views of your employees, customers, communities in which you
operate, and, for publicly traded companies, your shareholders,” said
Tom Forsythe, vice president for corporate communications
at General Mills, said in a statement that the company believed it was
part of its longstanding policy of inclusiveness.
“For decades General Mills has worked to create an inclusive culture for our employees. We believe it is important for Minnesota to be viewed as inclusive and welcoming as well,” said Forsythe.
oppose the proposed constitutional amendment because we do not believe
it is in the best interests of our employees or our state economy.”
Baker believes the cereal company made its decision based on personal political opinions rather than sound business principles.
“I believe that General Mills will pay the price for elevating politics over their business interests,” he commented.
Mills joins St. Jude Medical as the two companies based in Minnesota to
have taken an anti-amendment stance. Most companies have pledged
neutrality on the matter.
“In Minnesota, only General Mills and St. Jude Medical Center have publicly opposed the marriage amendment,” said Baker.
companies are dwarfed by the combined weight of corporations like 3M,
U.S. Bancorp, CHS, Xcel Energy, and Ameriprise Financial who have all
stated that they will be staying neutral in the culture war over
When asked by CP if NOM or their affiliate Minnesotans
for Marriage had any corporate support, Baker responded that his
organization is intentionally not seeking such help.
“We are not
seeking corporate support. Marriage is a matter of culture and not
something that public corporations are equipped to weigh in on,” said
“A corporation sells their product to people of all faiths,
cultures, and persuasions. They have an obligation to serve these
customers and the way to do that is not to insult their political,
religious, or cultural beliefs.”
Minnesotans are not the only
voters who come November will be mulling over marriage definition. In
Maryland and Washington state, voters will decide whether or not to keep
the states’ recently passed same-sex marriage legalization. A
referendum will take place in Maine that if successful would legalize
same-sex marriage in the state.
A Christian ministry has launched a boycott targeting the Green Giant brand name of canned vegetables because of General Mills’ advocacy for homosexual marriage.
WND recently reported the Minnesota food giant whose Honey Nut
Cheerios Bee, Lucky the Leprechaun and Trix Rabbit are familiar to
children is now publicly supporting homosexual marriage.
General Mills CEO Ken Powell announced at a homosexual pride event
his company opposes a proposed amendment Minnesotans will vote on in
November that protects traditional marriage.
Same-sex marriage is illegal in Minnesota, but supporters of the
marriage initiative say the constitutional amendment would keep marriage
safe from activist courts and legislators who may attempt to overturn
or change the law.
Already, a case in Hennepin County effectively has put the Minnesota
Defense of Marriage Act on trial, and Minnesota pro-traditional marriage
groups say the November ballot measure is crucial.
At the On the Box with Ray Comfort
website run by the Living Waters ministry, contributor Tony Miano
announced the targeted boycott of the company’s Green Giant vegetable
“To General Mills, I say, ‘No, No, No Green Giant!’” he wrote.
Miano explained that broad and general boycotts seldom accomplish
their stated purposes, and the Bible neither commands nor prohibits such
So, he said, the launch of a specific and short-term project seems best.
“A case in point is the boycott against ‘The Last Temptation of
Christ,’ a blasphemous movie released in 1988. The boycott was
specifically targeted against a particular movie. The boycott garnered a
great deal of media attention at the time, because of the passion and
widespread participation of the Christian community. And while the movie
continues to be cherished by the secular Hollywood elite, it ranks as
little more than a cartoon before a feature presentation when compared
to movies like ‘The Passion of Christ’ or the Narnia films.”
While Living Waters is a Christian organization, “which exists to
inspire and equip Christians to fulfill the Great Commission,” the
column explains there are times “when it is important for us to talk
about issues – not at the expense of gospel preaching, but in keeping
with our visions of bringing the gospel to the entire world.
“With the above in mind, Living Waters is asking the Christian
community to join us in a boycott of General Mills products. Living
Waters will focus on the Green Giant vegetable brand. The boycott will
run from the posting date of this article, until Labor Day 2012
“Standing up to be heard, standing up to be counted is, at times, enough,” the column explains.
“Additionally, and more importantly, there is more at stake than
simply winning and losing a fight over gay marriage. Souls are at stake.
And more important to us than the outcome of any social debate or
boycott is where people will spend eternity. As with everything we do at
Living Waters, loving God, loving people, and furthering the gospel of
Jesus Christ is of first importance.”
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage,
said the General Mills position in Minnesota “will go down as one of the
dumbest corporate PR stunts of all time.”
“Marriage as the union of one man and one woman is profoundly in the
common good, and it is especially important for children,” Brown said.
“General Mills makes billions marketing cereal to parents of young
children. It has now effectively declared a war on marriage with its own
customers when it tells the country that it is opposed to preserving
traditional marriage, which is what the Minnesota Marriage Protection
NOM points to U.S. Census Bureau data indicating there are more than
100,000 same-sex households in America with children under the age of
18. The group contrasts that figure with the more than 35 million
traditional American households with children under 18.
“It’s ludicrous for a big corporation to intentionally inject
themselves into a divisive social issue like gay marriage,” said Brown.
“It’s particularly dumb for a corporation that makes billions selling
cereal to the very people they just opposed.”
NOM recently sent a letter to Minnesota’s 50 largest corporations urging “neutrality” regarding the November ballot measure.
Minnesotans for Marriage, a broad coalition of supporters of the
Minnesota marriage amendment, sharply criticized General Mill’s
outspoken opposition to traditional marriage.
In a statement, marriage coalition chairman John Helmberger said it’s
“very disappointing that General Mills has decided to play PC politics
by pandering to a small but powerful interest group that is bent on
redefining marriage, the core institution of society.”
“[The General Mills position] thrust the company into a war against
marriage that goes against the beliefs of an overwhelming majority of
their customers and the best interest of their shareholders,” he
“Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each
other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next
generation. The amendment is about preserving marriage and making sure
that voters always remain in control over the definition of marriage in
our state, and not activist judges or politicians.”
Woman Dies After Abortion at Chicago Planned Parenthood Clinic
By Dave Bohon
The New American Wed, Jul. 25 2012 08:31 AM MST
Planned Parenthood offered condolences to the family of a woman
who hemorrhaged to death following an abortion at one of its Chicago
clinics. Twenty-four-year-old Tonya Reaves died July 20 after undergoing
what CBS News described
as a “cervical dilation and evacuation” abortion procedure in the
Planned Parenthood clinic at 18 S. Michigan Avenue. According to the
Cook County medical examiner’s office, while the abortion procedure
contributed to Reaves’ death, an intrauterine pregnancy was also listed
as a factor.
In a written statement, Planned Parenthood of Illinois CEO Carole
Brite responded to Reaves’ death by saying that she and other officials
with the abortion giant were “shocked and saddened upon learning of a
tragic development at a nearby hospital. Our hearts go out to the loved
ones of this patient.” Brite insisted that “legal abortion services in
the United States have a very high safety record,” but offered that “a
tragedy such as this is devastating to loved ones and we offer our
deepest sympathies.” She claimed that “Planned Parenthood of Illinois
cares deeply about the health and safety of each and every patient,” but
closed the door to further questions on Reaves’ death by declaring that
“we do not publicly discuss private patient matters and we follow HIPAA
laws that forbid the disclosure of patient information.”
Reaves had a twin sister, Toni, who sorrowfully recalled to CBS News
that she and Tonya “were born the same day. She was my other half. It
happened so fast. She was just fine one day and then the next day she
was gone. We’re just trying to figure out what happened.”
What happened, clarified Troy Newman of the pro-life group Operation
Rescue, was a death that was unnecessary. “Abortion deaths like this are
completely avoidable,” Newman said in a statement. “When a woman bleeds
to death after an abortion, it is usually an indication of error on the
part of the abortionist coupled with a delay in calling for emergency
assistance. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the victim’s family at this
time of tragic loss.”
The most recent death of a mother related to an abortion comes as
several states have defunded Planned Parenthood, and as congressional
Republicans have demanded that Planned Parenthood hand over 10 years’
worth of its records to determine if the group has been illegally
funding its abortion business with tax monies. While Planned Parenthood
claims that abortion accounts for a small fraction of its business, a
study last year by Americans United for Life
(AUL) found that, based on Planned Parenthood’s own numbers, abortion
accounted for at least $114.9 million of the $404.9 million the group
reported as income in 2008-09. According to AUL, abortion has made up a
growing percentage of Planned Parenthood’s clinic income over the past
decade: 32 percent in 2001, 33 percent in 2006, and 37 percent in 2009.
And, as reported by The New American,
an undercover investigation by the pro-life group Live Action found
that Planned Parenthood has been involved in what has become known as
“gendercide” — the practice, traditionally most prevalent in nations
such as China and India, of killing pre-born babies based on their sex.
Amazingly, despite Planned Parenthood’s long and gruesome history,
President Obama has continued to serve as its unofficial spokesman and
most high-profile supporter, with his administration’s Department of
Health and Human Services most recently announcing a grant of $1 million
to Planned Parenthood’s Memphis, Tennessee, franchise. The announcement
came after the Tennessee legislature voted this year to cut Planned
According to Operation Rescue, Reaves’ death “follows a report published in the Chicago Tribune
in June, 2011, that took to task abortionists in Illinois for failing
to report abortion complications and exposed the fact that some
abortionists did not report complications at all, in violation of the
law. At that time, Illinois officials made no attempt to enforce
abortion laws in that state.”
The pro-life group said that while the name of the abortionist who
performed the procedure on Reaves has not been published, Planned
Parenthood’s most recent 990 Tax Forms
list Caroline M. Hoke as the medical director of the Chicago clinic
where Reaves received the fatal abortion. The group also noted that the
procedure took place in Obama’s hometown “at a time when his
administration is working hard to provide funding to Planned Parenthood
through the federalized health care system.”
Said Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman: “In light of this tragedy, which
is yet another in a long list of Planned Parenthood abuses, we call on
President Obama to immediately withdraw all federal funding and personal
support from Planned Parenthood.” Newman added that the young woman’s
death “is yet another reason why men and women of conscience across this
nation cannot and will not comply with the forced funding of abortion
and its intentional violation of religious liberties.”
Mainstream Media Invents Gay Marriage Chick-fil-A Contr
By Patrick Hobin
News Max Wed, Jul. 25 2012 09:21 AM MST
CNN and other left-friendly media outlets are running full speed with an
erroneous story that brands the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant
chain a homophobe because he allegedly told a reporter he is “guilty as
charged” when it comes to his company being opposed to gay marriage,
The Weekly Standard reported.
But the Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy, did not condemn gay marriage.
CNN and other liberal outlets made their own leap from Cathy expressing
support of the traditional family and Christian growth and ministry to
making Cathy appear to be condemning gay marriage.
A review of the original interview shows he wasn’t even asked a question about gay marriage nor did he say he condemns it.
The erroneous report caused such an uproar that even Boston’s mayor
threatened to deny the company business permits, and the Muppets
announced the fast food chain wouldn’t be able to license any new toys
for their kids meals.
For example, CNN said in its story: “But the comments of company
President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have
ignited a social media wildfire.
‘Guilty as charged,’ Cathy said when asked about his company’s support
of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.
‘We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of
the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business,
and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,’
Cathy is quoted as saying.”
In the actual interview, Cathy wasn’t specifically asked about gay marriage.
His remarks to the paper were as follows:
“We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” Cathy told the Biblical
Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business
leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian
businessman Fred Roach say, “There is no such thing as a Christian
“That got my attention,” Cathy said. Roach went on to say, “Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.”
“In that spirit . . . [Christianity] is about a personal relationship.
Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are,” Cathy
added. “But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So
that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles,
asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make
about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has
And here’s what Cathy says about marriage, the Weekly Standard reported:
The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its
WinShape Foundation (WinShape.com). The name comes from the idea of
shaping people to be winners. It began as a college scholarship and
expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a
conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training
Center at the Cove.
“That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.
Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family.
“We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to
stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with
everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share
our values and operate on biblical principles.”
CNN and other outlets reported that Cathy spoke words directly
addressing gay-rights issues and implied that he delivered anti-gay
GetReligion.org said the reporting “raises an interesting journalistic
question: Is a defense of one doctrine automatically the same thing as
an on-the-record attack on the opposite doctrine? In this case, is it
accurate for CNN (and others) to say that Cathy made comments about gay
marriage when, in fact, he did not speak words addressing that issue?”
The reporter of the original Biblical Recorder story, K. Allan Blume
said, according to GetReligion.org, that Cathy was “very positive” and
the conversation was not being portrayed accurately.
Many of those reports “turned [the original story] into a negative,”
Blume said, according to the website. Blume said the term “anti-gay”
never came up in the interview.
“He was not saying ‘guilty as charged anti-gay,’” Blume said. “[Cathy]
never even brought up that subject. Everything he stated was on the
positive side . . . He never stated anything negative.”
The Weekly Standard wrote, “To say that Cathy condemned gay marriage is
stunningly dishonest. And yet, Cathy’s had to endure headlines such as,
“Boston Mayor Blocks Chick-fil-A Franchise from City over Homophobic
Attitude” — and that headline comes from Time, which is allegedly one of
the more responsible media outlets. CNN, Time, and many other news
organizations owe Cathy and Chick-fil-A some serious corrections and/or
Chick-fil-A is not without its backers, however, as the backlash of the
non-controversy has a backlash of its own, with former Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee asking supporters to eat at one of the fast food chain’s
more than 1,500 locations on Aug. 1 as part of an “appreciation day.”
“The goal is simple: Let’s affirm a business that operates on Christian
principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the
Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A
on Wednesday, August 1,” Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page.
SEC And Federal Prosecutors Go After Puerto Rican Evangelical Christian Ponzi Scam
By Bill Singer
Forbes.com Thu, Aug. 23 2012 01:29 PM MST
...The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Ricardo Boniall Rojas,
53, Arecibo, Puerto Rico and his company, Shadai Yire, with conducting a
Ponzi scheme from about August 2005 through February 2009 that
targeted evangelical Christians and factory workers in Puerto Rico.
According to the SEC, this alleged scam targeted some 200 investors to
the tune of about $7 million. The SEC has filed a Complaint
in the United States District Court in Puerto Rico seeking
disgorgement, financial penalties, and injunctive relief; and a separate
criminal action against Rojas was also filed in that same court.
NOTE: The charges in the complaints are merely allegations
and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted in a
court of law.
As with most of these rip offs, the SEC alleges that the victims were
promised 100% guaranteed safety for their investments with a robust 5%
to 50% annual return through commodities investments.
Ummm . . . 100% safe with 50% returns in commodities? Commodities?? Oh for godsakes. Really?
By now it should not come as much of a revelation that Rojas
allegedly pocketed some $700,000 and used the overage to repay earlier
investors – the classic Ponzi ruse. Allegedly, Rojas hired some sales
agents to help him solicit investors. Not surprisingly, these agents
received a percentage of the funds raised – a nice, juicy commission,
which probably wasn’t disclosed to the folks solicited. And, as with
virtually all of these investor frauds, the SEC alleges that Rojas
fabricated bogus account statements that helped keep investors in the
dark as to the true status of their investments.
“Rojas targeted novice investors who were often evangelical
Christians, and he touted a long history of successful trading in
commodities,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office. “In reality, he was fleecing the flock.”
For a rogue’s gallery of recent Ponzi scams covered in “Street Sweeper,” READ:
Faith-Based Investors Figuring Out Future Role In Impact Investing
By Jerilyn Klein Bier
Fri, Aug. 24 2012 09:07 AM MST
...Today, their efforts to generate social impact while capturing some
financial return extend worldwide. They’re also trying to figure out their
future role in this evolving sector.
director of stewardship investing at Everence Financial, a faith-based investment firm in
Goshen, Ind. that advises the Praxis mutual funds, observed some excitement but
also confusion when he initiated a conversation about impact investing at the
summer meeting of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR membersinclude nearly
300 faith-based institutional investors whose combined portfolios are worth an
estimated $100 billion.
“I think the
emergence of the impact investing language and the more sophisticated options
that have come with it will mean more attention to the space,” says Regier
says, whose firm was founded in 1945 by the Mennonite Church. “And this means
there will be scale.” He hopes it will enable Everence to expand its impact
investors like Everence—whose top priority with impact investing is to help the
poor and disadvantaged, followed by security (i.e. making sure the original
investment comes back) and then financial return—plan to cautiously tread the
“How can we find
products for our portfolio that do what we want them to do but also have a
social impact?” Regier asks. “And how do we sort out what investments have a
social impact and which ones are just putting on a light green coat of paint?”
For its part,
Everence will continue to invest in enterprises that that not only lend money
to the poor and disadvantaged, but also offer mentoring programs that help
these recipients build credit history and increase self-sufficiency. “We want
to help the economic cycle go around; we don’t just want to prop up the middle
organization,” Regier says.
Everence is also
sticking to debt and won’t invest in private equity, although the latter has
become a major focus in the rapidly expanding impact investing market. “If
you’re going to do private equity, you have to be ready to lose money,” Regier
He notes that debt
is a better match for the investment firm’s risk appetite, expertise and
Of course, there are
no guarantees with debt either. But good investment monitoring processes have
helped Everence avoid losses on interest and principal in its community
investments and other social impact investments over the past 11 years, Regier
monitors its investments by looking at their quarterly financials, changes in
leadership, board composition, relationships with various funders, and how they
may be impacted by potential changes in government funding or tax credits.
“Knowing who you’re
working with is terribly important,” Regier says.
intermediaries for much of its social impact investments in developing
countries. “Very few investors hop overseas and look for a group on the
ground,” Regier says. “It’s too hard and too much risk.” Organizations it works
with include MicroVest Capital Management LLC; Mennonite Economic Development
Associates (MEDA) and Shared Interest.
which manages a family of funds, has provided financing to more than
80 low-income finance institutions across 39 countries
since its 2003 launch. Shared
Interest provides low-income South Africans of color access to credit and
technical support to launch small businesses, create jobs and build secure new
communities. Its guarantee fund, supported by investors, is used to move South
Africa’s major banks to extend credit to communities and institutions they
would otherwise consider too costly or too risky to serve. MEDA has helped
create and aid microfinance institutions in various countries including
Afghanistan, Haiti, Mozambique and Nicaragua.
Closer To Home
U.S.-focused community investments include the North Carolina-based Self-Help
Credit Union, which has a historic commitment to working with the poor; Liberty
Bank, which is committed to restoring New Orleans and bringing capital back to
the city’s underserved community; and the Denver-based Native American Bank,
which provides Native Americans and their communities with access to capital.
The overall return
of Everence’s community investing portfolio is 3.5% to 4.5%.
One percent of each
of Everence’s Praxis mutual funds is automatically invested in Everence
Community Investments. Recently, the firm has been trying to bring individuals
into this work through its donor-advised fund. Everence has also sponsored a
retail product, OneWorld Community Investment Notes, in partnership with the Calvert
Foundation. The product enables individuals to invest directly in community
investments for as little as $1,000.
investors have been reflecting on how they can assist others with impact
investing, Regier says. They understand how it
works and they’re experienced with working with the corporate world, so they’re
hoping to help bridge these two sides. They’re also hoping they can help set
some standards and get some impact investments off the ground.
He notes that ICCR members are planning to hold
a series of conversations over the next year to discuss how they might work
together to educate themselves and address the gaps in impact investing.
“The goal is to bring market opportunities
together with what it takes to make differences in people’s lives,” Regier