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.

 

New monthly feature from the HTPB

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October: Russ and Danielle West

Intentionally Helping Marriages Blossom

The leaders who host the Atlanta High Tech Prayer Breakfast are out there all year long. The Breakfast is just the beginning of their ministries. God called them to serve many different people in so many different ways. We will highlight one new leader’s ministry each month. Maybe they can serve you. Maybe you can serve with them.

This month we feature Russ and Danielle West. This couple ministers to married couples internationally through their site. Russ is a top gun software sales rep and so was Danielle. I met Russ before he met Danielle. He walked into a Grace@Work group I was leading. He shared a bit of his story and concluded by telling us his marriage just blew up! I won’t steal his thunder. He explains his story below. It’s gripping.

Take a look at their ministry by visiting their site. They are making a difference in many people’s marriages by sharing what it means to be intentional. Great content is the result of a heart for God and for married couples.


Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

P.S. If you are a table host of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast and would like us to consider featuring your ministry, send me an email.

What is the ministry you are involved with? 

We have a marriage ministry that includes our marriage website intentionalmarriages.net. In addition to the website, we are one of the leaders of our church’s marriage curriculum called Thrive that is taught once a quarter in either 8 or 12-week small group format. We also work with couples one on one.

Who does the ministry help?

Married couples. All types of marriages, ones that simply want to invest in their good marriage to make it better, ones who recognize they have been on parallel paths and need a road map back, and ones who are in crisis.

What impact have you seen through your ministry?

Restoration and excitement about a marriage that couples thought was not fixable. We have seen couples who have been married 40 years and thought they had a good marriage say they were able to take their marriage to a much greater place by implementing tools and processes to manage conflict, communicate better, understand how their past impacts their marriage, and forgive on a daily basis. We have also seen couples that were ready to give up on their marriage not only stay together but build a healthy, thriving marriage. 

What was the journey that brought you to be a part of the ministry?

We both have a passion for making our own marriage the best it can be and helping others with their marriage. When Danielle and I met, I had been divorced, and Danielle had experienced bad dating relationships. 

From the beginning, we were intentional about our dating relationship. As we started talking about marriage, we decided to go to counseling to understand what role we played in our past relationships that did not turn out well. After going to counseling for a year before our wedding, we made the commitment to go to counseling on a regular basis for the rest of our lives as we felt it would be one of the best investments for our marriage. We have now been going to marriage counseling for 14 years. 

As we learned to be intentional with our marriage, we decided to attend our church's marriage class. We were amazed by the curriculum and what we learned from the other couples, so we decided to go through the training process to become leaders. Most couples have never experienced transparent, vulnerable conversations in a group setting and do not want the group to stop meeting. 

Unfortunately, we could not continue meeting since we facilitate another group. This pain point of wanting to stay connected to each group caused us to come up with the idea of starting a marriage website to share what we have learned from 5 years of leading marriage small groups and 14 years of marriage counseling. Because we share the good, bad and ugly, the website is a private membership website, which means most of the content is behind a wall that requires your email and a password. We share resources and tools that have helped us significantly.

What impact has the ministry had on your own life, family, and marriage?

We both have a lot of emotional wounds (baggage) from our childhoods and past relationships. The ministry helps us stay intentional and focused on the process and tools to have a thriving marriage. It is a great form of accountability. We also are constantly learning something new that helps our marriage and enables us to help others. Growing up with a violent alcoholic father impacts the way I react to many interactions with Danielle in a very negative way. Counseling and the tools/processes we have learned from our marriage class have helped me immensely be the husband God wants me to be.  

Danielle came from a family where their style of conflict was shutting down and not discussing the issues. That method did not carry over very well into our marriage. Counseling is a hard science to measure success, but going from three days of not talking after an argument to now recovering within 20 minutes and most often in the moment is huge.

What were your concerns before getting involved? 

The vulnerability of putting our stuff online even with a password wall was significantly different than sharing our marriage journey face-to-face. The technical aspect of pulling off a membership website with no coding background. And the simple fear of “what if nobody joins us?” 

All that disappeared when I reminded myself that this is a website built for our kids in hopes that someday they will learn from our mistakes. We have a responsibility with this digital footprint we are leaving behind. Are we posting our lunch or the wisdom we’ve been blessed to learn?

How did God address those concerns? 

The measurable items we can easily point to are the 103 members who joined before we formally launched and a church in Florida who asked us to speak to their married couples. The immeasurable ones are the marriages who are thriving because of the principles we have shared with them and the ones who have recovered from crisis.

What surprised you after you started the ministry? 

How the simple tools we practice and the vulnerability in which we share have resulted in open, rich, transformative marriages.

What would be your pitch to someone interested in helping in the ministry or learning more about it? 

Successful marriages are intentional. We provide resources to help married couples make intentional investments in their marriage. Join us! 

How has the High Tech Prayer Breakfast impacted your ministry?

The High Tech Prayer Breakfast has been such an important part of our marriage ministry. When I was going through my divorce, I met three angels at a Grace@Work study led by Charlie Paparelli. These three (Robert DiCristina, Doug Legg, and Robert Campbell) had all been through a divorce and mentored me in how God would want me to handle the divorce process instead of doing it the world’s way. 

It was a very humbling journey, and their love, wisdom, and investment in me laid the groundwork for my passion to help other marriages. Also, Robert DiCristina ended up introducing me to Danielle. God works in such wonderful ways even in our brokenness. Finally, many of the people we have helped through our marriage ministry are members of the High Tech community. 

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I don't need God. Why do you?

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I Don't Need God

Why Do You Need God?

“I am always so impressed with John and his relationship with God. He meets with God first thing every morning. He reads the Bible and prays every day. I am trying to get there, but I am having trouble,” said Mike, an insightful entrepreneur.

We were in the Thursday Grace@Work Bible study at the Atlanta Tech Village discussing the story of Joseph in Genesis 41. What struck all of us was how much Joseph trusted God with his life. 

I said, “Your issue is not about setting aside time to be with God. Your issue, and my issue is a question of need. Do you need God?”

What Should I Say?

Mike had invited me to speak about my most recent experience in Uganda. I was in Uganda to teach people how to be Kingdom Minded Entrepreneurs. This was a one week conference called Youth Ablaze. We had 10,000 delegates attend. Most of them were poor and looking for hope and a better future. 

When I am asked to speak to this group of young people, I am immediately brought to my knees with questions. Who are these people? How can I possibly connect with them? What can I say to a young man or woman who grew up with nothing, has nothing, and now is looking for something? They are 22 years old, and their family has endured multiple generations of poverty. What can I say? What should I say?

I Have No Answers

Good questions. I have no good answers. This creates the need for God. There is nowhere else for me to go to get answers which I know will be right. So I go to God and to Pastor Elijah. This is a conference intended to transform Uganda from a nation requiring aid to a nation of donors. That’s the big vision. That’s transformation.

When I Feel Inadequate

During my preparation, I can tell you I feel small and inadequate. Give me an audience of prospective entrepreneurs in Atlanta, and I am big and confident. I get these people. They are men and women who are well educated and well resourced. They are surrounded by an environment that encourages big dreams and rewards them with mentors and money.

Not so in Uganda. So what do I say? What would you say? You have to put together seven presentations which will take them from knowing nothing to starting their own business. That’s the challenge!

I believe only God can do this. Pastor Elijah says it best: “These people and the presenting speakers were called to this conference before the world began.” That’s a big thought from a very big God. Nothing is an accident. We are all here, all there, for a purpose. 

This Creates Big Need

When I come home to Atlanta, I backslide in my relationship with God. I am capable here. I have resources. I have connections. I know my market. I have relevant experience. I know what I need to do. I don’t need God.

Our Struggle

Mike said, “When I get up in the morning, I’m thinking about selling. What doors do I need to knock on today so I can make sales and meet payroll? This thought dominates my thinking, not time with God.” 

I asked, “Did you ever find yourself the night before payroll is due and you didn’t have the money? Nothing left to do. No time to do it. Not enough money to make payroll. Did that ever happen to you?”

“No,” he said. “My efforts have always got me there.”

I understand this completely. And, too often, I am that way. But God wants a relationship with us in good times and bad. I need Him even (or especially) when I don’t think I do. Why is it we want a relationship with Him only after we come to the end of ourselves? 

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.

Genesis: In the Beginning

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In the Beginning...

How Blitz Through the Bible Began

I was tired but wired. I did my nightly routine of reading a couple of pages from a novel on my nightstand and then passed out. 

What I didn’t realize is my mind was working overtime on a seemingly intractable problem. I was the chairman of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast, and the year was 2009. 

The Problem

We wanted our table hosts to invite a subset of their High Tech Prayer Breakfast guests to a follow-up Bible study. But the table hosts just wouldn’t do it. There was never an issue with the table hosts sending invites for the breakfast, but a follow-on event invite got little cooperation.

I was awakened at 3 am. It came to me while sleeping. We were trying to solve the wrong problem. We had it backwards. The problem definition should be: How do we get our Prayer Breakfast guests to invite their table host to the next event? We were trying to solve this too simply. 

Compelling Event

I jumped out of bed and went to my home office. What event could we possibly create which would get this level of interest in our prayer breakfast guests?

In 1995 I had my first exposure to the Bible. I found it fascinating. It spoke to me personally. It revealed who God is and who Jesus is. I saw my life unfold in the family histories shared for close to four millennia. I was learning who I was with each page I turned. I never encountered any book like this. I was hooked.

I was fortunate back then to have some really gifted Bible study facilitators and mentors. These business people patiently brought me along and helped me find the answers to all my questions. They put up with my direct confrontations with love and maturity. Eventually, I wanted to learn more, to go deeper. They recommended I lead a Bible study. Me? I thought.

They left, and I took over. That was January 1995. Being a newbie at this Bible leadership, I invited other newbies to come learn with me. We weren’t sure how to learn the story of the Bible, so we started at the beginning. This is how we approached all the other books we read, so maybe it would work here too.

It turned out we were all former church goers. In traditional church services, they usually read an Old Testament passage and a New Testament passage. Most of us didn’t even know what Old Testament and New Testament meant. From our backgrounds, we’d all heard some parts of the Bible. We knew a couple of stories and characters. But none of us had any context on how it all fit together.

So we started together. We looked at the table of contents, went to the first page, and started reading. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Let the discussion begin. We fought about everything. But we would always remind ourselves, we are here to learn what the Bible has to say, not just voice our opinions. 

That first time through the Bible took a year. We didn’t read every page but covered enough in sequence to get the whole story. We loved it and wanted more. We invited a few other friends who were where we were a year ago. They, too, wanted to learn about the message of the Bible. We showed up every week and so did the newbies. What was cool is they thought we were Bible scholars!

We continued leading studies like this for over ten years. The interest from new people never died out. 

The Answer: Blitz Through the Bible

So what event might our prayer breakfast guests find compelling? I slept on this one too. Once again, the idea hit me in the middle of the night. Take these prayer breakfast guests interested in the Bible through the book in two hours.

No way. I thought. How do I condense a one-year curriculum into two hours? I discussed this with Matt Stevens who was the president of the ministry, and he thought it was a good idea. He said, “But you have to allow time for discussion, too.” 

“You’ve got to be kidding?” We compromised and made it a two-and-a-half hour session. 

We decided to do it two weeks after the 2009 High Tech Prayer Breakfast. I dedicated a solid week to cramming the one-year curriculum into a couple of hours. It was an exciting event attended by close to two hundred people. We even had the guests do all the Bible readings. 

The Promise

We’ll be doing Blitz Through the Bible on October 20th from 7-9:30 am. It is an invitation-only event just like the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. If you’ve been invited to the breakfast and are interested in attending Blitz Through the Bible, be sure to ask your host to reserve a seat for you. 

In two and a half hours, you will learn:

  1. The Bible’s origin and authors
  2. How the Bible is organized
  3. Understand the story of the Bible
  4. Meet the God of the Bible and his plan for men and women
  5. Come to understand yourself in a new way


I look forward to seeing you at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast and Blitz Through the Bible. It's a lot of fun, fast-paced, and informative. In two and a half hours, we will review a book which covers four millennia. Imagine that! 

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 I Developed a Deeper Relationship with a Golfing Buddy

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Invites Build Friendships

How the Breakfast Helped Me Develop a Deeper Relationship with a Golfing Buddy

“Our moral standards are established by our community at large, not from God,” said my friend Geoffrey.

That started it for me. 

I was sitting at dinner with Geoffrey, Phil, and Kent. We were in Hilton Head for our annual golf trip. We’ve been doing this get away for almost thirty years. It is always the last weekend of October. There used to be eight of us, but with life getting even busier, the crowd dwindled. But the four of us never missed.

Geoffrey was the grenade thrower. 

You know that kind of person. The one who always introduces a controversial subject by stating a strong opinion right from the outset. He’s doing it again, I would think. Over the years, he did it hundreds of times, and I used to bite every time. Eventually, only if it was important to me and those around us did I engage.

“The Bible, which is God’s word to man, defines the moral standard. God defines our moral standard,” I countered.

And off we went. 

We talked (and argued) for over an hour. Phil and Kent didn’t say a word. They just watched. As did the tables next to us. We were the evening entertainment. It was Geoffrey and me going head to head. 

His arguments were based on books he’d read and the life he’d lived. My arguments came from studies of the Bible and the life I’ve led. This included my life before submitting to Christ and after submitting to Christ. 

Geoffrey and I never discussed these topics until after I invited him to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. I knew Geoffrey for six years prior to the invite. In fact, the invite to the breakfast provided me with a really convenient way to tell him I was now a Christian. 

I know the invite shocked him. 

He knew me intimately as we were partners in building a national business and had traveled together. 

Now I was inviting him to a “prayer breakfast.” He was quick to say yes so he might figure out what I was up to. I became a curiosity.

The breakfast changed our relationship. 

We stayed very close friends, but our conversations would always end in a faith discussion. He would give me books on what he believed and why he believed it. 

I would invite him to Bible studies, and he would attend. We never stopped talking about God. He was always fascinated by the change in my life.

Geoffrey died the weekend of our golf trip two years ago. I miss him terribly. Every time I watch or play golf, I think of Geoffrey. Every time I read the Bible, I want to reach out and tell him what God said to me. We were soulmates. 

Now Geoffrey is gone. 

I thank God for our friendship. But I also thank God for the High Tech Prayer Breakfast. It was this event which made a good friendship great. It allowed us to invite Jesus into our relationship. 
 

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.

Grace@Work Small Groups

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Discover Your Grace@Work Small Group

Take One of the Most Important Steps to Growing Your Spiritual Walk

Yesterday morning I met with the Grace@Work small group leaders from across Atlanta. These are leaders excited and dedicated to helping you grow spiritually. Look through this list and find a group that works with your schedule and give it a try. Find a small group near you. These groups have enriched the lives of thousands, they can do the same for you. I challenge you to give them a try.

Charlie

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Prayer Breakfast

Alpharetta: Intradiem

Meeting Time: Friday, 7:15 - 8:30 am
Leader Email: Don Otto (LinkedIn), Tim FitzGerald (LI)
Location: 3650 Mansell Road, Building Two, Suite 500, Alpharetta, GA, 30009

Alpharetta: Windward Pkwy

Meeting Time: Friday, 6:45 - 8:00 am
Leader Email: Jeff Browning (LI), Jason Phillips (LI)
Location: 5900 Windward Pkwy, Suite 250, Alpharetta, GA 30005

AtlantaTech Village

Meeting Time: Thursday, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm (lunch provided)
Leader Email: John Duisberg (LI), Joe Yi (LI)
Location: 3423 Piedmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA, 30305

Midtown at the ATDC: Advanced Technology Development Center

Meeting Time: Tuesday, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm (lunch provided)
Leader Email: Courtney Alexander (LI), Adam Sheridan (LI)
Location: 75 Fifth Street, Atlanta, GA, 30308

Midtown at the ATDC 2: Advanced Technology Development Center

Meeting Time: Wednesday, 11:45 am - 1:00 pm (lunch provided)
Leader Email: Scott Lopano (LI), Blake Patton (LI)
Location: 75 Fifth Street, Atlanta, GA, 30308

Norcross/Peachtree Corners

Meeting Time: Wednesday, 7:00 - 8:30 am
Leader Email: David Hauser (LI), Chris Baker (LI)
Location:  6050 Peachtree Pkwy, Norcross, GA 30092

Old Peachtree Road & I-85: iStaff Offices 85 & Old Peachtree Road

Meeting Time: Monday, 7:15 - 8:15 am
Leader Email: Jason Smith (LI)
Location: 1325 Satellite Blvd Suite 1305, Suwanee, GA, 30024

Perimeter 1: ROAM Dunwoody

Meeting Time: Monday, 7:15 - 8:30am
Leader Email: Mike Morris (LI)
Location: Suite 800 (2nd Floor), 1155 Mt Vernon Hwy NE, Atlanta,  GA, 30338

Perimeter 2: HA + W | Aprio 

Meeting Time: Thursday, 7:00 - 8:00am
Leader Email: Susan O'Dwyer (LI), Curtis Cain (LI)
Location: Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA, 30328

*See our Grace@Work page for newly added groups or any changes since this blog post.

A SIMPLE INVITATION THAT CAN CHANGE A DESTINY

I sat at my first High Tech Prayer Breakfast. It was a Friday morning, October 1, 1993. I was invited by a friend, Robert Campbell. He was a Senior VP with Stockholder Systems and later it’s CEO. I knew Robert for over 14 years. We grew up in the tech startup business together.

I Was Very Nervous

I don’t remember who else was at the table. I was very nervous, for a couple of reasons. There were over three hundred people at the Doubletree Hotel Ballroom, and I felt like I didn’t know any of them. For the last ten years, I was head down operating businesses in Atlanta and elsewhere. I knew no one in town.

The program started shortly after I arrived which eased my discomfort. The keynote speaker was Wes Cantrell, CEO of Lanier World-Wide a division of Harris Corporation. 

I don’t remember anything Wes Cantrell said. As I think back, it was probably because I was so nervous that I couldn’t focus. When he finished his talk a guy named Bill Leonard got up to close the meeting. Robert leaned over to me and said, “This is the guy who founded the High Tech Prayer Breakfast."

Religion vs. Relationship

Bill talked about his relationship with Jesus Christ. He said, “It is not about religion. It is about relationship.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. I grew up Catholic, and I always thought my relationship with God was all about religion. This concept of a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ was brand new to me.

When Bill spoke about his relationship with Jesus, he teared up. He spoke in measured short sentences. Clearly. With downward voice inflection. The words he was saying struck me because it was clear his words had deep meaning to him. 

After the Breakfast, I had a meeting with an investor friend. He asked, “Were you at the breakfast this morning?” 

“Yes, I was,” I answered.

“What do you think about that Bill Leonard guy? Can you believe he was talking all that religion stuff? He is a commercial real estate broker for crying out loud,” he said.

I said, “I’m not sure I believe what he was saying, but he sure did. Do you believe in anything the way Bill Leonard believed in this Jesus he was talking about?”

“No. I guess not,” he said.

That’s when I decided I needed to meet with Bill. I told him I was looking for some office space. Then I said, “I was impressed with all the technology people who attended the breakfast. You seem to know everybody. I was wondering if you could introduce me to these Christian business leaders?”

Bill asked, “Would you be willing to attend a Bible study? It is a men’s group which meets every Friday morning at a restaurant near Perimeter Mall. You’ll meet a lot of the guys there.”

Making New Friends

What Bill didn’t know was that I was eleven months sober through AA. My AA sponsor told me I had to find new friends if I was to stay sober. Over my lifetime I had accumulated some great friends. The problem was, they were all heavy drinkers. Thus the sponsor’s advice. But how does a forty-year-old man make new friends? Bill was giving me the answer.

In preparation for the first Bible study of my life, I looked all over the house for a Bible. I found a discolored green Bible which Robert Campbell had loaned me over ten years ago. When I pulled it off the shelf, it was dusty, and all the pages were swollen. I must have dropped it in water at some point. But it was the only Bible I could find.

My nervousness for this Bible study exceeded my nervousness for the Breakfast. I pictured myself at a table with five guys all who knew what they were doing. I would be the only idiot who knew nothing, absolutely nothing, about the Bible.

6:45 AM Bible Study

I walked into the restaurant at 6:45 am and was greeted by the friendliest man on the planet. He introduced himself and gave me a warm handshake. He escorted me to the coffee station and began introducing me to the other men. As I looked around the dining room, there had to be over 60 men there. I felt better but still uncomfortable.

Week after week, those guys loved on me. They shared their lives with me. They taught me all about the Bible. They demonstrated to me what it looked like to have a personal relationship with God. I had never felt the warmth like that in any business meeting I attended. They loved me and understood me. We were all in technology, and we were all excited to learn about Jesus and each other.

Eight months later I gave my life to Christ. 

Thanks to Robert Campbell. He never gave up on me. As ugly as I was to him about his faith over the years, he knew Jesus would do a miracle in my life. And the miracles continued.

It all started by accepting Robert’s invitation to a breakfast. That’s all I had to do. Unbelievable!


Act Now: Only 15 Tables Left


There are only fifteen tables left for this year’s High Tech Prayer Breakfast. Are you ready to watch Jesus do a miracle in a friend’s life? All you have to do is get a table then invite your friends. If you are interested in joining the leadership team by becoming a table host email Amie Hood, Director of the High Tech Prayer Breakfast.

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.

Making the Bible Personal and Real: Blake Patton

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Blake Patton

An interview with Grace@Work Bible study leader Blake Patton, Managing Partner at Tech Square Ventures

In three short years, Blake has established Tech Square Ventures as the leading early-stage Venture Capital firm in Atlanta. Using his Georgia Tech network and his reputation as a technology leader, great entrepreneurs intending to build high-value companies followed.

I met Blake while cruising around the ATDC several years ago. He was intent on building a stronger community in his role as ATDC’s General Manager. I ran the idea of a Grace@Work Bible study by him, and he loved it. He said, “This is an element we are missing in our community. Faith is a big part of people’s lives. It would be great if you host the study.”

I hosted, and Blake showed up. That study grew to a point where we decided to split it. One is focused on building ambassadors for Christ. Blake’s is focused on people interested in getting to know the God of the Bible.

Blake will be the local keynote at this year’s High Tech Prayer Breakfast on October 6th. Come by and meet Blake at his study then come to the High Tech Prayer Breakfast to hear his story.

Charlie

Charlie Paparelli
President
High Tech Ministries

Where: ATDC (Google Maps
Leader: Blake Patton
When: Wednesday 11:30 AM
Open: Yes. Everyone welcomed.

Why did you start the Bible study?

Patton: I first got involved in Grace@Work when I was leading ATDC four years ago. I heard stories of the studies' impact from Sig Mosley and others, so I wanted it to be a part of the evolving community at ATDC and around Tech Square. I teamed up with Charlie Paparelli, Bird Blitch, and Greg Foster and we started meeting with other seekers weekly. 

What was your biggest concern?

Patton: Our biggest concern was where to start. We quickly learned that personal invitations to attend the study were the best way to get the group going. I didn’t know how to lead a study, but fortunately, Charlie, Cortney Alexander, and Sawyer Miller stepped up and have been terrific facilitators. After our first study group had grown, I helped support Sawyer in creating a second seeker study.

What do you use to study?

Patton: The Bible is an amazing leadership manual. The best part of the study for me is learning from other technology leaders in our community how they are applying their faith in their professional lives. 

What’s an unexpected benefit of doing the Bible study?

Patton: The study has given me clarity on why I love what I do. It has helped me view being an investor as an opportunity to serve God by serving others – helping entrepreneurs succeed and achieve their dreams. The companies in the building create jobs and improve lives. When they succeed, we succeed allowing us to invest in more entrepreneurs. What I learn by studying with other investors and entrepreneurs builds my relationship with Christ, and helps make me a more successful investor.