A Ministry of Christian Chefs International (CCI)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Continuing the Entrepreneurial path ...

“That the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men, [Gal. 1:10; Eph. 6: 5, 6.] and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." 
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)

Hello Sistren and Brethren!  On our paths mountains suddenly come up to us...we look at it...analyse it...plan a path around or over it and then......The Holy Spirit reminds us of what Jesus said...about Faith...and mountains...and a groovy Worship song...that has a line 
"And this mountain that's in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea..."
So as we rightly ponder...we come to the logical and wise conclusion that...We need help!  And so we approach this next step in our walk with Christ,yoked, armoured, and Graced the fact we are co-creators with God...and each day each step gets us closer and the works we do in faith move that mountain...and as co-laborers with Jesus, the work we engage in on a daily basis ought to be done in a particular manner. and Bro Lawrence reminds me of "Excellent"! And Paul reminds me of "Enthusiastically"!  For we believe that when we put our hands to the proverbial plow, we are indeed cultivating and renewing parts of creation. We are the workforce of God’s restoration project. Thus, the work we do should be done with the utmost excellence!

In a way, Paul reminds us of this in Ephesians 2:10 when he says that, “we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” We are the First Entrepreneur’s masterpiece in the sense that we were created to reflect who He is. We are His image bearers. But when sin entered the picture, it marred His image in us. It darkened the reflection. So He sent His son Jesus to destroy sin and death and recreate us—a renewed humanity. Now, we can once again reflect and re-present His Light...His presence on earth...who He is in His creation. We do this by seeking to accomplish the good things He planned for us to do long ago in the garden. Things like ruling, creating, building, and growing. Things that are excellent. Things that rightly picture the very nature of God.

Therefore, if our work is to be a reflection of the First Entrepreneur, we must strive for excellence in everything we do. Our work is too important to be mediocre, or drab, or half-hearted. Our work is the work of royalty. Our work is a representation of the King. It is bound up in what He is doing in this world.

So, as we take to the streets, the public markets, the halls of power, or the corridors of knowledge, all of our endeavors should be oozing with excellence. We, God’s masterpieces, should be the most creative, most useful, most life-giving purveyors on the planet! Our work is for the Lord and thus, it is never useless. It is restorative, life-giving, and good.

This should motivate us to pursue excellence in all areas of our endeavors. Nothing about our work should be slighted or handled flippantly. In everything we do, everything we produce, everything we create, we should strive to make it worthy of Jesus, the King! In doing this, we properly reflect who God is to a watching world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. captured this idea well when he proclaimed, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
A couple questions to ponder...
Why should we as Christian entrepreneurs and creatives be more motivated to do excellent work than non-Christians?
How is excellence defined in your chosen work?
How, practically, can you become more aware of the areas of your endeavor that need more work to become truly excellent?  PRAY!
Ask God to help you see excellence in your work as a means to reflect Him and His excellence to the world. Pray that God would grant you motivation and strength to pursue excellence in all areas of your work...in excellence being a mountain mover...in, with, and for Him.

A groovy thing to do...to meditate on areas of responsibility in your business or life that you feel you do with excellence. Then, identify areas that you know are not done with excellence. As a relationship builder think about maybe asking a close friend for feedback on the list and work to find the resources you need to work towards excellence in the latter three areas.

Now...we have a very busy rest of the week and weekend...Working with Christian Chefs International in catering The Fish Fest Concert event in Salem this weekend...we will be catering the "Green Room" feeding of the musical guests and their bands and staff...with Friends, supporters and Alumni of CCI and CCA...and also presenting the Christian Culinary Academy at a booth there!  Sharing the Good News that God loves those who love to cook and has provided a Cooking school just for those who love Jesus and those called to a deeper relationship and purpose to seek Him first...and to cook!  Just like Jesus did...in excellence.  When I think about that  AFTER Jesus was resurrected ...he cooked for the disciples!  I bet it was Gooooooooood!
And Pray for us please! As we certainly have an opportunity to share excellence in what we teach and present.  And pray for the 7000 plus who will attend to be encouraged by excellent music and Worship!
We also will be feeding the hungry at the "Sunday Supper"  event sponsored by the community at Our Lady Of Victory church in Seaside, OR.  And other God appointments also....We are so blessed to be called to be the hands and feet, heart and Light of Our Father 

Rock and Roll!  Jesus is the Rock and we Roll!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Practice the Presence...called to co-create part deux

God morning Sistren and Brethren! As we go through an entrepreneurial stage in our walk in the Lord just wanted to share some insight and encouragement...Especially from the Word and from others gone before us i.e. Brother Lawrence and the Apostle Paul...on the Co-mission, the Co-creation, and Co-mmunion....We seek Him in every aspect of our businesses and ministries...God is so good...in ALL things, in ALL ways, and ALL the time!
Perhaps Bro Lawrence was pondering Pauls writings when he wrote:
“That his prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy; yet hoped that GOD would give him somewhat to suffer, when he should grow stronger.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT)

...As we begin to integrate our faith and our works, we must be prepared for the journey that will most assuredly follow. A journey marked with highs and lows, good and ill, abundance and want...it's called life! A journey that at times is our greatest joy, and at other times, our greatest sorrow. For the decision to operate our ventures in accordance with the principles of God’s Kingdom will undoubtedly bring with it unique challenges. However, to not do so would be to deny our very responsibility as those who have been called to create.  Look and ponder the lives of the Apostles..each uniquely affected, effected, and changed....becoming a living stone, a beacon, and a testimony to the changed life that comes from a living relationship with the Lord Jesus!
For this reason, it is important that we understand our calling to create as also a calling to faithfulness. Every good endeavor that we take up is a work that is to be done unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). As Christians, we recognize that profit is not the only bottom line of our ventures. We are followers of the First "Entrepreneur" if you will. We reflect Him in our creative endeavors. And like Him, we create, build, and nurture for the sake of His glory and the good of others. As such, our labors and practices ought to function out of our deep faith in God and in what He is doing in this world—building His Kingdom. This is to be our faithful practice and as Bro Lawrence calls our "common service".
“That our sanctification did not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for GOD’s sake, which we commonly do for our own. That it was lamentable to see how many people mistook the means for the end, addicting themselves to certain works, which they performed very imperfectly, by reason of their human or selfish regards. That the most excellent method he had found of going to GOD, was that of doing our common business without any view of pleasing men,1 and (as far as we are capable) purely for the love of GOD.”
― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Accompanying this faithful practice will be a whole gamut of experiences. Some will be what appear to be blessings and God’s favor. These will be seasons of growth, joy, and exhilaration. It will seem that all is right with the world and that God is on the move in and through your work. However, there will also be those experiences which appear to be the ill favor of sin and evil at work against you. These will be times of sorrow, hardship, and doubt. It will look as if God has withdrawn from your labors. All might feel lost.

These are the realities of living and working in a world that is fraught with sin. A world that is in desperate need of reconciliation and restoration. A world that needs the faithful practice of those who have been called to create. God has gifted us and placed us to be culture-creators and attitude testifiers who faithfully practice God’s justice, goodness, truth, and love in all that we do. Our entrepreneurial endeavors become outposts of the Kingdom of God. They are places where people see and feel the presence of God in everything we do and in everything we create. This is why we remain faithful through it all...

How might we start to see our work as a faithful practice?  Start by praying! Pray that God would give us an understanding of His calling on our lives as co-creators and practitioners of faithfulness. Ask that He will help us see the need to remain faithful through every season. Ask Him to grant us strength to endure the highs and lows of following the call to co-create.

We are writing everything down as much as we can remember to...Writing a set of goals for our work that are not focused on outcomes, but are instead focused on faithful practice regardless of circumstances.
Stay faithful...Stay Strong...Stay Faithful...
Did I say Stay Faithful?  ;)

Rock and Roll!
Jesus is the Rock...and we ROLL!

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Practice of the Presence...Called to Co-create...Entrepreneur

Hello Sistren and Brethren! After seeing and hearing about the entrepreneurial adventure of our graduated student Anna...I was inspired and edified as to the ventures so many of us desire and as the Lord inspires and leads us into...and knowing that ALL things work together... and for His glory as His gifts in us are revealed ...manifested...into the world we are placed in...Wow going into "Business"! Whew! Thats being called to create or rather Co-create with Our Creator.  I was also reminded of our past Brother in Christ and in the kitchen Nicolas Herman AKA Brother Lawrence ( see previous blogs about him). Love this pic...

I too can relate as my wife and I are broken more and following His lead into the work He would have us do in the entrepreneurial spirit of co-creating with Him Our Creator in the Holy Spirit Power of Grace as Jesus manifested for us and gave us Himself for us to role-model and follow The Way...in Spirit and Truth...being real, and being honest...I came upon a like minded Sistren and Brethren who celebrate this aspect of who they are in Christ...As I share the ALL things...Its a Love thing its a God thing! 

Its an ALL thing...  All in? All or nothing?...hmmmm...Its ALL His "business"...Amen?

Brother Lawrence once wrote: 
“Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God. Perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity. ” ( From the Practice of The Presence of God)

"All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need." Acts 4:32-35 (NLT)

For those who are called to create, our faith should impact every aspect of our entrepreneurial endeavors, from our motivations for creating, to the products we choose to create, to how we operate our ventures. As we set out to be an influence in culture through the vehicle of work, we must do so in a manner that captures the heart of God and stitches it together with all of our practices, products, and procedures. Thus, the entirety of our enterprises serve as beacons for a Kingdom that is very different from that of this world.

Obviously, this is both a counter-intuitive and a counter-cultural effort. However, that is what our faith is all about. It’s about living into a reality that is beyond our senses, but is, at the same time, no less real than the air we breathe. As the writer to the Hebrews explains, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1). Our faith, put into practice in all of our work, brings to life the realities of God’s unseen, but very present, Kingdom.

This is the picture we get of the Church in its infancy from our text above. In these early Christian communities, much was being done that spoke to the realities of God’s Kingdom here on earth. For they believed that God had done something amazing in the person of Jesus Christ. They believed that He was the Messiah—the one whom God was sending to reorder the world and all of history. As such, they began to live out that reality. Their faith informed everything they did. It led them to sell all they had and share it with one another. It led them to give sacrificially and generously. It led them to care for those less fortunate than themselves.

This ought to serve as an example for us today. As our faith is integrated into every aspect of our life, works, and entrepreneurial endeavors, it ought to transform how we work. For it is not enough that we put a Bible verse on our packaging or an ichthus on our website. The integration of our faith must go deeper than that if we are to be His Light to a watching world. We must be willing to enter into the nitty gritty of our organizations and ask tough questions about faith and practice. Questions such as, “Does our belief in justice play a role in how we choose pay, benefits, and even health care options for our employees? Is the compensation we offer in-line with our understanding that ‘those who work deserve their pay’ (Luke 10:7b)? Are we making ethical decisions when it comes to the materials we purchase? Do we truly care for our employees? Do we have their best interest in mind (Philippians 2:4)?”

All this we do for the sake of modeling the Kingdom to a world without faith to see it. In other words, our work makes visible a Kingdom which is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. This cannot happen if our faith is not fully integrated into the entirety of our work. Work to be Salt and His Light for the Kingdom today! 

How have you seen the Lord use your work in the past to reveal the Kingdom to others? 

How might the Lord be calling you to use your creative endeavors today to more clearly reveal the Kingdom to your customers, employees, and partners? 

“God, help me to see the need for all aspects of my life, job, ad-venture to be touched by my faith. Help me to see what I am doing as communicating the reality of who You are and what You are doing in this world. God, strengthen me to ask tough questions of my venture and to respond in faith. Amen.”

Rock and Roll!

Jesus is the Rock...and we Roll!