Feb 2018

From Ordinary Business to Extraordinary Purpose

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From Ordinary Business to Extraordinary Purpose

Our small band of fourteen Singapore business people made their way to the Philippines, not sure what God would do with them, but excited to find out. Having breakfast together at the Singapore Airport we were all a bit nervous. This was the first time for many to speak to other business people about doing business biblically.

I was one of the 14, even though I have moved back to the US. (I love being an honorary Singaporean.) We were all part of Covenant Church in Singapore, moving in faith to see what God could do with ordinary business people sharing His love and the ways of biblical business. Only about 15% of Singaporeans are Christian, but they “punch above their weight” in their influence in the surrounding countries. Much like Antioch in the Bible.

Our Fearless Leader was Matthew Kok, a banker. He’s led this process in Covenant for several years and is gifted in his ability both to organize and to speak clearly about business.

First stop: Cebu for a Thursday evening session.We weren’t sure what to expect as we came into the room where we were to speak. Would anyone come? Would they listen? Could we speak in ways that could be understood?

The room filled up with 60+ pastors and business people eager to hear how business could be used to share God’s word. We prayed together and told our stories.They listened – and invited us back! What a relief! It may be that this process COULD be used by God!

Friday morning we flew to Manila for our next set of meetings. That night the room was full again. Some were pastors who probably wondered who these business people were and how this could fit into their church mission. Most were business people eager to know more about the biblical principles of business. Our Friday night session mirrored what we did in Cebu and was again well received. I gave a talk on how business could impact a country.

On Saturday we had the whole day to focus on biblical business. Our team gave short presentations and in small groups we discussed God’s purpose for business. How He provides for us through business and often prunes us in the hard times a business goes through.

We discussed issues of financial integrity, bribery and paying taxes. We delved into how our businesses can point people to Christ. And wrapped it up discussing how to use business to be a blessing to others through the 4 Ps: People, Profit, Planet and Purpose.

While this was good, we knew that a one off meeting wouldn’t last. The Philippine business people would have to continue the process beyond just our Saturday. Which they have decided to do! So far our 14 have spent time with about 150 people. That seemed pretty good to us as we rejoiced at His faithfulness. But God had a big surprise in store for us on Sunday.
We attended church in the morning and in the late afternoon there was a dinner put on by Hesed Human Foundation, an Evangelism Explosion group.  The dinner had no charge, but there was a cost: each Christian business person had to bring another business person who was not a Christian. This was hard, they said. And it was. But they did it! More than 300 attended the dinner.
Matthew spoke on “Money Matters that Matter Most”. He not only spoke as a knowledgable banker, but gave clear biblical principles on how to think about money. He gave an invitation to people who wanted to ask Christ into their lives. Afterward we found that more than 119 people responded to that message. What an amazing blessing!

So 14 business people = more than 150 in seminars; 300 at dinner; 119 new brothers and sisters. Just simple business people sharing who they are in the marketplace, but God moves and He gets the glory.

You see, this story combines the Ancient Paths with today’s Super Highway. The gospel has always moved along the trade routes. Business people have historically carried the message of Christ from Antioch to Persia to China. As business spread along the Silk Road, the Spice Route and even in more recent time from Europe to North and South America business has carried the gospel. The ancient Nestorian church even had the same word for business person as evangelist. But we’ve forgotten that and somehow divided ourselves into Sacred and Secular. Business people being secular. But God is redeeming His Ancient Paths. We can see that in Singapore. As a country, Singapore’s motto (and a key to their success) is:
Start small. Dream BIG. Build Deep

So here we are with a small start, but a big dream of changing the business culture in South East Asia. Building deep with ongoing biblical processes that soak into people’s minds and hearts.

Ordinary business people? Yes, we are. But we serve an EXTRAORDINARY GOD.

Our Singapore group is going out again March 8-10. We will be in Indonesia. Pray with us that God moves among these business people as we bring His message of grace and salvation.

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