Only God – When We Step Out

It was Christmas of 2011 and my wife Christa blessed me with tickets to see Zac Brown Band in Grand Junction, CO on June 24th, 2012. As I am a big fan of the group, I was immediately pleased and began to look forward to that date. Since we live in the SE metro area of Denver, CO the concert would be set up as a weekend date for me and Christa. With six months to plan we should be able to make it a great weekend and event. Planning? When you’re talking about investing for retirement or your kid’s college fund, planning years in advance is not only responsible, but Biblical. Day to day, week to week, month to month, His plan, not yours;

 

James 4:13-15(NIV) Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this city or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money”. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that”.

 

June had finally arrived, and I found myself on a treadmill at 5:30 AM on a Thursday. My workout partner at the time was an executive pastor at a local Restoration church. He met me on the treadmill that morning and almost immediately said “I got an email yesterday you should see”. I asked about the email and he said it was from the CEO of The Solomon Foundation, and was the job description for “Director of Construction”. This is where I disclose my profession for over 30 years at that time was in many different forms of construction. I said great, send me the email. That afternoon I read the email from Doug Crozier, several times. Could there really be a position where I could unleash all the experience God has blessed me to gain, to advance The Kingdom?

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The answer to that question is, absolutely! Just 25 short days later I found myself in Michigan at the Brighton campus of 242 Community Church, no Zac Brown concert date with Christa. It was my official first day as Director of Construction for The Solomon Foundation. I have to admit I was still a bit apprehensive as to how this was going to work. I certainly was familiar enough with the world of construction, but how was that going to mix with The Kingdom of God? As I walked through the 76,000 square foot dilapidated, former indoor tennis center it became clear to me that the church might just need someone on their side when navigating such an undertaking; renovate the existing facility, including an 8,000 square foot Café addition, School of the Arts, Cross Fit Gym, 800 seat worship center, oh, and if that weren’t enough, a full size indoor soccer field. While this was a challenging project for all involved parties, it will forever hold a special place in my heart as the first day I got to work in ministry.

 

Since that day back in June of 2012 I have been blessed to serve over one hundred churches from coast to coast. The projects have ranged from a simple rehab or tenant improvement in Carrollton, KY to a ground-up, 115,000 square foot “City Center” in Carrollton, GA. I have been blessed to travel the country alongside of several men that have given their lives to the ministry, learning to many invaluable life lessons to share in 1,500 words. I’ve seen a young pastor in a church of 150, less than 3 years old, meeting in a school, react when notified his church was going to have their own building. I watched an entire small congregation stand and applaud when they got word their loan was approved and they would soon be able to move out of the YMCA. And experienced the overwhelming emotion of a young pastor and his wife when they were told they could build the church they’d only dreamt of. And all along the way, every great moment experienced with one great take away – all the glory to God.

 

 

I’ve always been draw to the five core values of The Solomon Foundation;

 

  1. Honor God.
  2. Help people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
  3. Help our investors get a great return on their investments.
  4. Help churches get to the next step.
  5. Have Fun.

 

While to main concentration of my time is expended dedicated to core value # 4, the most important to me, not only at work, but every hour of every day, is # 1 – Honor God! In working with several departments related to construction at The Solomon Foundation; Loans, Investments, HR, and the field team, it never ceases to amaze me how often core value # 1 rises to the top. As much as the organization gravitates to performing Kingdom work, there is still a business component to consider. Human nature can dictate some mighty questionable defaults as we go through life. Repetition tends to fuel and advance those defaults. Even with all that negative spiritual energy, when you truly apply yourself to honoring God, the default shifts. I have seen grace when the circumstance could easily have justified condemnation. Forgiveness in the midst of dishonesty. Encouragement in situations where it’s well beyond strike 3. And integrity modeled in the midst of chaos and cynicism. The 30 years of construction experience could not have possibly prepared me for these experiences. Only God can bring that to light.

 

One of my greatest opportunities since entering full time ministry has been to experience the diversity of churches in The Restoration Movement. The Solomon Foundation has served many non-instrumental, African American Churches of Christ. I’ve had first hand opportunity to meet with not only pastors and leaders of these churches, but to attend many events and services where I was in some case the only Caucasian in attendance. While it would be completely dishonest to say I didn’t even notice I was the only Caucasian, it is always good to know that situation never made me feel uncomfortable. We may come from different backgrounds. Carry on differently in a worship service. And even praise God in ways that make each other wonder, but we all have one major common denominator; Jesus Christ went to the cross and died for the sins of every man. I feel blessed each time I have an opportunity to meet a new pastor, leadership and congregation. And if God can see over the walls of color, who am I to question His motives.

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We often here Christ followers say “His plan, not mine”. While I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA in a predominately Catholic and Protestant church environment, I always sensed there was so much more to faith then what I witnessed in “church goers”. I can remember being 8 or 9 years old at church, when I wasn’t in Sunday school class, watching folks stand, kneel, pray with their eyes closed and sing powerful hymns, just to leave church and treat each other badly. It didn’t seem very Godly, and certainly didn’t feel like what was “Gods plan”. Every day I thank God for the opportunity to serve. I can’t help but think about Jesus’ time on Earth, where it is written, He came to serve, not to be served. To be able to invest the majority of my time, effort and energy in ministry has been a blessing, and I pray for all to be able to have such an experience. Recently, my wife Christa has joined the Solomon Team on a part time basis, performing admin assistance. I know it can be difficult for couples to work together, as home time can be consumed with rehashing everything that is going on at the office. For Christa and I that hasn’t been the case. We enjoy our time at Solomon and the opportunity to share our work experiences, and the best part, share what God’s doing in our lives.

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Well, almost 7 years later, I’ve still not seen the Zac Brown  Band Live. But in those 6.5 years I have been blessed to be involved with an amazing team of people to serve over 200 churches and have a small part in seeing thousands of lost come to Christ. I often think back to that morning on the treadmill; “What if I hadn’t taken that step?”. There isn’t normally a long or deep reflection. I simply smile and thank God once again for the opportunity.

 

 

New Online Banking Features

New Online Banking Features

You asked for it and we heard you! The number one request over the last year has been for more robust online banking functionality. Today we are giving you just that! When you visit our website, you now have expanded functionality for deposits and withdawls for current investments and a new, seamless online application to create a new investments. We love hearing from our investors over the phone, but we also know life is busy from 9-5 and you need access to your investment anytime. Below we will walk you through the new features.

Current investors have access to our client login (top right green button on our home page www.thesolomonfoundation.org). In addition to being able to view statements, balances and investments, you can now set up one time or recurring deposits and withdrawals and change your interest preferences. Log into your account today and check it out!

 

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If you don’t remember your login, follow the links to reset. Having trouble or don’t have a login in yet? Call us at 855-873-5873 and we will get you set up.

Are you a new investor looking to open an account for the first time or are you a current investor looking to add a new investment type to your portfolio? Or perhaps a Church or organization looking open an investment or fill out a loan application? We have you covered too! Follow the path on our website by choosing Personal or Business (Church/Organization customers choose Business). The website will lead you through a series of choices to match you with the right set of forms for the type of savings account you are looking for! Be sure to check out the rates at any time too!

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If you would like to open a new retirement account, roll over an account from a previous employer or make changes to an existing retirement account with TSF, give us a call us at 855-873-5873! These can be a bit tricky and it is our pleasure to walk you through the process to be sure you get the right set of forms, and help you fill them all out. If it is outside our business hours leave a message or email us at invest@thesolomonfoundation.org and we will be sure to contact you the next business day.

If after touring the new website, you still prefer paper forms, they will be available for download. Our goal is to make partnership with TSF an enjoyable process, from the people you talk to on the phone to your experience with our website and online experience. We are here to serve you, and together we will keep serving the Restoration Movement Christian Church and Church of Christ helping them grow by getting to the next step!

DC Regional Christian Church

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Almost 12 years ago, Daryl Reed had shared in the planting of a church family in the heart of Washington, DC.  Their mission was to cultivate a congregation with a focused passion to impact one of the world’s most powerful cities for the Cause of Christ. For more than ten years these folks grew from a few dozen to more than 300 in a Sunday service.  They would bump up against these numbers for most of ten years.

DC Regional Christian Church moved from hotel sites to schools, from businesses to rented facilities…   Just 3 years ago, they were paying $ 10,000 a month to rent a middle school for a few hours a week while renting office space off-site.

While in Kansas City, sharing with other Restoration Movement leaders at the North American Christian Convention (NACC) continuation committee meeting… someone mentioned to Russell Johnson, Regional Vice President for TSF, that Daryl was having some difficulty in finding funding to help this mission to our nation’s capital.  There was an initial introduction followed up with a phone call there in Kansas City that led to a meeting on site in Washington DC.  During the months to come, Daryl, Russell were joined by Doug Crozier when the pace of this project went into overdrive.

After looking at properties that were very dwarfed in size and parking…a former 30,000 sq ft grade school with 4.3 acres on a main road became available.  It would take special negotiations… to bring this project within reach.  In the next few weeks, Doug would work with the church leadership, owners of the building and Bill Shalkowski, VP for Construction Management to bring this project within reach!

In the days leading up to the grand opening, DC Regional’s website would see more than 7,000 different hits to their site that usually see a few dozen hits.  On the weekend before their grand opening, more than 1,000 people came onto the campus for their “open house”.  The Grand Opening Sunday would host more than 600 to a congregation that has been used to seeing nearly 300!  In the days to come…TSF leaders join with a tremendous host of our investors…to see this congregation grow into a light, where darkness often has dominated!  The Solomon Foundation is honored to share the journey, encourage the harvest, and realize a multitude of new people preparing for eternal life!   Not only does The Solomon Foundation provide an exciting rate of return on investments…but an enduring dividend of changed lives!

Values Clarification

“Values Clarification”

 A few months back, our morally bankrupt societal values were exposed by two front page stories: 1) The Senate vote on the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the response to a series of unsettling videos exposing the group’s clandestine practice of providing fetal tissue to medical researchers, and 2) The killing of Cecil, the African lion, in Zimbabwe, shot with an arrow by a Minnesota dentist who paid $50,000 to have the lion lured away from his protected preserve with meat mounted on the back of a truck.  Both revelations are deeply disturbing to say the least.  The detached and cavalier way that Planned Parenthood spokespersons talked about the harvesting of aborted human infant organs for profit was stomach turning.  The flagrant violation of hunting laws intended for the protection of endangered species by a trophy-hunting narcissist is pathetic.  I would hope that every Christ-follower has righteous indignation over both stories.

Here is the more troubling thing to me about these two stories: There is far more outrage over the death of Cecil the lion than the deaths of tens of millions of infants.  The struggle to get the needed 60 votes in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood failed, while, at the same time, the image of Cecil the lion was being projected onto the Empire State Building.  At the end of the day, Planned Parenthood continues to receive its half billion dollar government subsidy to sustain their war on the unborn while the death of Cecil the lion was mourned by the masses who failed to acknowledge the tragic irony.

Pray with me, Father God, the farther we drift from Your presence, the farther we drift from Your Word, the farther we drift from the love and grace of Jesus, the more we push back on the convicting power of Your Spirit… the more confusing and complicated life becomes.  Restore us to Yourself by the renewing of our minds and transformation of our lives.  In the Name of Jesus, amen.

THE TRUTH ABOUT ISLAM

“The Truth About Islam”

 Adolph Hitler said, “If a lie is repeated often enough and long enough, it will come to be perceived as truth.”  One such lie often and long repeated is, “Islam is the fastest growing world religion.”  Despite the fact that Muslims are much more reproductive than other people groups, Islam as a religion is not growing, but dying fast, very fast.  Every day thousands of Muslim intellectuals are leaving Islam.  They are finding that Islam is inconsistent with science, logic, human rights and ethics.

More and more Muslims are discovering that the violence advocated by their religion is not an aberration, but is in fact a quest for dominance inspired by the teachings of the Quran.  They are finding that the mechanistic ritual of praying five times a day, reciting verses they do not understand, and indeed mean nothing, getting up at taxing hours of the morning and abstaining from food and water until the sunset are not pathways to becoming more spiritual, but are instruments used to control their minds.  However, the exodus from Islam is not limited to intellectuals. Average Muslims are finding that Islam is not the way to God, but to ignorance, poverty and wars.  They are leaving Islam to embrace other religions, especially Christianity.

In Africa alone, every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity.  Every day, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity.  Every year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity.  [FaithFreedom.org]

Pray with me… Jehovah God, You are the One true and living God, and Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, is Lord of heaven and earth. We pray that more and more people… the whole world would come to follow Him, be changed by Him and be on mission with Him.  Amen.

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