Ben Utecht—October Speaker

Ben has always chased his dreams, finding his way from the river town of Hastings Minnesota to a Super Bowl championship field. He has established himself as a prominent corporate speaker and coach in the areas of organizational Culture and Leadership development. Ben is a high performing Chief Culture Officer and Chief Growth Officer currently working with Behavioral Essentials, True North Equity, and Conquer Ninja Gyms. Ben has had success in many realms, from sitting on the prestigious board of the American Brain Foundation, authoring “Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away” with Simon and Schuster, and releasing award-nominated albums as a professional singer. Recently Ben was awarded Tony Dungy’s Uncommon Leader Award following in the footsteps of athletes like Peyton Manning. Ben would tell you his greatest passion is being a husband to his beautiful wife and a father to their four daughters.

ACHIEVEMENTS
2003 Team Captain – University of Minnesota
2003 First Team All Big Ten Tight End
2007 Super Bowl XLI Champion – Indianapolis Colts
2012 Dove Award Nominee
2013 Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance Ambassador Award
2014 Public Leadership in Neurology Award (American Academy of Neurology)
2019 Tony Dungy “Uncommon Leader” Award Winner

Let God Break You Up

 

“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” – Psalms 65:11

If you’ve ever planted a garden, or grass, you know the critical first step.

You have to loosen the soil. Really get in there and dig it up. Ignore this task, and failure inevitably follows.

Seeds left atop hard soil won’t germinate. They’ll wither in the sun, get washed away by rain, or be eaten by birds. They need to be worked into the soil, sometimes several inches deep, to access its nutrients and protection.

Tilling the soil has other benefits, too. Water and oxygen penetrate. Fertilizer reaches a depth where it nourishes young roots.

Farmers, who grow crops on a large scale, can go nearly a foot deep with their tilling machines. Thank heavens we amateur growers don’t have to put in such effort!

Thousands of years ago, many, many people farmed for a living. The Bible is filled with literal and metaphorical references to growing and harvesting. There’s a powerful lesson to be learned.

Are You Ready to Harvest?

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” – Psalms 126:5

God has a plan for every one of us. He wants us to reap a bountiful harvest of love, joy and fulfilment.

First, though, we need to be open to His planting. Like the soil, we can’t be hard and inflexible. We need to be broken up. The conditions for spiritual growth have to be created.

Similar to a farmer, God tills us at a deep level. He goes far into our souls. Only there can He plant the seeds to fulfil His plans for us.

Just like farmers who work long hours, God toils continuously. His will cannot be denied.
We’re not always open to his tilling, though.

The Need for Tilling

“Then the earth will yield its harvests, and God, our God, will richly bless us.” – Psalms 67:6

When life goes swimmingly, it can get easy to forget about God’s blessings. If challenges are few, so, often, is reflection. We get cocky. Our hearts become like the hard soil: infertile and unwelcoming.

Until, of course, inevitable difficulties arise: health issues. Marital problems. Business struggles. Financial stress.

Suddenly, we remember God’s presence in our lives. “What should I do?” we ask Him. “Don’t you love me anymore?”

Oh, He does … which is exactly why your comfortable existence has been interrupted. God is trying to tell you something. Yet your heart remains hard soil. Before you can hear Him, God has to do some tilling.

Embrace His work. God only tills us so we can grow. Be thankful that He is digging deep, to snap us out of our blissfully ignorant reverie. Nothing good grows there.

All this tilling has a purpose. God is working something wonderful in you. To make it happen, though, we often need to first be broken up, and opened to the elements that nurture growth. Understand this, and God’s message will become far clearer.

We are His gardens. God wants to plant seeds of discipleship. The more open we are to His tilling, the less we need to be broken up.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Steve Sonderman—September Speaker

Highly regarded as one of the pioneers of the men’s ministry movement in America, Steve started one of the first ministries in the country for the growing church population at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin. In 1994, he began the annual No Regrets Men’s Conference which today draws thousands of men across the country and around the world. Steve regularly consults churches on leadership issues and leads seminars helping to develop men’s ministries both in the US and abroad. He has authored books on leadership and curriculum studies for men. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary. Steve and his wife, Colleen, have four grown children and are proud grandparents.

God is Speaking. Are You Watching?

Image courtesy: rawpixel.com

 

“Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people.” – Isaiah 18:11

Has God ever spoken to you?

If so, it wasn’t a message you literally heard. You probably remember a situation that occurred, or a person who entered your life, through which you felt God telling you something. Nothing was verbalized. Interpretation was everything.

Indeed, the notion of a loud, booming voice emanating from Heaven is fallacy. Nowhere in the Bible is this portrayed. Instead, God typically spoke through people or events. Those hearing had to have open hearts and minds, to listen and understand.

Especially today, with the endless cacophony from traffic noises to beeping phones, God’s literal voice would be hard to hear. Even if ready, we might still miss it.

Waiting to hear God speaking, in a voice that never comes, is frustration personified. So don’t make yourself crazy.

Instead, avoid listening with your ears for God. Use your eyes.

Keeping an Eye(s) Out

“For God speaks again and again, though people do not recognize it.” Job 33:14

Consider your life. Are you approaching forks in the road, where significant choices await?

Is your family facing challenges? Is your health hitting roadblocks? What’s going on in your business?

God speaks to us through life circumstances. Or people. Or opportunities that present themselves. You never know.

Pay attention, though, with your eyes open, and you will always “hear” Him. God’s guidance is rarely heavily cloaked. We have to be cognizant, which can be difficult amid life’s unending distractions and demands for attention.

Try this approach. Take five quiet minutes, every now and then, to ponder what God is telling you. Use the OPAL roadmap:

  • Observe events
  • Pause and ponder
  • Ask God what He’s trying to tell you
  • Listen

Watch, and You Shall Hear

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways.”Hebrews 1:1

Stepping off the Hustle and Bustle Train for even a short while can reap enormous dividends. See if your life doesn’t gain clarity.

Hearing God’s Word requires using our eyes. If this seems counterintuitive … well, it is. God’s message is highly unlikely to be audible. Rather, we might find it written on a chalkboard somewhere.

Or, perhaps in a flash of insight after a conversation. Or maybe in the resolution to a longstanding dilemma.

These are all life events. They double as God’s messengers. Even small ones, such as encountering a stranger on the street, can hold infinite wisdom. Watch for them.

Why? No booming, God-like voices are coming. Instead, He speaks in far more quiet, subtle ways.

Don’t pray for God to tell you what to do. Ask Him to open your eyes. Only then will you be able to truly listen.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Kimberly Krueger—August Speaker

Kimberly Joy Krueger empowers women to live extraordinary lives and tell their stories.

Kimberly has overcome some of life’s toughest struggles with beauty, dignity and grace—with her eyes looking up and never looking back.

Kimberly fell in love with running in 2014, and has since run over ten 5Ks and Half Marathons. In 2016, she added to that the title of “Marathoner,” running her first 26.2 mile race just twenty-three months after being hit by a car. She will tell you that since then, her favorite race to run is the Race of her destiny, and she runs it to WIN! Her commitment to empower women through FEW and FEW Publications only deepened after her accident.

As a third-generation entrepreneur, she has set her goals high and continues to reach higher while writing and publishing books and speaking to various audiences. Her main mission is to help women see their true value and reach their God-given potential and she is doing that by leaps and bounds. As the Founder of The Fellowship of Extraordinary Women (FEW) and FEW Publications, she empowers women to live extraordinary lives and tell their stories. FEW offers women an exceptional menu of services: FEW Monthly Forums (& Membership), FEW Moms Virtual Monthly Membership, FEW’s Women’s Leadership Conference and women’s retreats, Kimberly’s Keynote Speaking (for businesses, organizations and churches), and authoring opportunities through FEW International Publications’ extraordinary books.

As if that were not enough, Kimberly says that her greatest accomplishment in life is being a wife, mother to her TWELVE children and Noni to her four gorgeous grandchildren. Her closest friends will tell you that she is a ‘mom to many and a friend to all.’ For fun, Kimberly transforms into a ‘Biker Chic,’ and rides alongside her husband, Scott, on her Harley-Davidson® Road King.

Yes, Let’s Be Crazy for Christ!

Image courtesy of Crazy 4 Christ Ministry.

 

“If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.” 2 Corinthians 5:13

Every entrepreneur has heard the lines from would-be naysayers.

“You’re crazy to believe this can succeed.” “You’re crazy to quit a good job to do this.”
“You’re crazy to risk so much on this venture.”

For many risk-takers, this fuels their fire. What’s life without challenge … even if it means potentially losing nearly everything?

Yet, everyday people can be called “crazy” for very innocuous reasons – asking out a seemingly-unattainable love interest, perhaps, or buying a motorcycle or sports car they’ve long dreamt about.

The world is a timid, risk-averse place. Most people are afraid to step out. Afraid to pursue their dreams. Afraid to take chances. Afraid to share their true selves with others … for fear they’ll be judged, or maybe even called “crazy.”

Truth be told, “crazy” has conflicting identities. If someone is “crazy” about their spouse, or a new child, or even a sports team … well, isn’t this good? It means they’re passionate and dedicated, right? Who could argue with this?

Crazy Like a Christian?

“You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.” Proverbs 23:33

The other side of “crazy,” though, is decidedly unflattering. It’s associated with language such as unstable, unhinged, mad, lunatic, “off their rocker” … you get the point.

From a faith perspective, “crazy” remains a two-sided coin. Thousands of devout Christians have been called “crazy” through the centuries … often by fearful, falsely-accusing opponents who sought to imprison them, or worse.

Yet, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, being crazy for God is hardly a bad thing. Christians everywhere would do well to seek to bring him glory. It’s what we’re called to do!

The passive society we live in might call us crazy for bringing God into the office, or posting about Him on social media, or using Scripture in an e-mail signature. You’ll “offend” someone. Or potentially lose business. Or maybe even be sued.

Don’t be surprised – nor intimidated. The world around us doesn’t share a passion to glorify God, and spread His Word. It doesn’t grasp that people of faith share a bond with Christ that is in this world, yet not of this world. Our devotion transcends any earthly measure.

Is it “Crazy” to Save Others?

“The light disturbs the wicked and stops the arm that is raised in violence.”Job 38:15

We should live for God, and talk about God … even if others call us crazy (or worse). Why? We never know who might hear us, or see us, at a pivotal moment.

Consider the violence in our society. Look at those who go on shooting sprees at schools and businesses. These people don’t know God. What might be prevented if they were exposed to Him – and embraced Him – at a dark point, where their lives could still go in another direction? Might a single “crazy” Christian make a difference?

Those who believe we’re delusional to seek to “Cover the World in Christ” can do so. Let them.

We know that God’s great love can overcome huge obstacles. We’ve experienced it in our own lives. Let us never allow our faith to waver, regardless of how we’re labelled.

Will you be a crazy Christian? Ready to go nuts for Christ? Let’s do it. If others don’t join in, or even fight us, we’ll pray for their sanity.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Global Leadership Summit—July Speaker

C-Suite For Christ meeting.

Ever wondered how to become a better leader of your fellow disciples of Christ?

Everyone has influence. The key is sharpening one’s ability to use it wisely … which is the goal of the Aug. 4-5 Global Leadership Summit. The GLS combines high-quality training with moments of pure inspiration.

This video presentation will address how to convert your ideas, vision and voice into action, to help heal divisions and challenges we see all around us. When we network with influencers in our community committed to living out God’s purposes, the possibilities for positive change are endless.

The Global Leadership summit is about honing your leadership skills in a Christ-centered environment. Broadcast worldwide, nearly 450,000 are expected to attend this groundbreaking event. Wherever you are, there’s surely a spot to join the action!

He’s Just Outside the Door

Who's behind the door?

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”Matthew 27:46

As a little kid, were you ever scared when Mom or Dad tucked you in bed, kissed you goodnight and turned off the light?

Suddenly you were all alone. The darkness closed in. No telling what (or who’s) under the bed, or in the closet, or ready to crawl through the window. Worst of all, you can’t see them because … it’s dark!

By now, the tables have probably turned. You’re the one walking out of your kids’ rooms, turning out the lights. They might scream. Or cry. Or worse. They feel scared … alone … abandoned in the darkness … just like you did, decades ago.

It’s so hard not to rush in and comfort them. Yet you don’t. They need to outgrow their fear of the dark. Time does so, eventually. It’s part of growing up.

Even as adults, though, we have times where we feel like the little kid in the dark again – scared, lonely, and thinking we just don’t matter. Except, we’re not worried about something under the bed. No, the source of our fear might be on a spreadsheet, or a bank statement, or a medical diagnosis.

In these moments of crisis, it’s easy to feel like everyone, including God, has abandoned us. Even Jesus, in his last moments on the cross, beseeched God not to forsake him. The feeling isn’t limited to mere mortals.

Plunged Into Darkness

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?”Psalms 22:1

If we trust in God, we believe that He does things for us, not to us. Every occurrence in life has a purpose. Events happen for a reason. We might not see the “why” right away. Eventually, we do … though it might take years.

Whether we sense it or not, God is always right outside the door. The question is: Why?

Are we not letting Him into our lives? Have we gotten cocky or overly self-assured? Have we convinced ourselves that everything’s under control, and we can handle any curveball thrown our way? In other words … have we strayed?

This is usually when the lights go out. Something happens. We find ourselves in a dark place. The feelings, and fear, that we haven’t felt in decades returns. Everyone is gone. We’re alone … and it’s really, really scary.

Let in the Light

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”Psalms 9:10

We’ve all experienced these dark places … and sometimes we need to be there. Only then, when a crack in the door opens, do we see the light that was always with us. No matter how long we’ve lost sight, God’s light returns.

Maybe, upon seeing it, we realize how long we’ve been in the dark. Better late, than never. Coming out can be difficult. Our spiritual eyes have to adjust to the light, all over again. Yet we know it’s the right place to be.

We understand that God has always been with us. It’s a matter of whether we let Him in, or keep Him outside the door.

If we do the former, we see God everywhere. He’s always on our mind. We have purpose, and joy, and fulfilment.

If the latter? Well, God will just keep waiting … outside the door. We know how to open it. How long we choose to be in the dark, and stay scared, is up to us.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

We Are Tools For His Purposes

Image courtesy of Village Missions.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.”Psalm 57:2

Most everyone has at least a few tools. Some have wildly impressive collections, covering walls in their garages, or filling multiple drawer levels in wheeled cabinets.

Professionals such as carpenters, plumbers and auto mechanics boast tool kits with highly-specialized implements, some of which the average person would have little idea how to use. They put them to work repairing intricate problems, or creating structures where none stood before.

Most homeowners have a toolbox of some sort, with essentials needed for basic household tasks and repairs. Each tool has a purpose. A pliers serves a different need from a screwdriver, which serves a different need from a wrench, which serves a different need from a hammer.

These tools, wherever stored, are always ready for use. We can grab a few for a specific need, or the whole box if several are required.

Are You Ready to be Used?

“You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”John 15:16

Have you ever considered yourself as a tool of God? Indeed, as John wrote, God chose us to accomplish his will and purposes on earth. We are His instruments.

It’s important to reiterate who chose whom, as well. We are entrusted to do God’s bidding, not the other way around. Follow His guidance, and we bear fruit.

Just like the many different types of tools, God seeks to achieve different things through different people. We can’t know our exact purpose. We have to trust His will. For, as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”

Thus, we are expected to follow the path that God lays before us, without fighting or resisting. We are but broken, humbled beings. He is God! Do we somehow believe that we know better?

His Purposes are Rightful Ones

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?”Isaiah 45:9

God created us as tools for His holy purposes. We are perfectly created for His tasks.

When we accept this commission, and surrender to God’s preordaining for us, life improves. We feel peace. We find meaning. We experience joy in new ways, and in new places. We see the world through an entirely different lens.

We are the Heavenly Father’s tools. He will use us in good ways, to repair humanity’s fractures and construct new houses to praise His name. Jesus was a carpenter, after all. Let us never stop partnering with him to build the holy kingdom on earth, ever higher and ever brighter.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])

Your Debt is Paid

“And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed.” – Deuteronomy 15:2

Debt can be crushing. The accumulated debt from credit cards, a mortgage, a car or two, student loans, maybe a line of credit … it can all feel like a 500-pound weight on one’s shoulders. Do we ever escape this burden?

The average American is more than $50,000 in debt. Financial hardship can make people up to 20 times more likely to commit suicide. Debt is increasingly realized as a catalyst for depression.

This doesn’t even take into account our national debt of more than $30 trillion, brought on by profligate government spending. Too much has been promised to too many, by irresponsible “leaders” who know they won’t be left holding the bag.

Will future generations really be better off? Or will our mountain of money owed, become an avalanche that buries their dreams?

Whom Do You Really Owe?

“Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debt.” – Proverbs 22:26

Here’s the good news: Personal debt can be cleaned up. It takes a lot of discipline, and sacrifice, and often a strong dose of humility. Fixing the balance sheet is possible, though.

Have you ever considered your debt in the spiritual realm, which is far more important than earthly nickels and dimes?

We are all inherently broken souls. We want to do good, yet continuously slip up. Sins of the flesh, especially, can be hard-to-resist wrongful acts. Look no further than King David and Bathsheba, told in both 2 Samuel and 1 Kings.

Our sins of thought, word and deed add up to significant faith debt. Those chits on the wrong side of the ledger just keep growing. The weight gets heavier and heavier. It’s easy to feel hopeless about the burden, and inevitably doomed to hell.

So, are we?

A Debt Resolved – and Forgiven

“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’ And he said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’” – Luke 7:41-43

Whether you’re the larger debtor or the smaller one – and who among us really knows? – good news awaits.

God has forgiven us. Christ died a ghastly, brutal death to release us from our sins. Our debt has been paid in full. Our balance sheets are clean.

Consider the redeeming words of Colossians 2:13-14: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

OK, let out the big “WHEW!” Wipe the sweat off the forehead. Shake the tension from the neck and shoulders. This should be the pinpoint definition of “relief.”

Now, some questions: What will you do with this newfound freedom? How will you reach the full potential that God has granted you?

How will you show God your appreciation? Are you willing to tell others about His amazing, all-forgiving “debt elimination service?”

It’s up to you. You’ve been granted a reprieve from the trouble (and searing heat) that surely awaited down the road. We’re all free, thanks to Jesus.

It’s the ultimate “weight off our back” … as well as the ultimate gift we’ll ever receive.

(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or [email protected])