Admit it: You already know if you’ve been naughty or nice. And if you’re going to end up with that official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle! You also know that—get this—the Santa at the mall isn’t really him. (Don’t worry: All the Santa impersonators are his secret messengers.) And with these shifts in your life of late, you need something else to believe in—we all do.
We all want something, someone, to believe in. That person is Jesus. But we also need tangible hope, from Him, in this world. You could be part of that hope for others. Jesus wants to do that work through you.
When you do something incredible—make some unbelievable sacrifice or act with integrity when others around you fail to do so—you’re setting an example. You’re giving others a tangible way to see Jesus in you, and thus to believe in His workings even more.
Here at Jesus’ Economy, we believe God has called us to a grand vision. We want to proclaim it loudly, because we believe it is His: It’s called Jesus’ Economy (with a possessive) because He is in charge of this organization and owns it. We merely steward it.
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We don’t want you to believe in us, or even the organization, we want you to believe in Jesus. We hope that our actions inspire you to believe that Jesus is here, now, in our world—changing it for the better. We hope that you will live as a Christ follower who empowers people locally and globally. And we hope that your actions inspire others to believe in Christ.
The message of Jesus’ Economy is not about us: It’s about what we believe God wants to do in our world—to restore hope to people everywhere. He wants to create a new physical economy (one that lifts people of out poverty) and a new spiritual economy (built on Jesus Himself). He wants to holistically transform lives. And use all of us—each of us around the globe—for that purpose. That is a great honor indeed.
May your life’s message be about living for Jesus—as part of His economy, built on self-sacrifice. This is what each Christian, everywhere, is called to. May every economic thought, and transaction—both those in the physical and spiritual economy—be about Jesus and His glory. Let’s give the world something to believe in.
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Is your nose too bright? Are you feeling left out of the reindeer games? Here’s a way to bring Christmas cheer back: This eleventh day of Christmas, try setting a vision for your life and family.
During our 12 Ways to Live the Christmas Spirit series, among other posts, we have covered living by principles, deciding what you will and won’t do, and knowing what you’re all about—which included writing down a mission for yourself and your family. Now, it’s time to write a vision statement.
Here at Jesus’ Economy, we combine our mission and vision statement into one sentence: Jesus' Economy creates jobs and churches in the developing world, as well as meets basic needs [mission]—resulting in a new global, spiritual and physical economy for those that need it most [vision].
You have to know what you’re all about (your mission), but you also have to know where you ultimately want to go (what success looks like—your vision).
Writing down a vision statement is an opportunity to imagine the world as a better place. A vision statement should never be about you—it should be about the results of your efforts. To begin drafting a vision statement, ask the questions: “What does success look like?” and “What grand reality do I want to make come to be?”
Mission is something you do in this lifetime. Whereas, vision is something you set out to do in this lifetime, but you’re aware may out live you.
Mission is an everyday reality. Vision is a hope and a dream; it’s about faith.
When Jesus came to earth, He set out on a mission—to live the life every person should (fully in God), and to then suffer, die, and rise again. His mission was resurrection and salvation for all—among other incredible things, of course.
But Jesus’ vision extended far beyond His time on earth. Jesus planned for His disciples to bring the good news of God entering our world—to save us—to the entire earth. And that’s the vision that we each of us, as Christians, are called to live. The exact way we live that vision is up to discernment—it’s something each of us should pray about and ask others to join us in praying about.
So, maybe your nose is a little too bright—but maybe that’s also something God is going to use, to accomplish His unique vision for your life.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And for some, that means walking into a family mess. Establishing principles will help you through any circumstance.
When you establish principles to live by, you’re setting up guiding ideas for each and every circumstance. You’re deciding ahead of time the type of person you are. You’re giving “future you” a road map.
On this tenth day of Christmas, take twenty minutes to draft up a set of principles you would like to live by. Ask yourself questions like, “What ideas do I believe could guide me in the future?” and “What beliefs do I want to stick to no matter what?” and “How do I want to operate in my home and at work?”
Once you have principles drafted up, you can refine them. In addition, you can reference them down the road. They will help you when things become challenging or frustrating.
In the beginning of Jesus’ Economy, we drafted up—and then instituted—a set of principles. We then made these public, so that the entire world could hold us accountable to them.
There is something freeing about transparently saying what ideas you will hold onto, no matter what. I hope you take the time today to write down your principles because they will be a helpful guide for you in the future. And who knows, your principles could keep you from saying something you will regret this Christmas day.
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“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear,” says Buddy the Elf. And the best way to keep your spirit cheerful is to pray often and listen to God.
No matter what someone says to you today—or who the difficult family member is that you have to see in a few days—the situation will be made better by prayer.
Making prayer an integral and disciplined part of my life is the single greatest turn in my attitude that I have ever experienced. It gives me perspective—forcing me to discern God’s viewpoint on whatever I am dealing with.
Smiling may be Buddy the Elf’s favorite, but praying has become mine.
Jesus gives life through prayer. It's God's vehicle for speaking to us, and for us to enter into conversation with Him.
I feel empty without prayer. It centers me, and grounds me—it gives me heaven’s viewpoint.
Are you praying enough today? Who else can you be praying for? And how can you make prayer an integral part of your family's life this Christmas season?
Pray in all things today—yep, you guessed it, St. Paul said that.
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Oh, the purchase conundrum—your cash budget has run out, but you still have that last gift to buy. What are you going to do?
This is a simple budgeting dilemma, but a perfect illustration for deciding what you will (and won’t) do in life. In addition to knowing what you’re all about, what are the ideas you want to live by—the way you want to live life.
Today, on this eighth day of Christmas, it is time to make a decision about how you’re going to reach your goals.
You may have a mission, but do you know what you’re going to do when things get difficult: If you don’t, you very well could make the wrong decision.
The problem with ethics is that many of us don’t think about them until we have already compromised. Think ahead and you’re far more likely to be the kind of person you want to be.
In the beginning of Jesus’ Economy, we wrote down exactly how we will operate.
We must all say “back then” what we will and won’t do, so that we can live by it now.
Do yourself a huge favor in life. Write down today a working draft—just to get things started—of what you will and won’t do to meet your goals. Frame certain parts in the positive—the old “I will give it my all”—and other parts in the negative: “I won’t compromise my belief in Christ or deny Him.”
Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Someone very wise once said that. Isn’t there a holiday coming up about Him?
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It’s important to be frugal, but no one likes a Scrooge around Christmas time. However, there is one type of cost I would like for you to strongly consider—the true price of what you buy.
Here at Jesus’ Economy, we rarely put something on sale. And that’s because we know that any additional profit will go straight into helping create jobs, plant churches, meet needs, and fund operations.
Most retail products are not fair trade. Somewhere along the way, someone has probably been paid far less than what they should to make the clothes on most of our backs.
But I believe that we can change this. Fair trade products are the alternative our world needs.
People are on the other side of every purchase we each make, every time. In your hands is one of the most powerful vehicles in the world—money.
If you’re in the U.S., today is the last day to place an order from Jesus’ Economy via priority mail and have it arrive by Christmas. You have until December 21 to choose express mail and have it arrive by Christmas.
You’re not going to win “a major award” this Christmas season by simply coasting through the remainder of the year. You have to use your “mind power.” You have to be intentional.
On this sixth day of Christmas, consider what it means to be a disciple of Jesus—to live intentionally for Jesus, in relationship with others who are doing the same.
During Mary’s life, she transitions from raising Jesus to being His disciple. And right there, in the Christmas story, we see foreshadowing of this, with her taking instruction from the angel Gabriel and intentionally surrounding herself with family (including a priest, John the Baptist’s father). She looks to leadership beyond herself—and it’s for this reason, among others, that she is such a saintly figure.
As Christians, we should all surround ourselves with wiser Christians, who have followed Jesus longer than us. In addition, we should have transparent relationships with other Christians—where we admit our shortcomings, failings, and our sins.
We should also all be actively investing in the lives of new Christians, or those simply earlier on the journey than we currently are.
Being a disciple of Jesus means being in constant transition, from one state of living and being to a better one—and that is a beautiful thing.
Our investment in discipleship doesn’t have to be limited just to our local reach—it can also extend globally. To use Jesus’ Economy as an example, we have made training and investment in people a central part of our values, because we believe that it is one of the key ingredients to transformation.
Transformation is what we can all bring to our world, if we are discipled by others and disciple others. Let’s commit today to more and better discipleship: Pray, think, and contemplate how discipleship can be a more integral part of your life.
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One sure way to keep coal out of your stocking this year is to meet someone else’s needs. I know people who have had their needs randomly met at Christmas time—they remember it vividly. The story I remember most is my mother’s.
My mother grew up impoverished. One Christmas season, they were struggling even more than usual. My mom recalls that her grandmother, who raised her and a handful of other children, gathered up all the kids to pray that God would provide for them.
The next morning, a bag full of groceries—including an orange for each of the kids and the doll my mom had always wanted—showed up on the doorstep. To this day, my mom remembers that moment with tears in her eyes. Because this wasn’t just about Christmas, this was about needs being abundantly and exceedingly met.
You could be that person with a random bag of groceries this year. Think about who you know that has a need, and if it’s in your means to do so, meet their need.
After you have contemplated local needs, consider global needs.
No community development program can be successful without some sort of meeting of basic needs—and that’s why we have incorporated things like water wells and medical clinics into the model of Jesus’ Economy.
We’re trying to show up with the groceries, when they’re needed. Let's all show up with the groceries and witness the blessing it will be.
I have never felt more selfish than when writing a Christmas wish list. I know these lists are meant to help others find gifts we really want—and in that way, I guess they're fine—but isn’t thinking about ourselves the opposite of what Christmas is about?
Christmas is about God coming to earth to be among us—as His Son, living as a person, in the flesh (Luke 1–3). And Jesus takes on human form with full knowledge that He will suffer and die at the end of it all (Isaiah 52:13–53:12).
God makes the ultimate investment in us by coming to earth—boldly proclaiming in spectacular action that He believes that we are worth redeeming.
Our response to Christmas should first be repentance and belief in Jesus, but second, investing in others as He did (and does) with us.
Today you have an opportunity to invest in someone else. Today, you can go out of your way to find someone who needs mentorship—a hand up in the world.
Although meeting someone’s basic needs is a moving action, I’m talking about a longer investment.
Who do you know that you could teach and serve? Perhaps this means finally getting involved in youth or college ministry, to invest in younger people, or maybe it just means reaching out to that younger friend or new Christian and being intentional about having coffee with them regularly to talk about life.
After you have thought about what you can do locally, take a minute to consider what you can also do globally.
Could you invest in microloans? Could you use some skills you have to teach another person overseas that same skill set? Here at Jesus’ Economy, investing in others is a core principle of what we're about. To help you think globally about investing in others, we created several infographics.
Now, go make it happen. Invest in someone. You could be the person that someone cites for the rest of their life as the reason they were able to overcome that horrific time, get back on their feet again, or simply succeed. Show someone the power of Jesus here and now.
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