Coffee Break Bible Study: 2 Thessalonians 3; 1 Timothy 1-4 #bgbg2

 

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Thessalonians 3″].

What did Paul request the Thessalonians pray for?

What does Paul have to say about idleness?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Timothy 1″].

Who is Paul writing to, and why?

How did God’s grace turn Paul’s life around?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Timothy 2″].

What should we do for authority?

According to the Life Application Bible study notes, women in Paul’s day were not allowed to study. How do these verses show Paul opening a door for women?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Timothy 3″].

What qualities are important for a church leader?

How can women display good character?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Timothy 4″].

What is something to be aware of in “later times”?

How does Paul encourage Timothy in verses 12-16?

 

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Hope Cannot be Measured

[Tweet “”Some of our interactions to bring hope to others cannot be measured.” Dan Miller”]

When you own a small business like I do, it’s easy to get caught up in measuring “success” by numbers–numbers such as how many people may be reading my posts or want to be on my email list, or what products or books are selling. Some churches measure attendance and offering amounts. Individuals track their to-do lists to see if they have accomplished what they want to in a given day. And of course, businesses report their profits and losses, hoping the profits are growing. As a rule, we humans are into tracking our progress and measuring “success.”

In some ways, the practice of tracking our progress on goals, budgeting our finances, and keeping lists are good tools to help us stay disciplined and on track. However, we must remember that we cannot always measure the impact our words, actions and disposition can have on others.

For example:

Do you still remember a certain positive or negative comment someone made to you growing up? Does that still shape you?

Do you have a certain opinion of a product or company because of one negative experience you–or someone else–has had with them?

Have you ever had someone tell you what you mean to them, or what some action meant to them, and you hadn’t a clue about the impact that one thing would have on someone?

Did a certain experience in nature, with music, or from a book have a profound impact on you and not necessarily on the people with you at the time?

Recently, I was blessed when someone shared about my writing having impact on someone they know–something I would probably never have guessed.  A couple days later, in an email dialog, an individual said, “thanks for all you do to make our lives better.”  I am grateful God allows these occasional glimpses, and am reminded that we may never know the impact something may have on someone else. That’s why it’s important to walk closely with God on a daily basis. We will never be perfect. We all may be the negative memory someone has, and people are responsible for what they do with those memories. But if we walk with God daily, and try to listen to His leading, we can leave more positive deposits than negative ones.

Let’s be especially open to bringing hope to others today!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. [biblegateway passage=”Romans 12:12 NIV”]

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Coffee Break Bible Study: 1 Thessalonians 3-5; 2 Thessalonians 1-2 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Thessalonians 3″ display=”1 Thessalonians 3″].

Why was Timothy sent?

What role can you play in encouraging someone today?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Thessalonians 4″].

What type of life does God call us to?

What are some things you learn here about Christ’s return?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Thessalonians 5″].

Is it wise to make predictions about the end times?

How should we treat the people that “work hard among us”?

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Thessalonians 1″].

Why was Paul thankful for the Thessalonians?

Write out verse 12 as an admonition for your life.

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Thessalonians 2″].

How does Paul guide the Thessalonians with a concern?

What does Paul encourage in verse 15? How can you apply this to a situation in your life currently?

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Gossip in the Workplace: Should We Have a Zero-Tolerance Policy?

“Of course we don’t tolerate gossip.” Is that what your company would tell me? If you have people working for you, you probably have gossip, at least in small degrees. Some companies, knowing how damaging gossip can be, decide to have a “zero-tolerance” policy about it. In other words, you get caught gossiping, you are out. For others, it leads to disciplinary action. Others still turn a blind eye.

A zero-tolerance policy has its pros and cons, so when you are considering how to handle gossip in your workplace, keep in mind the following.

Reasons to have a Zero Tolerance Policy

It sets a company-wide standard, especially if enforced. Your team will soon realize that they will be held to a high standard of contact and outsiders will tend to respect that.

It protects teammates. If gossip begins, teammates feel empowered to use the policy to protect themselves from getting sucked into a damaging conversation.

It uplifts the idea of team. If there is no tolerance for tearing down the team, you can build a sense of loyalty and pride.

It retrains individuals. When teammates know they can’t gossip to each other, and must instead go through proper channels (make sure such paths are easy to follow!) teammates will learn over time how to handle difficulties.

It will clean out your staff. Either the violators will have to be let go, or they will quit. Newcomers will know the expectations from the beginning.

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much. [biblegateway passage=”Proverbs 20:19″] NIV

Reasons not to have a Zero Tolerance Policy

It is difficult to define. Gossip takes different forms and defining it can be muddy. For example, if an employee gets advice from a co-worker about handling another difficult relationship, is that considered gossip because some negative things were said about another?

It can be a challenge to enforce. If you can’t make a firm definition of gossip, you’ll have a hard time enforcing the “You’re out” rule on a case-by-case basis and still seeming fair to all employees.

It may instill unhealthy fear. For some personalities, this type of policy will only make them suppress legitimate thoughts and problems that should be dealt with for fear that they will be considered gossips.

It can lead to a false sense of teamwork. Your teammates may simply smile and keep their mouth shut and put on a false front of teamwork to avoid any conflict that may endanger their jobs.

It can be unrealistic. If you have a zero tolerance for gossip, what other behaviors do you also not tolerate? Could gossip be a cause for dismissal while laziness is only a cause for disciplinary action? Both can affect the team.

Is there a middle ground?

It depends. Every company culture is different and made up of complex factors. Ask yourself some of these questions as you think about what policy is best for your situation:

  • What is the current temperature of our team?
  • Do we deal with gossip on a regular basis already?
  • Has gossip caused up problems with our clients?
  • Are most of our team members dedicated and people of high character who make only occasional mistakes?
  • Do our teammates already feel loyal to each other and the company?
  • Do we communicate well with our team? (Communication is one key to fighting gossip in the first place.)
  • Are leaders a good example of how we feel about gossip?
  • Could we lose otherwise good people for one or two incidences of unwise gossip?
  • Would this standard instill fear, or inspire conviction, in our team?

In the end, each organization needs to establish the healthiest policy for their workplace. Gossip needs to be dealt with…make sure you deal with it in an effective way for your situation.

[Tweet “Gossip in your company needs to be dealt with. Make sure you find an effective way for your culture.”]

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Colossians 3-5; 1 Thessalonians 1-2 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”Colossians 2″].

What did Paul delight in? (verse 5.)

Write out verses 6-7, applying them personally to you.

Read [biblegateway passage=”Colossians 3″].

How can you set your minds on “things above” today?

What are some characteristics of God’s “chosen people”?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Colossians 4″].

What are some exhortations in this chapter that apply most to you right now?

What do you learn of Paul through his greetings at the end of epistles?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Thessalonians 1″].

How can your faith be a light to others around you today?

What type of people do the Thessalonians appear to be?

Read [biblegateway passage=”1 Thessalonians 2″].

What does Paul share about he and the other leaders?

How did the Thessalonians respond to the Gospel?

 

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Gossip in the Workplace: What Can We Do About It?

Gossip. It’s everywhere. It’s harmful, yet nearly everyone participates in it at some time or another.

A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.[biblegateway passage=”Proverbs 16:28″]

Gossip can be defined as idle talk,* or talking negatively behind someone’s back, to someone who is not part of the problem or solution, or with no desire to improve the situation. Gossip is a damaging cancer on your team, and must be dealt with effectively. Here are some suggestions.

Create a positive culture. See to it that positive team players are recognized and rewarded appropriately. Be careful not to overdo as this can create temptation for people to “play games” to be noticed. Watch for sincere teamwork and praise accordingly, sometimes privately.

Provide appropriate information. Gossip sometimes prevails when employees are left in the dark. Share what information you can, even if it is disappointing. Exercise discretion when you have to, particularly with personnel matters, but don’t hide information that can help your team know what is coming, what obstacles need to be overcome, or what were the real facts behind a rumor.

Don’t brand someone a “gossip.” Remember that just because a person may occasionally gossip, does not mean they are a bad team player overall. Even the best people can get sucked into gossip during a time of fatigue, confusion or frustration. Yes, there are some who struggle with this habitually. But while some may struggle with gossip, others may struggle with laziness or fear. All can affect productivity and team play…so be careful not to elevate one team “sin” over another.

Be aware of the gossips. Now I’m going to appear to contradict what I just said. While you should avoid labeling people, you can be attuned to tendencies in individuals. You will quickly figure out the talkers on your team. Develop a strategy to help them grow.

Get to the bottom of it. When you become aware of gossip, gently confront the individuals involved. For example, let’s say you are picking up on negative conversation about Susie, particularly from Jay and Melissa. Pull Jay and Melissa aside with a question like, “I’m sensing that you have some concerns about Susie. I’d like to get to the bottom of the issue so tell me the top two things you struggle with.” Notice that I suggest asking a specific question so that puts the gossips on the spot. Don’t make it easy for them to say, “No, we don’t have any problem with her.”

Accompany people. If someone comes to you with a complaint, offer to go with them to the individual involved. This will either stop them from complaining to you, or give them the courage to deal with the problem.

Ask questions. If someone gossips to you, ask, “Why are you telling ME this? Would you like me to go with you to that person?” “What do you think would be a good way to solve this?” “How do you think Susie may see this?”

[Tweet “If someone gossips to you, ask, “Why are you telling ME this?””]

Create an open environment. As you work with your team and develop trust, encourage them to share how they feel about certain situations and be able to give/receive constructive feedback. If team members feel they can talk out their issues with each other, they will find less need to gossip behind someone’s back.

Some companies have a “zero-tolerance” for gossip, with employees knowing they could be fired for participating. This may be appropriate in some cultures. At the very least, use the suggestions above to root out this destructive element in your workplace.

*gossip. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gossip (accessed: August 15, 2014).

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Philippians 1-4; Colossians 1 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”Philippians 1″].

Consider verse 3. Is there someone in your life that you would thank God for whenever you remember them? Thank them today.

What is Paul’s outlook on his struggles? (verse 12)

Read [biblegateway passage=”Philippians 2″].

What causes Paul joy? (verse 2)

How should our attitude parallel that of Christ?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Philippians 3″].

What does Paul tell us to do in verse 1?

How do verses 12-14 encourage you?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Philippians 4″].

Paul is concerned about a situation, revealed in verse 2. How important is unity among believers?

In what area of life or work do you need to learn to be more content?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Colossians 1″].

Write out verse 11 in relation to a situation in your life.

Review verse 15-20 and renew your outlook on Christ and His power.

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Gossip in the Workplace: Why Does it Exist?

“Did you hear about Ryan’s performance review?” Sally whispered to Dan.

“No,” Dan replied, curious. “What about it?”

“Well, I heard that…”

And there is the beginning of gossip.

Some define gossip as only spreading untruths about others. But the dictionary defines it also as “idle talk, especially about the affairs of others.”*  Some consider gossip talking about a person negatively with someone who is not part of the problem or the solution.  Whatever your definition, in the example above, what purpose does the conversation have? It doesn’t look like it’s headed in a productive direction, whether what is shared is true or not. The tone also doesn’t sound like the person is speaking to Dan to get wise input about solving a problem.

Gossip can be a rampant problem in organizations. Some organizations have a very strong policy against it, to the point of someone being  fired if caught participating. It can be a cancer that will ruin your team, but even the best people can get caught up in it. Why?

There are a few reasons why participating in gossip is the “easier choice” for people, even if, should you ask them if it is acceptable, they would say, “Of course not!”

Need for acceptance. It’s perhaps counter intuitive that gossip can cause someone to feel accepted, because after all, gossip by nature alienates another person. But for those doing the gossiping, there is some satisfaction in knowing that someone else sees a situation or another person the same way or has experienced the same problems with them.

In the illustration above, if several coworkers have problems getting along with Ryan, they may unite in the gossip about his review.

[Tweet “Sometimes people gossip because they have a deep need to feel accepted.”]

Desire for information. Gossip can arise when there are holes in communication or a feeling of “We’re not being told the whole truth.” People will start to fill in holes by brainstorming possibilities, and we all know where that can lead. False conclusions or imaginary scenarios become “fact” as more people hear about them.  

“Ryan sure looked troubled when he left Mr. Supervisor’s office. I’m sure the company must be considering layoffs, and Ryan is the first.”

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. [biblegateway passage=”Proverbs 18:8″]

Feeling of inadequacy. Though we don’t like to admit it, deep down many of us are fully aware of what we believe are inadequacies or weaknesses. When we hear about the alleged behavior of someone, we feel a little better when we think, “I would never have done that!” If someone concurs by mentioning the same thing, we feel particularly validated in our own sense of right and wrong. 

“I hope they brought up his frequent lateness. I would never clock in 30 minutes late every day.”

The reasons given above do not justify gossip, nor am I suggesting you should simply tolerate it. However, it is wise to consider the “why” behind behavior. What is going on in people’s minds and hearts that leads them to speak ill of co-workers or the organization? This can be a first step in helping you develop a more effective way to deal with the behavior.

*gossip. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gossip (accessed: August 15, 2014).

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Coffee Break Bible Study: Ephesians 2-6 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 2″].

Write out verse 10, substituting your name.

Look at verse 19. Consider the “fellow citizens” you share life with. How can you bless them today?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 3″].

Look through Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in verse 14-19. Is this how you pray for your friends? Consider praying for their spiritual growth through trials, not just a specific outcome you all want.

How does verse 20 bring you hope?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 4″].

How can verse 2 apply to your actions in the workplace today?

According to verse 12, what are spirtual leaders (i.e. pastors, ministry leaders) to do?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 5″].

In verse one we are to be __________ of God. Verse 2 gives us a “how.” What is it?

Ponder verse 15.

Read [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 6″].

What does Paul have to say about various family relationships?
Take your time reading verse 10-18. What pieces of armor do you need to concentrate on today?

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