Hobby Lobby Could Face $1.3 Million in Fines Per Day for Beliefs

Yes, you read that headline properly. Hobby Lobby, a well known company for not only crafts and household goods, but Christian outspokenness, could be fined $1.3 million a day for not offering the emergency contraceptive drug to their employees. The company that upholds Christian values does not agree with such a medication and does not agree to provide it to employees. Sounds like another freedom of religion infringement case that could crumple Christian business. July 1 will be the big day for Hobby Lobby when mandates could go into affect that penalize that company and require payment of fines.

Take a closer look at the story by watching a recent interview with Hobby Lobby’s president on The Christian Post.

Podcast – Roundtable Discussion: Denver Baker

This week we discuss a controversial and threatening topic for Christian business professionals. We do discuss same-sex marriage, and while we disagree with homosexuality as Christians, we are not discussing this issue to bash that lifestyle. We are simply talking about this topic/story because it affects all of us and could limit our ability to be free in religion and business. Once you’ve heard our discussion, we encourage you to head over to our forum and provide your opinion here.

 

Music: Caspian “Moksha” 

Podcast – Stephanie Hinderer, Red Letter Paper Co.

Stephanie Hinderer is the owner of a 3-year old business, Red Letter Paper Co. She’s an experienced newspaper designer, but decided to go into business selling her own cards. Why? Well, when you see a need for simpler, more unique cards with a Christian message, you sit down to design and sell them on your own. Stephanie also wanted a subtle way to slip Christ into everyone’s life, since she isn’t an “in your face” type person. You can find Red Letter Paper Co. online at two locations: www.redletterpaperco.com and on Etsy.

 

Music: Josh Garrels “Farther Along” 

Oklahoma Chiropractor Practices What He Preaches

What began as a risk, yet a calling, turned into the chiropractic practice Dr. Micah Carter now owns in Oklahoma City, Okla.

After marriage and college graduation, Carter started his professional career as a high school teacher, but his teaching stent ended after three years when he and his wife picked up everything to settle in the metropolis of Dallas. Being small town folks, the adjustment was no small feat, especially pursuing chiropractic school with no income and no promise of work for his wife.

“We totally trusted God that that’s what we were supposed to do. We had complete faith about it and were at peace about it,” Carter said.

Settling down at his cousin’s house just outside Dallas in Plano, Texas, God began unraveling his plan for Carter’s future in chiropractic care and the intricacies of how that plan would unfold.

It was a “seamless transition” as Carter described it, as his wife landed a job receiving an income near equal to what they both made teaching, they sold their house in Goodland, Kan. and they closed on a house in the Dallas metro.

The dream of becoming a chiropractor, a dream Carter avoided because he was a small town man, was coming to fruition.

“Faith is how I got here in the first place because I was a high school science teacher first,” Carter explained, as he continued to mention the situation was a “God thing” and no other explanation was needed.

While Carter knew chiropractic school was his dream and felt God’s blessing on the situation, he still found himself face-to-face with doubt. Entering any new phase of life, fear is a crippling factor, yet Carter’s cousin, a dentist, was blatantly honest about Carter’s situation—“yes, you can do this. It’s not that hard but it’s going to take time.”

Fear seemed a distant factor now as Carter flourished in his education.

While in Dallas, Carter discovered another love—his love for God and his faith, something he accepted years ago but didn’t believe was fully-mature or intrinsic in his life until he and his wife relocated to Dallas. “Our spiritual journey really took off at that point.”

Today, Carter owns Family Tree Chiropractic in Oklahoma City and has been practicing since 2002. He originally wanted the name to be “Agape Chiropractic,” but he said he couldn’t get the name to stick and some may not understand the meaning. He finally settled on “Family Tree” because he encourages care for the entire family from great grandparents down to the youngest toddlers.

Before All Else, They Gather To Pray:

Carter took time to share about his professional adventure and blessing while he missed the prayer meeting he conducts with his staff twice a day. His practice opens in the morning, breaks for lunch and then reopens in the afternoon. Before each opening of the practice he gathers the staff for prayer.

They pray for each other, for the practice and for the patients. Carter says they even pray for patients directly when they’re helping them recover from this pain and that ailment. However, Carter never forces the matter.

“I don’t push it on people because some aren’t comfortable,” Carter said. “I don’t want to be showy, but I want it to be clear whose practice it is.”

Carter has even noticed patients asking for referrals to other specialists and inquiring whether “they will pray with me before treatment or surgery.” Carter smiled as he explained the power of prayer in his practice and how it’s connected him with a strong network of specialists who uphold their faith as well.

Hiring for a Christian Practice:

Does Carter only staff his practice with Christians? Is it a Christian only zone? By no means does Carter want to exclude people from his staff or community of patients because they don’t agree with his beliefs.

Upon entering the practice it’s difficult to miss the Christian messages and themes as Christian music plays over the sound system and messages of faith fill the walls. People know the mission of the practice as Carter designed it with that intent.

When Carter hires new staff members, he’s genuinely upfront and personal about what he believes and what the practice embraces.

“We don’t search out and say you have to be Christian, I wouldn’t do that. But I tell them in the second interview, ‘look this is really God’s practice and we pray for all of our patients, we pray together everyday as a team and we take prayer requests as a team. I’m not going to require you to pray with us, but you’re more than welcome to.”

It’s an open invitation to join what Carter and his staff members advocate and believe, but it’s not pressure or exclusion from him or the others. Carter is simply honest and open to people making their own decisions.

Work Isn’t Really Work:

Carter joked as he stated that work isn’t work for him. Watching patients improve and heal is the blessing of his work. The fruits of his labor, and staff’s prayer, are evident in the people they serve, making work a worshipful experience for him, he said.

“It’s kind of hard to call it work,” he mentioned. “It’s easy to be joyful through what I do.”

What We Can Learn From a High School Graduate

Last week, a South Carolina high school graduate showed not only his school, but his country, that his religious freedom will not be stripped from him as an American. Roy Costner IV, valedictorian, ripped his approved graduation speech for all to see and opened up personally to the crowd about his faith and his appreciation for his parents leading him to and in his Christian faith.

“I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at such a young age,” Costner said. “And I think most of you will understand when I say—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name…” as Costner continued to recite the Lord’s Prayer to much applause by the crowd of students and family members.

The story wouldn’t be as significant if his school allowed prayer during organized school functions. Instead, school officials ended invocations at functions since they were pressured by outside activist groups advocating for “religious-less” schools.

In bold stature, Costner displayed his dedication to his faith and family by doing what he believed was right, and what much of the crowd approved to be right as well.

As I hear this story, I can’t help but replay the scene, in my head, from Braveheart when William Wallace says, “they may take our lives, but they will never take our Freedom.”

This act of boldness, of bravery and of complete dedication to our God in heaven is an emphatic display of who we are as God-fearing people. When people turn against us, when society begins to strip our faith from us in every aspect of our lives on the basis of “diversity” or any other name—it’s in these times that we must all be like Costner. We must all pick up our cross and bear the name of our Lord and Savior.

So whether we’re leading businesses, working from home or working with a huge staff, our job as Christians and business professionals, is to stand for what we believe in and let our faith be the basis of everything we do. Although many will disagree with our stance and consider us intolerant or overbearing, we must stand strong in the faith we have been given.

Let Costner’s story be an encouragement to you. Even the youngest among us can provide a brilliant reminder of faithfulness to our God who has been forever faithful.

Denying Business Based on Faith—Is It Unlawful?

You may or may not have heard about a Christian baker in Denver, Co. who denied business to a gay couple ordering a wedding cake. This happened in July of last year and mainstream news and social media got a hold of the situation.

The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, took to their Facebook airways to publish a post about the baker, Jack Phillips, refusing to fill their order. The post went viral in an uproar over civil rights and discrimination.

According to the Denver Post, Mullins and Craig said the situation was awkward and painful.

“We were all very upset, but I was angry and I felt dehumanized and mortified,” Mullins said to the Associated Press.

Tremendous support flooded the couple, with strangers offering their appreciation for their love and commitment, and disdain for a business that would do such a thing.

Meet Jack Phillips—owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop for 19 years and resident of the Lakewood area just outside of Denver. He’s a professing Christian and has turned down business prior to this incident because of disagreements with homosexual relations.

The Denver Post reported Phillips saying, “when I do a cake for a first birthday party, I imagine the family gathered around taking pictures and laughing. When I do a graduation cake, I think of all the hard work it took to get them there. I feel like I’m part of the celebration, and I can’t take part in that kind of celebration (same-sex wedding).”

This brings us to today, where Phillips is facing a court decision that could determine jail time or fines for his actions.

The Blaze reported the Colorado Attorney General’s office is filing a formal complaint against Phillips and his bakery. The complaint describes a possible fine of $500 per instance if Phillips continues to refuse making wedding cakes for homosexual couples and could spend up to one year in jail for the suit. Phillips is scheduled to stand in front of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in September.

Of course, the issue at hand is discrimination.

“If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever,” Phillips said in an interview with CBS News. “It’s just the wedding cake, not the people, not the lifestyle.”

So, is it unlawful to deny wedding cakes to homosexual couples?

The court will probably rule that yes, indeed it is unlawful. Looking at the progression of law over time, you can see court decisions favoring less and less discrimination, no matter the concern of religious freedoms.

But, this progression affects Christians greatly. While we may deny such services, as small as making wedding cakes for homosexual couples, we will be identified as discriminatory although we have the right to exercise our faith.

I call your attention to the first portion of the first amendment of our constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

So our government, our courts, cannot stop us from exercising our right of faith. If so, how does that right get shoved aside concerning discrimination?

Is discrimination in business a more important issue than religious freedom? This is what we need to be discussing. It’s not that Phillips is discriminatory in all of his actions, just in making and selling wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

“I’m not going to change my business because of a petition,” Phillips said to the Denver Post. “I’m just going to do the best I can do to honor Jesus Christ.”

The question for Christians shouldn’t be “why aren’t you more understanding and accepting of people?” The question should be “why aren’t you holding fast to what you believe?”

If we progress with culture, we become hypocrites concerning the approval of homosexual relations. Are we going to be hypocrites of what we believe and let certain God-opposing, sinful actions slip through the cracks, or are we going to be different than mainstream culture and stick with our value of one man and one woman?

The decision is yours. If we don’t talk about it, then we may find ourselves on a slippery slope. So, let’s talk. And let our talk be wholesome and constructive. 

Podcast – Interview with Richard Sumner

Richard Sumner is the owner of a brand new business—Spreadsheet Solutions. He specializes in constructing custom spreadsheets for businesses and organizations, and teaches how to implement them for top efficiency. Not only is Richard a business owner, but he’s a passionate Christian, one who wants his business to be part of his ministry. We asked him about his faith and his business—hear what he has to say on this week’s podcast.

Music: Michael Flayhart “Anthem Pt.2″ 

Q&A with Joe Steadman, Owner of VIP Hosting

Today’s Q&A session is with Joe Steadman, owner of VIP Hosting in Norman, OK, a website hosting and design business in the greater Oklahoma City metro. Steadman is a Christian business owner and one who enjoys expressing his faith through the business he has started. He says it requires tremendous balance, but it’s doable and even brings him closer to his customers. Read the entire conversation here:

 

Q: How does your faith intertwine with your business?

A: Oh I would say pretty much everything I do is a direct result of my faith. I’ve always tried to treat people as I want to be treated. When you try to follow the tenants of Christ and his laws, and try to do good unto others, then you’re always trying to perfect yourself. You learn from your errors and live with a certain amount of integrity and honesty when we deal with our customers. I think that’s probably the biggest tenant we try to bring into our organization is to have that honesty in our dealings, whether in our billing or with customers directly.

Q: What are some examples of times when you’ve had to be honest within your business?

A: A really good example is that a few customers have come into the office wanting to do pornography or set up businesses that are unethical and I’ve had to turn those customers away. And it’s having that foundation that drives everything that we do.

Q: What’s the reaction of people when you tell them you can’t help them because of moral/ethical issues?

A: Sometimes it’s a shocker for them, but you have to come out and tell them this website isn’t a good choice. Some understand because they have gone through other people who have said the same thing. I’ll hear them out and see where they’re going with it and try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but if it’s like that then it’s not a good testimony. I haven’t run across them very often though.

Q: Have you ever run into any trouble with clients since you are a man of faith?

A: Not really, but I feel fortunate that I’m here in Oklahoma because I would say a greater part of the society I work with here is of faith and when they find out that I’m a Christian and live by Christian values, it usually opens up conversation and is something that brings me and my customers closer. Other than having to turn a few away, I would say it brings us closer together.

Q: How would you encourage others when they come across something like this to stand firm in what they believe?

A: Well that’s it exactly—the money will come, and through your faith and doing the right thing, other opportunities will present themselves. We all have financial obligations as business owners, but being able to stand firm—we’ll be blessed through our integrity and doing the right thing.

Q: Do you ever feel as if there is a separation between your faith and work?

A: Uh, sometimes, but it’s a tricky balance between church obligations and being able to maintain a business. I find that I always try to give priority to my church, especially with my business because I can make my own hours. If I want to get up at 4 a.m. and work or I want to work later, past normal business hours, it doesn’t affect me as much. I’m in a unique position where I can serve my callings and keep my business as well. I really feel like I’ve been blessed in that aspect. You want to please everyone, but you can’t, so you have to make those choices. As long as you’re making good choices it seems to work out.

Q: Would you consider the issue of balance to be your biggest struggle as a business owner?

A: I would say that it’s just a challenge, to be able to run a business and be a servant. You don’t want to be a slothful servant, but you can’t turn your back on your business either because you have your family and other people who rely on you. So, it’s definitely about the balance.

 

Christian Clothing Companies That You Can Support

As believers, we like to support other Christian companies when we can. Not only that, it is nice to express the message of Christ without having to say a word. Buying from Christian clothing companies allow you to do just that! Here are 4 popular and up-and-coming clothing companies that are centered around Christian values –

Kerusso: Print, Produce, Proclaim

This Christian apparel brand uses the Greek word Kerusso, meaning “to herald,” as its name to signify that they are passionate about proclaiming the gospel through their products. As wholesale producers of T-shirts, hats, wristbands, jewelry, and other gifts and accessories, they supply a number of Christian retailers across the nation. In fact, they are regarded by many as the #1 Christian t-shirt producer.

Although they constantly change their merchandise to match trends and styles, their message stays the same. CEO and founder, Vic Kennett, says that the message appearing on the merchandise is the main focus. He believes Christian messages printed on products such as t-shirts and hats are a clever way for Christians to start up conversations with their friends and family. His ultimate hope is that his company’s products will set the stage for nonbelievers to hear and receive the gospel.

Find out more at Kerusso.com.

C28: Not of This World

C28 is a Christian retail store, which uses Colossians 2:8 as the basis of its name and values. C28 sells t-shirts, jewelry, and other accessories containing uplifting Christian logos and messages. With their brand they provide an alternative to the sometimes negative messages found on mainstream apparel.

Every line of their mission statement and company values comes straight out of scripture. The store even has a prayer network set up for customers to email their prayer requests to the customer servant team. Additionally, C28 sponsors a number of ministries, including Campus Crusade for Christ and Mercy Ships. They take their business seriously because it has a positive, direct impact on people’s spiritual wellbeing.

Find out more at C28.com.

Missional Wear: Promoting the History of Christian Intellect

This new Orlando-based start-up is full of energy and ideas. They strive to represent the rich historic orthodoxy found in Christianity on their product lines. Missional Wear’s t-shirts display quotes from some of Christianity’s most renowned figureheads, such as Erasmus, Augustine, Spurgeon, and others. Shoppers can also find prints with Latin and Greek texts. It’s sleek and witty, appealing to the Christian intellectual.

Find out more at MissonalWear.com.

Christian Book: The Largest Online Christian Clothing Retailer

Although an online bookstore primarily, Christian Book happens to be the largest retailer of Christian clothing and accessories. With its online business strategy, it has unlimited access to customers not just in the nation, but worldwide.

Christian Book has many notable achievements and partnerships:

  • They are partners with and strong supports of Compassion International.
  • Boston Globe listed them among the “Top 100 Places to Work in Massachusetts” in 2009 and 2010.
  • Employs more than 500 workers.

Find out more at ChristianBook.com.

Rebel Brand: Challenging “Safe” Christianity

As the name of this clothing brand implies, Rebel Brand intends to make people ask thought-provoking questions about their faith, whether they are Christian or non-Christian. The founders aren’t interested in crowd pleasing. They print slogans that cause people to think seriously about their beliefs. Being a Christian, they say, is the most counter-cultural thing you can be.

Find out more at JesusIsARebel.com.

Have more great Christian clothing companies to highlight? Let us know in the comments or over at the Christian business forum!

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