Wednesday, December 28, 2011
New Year's Resolutions are beginning to be formed now. Soon men and women will resolve to loose weight, exercise more, drink less, spend less, save more, quit smoking, stop eating out, etc., etc., etc. Most people will forget in less than a week what they promised they would resolve to do in 2012.
I have another idea for New Year's Resolutions this year. Maybe you should join me. Here is my idea. I have decided to "Ask God, What's Next?" In other words, instead of ME resolving to do a bunch of stuff that I need to do but history has proven, I most likely will never do, I am going to "Ask God" what He wants me to do (See my series on "The Law of The Ask"). I figure if God tells me to do something it must be important. If He asks me to do it, maybe, just maybe, it will be enough motivation for me to do it. And maybe He will help me along the way.
This might sound a little on the fun side and maybe even a bit crazy to some of you. Make no mistake, I am serious. I have been praying about What's Next since December 12th. I am going to keep circling my prayers around What's Next until I get some clear indication and direction from God about what He wants of me. I serve a risen God, I resolve to do what He wants me to do in 2012.
If you will join me in this resolution, hit the REPLY button and send me an email.
Monday, December 26, 2011
It was so exciting to be in China. But perhaps for reasons you may not have realized. It was exciting to me because spiritually, China is most populated country on earth. But it is home to only about 5-million Christians. Some report the number as high as 25 million, regardless, the number is small in comparison to the population.
Being in China was or is like reading the book of Acts when the church was just starting out. Very exciting to be there, to play a small part in encouraging Christian brothers and sisters in their faith.
Most meet in home churches or in various places moving around for security reasons. There is NOT a lot of talk about it through text or over the Internet for the same security reasons. It can be a dangerous situation.
But despite these issues the church is growing. Many are coming to know the Lord in the financial services industry, manufacturing and the health care industry. We shared the Lord with a number of individuals, some very powerful business people, some members of the communist party. The people are very open, very interested, very engaging. They want to know, they want to hear the story.
We should be praying for the Lord to continue to encourage the people of China. Pray for safety for our Christians brothers and sisters in China. Pray that millions will accept the Lord in China.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I would like to tell you a story about giving. I think this is a precious Christmas story about a child helping those less fortunate. I know the child's story first hand. Her name is Kara, she is 10 and her heart was touched by God earlier this year.
It may have started when Mimi (Raynell) and Papa (that is me) started sponsoring some children through Compassion International. We asked some of the grand-kids to write letters to the girls we were sponsoring in the Dominican Republic (DR). The grand-kids were all touched by the children of the DR and Kara was especially touched by their stories and their photos.
Then she started watching a TV show about kids starting their own businesses and their was a school project about the same time that helped her form the God given idea. In Kara's own words, "God gave me an idea to have Light, Candle, Action. I was going to help kids in need." She talked to her parents about an idea she had. And by God's grace her parents (both entrepreneurs) were supportive. Again in Kara's own words, "I didn't have lots of money but I saved up to start my business, it took time." "My mom took me to Compassion's (web) site and I looked around the web site and saw you can help others in need."
Kara's dad built a web site to help showcase her business and allow people to order over the Internet.
Kara puts a charm in the bottom of each candle that says, Made With Love. Again, in her own words, "And if someone ever asked me about the candle I would say my saying. And my saying is Light, Candle, Action. You light your candle and take action to help kids in need."
One of our friends at Compassion, Steve Wilson wrote this about Kara. "Kara is a miracle of God, and we all can be used of God to be a miracle in someone's life this Christmas season." He went on to say, "may you remember Kara's story and the way God is using her to light up the world."
I have three reasons for sharing this story today. Obviously, we are proud of her. Two, I praise God that Kara's heart was touched and she had to do something to help others. Three, I pray her story moves all of us to do more of what God wants from us. Love God, love others.
This Christmas season remember Kara's words, "Light, Candle, Action. You light your candle and take action to help kids in need."
Monday, December 19, 2011
While most of my China trip was fun, exciting and enjoyable I had one very dark day. I caught a very bad cold as we arrived in Beijing, our last stop on our tour. My cold was really bad and it was affecting my voice. However, I was scheduled to speak two of the three days we were in Beijing.
When I woke up the next morning my cold was worse, my voice all but gone and I was scheduled to speak in about 8 hours. Then the scheduled changed. I got a text telling me to be in the lobby in 30-45 minutes, we were to meet with some more business owners. I had to refuse to go...I was just too sick.
After I refused to go, I came under a tremendous attack. I became very frustrated, disappointed and depressed. I felt like I had let my team and the Chinese business leaders down. I sent my wife a text and told her how down I was. Raynell knew I was sick and she had been praying for me. She asked me if I could read my emails. I sent her a text that I could only get email in the hotel lobby and restaurant. She insisted I go read my emails. I told her I was too sick. She kicked my butt, as only a wife half way around the world, forced to use text to communicate, could do.
So, I took a shower, got dressed and went to the restaurant and started reading my emails. The emails were prayers and well wishes from tons of my friends that she had asked to pray for me and write to me. As I read them, the hotel sound system started playing the best Christmas Hymns (in English) and within an hour my entire attitude had completely changed. My negative attitude was transformed into a positive one. God spoke to my heart through the prayers and music. His spirit moved in me. My cold subsided, my mind became clear, my confidence was restored and I got ready for my speech.
A couple of hours later I was at the meeting with the business leaders and speaking about my core values and how I believed God was the reason for the success of Bank2. He was the reason for my success that evening too!
God promises to be with us, to fill us with His comfort, His strength, His power and it was never more obvious to me than December 9, 2011. I thank God for a loving, supporting, caring wife that somehow knew, I was in need. For a large group of friends that took the time to pray for me and send me encouraging emails. I thank God for the great Christmas Hymns that suddenly began to play over a hotel sound system in downtown Beijing, China! Only God can orchestrate those events. I also thank God for my team that supported me through it all.
I may have been in Beijing, China but God was with me, loving me, healing me, providing strength and encouragement. God provided me with a young man named David to translate for me. He was full of energy and he loved my comments. He enthusiastically translated my message and made my message better. Thanks David.
Yes, I had one very dark day that God turned into a GLORIOUS BLESSED DAY as he taught me anew to turn to Him, trust Him, and seek Him. He will provide.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
One of the guys on the trip with us runs a Chick-fil-A franchise near DC. His name is Brian Smith and among other things the guy is a comedian. While I can not discuss everything about Brian, (what is said or done in Shanghai stays in Shanghai) I had a great time with him especially at The Great Wall. You will note, Brian and Chick-fil-A never miss an opportunity for PR. Not only did he bring the cow to the wall, he gave one of our very important host coupons for a free Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Brian is the last of the big spenders....there are NO Chick-fil-A restaurants in China! Like I said, a real comedian. Ross
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
My favorite city was Shanghai. Why? The city is ALIVE! The train station is combined with the airport and a shopping mall that is very contemporary. Tons of glass, hard surfaces, brushed aluminum, lights and crammed full of people on the move. The downtown area is full of great architecture, the office building are similar to those of Dallas but even more unique. The city was more modern in design than any in the U.S. Very impressive! Below are some examples of what I am talking about. Ross
I just returned from China. What an interesting place and people.
I had a blast, visited 4 cities, 3 different airports, 2 different train stations, 2 different malls, took a 4 hour train ride, saw The Great Wall, Tienanmen Square, The Forbidden City, and visited a massage parlor!
I toured countless of business such as the worlds largest manufacture of CAT-5 plugs, a plastic extrusion plant, a pipe cutting machine manufacture and a Christian hospital. I met with the CFO of the largest automobile manufacture in China, producing 4 million cars a year in 17 plants. It was Amazing
I visited a church that was 7-stories tall and had a huge cross on the top of it. And yes, my meetings were on the 7th floor and NO elevators.
I saw a ton of food that stared back at you! Heavy emphasis "SAW."
It rained, it was sunny, I saw snow, it was NOT windy, It was cold and we had to run the air conditioner. Kinda sounds like Oklahoma except for the wind.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Mark Batterson's book has changed my life! I can not state it more clearly. The Circle Make changed my prayer life. These are bold statements but true statements. This book has had as much impact on my prayer life as Rick Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life, had on my life. I put them in the same catagory...Must Reads.
If you struggle with your prayer life or if you just want a fresh perspective about prayer then, I highly recommend this book. It is already the number one seller on Barnes and Noble and I understand it is very close to the top on Amazon.com. This would make a great stocking stuffer for Christmas. To order on Amazon.com just place your cursor on the book, click and it will take you right to Amazon.com.
Drawing circles around The Circle Maker,