Dull the Sharp Tongue

 

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” – Proverbs 15:1

The COVID-19 pandemic might be over. Its impact on our psyches remains.

The roughly two-year stretch of shutdowns and societal disruption opened very raw wounds. Stressed people found their patience gone, and accompanying tolerance seriously diminished. Small, incidental disputes could quickly become major confrontations.

We all remember the debates: Mask or no mask? How far apart should we stand? Vaccine or no vaccine?

History and science will decide – if it is possible – who was right, and who was wrong. 

At the height of the pandemic, though, it did not matter. Those on opposing sides were equally certain of their righteousness. Name-calling and vile accusations often ensued. Middle ground was non-existent.

Sadly, harsh temperaments remain the disposition of the day. The world around us seems more tense and on edge than ever. In a word of (metaphorically) tinder-dry kindling, the ability of sharp words to start fires is greater than ever.

How Should We Speak?

“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” – Colossians 4:6

The late, great Rev. Stuart Briscoe famously said (paraphrasing), “Some see difficulty in every opportunity. Others see opportunity in every difficulty.”

Let us be part of the latter group. In these societal walking-on-eggshells times, employing the “gentle” verbiage cited in Proverbs is not just about defusing situations. It is an 

opportunity to demonstrate faith, and the love that Jesus embodied.

Do not forget Christ’s example. He was eminently powerful. The man who cast out demons, and walked on water, could have summoned immense, earth-altering forces to create the world He envisioned. He did not.

Instead, He led by word and deed. He allowed himself to be led to the cross. Even when dying there, His only act was to assure the convicted criminals also being crucified that they would soon be in paradise with Him.
Jesus lives within us. We do not have to be told this – we know it. So, let us respond to anger and venom with kindness and gentleness. His spirit will guide us … if we let it.

Responding and Rejoicing

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” – Proverbs 12:18

Being verbally accosted by others is never pleasant. Sometimes people need to be rebuked. In those moments, do so with love.

Sometimes, it is not even clear who (or what) others are upset with. Is their anger misdirected? Are they just lashing out at the nearest target, as a release for pent-up tension and frustration?

Hard to know. It is clear, though, that in today’s world there is not a lot of space for grace. We must find and create that space.

How? Avoid hair-trigger responses. Instead, in confrontational situations, employ a seven-second delay. Allow yourself the luxury of pausing to respond. Seek out a kind rebuke, instead of the escalatory accusation.

Or, show vulnerability. Accept some responsibility for the source of the dispute. Admit you have been in a similar situation before, and apparently did not learn enough from it. Often, the other party will admit to a similar failing. A peaceful resolution results.

Winning the battle, while losing the war, is still a no-win. The conflict – to keep our world from becoming a darker, unloving place – is too important. Let us dull our sharp tongues, and speak in a fashion that leaves no doubt about Whose we are.

(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. Join us as a member. Plant a chapter where you live. Consider becoming a corporate partner. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or pneuberger@csuiteforchrist.com.)

Lead as a Servant

 

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

One of the most enduring images of Christ’s final days occurs at the Last Supper. Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. It’s the ultimate act of servitude, of a leader completely humbling himself to reinforce an all-important message.

We might forget what was occurring immediately beforehand. The disciples were arguing – not over the menu, or over money, or over another typical conflict. Rather, they were fighting amongst themselves over who was the most important member of the group.

Jesus immediately realized the seriousness of the predicament. A central element of his ministry still had not sunken in with his most devoted followers. He needed to take dramatic action. The first step was filling a wash basin.

As Christ knelt before each disciple, He reminded them that He came to serve, not to be served. The message was imparted by setting an example – his total, utter humility – instead of through mere words.
Jesus provides us the ultimate example of Christian servant leadership. The practice is action-based – not just talk. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We must go out and serve.

Living as Christ’s Ambassador

”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’”Philippians 2:3-4

The principle of “servant leadership” isn’t new. It’s a topic of innumerable books, and leadership seminars, and consulting practices. The notion of leading others, by putting their needs first, has tremendous cachet.

The idea of Christian servant leadership is a different concept. Its lead practitioner was a man who cast out demons and healed the sick. With His power, Jesus could have ruled as far and wide as He desired. Yet He took a complete opposite tack.

Christ’s message to Christians was clear: Leadership isn’t about gilding our own throne. It’s about putting others first, and glorifying God by doing so.

As our world gets darker, and ever more secular, the need for Christian servant leaders grows. Those holding Christian values, and willing to serve others to exemplify them, are tasked with pulling humanity from its tailspin. The need to step up has never been greater.

Embracing the Role

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14

God has blessed each of us with abundant, unique talents. He expects us to use them to make a positive difference in others’ lives.

How are each of us gifted? How can we use these talents? How should we partner with others to create a cumulative, unstoppable wave?

If we follow God, our gifts will only grow and develop throughout life. Let us embrace them to embolden ourselves, to be courageous in faith, and to be unapologetic in acting it out. Be prepared for God’s redirection of our lives. These should not be fought, but followed.

We’ve all had people who influenced us in positive ways: parents. Teachers. Coaches. Close friends or business colleagues. They shaped us into who we are.

Similarly, Christian servant leadership is about helping others, one person at a time. Where trust is built, results follow. No one should be overlooked. Even simple acts, performed for strangers, can start unexpected ripples. From these humble beginnings, powerful waves grow.

Challenges will present themselves. How far can we go, sharing faith in diverse modern settings? Heaven forbid we “offend” someone!

The answer is not to hide our beliefs. Being non-genuine won’t get us, and our distressed larger society, where we need to be. There is always a way to share Jesus. Maybe even a simple greeting – “Have a blessed day?”

Who will you interact with today … tomorrow … next week … a year from now? How can you share God’s light and message with them? What will their experience be?
The last point, of course, is most important. If others don’t decipher the why of our actions, we aren’t grasping the point Christ made when he washed his disciples’ feet.

As Christian servant leaders, we need to be doing the washing (metaphorically speaking). Are we willing to truly humble ourselves? When the moment arrives, will our basin be full?

(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. Join us as a member. Plant a chapter where you live. Consider becoming a corporate partner. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or pneuberger@csuiteforchrist.com.)

Mark Whitacre—June Speaker

Mark Whitacre is Executive Director of the t-factor initiative at Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. From 2003-2019, Mark served as COO of Christian Business Men’s Connection (CBMC). From 2006-2013, he was the COO and Chief Science Officer at Cypress Systems, Inc., a California biotechnology company where Mark still serves on their advisory board today.
After completing his B.S. and M.S. degrees at Ohio State University, Mark earned his Ph.D. degree at Cornell University in biochemistry. He worked as an executive for multiple Fortune 500 companies, including Ralston Purina, Degussa (Evonik), and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). He was recruited at ADM when he was 32 as the President of the Biotech Division. Mark has extensive international business experience, having lived in Germany for four years working for Evonik at their world headquarters in Frankfurt.

Mark is considered the highest-ranked executive of any Fortune 500 company to become a whistleblower in U.S. history. He wore a wire for 3 years for the FBI and was responsible for uncovering the ADM price-fixing scandal in the early 1990s. His story inspired the major motion picture “The Informant” starring Matt Damon as Mark.

Yes, You’re Sent. We All Are.

 

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”Philippians 4:6

We hear a lot of talk these days about “brand.” A brand is largely the public perception of an organization, product or person. Billions of dollars are spent annually in efforts to mold and influence brands.

Perhaps the money could be better spent. For many people, their perception of a brand is shaped by their personal interaction with its representatives. This might be a clerk at a cell phone store. Or a server at a restaurant. Or a representative on a customer service phone line.

These roles are generically termed “brand ambassadors.” The holders represent the brand through their statements and actions. They play a big part in the strength (or otherwise) of a brand.

Most organizations are tremendously careful when selecting brand ambassadors. They understand the clout they wield. Similarly, many professionals are obsessive about their personal brand, which often determines the success (or not) in their careers.

We Christians are brand ambassadors. If we openly profess faith, we represent Christ. How are we doing in this regard?

Living as Christ’s Ambassador

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”Acts 13:52

There’s an old saying that “Everyone is in sales.” It means that, regardless of profession, everyone “sells” a notion that they are competent, engaged and the right person to work with. Many people probably don’t even realize they’re doing so.

Living as one of Christ’s ambassadors is serious business. We’re selling Christianity. Are we aware?

Do others see Christ in our actions? Do they hear Christ in our statements? Are we acting as Christ-like role models for our family, friends, employees and community?

If not, we’re letting ourselves down – and Jesus.

Anyone with a good memory can spout Scripture. Does our life match up with our statements? Do we have a relationship with Christ that allows us to justly serve as His ambassador?

Maybe we do. Or, maybe we don’t, and this is a wakeup call to invite Him into our life – not superficially, but in a deep, full embrace.

Embracing the Role

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

As Christ’s representative, you aren’t expected to be perfect. No one is. Ask God to guide you, day in and day out, and you’ll trod the path of a faithful disciple.

These steps, while by no means comprehensive, can equip you to become the best ambassador version of yourself:

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill and inspire you.
  • Remove all excuses for not being Christ’s representative. Yeah, we’re all busy. Who do you think blessed you with an active, prosperous life?
  • Grasp that the discipline of evangelism tops the gift of evangelism. This isn’t show business. It’s not about who speaks most eloquently. The important part is who models Christ in their daily living, thus exemplifying His teachings.
  • Understand how obedience is not defined by outcome. Accept God’s guidance constantly. Follow through on what’s right. Not everyone will buy what you’re selling. It’s OK – a fisher of men knows there are plenty more in the “sea.”
  • Be ready to be an active, open-to-listening ambassador at any time. You never know when an opportunity will arise. Seize the moment when it does.

Maybe you never considered yourself a brand ambassador. Perhaps you’d never even heard of the term. Yet here you are, preparing to be one.

Just consider this question: Will they see Him through you? If the answer is “yes,” prepare to go out and cast your nets.

(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. Join us as a member. Plant a chapter where you live. Consider becoming a corporate partner. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or pneuberger@csuiteforchrist.com.)

Living on a Prayer

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”Philippians 4:6

We lead busy lives. Between work, family, school, church and everything else, catching one’s breath can be difficult.

Similarly, the world can be an overwhelming place. Listen to the news for a few minutes. See if you don’t conclude that, just outside our doors, chaos reigns.

Do we have control over anything? Is there any way to slow life down, and chart our own direction?

Yes … if we’re willing to get on our knees. The verse from Philippians provides a hint.

It’s prayer. Conversation with God invites Him into our lives. Similarly, as Philippians makes clear, He wants to hear our petitions.

Why? God loves us. He cares about us endlessly. It’s easy to forget this, in the hustle and bustle of our existences.

Sometimes the worst, cataclysmic events lead us back to God. Other times, it’s a cumulative effect of daily life wearing us down, leaving us feeling like a leaf in a strong wind.

The reason is irrelevant. In seasons of change and challenge, prayer offers strength and stability. The result alone matters.

And, this is all good. God wants us to pray. Consider the telling words of Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Reassuring, no?

Keep in mind, also, this question from famed author Corrie Ten Boom: “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?”

It’s OK to ASK

“Show me your ways, oh Lord, teach me your paths.’”Psalms 25:4

Prayer is about learning what God wants us to do, then asking him to help us do it. The little matter of “control” arose earlier. Do we believe that we actually run the show … or that God holds all the cards?

Refer to the words of James 4:2: “You do not have because you do not ask God.”

Consider this: You can pray anytime, anywhere. In this age of cell phones and Bluetooth, people drive, walk and go everywhere while talking. Not long ago, one might have thought they were talking to themselves. Now, no one gives it a second look.

So, chat away. Who’s going to know Whom you’re speaking with?

Go ahead. Ask God to meet your needs. Or, rather, request Him to guide you in His divine direction. Do you think He’ll steer you wrong?

When praying, keep this acronym – ASK – in mind.

Asking for your own life reflects your dependence on God. Seeking his guidance is taking action, without which nothing happens. Knock on His door, hard, until it’s opened to you.

Don’t give up, regardless of how big or small your “ask” is.

God hears our prayers. He heeds them. Most importantly, He answers them.

John 16:24 recites “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” In a complicated age filled with often frantic lives, what more could we want?

(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. Join us as a member. Plant a chapter where you live. Consider becoming a corporate partner. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or pneuberger@csuiteforchrist.com.)

Hazel Herrington—April Speaker

Hazel Herrington is one of the world’s leading marketing and personal branding experts. With years of experience developing successful strategies for c-suite executives, entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, coaches, and businesses of all sizes, Hazel has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share with others who want to achieve similar success, and her passion for helping others succeed is evident in her writing, which is often described as “engaging”, “inspiring”, and “informative”. She is the Editor in Chief of publications such as Lady Politico Power, Lady Speaker Power and I Am Woman Global magazine. Hazel is also a celebrity interviewer who has worked with and met with a list of Celebrities, Global Leaders, Politicians, Billionaires, Millionaires, and Influencers such as Mel Gibson, Charlie Sheen, Jason Alexander, Jewel Kilcher, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Douglas, Quincy Jones, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jonah Hill, John Travolta, Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, Africa’s first billionaire Patrice Motsepe and the former advisor to Donald Trump George Ross.

Hazel’s drive and determination have led her to become one of the most sought-after personal branding experts in this world. Her expertise is Personal Branding, Business Branding (especially online marketing), Event Planning, Strategic Planning for companies – both new startups and established organisations; Executive Coaching with a focus on surrounding yourself with great people who will give you another perspective when needed most! And lastly, Social Media Marketing & Management which helps manage your brand across all platforms so it can be seen more easily.”

Hazel is a multiple award-winning entrepreneur who has won and been nominated for the following awards: 2021 Most successful women in the world; World Greatness Honorary Award, Gold Coast Woman of the year Award, Australia Top 100 Women of Influence Year, 2021 Exemplary Leadership Award and the Pan African Thrive global award.

When she’s not working, Hazel enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and exploring new places. Hazel holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Griffith University and is passionate about helping others succeed.

Her motto is “Live life to the fullest, put God first and never give up on your dreams!”

Are You Fulfilling the (Com)Mission?

 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus left no doubt about the mission he tasked his disciples with, shortly before his crucifixion.

They were to spread out. Share God’s Word in every corner of the world. Create a legion of followers. These famous Scriptural passages are commonly called the Great Commission.

The mission of C-Suite for Christ – to “Cover the World in Christ” – precisely parallels the Great Commission. Its goal? Evangelism.

This isn’t cheap talk, nor a slogan or bumper sticker. It’s a call to action.

Jesus awaits our response. After ascending to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit back to keep His mission alive. Are we holding up our end of the deal?

Judging by the society around us, the answer is “No.” A battle of good vs. evil rages. From the looks of things, the secular forces working feverishly to diminish Christianity are ahead.

Acceptance of egregiously sinful behavior abounds. The mass media openly promotes evil. Mutilation of our God-image bodies is widely advocated – even with children too young to understand or resist the Satan-spawned pressure.

Is there still a chance to reverse this tide, and return God to the reverential position He deserves?

Whose Fault Is It?

“But he said, ‘Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’”Luke 11:28

Our last post cited how far too many Christians are quick to cast blame for the situation we’re in. Conventional wisdom is that non-believers – the proverbial “They” – just don’t live right.

They don’t accept Christ. They don’t read the Bible. They live sinful lives that – let’s face it – are probably beyond redemption.

In short, many Christians are throwing in the towel. They don’t want to fight the battle. The challenge is too steep – the opposition, too resolute.

This quitting overlooks a glaring Scriptural fact: We are commanded by Christ to convert unbelievers into disciples. It’s the Great Commission – which, in case you haven’t noticed, contains the word “mission.”

Evangelism is more than marching orders. It’s a way of life. We should constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to share God’s Word. As part of Romans 10:4 – something that I like to refer to as the Accountability Verse – asks, “And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

“Preaching” takes many forms. Obviously, talking about Christ is a direct means to get His message across. Are you ready when the moment arises?

Being empathetic, patient, and generous with others exemplifies God’s love. Sometimes, in our hectic, self-absorbed world, a simple act of kindness can open the door. If a stranger says, “Thank you,” might you reply, “God guides me?”

C-Suite for Christ offers myriad opportunities for fellowship, and to strengthen your commitment to the Great Commission. Attend a monthly gathering. Participate in Coffee & Christ. Plan to attend the 2024 Covering the World in Christ Celebration.

After all, the organization’s mission is to “Cover the World in Christ.” Doing so will take many bold, unapologetic disciples who believe in EGO. We’re all in this together. Most importantly, Christ is with us … which turns our mission into a can’t-fail crusade.

(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. Join us as a member. Plant a chapter where you live. Consider becoming a corporate partner. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or pneuberger@csuiteforchrist.com.)

EGO? It’s a Good Thing!

 

“A man without selfcontrol is like a city broken into and left without walls.  Proverbs 25:28

Do you know someone with a big ego? Of course. We all do.

People have egos for one reason: glorifying themselves. Ego is all about “me” – not family, or friends, or (certainly) spiritual pursuits.

Those with egos love to tell the world how great they are. They relish being the hero. They see their savior in the mirror every day.

You encounter egos in all walks of life. Yet, ego is actually an enemy of our lives, whether personally, spiritually or professionally. By creating such an inward focus, ego blocks our relationship with God and other people.

Contrast an ego perspective with how Christ teaches us to live. Jesus said we become free only by surrendering ourselves to God. We have to humble ourselves to be exalted. To stand tall, we must get down on our knees.

Quite a contrast, right? One side (ego) contends we have all the answers; the other (Christ-focused), that we have none at all. Viewing life through a spiritual lens, the latter looks to God for those elusive truths.

Here’s a proposition: ego is bad. EGO is good. Do you know the difference?

Why Aren’t They Hearing?

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”Romans 10:14

Christians have an Us vs. Them problem.

The number of Americans actively practicing Christianity has declined for decades. Less than 50 percent of our population belongs to a church. Only 64 percent of Americans even identify as “Christian” – down from 90 percent 50 years ago. 

Rather than see this as a call to arms, far too many Christians cast blame. The fault, they say, is with those who don’t believe in Christ. Why do they choose to live in the dark? What can you do with such people?

Overlooked is a logical question: Why haven’t they heard God’s Word? Who didn’t connect with them? How were they missed? 

The logical answer is that far too many Christians aren’t preaching. They don’t share the Word. They naively believe that, because Christianity has long dominated the U.S., it always will.

If only. The latest projections forecast that Christians will be a minority in the U.S. by 2070. Did you see that one coming?

More importantly, how can this trend be reversed?

The solution is for all believers to boldly and unashamedly flaunt their EGO.

Shine Your Light … Without Reserve!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16

Are you ready to Evangelize God Obsessively … in other words, embrace your EGO?

If we Evangelize God Obsessively, those who live in the farthest corners will have no choice but to hear. As Matthew instructs, let your light illuminate the lives of those who haven’t seen!

An ego problem is bad. An EGO “problem” is anything but. In fact, it’s a blessing!

Put EGO to work sharing the Good News. Use EGO nonstop so that others hear. Don’t hesitate to let others behold your EGO.

If someone calls you a “Jesus freak” or similar name, wear it with joy. Show the world that you’re an EGOmaniac. The bigger your EGO, the more you glorify God!

(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 pneuberger@csuiteforchrist.com.)

Darla Noble—March Speaker

*Freelance author and ghostwriter with twenty-eight years of experience in the nonfiction and Christian markets; specializing in Bible studies and devotionals, historical nonfiction, elementary curriculum, character education resources and inspirational nonfiction and self-help resources for women, parents, tweens and teens.

*Motivational speaker for women, tweens and teens.

I am passionate about equipping families and young people to become the wonderful, unique and amazing people God designed them to be. Through stories, scripture, listening and sharing, both in books and through speaking, it is my desire to help young people and families love, respect and appreciate who they are and what they are capable of.

I am happy to announce that in early 2018 my latest book, “Faith is Like Chocolate” will be available for your reading pleasure. Kindle? Nook? Hard copy? Don’t worry-I’ve got you covered.

“Faith is Like Chocolate” is a collection of short-read devos/inspirational messages for tweens, teens, and beyond. So if you like chocolate, cheesy pizza, “A Christmas Story”, “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”, plus a whole lot more, AND you want to know what they all have in common, then this is the book for you!

“Faith is Like Chocolate” joins three other books by yours truly: “Love, Momma D”, “Throught the Eyes of a Shepherd”, and “All my love, George…Letters from a WWII hero”. And don’t forget–when you purchase one of my books 20% of the sale goes to a ministry or organization (listed on my website).

For more information on my books, freelancing fees, ghostwriting services and other projects, you can visit my website:
http://www.dnoblewrites.weebly.com

I also invite you to read/share/follow my weekly blogs:
Parenting blog http://www.mommadsays.blogspot.com
Evangelism blog http://www.alittlesaltygrace.blogspot.com

You can also connect with me on Facebook: dnoblewrites