Archive for March, 2020

The Price is Paid © Image created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21:12-14 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

I’ve already told you His first 5 mistakes…

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY 

And now sixthly,

6. GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY FOR FREE

Jesus was much too generous but obviously did not show much business savvy. Freebie marketing is OK but He devalued His product by giving everything away for free. He had so many opportunities to Market Himself…

  • There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but Jesus fed 5000 people one time with a sea food meal without charging anything! He could have given some appetisers for free or asked people to buy one meal and get one free. He could have even turned water into wine, but for a price. This could have been the start of an incredible Loaves and Fishes restaurant franchise. 
  • On the side He could have provided a Protection scheme for farmers by stilling storms, but for a price.
  • He could have given an occasional freebie to the poor but this needs to be token support rather than targeted and needs to be covered well by the media.
  • Doctors earn a lot of money. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem in Matthew 21, what a difference He could have made if He had NOT cleansed the temple. 

Jesus missed His opportunity to set up a table with the moneychangers and for a price, heal all common colds, broken or lame legs, blindness, leprosy, cancer and Covid-19. This would have attracted more business for everyone. Win Win! 

Now if He had done all that, He would have had something to boast about, but He didn’t. He missed it.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I can’t believe you are saying this! Jesus healed those who were blind and lame. It had nothing to do with some kind of business opportunity. This is God’s compassion given freely. 

This was a place of worship. Where people gather together for worship there will be spiritual healing of hearts and He provided healing of bodies, miraculously and freely. People come to worship and pray because they realise they need spiritual healing, not to make money.

Jesus was not only concerned about cleansing the Temple of corrupt money changers but about cleansing hearts, including your heart and mine, and there is NO COST INVOLVED. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul says to Christ followers in Ephesians 2:8-9 “God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is A GIFT FROM GOD. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

We are not able to pay such a cost as He paid when He died on the Cross for our sins. The price has already been paid for us.

He even gave the Religious leaders a chance to repent and find peace and forgiveness with God. Instead they were indignant. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! That leads me to the 6th Marketing mistake, but unfortunately this is your stop so I look forward to sharing the Marketing mistakes Jesus made in WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 6)

Pastor Ross

Brood of Vipers © Image Created by Ross Cochrane on Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21: – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4)

The next day, on the train, the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously …

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 3 mistakes

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

And now fourthly,

4. SPURN POTENTIAL FINANCIAL BACKERS 

MARKETING MANAGER: Jesus actually discouraged those who could have helped Him financially. Think about it. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT). This young man could have supported Him, but instead, Jesus turned Him away by asking him to do something ridiculous. You don’t do this. This shows a distinct lack of financial acumen and Marketing prowess.

But then look at Matthew 21:12 (NLT)! It says “Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.” 

Another lost opportunity. If only He had gained favour with the small business people, He could have had financial backing for any enterprise He wanted. 

At the very peak of popularity with the people who were proclaiming Him to be the Messiah, He destroys His credibility by causing a public disturbance in the very place He needed the backing. 

All hope of financial assistance was destroyed in one foul stroke. He could have set up a Patreon funding system but once again missed His opportunity.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus was not interested in their money! He walks into the outer court of the temple, a place for people of all nations to meet with God in worship, praise, and prayer. Instead He finds a commercial business centre filled with people taking advantage of one another for profit. 

The Temple was not meant to be a place of business but worship! So Jesus drove them all out, overturning their tables.  “He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”” (Matthew 21:12,13 NLT).

They were abusing the purpose of God’s Temple. They were exploiting others by their business deals and they made it impossible for people to use this place to worship God. According to historians, Annas, the former high priest, was the CEO of this lucrative business enterprise, assisted by his sons.

They really were what He called them, “A den of thieves”

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 5th major error Jesus made in Marketing. 

5. BE CARELESS WITH THE MESSAGE YOU CONVEY. 

Calling this group of businessmen a “Den of thieves” certainly didn’t endear Himself to them in anyway. Jesus really took it too far sometimes and got Himself a bad reputation. 

On one occasion He saw some Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch Him baptize people and He denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” He exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath?” (Matthew 3:7, 12:34).

It’s not a good impression to make, calling leaders of His community a brood of snakes and telling them they will go to hell, even if you know this to be true. Israel Filau made the same mistake and was crucified for his remarks as well. 

On another occasion Jesus embarrassed more community leaders saying, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity” (Matthew 23:27 NLT). This didn’t help to market His brand. It isolated Him from the very people that could have helped His cause.

Every single sentence you speak and every action communicates a message to the world. If you are going to protect your brand, you need to protect your reputation. You can’t go around saying and doing what you think is right all the time. You’ll have the city in uproar (Matthew 21:10). Just as a good organization protects its brand, protect your reputation by being intentional and circumspect about the words you speak and the actions you perform. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus is not afraid to tell the truth about corrupt business people and spiritually impoverished religious leaders of Jerusalem.  

You can see His heart in what happened next. After He restored the outer temple to be a place of prayer and worship, He was able to make it a place of ministry.  Matthew 21:14 (NLT) says “The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.” 

MARKETING MANAGER: Another mistake. His 6th major error in Marketing. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: We will have to continue this conversation again tomorrow. This is my stop.

MARKETING MANAGER: I am so pleased you would like to continue learning about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 5). 

Pastor Ross

Hope like an Anchor © Image created by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

Matthew 21:9 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

On the train the Marketing Manager and the Christ Follower resume their conversation. Previously…

MARKETING MANAGER: We can learn a lot about what not to do in Marketing from Jesus. He made so many mistakes.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry but it is you who are mistaken. Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first 2 mistakes

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

And now thirdly

3. DON’T GIVE PEOPLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

In Luke 19:41-44 (NLT) it says that  “… as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”

Luke 19 just proves my point. You don’t send out a tweet like that if you want to market yourself. You don’t tell people that it’s too late for them. Jesus obviously didn’t believe in Jerusalem. How could Jerusalem believe in Him? He thought there was no hope for them.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Jesus was their only hope and they missed it! So have you. Magnificent Jerusalem! Beautiful to behold as a city of spires was spiritually falling apart as if moved by an unseen earthquake of souls. 

When even God weeps over a city… what hope is left but Christ Himself? What dissonance existed between such an outward wonder of the world that was Jerusalem and the corrupted, crumbling hearts of people. 

Within 50 years this outward magnificence would be razed to the ground and reflect more accurately the bereft state of its people. And by then the spiritual hope of a nation depended not on city spires or a temple or even a Roman emperor but upon a simple faith in what Christ, the King of kings had accomplished on the Cross. The true rebuilding of a city could only take place spiritually and by personal choice to find their hope in Christ.

MARKETING MANAGER: There. Now we are getting somewhere! People need to know that angle about Jesus being their hope. That’s a nice catch-phrase by the way, “Jesus, the hope of humanity”. But to get it across involves marketing yourself! And that’s what He failed to do. You need a niche market, which He had with His miracles and an audience to gain popularity, even celebrity status.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after 3 days in a tomb. You don’t do that without gaining celebrity status and people came out of the woodwork to see Him and Lazarus, (John 12:9). Due to the Sabbath (Saturday) they gathered either that evening or the next morning. 

Not only that but there were already about 2.5 million people in Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover (Josephus). That’s when Jesus acquires a donkey on which He rides into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Matthew 21:9 (NLT) says, “Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!” 

Many people recognised Jesus as the promised Messiah and King. That’s why they stripped off their cloaks and spread palm branches out on the roadway before Him. This was how you honoured a king. . 

Crowds of people shouted out “Hosanna” which means save now, or save, we pray. They shouted that He was “the Son of David” which was the title for the Messiah. But they, like you, missed the point of what Jesus came to do.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! They missed the point. You see? He had it all and because He failed to Market Himself well, within a week, He lost it all. In fact by the end of this week, because of His failure in Marketing Himself, He lost His life. Such a tumultuous mix of praise at the beginning of that week gave way to abuse from the crowd at it’s end. The praises of Hosanah! (Save now!) would soon give way to Crucify Him! … I could have saved Him. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: (Shakes head with a look of frustration and pity) You could not have saved Him. Don’t you understand, He came to save you, spiritually, when you place your trust in Him. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Which leads me to His 4th Mistake… 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: I’m sorry. This is my stop. We will have to resume this conversation at a later time.

MARKETING MANAGER: I will look forward to sharing more about what Jesus teaches us in  WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 4). 

Pastor Ross

Matthew 21:7-11 – WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 2)

Last time…

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well.

CHRIST FOLLOWER: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook. Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies….

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. I’ve already told you His first mistake

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

2. DON’T TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF THE PLATFORM YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN

Having a platform is important so when the opportunity comes, take advantage of the moment. In Matthew 21:7-11, in the middle of a huge crowd who were in Jerusalem, where He could have gained many followers, Jesus rides in on a humble donkey and misses His opportunity to Market Himself again. 

Yes, some of the crowd respond to Him, mostly children it seems, but He could have made a huge entrance and touched the lives of everyone in Jerusalem that day, if He had only chosen a huge white horse and perhaps even a chariot instead of a donkey. The horse and the chariot were suggestive of power and influence, but the donkey is a pathetic way to ride into town. This is not a triumphal entry. It is a triumphal failure to market yourself well. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: Now wait a minute. Let’s get the story straight. It wasn’t a pathetic way to enter Jerusalem, but a humble way to ride into town. The donkey was regarded as a symbol of peace. Jesus is called the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring Peace with God and peace with our neighbours. 

Romans 5:1 (NLT) says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

If Jesus rode in on a white war horse it would be a deliberate and antagonistic sign of rebellion against Caesar and the Romans would have arrested Him immediately. 

500 years before this event, Zechariah the prophet declared that God would one day send His King. Zechariah 9:9 (NLT) says, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.” The Jews regarded the passage as Messianic (Edersheim). 

Perhaps the most honoured that day was the donkey. The unbroken donkey. Somehow the touch of the Masters hand enables that which is unbroken to be at peace. Jesus has the ability to bring peace to the wildness of an unridden donkey and to give purpose and direction to untamed hearts.

The greatest triumph of aggressive warfare is insignificant compared to the grace and peace that rode in on a donkey that day. He had all the authority of the King of kings but had the heart of the Prince of Peace. He had a servant heart. He was a true king – a Shepherd of the people. 

MARKETING MANAGER: That may be true but let me tell you about His third mistake…. 

CHRIST FOLLOWER: This conversation will have to resume later. I have to go.

MARKETING MANAGER: I look forward to part 3 of our conversation about WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 3)

Pastor Ross

Marketing Graph © Image by Ross Cochrane using Blender 2.8 and GetPaint.net

WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF (Part 1)

MARKETING MANAGER: You want to mess up everything you’ve worked so hard for? You want to position yourself to lose your credibility? Here are proven strategies from Jesus in the Bible for WHAT NOT TO DO if you want to market yourself successfully and effectively:

Think about it. Jesus certainly didn’t Market His brand well. Once, He even suggested to a rich young ruler who wanted to follow Him, “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21 NLT).

He mixed with the “wrong” people – beggars, and sick people and even prostitutes. Yes, you need to help these people, but you don’t get a good reputation for your business by making them your target group.  

And Jesus was effectively homeless. One time when someone wanted to be His follower, He said “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20 (NLT2). 

He could have started a big medical business but didn’t. Yes, He spoke to and catered for some big crowds but had rather radical ideas. He got leaders in the community off-side with Him. He spoke in obscure riddles and often refused to explain Himself.

Yes, His name is a household word today, Christian or not, but He could be so much more popular today if He had been wiser with His marketing strategy. Jesus made some big mistakes in Marketing. 

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: But Jesus wasn’t interested in Marketing Himself. He wasn’t a CEO of a company or trying to get followers on Facebook.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly my point! Jesus has much to teach us about what not to do if you want to Market yourself. He would be crucified in the business world today.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: That’s not funny! Jesus was crucified literally. He died for our sins and…

MARKETING MANAGER: Yes, yes. And if He had taken more interest in Marketing Himself He could have avoided all that, and would still be popular today. Let’s face it, He made some big mistakes.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: Mistakes? What mistakes? Jesus doesn’t make mistakes!

MARKETING MANAGER: Well, let’s start with a key mistake. Here’s what NOT TO DO in Marketing yourself.

1. REFUSE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 

Jesus did miracles. That’s got to be His key niche marketing tool to identify Him as exercising the power of God, as the Messiah. But Jesus constantly messed up His opportunities. 

He often did miracles simply because He had compassion on people and asked them not to tell people about what happened. When a little girl was healed (literally raised from the dead) in Luke 8:56 (NLT) “her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened”.

You want to mess up big time in marketing? – Don’t let people know your talents and passions. Don’t let people know about your interests and the creative and unique things you do. 

Jesus instructed several people whom He had healed to “tell no-one what was done to you”. He missed the opportunity for His niche market. He refused to grow His reputation. Marketing the Messiah was obviously something He knew nothing about. 

If only I had been one of His disciples, I could have saved Him.

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: You really don’t get it, do you? You couldn’t save Him. He came to save you. Miracles were not Jesus’ key niche marketing tool. Unfortunately, sometimes His miracles interfered with proclaiming the good news that you can be forgiven of your sins and born again spiritually.  Once, when He healed a man with leprosy, Jesus told Him not to tell others. In Mark 1:40-45 (NLT2) it says “But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and He couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to Him.” Millions of people still need to know Christ personally, but He wasn’t interested in your marketing strategies.

MARKETING MANAGER: Exactly! He missed His opportunities to be popular and create His niche market. Let me tell you the second mistake He made…

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST: I’m sorry, but we’ll have to continue this conversation later. 

MARKETING MANAGER: Good. I am so pleased you want to continue our conversation. I will look forward to Part 2 of WHAT NOT TO DO WHEN MARKETING YOURSELF

Pastor Ross