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.



About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Get started with Biblically Responsible Investing

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 institutions 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.

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. Here are two places you can go for a free biblically responsible investing report on your investments:

  1. Here at Inspire Investing, we are committed to educating and equipping Christian investors to glorify God with their investments, and as such we provide complimentary Inspire Impact Reports that detail the positive and negative impact of your current portfolio. Just go to the Contact Us page, shoot us an email or give us a call and our service team will get your report emailed over to you, no strings attached. You can also download our free “Inspire Storybook” that explores how we do biblically responsible investing at Inspire.
  2. Christian Wealth Management is a nationwide network of Chrisitan financial advisors from multiple investment firms across the nation who are specially trained in biblically responsible investing. Each CWM member volunteers their services to provide free biblically responsible investing “moral audit” reports to anyone who asks. Visit www.christianwealthmanagement.com to be connected to a Christian financial advisor BRI specialist for complimentary reports and information on biblically responsible investing.

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 none) 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 even Christian funds and advisors to make sure you know what you are investing in. You can get these reports for free from Inspire or Christian Wealth Management as mentioned above.

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 third party analysis sites like Morningstar.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, such as members of the Christian Wealth Management network.

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?



About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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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.



About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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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.


About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Good Christians Are Fools

As a Christian in business, and in life, wisdom requires you to be a fool.  You will be called on by Wisdom to make decisions that seem folly to bystanders.  Onlookers will mock you at best and do their best to destroy you at worst.  They will not understand, accept or even tolerate your path, but you will be anchored by the irrefutable conviction that your decision is right.  Because beyond the current affairs of the day, the opinions of the age, and even the temporal success of your endeavor, above all is the timeless and eternal wisdom of God revealed in the Bible.  “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” (Hebrews 6:19).

I can only speak from my own experiences, and I boast in nothing save Jesus Christ alone who is my only glory and sure foundation.  Such experiences as when I was compelled to leave the safety and security of my position at Wells Fargo, being compelled by the Spirit to start a company dedicated to biblically responsible investing (BRI), with no income, no savings and no clue what I was doing.  People questioned my judgement and whispered about the likelihood of my failure.

And when I steadfastly built that business by God’s grace, offering only biblically responsible investments, ready to refuse potential revenue under the conviction of scripture that “whatever you do, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31), many chided my foolishness that I would fail with such a narrow-minded focus, and yet God brought me more investors than I could handle, and also brought me advisor partners who shared my conviction to expand the scale of our growing firm.

Industry experts warned, and even scolded, that my insistence on diligent, biblical screening which filtered out hot-button issues such as LGBT activism and corporate giving to Planned Parenthood was just too radical, unnecessary and intolerant.  But how could I in good conscience profit from and recommend such things when scripture’s clarion call to “take no part in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11) resonated so in my soul?

And when God laid on my heart the necessity to bring biblically responsible investing to the world by launching Inspire, the world was incredulous, and even a bit outraged, that we would manage investments aligned with conservative, biblical values instead of conforming to “the pattern of the world”.  The media skewered us for our “intolerance“.  Financial experts scoffed “thou shalt not buy biblically responsible [investments]” claiming we would never be able to achieve good performance because of our “limited” investment universe of companies aligned with biblical values. Liberal activists proclaimed that we would never attract investor capital because our “approach is squarely at odds with that of nearly all of corporate America“.

And these same pundits scratched their heads when Inspire attracted massive capital, grew assets by 131% and was named among the nation’s fastest growing investment firms in the Financial Advisor Magazine 2017 RIA Ranking, with all glory to God because by worldly standards these authorities should have been right, save for one glaring omission in their reasoning which makes all the difference: God is sovereign.  And even if God had seen fit to allow me to fail in the world’s economy, I would still be a success in God’s economy, which is the only market that really matters after all.

So, when you are faced with a mocking crowd and find your convictions at odds with popular opinion, stand firm in the wisdom of God expressed in the Holy Bible.  Stand upon the firm foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord, “for the wisdom of this world is folly with God.” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

“Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.” (Psalm 1)



About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible investments. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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Reflections On Ringing The NYSE Closing Bell

Do you know what I was doing on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 4:00pm Eastern Daylight Time?  (I know…why should you care, right?)  Well, if you want to know, I was ringing the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange along with the rest of the Inspire Investing team.  So crazy!  It was a dream come true, a completely surreal experience.  Have you ever had an experience like that?  Something so great that you float through it like a dream, the reality of it all only sinking in over the next several days after?  I hope you have.

[Watch the video of our bell-ringing on Facebook!]

With the bell ringing a few days behind me, I have had some time to ruminate on the experience and thought I would share a few reflections that could come in handy the next time you find yourself ringing the NYSE bell, or doing something even more important.

1) Bring people with you.

The New York Stock Exchange is quite a place.  The energy inside that building is frenetic and contagious.  The pomp and circumstance, the liturgy and ceremony of the bell ringing connects you to a rich history dating back hundreds of years, all the way back to the first trading sessions under the famed buttonwood tree and the amazing growth of a young America into the world’s most thriving economy.

Standing up on the podium, overlooking all of this with my finger on the bell button (yes, it is a button), is exhilarating.  They allow you 14 people up on that podium, and we packed it out.  The experience was infinitely more rich because I shared it with people I love and who love me: my wife, my business partners, and their wives.  We have labored hard and sacrificed much together to get to that platform.  I cannot imagine being up there all alone.  Next time you do something great, bring people with you.

2) Make it count for eternity.

No matter how great an accomplishment ringing the closing bell of the NYSE is, or whatever achievement you are celebrating, if it is just an earthly triumph it will not last and really doesn’t matter at all.  As the apostle Peter reminds us,

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)

Ask yourself how you can imbue your great deed with eternal significance.  If you don’t, then what have you really accomplished?  Nothing.  As Vernon Brewer, my friend and Founder/CEO of World Help (who joined us on the bell podium, BTW), says often, “Do something everyday that will outlive you and last for eternity”.  That is a great idea.

We brought eternity to bear in our bell ringing in a few different ways.  First, I preached a short message for our guests and NYSE staff on Matthew 5:13-16, letting your light shine, in the NYSE “Big Board Room” before the bell.  Second, we made sure to point people to God while we celebrated on the podium.  Third, we used the “tag the wall” tradition (where bell-ringers get to write on the wall in the stairwell just behind the bell podium) to share the eternal hope of Jesus through scripture.  All the previous bell-ringers just signed their name and date, like some grown-up financial version of a yearbook, but our team took that opportunity to write in permanent ink, indelibly in plain view of all future bell-ringers, verses of scripture and proclamations of God’s goodness and glory.  Why write our silly names when we could write something eternally profound?

Which leads me to my third and most important exhortation…

3) Give God the glory.

It is tempting to soak in the spotlight when the world shines it on you, but that is the biggest mistake you could ever, ever, ever make.  When people all over the world are telling you how great you are and how magnificent your accomplishment is, don’t fall for it.  Don’t buy the lie.  You are not great and you are not magnificent.  Sorry, but you’re not.  And I most certainly am not.

All you have is from God, who alone is sovereign over your successes and failures.  If there is anything good that you have done it is only because of the grace of God in your life — whether you believe in Him or not.  I am more keenly aware than anyone how incapable I am of doing anything good or noteworthy apart from the blessing of God.  I seek His grace each day, and ask desperately for His favor, because without it I am nothing and neither is our company.  And I pray fervently that I never make the mistake of King Nebuchadnezzar, who claimed for himself the credit for his great kingdom and was reduced to nothing until he acknowledged God as the source of his blessing.  (Read the story in Daniel 4:28-37.  It is a fascinating story of how “those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (v. 37), especially the greatest among us).

So, next time the spotlight shines on you, be a mirror and not a sponge.  Reflect the glory to God, who alone is worthy.  Only if you do that are you or I truly a success.



About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn and get inspired!

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About the author:

Robert Netzly is the CEO of Inspire Investing, a social enterprise creating meaningful change in the lives of people all over the world by providing low cost, biblically responsible impact investments easily accessible on the NYSE. 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

Follow me on Twitter: @robertnetzly