Robin Hood and 3 Forms of Destructive Redistribution of Capital

By: Jason Benedict

My family and I recently watched a show about Robin Hood.  The kids asked me if I thought Robin Hood was heroic.  I guess I do, but that takes some explaining.

One reason I like Robin Hood is that according to family lore, he and I have something in common.  We both have ancestors who hail from Nottinghamshire, England (The Benedicts supposedly settled there upon fleeing Southern France).  In general we love the Robin Hood story because Robin Hood is about justice a balancing of the scales.  The evil nobles used the power of force and government coercion (enter prince John and that despicable Sheriff) to extract money and goods from the productive, hardworking, enterprising peasants.  They then spend it on their own wasteful, and unproductive (albeit lavish lifestyles).  Robin Hood to the rescue!  He helps the peasants throw off the weight of oppressive big government.

What I can’t accept is the modern reversal in which government is seen as Robin Hood and the hardworking, enterprising business folks are seen as Prince John.  You see the system has changed since feudal England.  Dr. Walter Williams says, “Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering, and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man.”  You see a free market allows you to get a kind of credit (we call this money: e.g. Dollars) in exchange for rendering service (providing goods and service) to our fellow man.  In this system those who become the most proficient at this, amass the greatest number of credits.  This proficiency I speak of is not merely time and effort, but it also factors in strategy, wisdom, insight (cleverness), charisma, leadership, etc.  We also have corporations on the scene, another relative newcomer in world history.  Corporations represent teams of people working in – get this – cooperation, to provide service to their fellow man.

So back to Sherwood Forest – how did Prince John reinvent himself in the 21st century as a government “benefactor” of the people?  Let’s look at 3 destructive forms of redistribution of Capital (goods and money):

  1. An armed robber (perhaps a Meth addict – but at any rate an unproductive and lazy member of society) goes into a local grocery store and using coercion takes money from the small business owner (he is rich after all) – he redistributes this Capital to himself and uses it for his own consumption.  The winner – the robber.  The loser – all of us.
  2. The Federal Government uses its overwhelming powers of coercion to take money (unethical but legal) from the same small business owner (he is rich after all) – the government then redistributes this Capital, Some of it is distributed to the less productive members of society, who spend it on their consumption.  The winner – the government who is seen as a benefactor and reaps the vote as a reward thus maintaining power.  The loser – all of us.  Question – are there any incidents in which some good is done with some of this money? Yes, you can find an anecdote here and there of someone who used this “redistributed” money to accomplish some positive end*, but this is a question of efficiency and outcomes.  The net result is that we are all worse off, and this is a terribly inefficient way to get some of the money into the right hands.
  3. The Government uses its ability to borrow and/or print money and (essentially) takes cash from future generations, and in the same inefficient way they redistribute the cash that rightfully belongs to future generations of achievers.  They give this capital to the less productive members of society who in turn consume it upon themselves.  Questions – but wait a second, when the government spends that money doesn’t it stimulate the economy?  Didn’t they teach us in school that there is a multiplier effect on the economy?  Don’t we all benefit?  Let me give you an analogy – government stimulus spending is like plugging in a fan and using it to blow a windmill generator and using the windmill generator to power a light bulb, to power a solar cell to power the same fan.

So Robin Hood, what is the alternative?  Freedom!  Allow the free market to use its unrivaled economic efficiency to allocate capital to the most productive members of society.  Allow the free market to confiscate capital from the most wasteful and unproductive among us – thus incentivizing them to change their unproductive behavior (so we all win).   “If a man does not choose to work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).  Allow philanthropy and altruism to address the problems that can’t be solved by the market, but allow individuals to direct their philanthropy themselves.  When someone helps their fellow man of their own accord and with their own means this is virtue.  But when someone helps their fellow man (and themselves) with someone else’s means through coercion and against free will this is despicable.  When they congratulate themselves for this redistribution it is evil.

*Public Goods: of course there are legitimate uses of taxation for public goods: defense, justice, policing, infrastructure, etc.  Things that cannot or should not be allocated by the free market. Though these should be more at the local level than federal with exceptions.

For further insights I suggest that you investigate the writings (or YouTube ® videos if you prefer) of the late Milton Friedman, Dr. Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.

REAL Relationships

by Jason Benedict

The Bible teaches us how to love one another!  1Cor 13 is the best description of friendship I have ever seen.  I believe our culture has a deep longing for real relationships.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1Cor 13:4-7 NIV 

Furthermore, a secret of success in life and business is the ability to build lasting authentic friendships.  If you are an introvert this will take extra effort, but it’s worth it.  I believe the correlation between friendship and success is geometric. However, there is a limit to how many true friends you can really have.

Most people can only have a handful of really close, bear your soul friends, we have another larger circle of people I will call dinner party friends and another larger circle that we are friendly with (first name basis friends).  I’m not suggesting that you categorize people – please don’t!

What i’m saying is that you can only invest in so many relationships so be prayerful, intentional and strategic! We certainly see this modeled in the life of Jesus.  He had the 3, the twelve, the 70, the 120 and the crowd.  Modern research into relationships seems to indicate that you can only have so many stable relationships (see Dunbar’s Number).

Your Inner Circle

Your closest circle will have the biggest impact on your destiny. These are those we fellowship with, those who know us well.  These relationships feed your soul.  For the believer these friends need to share your faith and values.  It’s been said, you are the average of your 5 closest friends.  Paul wrote, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV

The scriptures warn us about trying to have too many inner circle friends.  A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Prov 18:24 ESV.  I believe this is true because in this level of friendship you have a tacit agreement to walk together in life.

I have found that the Holy Spirit will show you which relationships you should invest more time and energy into.  One way I have recognized this is that when I am supposed to invest in a friendship I feel a flow.  What I mean by a flow is just a sense from the Lord that confirms to my my spirit that this person is supposed to be in my life. I like the acronym REAL to describe the kinds of relationships you need more of:

  • Righteous – based on godly motives
  • Enduring – with the long haul in view
  • Authentic – without false pretense
  • Loving – 1 cor 13

Sowing Goodwill and Collecting Fruit of Friendship

Your other circles of friends will also have a big impact on your life, so make it a point to win friends.  One way to think of these friendships is more in terms of influence and goodwill.  Whereas you are walking through life with your inner circle, you are with these other circles less often or maybe only once or twice.

When you encounter these people you make a point to be good to them, to influence them for the Lord, to bless them and enrich their lives through the encounter.  You are like someone who is walking along through life and sowing seeds of goodwill.  Proverbs puts it this way, The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends. Prov 11:30 NLT.  You many not see that person again for a year, but when you do that seed will have grown you will be able to collect the fruit of friendships.  I don’t believe you can have too many of these kinds of friends.

However, There is a worldly counterfeit for real friendships that uses people as a means to an end.  This is short sighted and and self-serving and will yield bad fruit in your life. Much that goes in the name of networking falls under this category.  I want to be careful to note that not all networking is of this negative sort, so I’m not trying to taint the word.  I’m just saying the word has been tainted by selfish practice.  Be better than that! Imagine if you made it a personal policy to try and gain one new friend a week, by planting the seeds of goodwill.

The Two Trees

by Jason Benedict

In my book Eden Inc. I make the case that the Eden narrative sets the precedent for a global enterprise mandate.  That the mandate in Gen 1:26 is to extend the rule (or Kingdom) of God to the ends of the earth.  I believe the means for the completion of this mandate is enterprise.  Within this construct, the Garden of Eden is not some primordial jungle but rather a functioning agricultural enterprise that was given to Adam and Eve to accomplish a global mission.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NIV: emphasis mine)

Genesis is a rich book when it comes to developing a theology of enterprise.  We find the mandate, means, mission construct mentioned above, but we also see the introduction of satanic influence into God’s system, the resulting fall, and the introduction of a diabolical alternative to God’s intention for enterprise.

As we have discussed, God’s original intention for enterprise (insert “business” if you like) was for it to be an economic engine for His global purposes.  God was in a very real sense the ultimate entrepreneur, and he brings man in as a partner (a regent) in his operation.  This partnership was a covenant relationship that involved Adam having a daily consultation with God.  God would consult with man who would then implement God’s purposes in the Earth.  Out of this relationship of love, trust, reliance, and obedience blessing flowed intoEden and was supposed to flow into the entire Earth.  This relationship was shattered by the introduction of sin and a new order or world system.  These two competing systems are paralleled in the two trees of the garden.

The Tree of Life is analogous of covenant relationship with God (more on this later), and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Tree of Knowledge for brevity sake) is about the attempted misappropriation of divine prerogatives.   The eating of its fruit represents the inauguration of the kingdom of darkness. 

 [The serpent said] “…when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 NIV)

That tree was for God alone, and was off limits to man.  It is the “me” tree, it is about controlling your own reality, destiny and outcomes.  Conversely, The Tree of Life represents listening, trusting, and obeying.   The Tree of Knowledge is about independence, being in charge or being _____  enough (Fill in the blank.).

Branches of the Tree of Knowledge are:

  • Intellectualism: being smart enough to control destiny
  • Perfectionism: being good enough, beautiful enough or perfect enough…
  • Witchcraft: using secret knowledge to manipulate outcomes (I couldn’t think of a phrase with enough in it).
  • Machiavellianism: Trying to be powerful enough to control destiny.
  • Materialism: Being rich enough…
  • Vain Religion: Being pious enough…

We are constantly confronted with temptations to live our lives out of the Tree of Knowledge.  The world system pulls on us like gravity on a swimmer: To be passive is to be sucked under.  Go through the list above and think about the pull that these things exert our lives.  I know that they pull on me.  Just think of the blizzard of advertising we are each exposed to: you note that these themes predominate.

When I reflect on the times in my life when I was trying to go it alone (or simply slipped into going it alone), I have flashbacks of the fear, anguish, worry and strife associated with those times.  If I had to do word association I would come up with PRESSURE.  When I think about the times in my life when I have been walking in reliance upon God, the word that comes to mind is PEACE.

An Understanding of the Two Trees Applied to Finances

One of the most common ways that this worldly system manifests itself is in the temptation of riches.  This is even evident in the terminology we use.  We say things like, “He is independently wealthy,” or “I want financial independence.”  The sentiments represented by these statements stem from the world system based on the attempted misappropriation of divine prerogatives.  The desire for riches is always condemned in scripture.

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9,10 NIV

“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income…” Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV

“You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

While the scriptures summarily condemn a wealth motivation, those who desire blessing are commended.  Examples are Jabez and Jacob.

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.1 Chronicles 4:9,10 NIV [emphasis mine].

“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Gen 32:24-26 NIV.

To the casual onlooker, blessing and wealth may appear to be essentially the same thing but, there is a marked difference in the motivation behind the two.  The concept of riches as we have seen is rooted in independence from God.  The concept of blessing is rooted in covenant relationship.  For much of my life I thought that if I could just get rich enough I would be able to rest:  I could stop worrying and striving to get by, make ends meet, and support my family.  I have discovered this kind of thinking is a vain delusion.  God does desire for us to be able to rest, but that rest is the rest of relationship and not the rest of riches!

I have always been inspired by the stories of European Jewish families that escaped the Nazi holocaust with little more than their lives: The Third Reich froze their accounts, stole their art, and looted their businesses.  Yet many of these families rebuilt their wealth in one generation.  Part of the explanation for this is that these families were experts at building human capital, the other part is that though people can steal your goods they cannot steal your blessing.  Riches are temporal, but blessing is eternal.

I wish that every Christian family had a strategy to see their passive income surpass their regular expenses.  I am just saying that this strategy should be informed and motivated by a desire for covenant blessing and not financial independence.

The principles of covenant blessing are Sunday school simple, yet in their simplicity they somehow elude us:

  • The blood of Christ has established a new and living way into Relationship with God.
  • Agree with God and be blessed
  • Listen to God’s voice and obey.
  • We are blessed to make us a blessing
  • God is absolutely unique and everything is ultimately about God.

It is as simple as repent, agree, trust, worship, listen, and obey.  It seems to me that many of the Old Testament laws are meant to encourage these basic things.  This seems true of the laws governing Old Testament economics: the Sabbath, the Jubilee, tithes and offerings.  These laws would seem to have the effect of putting Israel at a severe economic disadvantage to their neighbors (competitors).

  • You must work one fewer day than your competitors.
  • You must tithe 10% of your income rather than reinvest it for growth.
  • You cannot accumulate real property much beyond one generation.
  • You cannot charge interest to your brethren.

These laws basically give Israel a handicap in all the areas that economists call the factors of production: Land, Labor and Capital.  I believe that this is rooted in a supernatural paradigm of covenant blessing that essentially says, “yes these things are handicaps, and they do put us at a competitive disadvantage naturally speaking, but we trust in God and have a covenant with Him and this fact nets us an overwhelming competitive advantage.

Applying this Understanding to the Extension of the Kingdom

Much is being written about Kingdom Business and Business as Misisons these days, and I am excited about this.  Nevertheless, we need to make sure that our businesses are realy of the right kingdom.  I believe this two trees paradigm is essential to getting our motivations right.  As I talk to people that are a part of the Kingdom business movement, I realize that we have some work to do in this area.

From a spiritual warfare perspective we need to make sure we are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices.  Missiologists are concerned with animistic syncretism and witchcraft in African, Asian and LatinAmericanChurches, and they should be.  Yet, North Americans should be just as concerned about the rampant syncretism in our churches.  We have mixed biblical truth with our own brand of materialism and this is just as idolatrous.

It is interesting that in animist, totemistic and polytheistic belief systems there are deities and powers associated with the branches of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  In these religions you find false gods of knowledge, pleasure, materialism, etc.  I believe this stems from man’s fallen desire to place his trust in substitutes to a simple relationship with God.

Finally, I think getting this right is key to the Church being able to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Transformation Paradigm

Several years ago I wrote an article form Momentum Magazine called Transformation Paradigm.  The essence is that the great commission is not only quantitative – preach the Gospel to every creature, but also qualitative – the extension of the  Kingdom of God should bring transformation.

In Luke 4 when Jesus reads from the Isaiah scroll he is linking the coming of His Kingdom to the messianic vision of Isaiah – So what should the coming of his Kingdom look like?

MomentumArticle_TransformationParadigm (click here and follow links)

The 5th Commandment and Hard Knocks U

By Jason Benedict

The idea of mentorship is extremely powerful.  We see many biblical examples Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus and The Twelve, Paul and Timothy.

In these stories we see the pattern that it is God’s intention for us to stand on the shoulders of our fathers and for us to start-off in leadership where they left-off.

The self-made man or woman is a myth.  Anyone who reaches their potential and enters their destiny has a list of people to thank.  You can’t enter your promised land alone!

We see this principle in the 5th commandment.

Deut 5:16 NIV “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Honor is key here because it is the posture of the student to the teacher.  The reality is that you can receive from people if you don’t honor them.  What this scripture is saying, is that if you are willing to posture yourself to learn from the previous generation you can avoid learning the lessons of life the hard way.

This is the first commandment with promise.  The promise here is long life and living well.  Those who fail to learn from others, and particularly from those who have gone before them condemn themselves to the hardship of Hard Knocks University.

See the diagram – Everyone goes to hard knocks U – it’s and inevitable part of life. Nevertheless, peoples outcomes are very different.  If you are diligent to gather wise godly mentors and learn from them you can have full ride scholarship and get the learning without paying the price of failure.  Others pay the full price, but at least they learn from their failures.  Others either drop out because they can’t stomach the price or flunk out (a miserable outcome) by paying the price of failure over and over but all the time failing to learn.

The Word of God is a rich repository of wisdom learn from it and from those who have gone before you, so that it may go well with you and that you may live long upon the Earth.

Copyright (c) 2017 – All rights reserve – Jason Benedict

The Church: A Prophetic Force for Transformation

 by Jason Benedict, RCE Strategist

(Originally published in VOICE for All Nations, a publication of Church for All Nations, May/June 2009)

Look up the word transformation in the dictionary and you will find thing like: a qualitative change, a marked change, an alteration of general character and mode of life.  I think of transformation as a radical alteration in the order of things.  Regardless of the exact definition used, a quick survey of scripture reveals that God is in the transformation business.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the ministry of the prophets throughout scripture.  To get a sense of this transformational language, let’s review a few prophetic passages.

God said to Jeremiah, “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)

John the Baptist quoted Isaiah 40:3 when he said, “a voice of one calling: in the desert prepare the way for the LORD.”  Verse four reads, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.”

When Jesus announced his earthly ministry he quoted from Isaiah 61:1. “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

Verse four of the same chapter continues this transformational prophecy with, “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”

If God is in the transformation business it is fair to say that you and I, his people, must be in the transformation business!  If this is the case we need to know how transformation takes place.  By discussing the prophetic ministry, we have already introduced elements of the answer, now let’s take it farther.

We live in a universe that is created by our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  This may seem Sunday school simple, but I don’t thing we really get the significance of this truth.  We need to understand that the very fabric of reality is infused with His truth and revelation.  The character and person of the Son of God comprises the metaphysical underpinnings of all existence.  Scripture says it this way, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  Heb 1:2-3 NIV)

We could express it this way, God has hardwired the universe to operate according to biblical principles, according to truth.  God created man to steward the creation (Gen 1:26), and to the extent that man operates in alignment with God’s truth, things work.  They more than work, they flourish!  However, when man lives in contradiction to God’s commands and principles, things break down and go awry.

This is where the Church must play an important role – The church is called to be a prophetic people!  During the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted the prophet Joel saying, “’In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.  (Acts 2:17,18 NIV)

Today there is a lot of emphasis on personal prophecy, and I have experienced wonderful examples of personal prophecy.  Nevertheless, this is not exactly what I am talking about.

Throughout history, whenever the institutions of society would stray from God’s purposes, word, etc. He would raise up prophets to call them back into alignment with His will and with His truth.

For example, when the institution of the priesthood was corrupt under Eli God raised up Samuel.  When kings sinned and introduced corruption into the institution of government God sent his prophets:  Nathan to David, the Judean prophet to Jeroboam, and Elijah to Ahab.  God raised up the prophet Micah to prophesy against corruption in economic institutions, “Am I still to forget, O wicked house, your ill-gotten treasures and the short ephah, [a measure of volume] which is accursed? Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?  (Micah 6:10,11 NIV)

We even see this kind of prophetic ministry in the earthly ministry of Jesus when he drove the money changers from the temple.  Many have misunderstood these verses as a prohibition of business in the church or as a warning against the evils of business.  In reality what angered Jesus was the sick irony of what was happening in the temple courts.

In Isaiah 56 the Lord says, “my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” [emphasis mine] This desire was built into the very architecture of the temple.  A special place was set aside for those from other nations to come and worship the one true God.  This place was called the court of the Gentiles.  In Solomon’s prayer of dedication he prayed, “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name- for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. 1Kings 8:41-43 NIV.  The court of the gentiles was built to facilitate gentile worship of YHWH!

Corrupt money changers had filled this very court with schemes to rip off these foreign worshipers.  Jesus was outraged to see that business, which He had created as a means to bless all nations, was being abused to keep gentiles from worshiping in His house!  So in a dramatic prophetic act he brought truth into the situation with authority and the power of the Holy Spirit.  In this event and those listed above we see a template for transformation.

When it comes to effecting transformation in a society the economic institutions are of particular strategic importance.  Business and enterprise have the potential of being sources of great blessing or of great corruption.  For example, consider how recent problems with our economic institutions have rocked all the other institutions of life both in the USA and around the world.  For this reason the Church needs to take special interest in bringing transformation to this area.  Other important institutions are: media, education, science, religion, government and family.

With regard to each of these areas God is calling the body of Christ to fulfill our role as a prophetic people and bring the truth, presence and power of God into these institutions.  This doesn’t mean that we are supposed to run around in camel hair girdles, eating locust and condemning corruption.  It means that wherever God has placed us we need to be engaged and full of the power of the Holy Spirit so that we can be a catalyst for God’s purposes.  In the book of revelation it says, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19:10 NIV)

This gives special poignancy to the revelation that Christ is in us and desires to work through us in the marketplace, the courtroom, the classroom, the living room, the press room and the laboratory.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, John said it this way, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1John 4:4 NIV)

Paul said, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2Cor 10:3-5 NIV)

What are the weapons that God has given us to bring transformation to the different institutions of society?  They include proclamation of truth, demonstration through good works and dominion through excellence and creativity.  Other weapons in our arsenal are the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.  So, how can all this work together to bring transformation?

An area of research that I have followed with some interest is the use of multi-factor modeling as a forecasting tool.  Simply put, those who are trying to forecast outcomes in business, economics, the environment, and other domains. have found it useful to try to develop comprehensive models that take into account all the factors (multi-factor) that influence a certain outcome.  One area where this is used is in the forecasting of economic growth and productivity.  For example, someone might say, to experience economic growth we need more skilled labor and more capital.  A multi-factor approach would contend that you also need to consider the impact of:  Natural resources, governance/freedom, infrastructure, social capital and human capital.  Each of these things contributes to the equation.

Similarly, I think we need to consider a multi-factor approach to bringing transformation to businesses, communities and nations.  In recent years there has been a call to prayer, and this is a great start, but the body of Christ needs to impact all of the following factors if we want to see transformation.

  • We need to train, coach and mentor godly leaders for each of the institutions of society.  Business, media and government seem to be of particular importance.
  • We need to get the word out to the grass roots.  Rank and file Christians for the most part don’t realize that God wants them to engage society, and that He has a plan for what they do Monday-Friday.  Only one in ten evangelicals have ever heard a message from the pulpit on God’s purpose for the marketplace.
  • We need to see a reformation in the institutions.  This is an overhaul of systems, strategies and structures to bring them into alignment with God’s purposes: Government God’s way, Business God’s way, Family God’s way, etc.  This will happen as believers in the power of the Spirit, use God’s creativity, insights and power to take dominion where God has placed them.

I hope that this understanding will fill your Mondays with new meaning.  When you show up you are God’s force bringing his Kingdom, power and life on the scene. However, one principle we need to remember is that transformation should begin with us.  To be effective we need to spend time in the secret place where we are transformed by His word and His presence.

Jason is a contributing editor with Momentum Magazine.  He serves as a missionary with Go To Nations and works as a strategist with the Regent Center for Entrepreneurship in Virginia Beach.  He has written a book on business as mission titled Eden Inc.

The 4 Barriers

This is an article published in Momentum Magazine back in Sept 2007

The four barriers are:

  • The Spiritual Barrier – Supernatural Resistance to the Gospel
  • The Sociopolitical Barrier – Organized Resistance to the Gospel
  • The Logistical Barrier – Logistical Challenges (E.g. Lack of Mobilization)
  • The Cultural Barrier – Barriers to Understanding and Acceptance

MomentumArticle_4Barriers (click here and follow links to pdf)

The Chasm of Unmanageable Risk

The Chasm of Unmanageable Risk: Why Foreign Direct Investment in Africa is so Challenging

Back in 2003 I developed a conceptual model for some of the challenges associated with investment in Africa.  Here is a summary:

Ignorance (on the part of the potential investor)

  • Business Environment
  • Legalities
  • Culture

Workforce Challenges

  • Education Levels
  • Types of Education (wrote vs. critical thinking)
  • Lack of Experience

Communication Challenges 

  • Language(s)
  • Infrastructure deficiencies (ICT)
  • Worldview differences


  • Systemic
  • Other

Part of the solution to mitigating risk is understanding it.  Strategies can be applied to each of these risk areas.  Business development and FDI into productive sectors are essential for development in Africa.  Philanthropy is good (although not in all cases) entrepreneurship and investment are better.

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