The Gospel of Good Success
The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell's strategy for economic development has won him acclaim in Houston and beyond, with national media reports praising his innovation. But it's his message of holistic salvation and not merely his business savvy that buffers Windsor Village United Methodist Church's commitment to building God's kingdom in their city.
Kirbyjon Caldwell preaches a message that fuses faith with works to bring spiritual, financial and social change.
Making Joshua 1:8 his central text, Caldwell preaches a gospel of good success, that God wants His children to be whole in every area of their lives-spiritually, emotionally, financially. His book, The Gospel of Good Success, provides a road map for the journey and has been praised by Christians and non-Christians alike. It offers a practical guide to successful living, and will be converted into a video series by the United Methodist Church.
Caldwell says the quest begins with identifying your calling, or the "why" of your birth. Vocational tests and evaluations aside, he says everyone must answer two central questions: Who are you, and what were you born to become? "You have to know your mission before you can accomplish it," he writes. "You have to know your dream before you can achieve it."
Caldwell teaches that when a person aligns what they truly enjoy with God's plan for their lives, then "the alignment of mind, body, and soul-or Calling-will occur." But he notes that for many, fulfilling that calling requires that they rebound from past hurts and mistakes. He calls this process "staging a comeback" and devotes a chapter to the theme.
Staging a comeback involves acknowledging where you are, recognizing the pain experienced over lost faith or self-doubt, and learning to forgive and receive healing. But ultimately the process requires that a person realign his will with God's. When a person has done that, then he or she is ready to begin the faith walk.
The first step is the hardest, he says, but God brings the right people alongside as you walk. He encourages people to declare their vision, or give it a name, and to create receptacles to hold the vision when it manifests. This may include getting an education, developing a nonprofit corporation, or finding psychological or emotional stability.
Caldwell notes that faith-walkers must have the "audacity" to put God's Word into action and keep the vision ever before them. Actually walking requires that believers trust that God has their backs. Their prayers and praise will feed that faith.
But no matter how strong a person's faith, he says, the devil will still rear his ugly head, accusing, tempting and attacking the mind. Seeing good success requires that Christians learn how to "whup" the devil-a battle that starts in the mind. Gaining the victory over Satan is outlined in Ephesians 6, Paul teaching on the armor of God. But "whuppin" the devil-distinctly different from whipping the devil, which may have him coming back for more-also includes killing some giants.
"If the devil influences the thoughts, habits and temptations that steer us wrong or hold us back-shame, embarrassment, self-destruction-Giants are all the tangible 'things' that we fail to overcome because we think we can't."
These giants often represent deeper issues-fear, depression, pain, guilt, and shame-that must also be destroyed. God is always more powerful than the giant, Caldwell writes, so Christians must not be intimidated, even if there is a legion of Goliaths.
One of the biggest giants in our culture, Caldwell writes, is the love of money. Yet he says God wants His children financially blessed. "Whether I deserve the blessings is beside the point: blessings are based on God's grace, not on merit. Grace, by definition, cannot be earned."
The key is learning to create wealth God's way and not falling in love with material things. Staying true to his business roots, Caldwell has a formula: faith + good stewardship + giving = abundance. God can breathe life into dry bones-performing miracles in a person's finances-but all believers have a responsibility to see God as their source, to conquer debt and bad spending habits, and to give God a tenth of their money, time and talents, he says.
Caldwell goes on to discuss healthy relationships, which he says are formed after a person has developed a relationship with God, then himself, then with the other person. God-blessed relationships will meet an individual's needs, cause both partners to grow and won't require a person to constantly ask God for forgiveness.
"God-blessed relationships are very simple, very clean partnerships; the partners love each other, meet each other's needs, grow in their love, and act in accordance with God's will. Dysfunctional relationships, in contrast, are complicated messes?peppered with arguments and constantly clouded in confusion."
All in all, wholeness boils down to desire. Nothing will change if a person doesn't want to be made whole.
"Becoming whole is a process," Caldwell states. "Each step offers deliverance, growth and integrity. There are no shortcuts or easy exits. The very essence of wholeness is 'giving' all the way.' Are you prepared for the journey? Do you want to be made whole?
Reprinted with permission from Charisma (March 2002). ? Strang Communications Co., USA. All rights reserved. www.charismamag.com