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.

The Power of Sharing Your Story

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How to Boldly Share Your Story

The Secret to Connecting, Not Alienating

“I want to know how I can be a more effective leader for Jesus in my workplace,” said John’s friend.

I was asked to lunch by John Duisberg, the co-founder of Cooleaf and also co-founder and leader of the Grace@Work group at the Atlanta Tech Village. He told me he had a friend coming to town who was one of the men who influenced him into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

He said, “We did everything together. We were great friends. Our only difference was, he knew Jesus and I didn’t. Now our friendship has risen to a whole new level.”

After getting our meals from the buffet, I asked, “So how can I help you?”

I Met a Girl

He said, “I lead a sales team and sell myself. I am talking to employees, prospects, and clients every day of the week. I want them to know about Jesus. I’m just not sure how to go about it.”

“Why do you want them to know about Jesus?” I asked.

“I had a lot of success early in life. I was a gifted athlete. I played competitively in high school and college. I was a 6’5” quarterback and also a forward on our basketball teams. Upon graduation, I went into business and applied the same values of hard work and a competitive spirit. Success soon followed.

“Then I met a girl. The girl. She had a faith in Jesus that I just didn’t share. She also had a peace in life and a level of fulfillment which escaped me.

At 27, I was doing better financially than any of my peers but feeling empty about it. This girl, who is now my wife, showed me and talked to me about Jesus. She told me he came so I would have life to the fullest.

“She said, ‘You’ll never get what I have while on the path you are on. Yes, you will have worldly success but no lasting peace and fulfillment. This can only come from a relationship with your creator. But you have sinned by ignoring God, and that’s why you are separated from Him. You need a Savior. Jesus sacrificed himself so your sins can be forgiven and you will be reconciled to God forever.’”

Becoming a Witness

He told me, “It wasn’t long after that conversation I gave my life to Jesus, confessed my sin, and received him into my heart. My life has not been the same since that moment.”

“So you want to share this exciting story with all the people you work with?” I asked.

“Absolutely!” he exclaimed.

“This is what Jesus wants you to do,” I said. “Just before his ascension into heaven he said, ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8 ESV)

“He told us to be witnesses. He wants you to tell people what happened to you. He didn’t say preach. He told us to do what you just did for me. You told me your story. As Christians, we think we need to preach. Most of us aren’t equipped to do that. But all of us are equipped to tell our own story of how we encountered Jesus. And they are all great stories!

Share and Don’t Preach

“People are interested in your story...not your preaching. If you preach, you are telling people what they should do. This is a turn-off. The listener is thinking, ‘Who are you to tell me what to do or what to believe?’

“But when you tell your story, that’s way different. You can be sure your story will connect with the person you are talking to. The reason is, we are all the same. People are people. Our lives, our goals, our desires, our struggles, our challenges, and our successes are all the same. We want meaningful work. We want to be loved. We want to love. That’s why your story is so powerful.

“When you discovered and then received the love of God, you knew for the first time in your life what it means to be loved and to love. But it didn’t stop there. He gave your life meaning by being on-purpose for Him. This is why you wanted this lunch. You wanted to know how to be effective in this new role he gave you.

Here’s The Secret

“Look for opportunities to tell people your story. Even if it’s just bits and pieces. People are interested. God will use your story to change their lives, just like he changed your life and he changed mine.”
 


If you would like help in crafting your story, I know just the guy—Todd Miechiels. His ministry, the 315project.com, is helping people like you and me develop our story and then capture it on video. He will take you on a spiritual journey which will bring you closer to Christ. It is a great experience and the next step in growing your ministry. Go to 315project.com and watch the 2-minute video. Then contact Todd to find out more. Tell him Charlie sent you.

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.

New Year. New You.

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You Are Better Than You Think

I watched all three seasons of The Guardian on Amazon Prime Video. It is a law drama created in 1999. It takes place in Pittsburgh. Great writing and also great acting. 

I am a fan of movies and TV series in which the main character grows from a not so great human being to a better human being. The Guardian accomplishes this with the character, Nick Fallon, played by Simon Baker.

In the very last episode, one of his mentors, Alvin Masterson, tells Nick quite unexpectedly, "You know, you are a better man than you think."

When I heard this a couple of weeks ago, it just hung in the air. It obviously stuck with me as I am writing about it. 

As I reflected on this sentence, I realize people who know me and love me have been saying this to me for years. 

For some reason, I never really heard it. I didn't want to hear it. But yet I can tell you each instance in which it happened. A dear friend told me this most recently at a Christmas party. Kathy tells me this all the time.

Why is it that I hear it yet deflect it? 

It is a high compliment which is humbling and causes self-reflection. But I must not want to believe it. Why?

In his first sermon of the New Year, Michael Youssef of Church of the Apostles talked about carrying the past into the future. Here are some quotes from his sermon.

"What happened last year does not matter."

"You are forgiven. Those sins are forgotten by God."

"Many of us want to go back to the past. Jesus says, don't go there!"

"The past and the future are connected. If you are always looking back, you are giving more weight to the past than the future."

"Burn the bridges of the past. Forget about it."
 
And then he went on...

"Face the future by trusting God."

"Keep your eyes on the audience of one."

Seeing myself as the man of the past has hobbled my witness as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I have an internal dialogue going on. 

"Who are you to think you should pray with people? 

"What makes you think God can use your story?"

"You are going to invite people to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast? You?"

Michael then talked about a story in the Old Testament from 1 Kings 19:19-21. It is here the great prophet of God Elijah approaches a man plowing a field, Elisha. 

He throws his cloak over Elisha signifying he is the next prophet. Elisha says goodbye to his father, immediately sacrifices the oxen and burns all the equipment which signified his prior life. He is only looking forward now. Called by God, he is a new man with new strength and a new purpose.

This was true for me. 

When I surrendered my life to Jesus, he threw his cloak over me. He said to me, "You know, you are now a better man than you think you are." 

2 Cor 5:17 I am a new man in Christ, the old is gone, and the new has come.

2018 is the year for the new man to trust in Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit within me. I need to think of the better man.

 

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.

Your Ministry Needs Your Help

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"I am not confident we will raise the money we need to raise this year," said the Director of Advancement to Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, President of Walk Thru the Bible.

My friend, Dr. Wilkinson recently told me this story. He said it was 2008, the year of the market crash. Housing values plummeted, and each day the Dow was setting new daily lows. The nation was feeling poor. Collectively, our net worth declined by 35%.

This was the climate when his Director of Advancement approached him with this warning.

"Why do you say that?" Bruce asked.

"I've been talking to some of our bigger donors, and I am getting the feeling they will be pulling back. If the big donors are reducing their commitments to us, then the smaller donors will follow," he explained.

“We have only one donor," Bruce said.

"Who?"

"God!" Bruce declared.

"He called us to this work. Our job is to please Him. We do this, and we will be fine,” he continued.

They hit their fundraising goal!

I'm struggling with fundraising as the leader of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast.

Just last month I was in our quarterly board meeting. I gave these wise and godly men an update on 2017 and outlined the strategy and goals for 2018.

Then I told them we need to raise over $60,000 from individuals. It sounded like a big number to me. But Bruce’s answer to his director of development keeps playing in my head.

God blessed our ministry mightily in 2017. I outlined 21 significant accomplishments of the ministry at the board meeting.

Most importantly we stayed on mission by advancing the Kingdom of God in our Atlanta tech community. People came to know Jesus.

2017 HTPB highlights

Many people became first-time table hosts. This is big. These are leaders in the Atlanta tech community who stepped out as ambassadors for Christ for the very first time in their lives.

The rest of the tables were covered by leaders who have been table hosts multiple times, some for twenty-five years.

Many of our guests, coworkers, and friends, over 1,400 total, heard the Gospel. And they heard it clearly and compellingly from two respected venture capitalists. 

Many also responded and committed their lives to Christ. Over two dozen told us this happened to them while others kept it in their heart.

Two hundred of our tech community attended Blitz Through the Bible. Many moved to Grace@Work groups after this event. People in our community are meeting and studying the Bible every week led by these great Bible study leaders. God is changing our community one man and one woman at a time.

Many stories shared encouraging the 80 plus HTPB leaders at the annual post breakfast celebration. We heard the stories of people who came to know Jesus at the breakfast. Their stories were a great blessing and encouragement to all of us. God is working through us.

Would you consider becoming a monthly donor?

The High Tech Prayer Breakfast and all the activity which comes from it accomplishes our mission. This is because of you.

We are the ministry, and the ministry is us. The High Tech Prayer Breakfast keeps each of us active in the Atlanta tech community for Christ. It is our personal ministry. 

Is there a better ministry to invest in than your own? 

If each of us gave $10, $25 or $50 per month, our goal would be achieved. 

The Prayer Breakfast, the leadership meetings, the Grace@Work partnerships and the encouraging leadership will continue with excellence.

More importantly, the truth Jesus spoke to all of us 2000 years ago will become a reality in all our lives. Make this your ministry. To paraphrase Nehemiah: We are doing a great work.

Please join me and become a monthly donor. Click here to join the community of monthly donors.

Merry Christmas!
Charlie

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.

How a Profound Question Changed My Perspective

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The Question I Now Ask

How Do Make Life About God (Not Me)?

I am sitting in church listening to a sermon from R.T. Kendall. He is the former Senior Pastor of Westminster Chapel in central London. He retired in 2002 after 25 years.

He asked the question, “What happened to the Gospel?”

He went on, “If you were not a Christian and were listening to the sermons of the preachers today, you would think the Gospel is about prosperity, health, and wealth. This preaching is no longer about God; it is about us. We don't serve God. He serves us.”

What Do I Get?

Then Kendall said, “The question we are asking ourselves when it comes to God is, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

This got me thinking about other questions I ask myself from time to time.

  1. Why go to church on Sunday?
  2. Why go through the trouble of getting the kids ready?
  3. Why should I attend a Grace@Work Bible study group?
  4. Why should I be a table host at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast?
  5. Why should I share my faith with my friend?


I can see now how churches have turned into marketing organizations. They speak to me first. They work hard to reach me where I am. And their message has settled into my subconscious.

I know, because when I am asked to do something for God, I find myself struggling. I’m asking myself, “Is this my market? Is the work consistent with my calling? Does this match my spiritual gifts? Am I qualified?” In effect, I’m asking, “What's in it for me?”

Do I Need Jesus?

Kendall was speaking on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and the Reformation (October 31, 2017). He said, “The question being asked by society back then was, ‘Am I saved?’ The question being asked today is, ‘Do I need to be saved?’”

Wow! I think he’s right. That is the question people are asking? It was the question I was asking before I became desperate enough to know I needed saving. 

Our Society’s Extra Step

There is an extra step our society seems to have inserted in the process. First I need to be convinced I am a sinner separated by God. And only after being convinced of that will I entertain the question, “Am I saved?”

He was right. The question has changed. It is now about me, a man who is in control of my destiny. “Why do I need to be saved? What’s in it for me? I seem to be doing fine.” 

So what does the church preach to attract those of us who are asking the question, “Do I need to be saved?” Preach a better life now. “With God, you can be richer, more successful, and healthier than you ever thought possible. That’s what's in it for you.”

Lose Your Life

Yet Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, you will pick up your cross and follow me. If you try to save your life, you will lose it. However, if you lose your life for me and the Gospel, you will be saved. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his very soul.”

Having thought about this for a while, the question I am now asking myself is, “How do I make my life all about God and not me?” 

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.