Christmas Time – A lie for most people

December 21st, 2012

Isn’t it a great time? Everyone likes everyone else and everything is just harmonic and friendly. Christmas markets, wine, nice biscuits and families are coming together. Theoretically a great thing, right? Well, I guess most of us are aware of that hidden sites of this special time. Is there any family earth which is without any fights and arguments? I haven’t heard of any. Is the stressful every day life just going away for these days?

A time of peace and preparation is what people tell you the christmas time is. I doubt that it is peaceful for everyone (not even on the other side of the world but here) .. and preparing? For what? What does christmas really stand for? The birth of Jesus Christ of course but what do “we” need to prepare for that? To me it seams like people are looking for an “opportunity” to be in a “peaceful time”. All the things we do in christmas time are more or less just about us – not really about Jesus at all. Do we really do it because of Jesus or because of what we would like to have ourselves?

Just remember how Jesus was born … not very peaceful and not harmonic at all. So all in all, apart from the fact that we remember Jesus his birth, there is not much of what we do with a biblical backup or reason behind. Is that bad now? Of course not! But why am I telling you this now? Because I think that christmas for most people (christians included) is mostly a very selfish thing. It is all about our feelings and that we feel good. Is that an appropriate behavior to honor the birth of the son of god?

Furthermore: We try make this time peaceful and special. And how about the rest of the year? Shouldn’t we try to be peaceful the whole year? I’m not talking about a few days set apart for the actual christmas day. But the whole month of December (which in most countries you would consider christmas time) what are we doing? And to hit the top of the mountain: What about the rest of the world? While we have  a peaceful nice time what is about the parts of the world where people die on a daily basis? Shouldn’t that make us think and potentially change something?

Counter Personality Business Strategy

December 15th, 2012

Being an entrepreneur brings you constantly to points in life where you need to leave your comfort zone. Everyone who knows me a little bit knows that I’m rather introverted than extroverted. I just feel way more comfortable with myself alone to relax than hanging out with people to relax. Well, the consequences of this natural behavior are that I’m not really up to meet new people every day and I rather stick to people who I know for a while. This habit is quite not useful when it comes to the point of acquiring new customers and partners. But, this gives you an extra benefit if you use it right! Look at my old article here about the social aspects of the issue: http://www.ralph-kuepper.com/2012/09/silent-introverted-making-friends/

I’ve been to quite a few business meetings /conferences the very recent past. On most of them alone without anyone I know -> that is nothing I would naturally like! But still it worked in all cases more then well. Being a more reserved person and talking to people really affects how people see you. Instead of being seen (not that I’d care much) as a trash-talker you are seen as an highly educated and indeed sophisticated person. You know what you talk about, you know what you can do, what you don’t and why you talk what you talk. That’s something people that are rather extroverted will not always have (which is not a bad thing at all – just better for different purposes).

All in all I can say that I – as someone rather silent and reserved (for most times) – approach business and especially conferences and meetings completely different to what I naturally would tend to do. And guess what? It works! :)

Fighting For The Glory – Christmas Rock Night

December 9th, 2012

I went to the Christmas Rock Night (CRN) last weekend and this article is about the messages and things I took out of it. It all started with a statement made by Kevin from Disciple which basically said: “We are not supposed to fight at all (christians). But our enemy is fighting against us – so we don’t really have a choice, we have to fight.” (“Fight for love” followed after that).
If you look into some of the lyrics of some Disciple songs you find verses like this: “We came here to fight” [1 Timothy 6:12]. I can only deeply recommend to you to just read these lyrics here: Disciple – Battlelines

Well, the singer of Fireflight said something else that really touched me: “We need to get to know who we are, what God has put into us and then we can shine our light and do good deeds.” She also refers to Matthew 5:16 where it says “…let your light shine before men, that they see your good deeds…”. Do you see that it says “your” in there? Basically that means are we are supposed to shine – it does not say that “God shines” and we make him shine (of course he shines through us) but it says that we are supposed to shine and do good deeds. And that is something we only do when we know who we are – that was her message. I liked it a lot because not many christians put such an egocentric (not in a bad way this time) perspective on things.

The next things that touched my heart was the appearance of “For Today”. Their music pretty hard for my taste of music (and that even means something) but they just demonstrated so much how we christians are supposed to be. “We made the mark of the uncreated God so what should we fear?”. (Fearless) He said to us literally: “The reason why so many churches fail is because christians talk about ‘what they heard about Jesus’. but we need to talk about what we ‘experienced’ with Jesus.”. What he said has so much truth in it – it blew me away. Only if we have stories with Jesus we will authentically talk about Jesus to our friends and non-christians. The band as a whole also has a lot of songs about how we christians should not be fearful and fight for the glory of God. It’s certainly worth looking into their songs! (only the words if you don’t like the music).

The last big influential artist on the CRN was Manafest. It’s kinda funny because he is more of a rapper than a rocker (even though a lot of his new songs are so rocky!). He spoke about how we should fight for the glory of God as well but then his songs spoke for themselves (and his songs you can actually understand while listening ;) ). “Down and out Istart to doubt Ihit the ground I’m bruised,but I won’t break,I won’t break!You can say I’m done,But this has just begunI’m a fighter!” (Fighter). He gave a little testimony how God changed his life and a couple of his songs we really great.
And this time EVERYONE can listen to them – his style is pretty much mainstream and “soft”.
Listen to his album “Fighter” – it is so great!

All in all I can say that the message of the CRN was pretty much “Be yourself and fight for the glory of God – don’t let the enemy take the world!” – so let’s do it people!

A masculine heart – “Feelings” and Actions.

December 6th, 2012

I am supposed to prepare the next meeting of my bible study group and I had to pick between these topics: “Who may touch my heart?” and something else I can’t even tell right now. It is kind of obvious that I pick NOT the heart-topic. But it made me think about the issue generally: What “is” my heart? Well, quite frankly: I don’t care much, my heart is not that much involved in my daily life – at least I don’t feel or recognize it. But still, what is it then? If you ask this question to a woman she would probably start talking about her feelings, thoughts and her commitment to someone or something. But what is it for us guys?

Compared to a woman we guys don’t have a clue about feelings at all, so a masculine heart is not necessarily primarily about feelings and emotions. Committing yourself to someone or something is probably something that appears in both genders when you talk about your heart. While for a woman it is more about giving herself up to someone for guys it – from my perspective – seems to be similar but more towards a general idea or something bigger, like a desire or so. Of course that doesn’t mean that we can’t love women! Loving someone is of course a commitment as well and it is something that is in our heart AS WELL – but not ONLY.

If you ask a guy “What is it that your heart beats for?” (and by asking that you hit the core of the question “why do you life?”) you most likely will hear something about providing, fighting, reaching or archiving. Our “feelings” in our heart are rather to be described  as “passions” than “feelings” in the sense of what most people understand by it. God made us guys that way (read “Wild at heart” by John Eldredge if you want to know more about that). So to make it a bit more personal and understandable I’m telling you now what my heart beats for. God gave me the desire to fight for the good things in life. To make the earth more like the kingdom to heaven or in other words: To bring the kingdom of heaven here on earth. That it is a huge task and nothing “just to do”. It will certainly fill all my life :-) No, honestly, that is my desire and that’s what my heart beats for. But it is not only that – that is just the headline of my heart. The subtitles are: Business & Politics. Somehow I care a lot about people – but not the individuals (or not that much at least) but rather the ones in the bigger picture.

So how do we deal with that? We basically decide: We act like what is in our heart (whatever that is for you) and we stick to it – or we deny ourselves (in the wrong way this time!) and keep quiet and do not what we are supposed to do. What are you doing?

Faith vs. Feeling

December 1st, 2012

Spending a year in a house full of women I – as a man – got to know about “feelings” – these strange things men only barely know. And I discovered something quite interesting. Women tend to be very much acting like what they feel (which is irrational for us men btw). And that is first of all a great thing – I think it is right to do so generally. God created them that way so it is absolutely fine.  Some of the women I met told me about their emotional experiences with God and it just amazes me … considering that I more or less just have rational talks with God.

Well, my question now is: Is your faith based on feelings? Don’t get me wrong, God certainly uses feelings (fruit of the spirit, …) and feelings are a huge amount of what people – especially women – are made for. But I heard women say things like “I felt is was right/wrong.” Now my question is: What is if you don’t feel it is right/wrong but the bible tells you so? Is it a feeling ruling you or you ruling your feelings? I think it is important here to say that living a relationship with God (in fact every relationship), what defines the relationship is a “decision”, not a feeling. Deciding something can be far away from feeling something.

Do you base your faith on your feelings? I hope you don’t .. simply because we humans fail and so do our feelings (both genders). I know for myself that my feelings would have let done crazy things while my mind tells me different things. So, ask yourself what your faith is based on and change it if necessary – a decision will stand not depending on your feelings.

Living in bubbles – and we christians stay there.

December 1st, 2012

People are living in bubbles! That’s something what we can see all over the earth really. Everyone is having a certain group of people or a place or an area where we feel at home, where we are save (or we think we are). For some people thats the town, for others the school, for others family, college, university, working place, whatever. Each one of us is living in a bubble and normally we don’t step out of it or at least not frequently. Why not? Because we loose the feeling of safety and it might become uncomfortable.

I experienced what it means to change bubbles when I came back from my volunteer service year in England. We had our great OM bubble there with all people that worked in the organization. It was a great time and we had a lot of fun inside of that bubble. Also we had to step out of it frequently … but we always had this safe background of the bubble. Then I came to my town now, Münster. Compared to Birmingham in England it is a difference as day and night. While in Birmingham we had this little christian bubble here in Münster it is a great secular student town. I learned to love my bible study group here and I met great christians here. To live in a – apart from that – very secular town is shocking, enriching and challenging at the same time. While in a christian bubble you are kind of safe this is the wild west.

But and that is my point: That’s where Jesus wants us to be. What is my impact on the world when I stay in my christian bubble all my life? Of course I need a (small) bubble to refresh, to get new energy from and to get encouragement. But as Jesus commands us to be salt and light in the world: We are supposed to be outside of that christian bubble for most of our time. And I can honestly say that I can see how Jesus uses me here. It starts in little things like just being a friend to people and goes on into the bigger picture in seeing how God can use me to establish something completely new here. I see so many christians not doing what they could do … and I’m not saying that I am any better. But once you discovered what God’s will is for you and who you truly are you should start acting as you are supposed to do. Get out of your comfort zone, risk something, take off your masks and show the world who you are: A representation of Jesus himself. And did Jesus at any point not show who he was? (I mean even when he was 12 he did it) There is nothing to loose but only to win by starting living as the christian you are supposed to.  And therefor most of us (myself included) have to leave our christian bubble and get out into the world. Even though it is hard (at first anyways) – we are at war, a war started at the beginning, and we should not step back and just voluntarily give this world up. Let’s fight for the good side!

Entrepreneur vs. Artist – Creative people!

November 29th, 2012

Just a few days ago a friend and business partner of mine and me we talking about what it means to be an entrepreneur. Somehow we concluded that it is not far away from being an artist and I want to show the similarities. For have a better understanding let’s just compare these two elements: Artists / Entrepreneur and Band / Company. What do an artist and an entrepreneur have in common? Both of them work not primarily for money (well it is appreciated and necessary but for the most part it is not the main aim of what both of them do). Both of them consequently might need to live on a lower level of lifestyle (at least in the beginning, you just don’t start being famous and rich). Artists write songs and want to share it with the world. True entrepreneurs create companies and products that help the world to move on. Okay let’s see what it is that bands and companies have in common. Both need a crew. There is the “true” band, the original members and there is the staff team that helps them (sound engineers, technicians, producers,…) and you find all these elements in a company too: You have the founders (original members) which lead and drive the company and then you the employees which are pretty much like the staff team of our band. They support the founders to reach their goal. And it is not said that any of the staff is less valued. Ask Phil Collins if he wants to change his main sound engineer … or ask Apple if they want to replace Tim Cook just for fun. Once you got into a unique place in a company or band you are irreplaceable (at least until a certain level).

Entrepreneurs as well as artists try to give something to the world. They don’t want to get money in the first place but rather give themselves and their talent to the world. And both are creative! A great product is equally creatively created as a great song is – just on different areas. Somehow our society does not share this opinion yet. At least there is no tax-releasing law for entrepreneurs while there is one for artists. If you need one and until what point is a different question but I personally see that there might be some sense to see both equally, even tax-wise.

All together I want to say that there are certain similarities with entrepreneurs and artists and that both primarily “give” to our society. The question is: Does this point of view change our attitude towards them?

A little testimony

November 5th, 2012

I’m not even sure if this story is worth writing but somehow I think I rather write too much than too little. Yesterday I hit a car – accidentally! I drove slowly down a street and somehow my mirror crashed into the other cars mirror (which was parked). My mirror is fine (nothing broken at all) but the other one was completely trashed. So I parked my car and had to call the police. I was really annoyed because I usually don’t hit cars even though my driving skills are supposed to be debatable. Well the police needed a while to get there and you need to know that it was in front of a church (was planned on going to the service). It was a sunday evening and in situations like that (it was dark) people tend to just drive away and not report an accident like that. So the policeman was pretty friendly to me because I did report that. Normally you need to pay 15 EUR ($20) for something like that (+ insurance stuff) for the police as a kind of penalty. But because I reported it and stood up for it honestly he told me that I don’t need to pay. Isn’t that amazing? He realized that it is a church because he asked me about it and then he told me that I don’t need to pay my penalty because he really liked my honesty. I find that really encouraging how god continues to work through us. Where ever this policeman (and his partner) are in life, they very practically saw the difference between secular people and christians and I believe that these little  things do make a huge difference in the bigger picture!

Running for the glory of God – Running Worship

October 23rd, 2012

I started running to get to know a girl and I still run. But now I run only for the glory of God. My body as the temple of the holy spirit is a very important thing for me. To keep it fit and healthy is one of my top priorities in life and so run and eat healthy things (more or less ;) ).

Running as worship is awesome! You have all time and space you need to be alone with your father and creator IN THIS CREATION! In can deeply recommend it to everyone! :-)

Made for the battle

October 22nd, 2012

I just recently recognized how often women say “I do/don’t feel comfortable with that.”. For me that’s kind of a strange expression because I personally don’t “feel” as much as I think about things. Well that’s probably just a gender thing but it made me think about where I feel most comfortable. Generally it must be pretty tight up with what our passion is, what our heart beats for and what God has called/made us to do. When I look into my past and into recent situations where I certainly even “felt” comfortable I do see my passion in there: Fighting for justice.

So the question where I feel most comfortable I can boldly answer with: “In a battlefield.”. God made me to be a warrior for him and that’s what I’m gonna be – for real!

But what does it mean to be a warrior of God? Guys, honestly most of this stuff in this article is based on what John Eldridge writes in his book “Wild at heart” – if you haven’t read it: READ IT, it’s awesome! Well, back to topic. Being a warrior for God means to stand up for things that are right to do. To have the balls to open the mouth and protest against things that are not right. Fighting doesn’t necessarily involve physical fight (it might at some points) but it is a fight against yourself in the first place. You need to overcome the weak, false self-image that tells you “you don’t have it to do that” or “you are not made for this”. Once you overcome that you can start changing the world. It might be only a very small thing that you correct or change but imagine everyone would do that.

A good friend of mine just said to me “you are such a boy” and I corrected her “a man, not a boy”. She said that while I wrote this article and it made me think about if it is “childish” to see yourself as a warrior. But actually I realize now that it is not childish but rather “mature” to see yourself as something that high up. I mean it – of course – sounds over the top, thats clear. But the passion that lies behind and the energy that you get from it are way more important than any title. Besides no one should about what is childish or not – what count’s is what you actually “do”, not what you “say” or how you call it.

I close with a quote from John Eldridge: The world doesn’t need men who want to give what is needed, the world needs men who know what they can give.

Fight the battle of your heart!