Enlightenment and Finances

Honoring the Memory of the Late Reverend Dr. Frederick Eikerenkoetter

 

Enlightenment has a way of moving us away from the dogmas we had previously held onto. Organized religion should be designed to free the soul, but instead it tends to bind it. Some people were shocked by Reverend Ike’s death. I wasn’t. He would often say to me, “Son, I’m leaving here.” I’d say, “Reverend, you’re fine. You’re healthy. You run three miles every day.” He would say, “I’m gone. I’m leaving this for you kids.” When I protested that we still needed him, he would say, “I’ve had enough on this side.”  Reverend Ike retired from this experience because he wanted another experience. This life is but a single experience, and to retire is to retire from an experience. And then you go in to your next experience. Reverend Ike couldn’t find anything else he wanted to experience on this physical plane and felt within his own consciousness he had reached a pinnacle. He had been able to be what he wanted to be, to have what he wanted to have, and to do what he wanted to do. He had mastered all there was for him to master, and it was time to move on. Once you’re able to be what you want to be, do what you want to do, and have what you want to have, there’s nothing new left to experience.  With his permission, I am passing on Revered Ike’s teachings.  We can learn from Reverend Ike in our own quest to find satisfaction and contentment in the world. We live in a monetized society that we get so consumed by temporal things. We are always wanting for more that it places us in a rat race. What Reverend Ike experienced before his death makes us realize, in this side of heaven, we are limited. Money is limited. Satisfaction is limited. Growth is limited. Life is limited. But the riches of God’s glory as Philippians 4:19 reveals to us — this is eternal, limitless, and boundless. It is this kind of riches that Rev. Ike was  ready for and it is the lesson we take away from his life — the pursuit of the eternal.

 

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Money is ENERGY

Why is money so powerful? Because money is energy. The energy of money is directed by the collective consciousness of the community. I dare you to start believing money is energy. I say, “I dare you” because once you believe, change will take place. Are you ready for the money you want to come into your life? We aren’t always prepared to have our thoughts manifest, and I see money trying to come to you in a never-ending cycle of increase and enjoyment as soon as you are able to start believing.

As humanity has become less and less connected to the Divine, we have put more and more of our attention into money. Making money, giving money, spending money, and hoarding money. Money is no longer a link or a connection with, or an expression of, the Divine. In many people’s minds, money has replaced God. Instead of dedicating money to the Divine, we have made money itself sacred to the point where we are worshipping it as the divine. You have to love money in divine order, because if you’re not careful, you’ll discover money has the power to create, and you’ll begin to worship it. When you do, money will start having you instead of you having it. When it has you, you cease to give it and start to hoard it in one way or another, whether it’s by saving and saving and giving nothing, or by buying more and more things.

 

Giving is proof that you have conquered greed. If you can give your money away, it doesn’t have power over you. It’s important to put money in the proper perspective so you don’t become controlled by it, possessed by it, and see your life ruined by it. You should never reach the point when you call money “evil”; if you do, you are not loving money in divine order.

 

When you give your tithe, the Lord pays attention. Jesus talked significantly about giving and money in the Bible because he knows that a person who cannot give — the person who cannot part with his wealth — is not serious about God. God pays attention to the person who is faithful with his tithes and offering, to the person who is generous, to the person who can sacrifice his wealth for God’s glory, because He knows this person truly worships Him. How do you know who is your God? Look at how you’re spending most of your money; where your money goes represent what’s most important to you.

 

 

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How much have you given to the church? How much have you given to the needy? How much have you sown into the Kingdom of God? Can you compare that to how much you’ve spent on luxuries like trips, gadgets, or even dining out?

Money is the Power to Create

When looking at these two passages (Ecc. 10:19; Ecc 5:10), it’s clear money is a far more complex thing than a simple means of exchange or a method of purchasing goods and services.

Everything has its place in divine order. God is money, and God is love; therefore, money is love. In the earthly realm, money is a symbol, a metaphor for the divine, the Creator. Like the Creator, it has the power to create and do.

So, how did money get so perverted? A possible explanation is that it gets out of sync when it is not loved in divine order. In other words, if money isn’t appreciated for both its power and its limitations, it will be misused, mistreated, and misunderstood, and we will find ourselves handling it in a way that was never intended. Because money is love, it should be used only for that which pleases God. Money itself doesn’t pervert; we pervert money.

 

If you doubt money is the manifestation of God, I ask you to read Malachi 3:8-10:

 

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.  “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’  “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (NIV)

 

In the above passage, what is it that determines whether the blessing is poured out? Bringing your tithes into the storehouse. Money has the ability to capture the presence of God. Money gets the attention of God. When we sow our seeds, we begin to disturb some things to open up some areas in our lives because even that in itself gives the prophet permission to go in and search things for individuals. The Apostle Paul said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).  An altar does not have power without an offering. In order for a pleasing aroma to go up to the Lord, you need to put an offering on your altar. In the present-day what does this mean for believers? It means you need to consecrate your lives to the Lord, and for the purpose of this discussion, you must dedicate your finances to God. How do believers do this? Your tithes and your offerings are what you must bring to the Lord.  The offering on the altar can produce a blessing. When the altar is desecrated, when the altar is empty, then the curse of the Lord will be upon the builder of the altar. What are you  producing with the wealth the Lord has entrusted to you? Think about how you can live out the  verse above, “My God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

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If you live out this truth today, what will change about how you are spending your money?

Sacred Origin of Money

People lived life without money. They existed for years without money, which tells us

money is an invention. Money was invented to make life easier for people to trade with one  another. It was getting more inconvenient to trade with other people using livestock and perishable items. Money was a tool for people to do business. It is but a tool created and  designed by God, through the wisdom He imparted among His people to establish a communal  way of life.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines money as “something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment,” but it is much more than that, and several references to money throughout Scripture beg us to look at it from a number of angles.

Let’s visit a familiar verse: A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things (Ecc. 10:19). This is the same preacher who tells us in Ecclesiastes5:10, He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

 

King Solomon gives us conflicting views about money because people gave money some form of economic, political, social, and even spiritual power that we need to be aware of. Otherwise, it overpowers us. Money can dictate futures and open doors, but ultimately,we need to recognize that money is a human invention. It is not God. It cannot take the place of God. A huge chunk of the Holy Scriptures tells us how to view and to use money for His glory. When we are able to develop a biblical perspective about money, we’ll be able to understand where King Solomon is coming from — money is a well; what you get out of this well depends on the heart of the person drawing from it.

 

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How do you see money? Check how your perspective of money correlates with your heart.

Sharing the Vision

Leaders exhibit a unique blend of charisma, of vision, and a character that attracts people to follow them. They recognize the need to attract followers. And that is for them to share the vision, the dream, the direction that goes beyond what one sees written on mission and vision statements. Leadership’s vision is evident in the actions, beliefs, values and goals of an organization’s leaders.  Leadership vision is powerful because people live that leadership vision every single day at work. Employees for example, are not just creating things or rendering their talents and abilities to make the company earn some money but they play an important role in accomplishing an even greater task. It is the role of leaders to make them see the future that they are creating with what they do today. For example, an earth-friendly company whose vision is to keep electronic junk from piling up in landfills does so by re-using them.

 

What can bring transformation in the way an employee views what he does every working day is for leaders to make it clear what the company as a unit is trying to achieve. To its effect, employees will have a better understanding that they are not just processing things to make money for the company but they are also making the world a better place to live in. Or let’s say a company or an organization directly helps charitable institutions with a portion of what the company earns. Employees having known such a vision will understand that more than servicing for the company, they are helping millions of lives.

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Who are three persons you are excited to share your vision with?

Invent a New Future

A lot of people take language as a means to describe the world that is out there—an unforetold reality of other people, of things, of the universe, and even of ourselves. We clearly say that I am this and that. It’s as though talking about ourselves as objects to be described and defined. But that doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate; it’s just one way of how we use language. Language doesn’t just have the property to describe, but as previously mentioned, language has the power to create. Through language, we create worlds into being, but not immediately as something that is real. Possibility, for example, does not originate as a reality in its beginning. Reality is something we create as real; eventually it turns into a reality.

 

What is out there—the reality, the conditions, and the circumstances of the future are things that are not considered facts just yet. They are still words that we include in our conversations. But, as long as that future is not yet today, we have a lot of room to alter those future circumstances. As we start a brand new conversation, of redeeming the negative words we say about our future, we begin to alter our future’s possibility.

 

Transformation is about inventing a future when other sees that there is no future. Life’s possibilities and actualities can change by starting to alter the words being spoken. This gives the freedom, the space to invent whatever is deemed possible. Acting and living according to the altered conversation, a group becomes inspired by supporting this newly created possibility to the point of articulating a future that even changes the way the present situation is viewed. And because people act in the way that is consistent with the future, that future is created; what was once impossible becomes possible.

 

Realizing that we live in the face of a possibility brings doubt and uncertainty that leaves us dreary about the future, making it overwhelming for us to look ahead—for possibility cannot be explained, fathomed, defined, or described. But as difficult as it may be for that possibility to turn out positive, it is at this stage when the same possibility leaves us that much room for us to exercise power and freedom to navigate through those unchartered territories and make it our own.

 

 

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What uncertainty do you want to overcome?

Leading a Group to the Created Future

In leadership, it is important to cast a vision that is existent even in language. Language is more than a medium of communicating what is at present; it can be a medium for creating a future. To create a future in language, a leader starts with verbalizing a vision, and making it present in dialogues and conversations. The heart of leadership in a sense is the ability to connect, to converse, and to discuss. Without this capacity, the lifeblood of leadership is ceased. A leader takes a group to an experience of what is possible the very  same way an artist gives us a different way of seeing a combination of colors on canvas.

 

In leadership, crafting changes that will reap its effect in the future are always started with an initiative of bringing that plan to life first by subjecting it to discussions.  A leader must be able, through conversations and discussions, to bring his group into the experience of what the vision speaks of. Without the capacity to bridge the present situations with that of the transformation that will take place, he cannot convince the group to shoot at the possibility.

 

Some of the prerequisites of a great leadership are courage, the ability to stand firmly, and the capacity to keenly observe how people decide and act, how they perform—things that are triggered by how they view the world. We are opening up new territories every time we invest ourselves in the future that we ourselves created.

 

 

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What new territories are you desiring to explore?

Integrity Matters

The word “integrity” came from the Latin word “integer” which means whole, complete, and not missing any component or part. If you think about a bicycle, if it is missing a wheel or its brakes, it won’t be able to function as they are intended. Any disruption in the integrity of something’s design, however small, impacts its workability and function (Spirtos, 2013).

 

When the wholeness or completeness of who we are as humans are jeopardized, in some way, however small, it alters our life. We may be saying to ourselves, “It’s a one-time thing” or “no one will ever know,” but these compromises are already altering the baseline of our integrity. It changes who we are. Compromise drives us farther away from the commitments we have set for ourselves.

 

When this happens, we spend time justifying ourselves. We might be spending time defending, explaining, or blaming others. When our integrity is off, we find ourselves tolerating a level of unworkability in our lives. Most of the time, it is gradual and it only occurs in small increments.

 

We never seem to fully come to grips with how much impact it has on things that are not working in our life. But somehow, we can trace the problems back to the time wherein we compromised. We can track it back to when our baseline for integrity went down to 99% from 100%. Spirtos (2013) tells us, “A baseline that was once at 100% is now 99 or 98 or 70%—and while most people don’t notice it, the difference between 99 and 100% is everything— it is in that 1% that the quality of our life alters.” The choice to uphold integrity is up to you. This matter of choice is something uniquely human.

 

 

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Rate your integrity levels for this year.

 

 

Inner Conversations

We are in conversation with ourselves most of the time. We converse with our inner selves about what is going well, what is not, what others think, what we think, what we feel, the what ifs, the how-abouts, and so on. There is a voiceover in our heads, a running stream of thinking. It is not necessarily bad. It is just that we never really get to hear what we should hear, because of the inner voice inside our heads.

We listen only through the filter of what agrees with the inner voice in our heads. This so-called inner voice is a subtle, but pervasive presence. It causes us to miss out on the full possibility of the communication. Have you ever found yourself talking on the phone, while you are talking to someone in person? While you can carry out a conversation with two people at the same time, your attention and understanding for each conversation is divided. There is a huge possibility that you would miss out, not just on the verbal communication, but mostly especially the non-verbal cues as well.

Our conversations constitute who we are, and when we know that, it

shifts our relationship to the world, the way we define ourselves—

not merely in the way we think about ourselves, but in the actual

experience of who we are. Language is inseparable from who we

are, and what gives us access to the full panoply of being human—

of creativity, of love, of resolution, of achievement, of contribution.

It’s the home, the only home, of possibility. (Zraik, 2013)

 

 

 

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Listen to your inner conversations this week with intention and purpose. Discover what you find out about yourself.

A Whole New World

As the leaders generate those kinds of futures, it is almost always beyond what anyone can fulfill individually. This is why there is power in the group. The vision of a new possibility is fulfilled in the commitment and coordinated action of the group. Collective action is the foundation for an expanded possibility (Zaffron, 2013).

It takes courage to be a leader. It is common for a leader to face being thwarted. However, a leader takes the stand for the new future, even when it is only a possibility, not yet a reality, and even when it exists only in our language. Imagine yourself in the shoes (sandals) of these prophets. They are prophesying about a future that is described to be completely different from what the audience has experienced in the past and in their present. The courage of these prophets to declare new possibilities is definitive of their leadership strength. With every word, there is meaning. Language gives the world its meaning. Our speaking impacts the world to match our words. The reality, conditions, and circumstances of the future do not exist in facts. Instead, they exist only as products of the conversations we are having. Language becomes a fundamental access to fulfilling what matters, what is important, and what is possible (Zaffron, 2013).

 

The Book of the Month Club is a powerful group that opens your mind to the strongest possibilities.  Go and join the club now!

 

Ask God for a vision of a new future that you can take a part of creating.

How Does a Situation Occur for You?

Why do we act the way we do? Why do people do what they do?  Zaffron and Logan noted that the First Law of Performance answers these questions. We do something because it makes sense to us. You act according to what you think will work. When you face a problem, your actions are intended to solve the problem, depending on how you interpret what is going on. Two people can experience the same event differently.

 

Think about this. Have you ever asked the question, “Why are they doing that? It does not make sense!” When others do something that is different to how we will react given the same situation, we are confused because it does not resonate with us. But, once we go into the world of that person and looked at how the situation occurred for him, we would experience that the same actions made sense.

 

The problem is each person assumes that the way things occur for him or her is the exact same way these events occur for the next person (Zaffron & Logan, 2009). But situations occur differently for each person. When we fail to realize this, the next person’s actions will seem out of place.

 

What do we mean by the term “occurring”? Zaffron and Logan described this to be the perception and the subjective experience of the person. The leader in us needs to understand that each person has his or her unique way by which he or she perceives and experiences the world. How a situation occurs to you includes your view of the past and that of the future.

 

It is wrong for us to relate with each other as if we are all dealing with the same set of facts. This makes them fall in reality illusion, which most of us have or are experiencing. Let’s test this. Think of a person whom you are not happy with right now. Describe this person in your mind. You might list down, “self-centered,” “does not know how to listen,” “too opinionated,” or “irrational.”

 

However, have you ever stopped to think that this is only how this person is “occurring” to you? How would that person describe you? Will that person use the same ways to describe you or does that person see you in a different way? In reality, none of us see things as they are. We only see things as they occur to us. How a situation or a person occurs to us determines the action we will do as a byproduct of this occurrence. Our performance will be dependent on the way a situation occurred to us.

 

You will take a big step toward transforming them-not merely trying to change them-if you see that you aren’t seeing them as they are. The reality illusion will try to convince you that you are. But just as it is for the rest of us, what looks like reality is only how reality occurs to you. (Zaffron & Logan 2009, p. 9)

 

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Who is someone you do not like? Transform how this person is occurring for you.

LEADING TRANSFORMATION

Individuals and groups, alike, experience problems. Whether you see yourself as a leader or not, you intend to address problems that come your way. We intend to change the situation into one that does not have to deal with problems. However, even as we do this, we find ourselves experiencing more of the same problems.

Once we solve a problem, another one shows up. Often times, as we try to fix problems, we do not experience expected results.  The reason why we are never problem-free is because the solutions we experienced only exist on a superficial level. There is something within us, a blind spot that is left untouched. This particular blind spot is often the perpetuator of the problem.

 

Zaffron and Logan (2009) tell us that for every problem, there is already a future that is already written about each of the problems we face in our subconscious. The future includes people’s assumptions, hopes, fears, resignation, cynicism, and even “lessons learned.” Even if most of us are unaware or in denial about this future, it is the context in which we try to create change for ourselves and for the groups we belong to.

 

When you ask a person what they really think will happen to them or to their organization, they live every moment as if it is destined to come about. One example of this is when an employee is reduced to going through the motions, never fully engaging in his company’s mission and vision, never taking on any politics that they believe is holding the company back. The context of their actions and their decisions is always based on a default future that they may or may not recognize.

 

 

 

The Book of the Month Club is a powerful group that opens your mind to the strongest possibilities.  Go and join the club now!

How do you see yourself rewriting the future?