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Showing posts from October, 2008

Puerto Penasco: A Faith Venture Future?

I am just back from a vacation with my family to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. I grew up in Arizona and some of my fondest memories are camping with other members of our church in small family-oriented beach towns like Bahia Kino or Puerto Penasco. Today, those sleepy towns are starting to grow up and attract larger American vacation crowds from the Phoenix or Tucson areas. Like many other Mexican resort cities, Puerto Penasco is a city of big contradictions. Though there are signs of a growing middle class today, Mexico seems to be made up of the very rich and the very poor. This contrast is even more glaring in towns like Puerto Penasco with the presence of vacationing Americans buying luxurious beachfront properties.

One of my big desires for a future trip is to visit some of the local ministries serving the poor in Puerto Penasco like Amor Ministries, Manos de Dios, Mission Heart Beat, and Association for International Ministries. Three of these groups are primarily focused on building h…

Entrepreneurial Rhythms

I feel like I owe an apology for letting my blog fall silent over the last two weeks. I took a week off for some much needed rest with my family. We escaped to the beaches of Puerto Pennasco, Mexico, where I had no cell coverage and internet coverage was nonexistent. Ahh…peace. My intent was to have a series of entries ready to post while I was gone. But as is my standard operating procedure, I ended up getting two weeks of work done in the week prior to my vacation. Unfortunately, my blog posts fell by the wayside.

My recent experience of this cycle of intense work followed by a vacation free from work points to a natural rhythm that entrepreneurs can harness to their benefit. This pattern reflects the rhythm of work and rest that God modeled in the creation story of Genesis 1. God spent a period of creative activity followed by a time of Sabbath rest. For entrepreneurs, I think the great danger isn’t that they won’t work hard enough to succeed, but the danger that they will work so h…

Faith Venture Focus Event Agenda

I’m looking forward to the first Faith Venture Focus Group at Bud's Warehouse this Thursday, October 16, 2008. I'm excited that the event is “sold out” with ten individuals! Our next event on Nov. 6th is also nearly full. We will plan on holding additional meetings early next year. I expect tomorrow’s discussion on business entrepreneurship for disadvantaged communities to be very interesting. Here’s our agenda for the meeting:

1. Introductions/ Lunch (11:30am to 12:00pm)
2. Brief Introduction to Belay Enterprises (12:00pm- 12:15pm)
3. Entrepreneurial Focus Group Questions (12:15- 1:15pm):
What ignited your desire to start a new business venture or to make major changes to an existing business?What motivates you?What is your own biggest strength as an entrepreneur? What do you think are the top three skills required for a business entrepreneur?What skill of your own would you like to improve the most?What’s your favorite part of a normal day in your business?What dai…

Bold Goals

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About four years ago, I set a bold goal for Belay Enterprises of creating 100 new faith venture businesses over the next five years through our urban micro-enterprise program. A few months after making that goal, it became apparent that I was out in front of God. There was no way Belay was going to assist in the creation of that many businesses during that time period because we had entered a period of unique challenges which would prevent a focus on expansion. At Belay, there is always a tension between focusing on expansion and focusing on the existing. I found myself regretting that I shared my goal with my friend Eric Swanson because he included it in his book Living a Life on Loan. There was no escaping it.

But now five years later, I realize the goal was an appropriate one. It was just my approach that needed a fix. A goal of creating 100 faith-venture businesses in five year is an excellent example of a James Collins’ type of “Big Hairy Audacious Goal.” It’s an idea that is so “…

The Gift of Work

Work, in many ways, is a gift from God. The Bible’s first words bless the inherent goodness of creative work: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NIV) God worked at starting the Universe. He created light, water, food-bearing vegetation, the sun and stars, and all the living creatures of the earth. His six days of work culminated with the creation of man in God’s own image. All that God created was very good. Then God rested on the seventh day because he “had finished the work he had been doing.” (Genesis 2:2, NIV) The Bible teaches that the Sabbath day is holy because of its relationship with work on the prior six days. (Genesis 2:3)

But a key teaching of the Genesis creation story is the idea of man being created in God’s image. As an image-bearer of God, man shares God’s inherent affinity for creative work. This trait becomes damaged as a result of sin entering the world. In Genesis 3:17, work’s creative goodness takes on a component of toil beca…

Adapt and Overcome

Our annual budget planning cycle and October board meeting has kept me from my regular schedule of blogging this week. In the midst of planning for Belay’s future in a rather unprecedented economic situation, I have a couple of observations:

In Denver, we are experiencing a business anxiety recession in the midst of a relatively strong economy. Everyone seems panicked about the future. All day long I am dealing with individuals and business people fearful about the future. A friend of mine made an observation that we are scaring ourselves into a recession. We’re in danger of becoming like deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming car. Collectively as a culture, we need to rediscover our inner drive to overcome problems and tough times. These were strengths of Americans in bygone eras. I sensed we were in trouble a few years ago when pundits were declaring the end of the business cycle. The reality is that economies have built into them the seeds of their own creative destruction. E…

Rising Above Fight or Flight

When we face fear, we face a choice. For most individuals, the choice becomes one of fight or flight. Should I buckle down and use all my human strength to get through this tough situation or should I run and avoid the problem? But this decision doesn't have to be a dualistic, even/or choice. Jesus teaches that's there's a third way that involves faith. It’s trusting in the God who knows the number of hairs on your head to protect and provide what you need. So with an active faith in God there’s no point running or hiding. God strengthens us to face our toughest situations. Indeed, Jesus teaches that the opposite of faith isn't doubt. It's worry and fear. (Matthew 6:31-34)

For individuals rebuilding lives in our Bud’s Warehouse and Baby Bud’s programs, fear often sets in at the moment of success. This reality of self-sabotage was one of the biggest surprises to me at Belay Enterprises. When an individual nears graduation from our program and starts interviewing for …

The Power of Forgiveness

Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12

Like a contagious virus, sin has a way of infecting across generations. Those that are closest to us in our families are the one's most susceptible to collateral damage from our failures. The son who has been physically abused by his father is more likely to hurt his child. The daughter of an addict becomes an alcoholic. The child abandoned by an imprisoned parent channels their uncommunicated anger in unhealthy ways.

Individuals rebuilding lives from addiction and prison aren't the only ones that need to hear Jesus' reminder to forgive as we have been forgiven. We all need to understand that forgiveness is the only way to break the power of evil. The act of forgiveness breaks the destructive cycle of blame and retribution that develops naturally in the face of sin. Richard Rohr in his book Adam's Return notes, "Pain that is not transformed is transmitted." Forgiveness helps to transform the pa…