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Logo of ASI 2015: Lift Him Up

Panel: Workplace Dilemmas & Business Ethics For the Christian

Harold Lance Dan Houghton Ray Hamblin Henry Martin Denzil McNeilus Norman Reitz Debbie Young
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We are living in a day when, as Christians in the workplace, we are confronted by perplexities and challenges arising on new horizons; and yet, as never before, the opportunities to share Christ are ever present. Draw from the wealth of godly wisdom and experience in this enlightening panel discussion, consisting solely of ASI past presidents, as we explore how to navigate through contemporary workplace dilemmas using biblical principles as our guide. 

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  • August 6, 2015
    10:45 AM
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This is workplace dilemma and business ethics for the Christian and the panel of people that are up here will will be interesting here in just a moment. But I'm glad you came. And they'll be opportunities as we go along if someone has a question or a clarification please don't hesitate to raise your hand. Just give a short idea or something that you'd like to add to our discussion we're happy to have that but I'm going to begin. I I am. My name is Dan Houghton and I serve as a as I President from one nine hundred ninety seven to one nine hundred ninety nine also for a number of years a vice president of the organization. Every one of us up here have served as a president of A.S.I. that's why we are here with a ask a past president's group to come together and we all of us are involved in business ministry of some kind. In fact almost all of us are involved in both of those that all of us are. And so we're going to share a number of experiences that that we have gone through that we have learned from and that's one of the things that's really you know an amazing thing every I don't care how accomplished you have become at anything. You can always learn and so we learn from each other we learn from you. How many of you enjoyed the morning session this morning with Pat wasn't that phenomenal. You know just seeing that Godly woman who carried on you know that inspired me and I'm learning again. And we're all here to to learn in this process. But I hope that you find this to be very enjoyable we're going to be getting into some some interesting topics. We're going to talk about how to share your faith to an employee. That's one of the things if you're an employer how do you share your faith with an employee. We're going to talking about the impact of the Supreme Court ruling back in June relative to same sex marriage and how that impacts. Both the employment environment and also how it impacts possible witness as well. So we're going to get into a lot of different things a B. a lot of practical ideas that come. There's been a lot of experience up here from from this group that have had actual firsthand experience working with their staff and witnessing in very unusual ways in the business world. I'd like to just ask you about your head of me as we begin our discussions here. Holy Father thank You for the privilege of giving us an organization that we can all gather together in a community with and being a part of a larger community the Seventh Day Adventist Church in our world. We know we have a destiny and we're living that destiny right now and Lord help us to be tuned in to you and gain practical ideas today that we can replicate as we go back into the world where we live. I pray to Jesus name him in going to first go down the line and I'm going to introduce the person to my right. Henry Martin Henry was the president of A.S.I. when I first watched Leno you were the vice president when I first came to as the first time Harold was president. But Henry is someone that I began to get acquainted with almost a little over thirty years ago. And Henry was someone that as a young person coming they asked why and I was only twenty seven at that time. He took an interest in me and began to mentor and coach and pull try to pull some good out of me. And Henry at that time ran a business a family business a Mercedes Benz a Valvo dealership in Grants Pass Oregon had a real world environment in fact one of the things I'll never forget he hasn't done this project yet. He wants to write a book called The advent of the old and I haven't seen that book yet but Henry is a wealth of information. A man who has if you've not heard his conversion story which he doesn't have time. Tell today. But if you haven't heard his conversion story it's a wonderful it's a wonderful experience of how God grab someone and moves them and Henry I want to pass this I want you to notice the guy next to you. Thank you Dan Harrell lands attorney Harrell Lance sits at my right and he has been my mentor all through my journey as a matter of fact my wife and I found our experiences been a great contributor to our own spiritual journey. This has been something that is the most important to us and some people vote to go to a general conference session. We choose to go to anyway. Harrell Lance was in a very successful law practice in Ontario California when we first met. And up until his retirement and he has served on the Pacific Union committee and served a general conference and he has made an impact on the lives of many of us because of his good sound legal experience and his patience for the Lord. And so I want to introduce to you Harold Lance there Debbie Young sits to my right and she is a nurse by profession. She's administrator by assignment and she's been a leader in A.S.I. for a long time and really is effective when you see Debbie come up and talk. You don't know what she's going to say but it will make sense. And to my right is norm right. He is an attorney who practices a state law in Northern California and Norm. He and I actually served together on the same team a couple of times in a leadership. And what I've been most impressed by with a norm is his devotion and commitment to evangelism. Despite running a very busy practice he has often he and his wife Gail often went on evangelistic meetings and I would like to say they shut down their practice but they didn't. They left it in the Lord's hands and the Lord just manipulated the volume of work so that it was manageable until they returned and has never lost or failed in his business as a result of his commitment to evangelism. So he is a real example to all of us as to what we can do when we put our businesses and our ministries in the Lord's hands and be about his business. Sometimes people ask what is the core concept of A.S.I.. Well it is service and it is following the principle that if you seek first the Kingdom of God gives you everything else like introduce Denzel McNeill's who follows that principle he has and his family have dedicated their businesses for US manufacturing now for Dems or banking to the Lord. And there are stories if you look at some of the materials on tithing and miracle stories there is a story in there about McNelis manufacturing Denzel is the inveterate traveler and presenter and occasionally he can't do it all and some of us can get to do it as well. I want to get started by sharing an experience that we have had at one at our plant down in Walla Walla we have a printing company down there and a couple years ago. Oh my. They guy who is was my president at the time and leading that company called me up and he said I want to really do an unusual hire. He said I want to make sure you're OK with it. He had found a guy at a halfway house where he was ministering that had gone through three divorces. He had been in jail for six months and he had all these different problems. And he said I would like to hire him and bring him on to do some labor work here in in the plant. He said I know it's high risk but he said We're doing our best. And he said I've got several of our guys that work in the in the post production area of the plant that are willing to help him. Well you think and I said well it's your responsibility and you're willing to take responsibility OK Now that was dangerous. OK it was anybody who knows anything about business you know that's dangerous. I want you to know over the next year and a half that that team of people in that plant would actually call to wake him up in the morning make sure he was there on time. He got they got him an apartment less than three blocks from our plant. And they as a team of people began to try to make sure that this guy had a chance to make it in life. Now you've got to realize after three divorces and his wages were garnished that he hardly had anything left of his check when he got done. And so the different people would invite him to their home they would do everything and he had the opportunity to see firsthand people that cared. They did everything they could to keep him off of drugs and alcohol. And you know when I went up and met this young man and we began to talk I was astounded at the quality that he had. But for an individual who thought that life had just completely passed him by I didn't know what for a year and a half before he moved on to another town. We had an opportunity to witness to him in that market place. Sometimes you have to take a risk. And we did. It didn't hurt us but we had an opportunity to impact an individual dramatically and I really handed the team of people that I had at that place at that time and those are the kinds of things that when you have a business and you want to turn it into a ministry sometimes you do that sometimes you don't. Sometimes you do and you know when you stop and think about about what Jesus did and his risk for all of us can we take some risks once in a while for people. And Henry I know that you've taken more than one risk in your life when it comes to sharing Christ marketplace in your business selling cars. What kinds of situations that you have where you are able to share Jesus Christ with people that were both your staff and customers coming in. Well nobody thinks that you could have any kind of a spiritual impact in an automobile agency. It's and it's a negotiated sale it's a mixture of businesses a service department that has skilled technicians that are working on cars and and spare parts department that are managing inventory sometimes quite a few dollars are invested in inventory and you have to have the right thing to stock at the right time. So we in our business where we're doing overseas delivery as well because there wasn't a quota limit on how many cars we delivered at the factory and so we took group tours over. But the question you ask you know what about the impact of the spiritual impact on employees. We had at one time a lot of unrest going on between our parks department of service to barman the people in the service department were accusing the part people of not having the right inventory in. Then hand at the time that it was needed and the parts guys were accusing the technicians in the workshop of diagnosing problems using new parts which is very unethical. So they they were using a lot of foul language and we had a service secretary as a matter of fact she's here this week. Gloria Wilson was her name and she's she's a retired nurse now. But at that time she was our service secretary and she handled warranty claims and so on. And she called me one morning real early in the morning and she said Henry I think I've got the answer to the problems we have between parts and service. I think what we need to start doing is start praying for everybody in the company every day by name and I said Gloria it's a wonderful wonderful idea. I said would you type up we use typewriters in those days. Would you would you type up everybody's name and there were three of us out of thirty five workers at that business who were seven Day Adventist Christian. So we she typed up three three by five cards with everybody's name and we started praying for everybody every day. And we were amazed in what the outcome was over over a length of many months. Finally we started to see results. I had to be to a new model introduction in Berlin and they wanted to deliver the cars to all the dealers who could then drive around Europe and Vienna ten days or two weeks to turn the cars and they'd be shipped home to where their dealership was and I tried to get them to deliver my car on a Friday afternoon or Saturday night or Sunday morning and they said no the only time they could do it was Saturday morning and so I. So it all passed on the car. And so I flew to garden took spoke to a number of our young people down there at a youth rally. But you know God gives us opportunities I came home and found that that three people from our workshop a Mercedes technician and his wife from Germany and a Nissan or Dobson technician all three of them were attending an evangelist take series and I hadn't invited them. I hadn't given them a note or a piece of literature to come to the meetings or anything like that. They just came at the end of the meeting at the end of the meetings they all three were baptized and God has some remarkable results just waiting for you if you are ethical if you're committed to him in everything you do and I just want to recommend you know one thing this morning and that is start praying for everybody in your organization every day depending on whether it's clients or patients or whether it's workers like we have. Thank you Henry. Harold in your legal practice you had opportunity for witnesses many times. Describe some of those two forms. My practice was essentially a trial practice. I tried about one hundred fifty jury trials over my career and ended in a jury trial at some point in time you have an opportunity to speak and to tell your side of the case and to illustrate it in however you choose to do that and for the last oh probably fifteen twenty years of my practice in at the point where I reached the rebuttal argument at the end of the case I did. Because he was a a lawyer for the plaintiffs the one bringing that claim. And so I had an opportunity to make an argument illustrated that point and I always chose in every case to use some biblical concept or biblical principle that was I thought would be applicable if they could understand and the Christians who were on the jury and they had recognition because I never again a fight I just said it in an old book or an ancient writing or words of that kind to describe what took place and and it was a it was a message that that I think was unique the other lawyer had had no chance to rebut and to say anything because it was at the last point of the case and I think wasn't affective tool and was allowed me to say something about the God we serve. Well at a point in my career I managed a busy mother baby an aunt to pardon unit and my opportunity for a witness often came with the chance to have prayer with an employee who was going through some difficulty and that difficulty may often have been with an interaction with a patient that didn't maybe didn't end well. And so I was actually bringing them into the office to have a conversation with them about how we might be able to do that better. And but it was you know you can imagine the minute you say can I speak with you just for a few minutes let's find a private place. Can you just come into my office. You know the hairs on the back of their neck goes up because that doesn't always represent a pleasant conversation. And when they come in and we have the conversation. And I'm you know listening and trying to understand and place myself in their position that we get through it. And I think they are often very surprised because they've said so that it wasn't as punitive as they thought it backed it for it to be taking that opportunity about the most as well you know I I happen to be in partnership with someone who has extended mercy to me. And so I find it important to be able to extend mercy and understanding to others. And would it be OK with you if if we pray about this and I have never had anyone to refuse but in fact I would be falling over to say yes would you and I have found that that has fostered a relationship between a manager or an employee that is very different that I've garnered a level of respect. While they may not have appreciated the decisions or the role that may have been asked to be followed but they understood what my motivation was. They knew that my partner in managing the unit was someone greater than myself. And so the ability to be able to pray with employees and give them an insight has often helped them extend then some mercy understanding and patience with their peers or with patience. I think the most I opening revelation to me on the impact of that had to do with an employee that was in an entry level position and seemed to be kind of just off on her own thing. And not very how can I say respectful of rules and direction. And while I was appropriately managerial the firm was always understanding and listening really extend tried to expand and understand. Years later when I left that unit was working in a different location was off work for a year to take care of some personal matters returned and returned to a completely different environment in the institution. I saw her in the hallway and it was with a big smile on her face came running towards me and gave me a really big hug. And how are you doing and I really missed you it's really good to see you. And I was a little bit of a shock because I had no idea that the Lord had allowed me to leave such an impression on this individual that she would remember even remember me or even care. And to give me that kind of reception and it just told me that to the extent that we can impress others with the character and the the the compassion that God has shown us we never know at what point we will understand the kind of impact that that has had on their lives. Was it enough. Yes it was at the secular hospital. You know I have a law practice and when your are your own employer nobody can set the rules so there's nobody that can fire me. There's nobody that can say I can't talk about a certain subject so I have a Bless of it that may maybe some day there are there would be limits but there are not today in my law practice where I do state planning that we have for literature racks our waiting room. We have the Nathan green painting called at the silent partner senior partner senior partner which shows Jesus standing behind Danielle and Junior and shaking hands with the client on the other side so by the time people get in to see me they've talked to my receptionist they have seen the material on the walls and this subject matter on the brochures and they understand that this is some kind of Christian place they don't necessarily always understand you know they might think you're a Mormon or something else. But many times by the time they're there they're they're already intrigued him and they ask the questions they generally set the tone of the conversation. And because some of what we do deals with death we have literature that talks about death you know that the what happens when you die. Comfort after death for those that are grieving. So that is understood and that's part of the game plan when you sit down at a desk you close the door there's an attorney client privilege and they share with you their family issues what their desires are or where they want things to go when they die. And we've had several instances where people will break down a cry. You know I don't want to die I'm afraid of death. I mean this subject to is is avoided a lot of life but it's right on the table. We're new there and we have such hope to give. You know when you can share that that's not the enemy. You know that's not the end. And you have big opportunities to do that over the years. I probably invited over a hundred clients to come to church probably had a dozen that have come have for that I know that are baptized but you never really know at the present moment what the impact has been because you're a little piece of the picture. They will say I knew a dentist up and so on so you know that was seventh Avenue is are you one of them or. Or later they'll remember you and you're part of the. Whole train of events in their life that leads them to a place where the golden opportunity comes to make a decision and one of the things that just amazed me is that in a place where you serve clients if you're there long enough and if you do a good enough job the whole world comes to you. There's a famous book called acres of diamonds by Russell Conwell and the whole theme of it is people go off to different places to seek their fortune you've got to make it somewhere else you've got to go beyond the edge. But if you sit there people come to you. We've had the ads of Princess Diana. We've got Charlie Chaplin's granddaughter sitting at our table with heirs to the owners of the Boston Red Sox franchise. They come. If you're there long enough and you got a reputation and the Lord will bring to you and I don't always pray but I should pray for that kind of opportunity because you're at a crossroads and you're at a place where you have an opportunity to share for effect. Well I have to say that all my ideas that I've had through the years and are witnessed in the business are not original I got them all from here. For me it's I any as I members for example Henry always talks about having divine appointments and so and you have to lead out OK You have to lead out. So for example I've met a customer needs his how are you doing today. Blessed and he said he said he said that's right you're Christian. I'd like to talk to you more. And we went to dinner had a nice long dinner together. And it's interesting we developed a relationship with him and his wife now and we've had several. My wife and I have gone to dinner with him on several occasions. Very interesting you came up to meet us. You believe in Ellen White don't you. A prophet on white and of course is a guy I don't I don't even know and I thought OK I learned how to answer this and I says Well you know I believe in the Bible and I believe that Ellen White has the true test of a prophet. So yeah. Yes I do believe in Him white and he says well that's good because I've read some of her books and I think she's a prophet too and I talked about it there are so many opportunities I've learned through the years and I could tell each one of us could take this whole time and I just want to say that if you pray for to the divine appointments if you it's amazing I bet about once a month I'll have a one of my employees come in shut the door and say Denzel I just like one one. Flay just came to my mind. I just saw this movie called Noah. Is there any truth to that. You know and so we sat down we probably had a forty five minute Bible study on Noah because she'd never even read the Bible before. And another person came and I got story after story of things like that you know hang in Nathan green are in our office. So important I learned that for many years I remember putting desire of ages in our in our lobbies. I learned that from an as I member put in creation magazine in the in their lobbies learned that for me as I remember in health magazines in our lobby. So any signs of the times to my employees learn that from an atheist I remember and it's amazing you know but the thing I think is so important is that if each one of us would consciously like my wife and I now have consciously picked key customers of ours board members and we go to dinner with them I mean we're going to dinner with a customer I'd say at least one every ten days or so and we're going to dinner with them and of course they want talk about travel and all this type of stuff. But then they ask why do you travel. It gives you great opportunities to witness and I think is of we all have an opportunity in each one of our areas that we can go and witness to people and the Lord will give us the opportunities if we just pray and be open to His will. That's right yes. Question personalizing a book that you would give to someone customizing to each person and as I was listening to all of my esteem. Colleagues up here is sharing it reminded me of a specific story that I want to share because sometimes the person you think would be least likely to be open is the one that has the greatest need and is that way and here's the situation. This happened back a few years ago and I was the administrator of a health care institution and I was in a town that didn't have a church it was a dark County. The nearest church was thirty five miles away and there was not but yet we had a Seventh Day Adventist health care facility in that still in that town. And you know whenever I would come I would always evaluate the people that were around me to see who who may be a prospect. We all prospects don't we when we're selling we're prospecting and we had one of the staff members was a viral basis wonderful woman who could. She was the activity director for for this long term care facility and she was someone that was the life of the party and everything but she was also a girl that was completely in the world. And we had an administration pull in that facility that would go into the break room and when the abbot is jumping came in the break room she would tell the dirtiest jokes you could think of to see if you could embarrass him and even though she was wonderful in every way we said well you know Chris is not someone who we would ever try to witness to. Well one one is Monday morning about ten after eight. I was sitting in my office and all of a sudden she walks to the door closes the door and sits down begins to cry. I said what in the world is wrong. She says well did you read the paper this morning I said Well no I haven't actually said well my husband got drunk again this weekend and wrecked our car. And then there's a picture of it on the front page of the newspaper and she said I'm so embarrassed I'm afraid it'll you know she was concerned there was going to affect her job and my willingness as the administrator of the facilities to trust her. And I quickly assured her that. Her performance was wonderful and thank you for it and we'll work through with this with you and I gave her the support that she needed. And as she was leaving Here's one more part of the story I knew I was going to be leaving in transferring from that the Stila to another one in two months. I had two monthly time because of some extraneous problems that were going on at the other facility and I decided because I'd only been in that location two years I said you know what I want to start Bible studies here because I hadn't been able to do it yet. So we decided to start a revelation seminar on our home and I had invited four of our employees as well as some other people. But Chris was not on the list. As she started to walk out that door. After about thirty minutes visiting over the situation she had been in the distinct impression came into my mind invite her to the revelation similar and I said By the way Chris I don't know if you'd be interested in not because you know as an employer you have to be very careful because sometimes if you're trying to witness to an employee they will feel like that there is an obligation built in and you've got to be really careful with that that that requires prayer in and of itself. I said we're going to starting a revelation seminar in our home on Tuesday night. That's the next night. And I said I don't know if you'd be entering art but I just want to invite you if you if you're interested let me know. Twenty minutes later she called my wife at home to get directions and all of that began a course of a whole new world. And I can tell you that that's been twenty five plus years ago. She became one of those foundational members of the church in that area. I became the chairman of the school board for the church school became an elder one of the first women elders and in one of the local churches in Wisconsin. And of her three daughters I know all three of them attended Southern administering a versity and one of. I'm is now a business manager for one of our academies. So you never know I would have never picked her out of someone that would be open but yet God arranged. That's the thing you've got to be opportunists forgot you've got to be alert and whenever the opportunity presents itself you go right and then you know it's best if they ask you the questions if they're your employee and you are pushing doctrine you get into legal issues as well. So you just use your ear has to be open for that seminal question about two weeks ago my paralegal was doing some entries and I don't know where it came up and he was reading something he said Mr Wright I mean this guy is an ex marine twelve years he's a big beefy you know real man's man. Mr Wright are you a vegetarian. He knows that I run and you know I'm I'm not Mr Webb I mean you know I run my office pretty tight ship. And are you vegetarian. And that I explained I had a twenty five minute Bible study on Genesis that I hadn't been as hell study and he asked a question. That's right. You need to be. If you're praying for every employee by name every day you're going to watch those opportunities pop up and you get your dues have to be ready to share your faith at the drop of a hat. Like then just at the drop of the hat and I think in first Peter is some counsel on that. But you can find tremendous counsel on how to operate a business or professional office. If you look in the index to the spirit of prophecy I found over one hundred pages on how to operate a business it is very very important that you connect with people in elected offices. They need to know who you are and you need to know who they are. Just stop and think among your friends your peers your church members. Who knows. Representatives in Washington are in well M.P.O. or in Salem or Sacramento. Who is it that's connected. Because when the time comes that they want to ask some questions about a relevant question they need to know that you stand for faith and your employees need to know that too that your principle. So try to hire people who are already high ethical people. If you can and then carefully role model well for them and love them. I think a lot of people employees think that their boss or supervisor is looking for an opportunity come down on them and to be able to catch him doing something wrong and then save up three or four of those and fire him. But there's a book written some years ago called The One Minute Manager and it says catch people doing something right and tell them about it and I would urge you to do that I think that's a very clear mark of a Christian manager. Catch somebody doing something right and tell them about it. One of the things that's happening in our world is changing very rapidly the things that were the norm yesterday are not necessarily the norm today. I was just reading an article in the newspaper about a week and a half ago that said the eight hour work day is a thing of the past. Did any of you see that what's happening more and more is especially the millennial generation. You know as an example when I went to college there was seven o'clock in the morning classes. Do any of you know the seven A.M. class at a college today. I'm looking at a guy from so they haven't not there are they all peak last a seven thirty. But basically even our school. It's have adjusted to the life style of our current generation that stays up later at night and gets up later in the morning. And there's also a process where there's flex work hours and people you know people can work at home telecommuting cetera. And that that brings a whole host of new challenges and I would like to give the panel a chance to respond to those but specifically as we're getting into that I want to ask Carol to address the issue of the Supreme Court ruling that all of us have noted with incredible trepidation that took place toward the end of June I think June twenty sixth twenty seven somewhere in there where the Supreme Court of United States basically said same sex marriage is now the law of the land. And how that will ripple into our businesses and the church is something of importance and Harold if you could address that in our lifetimes and our relative recent experience we've seen a phenomenal change in attitude within the public. You know it's not just the Democrats anymore. It's not just the liberals anymore it's not just whatever it's all of society has undergone a transformation of ideas in our lifetimes. There were other restrictions that we have seen go by and now this really idea. And this same sex marriage and so forth has become a phenomenal change of attitude issue that we've watched it kind of creep from state to state and area to area. And then when the Supreme Court ruled a few weeks ago that said that a same sex marriage was the law of the land it must be respected. Every where it didn't answer all the questions it didn't deal with employment issues but it it certainly cast a shadow over our Judeo Christian ideas about what really is marriage and so forth the present. Polls indicate that that issue is is relatively equally divided now. Well in the latest poll says forty seven to forty nine percent take your choice. And with the Boy Scouts in the last few days capitulating and saying that they were going to now allow gay leaders to be in contact with the boys and so forth. And now what's going to come of that that situation where is this going to go. There are many many unanswered questions now with regard to the employment issues and issues of business where services are involved you all heard and read of the bakery and the photographer and the pharmacist and so forth who are confronted with either providing services or risking to have some kind of civil rights litigation imposed on them or losing their license. A university in the Northeast recently lost its accreditation because it refused to allow the same housing for same sex couples that it did for opposite sex couples or house. We're just going to go on what's How's it going to impact the Seventh Day Adventist Church. You can just imagine that I heard a report relatively recently. Either they retired Seventh Day Adventist work or lost his wife to death and remarried a man and has asked the brethren to include his new spouse with the same rights of remuneration and health care and successor benefits that his opposite sex wife had before. What's going to happen in terms of our year colleges and universities and perhaps academies even great schools will be accepted government money for voucher programs and other benefits where one of the one of the requirements is that we treat people equally. How are we going to treat them equally. Will there be a situation of surrender of benefits or penalties attached or loss of tax exempt status. And what would that mean and that the tax exempt status issue certainly could impact our supporting ministries who enjoy a tax exempt status and how are they going to relate to these issues. Historically there's been a religious exemption that has allowed to churches and faith based organizations to say well this law doesn't apply to me because my concepts of faith would be violated by having to do this or that whatever it happens to be. And there's a huge amount of money if you go online and look this up. There's a huge amount of money being poured into it. This area to dispute at every level through litigation and lobbying and influencing legislation by organizations that are wanting to defeat any rendition of the religious exemption rule to take away a person's right to say we are in effect a religious organization that believes in this particular way and therefore you can't make us comply with the laws of prized everybody else. It's going to be a real battlefield. And I heard relatively recently that if you think the Seventh Day Adventist Church has had some turmoil over the over the ordination of women wait till this issue takes root. And so Mr Chairman I I think that this is a real issue that's going to impact our businesses our institutions our organizations are local churches. And there may even be challenges to membership in relationship to whether or not we have the right to uphold biblical standards with regard to who accepted membership. And it's I don't know where it's going but I know it's going to be right up here I just want to add a few comments because in my law practice I have represented gay clients at a large trial with two gay man and I was in a very conservative county in California and we won the trial. And the opposing counsel made the mistake of raising it as an issue and you know it's a right it is fascinating. About three weeks ago in my office I had a woman a daughter of a man and we were dealing with a man's affairs and she was conversing and I the way she was tough. It's how I she was married I looked and said Are you married yet you don't have a wedding ring and she said Oh my husband's and in the waiting room I looked out there and there's this lady. So you've got to you've got to learn and I don't I don't understand it I don't know who is the wife and who's the husband and what what all goes on but but it's a different world. I think we as I think that we as adults have an opportunity to witness through this time as well and I think that's what we've got to look at is the opportunities. It's amazing over the last three four months that I've had customers and employees new who know that what I believe have come to me and said you know my church doesn't believe the way I do anymore. I believe you know they're you know you do your church do used to uphold these values and I say yes we do he says Well tell me more about it and I've had I bet I've had at least a half a dozen opportunities to witness in this arena in probably the last two months with employees and customers through because they know what we believe and they just want to reaffirm that we still believe that way and I believe there's a group a large group of people you know my telcos then last days was going to a lot of people that pour into our church and I believe that this can be one of the issues that brings a lot of people into our church and I think we have an opportunity to tell people no you don't want to cotton advertise it in this type of thing but I think by living the example and by leaving like say pray for opportunities it's amazing how many times I've had this opportunity to witness actually had a chance to weeks ago to do it again you know. And in the real practical sense I like that maybe have several of you addressed this question I don't think but here has a bakery or you're a professional photographer. The question I'm asking is if you're confronted with. Issue in your world how you can relate to it. Now let me give you an example from our own world in my local church in Southern California. Just two weeks ago I had and we're a conservative group people that love the Lord it is not something there's there's not people pushing the edges in places even though you know I don't have a problem if somebody is doing that as long as the Lord can pull you back from any place. But we had my pastor came and said Damn we're going to have a challenge. One of our church members who comes periodically but has balances between church is one of the things I think California you can go to a lot of churches within a short distance. And but this this man and his wife had been remarried and each of them had children and his daughter at age twelve was baptized in our church and she is now mid twenty's and is not practicing as an avid acim or has been attending one of the universities in Southern California. And her father just found out that she's in a same sex dating relationship and it's serious and he came to our pastor and said I want to come to the next church board meeting I want to have you take my daughter's membership off of your list because I'm afraid she's going to come and want to be married in the church you're going to say no you're going to get sued. I happened to weeks ago. And of course what will what did we say and this is where I want to get into this discussion I said and we had a conversation with this minister didn't listen. Your daughter's very very precious to us. I remember when she was baptized and she was twelve. We're going to be kind gracious and if we get sued we'll get sued but we're going to try everything we can to redeem her and hold up the Biblical standard not condemning but holding up the So there's a difference between condemning somebody and holding up a Biblical standard. And and. You know we also. I said hey you can't come in and have the church drop your daughter's membership that's not the way it works. You know there's a process due process that happens and that and. But yet my point is that we're already experiencing it right now at least the fear of it. So if Harold Norman others as well but you from a legal background if someone is going to be faced with a challenge in their business that relates to this issue what are the appropriate ways to respond. I would say first of all Jesus said render under Caesar that which is Caesar under God that which is God's. If you can accommodate not based upon your personal prejudices or your personal life as you should accommodate. If it if you just say I don't like gays and I'm not going to I'm not going to bend or I'm not going to do this or not do that. Probably twenty five years ago I tried a jury trial and my client was a gay person who on leaving a bar in the city at the Moana was attacked by some thugs and there was an issue over whether or not there was adequate security that was that was should have been in place. And the issue of being gay had nothing to do at all with whether or not he was entitled to be compensated for the injuries that he had. It was a complete irrelevancy. During the course of the trial the judge and the and the bailiff and they're always tight with each other. They made some. Off hand kind of uncomplimentary sniggering allusions to the fact that this client this plaintiff before the court was gay and that was twenty five years ago and you know got to know that that was not a popular thing and it by the by the subtle prejudicial actions of the court and the bailiff in the courtroom. The jury picked it up and that was I lost that case and I should not have lost the case based upon if it had not been if it had not been a gay person in a society which was intolerant of that kind of situation. And so my my suggestion is that if someone is intitled under the law to a benefit or a respect or whatever it happens to be and it doesn't require a violation of your conscience it may offend your your your moral sense it may offend your ideas of of what you think is right or wrong. If you want to stay out of trouble do it. Pay it take care of it in an unbiased way and stay out of that trouble. If you want to have a chip on your shoulder and make it make an example out of someone and make yourself a martyr isn't really a martyrdom issue you will invite the problem because this issue is not going away. This issue is going to get bigger and bigger and we need to we need to very thoughtfully choose our fights and make sure that it's a defensible fight or it's thrown away money. There's a text of Rob. Words go something like this the wise man sees where the ditch and walks around it. There are there's a related area that I think is going to be as big as the gay issue and that is hate speech. You know we preach and we preach for a full spectrum of vandalism we preach straight. You know we identify historical entities. We we preach the truth as the Bible is written and I think we have to deliberate and we need to have the counsel of the brother in on what you say and how you say it. And there can come a time when when even our mildest evangelism is considered hate speech and I think that's a very big and coming area you know all this tends to show us that we're getting closer to Jesus coming doesn't mean the world is going to be changing and that's what we're talking about today as the world is changing. How are we going to adapt in this in the one thing on one hand the mike back to Harold in just a second. It occurs to me that that we have a lot in today's generation the younger generation truth as we have upheld it from scripture is not necessarily the highest standard. It's equality and is it fair. And there is a much more accepting attitude towards these variations that we've been talking about in our younger generation today. There just is even among administering Ungar people there's a well. And so in my in my own experience I want to be as kind and gracious to every individual no matter where they find themselves in the sin spectrum because I'm also in that spectrum may not be where they are but I'm a sinner just like they are and I want to be as gracious to them as I want Jews to be gracious to me. But where we need to have some forethought and some preparation is how do I deal with the issue of those who are trying to force me to normalize something. I agree with what Harold said be very gracious when you can. Don't let it violate your conscious but find out whenever you're going to stay. You know that's a choice I don't agree with that it's not going to be something that I allow I believe and I think this is a chance to bring it back like you were saying to the Scriptures. You know some people will look at the Scriptures and you can't say that the Scriptures show a fairness all the time. God is fair ultimately but it may not be the way we see it how many of you ever had a kid grandchild or a child. When you're talking to but that's not fair you know and that's a very big deal today and we've got to address that somehow. We were doing evangelism at San Francisco central church and my son was there helping us one night and we dealt with the part of Revelation where fire comes down from heaven and destroys the wicked. Those are my son's words. That's not fair. Here's how close to home to this gets some of you know that A.S.I. puts out a series of happiness books. We have conflicts series that's five books. We have Ministry of healing and Christ object lessons. We have stepped to Christ in a new book Real hope real answers. And we also have bible readings now several summers ago. I think it was in the Detroit area that we had kids selling book store to door and they were included in that book sales was bible readings. And by breed he's had some pretty pointed language about some other faiths. And it was in a Catholic neighborhood in Catholic community who complained of the authorities and our kids were brought in. And hailed in for four hate distributing hate literature by the reason for the whole. So it can get pretty close. Paul I'm going to bring this up so people can hear you. I was asked to give a series of end time events at Loma Linda University territory ten one year ago and I entitlement Y R N Time Events compounding so rapidly now. One year ago fifteen states had approved same sex marriages. They asked me to do an update ten months later and in ten months. It went from fifteen to thirty five and the last day I was given this series at the Loma Linda villas lodge retirement center. I'm Arnab and that very Friday Supreme Court went from thirty five to one hundred percent all within ten months. Fifteen thirty five one hundred percent and now touched on it very well but I want to mention the federal and state organizers that have been pushing this for twenty years. They stay at this is only the first this is just the beginning. And what's going to happen between now and a lot comes it's going to be mammoth. But you know as I listened to you did gentleman and lady. You know their ten commandments and God said if you break one you Pocono them. And for the first time right now listening to you lovely people. This is a Henny sin homosexuality I can't comprehend it. It's so terrible. Two things cases. Love is the center but he hates the sin. Now we do. All of us in business to do so in business in our business. Now ministries whatever we feel like it is all the time on is a different time. But we're rushing to condemn this category. What it's horrible and it should be condemned but it's not likely because we're dealing with all kinds of other centers every day of the week. There's no difference. They break one pair Kemal that's true. I read before I take other hands here. I just I just want to say that in the discussion of this topic I want to be careful we're not characterizing and just beating up on this particular sin. OK. There is a there's a larger element to this from eschatological an in time perspective and I want you to think about this. What is the devil's ultimate plan in the in this great controversy. What is his ultimate plan. Well as distraction but isn't it also to cause the whole world to break God's Ten Commandments and honor Him He wants us to disregard that right word and the law. And that's what this that's what I see this is really all about. If in preparation for the Sunday issues that we know are coming if you can get us into a. Where as us as a world society we already are in violation direct violation of God's law then we lose the protections that God has given to our nation. I mean the scripture the great controversy that that whenever we have as a nation speak and by the way it says our nation speaks through her laws and through the entities that promulgate the laws and interpret the law that's the Supreme Court. That's right. And so this is and I'm I'm not the legal scholar here but it seems like to me that this is the largest if not the first big time where we've actually had the law of the land in direct violation of the Ten Commandments and that is that. Well as a cosmic sense yes. You know looking from outside in this is when the lamb like Beast is beginning to speak like a dragon and I think the next thing we see. And so I here's here's here's what I was attempting to to make sure we get out here is that we are appalled. OK And I'll say that we're appalled because we sense that society is moving away from the standard of God the judeo christian standard that Harold mentioned a little while ago and that is a natural reaction in some people. But the bigger question is let's be kind to people let's do everything we can to win people but not compromise our position and instead of saying these are my convictions I'm going to be saying this is what the Bible says. OK. Different segments of society are more or less open to the ideas the millennia old. They don't get the idea that they that gays should be discriminated against in any way. They don't get that at all. And they are essential attitude is it any kind of. Criticism of that lifestyle and that choice is just bigotry flat out bigotry. The implication for for evangelism is tremendous as in a negative way. If you have the millennial Does believing that the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Christianity generally is just bigoted who wants to go there. OK freedom of speech. If you did were able to hear this he was asking has the state or the government did Lenny aided the difference between free speech and hate speech. And I'll let one of you guys all say not not yet in the United States. Still as a modicum of freedom and ability to express the amendment First Amendment still gives that right. However in Canada it is a very onerous. You cannot preach anything at Canada about the beast. The mark of the beast the identity of the little horn you know some of the truths six six six they just don't get spoken in public in Canada you know it. We went we went by several things real fast. We have some neighbors in our community in Fallbrook California where I live that are not administrate they're strong Christians and in the midst of all of this stuff they want to know as Denzel talked about America. How are you guys feel about this. Well I hope you stay strong even though there's are not there are there roles nothing's wrong they want to know that we are and I tell you that's going to be one of the big things when evangelism begins to close down and it will in the ways we're doing it we have precious moments now nothing of ministry. Something like that you know we have precious moments right now where we are able to share for all the time is going to come will be more like it was during the dark ages when it was not we were not able to share as as clearly. And that's I think that's a clear thing in our businesses. We want to be able to have decisions we want to encourage you to be thinking about how you're going to relate because if you have to do it on the spur of the moment you may do it right. But you also may make a mistake that you've got to go clean up. And if you've previously thought it through how you're going to relate to an issue if it arises then you are just letting the Holy Spirit guide you in that moment now. So go ahead or are just going to say we're at a time when we need to have the Holy Spirit every minute of our working days and follow a basic principle of the golden rule of fairness to people you know kindness to people. But some day it's going to become oppressive in my county we have fifty judges and I understand I'm told I don't know who they are and I I think I've been before one of the three lesbian judges and I have a friend a white Anglo-Saxon lawyer type who says every time he goes into this one courtroom he gets trashed just because you know he's perceived as being not them. So that's that's a reality and I think that's coming when when when it becomes parade. This has rolled across the country to D.C. started in California started right across the water for me. We were about three years ahead of the curve you know. I go to a lot of different seminars and trying to understand people and ethnic groups and things like that for banking. And we had we had a we had a gentleman speak to us who really was an insider of politics and he was talking about though I caught the letter clubs' the letter clubs and how that they have they are so far ahead of what they planned on that they can't even catch up because it's gone so much faster than they thought they're ten years ahead of their plan. And so he says don't make no mistake they're going to catch up and do a new plan. But he said he was talking about from a banker's point. He's talking about how to reach how to how to do business. But by look at from the Angeles point of view we have an opportunity but it's not very long. That's right. OK you have a question. Yes it was around this whole point about fairness that we mentioned earlier and also the the bigotry that people feel that religious people have against this particular L G B T group. And I wanted to find out maybe from a legal perspective when the government legalized heterosexual couples who are not married who live common law say they're equal to a married couple. Did that have any impact on the church from a legal perspective and didn't seem doesn't seem to have been in society and in charge of bigotry against anybody who treated a heterosexual non-traditional and married couple differently from you know some. Couple that with a good marriage so if we if we use our treatment of the heterosexual saying you know you're just a common law living together and if you show that we treated them in a way that was loving but was also biblical For example I don't think our educational institutions would grant them you know living accommodations similar to married couples from the biblical perspective. And we had a track record of treating those people that way wouldn't be seen as fair in terms of our practice of religious beliefs. I'll get a quick answer based on what Harold said there is the concept historically of a religious exemption that we're different. I mean in my church we disfellowship people for living together in a council with them and pray with them and you know it happened and then they get married and they come back to church I mean that's happened and nobody ever intervene but I think the day that concept that religious entities are different is soon to be over and I think that. We're going to be at risk and we're going to have to to deal with. I don't know that we know how to deal with it yet. I think that's the big thing and I mean we only have five minutes left and I want to wrap this. OK. And I know that there are a number of questions that we could go for the next two hours just answering questions. What I'd like to do and afterwards if anyone wants to come and talk privately you can. Henry I would like for you and Debbie both to share from your perspective what would be the Christian way for us and if anybody out here has a business or a ministry how should they be thinking to minister to this unique group of people. I think your principles need to be clearly identified. You need to have accurately described job descriptions for your employees in the company. They need to know that you will act and respond not in the same way that anybody else in business in your community will because many people are taking shortcuts and it's just it isn't necessarily the fact that they will respond in an ethical and honest way. Many businesses are operated in a different kind of a venue than they used to be. So I think your employees need to know without you painting it up on a bulletin board that you're Christians and that you will do the honest and moral and ethical thing they need to be able to respond to your customers. If there's a make do just that it needs to be in favor of the customer. And I just think you'll find that same counsel if you look in the spirit of prophecy and ministry of healing has a lot the book education has a lot. God got great opportunities for you buddy. You'll be praying for your employees and your customers your clients every day and you're going to see him intervene in a way that will be a blessing. I think that it's important and I'm coming from a perspective of being an African-American and dealing with some of the issues related to civil rights which is often used as in support of this very thing. So I think treating people equal but not the same. You have to understand what that means. And so you're looking at each situation on its own merit and make sure that you're treating them equal to whatever else might be coming to you but it may not be the same. And being able to use those principles in order to guide that treatment. I think another thing is to model modeling how we interact with individuals that are different from us. Goes a long way to help people understand where our head is and how how we are living principled lives. I used to teach a short diversity presentation for new employees and was trying to always bring them to a point to understand that each of us has our own filter and it's through that filter that we you know access our world and make judgments but we think that everyone is like us and everyone is not like us. You have to think from their point of view always thinking from the other person's point of view and approaching them from that perspective. I've helped them realize that there's at least a sense of understanding so those are a couple of the things I would suggest you know. It's a complex world and it's going to become more complex and that's by the design of the devil I think to try to confuse and to to make the decisions as challenging as possible. And we need to be trying to simplify a complex world. And you know what I think the devil is trying to do I think is trying to weaken our resolve. You make a little decision here for you become fearful. You're fearful to do anything to stand for anything to be anything. And then when the real test comes you don't have any backbone left. Yeah that's what I see and I've sat as a judge and I couldn't say things I mean I had people before me and you know I couldn't do anything except be right right down the line and that's There are people there are afraid they're afraid to stand for anything. And we should not you know one of the things in business how many of you have ever heard don't make a decision out of fear. You don't want to make a decision out of fear. So you need to conquer the fear and say OK no matter what our situation we're going to honor the Word of God and we're going to care about people because it's going to be those very people who may be your next door neighbor in heaven who you just couldn't stand their behavior and their lifestyle. So we don't want to judge mental. But at the same time if we allow the devil to succeed in watering down the principles that we live by we have lost and in our own experience and in their witness to our neighbors and as Denzel said earlier how many people are out there that are going to be coming in because there's a people who stand for something. And our methodologies may change we may not be able to preach in the same way and we may not so portions of Scripture inside our clothes like the Waltons these did but they. There's going to come a time where we have those same kind of opportunities to be able to share the word of God in those situations anybody else have anything else you'd like to add just one last thing. We may not have the strength of camaraderie to in order to support our stance so we have to be really solid in our understanding of scripture and with prayer so that we may be standing alone even amongst brothers and sisters in the church. And so we have to be very clear about what that position is that we can stand individually and independently as needed. The next great conflict within this society is going to be pitting the gay rights issue against religious exemption against religious liberty religious liberties been a very important topic to Seventh Day Adventists. It's really going to be tested. When you when the court is forced to decide are the rights of gay and lesbians are they going to trump the right to worship God as we believe it to be. That's the next great issue in this society and it's not going to be an easy outcome probably is not very far away either. Why oh why. OK that's worthy of repeating in the Smithsonian magazine from the June two thousand and fifteen issue. The hundred most influential people that have influenced America Ellen White is listed there that's going to be I bet there's at least forty fifty people who go by that now. Next Abraham Lincoln why. I apologize for not being able to get every question has been useful. There's been a good discussion. I know we didn't cover everything but thank you and I just want to I'm going to ask him to pray for us as we as we close out today. It's my prayer. And I think it's all of our. Where that in your business in your ministry you will make it a priority to find ways to share Jesus Christ in your marketplace. That's what we exist for that's what A.S.I. is all about and has been for years and years and years. Find ways to do that. It does that. You may get an idea from here but you may have that idea actually expressed itself in a totally different way when you get home. That's our hope and prayer and as we maneuver through the minefield of the future we need to be praying for all of our employees praying for all of our customers praying for our families that God will give us wisdom and guidance as we go through that these times because at the end of this time there's a glorious moment that is going to be there for all of us. And I tell you for one I want to be there with all of you with my family to hear the Lord say Well done good and faithful servant and I hope that your prayers will. OK I am going to ask him to pray and then we're going to if anybody else has questions you want to come up as long as people are willing to be here at the lunch hour. We'll we'll be talking so Henry would you would you priced out today and you go father and have him in the name of Jesus we come before you because you've given us opportunities to meet people in the community where a pastor may not ever have the opportunity. Lord you've given us opportunities to make an impact on the lives of our employees our clients our customers our patients and Lord we want to do it in the way that you would have us do that we're not here for entertainment. We're here we're here Lord because we want to be able to share you in the marketplace. Please bless each one of us as we continue to be confronted with the issues that particularly the legal beagles in our in our fellowship have spoken to. We know the time is wrapping up and that Jesus is coming back soon. So just prepare us by faith to be able to reach people right where they are where they hurt and let us stand for you in everything we do. Bless us Lord and if we are able to have an A.S.I. meeting once again next year please bless that abundantly. Let us recognize that we need to be praying about property and assets that we have how we should be getting rid of them how we should be moving to the country and how we should be preparing for your sins. Thank you for hearing our prayer for blessing us here today in the media with my audience or placement services and if you would like to learn or not or if you like or free online please. W W W Do you ever.

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