The Management Style of God

People who have a low opinion of others will not expect much out of people.  Leaders with this mindset will not inspire others to perform at their best.  People know instinctively what we think of them.  If we have a low opinion of others, people will generally sink to that level of low expectations.

Confidence placed in us creates the potential to rise to the occasion.

The best managers I have worked with in building construction had the innate ability to place faith and confidence in other people to the point that subordinates did not want to disappoint that person, but would work willingly and diligently hard, to rise to the task at hand, to please that inspiring manager.

God has the highest opinion of people because He created us.  Only someone who had the highest confidence in the potential of people…empowered by His Spirit…would enlist them into precarious adventures of faith like that of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Deborah, Huldah, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, or Paul.

The creative component of invention in the narrative stories of faith in the Bible appears to us to be at the outer edges of innovative originality, precisely because these supernatural storylines rise to the highest level of faith and confidence God places in people…in the elevated realm of divine leadership theory where God lives, functions, and operates.

The biblical narrative stories of faith are at the top tier of creative imagination because they are simultaneously at the highest optimum pinnacle…the divine level of confidence and faith in the character potential of people (2 Th. 1:10)…when led and guided by the Holy Spirit.

By virtue of the individual callings and revelation of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts, God places confidence and validation in us.

The challenging elements of our adventure of faith tell us God thinks we can come through.

This validation from God at the outset of our adventure of faith, which is unconditional and not dependent upon future performance, is a part of the driving force that motivates people in the biblical narrative stories of faith to assume any challenge and take on any task…no matter how high is the personal cost or how thorough is the change in their worldly normative plans.

This is the positive half of the danger zone of surrendering up to God our entire claim to worldly conventional normalcy (Heb. 11:13-16).

This is a key element in an adventure of faith…that God’s faith in us makes us want to be better…to do better…willingly and voluntarily once we catch the vision of our calling of God.

This is an integral part of every biblical adventure of faith.

Amazingly, this universal concept also now emerges as modern discoveries in fields as wide-ranging as education, parenting, athletics, organizational theory, and business management.

This is evidence for the presence of God in the ancient callings of the people of faith…starting with the detailed life-script for Abraham.

This inspired, transforming concept in human experience does not occur in a vacuum.

Its origin is certainly not attributable to evolutionary gradualism…there being no transitional precursors leading up to it in recorded history.

The singular uniqueness of the concept of the cross of Christ that displaces our plans with God’s higher plans…to create a new context where God can place faith in us (not to be confused with the capacity for faith that God created within us…Rom. 12:3b)…is what separates these biblical narrative stories of faith from the rest of the field in religion and philosophy.

There must be an active force that propels pure motives and produces exceptional outcomes.  That force is the attractive good character and will of God…expressed through ingenious life-scripts exhibiting loving faith and confidence in people possessing new spiritual hearts capable of exercising faith…led and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God.

The angel Gabriel comes to the city of Nazareth to speak to Mary to tell her that she shall conceive a son in her womb who: “shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lk. 1:32-33).

Mary then asks the common question of everyone who is called of God: “How shall this be…and in her particular case…seeing I know not a man?”  The big question is how…how shall this be?

The answer to the question of how, for every biblical person of faith, then and now, is a supernatural, God-composed life-script…which becomes actualized into reality.

Assuming that Mary at this time is about fifteen or sixteen years old, the biblical passages here say that she is a virgin and espoused to Joseph.  She is too young to have done anything exceptionally good or bad on a large scale.  Her life up to this point cannot be classed in the categories of being a small, medium, or large “business” enterprise.

Her life is a blank canvas ready for God to paint a beautiful portrait.  It is a rough-hewn block of marble ready for God’s artistic imagination to chip and chisel away the horizontally conventional pieces of culturally accepted normalcy to create a timeless masterpiece.

Mary is about to enter into the largest imaginable enterprise of an adventure of faith…to rival any in all of human history.

The life-script for Mary the mother of Jesus Christ is complete, entire, and pre-written by God the Father, above anything Mary could or would have imagined.

The God-composed journey of faith life-script for the perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ, by definition would have to be exceptionally unprecedented, starting with a miraculous inception and incarnation into this world.

The very legitimate “how” question of Mary is answered through a supernatural, unparalleled adventure of faith that in the deepest sense confirms the words of Gabriel: “blessed art thou among women” (Lk. 1:28).

God knows in advance that both Joseph and Mary are able to rise to this occasion of enormous responsibility, and God the Father is there with them at each critical step of the way with His help, guidance, and provision.

This is the divine management style of God.

Giving Up Ourselves to a Larger Cause

The idea of adhering to a life-script plan composed in conformity to the natural moral law that governs all right behavior, and in conformity to the Golden Rule to love others as ourselves, finds perfect expression in the words of Jesus spoken in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:44).

Amazingly beyond all human comprehension, even the wishes of the Second Person of the Trinity to forego the upcoming challenge of the cross are overridden by the rightness of the life-plan that culminates in Jesus hanging on a Roman cross on Passover Day in Jerusalem…as the Passover Lamb of God atonement for the sins of mankind.

This is simply beyond human creative invention.  Its moral stature of self-sacrifice for the benefit of others is at the highest level imaginable in the spiritual world of God…where loving and supportive relationships are the norm.

The classic point at issue here in going our own way, for every single person in every era of human history…is roughly the same similar issue that confronts the small business owner faced with the challenge of successful company growth.

The mindset of: “I have to do everything myself because I am the only one who can do things right” permeates the human race.  It is correctly identified as sin, exclusively and only in the Bible…because it separates us from God and makes us spiritual rebels…rogue independent agents.

“Turfism”…the idea that this is my turf and everyone else stay out…is a self-centered and constricted viewpoint that will block successful company growth…growth achieved through the new required attitudes of team-spirit, delegation of power, sharing of information, and inspirational confidence in other people to bring out their best.

What works and will get us by…at a bare minimum…in the small business enterprise is exposed as woefully inadequate in the larger business environment.

God wants to take us into a larger place (2 Sam. 22:20; Ps. 118:5).  To do this right He has to create the life-script that will displace our own set-in-concrete ways and routines with a larger and better plan.

Journeys of Faith are Complete, Non-Partial Wholes

The concept that a biblical journey of faith is in place and ready to go…fully scripted within the mind of the Composer God… before each person of faith is initially enlisted into their unique calling and before the action begins…is universal in the pages of the Bible yet found nowhere else in human philosophy, religion, or experience.

Self-realization through a self-propelled program of good works, in the eastern religious sense, is the humanistic counterfeit version that falls far short of the guided tour into all truth that is divinely packaged in a God-composed, compact, biblical-quality journey of faith.

The biblical narrative stories of faith, as experienced through preplanned programs of divine origin, are pathways leading in the opposite direction from the self-realization foundation of randomly discovering truth by learning from our mistakes through fate or chance encounter alone.

Responding to whatever comes our way in life by chance…in the reactive mode…is the underlying theme of every modern literary work of fiction and non-fiction in every genre from romance novel to spy thriller to autobiography to theatrical play.

Preplanned, proactive business models for life having God-composed storylines as their basis…belong exclusively to biblical journeys of faith.

Journeys of faith actively guided by God, where His storyline displaces our worldly conventional storyline, cannot be found anywhere in literature outside of the Bible.

This makes logical sense.   The two domains of reality…conventional and divine…are miles apart.

The Anthropic Principle (1973) in the scientific fields of astrophysics, chemistry, and mathematics tells us that within split-seconds after the Big-Bang creation of the universe, all of the required particles were in place in the right quantities and proportions to permit the existence of complex life like ourselves, billions of years later.

The Joseph “novella” in Genesis 37-50 in the Bible is considered to be one of the great pieces of literature in all of history…a brilliant short story of depth, characterization, pace, plot, and theme to rival anything in modern times.

Like the advance forethought that underlies the Anthropic Principle…of the unimaginably tight arrangement of ingredients essential for future life being put into place eons before complex life actually emerges…in a similar way the singularly imaginative life-script for Joseph comes from God fully formulated and ready for Joseph to step into…without any required collaboration or prior input from Joseph.

The story of Joseph in the Bible has not the slightest hint of a retroactive business plan assembled and implemented in the spur of the moment…mid-stream within the storyline itself…as the result of a hastily discovered need for random, reactive, trial-and-error pragmatism.

Premeditated foreknowledge of where Joseph will eventually end-up, and how to rightly get there within a brilliantly planned and paced series of events, is the through-line of the story.

The first five books of the Old Testament were written sometime between 1,450 and 1,250 B.C. by Moses and a team of learned Hebrew scribes coming with him out of Egypt, during the 40-year period of wandering in the wilderness.

This is approximately 3,000 years before Shakespeare, and about 3,200 years before the development of the modern fiction novel, without anything of equivalent literary quality in-between.

All of the storytelling literature between the close of the writing of the Hebrew Bible around 400 B.C., and Shakespeare in the early 1600’s A.D., are of pre-modern, intermediate quality.

The ancient presence of highly developed, modern quality, God-composed life-scripts starting in the book of Genesis…is evidence of a pre-planned structure and framework of information for personal character growth that God already anticipates in the storylines He has crafted.

If God through His Spirit enables a person to successfully complete the joint-venture journey with Himself alongside each step of the way, He also pre-plans the precise route that journey will take.

The concept of God-composed life-scripts, complete and ready to step into, is also evidenced in the total absence of human collaboration in the initial composition of the messages of the prophets to the Israelites and to other nations…as recorded in the Old Testament.

God knows exactly what He wants to say through the prophets, and instructs them to go…and to stand…in the gate to the city, or in the public square, and proclaim these words exactly as given.

This precise definitiveness allows for no progressive, trial-and-error randomness.

The divinely inspired message of the prophet must be right and perfect the first time…to withstand the test of time…which is outside of horizontally limited, conventional human foresight.

Psalm 22, written by David, with its pinpoint, precise, detailed prophecies is an example of this.

We Need a Spiritual “Business Plan” for our Lives

An instructive observation about the Bible is that there is no collaboration in the conceptual portion of a God-composed journey of faith life-script.

God does not sit down ahead of time with Abraham in Haran and get his creative input on how best to become the “father of faith” example for all of mankind, both Jews and Gentiles, in a life-plan of such exceptional quality that it has stood the test of time for over four thousand years (Gen. 12:2-3).

Even today the life-script of Abraham remains far above worldly conventional understanding (Dan. 12:10).

The first fully developed walk of faith recorded in the Bible was not a trial-run collaboration between Abraham and God.  It was not a progressive, pragmatic evolution of “let’s see if this or that approach works out okay, or not.”

A biblical-quality walk of faith is a fully formulated program containing complex information tightly integrated and rationally sequenced without any hint of trial-and-error randomness…even with human mistakes and failures factored in.

It is a gift of God “fully assembled” and “ready to use” right out of the box.

People normally do not have a detailed blueprint for growth for their small companies or for their personal lives…because they do not know in advance what they will need.

But God does.  God knows the desires of our hearts and minds better than we do.  He created us…we did not create ourselves.

The scriptures tell us that He loved us before we loved Him…that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).             Included in this salvation package of divine love is a detailed “business plan” for life that is perfectly tailored to each one of us, through the long-range foresight and brilliantly creative imagination of God.

Like the example of the construction company perilously caught unprepared in the middle of rapid business growth, we need a complete program in-place and ready-to-go beforehand.

Like the absurdity of trying to assemble an airplane while in flight, it is difficult to implement and integrate a business plan for change retroactively after the fact.

Like trying to change from driving automobiles on the left side of the road to the right side gradually, causing mid-road collisions and pile-ups, a trial-and-error, trial-run phase introduced mid-stream during expansive growth…has too much time-consuming, back-and-forth iteration to be error-proof and trouble-free.

Human life on earth is too short for gradualism.  We don’t have the time to waste on wrong turns, dead-end destinations, or throw-away, “junk” trial-run missteps.

Evolution through blind, trial-and-error chance is not the way.  Our God-composed life-script must be right the first time…ready to go…straight out of the package without assembly and no tools required.

It must have all of its parts in place and fully functioning once lift-off is achieved and we are flying at high altitude through the air.

Every parent I have ever spoken with, regarding the raising of their now grown-up children, looking back in hindsight, have said that if given a second chance…if they could do it all over again…they would do it differently and much better.

Yet God gets the narrative stories of faith in the Bible perfect the first time…even while working with the most daunting of human mistakes and the most potentially bewildering complexity of “soap opera” circumstances (Gen. 16:2; 1 Sam. 1:8; 1 Kings 19:10; Lk. 22:61-62).

This is a powerful argument for why the Bible and its narrative stories of faith are divinely created.  These biblical stories of faith are not trial-and-error epiphanies by the main characters through random chance, fate, or serendipity…as is the case for all humanly composed, fictional book storylines.

Each biblical story is precisely set-up in advance and ready to go, with forethought and creative imagination at the pinnacle of originality and moral depth, from the very beginning.

The narrative stories of faith in the Bible are too complex and too saturated with purpose to be anything other than premeditated by an Intelligent Designer of incredibly creative and artistic imagination in the difficult genre of moral truth and right conduct.

A biblical-quality, God-composed journey of faith cannot rationally be interpreted as a humanistic, random-chance search strategy falling into pragmatic place of its own accord.  A God-composed life-script is premeditated, preconceived, and preplanned in a way that is higher than our worldly conventional thinking…and that transcends above everyday normalcy as only a Creator God could invent and pull-off successfully.

The life of Jesus is perfectly sinless throughout as the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for mankind’s sin.

This divinely composed life-script is not a trial-and-error series of iterations…not a series of evolving “oops, that didn’t work, let’s try this instead.”

The composition and execution of the life-plan of Jesus is perfectly complete in its intended mission and outreach the first time through, even amidst trials, temptations, and hostile pushback of every imaginable kind and intensity.

Building Our Own Stairway to Heaven

When the time came for the critical transition from talk to real action…to implementation of much needed beneficial reforms…the owners of the housing construction company failed to realize they themselves were the primary bottleneck to company growth…requiring radical organizational and managerial reform.

Through delegation of authority, through the management style of pushing power downward within the company, and through a radical, 180-degree turn-about in leadership style, employees would be empowered to autonomously shoulder some of the decision-making that would bring out their best self-motivated performance and enthusiastic commitment to their work.

Ironically and unfortunately, however, the company owners became the single major source of resistance and pushback to these proposed beneficial changes…that they themselves originally commissioned and endorsed.

The human tendency to take reform concepts, and partially set them aside or shave them down to conveniently fit within our already established program, is partly what Paul is talking about in Romans 10:3…”For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

We cannot take preferred bits and pieces of the precepts of God to suit ourselves, and then attempt to build our own stairway to heaven using partially selected components (see Mk 7:9).

Each and every piece must be included and be in the right place to produce a functional staircase.  Partial construction according to our own short-sighted program will not work.

A biblical-quality, God-composed journey of faith life-script is a larger, expansive business plan by God’s intentional and purposeful design.

Venturing with God out into the larger scope of the new territory of godliness in action, a territory by definition completely unfamiliar to us, requires a fundamental change in our discipleship outlook in the all-important areas of who is in control of our lives, who has the power as the new general manager, and who maintains sovereignty over the new expanded program (Isa. 55:8-9; Prov. 3:5-6; Mt. 16:24-25).

There is a night-and-day difference, in practical application and concrete outcomes, between changing a reform program to fit neatly within our settled ways of doing things, versus allowing the reform program to instead radically change us.

This is the essence of the reform program contained within the saying of Jesus regarding “new covenant” discipleship: “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mk 8:34-35).

If the stagnation of the status quo wins-out…because people pushback against beneficial change…then nothing will improve and things will stay the same.

The analogy to a rapidly growing housing construction company applies here to all Spirit-born Christians today.  If we continue to do things the same way then we will simply get more of the same results.  God has to displace our ways…with His higher life-script for us…if anything meaningful is to happen.

The importance of a changed program within the biblical narrative stories of faith is a concept that all humans have difficulty seeing and understanding, as evidenced in the construction company owner’s eventual negative response of pushback to the need for change in their company, preferring to stay within the comfortable mindset of their established, small-business routines.

If we decide to take up our cross and to follow Jesus, he then says: “Come.”  God will then insert a divinely crafted life-script into our lives that contains everything of value…purpose, direction, love, support, inspiration in time of need, patience, forbearance, forgiveness, service to others, inner peace, order, organization, hope…and character growth obtained through a singular, challenging mission that we could never dream up on our own.

And God can do this starting in the exact place we currently find ourselves.  Our part is to surrender, pray, listen for instructions, and be patient.

In business, sometimes cheap isn’t always the most economical.  We have to spend money to make money.

The gain we make through an investment in God’s eternal business plan far outweighs our initial cost in picking up our cross and following the resurrected Jesus.

Paul instructs the Christian: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

The Holy Spirit Will Guide You into All Truth 2

If all of God’s communications with the people of faith in the Bible were verbal only, then these communications would dissipate into the atmosphere after they were spoken, and we would be left only with oral legends of the mighty works of God and of the life-stories of the people of faith in the distant past.

Equally important, if all of God’s communications with the people of faith in the Bible were verbal only…but also only applied specifically to each life-script storyline without having universally timeless relevance and application beyond the life-scripts of Abraham, David, or Paul…for example…then recording the themes and life-lessons of these divinely composed life-scripts would have little value other than as interesting reading.

By committing journeys of faith into written form, with all of the relevant backstory details and character growth issues, God lays everything out on the table for believers newly embarking on their own journeys of faith…and in doing so confirms the high value of their timeless relevance for Christians today.

Without the Bible, we would have no written record with which to gage the correctness of our own Christian journeys of faith, especially when we are at the beginning, training phase of taking up our cross to follow Jesus.

Without a standard to go by, the newness of surrendering our own will-and-way to God’s higher ways would and usually does generate doubts and questions…compared to our comfortable familiarity with expected worldly conventional norms.

In Luke 24:13-32, the story is told of Jesus on Resurrection Day overtaking two of the disciples as they walked towards a nearby village from Jerusalem called Emmaus.

The identity of Jesus is miraculously hidden as He enters into their conversation about the recent events of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth who was “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people” (Lk. 24:19).

The two men say: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done” (Lk. 24:21), and then go on to state that women they knew went to the sepulcher early and “found not his body,” had a vision of angels, and that other men then went to the sepulcher and confirmed that the tomb was empty.

While still not recognizing Him, Jesus alleviated their doubts and confusion by using the scriptures to validate and clarify the rightness of His life-script and the totally unconventional “way of the cross.”

Jesus appealed to the written record: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lk. 24:27).

Jesus explained Himself, His actions, and the perplexing events of the previous three days, out of the scriptures.

Even though He told the disciples in advance that He would suffer, be killed, and rise the third day, they were too stuck in the expectant mindset of a triumphant Son of David messiah ruling and reigning in Jerusalem to see a different, better scenario.

God’s “business plan” for growth featured redemptive salvation and a new covenant relationship with believers on a universal basis, extending and ongoing now for two thousand years.

The confusion these two disciples expressed on the road to Emmaus, about the ways of God at this very beginning of the new covenant age, epitomizes and accents the novelty of the danger zone of a walk of faith that rises far above worldly conventional normalcy.

The way of the cross was…and still is…not fully understood because it is so contrary to worldly conventional thinking.

Cleopas and his friend, on their way to Emmaus, were basically saying: “we are sincerely confounded and discouraged by the cross.”

They didn’t say: “Of course we understand all this…the ancient tradition of the Passover sacrifice is a preview through all of the preceding centuries of the recent sacrifice of Jesus only a few days ago for the sins of the entire world…past, present, and future…and we expect Him to resurface any time now because He said ‘destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up’…also, we have Psalm 22 and Proverbs 3:5-6 memorized.”

Cleopas and his friend did not understand the concept of the way of the cross even on the day of the resurrection.

This is why we need the Bible as the written record of the higher ways of God, and why Jesus as the living “Word of God” (Jn. 1:1), appealed to the scriptures in validating and clarifying His own experience of the way of the cross to these two disciples on the very day of His resurrection.

Luke 24:32 summarizes the value of the Bible in written form as the guiding standard and confirmation of the novelty of the way of the cross in the lives of Christians today:

“And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

The Holy Spirit Will Guide You into All Truth 1

If we, as born-again Christians, are walking in the Spirit, are in the place where God wants us to be, and have our spiritual eyes and ears open, then the Holy Spirit can lead us into “all truth” (Jn 16:13) in any environment…at our widely differing secular workplaces, in our homes and social lives, and in our unique and singular Christian ministries.

The Holy Spirit can divide and separate out for us the subtle and nuanced differences between right and wrong, between good and evil, and between best practices and poor practices in every imaginable environment.

When translated into spiritual and moral application…when we take personal ownership of divinely inspired moral strategies for life through the discovery and practical use of  truths regarding the knowledge of good and evil…this will set us free for all eternity according to the scriptures (Jn 8:32-36).

The concept of the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth…with our feet firmly grounded in reality through the most rational of divinely guided, down-to-earth, real-life events and circumstances…is a central motive force within every narrative story of faith recorded in the Bible…and every contemporary Christian adventure of faith today.

It is one of the components in a biblical walk of faith that authenticates the God of the Bible as the one, true, living God intimately at work in our present broken world, on a one-to-one, personal basis (Jer. 31:31-34).

It is the concrete, rational element to our supernatural relationship with Jesus Christ that connects God to people through the authority of lived-experience.

The Holy Spirit leading people into all truth is above and beyond anything we could invent or procure on our own, which the skeptical world of unbelief looking on in ignorance from a safe distance labels as “subjective” and “relative.”

What I learned over time through the experience of trying to reform this company’s field operations…opened up for me  a better understanding of a common theme regarding discipleship shared by all of the people of faith recorded in the Bible.

What these construction company owners were unknowingly saying and thus not clearly articulating was: “create for us the new, required management control tools, for our expanded business operations, so we can take them over and implement them ourselves in a way that does not interfere with our current established routines.”

What was never openly considered or plainly spoken during my initial job interview, or during several subsequent strategy meetings over time…and thus difficult to uncover until using after-the-fact hindsight much later…was that subconsciously the construction company owners never intended to delegate power, broaden authority, or give up control.

Absent a definitive business plan for growth upfront, spelling out in detail specific areas needing change from top to bottom including their own routines and practices, they were then free to assume that the current status quo power structure would continue to be “more of the same” but on a bigger scale.

This is where the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible shed much needed light on our individual callings as Spirit-led Christians today.