clouds

Why should I care if Jesus returns?

Last week Mike woke up with a dream in which we were called to Jerusalem by our friend Mike Bickle from the International House of Prayer. When we got there, we were divided into groups and Mike Bickle told us to begin to pray. We had the feeling it was connected to the return of Jesus. Then Mike told us to stop and we began again the next day.

Kind of a strange dream, but also awakened the teachings we had gotten years ago at the House of Prayer regarding end times. How does that apply to us? What would we do differently if it were happening tomorrow? But then, like all those dreams you’re not quite sure what to do with, we wrote it down and tucked it away for thought another day.

Last night I was at a Leadership Advance Conference at Bethel Church and a surprise guest was asked to come up on the stage and tell about some dreams she had been having. She told the story about the recurring dreams she’s been having about the return of Jesus. Her name is Tracey Evans and she left this area years ago to take care of villages in Mozambique; which is an amazing story if you ever have time to read about her.  In her dreams, Jesus returns on a cloud of glory and the cloud resembles sparkling gold, similar to the cloud that was present in the church a couple nights ago of swirling gold dust. (yes, that really did happen in our church).  In her dream, people kept trying to stop her from concerning herself with the return of Jesus, saying it’s going to happen, but just sit down, and have yourself a cup of coffee, don’t worry. To this day she doesn’t drink coffee to remind herself that she needs to always be aware of His return and to live her life as if He will return today! She then asked us “What are the gifts you will lay at the feet of Jesus when you see Him? When He asks ‘What have you done with the gifts I have given you?”

First of all, she just kind of comes in and blows my socks off! Many times I get so distracted by the little things of life, and totally forget that I’m on this planet to love and be loved by God and that some day He really is going to ask me what I did with what He gave me. Listening to her helped me to get back on track again. What would I do differently? How would I live my life in a more intentional way if I knew He was returning tomorrow…or very soon? Here’s what I’m thinking about today:

Wake up every morning full of thankfulness for His love and His gifts, especially my family.
Going out every day knowing not to worry about tomorrow because if I focus on today, God’s going to help me live well today, have divine encounters, and love on the people He puts around me.
Slow down! So that those around me know they are loved, so that I can know what their hurts are and how can I pray for them?
I want to be able to have time to stop and pray for people, to give them an encouraging word, to take them closer to Jesus, not think “wow, I’d love to talk, but I’ve got a schedule to keep to!”.

Can you imagine what the marketplace would look like if we all did that? I don’t have to go out and do a crusade, just slow down enough so that everyone God puts in my path today feels loved today. Wow. I know this is possible. I know God wants this.  Now I just have to live it.

What would you do?

Hope to see you all at the office on Friday at noon to pray for the marketplace and thinking differently about the return of Jesus.

Blessings,

Robbie

Frank consulting marketplace miracles

Our Story Behind Marketplace Miracles

Many people have asked us why we do what we do. Here is Mike’s explanation of what we think it is:

My wife Robbie and I were visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Incline Village on the shores of Lake Tahoe in Nevada, one of my favorite places to vacation.  Our daughter Amber and her husband had just moved into their new condo and they had a spare bedroom that we could stay in.  I’m always very tired when I go to the mountains because of the skiing and the altitude difference.  So that night I was sleeping hard.

On the way down to Tahoe, Robbie read out loud to our son Christian and I, the story of Amy Simple McPherson and the miracles that happened in their lives.  Robbie was just finishing ministry school and I was very actively pursuing a company I had started called Vy.   We were starting to come to grips with the reality that there really are miracles today and wondered what our contribution would be to that.

When I went to sleep that night I wasn’t focused on anything other than my family and skiing and having a vacation home in Tahoe!  When I’m skiing I go to another place, where it’s physical, fresh air, and I can make choices that don’t affect anyone but me.  A lot of times God wakes me up in the night to speak to me, but this time He was using that period just before you wake up where you are semi conscious, it’s quiet, no sound or distractions, and I was wanting to sleep a little longer and not wake up. But, I knew His familiar voice, and because of the topic I knew it must be God wanting to get my attention on something.  I tried to stay focused and just relax.  I didn’t know where it was going so I didn’t get excited, I just kind of flowed with it.

There were 3 distinct things that He was impressing upon me.

  1. The first and probably most important was that He said, “I’m about to release some miracles in the marketplace for people that are looking for them.  And I want you to create a receptacle or a repository of all the miracle stories that are going to happen.  The mental image I had was that it was like a giant bowl, and  as God released miracles in businesses, we were supposed to capture, record and place them in this receptacle, so that there was history and evidence of how He’s currently moving in the marketplace.
  2. The second one was that there was supposed to be a book about this phenomena and the book was going to be targeted mainly about the marketplace people and it was talking about how the supernatural came, the miracles that resulted and the testimonies that were on the receiving end.  I really felt like it had to come from Bethel Church in Redding because:
    1. They’ve taken so much ground and have been the forerunners on modern day supernatural signs and wonders.
    2. God really wanted to use the megaphone that he had created at Bethel Church because of their following and their network of churches that are fellowshipping with them.
  3. The third one was that He had uniquely qualified me and raised me to help develop content that would be taught and used to engage, empower and release marketplace ministers.  It didn’t really feel like it was to start a school, it was more to take the existing people in the marketplace and help them with content.  It could be in any medium; it could be writing, dvds, cds, workbooks, conference related and live.   I didn’t argue with the Lord on this one, because I always felt like I had something to contribute there.  Out of the three this one made the most sense, but still I was super reluctant to  just say yes in my spirit because I was spending full time running Vy and I hadn’t really established any relationships with anyone at Bethel.  It almost felt like I was supposed to carry this and maybe discuss it with other guys and maybe let someone else run this whole thing and I would be a contributor.  That’s what I wanted in my mind, but God just wouldn’t let me shake it.  I tried to shake it off and I remember kind of being anxious as I was becoming more and more conscious…realizing this wasn’t a dream. I had just been given a download from God that was very real and I knew I had to take it seriously.

I remembered thinking at that point that “I don’t want to do this”  because of what it would mean.  If the miracles were captured and the book was written, there would be a speaking role, and someone (me?) was going to have to travel and talk about what happened and I didn’t want it.   I remember distinctively arguing with God at that moment saying, “Lord, I’ll help, but let it be a younger man.  Is there somebody that I can take under my wing?  Someone that has the energy and desire to do this?”   But God wasn’t letting me off the hook.  I don’t think He was saying it absolutely had to be me, but He didn’t give me permission to delegate it.

This caused me a lot of sadness or disappointment because I really didn’t have a passion for this but it was almost like God was saying, “I want this to be done.”

I thought, “Well, I’ll just get up, get some coffee and try to sort this out and see if I feel any different or better about what this is all about.”  I’d kind of made my mind up I wasn’t going to tell Robbie because she puts more weight in this stuff than I do.   I knew she would not only want me to record it but also to pursue it, and I just didn’t have the passion or the energy to really go after this.  I kind of went over in my mind …should I tell her?  Or not?  Finally I was convicted to at least tell her.

At first I cautioned her that she wasn’t supposed to read too much into this and I really wasn’t sure what it meant, as in “don’t overreact!”   I finally walked her through it and true to form, she wanted more details than I wanted to give!   I kind of remember saying to God, “If you want this then I’ll do it, but it feels outside my reach right now.”   And “why me?”  I was not plugged into Bethel at all so how could I be on the receiving end of these miracles?  And besides, I’m not seeing evidence that You’re actually releasing miracles in the marketplace right now.

I felt like Noah when God said “Hey, I’m going to do something crazy here, and you are a player in this thing and I want you to do something that’s really unnatural and almost impossible but I want you to do it.”   Noah had to withstand some of the scrutiny and probably ridicule in terms of “why are you building this boat and why are you getting these animals and what are you going to do when there’s no sign of rain?”   That’s how I felt at this moment. I knew I was going to have to face some of that scrutiny.

And that was that.  I’d kind of tucked this dream away to think about later.

Fast forward to July of 2011.   Robbie and I started Frank Consulting last fall, and have met many people from Bethel and the city of Redding.  We started Entrepreneur Bootcamps in April of 2011 and believe we are to try and help create jobs in Redding and bootcamps is one of the ways we can help.

We started to hear rumors and threads of potential miracle stories and Robbie started getting excited about interviewing entrepreneurs and finding out how they got started and what their secret to success was and one of the questions she started asking was “Where have you seen miracles?”  So Robbie was the first one to say, “You know we really should get a video recording of these things and post them on our website and when she said that it became obvious this was to be the fullfilment of our assignment that God gave me in that dream.  This summer we bought a video camera and we started interviewing, recording and posting marketplace miracle stories, check out all the ones we have completed to date here.  I think there’s plenty of evidence starting to emerge that God is doing what He said He would do; which is to release more miracles in the marketplace and we’re doing our part in capturing them on the website.

We’ve just learned over the years that when God gives us an assignment, we don’t always get to know how it’s going to happen, but we do know that when we are obedient, great things happen and He gets glorified.

So, that’s the story behind why we do what we do.

Hope you enjoy this explanation and hope you enjoy the videos.

Photo by Emilian Robert Vicol

Starting the fire of innovation- News article on Redding entrepreneurs

This article was originally published on Redding.com and Written By Silas Lyons

I’ve camped regularly since childhood and then went into journalism, so I’ve been starting fires for a long time.

There are many methods, but mine is simple and generally works, even in damp or windy conditions. You start with the driest and thinnest stuff you can get hold of — crushed newspaper or fallen leaves, generally. You place it in a small pile, then add thin kindling in a teepee shape, the pieces touching at the top. Bigger pieces of kindling layer on, then you light the whole thing from the bottom.

The worse the conditions, the trickier it is to start, and the smaller the first bits of kindling must be.

Throw a log on it at this point, and it’s all over. No matter how much your fellow campers whine, you can’t rush the process. It’ll get hot soon enough.

Why the lecture on campfires? Because they’re a lot like innovation, and I’m convinced that the careful nurturing of innovation is one of the only options for heating up the cold economy of our region.

This fire’s going to have to be built in a storm, making it very challenging but even more important.

The good news? The first bits of material are piling up, in no particular order:

Leadership. People like Mark Lascelles, the new head of the Economic Development Corp. of Shasta County, and Scott Putnam, owner of Apex Technology Management Inc. and this year’s chairman of the Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce, among a small group of other community leaders, are taking innovation seriously and tackling its challenges head-on.

Entrepreneurs. Dan Morrow, who grew up in Redding, has a growing global business that builds testing equipment for the fastest growing segment of the LED market. John Weise, who moved here recently from the Bay Area, is designing technology for smartphones that just might be the way you pay for things in the future. And so on. When local entrepreneurs make a global mark, the innovation space will start to be taken seriously both here at home and by those looking at us from outside.

People. Innovative companies eventually need employees — technical whizzes, mechanical geniuses, marketers, sales execs. One of the most promising, if controversial, sources right now is Bethel Church and its School of Supernatural Ministry. Local entrepreneurs with no connection to the church have repeatedly told me that the students it’s bringing (and that includes mid-career professional types, not just 20-somethings) have had an unmistakable impact on the local labor pool.

Networks. Remember those bits of kindling, which light best when they’re stacked so that they cross at the top. Leaders, entrepreneurs and potential employees need to connect with each other. Technology can be developed anywhere, so why do so many companies still flock to Silicon Valley? Movies, too, can be made anywhere — so why did it matter to have a place called Hollywood? One-time events like the EDC’s recent innovation luncheon are vital at this stage, but the real test will be the development of ongoing meetups.

Education. Frankly, this is a weakness. Except Anderson New Technology High School, there’s little focused attention on training up a skilled workforce for our region. But Shasta College’s new president, Joe Wyse, and Simpson University President Larry McKinney are well aware of the movement in this space, and one hopes they’ll take an interest in working directly with industry to design future courses and programs. Chico State University, too, can be an ally.

Funding. You don’t just go to a bank and ask for a loan for an innovative business. Trust me — I’ve tried. It was a little embarrassing. Mike Frank, a former corporate executive who moved here for Bethel, is starting a fund for the kind of smaller, early-stage cash investments that startup ventures need. Frank’s efforts are overtly tied to his faith (the fund name, Sons of Issachar, is a biblical reference), and that may turn off some potential investors and funding prospects. But the establishment of the first such fund here is significant, and is critical to future efforts.

So there’s some kindling. It’s way too early to pretend we’ve got a blazing fire going. What’s important is to keep at it.

It would be easy to take a passive approach to this, either with optimism or defeatism.

I’ve heard folks refer to our proximity to Silicon Valley (um, sort of) as if that somehow means innovation will just come to us. That’s like sitting waiting for an ember to shoot off your neighbor’s fire and set your wood alight.

Luck and outside forces do not constitute a plan.

And don’t give me the sob story about taxes, regulation, or who’s running the White House or the Congress. World-class companies have started and life-changing innovations have happened throughout American history under every imaginable sort of condition.

Building our economy is our job, as a community, and it’s the most important one we have. We’ll have nothing better to look forward to — whether in safety, schools, social programs, pothole repair, you name it — without that.

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Bethel Church draws entrepreneurs to Redding

Frank Consulting in the Redding paper: Why Bethel Church is such a draw for entrepreneurs

This article was originally published on Redding.com and Written By David Benda

Maybe the Shasta EDC and city of Redding should give Bethel Church a commission for the AirCover Integrated Solutions deal.

The drone aircraft manufacturer will land in Redding sometime within the next three months, eventually housing eight to 10 research and development jobs with an annual average salary of $90,000.

OK, chief technology officer John Swope didn’t uproot his family and choose to move his firm to Redding solely because of the Christian church off College View Drive.

But Swope told me Bethel, which he plans to attend with his family, helped seal the deal. The Swopes moved from Davis to Redding last weekend.

Swope, a former design engineer for Hewlett-Packard, describes the spiritual vibe he feels here.

It’s another example of the spiritual and economic pull of the church.

A year ago in this space I wrote about the Bethel Effect, how business people over the last several years have mentioned the church’s positive impact on their bottom line. They include real estate agents, RV parks, apartment managers, retail stores.

Time to amend the Bethel Effect to the Bethel Economy, also known as Redding’s own economic stimulus. Don’t forget, the city just agreed to lease the Convention Center, which was on the verge of closing, to the church.

Swope was introduced Wednesday during an EDC-sanctioned event that brought together innovative companies, investment bankers and community leaders at the Shasta Builders Exchange.

Some on the panel of experts who spoke had Bethel connections.

There was John Wiese, who three years ago co-founded Zenius Solutions, a technical software licensing company. Wiese moved to Redding from the Silicon Valley after his children started attending Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry.

Wiese also gushed about the virtues of the north state and the genuine people who live here.

Also at Wednesday’s gathering was Mike Frank, a business power broker who has helped build such companies as IHOP, Mutual of Omaha, Disney, and Frito-Lay.

Frank moved to Redding from Montecito, just south of Santa Barbara, about two years ago.

It was Frank’s wife, Robbie — she wanted to attend Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry — who put Redding on the map for them.

Intrigued by Shasta County’s depressed economy and eager to get it off life support, Frank started his Entrepreneur Boot Camp, which gives startups the practical skills and advice to launch a company.

Zack Perkins, whose melon meter app can thump out the perfect watermelon, graduated from Frank’s first boot camp. Perkins taught science at Bethel School before he launched Let There Be Light Innovations.

During his presentation Wednesday, Frank introduced an investment banker who recently moved from Portland, Ore. because he’s bullish on the north state.

Speaking with him afterward, Frank told me the banker also is a Bethel Church member.

So can this Bethel Economy sustain itself?

Stay tuned.

Economic forecast

University of the Pacific Eberhardt School of Business released its “California & Metro Forecast.”

While the business forecasting center didn’t break down Shasta County, the numbers suggest we’re still at the bottom of a long uphill climb.

The center reports the Golden State is in the early stages of a five-year recovery.

The state’s unemployment will decrease, but remain above 10 percent through 2013. Shasta County’s jobless rate typically trends three or four points above the state average.

Some good news.

Construction is expected to create 216,000 jobs over the next four years, which would make up nearly 16 percent of the state’s total nonfarm job growth and is anticipated to be the fastest growing sector in 2013.

However, the increase in construction jobs will be just over half the jobs lost since the peak in 2006.

Meanwhile, state and local government employment will continue to fall through the end of this year, while professional science and technology jobs will increase.