Tag Archives: Making a Christ-Like Living

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 6

(This month’s MP3 version of the Dad’s Corner is available.)

If you haven’t read the previous parts to the series, you may do so here. Looking up the definition of “Good Ol’ Boy” in the dictionary would likely produce Dan’s photo. That isn’t his real name, but that’s what I’ll call him. He is seventy years old but looks and acts like he is sixty or even younger. He has gray hair, but he is so full of life and energy, you can’t believe he’s seventy.

Dan and his two employees work hard every day, but he quits at five o’clock. At that time don’t get between him and the door, or you will lose. Dan has a highly successful specialty parts and repair business, fifty rental houses owned free-n-clear, and over seven hundred acres of farmland. He is a great example of a hard working, highly successful, small business owner. Not only has his business provided very well for his family, but it also will be his children’s some day, building quite a financial legacy for them.

We all have the same opportunity that Ol’ Dan had when he first started – twenty-four hours in a day, no more, no less. Our most important, precious, and non-renewable resource is our time. If someone wants to do well in life, it’s critical that he learns how to manage his time wisely.

An important measure of the Christian man is the value he places on his time. When we value our time, we see each day as a new beginning with twenty-four hours to be used as the Lord directs. We are owned by the Lord Jesus. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As His property, all that we have and all that we are is His; and therefore, all of our time is His time.

In my corporate jobs, I noticed guys that were wasteful with their time at work. They’d visit with coworkers or surf the Internet when they should have been working. Then when it was time to leave, they weren’t finished with their work and would stay late to complete it. Maybe they felt it looked good for them to stay late hoping the boss would notice, but I figured the boss did notice. I was sure he noticed all the time they had wasted during the day and as a result weren’t really earning any points. Sadly, these men were in reality stealing precious time from their families. If an earthly boss notices how our time is spent, we can be sure that the Lord knows exactly how we are spending our time. Are we stealing time from our Lord?

Our priorities should determine how we spend our time. When priorities are properly managed, then we will spend our time on those things that are most important and consistent with God’s direction for our life. God is the One Who established twenty-four hours in a day. He is the One Who has an agenda for our time. He will never give us more to accomplish in a day then we have time for. If we have unwisely spent our time, then after we repent, we may have some catching up to do. Thankfully, He will then direct us on how to recover in a way that is consistent with godly priorities.

If we are frustrated over too little time, something is broken. Either we have had wrong priorities or not been self-disciplined in spending time according to our priorities. It is also possible that God has allowed trials to prove us, or He is chastening us. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). If you are struggling with time management, but don’t know what the cause is, I have found that prayer and even fasting will yield the answer. God is so good and desires to conform us to the image of Christ. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). He will show us things that are hindering the process if we ask Him.

Business owners generally feel they have more things that need to be done than they have time. There are only twenty-four hours in the bucket to draw from each day. If we waste time while doing one thing, there is less for another. Sure we can pay someone to do things we don’t have time for, but that adds to overhead and cuts down on profit. The best course is learning to be highly efficient with our time.
Most business owners I’ve talked to say their business could consume an endless amount of time if they let it. When you consider that Ol’ Dan is able to keep his three business ventures running with just two employees, it is amazing. On top of that, Dan is disciplined to go home at five each day. His family is more important to him than his business, and I believe that is why he still has his family. We would be wise if we prioritize our families over our businesses. There may be a brief “blip” when it is necessary to work longer hours, but we set ourselves up for failure and God’s discipline if we put business above our family.

Managing time wisely, as servants of the living God is a struggle for many. Our resource Redeeming the Time has proven to be a great help to men seeking to manage their time according to Scriptural priorities. “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). Time is short, and it is our most precious resource. Once we spend a minute, it is gone forever. May we be wise stewards of the time God entrusts to us.

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 5

This month we will discuss briefly some general business management topics. If you’ve missed any of the previous parts to the series, you may read them here. The functioning of the business can be summarized by an analogy to how we maintain our body’s health. For good health we eat nutritious food, exercise, rest, are aware of any abnormalities, and take appropriate measures to maintain a quality life. Around us, we see some who have taken good care of themselves and others who haven’t. With a business, we earn income, pay our obligations, observe its financial state by analyzing financial reports, and make appropriate decisions. Not to take the measures needed to maintain a healthy business is a recipe for disaster.

What might be the highest priority? I believe finding and taking care of one’s customers should be the highest priority. Without customers the business will fail, and therefore, satisfying customers is the ongoing principal focus of the business owner.

It begins with the right level of quality products and services at a price customers are willing to pay. For example if the quality is too high, it drives the price too high, and you will lose your customers. If the quality and price combo is too low, you won’t have sufficient profit to sustain your business. Your existing customers are your competitor’s prospects; therefore, value them and provide them with consistent quality at a price they deem reasonable.

Setting the correct price for your product or service is important for Christians. The price needs to be consistent and just. I observe some Christians in business who will charge different prices to customers. If someone is a good customer, who won’t challenge the price, he often will pay a higher price than the customer who is demanding. Scripture would call that unequal weights and measures. “Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 20:10).

When we first began our family business, I remember how difficult it was to set up a uniform pricing policy that would apply to everyone. The Lord led me to establish a discount level based on the dollar volume of the sale. That way every customer was treated exactly the same, and it was based on the size of their order. We strive to have a clear conscience always. “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16).

Another aspect of serving customers is to make sure we are honest with them. Lying is quite common in business, but it is an abomination to God. “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17). We desire God’s blessing on our business and most certainly not His chastisement; therefore, we are careful to be honest in our dealings with our customers and clients.

Customers are appreciative of professional business practices. One aspect of that is for business invoices to be accurate and timely. If your customer does regular business with you on account, and if the billing is delayed, the bill can grow to a size that presents a serious cash flow event for your customer. Maybe he forgot what he owed you and then made other purchases depleting his available cash. We aren’t doing our customers a favor by delaying invoicing them unless we intend to forgive them what is owed. Be predictable and accurate.

Businesses that extend credit appreciate a customer who pays on time. Never, never put your supplier in the position of having to phone you for a late payment. Just as you desire those who owe you money, pay promptly, be sure you pay promptly. “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). If you want to set your business above others, pay within a day of receiving your invoice. “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee” (Proverbs 3:27-28). If you treat your suppliers as one of your greatest assets, you will build a loyal relationship that will strengthen over time. It’s a win-win situation, and it turns suppliers into allies who can be depended upon.

Last month I used an example of a retail store that indicated a willingness to skirt the sales tax law. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). It is extremely foolish to disobey the law. There was a music store that we used to do business with located about a half hour from our home. One day they mysteriously closed. My understanding is that there were tax payment issues going on with the store, and the government shut them down. Even if someone was to get away with tax evasion for a time, the Lord knows, and we want His blessing, not His curse.

Find a good conservative accountant who knows the law and will help you fulfill your obligations. If he makes a recommendation, ask why and also what the law says. “And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25). Remember if there is a question, it doesn’t matter that the accountant recommended a decision, the business owner is the one liable.

Some businesses use their accountant to manage the books. Generally that can be very expensive and worse is the fact that you aren’t monitoring the health of your business. How you are doing financially isn’t a matter of how much money is in the checking account. At a roundtable discussion, one mom who manages their family business finances said that her husband will ask her how much money is in the account so he knows how much inventory he can buy. His question puts him in great jeopardy of not having enough money to pay taxes and suppliers when the bills come in. Financial reports are how we determine the business’ health.

Consider whether a family member has time to enter financial transactions instead of hiring outside help (but please do pay the family member for their time: a worker is worthy of his hire!). If you’re able to keep financial work within the family, it’ll make bill payment and tax remittance much quicker. If you are going to have a business, you need to be familiar with the bookkeeping and management reports. The owner who doesn’t is like a person whose spinal cord is damaged, and his brain is not receiving information on the health of the body. Neither scenario is good.

We have used Quickbooks in our family business and Titus2 for over ten years. It is reasonable in cost and will give you the management information you need to run the business. Because of its popularity, most accountants are familiar with it, and you can easily provide your accountant a copy of your data when he prepares your taxes. It is quite scalable and will handle small to medium sized businesses, provided their needs aren’t too complex. Quickbooks would normally be our recommendation for most small businesses. If you’d like help with learning Quickbooks, watch our website, Titus2.com/blog (or ITonRamp.com) for an announcement about a new course on that topic.

It takes time and energy to keep a business running and healthy. May we be diligent in managing the business to glorify the Lord Jesus in all that we do.

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 4

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read the previous parts to this series.

For many years Joseph’s guitar had served him well, but then he began having problems with it. When this happened, we were on a speaking trip with no time to stop to have the repair done plus a concert was coming up on Friday. Since Joseph was really ready for an upgraded guitar, it seemed like the perfect time to make the purchase. We found a local music store and went in to see what was in stock. It didn’t take long to find a guitar that was comparable to Joseph’s ability.

As we were discussing price and warranty, the owner asked if we worked for the government. That seemed like a bit of an odd question to us. We answered “No. Why?” He explained that he could ship an empty box to our home in Kansas and write up the guitar purchase as a telephone order. That way we could save money by not paying the sales tax. We told him that as Christians we pay what is owed to the government, and therefore, we couldn’t do that.

He said, “I’m a Christian too, but the Bible doesn’t say a person can’t save a little here and there.” However, we were thinking that while the Bible might not say you can’t save a little here or there, it does say “. . . Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s …” (Matthew 22:21).

The salesman was offering to violate the law which is also contrary to Scripture. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). Whether we like it or not, we are to obey the law. This man and his business were mostly likely headed for trouble, and it is probable he was not going to experience God’s blessing on his business. The salesman was either choosing not to obey Scripture like he was choosing to disobey the law, or he was ignorant.

We need to be Bereans studying Scripture and then applying it not only to our personal lives but also to our businesses. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).

Maybe you’ve had a situation similar to what we experienced with the guitar salesman when doing business with a professing Christian who wanted to do something that was questionable and perhaps even illegal. Situations such as these highlight that there are many professing Christians in business, but there is great need for businesses to reflect the truth of God’s Word. As Christians we are to be bright lights in a sea of darkness.

I would encourage you to be committed to seek God’s blessing on your business. One way to do that is by obeying the law. Instead of ignoring the law or pushing the limits to just short of disobeying the law, seek to glorify the Lord in this area too. As laws change and continue to become more complex, it takes diligence to comply.

One example of that would come from our Titus2 speaking ministry. When we travel to various states and localities to give a conference, we are also selling our materials. The tax laws vary every place we go so it takes an incredible amount of research time, filling out the correct paperwork, and then paying the taxes that are owed. It would be easy to ignore the tax laws and assume since we are only there for a one-time sale, we wouldn’t owe taxes. However, despite the inconveniences and the difficulties involved, we know it is right to do what the law tells us to do.

I believe one of the primary attitudes important in self-employment is that of a servant. “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all” (Mark 10:44). The way to success is through the unlikely path of having the heart attitude of a servant. As Christians it should be second nature for us to have that attitude in business. Since we began our family business, our mission has been the success of our customers.

For our family business, we only accept work from someone who we want to see succeed. When we work for a client, we put one hundred percent effort into the project’s successful completion. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). If a prospective client has products we can’t endorse such as alcohol or tobacco, we turn their business down. If we feel their leadership isn’t ethical, we don’t work for them. In good conscience, we have to be able to endorse the company and its products in order to work for them. It is not about us making money but about our client’s success. These policies reduce the number of clients we have, but the Lord has provided the right ones in the right time.

A servant’s heart will require you to tell your customer “no” sometimes if they ask for something that you are convinced is not in their best interest. Years ago I worked for a large company on a billion dollar contract. The customer had wanted several things that my employer was convinced would not be good for the project. Since my employer said the customer is always right, they agreed to it. Eventually, those requests caused the whole project to fail. It was the only contract my employer had ever defaulted on, and it was because they didn’t tell the customer “no” when they should have.

A servant’s heart doesn’t mean he is relegated to being just a robot of the customer’s wishes. If he is skilled and knowledgeable in his trade, it means he knows more than the customer does about what it takes to do the job. So not only may he end up telling the customer “no,” but he may also need to tell him there is a better way to do it.

A servant’s heart doesn’t mean he isn’t paid appropriately for his time. A business must make a reasonable profit, or it ceases to be a business and becomes a hobby. To guarantee that he is around to serve future clients, he must make a reasonable profit. If the customer doesn’t agree his services are worth the price, then he finds other customers who do. At the same time, a servant is striving for excellence by ensuring that the service or product rendered is truly worth the income received. Don’t earn business based on a low price but by providing great value.

A servant’s heart will accurately represent his products and services. He won’t use gimmicks to get a sale because he is looking for needs that he can realistically meet. Then once accurately presented, the customer can decide if the product or service meets his needs. Few people like surprises unless it is on their birthday.

A servant’s heart will seek to ship orders as accurately, timely, and damage free as possible. Many businesses are satisfied once they have the order, but at that point the customer wants what he ordered. How hard we are willing to work to ship it is a measure of a servant’s heart.

There is a discount chain that is known for being ruthless with their suppliers in order to provide their customers the lowest possible price. However, a servant’s heart respects that his suppliers must make a profit if they are to stay in business and deliver a quality product. He also sees that all invoices are paid as quickly as possible even if there are thirty day terms. His suppliers are treated with respect, and a good relationship is cultivated for the sake of the ultimate customer.

The Lord put us on this planet to seek Him first and to work. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). We seek to glorify the Lord in everything we do, and we diligently work hard as servants.

I want to clarify that when I refer to our “family business,” I’m not referring to Titus2 but to the computer business we began in 1997. Our sons are the ones who have their respective endeavors in the “family business.” My primary involvement is to give them counsel. It’s one way of leaving them a heritage by helping them build strong, stable businesses. My heart, focus, and joy is Titus2.

Following the Lord Jesus in our personal walk is exciting, but adding self-employment to the mix makes following the Lord a bit thrilling. Self-employment provides so many challenges and opportunities to trust Him and seek His direction. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 3

In the book of Ezra we read that the children of Israel were on a mission. They were returning from captivity in Babylon with the command and blessing of King Cyrus to rebuild the temple. Even with the ruler’s support, the difficulties facing them would be tremendous. The group was made up of 42,360 people plus another 7,337 maids, servants, and singers. The majority of those returning were families.

Starting a business is not easy. If it was, everyone would have his own business, and no one would work for anyone else. According to the Small Business Administration latest figures, roughly 69% of start-up businesses survive the first two years, 51% to five years and 34% to ten years or more. While these statistics show it can be difficult to begin a business, there is good news for Christians. If we are following the Lord’s direction for our lives, failure rates mean nothing. I might add, if God desires to use a business failure for His glory – maybe our growth – He will.

In the third chapter of Ezra, they all came together, offered burnt offerings, kept the feasts, and offered freewill offerings to the Lord. In essence they were setting their spiritual house in order so they could begin the work of building the temple with God’s blessing. Israel made many mistakes, and that is what brought them into captivity as slaves. (Worth mentioning here is that today the majority of believers, those set free from the bondage of sin, have voluntarily enslaved themselves to mortgages, school loans and credit card debt. If you are in financial bondage, will you begin the process of setting yourself free?) The offering was initially made, but we read in verse four, “They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required” (Ezra 3:4). They weren’t distracted by the business of building the temple. They first dealt with their relationship to God. Getting right and staying right with God wasn’t a one time occurrence for the Israelites but rather it was a daily process. That is much like salvation. First we are saved, but then we are to daily confess sin and abide in the Lord Jesus as we obey Him.

I wonder how many dads begin a business when their spiritual houses aren’t in order. They presume upon God’s blessing in business when they don’t care enough for the Lord to honor Him with their lives. The strong encouragement I’ve previously given is to know what venture the Lord is directing you and when He says it is time, pursue it. Until then, get ready, but don’t build. Here are links to the first two articles in this series.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our vocations are to be a result of God’s direction for our lives. Then after He gives that direction, we trust Him for continued leading. Just like salvation is not an end in itself, neither is self-employment. We must look to the Lord daily through our personal Bible time and prayer for His direction not only concerning our spiritual lives but also business decisions. His Word gives insight and confirms the leadings impressed on our hearts.

I mentioned last month that my son and I felt the Lord directing us to print brokering when I first came home from a corporate job. Print brokering made no sense because we didn’t have experience with printing, but we strongly felt the Lord’s leading. If we can trust the Lord with our eternal salvation, then we can trust Him to guide us in every area of our lives and that includes making a living. We learn how to follow Him day-by-day in the small decisions. Then when a big decision comes, we know what it means to hear Him, confirm direction through His Word, and then obediently follow.

Do we acknowledge Him in all our ways? Another way of stating the verse is that we are to know and recognize Him in everything we do. I wonder when dads pray ifthey then base their decisions on the Lord’s response? Is it possible that once having asked, they assume all is good and proceed? In speaking with many dads, I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t the way they make decisions. Even if they pray about it, once prayed, they proceed according to their will. Is that the way we parent? Is it enough for our children to ask us for direction and then once asked, to proceed without our response? Of course not.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). According to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, the Greek word for hindered is “ekkopto,” and it means “to cut off.” One key area to answered prayer is whether a husband is giving honor unto his wife. If not, Dad can pray all day long, and God isn’t answering because those prayers of Dad’s are cut off. Therefore if Dad starts a business having a bad relationship with his wife, he is handing God a REALLY big paddle.

Also, Dad may be praying about things that God has already answered in His Word, or there are warnings in the Word that are going unheeded. Are we reading our Bibles every day and leading family Bible time? I believe Ezekiel 34 speaks to Dad’s responsibility to feed those under his spiritual authority. The admonition by the Lord is so strong that verse ten concludes with the warning about the difficulty of the shepherds feeding themselves. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more …” (Ezekiel 34:10). Their crime was that they weren’t spiritually feeding those under them; therefore, God said he would make it difficult for the shepherds to make a living. Dads are you feeding your sheep every day?

When God shows us a business venture and the timing, it is critical our spiritual houses are in order. Then we follow.

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 2

When I was six years old, my friend Mark and I had a great idea. We built a flying platform that resembled a freight pallet without any sides on it. We found a rope just the right length to tether it so it wouldn’t go above the top of his house because we figured our parents would be concerned if it went too high. We had one problem that we couldn’t find a solution for, though. We realized that once we got the platform flying at the right height, we didn’t know how we were going to get up on it. We eventually had to abandon the whole idea because we couldn’t move past that obstacle. I wonder if a little boy’s flying platform might be similar to many a man’s idea of self-employment. It is a great idea, but there is no real way of practically working it out.

This is part two of a series of articles, so if you haven’t read the first article, please do so.

I encounter quite a few dads who have been bitten by the bug of wanting to work from home, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since there are a multitude of advantages of self-employment. Often I wonder: Is it because he heard someone speak on home businesses, and he comes away feeling he isn’t leading his family properly unless he comes home? Is it because it has become popular within home-education circles? Perhaps the worst reason: Can it be that Dad has a rebel heart and is fed up with having other people tell him what to do?

I would encourage you that there should be only one reason to come home to work—because the Lord told you to. If a man has placed his faith in Jesus Christ, then he is bought and paid for by His blood and now owned by Him. He is therefore a servant, as Paul calls himself via his introduction in Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). Paul understood that one aspect of his relationship with Jesus was that he was a servant. Servants follow the leading of their masters. Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? If so, then He should be directing your life. It is comforting when things are difficult to be able to say, “We know God led us to begin this; therefore, we trust Him.”

For something as important as beginning a business, it is critical that the Lord direct. It may be something that He puts on a dad’s heart for the future, or it could be that the Lord is saying now is the time. It isn’t just a matter of how God is directing, but exactly when He is directing. We need to know God’s timing.

There can be a host of “signs” indicating this is the time; however, that doesn’t mean it is God’s timing. A man should not only hear God’s still small voice directing on what to do, but also hear when to do it. Timing is a critical factor in business. If it is too early, few want the product, but if it is too late, everyone who would buy already has it. God, the Author of seasons and sine waves, has perfect timing—not too early nor too late. Is God saying now is the time?

Hearing the Lord can be a bit difficult. I would encourage you that unless you have clear direction, take the answer as “no.” Anything less than a concrete “yes” is “no.”

To help discern God’s direction, make sure this is a team effort in your home. You and your wife are a team, one in the Lord, and therefore, all the decisions of life should be looked at and prayed about together. Teri and I love seeking the Lord’s direction daily together. It’s just one more area that we tackle as a team.

A significant factor in determining a family’s readiness for self-employment is the tidiness of that family’s financial house. How much debt load the family is carrying, how much savings they have, and their spending habits have great bearing on how ready they are for self-employment. Debt puts heavy pressure on a family when they are trying to begin a new venture. Sam Walton shared in the book titled Sam Walton, Made in America how every day that he had personal debt he felt the weight of it. Likely, whatever emotional burden you feel now due to debt is nothing compared to the possibility of watching foreclosure come closer and closer until your family must leave your home if the future is wrongly presumed upon. Ideally, we should get our financial house in order, and that means getting out of all debt and putting aside a cash reserve before moving to self-employment.

The family contemplating such a venture should commit the plan to paper. Looking at the plan “face-to-face” in black and white can help move it from excited euphoria to reality. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). It is a good thing to make a plan under the Lord’s direction. Don’t skip this step. Make a plan, and then add a buffer to it. Double the projected time to break even and double the anticipated expenses. This will help add needed cushion.

If Dad quits his job with the intent of beginning a business cold turkey, he is putting the family at great risk if they aren’t prepared financially. Normally, the business takes longer to reach profitability than originally expected.

It is possible that your plan calls for beginning the venture while you are still employed. That can help minimize financial risk, but the impact to your time needs to be carefully weighed. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). There is only so much time in the day, and if you have a full work day, where will the time for the new venture come from? It can only come from time with the family. I have observed men so consumed with their business that they lose their families. I’m confident that God would not lead a family into a business that would result in them losing their children.

In 1997 I was laid off from my corporate job. I had felt the calling on my heart for a family business for several years and had even previously formalized a business and name. I just hadn’t felt it was the Lord’s timing for self-employment. However, being laid off became obvious direction from the Lord that it was time. We had a business in place, and at that time Nathan, my oldest son, was working full-time doing information technology (IT) consulting work in the Kansas City area. We just didn’t know what Christopher, my second son, and I would do.

As we prayed, we felt God leading us into print brokering. Print brokering is basically a middleman between a customer and a wholesale printer—an independent salesman, so to speak. The direction to broker printing didn’t make sense to us because neither Christopher nor I had any experience in it, but we couldn’t shake the strong feeling that God was leading us in that direction. God even provided a Christian brother who was successful at print brokering who said he would spend a day with us giving counsel and sources for wholesale printing. We set out on the adventure.

Christopher and I began pouring all our efforts into developing print customers. Over time we found and satisfied a reasonable number of customers. One customer had a need that we knew was better served by a software program run on a personal computer. We proposed the idea to the company, and we were hired to provide the solution. We then had three areas of business going concurrently: IT consulting, print brokering, and custom software.

As we look back, we see how God used the print brokering to introduce us to the print industry. We learned a great deal during that time that prepared us for years later when the Lord led us to self-publish books. Of course this was no surprise to the One Who is all knowing. That is the beauty of following the Lord. We never could have had the business sense to pursue one area while anticipating God would expand it into two more and then use it in a completely different application.

God also led us into developing software, which is now another area of business for us. Back then, He brought us to a homeschool dad who is an excellent programmer. We worked together for several years, and our customer was very satisfied with our software. Our son Joseph has now stepped into that role as a software developer, allowing that business offering to continue.

We saw the reality of “all things work together for good.” There finally came a time when we needed to license some proprietary software to satisfy our client’s needs, but because of our small size, the mega company who owned the software wouldn’t license it to us. The only thing we could do was suggest that our client work directly with the mega company. At that time, Titus 2 had grown to where it was taking the majority of my time, and it was a struggle to work with software development and Titus 2 concurrently. It then became obvious that I needed to switch full-time to Titus 2 ministry while Christopher would stay full-time with our family corporation. That was possible because we no longer had the software project.

From the very beginning, we saw God’s hand when He directed us down the self-employment path. I was laid off and new employment was required. As we prayed about it as a family, there was clear direction from the Lord toward the type of self-employment. That was fifteen years ago, and while it all looks somewhat different for our business now than it did then, we are so grateful for all God has done.

We will continue this series next month.

Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World – Part 1

You may also listen to this Corner via February Dad’s Corner Podcast MP3.

We have a good friend who works in the emergency room of a large hospital. He performs initial evaluations on those who come in with psychological problems. He is one of the most calm-spirited people I know, but he says that each shift tries his patience because everyone he sees is violent, angry, or upset.

He shared how common it is for him to be evaluating nineteen and twenty-year-old young men. He asks them if they work, and they say, “No, man. I can’t work. That’s why I’m on disability.” My friend asks more questions concerning not working, and their answers are similar to this. “I’ve tried working, but it just makes me so anxious and uptight that I have to go on pills to calm me down. That’s why I’m here. I need some more pills.”

Most people would think it was wonderful if they didn’t have to work. I suppose that is why the world lives for weekends, vacations, and retirement. However, God has a purpose in man working, and thus His children are to have a different view of work. Work is a gift of God, and we are to rejoice and be thankful for it. “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

We are also called to provide for our families. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). Work is a blessing, however, some work is definitely better than others.

My guess is that most reading this Corner are employed just as I was for twenty years. There are advantages to being employed such as health insurance, vacation days, retirement plans, and someone else making and being responsible for all the company decisions. However, there are also many disadvantages, especially for believers. I will list a few of the major disadvantages that come to mind.

Most often the company’s ethics and policies more closely follow the world’s thinking than Scriptural truth. This may bring a believer into conflict with his authorities. An example would be a believer who is being asked to lie to a customer about why a delivery is late.

  • Corporate-provided health insurance often fund abortions. Large corporations often use profits to support ungodly, wicked movements, causes, and organizations.
  • Employers may require long hours or night-shift work that hinders a dad’s availability of time to lead his family and disciple his children.
  • Employers may require travel sending Dad away from the family for extended periods of time leaving Mom as a single parent.
  • Employers may require moving the family to another city disrupting the family’s church and extended family ties.
  • There is little to no opportunity to train sons and have them work alongside Dad as they get older.


We are called to provide for our families, so what options are there? The other option is self-employment, and it should be seriously considered. The above listed employment disadvantages can be mitigated with self-employment. Are there disadvantages to being self-employed? I’ll list some of the disadvantages below.

  • All responsibilities and functions that occur in a company now are shouldered by one person—you.
  • You might not be required to work long hours, but the temptation or the necessity to do so will be there.
  • Your success or failure depends on you.
  • If you are undisciplined or have a poor work ethic, you will likely be in trouble.
  • You can no longer blame the company’s leadership for problems because that’s you.
  • The temptation is to off-load administrative and bookkeeping tasks to your already overloaded wife.
  • You may have a skill, but you have practically no business experience. (BTW, this is where many get themselves into trouble thinking they need a partner.)
  • It often takes money to start a business. You then make the mistake of borrowing.
  • It often takes time to achieve profitability.
  • It requires confidence.


Is self-employment an idea that is on your heart? If so, prayerfully consider why. Is it because of some of the disadvantages of being employed that I listed above?

There are many good reasons for being self-employed, but let me discuss a bad reason for it. Maybe it is because you aren’t appreciated at work or don’t like someone telling you what to do. From my reading and experience, many businesses are started by men with rebellious attitudes. They are tired of someone bossing them around, and they decide to start their own business to be the one in charge. In that situation, I would say that is a bad reason to begin a business, and it’s likely God won’t bless the endeavor. As believers it is critical that we have God’s direction, blessing, and right attitudes before starting a new venture.

The world has such a disadvantage when it comes to work because it doesn’t have the Lord Jesus to look to for guidance. Frankly, I can’t imagine life without being able to turn to Him to seek His wisdom and direction. One doesn’t have to have a high IQ to be successful, but a good relationship with the One Who is all wisdom is very important. We need to be willing to use what we have then learn, grow, and work. If it is in accordance with His will, God will bless.

That brings up another dynamic that complicates self-employment. Unbelievers don’t have to be concerned about spiritual matters in regard to their business at all, but Christians must. Christians not only have to supply a product or service at a price that customers will purchase, and satisfy the laws of the land, but also please their Lord. Frankly, this “fourth dimension” in business should be the very greatest concern of a believer contemplating a new business. God will either bless the business or hinder it. “Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deuteronomy 28:5) and “Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store” (Deuteronomy 28:17). If you had a choice, what would you choose? Of course, we want God to bless. Therefore, we must obey the One Who is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.

We will continue this topic next month. Also, we will be having a new session at conferences around the country this year. It’s called “Making a Christ-Like Living in a Dog-Eat-Dog World.” This will be a highly practical, roundtable-type session. That means there will be the opportunity to hear real stories from others in your area who either have their own business or are starting one. Even those who are interested in a new venture will have an opportunity to ask questions and seek advice. Come join us in both reading this series and attending a conference.