We all make choices in life—some of which are good, some of which are bad, and others that change everything. Biju Thomas changed his entire life when he moved to the most impoverished state in India, called Bihar.
Biju went from the state known as “God’s own country,” Kerala, to a place where most don’t have proper sanitation or clean water. He moved where few had ever heard the name of Jesus. Few people from outside Bihar ever go there. To say life is hard in Bihar is to make an incredible understatement.
Transformation India Movement—which Biju leads and which is also Jesus' Economy's partner in Bihar—may not have an incredible amount of funds, but they do an unbelievable amount of work. They are drilling water wells, empowering women to be seamstresses, providing literacy training programs, offering medical periodically, and planting churches. They’re also offering several other programs.
Many people tell you their incredible visions to change the world, but Biju is living one of those stories. He is changing the world, for the better.
Biju makes you realize who you really are, and yet who you really want to be. He is humble, yet has a very strong sense of calling and purpose. Biju believes in what can be.
To live a hope filled life is to live a purposeful life. Biju lives a life that is worth living: He looks at the impoverished circumstances and sees the renewal that could be—and then he makes it happen. He sees what only Jesus can see.
When others would look at the situation of Bihar and despair about it, Biju has hope. Jesus offers him hope. It is Biju’s hope that makes me confident that Bihar can be renewed. And more than this, I know it to be true in my heart.
Join us in renewing Bihar, India.
We use every dollar exactly as you intend. This means that if you donate $100 towards a sewing machine in Bihar, India—for a training center—we ensure that a full $100 goes towards that sewing machine. We don’t take operations costs out of that $100 or credit card fees—we send the full $100.
With Jesus' Economy, your money always goes where you designate. And as you can imagine, we have some pretty complex accounting to make this happen. But because of the technology we use, we can track every dollar as it is donated—and ensure it goes exactly where you intend.
But here’s the catch. We still have other expenses. And at this point, I don’t mean salaries.
Currently, our entire leadership team donates their time, that includes Kalene Barry (our Chief Projects Officer) and myself (CEO). Down the road, we will have regular employees, but currently we do not.
Our Operations Fund goes towards things like contract services, flying to project sites, and new product purchases at fair trade prices. The Operations Fund covers credit card fees and maintaining our website. It takes care of travel expenses, and event fees. It is a large part of how we do what we do.
We use the Operations Fund to invest in growing our network, structure, and telling the story of Jesus' Economy. Its how we tell the story of artisans around the globe and develop projects like Renew Bihar, India. Our Operations Fund allows for us to make the world a better place. Investing in the Operations Fund is investing in the future of Jesus' Economy.
We make your money go where you plan for it to go. Today, I would love for you to consider donating towards the Operations’ Fund.
Thank you for considering donating towards the Operations of Jesus’ Economy. Without it, we wouldn’t be here.
Pastors in Bihar, India are facing a great challenge. There are millions of people who have never even heard the name of Jesus. I met over a dozen pastors when in Bihar—they changed my life.
One pastor said: “I lead six churches in five villages and three small groups. I also oversee five Bible studies, water well programs, an empowering women program (where they’re learning to be tailors and seamstresses), a literacy training program for children, and we’re starting a literacy training program for adults.”
I was flabbergasted too. And what's most incredible about this statement is that there was no arrogance in it. There was pure humility. He was just simply telling me what he does.
Another said: “We’re reaching out to villages who have never heard the name of Jesus” and “The message is empowering people—they’re being healed and finding a new life. This week, we had dozens of people believe in Jesus. And our church is growing so fast that we're going to have a special training session, so that we can equip leaders."
“I was very sick—nearly dead,” said yet another pastor. “Then he [pointing to a leader of Transformation India Movement, Jesus' Economy's partner in Bihar, India] came and prayed for me, and now I am well. Today, I am back to preaching each day. I am proclaiming the good news of what Jesus has done for me and can do for them.”
“There are women who are finding hope again for themselves and their children in the gospel of Jesus,” said yet another pastor. “They’re seeing that Jesus can change their lives for the better and embracing the gospel.”
The good news of Jesus is transforming lives in Bihar, India. Stories like these are just a few of hundreds.
When a person becomes a pastor in Bihar, India, they are committing to a difficult but incredibly rewarding job. They are deciding to share about Jesus and the incredible life He offers. They are making a commitment to lead programs that alleviate both spiritual and physical poverty.
God is at work in Bihar, India—through the message of the gospel. I will never be the same after spending time with the incredible pastors in Bihar who are serving Jesus.
Learn more about our efforts to train and send out church planters in Bihar, India.
I sat in a room surround by children, all wearing yellow paper hats. The group present with me had made these hats for the kids. The hats—a simple thing to any American child—represented a treasured prize to these children. The hats were a relief from the difficulties of everyday life.
I tried to be joyous with the kids, who thought I looked like the funniest person they had ever seen—with my pale white face, and Crocodile Dundee hat—but all I could think about was the brick and mud houses they were going home too.
I couldn’t imagine growing up in a village in Bihar, India. I tried, but I just couldn’t envision what it would be like. I thought that maybe I should sleep here for the night, just to get a taste for what it would be like, until I realized how dehydrated I already was. And then it hit me, until my friend Biju showed up with water wells for this village, these kids must have felt dehydrated all the time. They walked miles to get dirty water before Transformation India Movement, Jesus’ Economy’s partner in Bihar, drilled wells.
I thought about the cool water coming from my facet at home, and the hot shower I took every morning. But it wasn’t guilt that overwhelmed me—it was a sense of responsibility. I owed it to these kids to do something. I couldn’t simply look at their faces, now with yellow hats hanging over their foreheads, and forget them.
Children in Bihar have to deal with scarcity of food, unclean water, and a lack of affordable medical care. Like many children around the globe, for these kids, this is life.
That night, when the dehydration ultimately led to vomiting, all I could think about, as I hung my head over the toilet bowl, was the children. A pain that would have previously overwhelmed me simply fell to the back of my mind.
It was also this moment that made me decide to make our empowering women program large enough that the kids’ mothers could lift their entire families out of poverty through business.
Yellow paper hats stick with you.
Learn more about our efforts to renew Bihar, India.
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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