How Inspire Builds Portfolios Differently

How Inspire Builds Quality Portfolios Differently

How Or How Much?

There are a lot of things we do differently at Inspire, not the least of which is our approach to building high quality portfolios comprised of the most inspiring, biblically aligned companies in the world.

As the infographic below illustrates, most investment management firms only look at the financial data of a company (how much money they make and how much they spend), while ignoring the more important ethical questions of how they make the money and how they spend it.

Many companies may look wonderful in terms of profitability, but if that profit is coming at the expense of corporate fraud or dealing in immoral industries such as abortion or pornography, then in our opinion such companies are not good investments.

Different Approach

Inspire takes a different approach. Not only do we examine the financial data on a company, but we also diligently analyze the ethical and moral issues involved with that company. This comprehensive approach results in robust portfolios that are filled with inspiring, biblically aligned companies that are a blessing to their customers, communities, workforce and the world.

These are the sort of companies we can really believe in, both financially and ethically. Why invest any other way?

 

 


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

 

Robert Netzly's speech at VVS18

Reflections On My Speech To The Nation’s Conservative Leaders At Values Voter Summit 2018

LIVE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.

Last week I had the rare opportunity to speak my mind to the the nation’s faith-based, conservative political leadership from the mainstage at the Values Voter Summit.

VVS is quite the experience. More than one-thousand attendees gathering together to advocate for biblical values in the political arena, rallying under the battle cry of “Faith, Family & Freedom”.

Among the attendees are powerhouse influencers including congressmen and women, high profile media personalities, business leaders and political activists, think tanks, rich folk and PACs. And right alongside these are an even more powerful band of everyday guys and gals who make up the grassroots network of passionate voters dedicated to upholding the righteousness of God in our great nation.

And the speakers are not exactly slouches, either. Among speakers on the day I had my time in the limelight were Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Dr. Ben Carson, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North, FOX News’ Todd Starnes, Governor Matt Bevin, Representative Mark Meadows, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, David and Jason Benham, Gary Bauer and others.

Let’s just say I was glad that I got to speak first thing in the morning before any of these other guys.

STUMPED SPEECH

So, when you have twenty minutes to say whatever you want to a room full of people like this, not to mention millions of viewers watching live at home, what do you say?

That’s a good question.

In fact, it is such a good question that I spent months trying to find the right answer. Do I talk about politics? Of course I talk about Jesus, but how much? Who are these people, really, and what are they expecting? Does it even matter what they are expecting or who they are? And of course I talk about biblically responsible investing, but from what angle?

As I ruminated, one question rose above all the rest: What does God want me to say to these people? “Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?” (Numbers 23:12).

While I prayed and sought the Lord’s direction and wisdom, He put three things squarely on my heart:

  1. Proclaim my Gospel;
  2. Humble yourself and exalt me as the source of all your accomplishments;
  3. Be unwavering in your conviction about the necessity to glorify me through biblically responsible investing.

And with that, I began to find the words.

SECRET SERVICING

Having stayed up far too late the night before putting finishing touches on my speech, the time came for me to head backstage and prepare to take the mic.

Because VP Mike Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo were speaking later that day, Secret Service had the entire venue on lock down. It was actually pretty cool. I felt like I was in one of those movies you see about Presidents or whatever, except that it was real.

I even got my own Secret Service detail. How cool is that?

So, my personal Secret Service bodyguard with the tattoo shaped like a rock-n-roll finger “sign of the horns” on the back of his neck and I, met up and he escorted me past the burly looking dudes guarding the big doors heading into the behind the scenes tunnels.

We wound around corners, through concrete walled passages with lots of exposed pipes in the low ceilings, past stoic Secret Service personnel stationed every 50 feet or so. I got stopped halfway through because I had not been given a “G-pin”, which is apparently how Secret Service identifies those people who are supposed to be in the restricted area from those who are not.

We waited together in the passageway while the two agents spoke in cryptic whispers into the hidden microphones in their jacket collars until another agent came through the doors with my magic G-pin.

They instructed me to attach this little piece of metal on my lapel and cautioned me to “make sure that it doesn’t fall off”. Which was a little nerve-wrecking as the pin was rather flimsy and didn’t really have the most secure fastening mechanism.

I envisioned myself flailing my arms passionately in my speech (which I tend to do), the G-pin falling unnoticed to the ground, me returning back to the concrete maze of passageways and being tackled by a rush of Secret Service agents and dragged into custody like some unruly passenger on a United Airlines flight.

Thankfully, my G-pin remained intact and so did my face and FBI profile.

TAKING THE STAGE

Finally it was time to take the stage.

Yes, I was nervous, but not as nervous as I might have been.

Whenever I get the opportunity to speak about God’s glory, my nerves are more of excitement than of fear. That is the one topic that I have such a confidence in, that I know everyone must hear, that is worthy of all my energy and enthusiasm, that fear is replaced with anticipation something like what I expect it feels like preparing for a battle you know you will win.

My name was called, I walked to the stage and stood behind the official Presidential podium (pretty nice podium), gazed into the audience and began to speak.

That’s pretty much all I can remember, other than the glare of the lights that fogged out my glasses the entire time. I remember people clapping and engaging with the powerful stories of the impact that biblically responsible investing is having on corporations big and small.

And I remember the cheers when I announced the new inspireinsight.com web app that we are releasing to give investors unparalleled transparency into the moral issues that exist in their investment portfolios and help them to find God-glorifying alternatives that support biblical values.

My first real memory is being backstage again, finding my way (G-pin attached) through the ant-trail of Secret Service agents and back out into the normal world.

ALL FOR GOD’S GLORY

I will confess that I still haven’t watched the recording of my speech. Maybe I’ll do that tonight. But regardless, my hope is that what comes across is that “whatever you do…do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). I hope that people are not impressed with anything about me, but rather they are amazed at the “hand of my God that was upon me for good” (Nehemiah 2:18).

And I pray that whenever you have a stage to speak on, whether large or small, global, national, local or even across a coffee table, that you use it to proclaim the glory of God to the utmost. I pray that you would declare His Gospel. I pray that you humble yourself and exalt Him as the source of all your accomplishments.

Oh, that the world would “see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Shine with me, together for God’s glory throughout the world!

 

[And here’s my Values Voters speech, in case you have nothing better to do with the next 17 minutes of your life.]

 

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Robert Netzly, CEO - Inspire Investing, Mainstage Session Speaker at the 2018 Values Voter Summit

Biblically Responsible Investing Expert To Address Nation’s Conservative Leaders at 13th Annual Values Voter Summit

Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing, to share success stories of his firm’s major shareholder activism victories in support of conservative, biblical values.

Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing and global thought leader on the biblically responsible investing (BRI) movement, is scheduled to deliver a mainstage speech at this year’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. sharing exciting stories regarding victories in his shareholder activism work engaging major corporations to honor conservative, biblical values.

Netzly will educate conservatives about how they can get involved in creating even more change by leveraging the impressive growth of the biblically responsible investing movement in his mainstage speech titled “Glimpses of Victory” at this year’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

A variety of speakers, including Members of Congress, activists, and key thinkers and leading voices of the conservative movement, have been invited to speak at the Summit which annually draws thousands of grassroots activists from across the country.

Other speakers scheduled to share the mainstage include President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Dr. Ben Carson, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, former Rep. Dave Weldon, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Oliver North, Dr. Bill Bennett, David Daleiden, Joel Rosenberg, Dana Loesch, along with Tony Perkins, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, Dr. Paul McHugh, HHS Civil Rights Division Director Roger Severino, Activist Mommy Elizabeth Johnston, Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes, Brigitte Gabriel, David and Jason Benham, George Barna, Gary Bauer among many others.

The Values Voter Summit will be held September 21-23 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Values Voter Summit is sponsored by FRC Action, American Values, AFA Action, Christian Healthcare Ministries, Inspire Investing, United In Purpose and Family Research Council. The Heritage Foundation and Patriot Voices are co-sponsors of the event.  An exhibit hall, book signings, radio row, media row, and much more will be packed into this three-day conference.

Pre-registration for media credentials is required. Please contact media@frc.org to obtain credentials.

For a schedule and more information on this year’s Values Voter Summit, please visit: http://www.valuesvotersummit.org/

tobacco stocks burn

Investors Get Burned By Tobacco Stocks

Tobacco stocks lose big

“Big tobacco” company Philip Morris’ stock recently registered it’s biggest drop in a decade, plummeting 18% on April 19th. The sharp decline came on the back of news that the cigarette giant’s newest ploy to hook another generation on nicotine  — a heat-not-burn tobacco device they call iQor, which heats a tobacco plug instead of lighting it on fire — fell far short of sales projections.

The new iQor product, and several other new attempts at taking tobacco beyond the cigarette, are being brought to market as the smoking industry finds itself struggling to attract new customers…and as their loyal, longtime customers die by the millions due to lung cancer, heart disease and other smoking-induced diseases.

Global smoking statistics are gut-wrenching:

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Around 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries
  • (source: World Health Organization )

Investors hooked on tobacco (stocks)

And yet, investors seem to have no qualms about profiting from the death of millions as tobacco stocks remain among the biggest holdings of some of the largest mutual funds and ETFs in the world. A quick survey of the most popular smoke stocks show companies like Vanguard, American Funds, SPDRs/State Street, DFA Funds, T. Rowe Price, TIAA CREF, iShares, Fidelity and others as their biggest investors.

Click below to see a list of the biggest investors in these three tobacco stocks:

Tobacco stocks wise stewardship?

Some investors justify their investment in tobacco companies with the excuse that excluding them from a portfolio might not be “wise stewardship” because their returns might suffer.

I’m sorry, but give me a break.

Since when did “wise stewardship” include profiting from the sale of an intentionally addictive product that kills half the people that use it? Do we really care more about our profits than people?

And for Christian investors, we should be very aware that an investment in tobacco companies runs counter to Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself”. If you love your neighbor, you don’t sell them cigarettes.

Christians quit tobacco stocks

Thankfully, despite tobacco stocks continuing to be embraced by some of the largest mutual funds, ETFs, pension funds and other investors, there are a growing number of investors who are kicking the tobacco stock habit and creating demand for tobacco-free investments. For example, the biblically responsible investing movement is adding to that trend as more and more Christians are realizing that they can align their investments with their biblical values.

Additionally, research from major universities such as Oxford, Wharton and Biola are finding that investing with a values based approach does not require a sacrifice of performance. And if the recent stock price struggles of big tobacco are any indication, investors might consider making a “wise stewardship” decision and purge their portfolios of tobacco faster than you can strike a match.

Will you kick the habit?

 

 


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

 

Why The Wall Street Journal Is Wrong About Socially Responsible Investing

Is Socially Responsible Investing For “Suckers”?

“The basic idea is to throw money away,” declares The Wall Street Journal today in reference to socially responsible investing (SRI). In their article titled “Stocks Weren’t Made For Social Climbing” author Andy Kessler and WSJ make the misguided assertion that anyone who invests with an eye toward corporate responsibility and making the world a better place is a “sucker”. In Kessler’s words,

“Wall Street considers it a truism that money sloshes around the globe seeking the highest return. But there are countless investors, believe it or not, who are willing to accept lower returns. P.T. Barnum supposedly said there’s a sucker born every minute. Many of them go into so-called socially responsible investing…In reality there is no trade-off of Vice vs. Nice. There are only returns.”

I am more than a little surprised at the ignorance of this article, but I suppose it is an opinion piece after all, and hey, everyone is entitled to an opinion…even me! So, here is my opinion then.

Socially Responsible Investing Performance Studies

While Kessler has an entertaining writing style and definitely knows how to turn a phrase, his entire premise is flawed. He makes the rather uninformed statement that responsible investing requires one to sacrifice performance, but he gives no basis for this conclusion.

The facts are that research done over the past several years by the likes of Oxford UniversityWharton University, Biola University and others show that responsible investing did not require a sacrifice of performance in their studies. In fact, some of these studies show that there was actually a slight improvement in performance for responsible investors compared to non-responsible investments.

According to Oxford University’s study with Arabesque Partners, “80 percent of the reviewed studies demonstrate that prudent sustainability practices have a positive influence on investment performance.”

Socially Responsible Investing For More Than Returns

That aside, Kessler has also made himself out to be a hypocrite or a criminal. He proudly asserts that returns are the only thing that matter when selecting an investment, that “there are only returns.” He most certainly doesn’t believe that…unless he is investing in illegal prostitution rings, arms dealers and drug cartels. They make a ton of money, but obviously (I hope) he would never consider investing in such a thing as it is 1) illegal and 2) completely immoral.

So, returns are not the only thing that matter. The law matters, too. And for Christians, God’s law matters even more than the law of man, so how could we possibly invest in companies that are in direct violation of God’s law, even if they did offer tantalizing promises of high returns? “Better is a little with righteousness than great gains with injustice.” (Proverbs 16:8)

Wall Street would goad us to give in to greed and chase high returns above all else. Sadly, there are many who fall prey to that siren’s call. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9)

As for me, there is no return high enough to entice me to invest in immoral industries like abortion, pornography and human trafficking.

Wall Street can keep their profits-at-any-cost approach to investing; I will keep my integrity. And if Oxford University is right, I may end up keeping more money in the long run anyway.

How about you?

PS – You can read the entire Wall Street Journal article here. But your IQ may drop after doing so. Just saying.

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

How To Get Started With Biblically Responsible Investing

Introduction to Biblically Responsible Investing

There is a movement underway in the world of finance where Christians are investing billions of dollars intentionally to support biblical values for the glory of God, and it is called Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI). More and more Christians are waking up to the opportunity to align their investments with biblical values, as well as discovering the unsettling truth that they have previously been profiting from immoral businesses such as abortion, pornography, human trafficking and other unbiblical practices. The growing demand for biblically responsible investments is changing the landscape of Wall Street and gaining global recognition as a powerful force for positive change for God’s glory throughout the world. However, many Christian investors are at a loss for how to get started with biblically responsible investing, but biblically responsible investing does not have to be complicated. Following is a step by step guide to make it simple and easy to implement biblically responsible investing in your financial life.


Step 1:
Discover What You Own From A Biblically Responsible Investing Perspective

The first step in the journey towards biblically responsible investing is to discover the truth about what you own in your investment account. What are the companies that you own in your 401(k), IRA, mutual funds, ETFs and other investments doing to turn a profit? Are they manufacturing abortion drugs, selling pornography, using slave labor in their supply chains? Are they donating money to Planned Parenthood? Lobbying to advance the LGBT agenda? I vividly remember the moment that I discovered the troubling truth of what I was invested in and how shocked I was to find that here I was, the president of our local pro-life pregnancy center, and I also owned stock in 3 companies through my mutual funds that were manufacturing abortion drugs. That means that every time a young woman went to Planned Parenthood and had an abortion, I was profiting from that transaction. That realization changed my life forever, as it has for countless other biblically responsible investors around the world today.

So, how do you go about finding out what the moral value of your portfolio is? It is certainly a daunting task to consider, and quite impossible for the average investor to compile the amount of research necessary to dig into the dirty details of every company in their portfolio. After all, it is hard enough just to read your quarterly statement without going cross eyed, let alone pour through thousands of hard to find data points on thousands of publicly traded companies.

The good news is that you don’t have to because there are Christian financial professionals, such as the members of our Christian Wealth Management network, that have robust analytic technology where they plug in your investment ticker symbols and out pops easy to understand reports that show you everything you ever wanted to know (and everything you NEVER wanted to know) about the moral issues in your portfolio.

There is also www.inspireinsight.com, which is a free online tool that our team built to empower investors with the biblical values data they need to make informed, God honoring decisions. Insight brings together the most robust data sets from the world’s leading providers, such as Thomson Reuters, Value Line, TruValue Labs and others, and makes that information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

All you need is to type in your ticker symbols or search the name of a company and instantly you have all the data related to the biblical values issues, both good and bad, that company is involved in as well as financial performance data so that you can make an investment decision that is both “wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove” (Matthew 10:16).

Are you ready to discover the truth about your investments? Ignorance is certainly not bliss, and I encourage you to take that step and see for yourself what is going on behind closed doors in your portfolio.

Step 2: Explore Biblically Responsible Investing Options

If you are like me, once you discover the moral issues in your current portfolio you will want to make a change as soon as possible. So, how do you build a biblically responsible investing portfolio? Upon learning about biblically responsible investing, some Christian investors have the concern that it will be difficult to find enough quality biblically responsible investment options to construct an outstanding portfolio that meets their financial goals. But praise God that the fact of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of companies pass even the most stringent biblically responsible investing screening criterion so that there is no shortage of quality companies for biblically responsible investors to allocate capital to. There are also a large and growing number of biblically responsible investing mutual funds, including lower cost ETFs (exchange traded funds) and other professionally managed investment vehicles available for biblically responsible investors and Christian financial advisors to use in their portfolios.

One word of caution: there are many investment funds issued by Christian faith-based organizations that one would assume are managed according to biblically responsible investing guidelines, but in fact do very little (or sometimes zero) investment screening. Also, not every Christian financial advisor is trained or equipped in biblically responsible investing, so do not just assume because your advisor is a Christian that they are managing your investments according to biblical values. Many Christian advisors, just like Christian investors, still have no idea that there is a major moral dilemma present in the portfolios they manage. As a good steward of God’s investments, be sure to do your homework and check the biblically responsible investing reports on www.inspireinsight.com even for Christian funds and advisors to make sure you know what you are investing in.

Once you identify your available investment options that meet biblically responsible investing screening criterion, the rest of the investment selection process is exactly the same as building any other portfolio: consider the risks, returns, fees, diversification and other important aspects to build your biblically responsible investing portfolio.

If you are a do-it-yourself investor, you can find many helpful resources direct from investment fund providers and analysis sites like www.inspireinsight.com. If managing your own investment portfolio is not on your list of favorite things to do, consider working with a Christian financial advisor who is trained in biblically responsible investing, like our Christian Wealth Management professional network members.

Step 3: Start Biblically Responsible Investing And Impact The World For God’s Glory!

After discovering what you own from a biblically responsible investing perspective, and then exploring your biblically responsible investing options, it is time to pull the proverbial trigger and become a biblically responsible investor, joining the growing number of other Christian investors in the biblically responsible investing movement!

The BRI movement is an exciting phenomenon that Wall Street is completely unprepared for. I have spoken with thousands of Christian investors and advisors over the past several years and I can attest to the fact that there is an awakening going on where the Holy Spirit is illuminating the importance of investing for God’s glory and placing a passionate conviction in the hearts of His people zealous to honor God in their financial life, just as they do in other areas of life.

God makes it clear in His word, the Holy Bible, that He wants His people to manage His money according to His values for His glory, and our joy. “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Christians control trillions of dollars in investment assets, and together we can inspire transformation for God’s glory throughout the world by aligning our investments (God’s investments!) with biblical values, sending a powerful message to Wall Street and corporations everywhere that God’s people care about biblical values enough to “put our money where our faith is”.

There are already biblically responsible investing success stories, such as corporations ending their philanthropic support of Planned Parenthood and hotels removing pornography from their televisions, and by the grace of God we will see even more of these inspiring stories unfolding. But, even if nothing changes and corporations continue to go from bad to worse, it is still the biblically responsible investor’s joy to glorify God by honoring His values with His investment assets. One day we will all stand before our Lord and give an account for what we have done with all He has given us during our time on earth. I want to hear the “well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master” regarding every part of my life, including how I managed God’s investments. What about you?

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

Where Is God When Houston Happens?

May God be with the people of Houston.

Over the past several days, one of the most costly natural disasters ever recorded has unfolded in Houston, TX. Hurricane Harvey has decimated the 4th largest city in the United States, crushing southeast Texas with over 19 trillion gallons of rain. The city is in ruin, people are in chaos, lives are being lost, and doubtless there are many who are asking, “Where is God in Houston?”. Perhaps even some reading this right now are experiencing their own personal “Houston” and are wondering if God has forsaken them.

I can tell you with supreme confidence that God is most certainly in Houston, that He cares deeply for those in affliction and is active right this moment providing comfort, hope and healing. “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) If you are hurting, God is not far away. Call out to Him and He will comfort you.

I can also tell you that the disaster in Houston is not because the people of Houston were somehow more sinful than the rest of the United States.  As Jesus taught, “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:4-5) We are all equally and completely depraved and deserve much worse than a natural disaster. It is the grace of God that we do not receive what we truly deserve. This world is in decay and groans with the pains of labor as we await a glorious new world, recreated perfectly when Christ returns. While we await that return, we will have trials.

So, what do we do with times of suffering in this life? There are two possible responses, both of which are playing out in the lives of millions of people daily in Houston and around the world.

The first possible response is despair.

It is natural to despair when disaster falls upon you. Our human eyes watch the floodwaters rise, see the ruin of everything we hold dear in this life and shed tears of hopeless loss. Surely many are feeling despair in Houston today, and my heart goes out to them. But must we despair in disaster?

Jesus taught us to, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions…Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing…Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12) For those who have made earthly treasure the focus of their life and “set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches” (1 Timothy 6:17), despair is the only option for they have truly lost everything and are without hope in this world.

But there is another possible response, and that is joy. But you might say, “Excuse me…joy? Are you really going to sit there safe and warm behind your keyboard in California and tell those of us in desperate situations that we should find joy in our suffering?” Yes, yes I am. I am not saying there is no sorrow, but for those who set their hopes on the Lord Jesus, there is an uncrushable joy, no matter our circumstance. And I do not write this as one who has never experienced suffering. My wife and I have suffered through two miscarriages this year alone and are no strangers to suffering. And we are no strangers to the joy of the Lord as He brings comfort and hope even through our trials. Hear the word of the Lord to the suffering,

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:3-11)

Oh, the joy of the one true gospel! Truly we can proclaim along with the Bible, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) There is no flood deep enough to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Are you in need of joy today in the midst of your suffering? The saving gospel of Jesus Christ is your hope and your joy. Cry out to Jesus, our Emmanuel, God With Us, who is near to the brokenhearted, comforts in affliction and loves you more than you know. And who alone is the door to eternal glory, where He will personally wipe every tear from your eye and where there will be no more sorrow. Cling to Christ, your hope, your joy and your salvation.

PS –  Inspire’s Give50 program has already provided funding for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts through our friends at WorldHelp. Please join us as we provide hope and healing for the people of Houston by clicking here to make a donation today. Disclaimer: Inspire and WorldHelp are not affiliates.

Blessings,

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

INFOGRAPHIC: The 5 Most Inspiring Tech Stocks

Technology is great. Except when it isn’t.

Tech companies are great. Except when they aren’t.

Like many things, technology can be used for good or for evil. And like the technology they create and distribute, tech companies can be forces for good or for not-so-good. (There, see? I didn’t call tech companies “evil”.)

Biblically responsible investors are wise to consider the impact that their technology stocks are having on the world at large. In particular, tech companies can shine particularly brightly, or fail miserably, in areas of special concern such as supply chains (remember the FoxCon/Apple suicides?) and the environment (tech manufacturing can be a very dirty business).

So, which tech companies are doing the best job of adding positive impact to the world in line with biblically responsible investing values? See below for our picks of the five tech companies with the highest Inspire Impact Scores. To learn more about how biblically responsible investing based on the Inspire Impact Score can affect portfolio performance, read our post titled “Can Impact Investments Outperform?”.

Christians, Dirty Money & Financial Revival

I had no idea that I was making money from abortions. I also had no idea I was making money on the sale of pornography. But every time someone used an abortion drug or bought an X-rated movie from Amazon or their TV provider like AT&T, Verizon, Dish Network and DirectTV, I was making a cut of that profit. With God’s money.

I was just like hundreds of millions of other Christians in this world who have the wool pulled over their eyes by the great Babylon of Wall St. For some reason, it had never occurred to me that the companies that I owned in my mutual funds, ETFs and stock and bond portfolios were the very same companies that were manufacturing, selling and promoting the vilest products of immorality and unholiness that the depraved human mind can conjure. But there it was plain as day, the truth that I was ignorantly profiting from the nails in my Savior’s hands, the thorns on His glorious brow and the spear through His broken heart.

And most likely, so are you.

Take for example the most heavily traded index fund in the world, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (ticker: SPY). This fund has $237.26 billion dollars in assets and trades an astonishing 18 million shares, or roughly $4.3 billion, per hour. Chances are that you are invested in this fund, or some other fund like it from Vanguard, iShares, American Funds or other company. The chart below shows the information that changed my life forever, and details exactly what owners of these funds are profiting from.

The question is, do you care?

Believe me, I know this is a difficult question to answer because the ramifications of “yes” mean a complete and total departure from the so-called financial wisdom of this world. My personal “yes” cost me all the financial security this world has to offer. And yes, I have also heard the attempts by some to sidestep this issue by saying that buying stock in the secondary market (as is done on the stock exchange, mutual funds, etc) does not actually support the company or give them any money. But they miss the point completely. The issue is not about some kind of financial boycott to withhold our money from “evil companies”, the issue is the unavoidable truth that as an owner of that stock, you and I are profiting from the most grievous of sins. Instead of “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11), we are pocketing the cash in the name of the Lord.

Hear the merciful appeal of God in His holy word, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). Set aside for a moment the questions and doubts of how to invest in a way that is not “conformed to this world”, and instead ask God to give you the faith to trust Him, to believe that His ways are better than our ways, whatever they may be. Ask your Lord to give you ears deaf to the commentators of this age who point fingers at you and yell “Fool! Bigot! Intolerant!”, but attentive to the voice from heaven that calls, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

Pray for personal, spiritual, financial revival.

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.

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Bible Values Create Raving Fans

Every (smart) business wants to deliver “wow experiences” that not only satisfy customers and employees, but turn them into raving fans.  Satisfied customers are happy, they don’t complain and probably will be loyal.  Raving fans, on the other hand, are more than happy, they are delighted; beyond not complaining, they sing your praises; and on top of their loyalty, they bring all their friends with them.  This is what separates a successful business from a ridiculously successful business.

But despite the many books and blogs, conferences and coaches that offer opinions on this topic, this holy grail still eludes the grasp of most companies.  Why?  Perhaps because the most effective solution is not found in organizational leadership, but spiritual leadership.  What we need is the fruit of the Spirit.

Love

Jesus famously taught his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself“, and also to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you“.  What if your customers did not just feel appreciated, but loved?  What if employers did not just value their employees, but loved them?  That would be something to rave about.  When was the last time you felt loved as a customer or employee?

Joy

I remember walking into a certain ice cream shop one day where I got what I asked for, service was quick, and the ice cream tasted great, but leaving the business the one thing that I found myself thinking about is how much those employees obviously did not want to be there.  If someone had given me a survey I would probably say I was satisfied, and I would probably go there again, but I certainly was not a raving fan.  Why?  The place lacked joy.

Peace

Have you ever worked where people just don’t get along?  Maybe there is back-biting gossip.  Maybe there is outright arguing and name calling.  Maybe there is just an acrid fog of unspoken ill-will permeating the halls and cubicles.  Nobody likes to work in a place like that, and customers don’t like doing business with an organization like that.  Seek peace and pursue it, and not counterfeit peace that is just surface deep, but real conflict resolution and unity, despite disagreements.

Patience

The two hardest people to deal with in business are customers and employees.  Hey, I’m just saying it like it is.  But, difficult people and situations also offer the best opportunity to create raving fans.  When an agitated person vents all of their frustration and anger on you, and you reply with patience and composure, that makes an impact like nothing else can.  And not just on the person with whom you are dealing with, but also with everyone in the audience.  And in business, you always have an audience.

Kindness

I love World Help.  We support their life-changing ministry as a company and also as a family.  Every year we attend their Global Impact Summit to hear first hand about the impact we are having with our support and how we can get even more involved, and every year I am blown away by the kindness of World Help’s people.  Simple yet powerful acts of kindness, like handwritten thank you notes at our dinner table and hotel room, arranging for first-class child care for us families with littles, always seeking us out with a kind smile and genuine “thank you for being here”, all of these endear me more and more to World Help as a supporter and raving fan.

Goodness

Most businesses try to be ethical, but ethical is a pathetic benchmark of goodness.  An ethical business is a business that does not do bad things, but inspiring business don’t just avoid bad, they do good.  Business is an incredible mechanism for creating positive impact in the lives of people all over the world.  Ken Blanchard, the pre-eminent leadership expert and author of the books “Raving Fans” and “One Minute Manager“, says it this way, “We need a new leadership model that focuses not only on goal accomplishment, but also on the greater good.”

If your business is a force for good in the world, that is something worth raving about.

Faithfulness

Don’t stab people in the back.  Follow through on your promises.  Say what you do, and then do what you say.  Do you want faithful customers and employees?  Then be faithful to them.

Gentleness

Domineering boss?  Pushy salesman?  Not rave worthy.  Empathetic employer?  Service over sales?  Now you’re talking, and so are your customers.

Self-control

Delivering an experience worth talking about takes self-control.  It takes doing the hard thing because it is the right thing.  Creating wow does not happen impulsively, but takes preparation and intentionality.  And it certainly takes self-control to live out all the traits mentioned above.

Conclusion

Now, here’s the catch:  It isn’t so easy to live out these principles, and even harder still to train an entire organization to live out these principles on a daily basis.  These values do not come naturally to us — certainly not to me!  The Bible calls them the “fruit of the Spirit” for a reason.  These are traits that can only be ours by the grace of God.  Do you want these values to be yours?  Skip the conference.  Pray for revival.

-R


Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing and frequent contributor on FOX, Bloomberg, New York Times and other major media. Read more from Robert in his #1 bestselling book Biblically Responsible Investing, available at Amazon.com and other major retailers.

Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

Image result for twitter logo Twitter.com/robertnetzly
Image result for linkedin logo LinkedIn: @Robert_Netzly

Advisory Services are offered through CWM Advisors, LLC dba Inspire, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC.