Our Journal

Reckless Service

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Those who feel the freedom to fail are invariably the ones who take bigger risks and pursue more innovative solutions. It’s reminiscent of a Christian understanding of service, where those whose position before God has been secured are free to love their fellow man recklessly, even at a cost to themselves. People who have nothing to lose – whose assurance is premised on the unassailable blood of Christ – are free to give away everything. – from the article, “Optimization Nation: Deprogramming the Cult of Productivity” by David Zahl in The Mockingbird Issue 4.

Defining Ourselves in our Career

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For years, I knew the best way to grow in my career was to learn and apply all that I could. I spent hours and hours reading the best business books, the Harvard Business Review, and biographies of business leaders. I knew the correct way to handle conflict, grow sales, build my personal brand, penetrate new markets, analyze results, and encourage the team. I read the wisdom of the age and knew that I could apply it well.

But I failed.

I failed because while I knew all the answers, my heart was ultimately motivated by an intensely self-centered drive. I wanted success. I wanted to find approval in my career. I wanted to establish my identity by what I was doing. I wanted nothing given to me because through my achievement and work ethic I would prove to the world that I was somebody.

1 Corinthians tells me “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Brokenness is required to find true, lasting identity. In brokenness, Jesus completed a life lived perfectly and died taking all my sins. He proved everything, overcoming the world and even death…all for me. In His brokenness, He created a way for me to be adopted and brought into the family of God, as a child of God, possessing a new identity. There is no need to prove myself at work-I am fully approved in Christ!

Business principles and books and worldly wisdom are good, but they don’t provide life or real success. They are foolish compared to the wisdom of God. We can be somebody through work, but it won’t last. Only in Christ will we find authentic identity.

Marietta WorkMatters Vision 2013-2014

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Transcribed from a short talk Stuart Sims gave on September 13:

For those of you who have not been to a WorkMatters event, I want to take a moment to tell you who we are and what we’re about.

What we’re about and what we’re here for is the business community in Marietta and Cobb County. We are about encouraging folks to love on and serve their co-workers, their bosses, their employees and their community. I was telling Ms. Cooper a few minutes ago that we don’t have a 12 step process. There is not a manual or a step by step guide.

We believe that the transformation of the community starts with a transformation of hearts and lives when you live in Christ. That doesn’t mean and it doesn’t necessarily call for any extraordinary endeavor or really any action at all. I think, in fact, that most of the time, it is the opposite. The best way for you to love on and serve or encourage your clients, vendors, employees or partners is to do whatever job you have to do and do it well, be great at it and put the interest of those you work with and for above your own interest. Personally, I can promise you I fall short of that more times than not. You can confirm that by asking any of the folks sitting at the Gregory Doyle tables. But, I do believe that if enough business people are living in Christ that our community as a whole will be transformed.

We believe at WorkMatters that a business community transformed to live for Christ will result in a community with stronger families, a better economic outlook, better opportunities and more vibrant neighborhoods. Our goal is to positively influence the work lives and the personal lives of all of those who participate and, as a result, positively influence others. The way that WorkMatters does that is through quarterly Faith and Work lunches like this, at monthly breakfast meetings at Traton Homes, and in small group studies.

Last spring I had the honor with John Wills in participating and co-leading a Nehemiah small group where we had 20 men and women participate. This summer we had another 20 or so participate in the same study. Our intention is to take what we hear at the WorkMatters events and dig a little bit deeper and really talk about and discuss how to integrate our Sunday faith into our work Monday through Friday.

We are excited for a great year and hope that you will join us along the way.

Nehemiah Summer Study Series

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If you missed this, future study series will be held in 2013 and 2014. Please e-mail us at leadership@mariettaworkmatters.org for more information.

We’re pleased to present our summer study series, “Nehemiah: A Leader and His Wall.” Are you participating in a small group this summer? Are you looking for an opportunity to meet with other business leaders and learn how God may be speaking to you through your work in our community? Would you like to understand how God uses leaders in every organization to accomplish His plans, big and small? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (or even if you didn’t), Marietta WorkMatters’ second Nehemiah study is a great opportunity for you to connect with other business leaders and grow through the application of scripture in your daily business engagements. Program dates are May 15th through August 7th, and the study will meet from 11:30am until 1:00pm on Wednesdays at the offices of Jeremiah Consulting, 2950 Cherokee Street, Building 400, Kennesaw, Georgia 30144. Program costs are $18 per participant, and the registration deadline is Friday, May 3rd.

Summer is oftentimes a period of planning and reflection. If you or someone in your organization would benefit from understanding how God called Nehemiah, and how He may be calling you, “Nehemiah: A Leader and His Wall” might provide the insight and inspiration and that you’ve been seeking. This study will be facilitated by Dale Hughes of Jeremiah Consulting and Rob Swartwood of Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers. We anticipate that the group will fill quickly, so register today. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Nehemiah: A Leader and His Wall

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Happy New Year-

For those that were not in attendance for our December speaker- you missed the announcement of an upcoming small group/Bible Study.

I will be hosting on Wednesdays at lunch time (11:30-1) a study on the book of Nehemiah. We will meet at my office, which is directly next door to Traton (732 Kennesaw Ave, suite 250). We will order pick-up or brown bag our lunches each week. We will get started on January 16th and go through May. Obviously, not everyone will make it every Wed- but most of us will and if we have over a dozen strongly committed people – it will be great.

I want to do this study because I wanted to get to know people at WorkMatters better than you’re able to once a month on a Friday morning. I am not a Sunday school teacher, nor do I know the Bible inside and out- but don’t worry we have a great study guide and I’m counting on myself and the other participants (you) to contribute to the study with insights as we study the book of Nehemiah.

You should consider signing up for this Bible study if you:
- are the least bit interested in getting to know and hang out with some new people
- have never really studied the Bible
- want to get your 2013 started off right
- have more knowledge and insight on Nehemiah than most and would share with others
- want a standing a Wednesday lunch appointment
- have enjoyed WorkMatters and want a little more of whatever it is you have enjoyed
Feel free to contact me with any questions or with interest in coming. Thanks. Jwills@broad-vu.com.

Happy New Year and let me know asap of your interest,
John

Wise Men

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“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” Matthew 2: 10-11

Often in the morning, I enjoy reading a Psalm to get the my mind aligned for the day ahead. Typically, the Psalm turns my focus off of me and my world and onto my Father in heaven, who He is, and what He has done for me.

In Psalm 27, David very clearly reveals his focus. When trouble arose, when the enemies attacked, and when war was breaking out against him, he asked for one thing–to be able to have his attention clearly focused on the Lord. David experienced great trials and terrible events (his nation’s army even pursued him to kill him), but he knew that the Lord would always receive him. He had great confidence in the consistency of God’s love (God’s grace) for him.

As our nation faces the fiscal cliff, as the world faces impending war in the middle east, and as the Euro zone never seems to resolve its debt crisis, we are more clearly shown that nothing in this world will satisfy us. Why then do we Christian business people turn to our own success? Why do we turn to the temporal and fleeting success of our investments, our business, and our possessions to give us comfort?

The wise men knew that only One would satisfy them: Jesus, the King of Kings. He would live the perfect live that fulfilled every requirement God had made. He would die to take all of our sins. He would rise again to prove His divinity and to be restored to His Father. And in Him, we can be adopted into the Kingdom. This Kingdom is a meritocracy-but Christ’s merit is the only thing sufficient. Our doing, our earning, our achievements can never measure up.

Today, I pray like David that I may dwell in the house of the Lord and fix my gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. Hopefully, this will get my eyes off of my accomplishments so I too can be like the wise men who sought out Christ, the only one sufficient for me no matter what happens around me.

Remain In Your Situation

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This week’s devotion from Evening by Evening

 

June 27  

 

Each one should remain in the situation which he was in

when God called him.

1 Corinthians 7:20

From the pen of Charles Spurgeon:

Some people have the foolish notion that the only way they can live for God long-term is to become a minister or a missionary. Yet if this were true, just think how many people would be shut out from any opportunity of magnifying the Most High God. Beloved Christian, remember, it is not a person’s role, position, or earnestness that enables us to glorify God — it is grace. He is far more glorified by a simple tradesman, plying his trade while singing of his Savior’s love, than He is by the highest-ranking religious leader who performs his official duties without proclaiming the Savior. And certainly the name of Jesus is just as glorified by a poor, uneducated cabdriver as he drives and blesses his God or speaks to fellow drivers as He is by a popular preacher who thunders out the gospel like “Boanerges” (Mark 3:17).

God is glorified by our serving Him, regardless of our particular vocation. So take care, dear reader, that you don’t abandon your path of duty by leaving your occupation, and take care not to dishonor your profession while you are in it. Yes, think little of yourself, but never minimize your calling to your vocation. Every trade, as long as it is legal, can be sanctified by the gospel to the noblest of ends. In the Bible we find even the most menial forms of labor tied either to people exhibiting the most daring deeds of faith or to those whose lives have been great examples of holiness.

So never be discontented with your vocational calling. Wherever God has called you to work, abide there — unless, of course, you are sure He has called you somewhere else. Let your first priority be to glorify God to the best of your ability where you are. Fully use your present sphere of responsibility and influence to bring Him praise, and if He desires you in another place, He will show you. Determine to lay aside all anxious ambition today and fully embrace His peaceful contentment.

From the pen of Jim Reimann:

Spurgeon begins by sharing the foolish idea some espouse: that to live for God they must be a minister or missionary. Yet Paul said “it was [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11). Notice he didn’t say, “Christ gave all” of us to serve in these ways. Perhaps this is why he strongly addressed the issue again, saying:

“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Cor. 12:21-27).

Video Clip Posted: What is Leadership?

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Marietta WorkMatters made available its new video “What is Leadership?” This thought provoking clip challenges us to think about true leadership. Leadership is influence. Leaders define a community. But what kind of influence will we have as leaders?

How Do I Submit?

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Hebrews 13:17 gives a very simple principle: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Submission is a hard word because the context is so negative in our culture today. We are the American people who rise up against adversity, we shirk conformity in order to have individuality out of our own creativity, and submissive people are viewed as weak people who are unable to stand strong on their own.

To make understanding the submission & humility more difficult, many of us figure out the principles and go figure it out. We are reminded of the story when the teacher told Johnny to sit down. “I am sitting down on the outside,” says Johnny, “but I am standing up on the inside.” We confuse submission with an outward response of compliance. People on the outside recognize outward compliance with inward pride because it is not genuine; others can see right through us.

True, God-centered, biblical submission is a sign of strength, contentment, wisdom, peace, and power. It can only come from those who have found their identity in Christ, not in their job or their career or their possessions or their reputation or their status. And, it can only be accomplished by those who have first submitted to God.

Genuine humility and the ability to submit often comes like this…

  1. Self-powered life: we are confident that we can accomplish all
  2. Brokenness: we fail and begin to grasp for some meaning
  3. Awareness of God: we realize that God provides meaning so maybe we should follow Him
  4. Self-Awareness: we realize that, while we are trying to be God followers, our actions do not fill our needs for approval, significance, reputation, accomplishment, order, and control.
  5. Positional Awareness: God is omni_____; we are not God. We are able to submit to God because we realize how unable we are to meet our own needs. Pride begins to break down and humility surfaces.
  6. Refocus on the Gospel: in our humility, we discover that as a Christian, Jesus has already met all of our needs and put the fulfillment of them in us. There is nothing we can do but put our focus/trust on Him. Our daily need is simply to live in this knowledge which is a true place of humility.
  7. Servant of others: because our needs are met by Jesus, we have nothing to prove anymore. We can work and play hard, but we don’t find our identity in these things. We are free to serve because we can finally be others’ focused like Philippians 2:1-11 talks about. We can serve those we work for and those who work for us. Because we have nothing to prove, we can listen to others, value their opinions, and understand their needs before our own.
  8. Submission to others: submitting to God at our core, we are able to be content in our situation. Whether it be a bad boss or husband, a great boss or wife, our humility puts us in a position of faith and from that we know that God has put this authority in our life for good. (Some days we question it, but then we remember that Jesus meets all of our needs.)

As a boss of many others, I look for our leaders (both current and future) to have humility, to be free to serve others, and to be able to submit to their authority. Essentially, I look for a rising star to be ultra-capable (smart, talented, hard-working, friendly, team player) but with no need to prove themselves…because they are already proven in Jesus.

No one is there. No one has arrived at perfect humility. No one lives every single day perfectly content because they are made complete in Jesus. But truly successful people turn back daily to this simple Gospel message. They turn away from themselves because they are aware of how incomplete we alone are.

We encourage you to consider 2 books to read on this subject:

Comments on the Leadercast

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We thought you would enjoy reading these comments from the Leadercast this year, pulled from tweets during and just after the Leadercast:

  • @WorkMatters Absolutely – love Jackson. Btw, great work w/ the #CFALeadercast on Fri. Proud affiliate through @mttaworkmatters!
  • Hit over 200 tweets on Friday! Thanks #CFAleadercast and @mttaworkmatters for such great content. Now it’s time to put it all to action!
  • Need to get @bubbawatson for next years @CFALeadercast @mttaworkmatters he puts family before work
  • @patricklencioni ended @CFALeadercast is excellent fashion! A leader must b vulnerable b-4 they can expect the team to be! @mttaworkmatters
  • Awesome time today learning about improving my choices in leadership with @mttaworkmatters 
  • The most important organization in our lives is our family! Patrick Lencioni
  • “Be choosy about choosing. That is the art of choosing”. – Dr. Sheena Iyengar
  • Guy who plucks chickens, @BradRespess (TipTop Poultry), is MC’ing the #CFALeadercast in #Marietta. Irony? Great day Brad! @mttaworkmatters
  • Children will live down or up to whatever expectations we have of them. – Dr. Roland Fryar #cfaleadercast #marietta
  • Awesome second session!
  • So thankful to be at @CFALeadercast simulcast b/c of @mttaworkmatters
  • Make an investment in yourself b/c it will be the greatest investment you ever make
  • Leadership is about justice. Standing up for voices that are not heard. S O’Brien
  • You can’t microwave leaders, that’s why we have so many PopTarts running around. (via @JohnCMaxwell)
  • @brobinsondmd hey man, need to cancel our meeting. @mttaworkmatters
  • Growth happens on purpose – when you choose it, and only then – @JohnCMaxwell
  • @mttaworkmatters @GloryHausInc we’re having a great time
  • Leading by humility, something to genuinely think abt and as a phrase to self reflect & correct
  • “Humility to the point of pride”. Well said @mttaworkmatters.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of becoming proud of your humility. Robin Burruss of Tip Top Poultry.
  • Great discussion on pride based leadership vs. humility based leadership. 
  • Am I pride based leader or am I humility based leader? Erik Hill @mttaworkmatters
  • Just because you have a title or authority doesn’t mean you have credibility.
  • What looks authentic to one may look foolish to others. @mwbuckingham
  • @mttaworkmatters the iPad is mine #Mttaworkmatters
  • Very interested in taking Standout assessment. #Marietta #cfaleadercast
  • “Empower, lead, and then let them lift themselves up…”
  • Making decesions that are authentic and feel right are most often the right decisions.
  • “As a leader… Authenticity is your most precious commodity” (via Marcus Buckingham)
  • Taking donations now for my #CFALeadercast Leader Pack.
  • Burberry CEO Angela Aherndts-Trust, Intuiton, Digital age, gave creative power to the young
  • Great leaders start to make way for the next generation by gettin them involved.
  • Our vision everyday r re-enforced by our values.
  • The only thing better than steaks for a year = chicken from Tip Top for a year
  • passion is to live out Sunday faith on Monday through Friday. (via Brad Respess – TipTop Poultry)
  • @mttaworkmatters a motto tht matters. Take care of ure employees then customers.Go home depo
  • Tim Tebow really brought it on leadership
  • Faith goes beyond Sunday service. Live, work, breath faith daily
  • I am pretty sure I am going to hit my 200th tweet during this #CFALeadercast! Such great content!
  • Ready for the second session, hopefully no more tears!
  • this is my firsT year here and after the first session & talk with a 3 year vet I have my calendar already marked
  • Don Hutchins is a great host. Thanks for buying me a pack of crackers when I was looking for a vending machine.
  • @TimTebow Once again, you made this #Vol4life cry! Love what you do!
  • @mttaworkmatters representing the young generation today at the @CFALeadercast. Receiving wisdom for the future
  • 1st session was amazing . I already feel like a better leader. Can’t wait for the next session 
  • @CFALeadercast @mttaworkmatters came out swinging with @AndyStanley @urbanmeyer @TimTebow
  • Love what you do. Are you passionate at what you do?
  • “Every person is a role model, but most people aren’t good ones.” – @TimTebow
  • Looks good from here- we’ve got a full house!
  • “Don’t worry about what we can’t control. -Tim Tebow
  • Tim Tebow: Lowest moment was losing to Ole Miss b/c we didn’t have the character to win.
  • “Leadership is influence.” – @TimTebow
  • Money comes money goes, your story is with you forever
  • “What would my replacement do”? – Great question to ask when you face business decisions. – Andy Stanley
  • “If we get better, customers will demand we get bigger”. – Truett Cathy
  • Bring objectivity to your leadership. Ask the ? “what would my replacement do?” @AndyStanley
  • Excited to be watching #cfaleadercast with @mttaworkmatters.
  • looking forward to a great Leadercast @ChickfilA
  • @mttaworkmatters @BradRespess with no socks > Tripp Crosby with suit and tennis shoes
  • Stoked!
  • Great intro
  • Pumped about the @Chickfilaleadercast! Thanks to @mttaworkmatters for the hard work!
  • Listening to the COO of Tip Top Poultry at the @chickfilaleadercast @mttaworkmatters
  • Bittersweet day. Baby coming soon, awesome. Missing good buddies wedding, boo. At @mttaworkmatters Chick-fil-a Leadercast, yeah.
  • We’re fired up about @CFALeadercast in Marietta. Dawg fans, get excited to hear Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer!
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