Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Arsenal

I have a friend—Brad Herman—who is the owner of The Arsenal bookstore based in Colorado Springs. The Arsenal was originally founded by Peter Wagner to serve the needs of his growing ministries and at some point Brad bought it from Dr. Wagner. I met Brad in 2004 at a conference where he was selling books. Our hearts connected due to the two similarities: a vibrant love for Jesus and an intense fondness for books! He is probably one of the most read (Christian genre) and articulate person that I know, which is saying a lot due to my vast experience of meeting a wide array of believers—Christ For the Nations Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Regent University—among other places.

I received an email recently called The Supply Line, which gives an overview of key authors and resources that Brad highly recommends. This month they are highlighting a book that I strongly recommend: Church at Community by Ed Delph. The Arsenal writes concerning this book:

Finally, we want to mention an excellent resource for taking the next step of transformation in your region. Dr Ed Delph has put together a wonderful book titled Church at Community which takes aim at the fact that the church has mostly relegated itself to irrelevance in most cities. He shows that churches and individual believers must move from being church-centric to being community-centric. He also lays out four spheres of influence (1 Education, 2 Government, 3 Media/Entertainment, 4 Business) that the church needs to begin to work with as well as to bring transformation to in order to see God's purposes manifested in our day.

This book is a tome of information and thinking on transforming cultures. It is well over 300 pages, but Dr Delph does a good job of making the concepts easy to grasp. We highly recommend this for those who want to go beyond just praying for their cities, but onto having true Kingdom influence

This book has an edge to it that helps to break down our own assumptions concerning what Church should look like. I utilized this book during my Masters program at Regent University as I was developing my Cause2Impact paradigm to equip disciple-catalysts to influence their God-given sphere for kingdom Impact. The subtitle of the book also sheds light on the content of the book: Strategic Core Values that Engage Faith in Culture.

I’m not “promoting” The Arsenal and this particular book for any financial motivations. In other words, I’m not getting any percentage of the sales that comes from this website or my referrals. This isn’t an Amazon setup! Rather, my motivation is three-fold: (1) I believe in the calling that is upon Brad’s life to pioneer a kingdom business and I want to see him succeed (2) What Brad has to offer through The Arsenal can be a great source of blessings to others, including those in my sphere (3) And, I believe in the message of the book itself. Prayerfully consider ordering a copy for your pastor and/or church leaders.

Normally the book retails for $16.99, but they have a June special for $11.04. Go to their website or call them at 888-563-5150 to order this book. This is an opportunity to bless a business that is actively trying to advance and support kingdom initiatives. Whenever possible, I try to order my books through The Arsenal because I believe in the man and the divine calling behind the business.

In closing I want to highlight a principle here that might be of great value to your life. There are times when the Lord will use us as a bridge to connect two different people within our sphere who do not know each other. Prayerfully scan your social networks to determine if the Lord would have you introduce two people that are possibly called to walk together in friendship, business, ministry, etc.

No, I’m not advocating that you play matchmaker for singles!

However, word of caution regarding business connections—ensure that your friend’s services are of utmost excellence and quality. If the service rendered on behalf of your recommendation is of mediocre quality, this can become a liability to your friendship with both parties. Recommend ONLY those who do work of excellence even if they are friends very dear to your heart. We’ve had friends recommend questionable people to us in various work settings. They were a part of a “network” where they agree to recommend each other.

I guard my friendships very carefully—yet, I am also very liberal when I sense that there is definitely a potential connection. In fact, as I was writing this paragraph I learned that Brian and Joby Cunningham—true friends who are a precious couple in our TNT home group—were heading towards Car Max to look at some cars. I have a guy that I am walking alongside in discipleship/accountability who works there and is a very honest and trustworthy friend. I knew he would have their interests at heart. So I immediately called the couple to tell them to request this guy and I connected with him on his cell phone to tell him to look for them. See how this scenario worked: (1) First there was a need (a car) (2) Second there was a match (trustworthy used car salesman) for that need in terms of service that could be done with integrity and excellence.

Obviously this was an example of a potential business connection.

Do you have any stories of these types of “divine connections” in bringing two parties together that resulted in mutual blessings? Or do you have an unfortunate story of seeing a connection to the detriment of all involved? I would love to hear your stories.

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