Archive for the 'BusinessLIfe' Category

‘Christians should warn governments about the effects of debt and greed’

‘Christians should warn governments about the effects of debt and greed’ Spanish group Evangelicals in Economy and Business organises conference for business leaders. Meeting regularly with fellow believers is “vitally important.”

“The Bible has much to say about dealing with people and money, innovation and creativity, decision-making and leadership”, believes Peter Briscoe, a former executive of a high-tech company. He will be one of the speakers of a May 2017 conference organised by the Spanish group Evangelicals in Economy and Business (Evangélicos en Economía y Empresa, Tres-e).   Evangelicals in Economy and Business. They bring together people whose desire is to live the professional life according to “biblical values” and see their workplace as their “mission field”.


“Getting to know other Christian professionals who go through similar situations gives a new perspective and helps to discern ways to address certain challenges”, explains Zulima Sánchez, member of the Tres-e committee.  A wide variety of professionals – such as people working in engineering, human resources, finances or self-employed workers – are active members of  the group. After 6 years of local training, national conferences and production of materials, the group is now organising its first Conference for Executives and Business Leaders (12-14 May, Barcelona).

“The perspectives and needs of executives and business leaders are frquently very specific”, says Sánchez. “Certain topics are addressed from another angle”. Such a conference is important because “we do realise that executives and business leaders have positions that are very visible in the business field, and their testimony has a great impact both inside and outside of their organisation”.

Evangelical Focus asked Peter Briscoe, one of the guest speakers at the Barcelona conference, about the relationship between the Bible and leadership in business.   

Question. Why is it important for business people to spend time with other Christians to think about what the Bible says about their job?

Answer. It is vitally important for leaders in business to meet together with fellow believers for mutual encouragement, guidance, support, and to find God’s direction for their organization… A business leader is faced with multiple decisions almost every day. Many decisions will be taken together with staff or managers, but there are many types of decisions for which it is not practical or possible to discuss with others in the same company. Outside help and guidance can be of great help.  When I was leading a high-tech company in the field of human spaceflight, we called together a team of business owners to advise me on major decisions. I had lots of tough decisions to make! The people I met with were not high paid consultants but Christians leading their own business who wanted to meet to discuss dilemma’s and tough problems in a confidential manner with each other. We searched the scriptures to see if the Bible could shed any light on these problems and prayed together for Gods revelation and guidance. There were eight of us meeting monthly for a half day of talks, prayer and study on practical business problems. Between the eight of us, we had almost 200 years of practical business experience. We supported each other with our time and experience because we wanted to grow as disciples of Jesus and to glorify God with our businesses. There was not one problem which was brought to the table, which someone had not previously encountered! That person was able to give a testimony on how the problem was solved, or which mistakes they had made. This help, advice and support was worth so much to me as a business leader, and even saved me lots of money by avoiding some mistakes and pitfalls. The Bible has so much to say about dealing with people and money, innovation and creativity, decision-making and leadership. It is a wonderful, dynamic resource for building a business which will shine as a light and testimony to God in a sometimes dark and tough marketplace. We need not go it alone in business as God has also given us fellow Christians to help us!

Continue reading ‘‘Christians should warn governments about the effects of debt and greed’’

MIndfulness? The secret

“In a society which is predominantly concerned with possessions, fear of nat having enough is prevalent.”  Prof. Goto-Jones of Leiden University explains that mindfulness is a widespread social movement. He continued, “these days, most problems are in our head. This brings long-lasting stress which cannot be aliened by traditional flight or fight reactions. Mindfulness brings relief.”

Accepting current circumstances and being aware of the present is a part of mindfulness and thoroughly Christian. Paul wrote concerning his material circumstances, ” Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

Living in the present, thanking God for my circumstances sets me free and paves the way for an experience with God. Paul goes on to say “I can do all things through him (Jesus) who strengthens me.”  Experiencing the presence of Jesus at this  moment, right now, is the key to mindful living.

In his same letter to believers in Philippi, Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

That is true mindfulness!

Psalm 23 for the businessperson

The Lord is the Owner and Operator of my business; He will supply all I need to serve my staff and customers.;

He invites me to take regular daily sessions alone with the Boss, to have periodic strategic discussions in a nice environment to gain a fresh perspective on our business.

He restores the balance in my innermost being, between my thinking, my emotions and my will, so that I can make the right decisions at the right time;

He gives me direction to do the right things in the right way, so that His reputation is maintained by the way I do business;

Even though I am overwhelmed with problems and deep in crisis, I remain calm knowing that He is with me; that He will provide a way out of the crisis and give me the power to overcome the problems I’m facing.

In a tough marketplace with aggressive competitors, I don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing but allow God to help me work out my unique business model to fully serve the customers.

Goodness and love, essential business assets will be constantly at my disposal both to receive and to give, and I will enjoy experiencing the Lord’s activity in every area of His business forever.

Read the accompanying article: “Discerning God’s leadership in business decisions.” Continue reading ‘Psalm 23 for the businessperson’

Who’s your best customer?

Who’s your best customer? I know who s/he is. The one who pays on time! Waiting, often not so patiently, for customers to pay you for products delivered or services rendered is one of the hardest aspects of doing business. Many times it is the small entrepreneur who suffers in thi3170953_man looking ups way. According to Leo Kits of the organization for small businesses in The Netherlands, “Large companies often have the attitude; come and kiss my feet, and then I will give you an order and pay when it suits me.” He welcomes new EU laws introduced this month which state that governmental offices and businesses must pay their bills within 30 days, longer if this is contractually agreed beforehand and is not disadvantageous to both parties.

Small businesses suffer long delays in payment and are often too afraid to stand on their rights and demand payment, worrying about future orders. This can be disastrous for small businesses who are almost without exception suffering from lack of working capital. Bankruptcy is just around the corner. Continue reading ‘Who’s your best customer?’

Warren Buffett rejected by Harvard!

“Financial expert Warren Buffet, one of the richest people in the world, was rejected by Harvard’s Business School at age 19. After a failed admissions interview, he recalls a “feeling of dread,” along with concern over his father’s reaction to the news. In retrospect, Buffet says, “[Everything] in my life . . . that I thought was a crushing event at the time has turned out for the better.”

Rejection, though undeniably painful, does not have to hold us back from accomplishing what God wants us to do.  From “Our Daily Bread” Feb 25, 2013

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Football finances and Fair Play!

A monster sponsor deal was made earlier this month for the super club Paris St. Germain (PSG) by their sponsor the Tourist Office of Qatar! The club will get between 150 and 200 million euros each season for nthe next four years!
To compare, clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid get about 25 million for shirt sponsoring.  red_card

The huge deal is made more perplexing when you think that Qatar has a population of only 1.5 million people and attracts at the most optimistic estimate 400,000 visitors each year. The sponsorship costs therefore, about €500 per tourist! Not such good business!

THis has everything to do with the new Financial Fair Play rules which state that clubs must run  financially healthy, not spending more than they earn, no mounting debts and no enormous capital injection from the super-rich. Clubs not meeting these rules will be expelled from European competitions.

PSG bought Zlatan Ibrahimovic for €40 million and pay him €14 each year. Now they want Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Mourinho. There goes a balanced budget. Unless … they can use such a trick with an unlikely sponsorship deal!

This suggests a normal business contract, but I hope the Financial Fair Play people see the deviousness behind it. Just another trick to get out of following the rules.

The Psalms say “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!”(106:3)  We will all be happy and blessed  when there is an even playing field and clubs play financially fair.  (… and then my team may win some more!)


Barclay’s bank … 3 directors resign

Three directors of Barclays bank resigned in July after beuing accused of fixing the LIBOR interest rate at which banks lend to one another.

During a parlimentary hearing, the CEO Bob Diamond, who later resigned, offered an aplogy, and was asked by MP John Mann about the three founding Quaker principles, which the former chief executive did not appear to know, were “honesty, integrity and plain dealing”. Mann offered to tattoo the words on Diamond’s knuckles – at which point, Diamond said: “Honesty, integrity, and plain dealing are the way I have behaved through out my entire career.” (The Guardian, July 4, 2012)

Peter Haslam, of Transforming Business, Cambridhe University, commented, “While the trinity of virtues he cited may have failed to feature in Barclays’ apology, it does feature in Barclay’s Apology – a book first published in English in 1678 by the Scottish Quaker Robert Barclay. The full title was An Apology for the True Christian Divinity, and it had a formative influence on the development of business ethics in the global economy.”

Haslam continued, “had the dealers in Barclays observed the Decalogue’s prohibition against lying and stealing, rate rigging would have been avoided. As it is, the bank has incurred a hefty fine, a loss of trust, a leadership vacuum, and the prospect of criminal prosecution.”

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott told Sky News: “This is a great day. Bob Diamond was the greedy gambler, personified. What really matters now is that the criminals inside Barclays, that they are charged and they are convicted and the full force of the law is brought to bear. Stealing money as a banker is the same thing as stealing from a house. (London Evening Standard, July 3)

The Bible says, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!: (1 Cor 10:12)  We need to hold fast to the age-old truths of the Bible and keep vigilant on our motives and deeds.


Bankers & the Muppet Show …

“Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as ‘muppets'”… said Greg Smith, a vice-president of Goldman Sachs investment bank last week, in an open letter to the New York Times.
Conclusion; the bank only cares about itself and not its customers! It only sees customers and money making objects by selling them products of dubious value which the bank wants to get rid of.  “It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of those meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all,” wrote Smith.

Everyone thought that they could create value out of thin air and forget the basics of business – that wealth only comes form creating true value anf no clever financial engineering can create value out of something that was not there to start with.

Michael Douglas, as Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street 2, descibed this well ….
“But it is greed that makes my bartender buy three houses, he cannot afford with no money down. And it is greed that makes your parents refinance their 200,000 dollar mortgage for 250,000 dollars. Now they take that extra 50,000 dollars and go to the shopping mall so they can buy a new plasma TV, cell phones, computers and an SUV. And hey, why not a second home while we are at it. Gee Wiz, we all know the prices of houses in America always go up. Right?
It is greed that makes the government of this country cut the interest rates to 1% after 9/11 so we can all go shopping again.
They got all these fancy names for trillions of dollars for credit, CMO, CDO, SIV, ABS. You know I honestly think there are only 75 people in the world that knows what they are. But I will tell you what they are, they are WMDs. Weapons of mass destruction!”

Goldman Sachs CEO, Loyd Blankfein said in 2009 that Goldman Sachs were ‘doing the work of God’, defending the bank’s mega-profits.

Clearly, the ‘work of God’ consists of the second great commandmentwhich Jesus told  to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’and not to earn money at the expense of your customers. ‘the muppets.’

Customer service is the reason for the existence of companies. True profit lies in the ability of a supplier to to serve their customers in order that they can realise their goals.

Mark described Jesus’ mission. “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life to set many free” (Mark 10:45.)

This is also my mission – to serve my customers and help set them free to enjoy all God has given them!