Editorial An "in your face" attitude towards others prevails in much of the West today.
CCI BOOKSHOP: Possibilities of Grace Can we changed so we no longer do wrong?
Daily Discipline: The Story of Job Part 2 in a study on the book of Job.
Superhuman Life No. 90: A Beneficent Dictator? We have free wills to do what we want--but all takes place in our creator.
Burn Out Are you overwhelmed by everyday life?
Retirement--Fulfilment or Frustration? A way to fulfill our retirement dreams.
Steps to Starting a Business: Step 6: The Opening Day and Your First Product or Sale. In America, where I grew up, we called the opening day the "Grand Opening." But we didn't just give it a name, we made an event out of it.
Personal Experiences of God Capt. R. Kelso Carter of the 19th century tells of his relationship with God.
Honesty the Best Policy? Is honesty an important virtue to have in business relationships?
Are you 2000 Ready? What's all the paranoia about?
Management Matters: Evaluating Employee Performance The advantages of appraisals.
Strong Son of God A poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Visit The CCI Library The CCI Bookshop is a review of different books and audio cassettes from the CCI libraries in South Mimms, England and Raleigh NC, USA.
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by Ernest O'Neill
Many of us today in the West have noticed an increasingly hard "in-your-face" attitude that we are all taking towards each other. It occurs in business relationships where the old values of loyalty and truthfulness are disappearing, but it also occurs in shops and restaurants, in the Olympics, and in family life. Everyone seems to be more indifferent and insensitive to others, and "my right" to listen to music on personal headphones or to cut the other driver out of my lane of traffic overrules any obligations of neighbourliness or friendliness.
Sometimes we think we can trace it to the widespread prosperity or to the decreasing need for civility and co-operation as our society becomes more efficient at meeting our needs. Sometimes we ascribe it to the relative freedom from world wars in the second half of the century and the need to unite against a common enemy, but, however we explain it, more and more of us are living lonely lives and have little contact with neighbours or family.
Cyberspace and shopping by computer or television compound this alienation by enabling us to expose only part of ourselves to each other, so we never really know people thoroughly in a satisfying way. Ironically, our limited contact increases our loneliness as we begin to feel there is no real friendship or intimacy possible in life.
As this indifference to each other affects our behavior in business, so our work-lives become emptier and less satisfying yet our leisure time seems to lack the sense of grip and purpose that we need. Yet all this alienation takes place in a world filled with beautiful flowers and sunsets seemingly provided free by someone who cares about us. Sooner or later we will have to return to this same readiness to put ourselves out for others - to love God and our neighbour as ourselves !
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By Peg Coleman
As I took a bite and began chewing on a fresh bagel, a sudden sharp pain caused me to stop all motion at once. Following a trip to the dentist , I learned that there were two possible solutions to my painful tooth dilemma: I could have a simple crown made and put in place, or I could have a complete job done, which would include a root canal where all possible decay would be cleansed out, then a new tooth put in place.
The simple tooth replacement appealed to me the most at first, but after thinking it over carefully, I realized that although the initial cost would be greater for the complete work, the long term benefits would also be greater. There were be no wondering if by not doing a through cleansing of the area, some decay had been left behind, only to reappear at a later date. Not dealing with it properly in the beginning could prove far more costly in the end.
What does a decaying tooth have to do with the Possibilities of Grace? This is the very issue that theologians, scholars and sincere believers have been debating for many years. Namely, does Christ teach that it is possible to live in this life, at this time, with what is called "a clean heart?" A clean heart means an inner disposition that is not intent on committing sin or wrongdoing. A heart where things like anger, jealousy, lust simply no longer have any place because the owner of that heart has submitted his or her will and life wholly to God and therefore "cannot commit sin because God's nature abides in him" I John 3:9,10.
Sound fantastic? Some say it is and is impossible to achieve in this life. Others strongly disagree and testify to knowing the experience of a heart having been cleansed and set free from hurtful actions and impulses. They do not say that man cannot commit sin, but believe he is completely able to choose to do what is right every time, rather than what would be harmful to another, or self promoting in any way. Rev. Lowrey looks at the possibilities that it is so.
Imagine it were possible that today, instead of replying with a sharp, angry retort to your child or answering a friend with yet another comment you find the patience needed to answer quietly and thoughtfully. If such a thing were possible day after day, in tense situations, in times of fear, wouldn't you want to know? Wouldn't you want to be able to put an end to the decay and destruction you can often sense on the inside that so easily spills out and overflows to those around you?
Those are the very issues and possibilities Rev. Lowrey explores in his book. He believes scripture shows clearly that we are not meant to spend our lives "making do" with attitudes and reactions that we know are wrong, but cannot seem to change no matter how hard we try. He writes not from a theoretical, theological viewpoint (though theology does enter into the evidence for his convictions) but also from personal experience of many years duration and testing. This is a book well worth reading if you have ever wanted to know if a complete change of attitude were possible in this lifetime.
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by Colleen Donahue
Why do good people suffer? That is the question we started to look at last month in studying the life of Job. From God's own evaluation of Job he was a blameless and upright man who feared God and turned from evil. In fact God said that there was no other man like him on earth! The first two chapters of Job then give us a rare glimpse of a scene in Heaven which occurred between God and Satan. Satan is our accuser before God. He wants to do anything possible to destroy us, to keep us from God, or to pull us away from God. He accused Job of loving God only because it got him blessing and prosperity. God knew Job's heart and therefore allowed Satan a certain amount of freedom to test him. God doesn't promise to keep us from trials but He does promise to give us His grace and power so that we can be victorious in them. God also promises that He will work out His purposes for our life and sometimes that means allowing Satan to be the tool.
For our own comfort it is important to know that Satan is under the control of God. "It is therefore clear that the adversary must obtain permission ere he can touch a servant of God; and that the attack is carefully limited by the all-wise Lord to sifting away the chaff around the true grain of wheat, just as Job was sifted by the direct permission of God." (quote by Jessie Penn Lewis).
So we see that one of the reasons good people suffer is because of Satan and his legions. Soon after Satan invaded Job's life, we found that Job was a ruined man and that he had become an outcast. Our study continues with three of Job's friends that have come to comfort him.
When Friends Come Calling...
Day 1 Job's pain and suffering must have been very intense, for when his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came to comfort him they didn't recognize him! For seven days and nights they sat in silence. There seemed no words appropriate. Often, that can be the best comfort to someone -i.e. that we are just willing to sit with them and say nothing. As we will soon see these friends were far more comforting to Job sitting in silence than when they began to speak! Job 2:11-13
Day 2 Although God pronounced Job a good man this didn't mean that he was without his old nature. God allowed Job to be tested so as to reveal to him that he indeed possessed a fallen nature that was evil and untamable and could not be changed for the better. Each one of us has a sin nature which we inherited from Adam. Romans 5:18-19
Day 3 In the book of Romans God reveals to us how this sin nature that we each have is to be treated. Our "old self" has been crucified with Christ and we have been identified with Jesus in His death. Therefore we are to count ourselves dead to our old sin nature. What is true in our position before God is to be counted true in our daily experience. So God allowed Job to be tested and to reveal to him that underneath all his goodness the old nature was still in evidence. Romans 6:6-11
Up until now, Job has triumphed over the tests that Satan threw his way but when his "friends" came things changed. In a moment we'll see that they accused him falsely and insinuated things that were not true. This became too much for the righteous Job and for a time his old nature took control. He took up his defense and said things that he later regretted.
Job's pride and other aspects of self that were so hidden under normal circumstances became obvious when provoked by his "friends". When God completed the work in Job's heart, Job had a new understanding. He saw the good purposes of God in dealing with him as He did and secondly, he abhorred himself for the things he had said and done when he allowed his fallen nature to control his life.
Day 4 The silence of these four men is broken by Job. His heroic worship of God had turned to seeing only his miserable life. What does he curse? Job 3:1-24
Day 5 What state is Job in as to his mind and emotions? Job 3:25-26
Day 6 In using a "psychological approach" Eliphaz commends Job before he condemns him. He inflicts bitter pain to Job by pointing out that Job had taught and instructed so many others but now he was fainting under the hand of God. Job 4:1-6
Day 7 Eliphaz also points out that Job might be receiving the consequence of his sin and therefore God must be angry with him. Job 4: 7-11
Day 8 Eliphaz argues from the ground of his personal experience. He tries to enforce his words with an account of a vision. What he does not realize is that Satan is very skilful in sending visions. Job 4:12-17
Day 9 As he continues speaking, his assumption is that Job should let go of any confidence he might have that he has walked with God in integrity of heart. His is just the same as other men. Job 4:18-21
Day 10 He speaks of a curse against the foolish, and assumes there must be some cause for Job's trouble. Job 5:1-7
Day 11 Eliphaz then tells Job what he would do if in his place...Job 5:8...and goes on to tell of the great things God would do. Job 5:9-16
Day 12 He exhorts Job to truly seek God for then God would deliver him. But Eliphaz did not understand that Job had never left God! Job 5:17-27
Day 13 In Job's response he cries out in agony. He pleads for death and feels utterly helpless. Job 6:1-13
Day 14 He expresses his disappointment that his friends have given him no comfort from God. Job 6:14-21
Day 15 Then he appeals to his friends. What kind of friends can be so hard hearted and pitiless? Job 6:22-30
Day 16 Job is in a pitiful state. Job 7:1-11
Day 17 He turns his complaint to God and says...."Let me alone!" Job 7:12-21
Day 18 Bildad "supposed" many things about Job and his family but really didn't know. Three of his suppositions begin with the word "if". Can you determine what he is REALLY saying? Job 8:1-7
Day 19 Bildad then goes back to tradition and what "the fathers" have found. In a round about way he wants Job to accept that his suffering was a result of his sin. Job 8:8-22
Day 20 Job acknowledges that what Bildad said about God not upholding evil doers is true. Job even goes further and wonders how any man can be just before God in the light of who God is. Job 9:1-14
Day 21 Nevertheless, Job declares his innocence and his need to appeal for mercy. It appears that Job did not know God as one who talked WITH him. (This path of suffering would end in a fuller revelation of God and a walk in deeper fellowship with him). Job 9:15-18
Day 22 Job then compares himself with God. This brings him to despair and hopelessness when he realizes he can never justify himself before such an omnipotent God. He despises himself and his life and sees that he can never clean himself up to be good enough. Job 9:19-31
Day 23 Job now comes to a most important conclusion. God and man are poles apart! This distance is so great that Job cries out for a mediatorsomeone to go between him and God. Job 9:32-33
Day 24 God met this cry by the gift of his Son Jesus Christ who became the "one mediator between God and man, Himself manChrist Jesus". I Timothy 2:5/ I John 2:1
Day 25 Job cries for God to take his rod away. He wants to plead with God. Job 9:34-35
Day 26 In the spirit of his despairing tone Job goes on to protest God's treatment of him and pour out his complaints. What does he accuse God of doing? Job 10:1-22
Day 27 Zophar speaks rather roughly with Job. He thinks Job is full of talk and boasting and feels indignant on God's behalf. Job 11:1-12
Day 28 Zophar assumes many things as Bildad did. He felt Job needed to "set his heart aright" and to repent. Job 11:13-20
Day 29 After Zophar's accusations Job is stirred to a vigorous reply! He answers bluntly and with sarcasm. Job 12:1-13:12
Day 30 In desperation Job declares he will defend himself before God. He demands to know what his sins and transgressions have been. Job 13:3, 13-28 / Job 14:1-6
Day 31 Job talks of the frailty of human life and gives no indication that he has an assured hope of life beyond the grave. He feels his pain so acutely that he mourns for himself and his affliction.John 14:7-22
In his last reply Job brings out the question going through his mind and heart. When a man dies where is he? (Job 14:10). If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14) Ultimately Job expresses what all of us wonder if we have had a brush with death or are getting older. What will happen to us? Is there really a Heaven (or Hell) and if so where will I go? We'll continue with our study next time.
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by Ernest O'Neill
Am I a little bunch of atoms that has to work out a direction for its own actions each day ? Or am I a member of a family whose loving father has a life he wishes to live in and through me ? The answer to the first question is "no" and the answer to the second is "yes", BUT we live as if the answers are switched - we live as if we were just a little bunch of atoms that has to work out its own destiny as best it can.
In one way, this seems very exciting - we look out on the wide vista of our future and reflect that we can do just whatever we please. However, it's not long before this responsibility becomes a burden that hinders our free enjoyment of life rather than enhances it. And this very obligation exerts pressures upon our otherwise free will. Many of us come to reflect that our carefree childhood days were some of the happiest we've experienced, and we wonder if the existence of parents proves the existence of some great cosmic parent of the human race.
But this is not fashionable thinking today, so we reject any notion that we need a father-figure to look after us, and we set our face toward this vast, trackless wilderness of life that lies before us. We don't like the prospect, but the idea of having our own lives in our own hands appeals to something inside us - even though we see basic illogicalities in the whole scheme.
For instance, we see that the birds don't spend all their time crashing into each other - nor do the planets ! If we explain this by noting that they obviously have some kind of guidance system that enables them to avoid collisions, we see that this presupposes a system that works for their preservation. So, obviously there is an over-arching will or direction in the universe that makes for continued existence rather than annihilation. In other words, whatever freedom we ourselves may have, there are undoubtedly some tendencies and instincts that are involuntary. Nevertheless we persist in emphasising our own freedom of choice because the apparent alternative depicts us as robots!
Even our own fathers had difficulty restraining themselves from trying to "put an old head on young shoulders". They loved us so much that they would often have preferred us to do what they thought best - even if this meant that we submitted to their judgement rather than our own. When we think of all the other "wise heads" that have wanted to run our lives for us, we feel a strong resentment against the idea of an overruling providence that directs our lives. But, despite these fears, we can see the great relief that such a situation would bring to our anxiety-ridden lives. We can glimpse the possibility of those "lazy, hazy days of summer" that we used to enjoy as children.
Is it possible for us to have our cake and eat it ? Is it possible to have our freedom and the caring supervision of a loving parent ? Only if that loving parent is willing to bear and gently correct the wilful choices that we will make. Can you find on earth a father that is willing to be killed, if necessary, by his child and yet continue to lovingly draw that child towards the complete fulfilment he has planned for him ? Obviously this is only possible for a father who is not destroyed by death and whose wisdom is infinite ! Such is the reality in which we exist!
You were made by a loving creator who ensured your place in his heart by bringing you to birth inside his own son - much as he eventually brought you to earth in your mother. At the same moment, as he created you in his son, he foresaw what you would do with your free will, endured that in his son, and bearing all that "sin", allowed his son to keep you within himself even though it forced him to do what you did and say what you said ! Despite all that your free will costs him, our father-creator continually works to bring you round to willing what he made you for. So, each time you speak, you do what God foresaw in eternity and what therefore Christ is compelled to speak, and, in turn, you benefit from the countering remedy that Christ activates to draw you round again to the life He wishes to live in you.
Thus every day you are experiencing the tender mercies of a loving Father who bears in himself all your actions and attitudes so that you are saved from the annihilation they would normally cause. At the same time you experience the daily desires of the life that the Christ of God has for his life in you - and which you accept or reject. This is why a man called Wesley in the eighteenth century wrote "thus to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be". Today we would say - "how lucky can you be!" What more could you ask from your Creator?
So we live in a world where we have all the right to do what we want, but all our actions - good and bad - occur within the heart of our creator, who bears all the pain. As a result, he is able to protect and rescue the world from the absolute devastation our behavior would cause while he faithfully endeavors to live within us the life he planned for us from the beginning. How long can we resist such graciousness?!
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by Martha Nelson
Do you ever get so overwhelmed with life that you land in a frazzled heap? My work as a travelling sales rep has its peaks and lows like most jobs. But there are times when all the travelling, deadlines, appointments, trade shows, new product launches, and customer demands get too much for me. That is when I hit the bottom of the rollercoaster with a big thud. Some call it "burn out". Whatever it's called, it keeps me from enjoying work OR leisureand is something I want to live without.
I think there is much we can learn from older generations about this. My dad was a very patient man and he loved nice automobiles. He grew up in very humble circumstances and worked hard all of his life. But when he was in his 20's he bought his first Pontiac sedan and kept it for many years. When he was ready to sell it there was no shortage of eager buyers. All of his friends knew what care he took to baby that car, change the oil regularly, and respond to its smallest "squeak."
Dad taught me to drive carefully and not to stop and start the engine suddenly. When Dad drove everything was "steady eddy" and everyone relaxed and enjoyed the ride. Plus the car had a long life because of it. Over his 86 years Dad had many cars which he usually kept for at least 12 years. He certainly got good use from them because of the care he took. And he never had problems selling them on.
I think sometimes we can treat our bodies and lives like machines. Of course we're NOT machines. But thinking about Dad's car: if I even took the type of care he did with these VEHICLES, I'd be streets ahead in the cure for periodic burn-out.
Dad was concerned about the busyness of my generation and commented that they didn't even have time to sit down at a table and have a proper meal. Everyone was eating while they drove their cars. It is one example of how 20th century life "in the fast lane" has robbed us of necessary rest and refreshment. (Like many reps I too have gobbled many a burger while I headed down the road because there was "no time to stop" before that next appointment!)
I remember a time when I had again hit the wall mentally and physically. Like many business people I was trying to do too many things too fast. I talked with a friend about this and he said, "You think you're accomplishing a lot. But you need to see that you're in this for the long haul. You can't keep up that pace for long." True. But what is the cure for this disease?
I have recently begun to see that the cause of burn-out in many cases is my over-ambition and driving personality. But if you stop to think about it, there is very little we really MUST do. I don't mean we should all become slouches. (Anyway, if you face continual burn-out, you're at low-risk for that disorder!) However, I've begun to ask myself about each task, deadline and project: "Why am I doing this?" Is it because it's really important (not just to me, but also to God)or because I'm a perfectionist in this matter and need to learn to relax? Is it because I put too much value on what others think of meand want to appear successful in their eyes? (When is the last time you admired a burned out person?) Is it because I have set up a reputation to maintain (which is really pridesomething the Bible says we should run from)and am killing myself to do it?
How telling the phrase becomes: "I'm going to finish this project IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO!" especially if what follows is a heart attack!
One of the reasons I'm scrambling is because I'm trying desperately to get "more" done. But why "more"? How much "more"? And who exactly determines how much "more" that should be? I'm seeing that this driving enslavement to "more" wears me out more than the work itself. But I don't have to be a slave to "more" and therefore to burn-out. Instead I can order my day and quietly go about each task, reminding myself if necessary that the sun will still rise the next morning if I don't finish my list.
I'm also seeing the importance of letting Sunday be a true day of rest, as our Creator intended. And to let Saturday be a different type of workday, if it is onefor gardening, housecleaning and other non-repping tasks I don't get to when I'm on the road. I used to bring a lot of unfinished work home on the weekendbut I'm doing this less. Because bringing the office home has proven to be counter-productivesince I then go into Monday on half-steam.
So I've begun to see that I do have a choice: A burned-out life that lands me in the junk heap after 60 yearsor a "steady eddy" existence that I can chooseevery moment of every day.
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by Martin Poehler
Have you ever thought about your retirement? Probably we all have planned how we would take care of ourselves financially and where we would live. We've also made plans for how we would spend our time after finishing our normal work lives.
These plans sometimes form our retirement "dream"- our doing the things we'd always wanted to do but never had the time to do. We may look forward to reading, or travelling, or golfing or doing some other favourite hobby. When the great day comes, we begin to do what we planned, and our dream comes true. Then for the next 3,5,10 or 12 years the dream gets better and better, and we thoroughly enjoy ourselves. But as the years pass the dream seems to end. We find ourselves bored, or irritated, or frustrated, or restlessthe same things we experienced from time to time during our working lives.
Or we might meet something elseillness. Cancer, arthritis, stroke or some other sickness might strike us down physically. We may be bound to a wheelchair or our home. Our hopes for a physically active retirement appear to be dashed. We may become bitter, since we expected and it seemed we were entitled to an active fulfilling retirement after years of faithful hard work. Why has this happened? we may ask ourselves.
But these feelings of disillusionment about retirement aren't inevitable. A case in point is my friend's mother who retired after having worked many years as a hospital receptionist. She loved her job. In the years since her retirement she has volunteered in the same job, and is enjoying herself tremendously. She likes what she does and she enjoys being with the people there.
I know of another lady who had an active life as a nurse. But in her early fifties severe arthritis and osteoporosis came to her. She found simple movement and tasks were very difficult and had to retire. The temptation certainly was great to give up and live a life at home shut off from everyone. But she didn't do that. She now volunteers as a leader in Girl Guides, of which she was a member when a young girl. She instructs them in etiquette and judges their projects. The children have a caring friend and benefit from her many years of experience from living and the things she has learned.
These two acquaintances of mine seem to have found a key to making the most of retirement. This key is contained in the words, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," found in the Bible 1. It doesn't seem to matter how good our health is, or what we do, but for whom we do things. We will probably get to do many of the things we looked forward to in our retirement. But it seems we were made to give to others and meet their needs for us to be fulfilled. No matter how weak or insignificant or poorly-off we seem to be, there are others who are worse off.
We can see this as we think about many of the people in our country and other countries. Some of them can and will benefit from our years of life experience and lessons we've learned, if we are willing to share these with them. In a paradoxical way, we receive what we are yearning for only when we give to others. It's really not surprising as you look at all the free gifts we've had during our lifetimesummer afternoons, spring mornings, millions of flowers and birds. Obviously we have the same giving nature as our Maker.
So it is interesting to see that our retirement dream can come truebut not in the way most of us had planned.
1 Acts 20:35.
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by Joe Selzler
1. Acquiring Motivation.
2. Finding an idea.
3. Proving the idea.
4. Knowing what is needed.
5. Applying the business plan.
6. The opening day and your first product or sale.
7. Transition to established business.
If you have read the previous articles to this then hopefully you are ready for the most important day of all, the opening day. However, there are two things you must do before you turn the keys and open the doors. You need to decide on the date of the opening day and you need to advertise that date to the public. Getting these two things right is important for your business for the following reasons: your logistics must be able to cope with the date and the public need to be informed or your idea could fizzle before it gets a start. If your opening date is set to take the best advantage of these two areas your business will be on the way to success.
When it comes to starting a new business probably one of the most important decisions you will have to make is when to open the doors to the public. It's obviously more complicated than just drawing a date out of a hat. There are many factors that will influence your decision. First there would be the type of product or service your business is providing. For instance, if you were going to sell chocolates it probably would be a good idea to open the shop a few weeks before an event such as Valentines day, instead of the day after. Or if you were going to start a lawn mowing service, you would want to begin in the spring instead of the dead of winter. These are very obvious examples but they go to show a point; it is important to pick a date that is prime for your launch. Events are probably the biggest determiner for opening dates of new businesses. However, choose a date sufficiently early to allow the public to discover you before the event occurs. If you open your chocolate shop one or two days before Valentine's, customers will not have had sufficient time to view your products and decide to buy from you.
Another factor to consider is that of stock. When you open the doors for business you will need to have all the stock or ingredients you need to operate for a certain period of time. This period of time could be a day, several days, a week or even a month. It will all depend on your suppliers and the times it takes to get stock to you. To determine your opening date make a list of all your needed supplies. Then next to each one record the delivery time from the relevant supplier. Most will probably be able to deliver in just a matter of days. Some, however could take longer to deliver and these are the ones you must account for in your opening date. After taking into account the longest lead times set your opening date, then push your suppliers to be early or at least on time. Remember also that you will need to put all this stock on display shelves or storage shelves, so allow enough time for that.
Recruiting and training staff is another consideration for setting a date of opening. Make up a small training course to teach your employees the skills they will need to help you run your business. You will need to decide what things have to be taught before the doors open and what things can be taught on the job. From this you will be able to estimate how much time will need to be spent in training before you open the doors. Are there complicated cooking processes that can't be taught on opening day? Do you have a special electronic till that will take several hours to learn. These kinds of specialised skills also require more capable people, therefore the process of hiring them will take longer. You might have to advertise for several weeks to get the right person. Set an opening date that allows sufficient time for this process.
Advertising is a very important part of any business. Most large and well known companies spend millions every year to get their name out. That is why they are well known to the public. Of course, when starting a new business we don't have millions to spend on advertising, so we can not expect to get the same results out of advertising in the beginning. However, if we are going to get customers in the door on that first day we are going to have to tell them we are there. We are going to have to create an excitement for the public that will cause them to be curious about our new business and draw them in the doors. Several good ideas for advertising a new business are: passing out brochures in the neighbourhood, or putting an add in the local newspaper or on a local radio station. Some newspapers will offer you a free press release which is an easy and inexpensive way to advertise.
In America, where I grew up, we always had a term for the opening day. We called it the "Grand Opening". But we didn't just give it a name, we made an event out of it. There was usually a prize draw for some product sold in the store, coffee and cookies (biscuits) were served and sometimes bands would play. Every new business did it, even plumbing stores. I can remember going to many a grand opening for the treats. It didn't matter if it was a dress shop, I always liked the excitement that was created. Of course there was always the chance that I would spend some portion of my allowance on a gadget from the hardware store. Whatever we do, we need to let the public know we are there, or the first day could be a sleeper.
Important though it is to get the right date for opening your business, be relaxed about it. In an ideal world everything works to perfect order, but in this world things don't always go exactly as planned. However, the planning you do beforehand will reduce the number of "fires" you will have to put out on that first day. Whatever you do, enjoy this day because it will be the start of a new adventure for you. In some ways you will be freer than when you worked for someone else because there won't be any time cards to punch or bosses to please. You are the Boss! But in other ways you will be tied to more and greater responsibility. You are the one who gets to make the decisions on the products you sell or produce. It will be up to you what colour to paint the walls of the shop. However, there is one little irony to all this. You really will have a boss after all, your customer. To a large extent what he wants will influence the decisions you make. But for now, get excited and turn those keys!
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"My experience is my own, and acknowledges no human master, and, therefore, I cannot stop in a certain rut, I must go farther. From the very first I conceived a deep, and even desperate, determination to 'follow on to know the Lord.' "
From the very hour of my birth, in 1849, I was surrounded by the best Christian influences. My father has stood for nearly half a century in the foremost rank of aggressive Christian workers in the city of Baltimore, and by his side, I had ever the example of one of those sweet, gentle, patient, loving mothers, whose presence seems always to reflect a little of heaven's light upon the darkness of this world.
I cannot remember when I was not subject to deep convictions of sin and sensible of my duty toward God; yet, as a school-boy, I wandered far from the path of truth until the age of fifteen, when, under the blessed influences of the cadet prayer-meeting in the Pennsylvania Military Academy, I made a profession of faith in Jesus and united with the Presbyterian Church my parents' denomination.
I was happy, but I made the common mistake of our day; I did not forsake my old companions and habits, and the inevitable result followed. For fourteen years I lived the up-and-down experience so bitterly familiar to the average church member. I attended church, went to the prayer-meeting, took part in it quite frequently, spoke on religious subjects and on temperance, always from a gospel stand-point; and unquestionably I grew in grace to some extent. I never enjoyed myself so much as when I was working in Mr. Moody's inquiry-meetings in Baltimore, in 1878-9; and yet, even up to that time, I was continually slipping and falling before tempters or desires, in some form or other. Confession and prayer brought forgiveness, and I was very sure that I was God's child, so that when asked, "Are you a Christian?" I never thought of answering in any other way than, "Yes, thank the Lord."
But all this time there was a tremendous conviction of a great inward need, a cry from my soul that God would take away from my heart these internal desires toward evil. I had never read a line on the subject; had never heard a sermon on the Holy Ghost or upon the subject of sanctification; had never been to a camp-meeting nor entered a Methodist Church more than three times. But my soul cried out for complete deliverance, and God's unlimited promises stood out like stars above me. But I was not ready and willing to pay the price.
In the summer of 1879, my heart, which had been chronically diseased for seven years, resisting the remedies of the ablest physicians, and refusing to grow better even after three years spent in sheep-ranching among the mountains of California, suddenly broke down so seriously as to bring me to the very verge of the grave. I had heard a little of the "prayer of faith" for healing, but I felt persuaded that it would border upon blasphemy to ask God for a strength which I did not propose to use wholly for Him; and hence it was that this desire for health only increased the sense of the necessity for a great and entire consecration.
Kneeling alone in my mother's room in Baltimore, in the month of July, I made a consecration that covered everything. I have never been compelled to renew it, for it included all. To die at once a young man; to live and suffer; to live and recover; to be, to do, to suffer anything for Jesus this was my consecration. All doubtful things were swept aside and a large margin left on God's side. I knew in my soul that I meant every word; and so I have never had any doubts about it since. A certain sense of peace and quietness gradually came over me. I never had any sudden overpowering manifestation; and I found the whole Bible wonderfully open to my vision and marvellously satisfying to my soul, as it had never been before. I seemed to live in a constant prayer; and in fact I have lived this way nearly all the time that has elapsed since then.
Feeling now all the more impressed with God's healing promises I sought to find Jehovah Rophi; and, in order to obey the Word like a little child, I concluded to go to Boston and ask prayer and anointing at the hands of Dr. Cullis. I was terribly weak, but I went. All this experience has been written and published at length elsewhere, and I will only add that I returned in three days, walking by faith, and not by feeling, resumed my college work in September, and at once engaged in all kinds of religious work. I was healed by the power of God alone. Praise the Lord!
Within two months I united with the Methodist Church, owing to certain providential circumstances; and here I began to encounter the terminology which was exceedingly unpleasant to my ear, trained among the Presbyterians. But I promptly settled all these difficulties by declaring that I accepted all the terms found in Scripture, joined in all scriptural prayer, and aimed at every scriptural target with the expectation of hitting it by the infinite grace of God.
Perhaps the crucial point was passed in this way: Undervaluing the deep peace in my soul and the great hunger for the Word which continually possessed me, not seeing that these were evidences of the Spirit's presence, I yearned and cried after some great manifestation. But one night, after lying in an agony of supplication upon my floor, for hours, I rose up, and, lifting my hand to heaven, said, "O, Lord, if I never feel any more than I do now to the day of judgement I will believe on Thy Word that Jesus saves me now. If the children of Israel could shout over Jericho when not one stone in its walls had fallen, I can do the same." And I began saying aloud, "Jesus saves me now! Jesus saves me now!"
God, the angels, and the devils heard it. But my audience all understood that I meant "sanctified wholly"; so the Lord got the honor of a complete work even from ignorant lips, and gradually the conviction grew in my soul that it was really true. This inward conviction or persuasion I soon recognized as the longed-for "witness of the Spirit," and then, for the first time, I knew those thrills of heavenly joy which have been styled the "effusions of the Holy Ghost."
From this point in my life a most distinct experience began. All sense of duty-service vanished, and a glad love-service took its place. All those desperate conflicts with the will of God, which we are pleased to call our "crushing trials," "sore afflictions," resolved themselves into the dear Lord's wisely-chosen methods for enlarging the vessel in order that He might pour into it more of His grace and love. Growth was marvellous and permanenta wonderful difference from the years when so much time was occupied in rebuilding. There was no desert life here; no despondency; no cloud of unbelief; no sense of condemnation. The most marked inward leanings toward sin which had bitterly cursed my Christian life were so conspicuous by their absence that in wonder and amazement I cried, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" and was greatly established by the thought that if God could take away one such besetting sin could He not remove two? And if two, why not all?
Here I wish to be very clear. Let not the reader suppose that during these years there has been occasion for self-examination or disappointment at my record. All along the line I was frequently surprised at new discoveries. Things which had seemed perfectly right and proper became objects of inward suspicion. Something suggested, "You ought not to do this or to speak so; it is not right." But whenever this occurred a prompt willingness to turn on the most searching light was always felt; and if after a thorough examination in the light of the Word, the thing appeared to smell of evil, it was always cheerfully relinquished, no inward desire to go counter to the will of God being experienced. In fact, this has always been the great test question: Is it the will of God? His will, when known, is mine always; not from duty, but from free, spontaneous choice. Praise the Lord!
I have had some trouble with my body at times, for the body is very imperious. The necessity of "keeping the body under" has been always felt. Let none misunderstand me here. I do not mean the "body of sin", or the "carnal mind." That was burned up, and its desires against God's will eradicated, by the consuming fire of the Holy Ghost when God wholly sanctified my soul as related above. But his physical body, with its various appetites and nerves, must be kept under all the time. Not one of these appetites nor one of these nerves is in any degree sinful or impure in itself. It is only the wrong use of these which constitutes sin and brings condemnation. There is not a particle of sin in my feeling hunger, or thirst, or the sexual appetite, for God has made them all, and His work is good. But there is sin in indulging any of them in a wrong way or in entertaining or possessing the real desire to so indulge them. If my nerves are overtaxed I must and will feel nervous; there is no sin in that. But I must not experience irritation and anger in the heart as an accompaniment, for in this lies sin. I may be, and am, when such emergencies arise, tempted to think of such indulgences or tempers; but the temptation is not sin if the heart answers not again.
This lesson was rather difficult to learn; and while studying it I was at various times a little confused as to the exact power and shades of meaning in terminology of Bible holiness; but the blessed Spirit brought me through in safety; and now I see it as, perhaps, the most important lesson of my life thus far, and as the testing-ground where so many sanctified Christians are led astray.
My experience is my own, and acknowledges no human master, and, therefore, I cannot stop in a certain rut, I must go farther. From the very first I conceived a deep, and even desperate, determination to "follow on to know the Lord." No pen can emphasize these words as they were emphasized in my soul. Year by year passed away, and an almost infinite yearning for a deeper manifestation of my Lord filled my very being. Suffice it to say that at Mountain Lake Park Camp-meeting, in July 1885, this prayer of years was answered. I can hardly tell how, except that my Saviour became so inexpressibly real to me that all language fails to describe it. It has seemed these two years as though my friends, my wife, even myself, are less real to me than my adorable Saviour, my living Father, my blessed Comforter.
After about eight months some small degree of this marvellous nearness to Jesus seemed to me to pass away, I think through slowness to follow the Spirit with reference to a certain point. But in July, 1887, while again at Mountain Lake Park, the blessed Holy Ghost wonderfully and entirely healed me of a very serious attack of brain prostration, resulting from various causes, largely unavoidable; and with this restoration all seems to be regained.
Today I am a sinner saved by grace, a repentant rebel fully pardoned by my God, a law-breaker justified freely by the "Judge of all the earth," the offspring of evil adopted into the family of the Lord, a trusting believer cleansed from inbred sin by the blood of Jesus Christ and sanctified wholly by the Holy Ghost, a child of the King, healed of my diseases by the Great Physician. I am beset, yet strong in the Lord; tossed about by circumstances, yet on the Rock of Ages; enduring misrepresentation and slander and suspicion, yet praising God for the victory Jesus wins over all; daily realizing more and more my own nothingness and the wonderful ALLNESS of Jesus. Praise the Lord!
R. Kelso Carter Yardville, N.J., August 11, 1887.
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by Trish Overby
"You have been sent to investigate a fraud claim made against your company by Customs in one of the countries where you do business. On arrival, an officer explains you are being fined for under-declaring the number of safety boots imported."You notice he is wearing a pair of the `missing' boots. Do you point this out, at the risk of disrupting future business, apologise and pay the `fine', or take his name and address and promise to send him another pair next year? "Pressure is mounting on companies to confront these sorts of ethical problems, which can plague transactions from the smallest overseas business deal to bids for the Olympic Games." FT, January 26, 1999.
Ethics is a hot topic with all shapes and types of international businesses. It appears that most companies cannot play around with such ethical issues as compensation for disasters, fair trade policies and even upgrading employee's working conditions and wages. Some top UK retailers have experienced the `downside' of using `cheap labour' in third world countries. Once Mr Joe Public found out, boycotts and demonstrations were evident to point out the retailers' errors. Nowadays, even the internet plays its part in keeping the public aware of offenders(Microsoft vs. Netscape) of certain `ethical' issues. But where does company management look for guidelines to honesty in business? Is it a worthwhile principle to uphold in business?
According to Fergus Robertson, a marketing director of an Aberdeen based oilfield company, being honest and building sincere relationships is a key guideline. However, sincere international relationships in business seem to be a bit more difficult to build. Cultural and religious differences could be the offending factors in maintaining business relationships, such as alcohol to a Muslim or `losing face' to the Chinese. Mr Robertson recalls a late night drinking gallons of tea with villagers in Yemen to win their agreement over a pipeline. Obviously some relationships take time to build and trust to be won.
We could say honesty is valuable in all situations and relationships. From our closest friends and family, to our mere acquaintances, most would agree honesty is something to strive for. We all would try to live by the golden rule: 'do unto others as you would have done to you'.(Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31) Most of us would agree we ought to live by this code of conduct in all areas of our lives. However, at times, this golden rule proves temporarily inconvenient. For various reasons and excuses, we would say we aren't always honest in our relationships. Instead, we might be tempted to stretch the truth to get the order from a potential customer. Or we might pay the fine (bribe) to the above mentioned official in hopes that he will be generous with us on our next order imported into his country.
If we apply the golden rule in every ethical situation, we will probably see a new respectful attitude in our relationships which wasn't there before. Over and above the cultural differences, honesty seems to strike a chord in people's hearts as a good virtue. We may be `taken for a ride' for our honesty by the dishonest of the world, yet, we can know that our conduct will not go unnoticed. If it isn't noticed by the people we work with in business, it is noticed by our Creator God who made us. It is Him that we endeavour to please by our conduct. It is from Him that we have the ethical guidelines for life. Only He can make this rule of conduct a `golden' one as we build our relationship with Him. Then will our personal and business relationships be looked at in the right order. Then will our relationships be honest ones because we are honest with our God.
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by Greg Leitschuh
The title of this article may have you thinking "oh no! another one about the `millennium bug'! All of us have recently either read or heard about the potential problem with computer/electronic equipment as the year 2000 approaches. Many think it will be quite serious and others that it will pass with very little disruption. More significant than the results of what may happen is the attitude of people towards this problem and the hype as well as the frenzy that seems to go along with it. Why do many think that the beginning of a new millennium will bring some dramatic event -- either good or bad?
We may have computers and other devices that are not millennium or Y2K compatible but how about ourselves? It is surprising how many in our society seem to think that there will be an upheaval in our lives as the new century dawns. Some say that judgement is just around the corner and are running to the hills. Others are predicting world-wide chaos as companies and possibly governments collapse. Although it is only a minority that believe these things (which are also sensationalised by the media), it does reflect a growing shift in the way people think about this world. Many see the end of this millennium as a possible change in the way society will function. Some believe that Bill Clinton will declare martial law as systems and computers break down on Jan. 1st. 2000 which will bring about the start of a new `one world' government. Why all this paranoia?
Perhaps the answer lies paradoxically within us, in that we are looking for a hope and a salvation from this life whether through an upheaval of everything or the ushering in of a new order. It may be that we feel this way because we're approaching something that is bigger than ourselves and out of our control, something that we've inadvertently brought upon our world. Could it be we secretly believe that we want someone or something to step in and bring order to our world? Many people may also think that next January could be a magic wand to brush away the cobwebs of the past and allow us to start afresh, perhaps like a "super New Year's" with lots of new resolutions!
As insecurity and feelings of personal inadequacy are on the rise in society, it is no wonder that the news is filled with apocalyptic predictions. Many seem to view certain events emotionally rather than on an objective, logical basis. On a scientific or cosmological note, Einstein or other scientists probably could not demonstrate a physical law based upon our planet completing a thousand or any other definitive number of cycles around the sun. This of course is how we determine what a day is and is the basis of our dating system. Why then should so many human fears or hopes seem to hang on what may happen on January 1st?
It is interesting to note that our current dating system used in the West is calculated from the supposed date of Christ's birth. Many historians believe that Christ was actually born in 4 B.C. which means that the year 2000 took place in 1996! Also notable is what Jesus said regarding the end times. He claimed to be the son of God and yet said that no one, not even He Himself, knew when that day would be but only His father (God) knew. (Matt. 26:63-66; John 10:30,31,38) This statement by the most influential person who ever lived should cause us to be very sceptical of anyone who would claim to know when the world will end. It would appear that our fears and anxieties come from a psychological rather than a scientific basis.
As we look forward to the future and what it will bring, we can be confident that the world will not suddenly come to an end or that some Orwellian state will be inflicted upon us. The sun will probably rise as normal on Jan. 1 and hopefully our computers will start with the right date! I read an interesting, short opinion on this subject that someone wrote to Time magazine several months ago which said... "Relax! God doesn't own a watch!"
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by Joanne Leitschuh
After lunch, I often ask myself the question, "How am I progressing in my job today?" But how do I evaluate how others are doing and what they are doing? I think any task, whether it be running a marathon or selling jewellery has performance goals. Therefore, it is necessary to have performance criteria outlined: what is needed to be done and how it should be done. Once these goals are outlined, then each person's performance can be appraised. Why? Here are three reasons: 1.) To provide adequate feedback. Everyone wants to feel that they DO make a difference in the company. They know they need to contribute to the project or goal, and they want to know IF they are. For example, we have just finished producing our jewellery website. The person photographing the jewellery needed frequent evaluations as to the quality of the images. Without this guidance, he could have wasted a lot of time and money. He realized the quality of his work was crucial in getting this big project completed.
2.) To provide an opportunity for face-to-face communication regarding modifications or changes to existing performance objectives.
This week we took a fresh look at the number of calls that were being made by our telemarketer. We critiqued what the person was saying and how long it took him to call 100 people. He was grateful to see ways he was losing momentum and took suggestions with a positive attitude. We also listened to his comments on ways to improve the whole process. We all wanted him to meet his goal.
3.) To provide information to managers so they can evaluate an employee and judge future job assignments and compensation.
Our sales representatives are responsible for many projects other than selling jewellery. When one of them does well at getting a certain job completed, it is natural to give them more challenging targets. Their confidence in their performance increases, and I can relax knowing they can be trusted to lead the next project.
I have heard of companies where appraisals were not conducted properly, causing fear and negative attitudes in the workplace. Employer-employee relationships were damaged, and sometimes jobs were lost. Therefore, appraisals need to be conducted in a timely, caring and professional manner. Whether verbal or written, they should be regular and given careful thought and adequate time. Clear follow-up steps are also crucial in making the whole exercise meaningful and fruitful.
What are the ADVANTAGES of appraisals? Mainly, they make the employee feel "more than just a number". They know that they are being observed and evaluated not to be reprimanded, but to give insights on performance. The outcome is certainty and confidence. By this means of two-way communication, new ideas and methods can be created. Productivity can be improved by establishing sound work habits and publicly recognizing good performance.
Does being involved in a Christian business make a difference to the performance appraisals outlined above? The objectives are still valid everyone wants to do well, to help make the business a success. But if you really care about the people you're evaluating, you are genuinely concerned about them: "How is she coping with this big project?", or "What does he need to learn in this computer program?" The increased sales cannot be compared to the feeling that someone has taken the time to coach them into a higher level of performance not only for the sake of the business but for the sake of their own personal fulfillment.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
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Alfred, Lord Tennyson
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