How I Reconciled with God

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How I Reconciled with God

Charlie Paparelli

Originally this post was published on Charlie Paparelli’s blog as part of an ongoing series called “Reimagine Your Life.” To read the rest of the series, go to paparelli.com and subscribe.

“Why are you holding on to your guilt and resentments?” asked Adolf Coors IVfeatured speaker at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast.

I walked away from God when I was eighteen years old. I did it because religion made me feel guilty all the time. I believed religion and God were one and the same. The people who led the religion had the rules, regulations, and rituals. I learned them. I practiced them. Finally, I rejected them. I was free. On my own and doing what I believed was right and wrong. Setting my own course and practicing my own behaviors.

But there was a problem.

I couldn’t even meet my own standards of right behavior. Too often, I couldn’t make the right moral choices. This resulted in blaming myself. I couldn’t blame God. He was nowhere to be found in my life. I couldn’t blame religion because I wrote it off as foolishness. I was the only one left to blame.

I hurt people’s feelings. I did things in secret I never wanted to think about, much less talk about. As these situations occurred, I didn’t know what to do with the guilt.

The more guilt I accumulated, the more anxiousness swelled up. It took more and more of my energy to hold these feelings at bay. It was like they were spring loaded, and each year the spring became stronger and stronger. It took increasing effort to suppress it.

I found relief in work and alcohol.

I would bury myself in my work. Focused on doing a positive activity, I would forget about the guilt that consumed me. Take a drink, and these feelings were more easily forgotten. I was better able to cope. But I couldn’t drink and work. One method of coping worked against the other. Good thing drinking was such a big part of the work cultures.

The culture of the companies I was a part of was simple. Work hard. Play hard. So that’s what I did. The result was I became a functioning alcoholic. I also learned that if I could think it sober, I could do it or say it while loaded. This caused more wrong choices which resulted in more guilt and reinforcement of resentments. Which resulted in the need to drink. And the negative cycle continued.

I realized I became a man I didn’t like.

One evening, I saw what I was doing and where it would take me. I wasn’t the man I had envisioned being early in life. I became a man I wouldn’t want to befriend. But I was me, and there was no denying it. I knew I had to get off this path, and that’s why I decided to attend my first AA meeting.

In those rooms listening to those stories, I learned there was hope. There was a different path. Choose to stop drinking one day at a time. Commit to the AA program. I heard them say, “It works if you work it.” I believed it. What choice did I have? So I worked it.

My head began to clear after several months in AA.

That’s when I came face to face with the question, “Who is your higher power?” That’s when God came back into the picture in a more personal way for me. I wasn’t drinking after all this time. Was it because I gave my drinking problem to God? This was the third step in the program. It had to be this decision. I wasn’t able to stop drinking on my own, but now, with God in control, I wasn’t drinking.

Answering this question opened the doors of my life to people I knew who knew God. This led me to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast and other similar events. There I heard successful men speak of their demons of guilt and resentments and how they overcame them. They showed me there was a path to knowing God, and God had made it available to me.

I met these men in the more intimate setting of Bible studies.

In these meetings, I saw who these men were and how they thought and saw life. They shared the decisions they made. I realized I was not unique. They suffered just as I was suffering, but they were different from me now. They had a joy I didn’t have. Life was good. They had a higher purpose. They weren’t stuck in a negative cycle.

After several months of these AA meetings and Bible studies, I was driving to Hilton Head to meet up with Kathy and the kids. It was July of 1993. I was on I-16, which is the most desolate road in all of Georgia. No cars, no exits, and nothing to see but pine trees and white lines.

I popped in the cassette tape Robert Campbell had given me. It contained the speech Adolf Coors IV gave at the businessmen’s breakfast I’d attended the previous year. I heard his story all over again. He ended with an invitation, “Jesus Christ came down from heaven to die for your sins. He loves you that much. He wants you to be in a relationship with Him. Will you accept His gift of forgiveness and reconciliation?”

This was not the first time I’d heard this invitation. In fact, I was asked this question from time to time from various people throughout my adult life. I would say something like, “Leave me alone,” or if I was in a gentler mood, “It is good for you, but I don’t believe that.”

This time was different.

Adolf Coors IV asked, “Why are you holding on to your guilt and resentments? Why are you going on like this without God? Is it working for you?”

Why was I insisting on staying in control of my life?

Look where it had gotten me. I was a man I didn’t want to be. I was stuck, guilty, angry, anxious, and depressed. I gave my alcohol addiction to God, and he took it away. Would he take these feelings away and make me into the man I always wanted to be?

As I think back, I was afraid to commit my life to Jesus Christ. If this didn’t work, what would I do? As long as I did what I was now doing, there was hope that an answer would present itself. I would be magically cured of all these feelings and stinkin’ thinkin.’ But Coors was telling me this was the answer. It was right in front of me.

So right there in the car, traveling well above the speed limit, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. Coors, speaking on the cassette tape, led me in the prayer. “Lord Jesus, I know you love me. I believe you came from heaven to reconcile me to you forever by dying on the cross for my sins. I surrender my life to you. Please take away my sins and remove my guilt. I know I’ll be with you from this day to eternity. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”

Something happened in that moment.

It was like my dad showed up when I was lost as a child in a crowd. I was safe. It was OK. I knew life would be good again. The sins of the past were lifted from me. The guilt was gone. I was saved. Jesus Christ was now in charge.

I knew the first place I needed to go was to church. I once saw one in Hilton Head. It had a garden with a reflecting pool. I wanted to pray. I wanted to thank God and process what had just happened. So that’s what I did.

Then I went on to see Kathy and the kids. I said nothing to them about what had just happened.

Charlie Paparelli is president of High Tech Ministries, angel investor and blogger. Twice each week email subscribers to his blog receive his thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur and Christian leader.

From Frozen to Faithful

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From Frozen to Faithful

How God Used the Breakfast to Wake Me Up

Mike Morris

Mike Morris is the co-founder and CEO of Broadgreen Solutions, he leads a Grace@Work Bible study and is a High Tech Ministries board member. 

I am not alone!

That’s the thought I’ll always remember. The thought swept over me the first moment I walked into the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. Here was this huge ballroom filled with fellow executives at a prayer-based function. Simply amazing!

Matt Stevens told me about the High Tech Prayer Breakfast quite a few years prior to my attending. He had become a table host, and also had been going to a Bible study associated with the prayer breakfast. The bible study sounded interesting, but I just couldn’t seem to get out bed early enough to get to the study.

Frozen Chosen to Study Regular

One time at church I heard someone refer to a category of Christians as “The Frozen Chosen.” That description fit me well at the time.  I believed in Jesus. I accepted him as my Lord and Savior. But you would have had trouble finding proof of that at work. I kept my head down as a Christian.

At that year’s Prayer Breakfast, the local speaker was Charlie Paparelli.  He also happened to be the leader of that bible study Matt had been inviting me to.  I listened to Charlie and was impressed by his authenticity.  I remember thinking, “I can learn from that guy.”

A few weeks later I started attending Charlie’s bible study. I became a regular and it challenged me in my walk as a Christian. That led to me leading a similar bible study, and also becoming a table host for the prayer breakfast. 

God’s Launching Pad in My Life

I love having these ministries in my life. The High Tech Prayer Breakfast gave me a launching pad for my own workplace ministry.  These ministries have given me amazing opportunities to come along side people as they grow in their faith.

I’m reminded of something I once heard a pastor say: As the carpenter builds the house, the house builds the carpenter.  As I got more involved with ministering to others through the High Tech Prayer Breakfast, my relationship with God has also grown deeper.

When I think about inviting people to the prayer breakfast now, I see it as a chance for them to start the adventure of a lifetime.  

My ministries are really what made Christ real throughout my life, and it all started with the High Tech Prayer Breakfast.

My First Bible Study

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My First Bible Study

Charlie Paparelli

Originally this post was published on Charlie Paparelli’s blog as part of an ongoing series called “Reimagine Your Life.” To read the rest of the series, go to paparelli.com and subscribe.

“What are you looking for?” Kathy asked as she saw me rummaging through the bookshelves in our bedroom.

“I am looking for a Bible,” I said.

“A Bible? Why do you want a Bible?” she asked in disbelief.

“I am going to a Bible study in the morning,” I said.

“You are going to a what?” she asked. “You are going to AA every night, and now you are going to start going to a Bible study?”

“Do we own a Bible or not?” I asked.

“My sister gave me a Bible when I was a kid. I think it is on a bookshelf in the basement.”

I went downstairs and found it. It was an ugly green book with dried, swollen pages. At one time it must have been soaked in water and later dried out. It would barely rate as “Used – Acceptable” on the Amazon book condition scale. But I found it.

I was ready to attend my first Bible study.

At 7 am I walked through the front doors of the restaurant. I was greeted by a man my age. He was quick to welcome me and introduce himself. He said, “Welcome to the men’s Friday morning Bible study. Is this your first time?”

He had me fill out a name tag and then pointed me to the coffee and doughnut bar they’d created for the guests. It was a friendly crowd. A couple of men introduced themselves, but I was more interested in keeping a low profile.

After all, I had no idea how to conduct myself in a Bible study. I didn’t know what to expect. Would they would call on me to speak? Ask me to read the Bible or, worse yet, tell them why I had come in the first place? What was I going to say, “I’m looking for my higher power? Have you seen him?”

Chris White, the leader of the gathering of approximately 40 men, called the meeting to order. He asked everyone to find a seat. Then he said, “Welcome, men. Thanks for getting out of bed so early to hear the Word of God and discuss it. We are here to learn more about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“For those who are here for the first time, our format is simple. I’ll choose a selected reading from the Bible and then speak for ten minutes on the passage. Then we’ll get together in small groups to discuss what we’ve learned and how it might apply to our lives. If you don’t have a regular small group, please see John over there, and he will assign you to one.”

Then Chris said, “Please turn to Matthew 6, verses one through 10.”

I sat there frozen.

I had no idea how to follow those instructions. What was Matthew? Where was Matthew? Who was Matthew? And what did the numbers mean? I didn’t want to look stupid, so I opened the Bible to about the middle and looked like I was reading something. What I was doing was hoping nobody was watching me. I didn’t want to look incompetent, but I needed help.

He did what he said he would do. He read the Bible. It seemed like everybody except for me was following along with him. Then he talked about what he had just read. I don’t remember any of it.

When Chris concluded his remarks, he said, “Ok. Let’s head to our small groups.”

As instructed, I went to see John. He was kind to me as I expected. He showed me to a table with five men I’d never met and asked me to introduce myself. Then each of the men in turn stood and shook my hand. The leader of the small group thanked me for coming and welcomed me. He said, “We are glad you’re here. Our format is simple. I’ll ask questions about what Chris read and talked about, and each of us will have the chance to share our thoughts.”

And with that short introduction, I started my first Bible study.

Before he asked any questions, the table leader asked me why I chose to attend that day. I said, “Bill Leonard sent me here. I was interested in learning more about God, and he recommended this meeting.”

Then the leader asked for prayer requests. Each man gave an update of what was going on in his life. I was struck by how transparent these men were about their lives, families, and business challenges. Some of the stories were pretty horrible. Parents with cancer, wayward kids, marriages not working, no job or income, bad bosses, and the list went on. I was thinking, I’m in AA and can’t seem to figure out what I’m going to do professionally, but my wife and kids love me. I’m in pretty good shape. I didn’t share any of this. I was there to observe and learn.

Then the leader asked a man to pray for the prayer requests.

I’d never heard a prayer like he prayed. It was from the heart, and it was free-form. He was simply in a conversation with God. Until that moment, I’d only heard people read or recite prayers from a prayer book. This guy was talking to God like he was sitting at the table with us.

“What did you think about the reading?” the leader asked.

I listened as these men shared their insights and struggles.

It was like a book club discussion but far more personal. The more the men at the table shared, the more comfortable I became. These guys are just like me. They are struggling with life and searching for answers. They’re here because they believe God has the answers. They think the answers to their questions can be found in the Bible, I thought to myself.

At the end of our time together, each of the men thanked me for coming and asked me to join them the next week.

I liked these guys.

They were not like the people I was meeting while networking in the community. They were authentic and transparent, unguarded. I wanted to be authentic and transparent. Maybe this was a place I could be that way. Maybe, just maybe, this was something I should attend every week.

Could I trust them?

Could I tell them the truth?

I said, “I’m looking for an introduction to my higher power. Can you point me in the right direction?”

Then God Sends Bill Leonard

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From AA to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast, God Works

Charlie Paparelli

Originally this post was published on Charlie Paparelli’s blog as part of an ongoing series called “Reimagine Your Life.” To read the rest of the series, go to paparelli.com and subscribe.

I couldn't stop thinking about Bill Leonard. I kept replaying his talk about Jesus. Standing at a podium on a slightly raised platform, he was the final speaker at my first High Tech Prayer Breakfast.

Bill spoke with a voice filled with conviction. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. And it wasn't only me. It was also true for the other eight hundred people in the room. The ballroom had this deafening silence. The kind where you can hear the air moving through the ductwork.

Bill said, "You can have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, his one and only son." And then he paused. It was up to me to make my decision. I could choose to believe, reject, or consider. I chose to consider what he said was truth.

It was something I wanted, but I had my doubts. Was what Bill was saying even possible? At eighteen years old, I made the decision to walk away from God. The religions around me seemed to produce guilt-ridden hypocrites. I became one of them at an early age and decided, "Not me." So I walked.

I became an enemy of God.

If the subject ever came up in conversation, I was prepared to crucify any idiot who would stand for God, including the "God of the universe" people. I always thought this expression was particularly annoying. I believed there either was a God and he was knowable or he didn’t exist. Anything else was a waste of time and energy.

But the AA experience bumped me off my belief track. I had tried to stop drinking for ten years and couldn't. Then I went to AA and came to believe a greater power could restore me to sanity, and I stopped drinking. It was almost eight months, and I hadn't had one drop of alcohol. That's when I asked the question, "Who is this higher power who did this miracle in my life?"

Right after I asked this question, to myself by the way, people who claimed to know God came out of the woodwork. People like Robert Dicristina, Robert Campbell, and now Bill Leonard. That's how I ended up at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. Robert Campbell invited me, and Bill Leonard spoke.

Since it was Bill who had me thinking about a God who wanted a personal relationship with me, I had to meet Bill.

I was clueless about how to start a conversation about God.

I knew if I did, I would have to tell Bill I was in AA. That was the last bit of personal information I wanted to share. I was having a tough enough time trying to find my next business opportunity. I didn't need to add to my resume that I was a drunk. Some things just don't need to be shared, I thought.

But I had an idea. Bill founded a company called Wm. Leonard & Company. They were and still are an excellent tenant rep broker specializing in technology companies in Atlanta. Our company, Application Partners, was housed in a windowless sublet. It was downright depressing.

Bob Lasher was starting to sell. Revenue was increasing. I was becoming more hopeful this just might work. We were growing. We needed new space. Space with windows.

Bill and I meet in my windowless conference room.

He asked, "How can I help you?"

I told him I was looking for fifteen hundred square feet with windows. The space needed to be inexpensive but nice with the ability to expand within a short time.

"That's what we do," Bill said.

With the socially acceptable meeting agenda item completed, I said to him. "You seem to know a lot of people in the Atlanta technology community. I was watching you at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. You are well connected."

"Would you like some introductions?" he volunteered.

"I am interested in the Christian people you know in tech. I was intrigued by what you said at the breakfast in your concluding remarks. I want to know more about this God who wants a personal relationship with me," I said.

"Would you be willing to go to a men's Bible study group being held at a restaurant?" he asked.

How great is that? I thought to myself. Until that moment, I didn't know people talked about God outside of church. If I could bypass religion and learn about God, this would be a great path for me to take.

"I might be interested," I said timidly.

"The guy's name is Chris White. He is a former IBM Branch Manager. He leads this Bible study at a seafood restaurant on the Perimeter. They meet every Friday morning from 7 to 8:30. I think you will like the men you meet, and you will get your questions answered."

A simple question I asked myself in an AA meeting, "Who is this higher power who did this miracle in my life?" opened up my life to a new world. A door was opened to a new network of men and women who would become life-long friends and business partners. A door was opened to read and study the Bible, a book I never knew anyone could read and understand. A door was opened to a personal relationship with God.

But let me not move too fast.

I decided to attend the 7 am study at the seafood restaurant.

How I Discovered My Higher Power

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How I Discovered My Higher Power

Charlie Paparelli

Originally this post was published on Charlie Paparelli’s blog as part of an ongoing series called “Reimagine Your Life.” To read the rest of the series, go to paparelli.com and subscribe.


“Who is your higher power?” I asked myself as the AA meeting concluded.

The next day as I was in the kitchen by my wife’s desk, I got a call. It was Robert DiCristina. He was a former competitor, a friend, and a former co-worker. He was also a devout Christian who loved Jesus.

We caught up briefly, and then he asked, “Would you come with me to a men’s leadership dinner?”

“What is it about?” I asked.
 

I don’t know that it mattered.

I wasn’t doing anything for work. I was in a lousy startup partnership, and the business results were as bad as the relationship. Nothing was working for me. My work was an important part of my life fulfillment, and I was not fulfilled.

“The dinner is sponsored by Leadership Ministries. Their keynote speaker is an EVP from MCI. It will give us a chance to spend some time together. You’ll also meet some new people in business. Who knows where this might lead,” Robert said.

Good pitch, I thought.

“When is the dinner?” I asked.

“Tonight at 7 pm. Will you join me?” he asked again.
 

“Sure. Thanks for the invite,” I responded.

I told Kathy I was going to dinner with Robert. She was relieved. With my search for work not going so well and attending AA meetings every night, I wasn’t very good company for her and the kids.

We got to the hotel and were escorted to a private meeting room. When I walked in, the room was filled with men sitting at round tables. We found a seat, and the dinner was served. I was relieved to see no alcohol on the table. I was safe, at least from this temptation.

I don’t recall talking to anyone except Robert. Then the speaker was introduced.

The speaker was Jonathan Crane. He talked about his business. As his story progressed, I felt like it was me talking about my business experience.
 

But then his story took an unexpected turn.

He began speaking about Jesus. I had never heard a businessman talk about Jesus. Priests and pastors did that, not businessmen. But there was something about this man which was very different from my experience.

I realized he was talking about Jesus as his higher power. And not just a big God somewhere out there in the universe. He spoke about a personal relationship with Jesus.

I left the dinner in a daze. What did all this mean?

The next week, Robert Campbell called me. Robert and I had worked very closely in building my first startup. We remained friends after the sale of the company, although at a distance.

Robert said, “I would like you to attend a prayer breakfast with me.”
 

“What’s a prayer breakfast?” I asked.

“It is a breakfast being hosted by my church. We have breakfast and then listen to a speaker,” he said.

Previously, Robert and I had hundreds of conversations about God and Jesus. We’d worked very closely together, and he was always witnessing. I remember telling him to “Shut up already.” Here he was years later inviting me to some church event.

The breakfast was at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza at Ravinia. It was 7 am when I walked into the ballroom. Men were everywhere with not a female in sight. Who stepped up to the podium but Larry Dean, the founder of Stockholder Systems Inc. He had, at that time, the most successful software company in Atlanta. He was a big thinker and achieved incredible results.
 

I didn’t know he was a Christian.

Larry welcomed all of us and then introduced Adolf Coors IV. Adolf had a tremendous executive presence. He was tall with grey hair, dressed in a suit and tie, with a deep voice and eyes of steel. I thought, I’m going to AA, and now I’m listening to the guy who owns all the beer in the world. Crazy.

Adolf gave a very compelling talk. It was a chronological walk-through of his life. He was a high achiever, smart, a marine, a black belt, and a successful businessman. And, of course, he was rich. He was an heir to the Coors family fortune.

He talked about his father being his god. He adored his father and wanted to be him. One day, his dad left for work and never came home.

He had stopped to help someone stuck on the side of the road. It turned out the guy was an escaped criminal. He shot and killed his father, put him in the trunk of a stolen car, and drove off in his car. Just like that, his dad, his idol, was gone.
 

He asked, “Who is your ladder in life leaning against?”

After the breakfast, Robert was clearly encouraged. He gave me a cassette tape of that morning’s presentation and invited me to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. “These are all the guys you should know in the community. You have to come.”

This time it was at the DoubleTree Hotel in Ravinia. Again at 7 am. There were hundreds of tech people there. When I finally found the table, I was pleased to see Robert and a couple of other people I knew.

I don’t remember the keynote speaker. I do remember Bill Leonard who closed the breakfast. Bill said, “I am separated from God because of my sin. The good news is he sent his son Jesus to come and die for me so my sins will be forgiven. If I accept God’s sacrifice and confess my sins, I will be reconciled to God. I will have begun a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Just after the breakfast, I went to meet with an investment banker who was seated at Robert’s table. He said to me, “Can you believe that Bill Leonard guy? It seemed a little over the top for my taste.”
 

Without hesitation, I shot back...

“I don’t know if what he said made any sense, but I do know this. He believes it. His conviction was overwhelming to me. Do you believe in anything like Bill Leonard believes in Jesus?”

I left that man’s office with my question to him on my mind. Was this the higher power who was saving me from alcohol?

Charlie Paparelli is president of High Tech Ministries, angel investor and blogger. Twice each week email subscribers to his blog receive his thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur and Christian leader.

God's Timing Is Just Right - Always

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God’s Timing Is Just Right — Always

Charlie Paparelli

“Is your heart right?” his wife asked him.

My friend Luke told me he volunteered to go to Haiti. He and I are a lot alike. We are not missions people. But his church organized this mission trip, and he decided to go. When they asked, he just said, “Yes.”

I asked him, “Why did you say you would go?”

“I really don't know. I just knew I needed to do it,” he answered.

When he got home and told his wife, she asked if his heart was right. He told me he didn’t know how to answer her question. 

He asked me, “You go on these mission trips to Uganda. How do you know if your heart is right?”

I said, “My heart is never right. But I agree anyway because, like you, I know I should do it.”

I know this struggle well. 

I’ve been traveling to Uganda for four years. Kathy and I will be going again this September. I remember the first year like it was yesterday because the second after I committed, I regretted it. I went through two gigantic struggles. The first was trying to figure out how to tell Pastor Elijah I changed my mind. The second was wrestling with what I would speak about. 

My heart did not get right until I arrived in Uganda, two days before the conference something happened. God made my heart right. It was like He threw a switch. One moment I was totally consumed with myself, my flesh, and the next, I was following the Spirit. 

Here is my story.

The morning after I committed to go to Uganda, I woke up, and my first thought was, What did we commit to? I never went on a mission trip. My mission field is here in Atlanta, not in Africa. How do I tell Pastor Elijah ‘No?’

This internal struggle went on for three months. Pastor Elijah returned to Atlanta, and I met him at a Starbucks and told him, “You don’t know what you are asking me to do. I am involved in five active deals, High Tech Ministries, my community, kids, a wedding, and my church. I don’t have time to prepare a week’s worth of speeches and spend two weeks in Uganda. You don’t know what you are asking of me. I am totally stressed out!”

Pastor Elijah sat there, very calmly, with no expression on his face. 

I kept talking or rather ranting, some more. He didn’t change his demeanor. When I was finished, he said, “You have to trust God. He asked me to ask you, and it was the Holy Spirit who prompted you to say, ‘Yes.’”

I was in. 

Then came the next struggle, figuring out topics on entrepreneurship which would serve the needs of this audience. An audience I knew nothing about. An audience made up of a culture which was completely foreign to me. I struggle coming up with topics for an Atlanta audience. This was a whole new level of struggle. 

Over time, after countless hours of stress, I was forced to pray. Not the short, “Please, God, help me” kind of prayer. But the, “You have to step in here. Fix this. Fix me. Get my heart right. Give me the topics. Give me the details. Please save me!” kind of prayer.

This was the beginning of my heart’s transformation. 

I would have moments of complete surrender. This would be followed by days of struggle when all I could ask was, “Why me? Choose someone else. Get me out of this.”

But God, like Elijah, just sat there quietly. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. He knew. I knew. He chose me to go to Uganda. He would make it right. I would prepare the right talks. I would deliver them, all because He would make my heart right at the very moment it needed to be right. I knew he wouldn’t call me to Uganda to fail but to make an impact. 

This is what I told Luke. 

“Right now, your heart is not right. That is why you are conflicted. And that is not God. But don’t worry. God will make it right, even if it happens the moment you step off the plane.”

This is my fifth year going to Uganda to speak to Youth Ablaze. The conference has grown from three thousand delegates from three African nations to twelve thousand delegates from ten nations. In spite of the success of the conference, I still go through a period of rebellion. My flesh is always in control until I step onto that stage and see the expectant faces of the audience. At that moment, there is no rebellion. There is just pure joy. The Holy Spirit has me. 

My advice is to say, “Yes!” God will make your heart right. His timing is perfect. Always.

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

New Podcast

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Faith Driven Entrepreneur

New Podcast by Henry Kaestner

Here is a new podcast I think you'll find enjoyable. I know I have.

Henry Kaestner, was our HTPB keynote speaker last year. His new podcast is doing something intriguing. 

Henry is a Silicon VC who believes making money isn’t enough. He wants entrepreneurs who are driven by their faith. Men and women who will change the world with great ideas and God-centered leadership. Entrepreneurs who change people’s lives for Christ. This is Henry’s heart and the heart of his partners. 

This is one unique VC firm and one unique podcast.

I encourage you to download and subscribe to the Faith Driven Entrepreneur podcast today.

You get to ask your questions and have a faith driven VC and successful entrepreneur answer them.

Henry and his partner share their best values-based advice in edible 15-20 minute segments.

Listen, learn, apply. Join me as a subscriber

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

 

Special Guest Feature: Free Agents for God by Regi Campbell

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Free Agents For God

Regi Campbell

Regi Campbell is right up there as one of my very best friends. We met through the leadership of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast in 1995. Back then, Regi was one of a handful of people I met who I would now call a “Free Agent for God.” These people break free from their church and take their faith with them to work.

Regi modeled this behavior for me and even wrote a book, About My Father’s Business. He is a former Entrepreneur of the Year who has partnered with me on multiple angel investments.

We are fully integrated as friends, business partners and “Free Agents for God.” Take a closer look at just what Regi is up to by clicking on the links at the end of the article.

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast


So I’m sitting in a coffee shop one morning, enjoying a cup and conversation with a couple of friends. All three of us are technology guys, entrepreneurs, Jesus-followers and table hosts for the Atlanta High Tech Prayer Breakfast.

With the breakfast way out on the horizon, the conversation centers on people we’re engaged with, mostly through work. We are discussing the relationships we have, how well we know the folks and what we have in common. Some of these people will be our guests at the breakfast.


For God, Not Church

All of a sudden, it hit me. We’re “Free Agents for God!”

It’s not Sunday. This isn’t church. In fact, we all attend different churches of different denominations, and we all love our churches. We’re not talking about reaching people for church. None of us have gone to seminary or worked at a church for pay. And we aren’t following some scripted process for winning souls. We are free agents for Christ in the workplace.

We are using this business event to introduce people to the message of Jesus as told through a technology leader’s story. We have nothing to personally gain from these invites. In fact, we’ve come out of pocket to buy tables for the breakfast for no other reason than to share the joy we have in knowing Jesus. We believe the message may have an impact on our friend’s life and family today and forever.

Later, I sat and pondered what led us into this free agent deal. What motivates us to focus on the spiritual lives of individuals in our work-world rather than just minding our own business and going to church on Sunday.


It comes down to this:

1. We are grateful. All three of us are so grateful to Jesus for our salvation. He gave us another chance. A clean slate and a new start. He saved us and he saved our families. We all have a new life. We are born again.  We know we can’t pay God back but we can honor Him by doing what He told us to do . . . share Him with others.

2. We want to share. Each of us wants others to have what we’ve been given. It’s like finding a great restaurant or a good book or a fabulous vacation spot. When you really enjoy it, you want your friends to enjoy it too. When I surrendered to Christ in 1983, I wanted everyone to get in on this new life I had. But I didn’t really know how to start conversations or share my faith. The High Tech Prayer Breakfast was a great way to start these faith conversations which would otherwise be awkward.

This is why I came to love the breakfast. I discovered I was not alone. Instead, I became friends with the other table hosts. They shared with me their experiences in inviting people. And they also shared the lives which were changed at the breakfast. This gave me the confidence I needed to invite my friends.

We have now been a part of the technology community for over three decades. The breakfast brought us together. Made us feel like we belonged. Over the 27 years of this annual event, many of us table hosts have become lifelong friends. Not only has God used us as free agents to help our friends come to know Jesus, but He’s also bonded us into a brotherhood that will last forever.
 

Regi Campbell is the founder of Radical Mentoring, a non-profit that guides men and their churches in establishing men’s small group mentoring. He is also the author of About My Father’s Business, Taking Your Faith To Work  which offers a simple process for helping people in the marketplace find and follow Jesus. Regi writes a twice-a-week blog . . . click here to check it out.

Charlie Paparelli is president of High Tech Ministries, angel investor and blogger. Twice each week email subscribers to his blog receive his thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur and Christian leader.