In this Issue

- Feature Article: How Did Your 2006 "Life W-2" Turn Out?

- Suzanne Recommends:

  • Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships - Bible Study Guide
  • Becoming a Godly Woman CD
  • Please add "suzanne@" to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so you won't miss future issues.

    How Did Your 2006 "Life W-2" Turn Out?

    It’s that time of year again- time for your annual tax return filings. As I recently worked on mine and chatted with a friend, I reflected on my 2006 "life W-2."

    Early last year, I realized there were other things I wanted on my W-2 – more freedom, more time with my family, more time to pursue educational opportunities, more time to myself, and more time to feel rested and refreshed. In the frenetic pace of the church ministry where I served, I was losing the ability to have those other things I needed.

    I began my ministry consulting firm shortly afterward. As with all new businesses, it’s a lot of work in the “building mode,” yet I totally enjoy it. I have the freedom to serve in ministry, but also to do the other things God has called me to do. And while I may temporarily sacrifice some amount on my W-2, the rewards are more than worth it.

    I further reflected on this idea of my life W-2 when I saw an interesting show on MS-NBC recently called “Catch Him If You Can.” I believe it was a true story of a con-man named Christopher Rocancote, who passed himself off successfully for a number of years as Christopher Rockefeller, of the well-known Rockefeller family. Before being caught, this man scammed millions of dollars from many, inviting them to participate in joint ventures where he promised great returns.

    When the journalist asked how it was possible for him to get away
    with this for so long, Rocancote remarked that he played off of
    people’s greed. He said the people who were the wealthiest still wanted more, and their greed blinded them, allowing him to continue to deceive them. These people lost all of the money they invested with Rocancote, along with experiencing humiliation due to their naiveté. Many did not sue him out of their personal embarrassment.

    Clearly, these people measured, to a great extent, their significance and personal worth by the amount of their financial holdings. This is an easy trap to fall into, as we all receive many marketing messages about what we own, what else we need to be happy, and so on.

    How about you? Where do you place your personal worth, and what
    messages do you receive every day about your significance? Are they based on the amount on your W-2, or even the size of your church or ministry? Many can struggle to feel significant if their focus is on these things.

    Although many of this publications’ readers are around the country, many reside right here in Washington, D.C. This city is a place where affluence, but most especially power, reigns. Many of the nation’s best and brightest come here to be significant – to make their mark and to make an impact in the nation’s capitol. And they are willing to sacrifice much to do so – sometimes too much.

    Yet Scripture tells us it is God who grants us significance and even to earn the wealth that we do. Deut. 8:18 teaches, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth….” And God is the One who gives us our skills and either allows or prevents us from gaining prominence…..”Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men (Prov. 22:29). Prov. 8:15 reinforces this, “By me [God] kings reign and rulers make laws that are just, as does Jer. 1:10 – “See, today I [the LORD] appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

    Where then is the right emphasis for our personal worth? Where can we seek and find significance? Scripture has helpful guidelines we can follow. Jer. 9:23-24 tells us not only where not to place our pride, but where we are to place our focus and energy. “This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.

    We learn that our greatest joy is in knowing God and in our relationship with Him. His promise to us in this relationship is that …”neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

    Perhaps many of you have never experienced this type of unconditional love and acceptance. If only those individuals deceived by Rocancote knew God in a personal way and that they could already have significance as a child of His, perhaps they would not have been as vulnerable.... Maybe they would not have felt compelled to seek significance apart from Him.

    Many of you have the daily privilege of helping others find this relationship with God as part of your role as pastors. Others who receive this may still be searching for that personal relationship. The wonderful offer Christ gives to us is that through a personal relationship with Him, we can have eternal life forever in heaven with Him. We just have to ask Him into our hearts and trust His promises. As we do so, and keep our focus on Him and His priorities for us, we'll find we're more than satisfied with our "life's W-2."

    Maximizing Tomorrow's Leaders Today

    March Teleseminar - Is Your Leadership Culture Healthy?
    Monday, March 5, 2007, 7 pm - 8 pm EST, 6 p.m. CST / 5 PST

    Our guests will be senior pastors, Chuck Larsen of Country Bible Church in Blair, Nebraska, and Will Langstaff of The Servant House in Lewisville, Texas. Chuck and Will were on the team with Suzanne as they studied a dynamic Texas church featured in January's issue of Leadership Tips. Pastor Chuck and Pastor Will plan to talk online with Suzanne discussing the journey this Texas church took in the areas of empowering leaders, community outreach, and financial stewardship. These key changes have enabled this dynamic church to become the healthy and thriving ministry it is today.

    Some of the leadership lessons learned in this church can apply to leadership teams in corporate or other organizations as well.

    When you register, you'll also receive a complimentary copy of this case study and a CD of the call for your future use.

    To enroll, purchase Teleseminar 2: Is Your Church's Leadership Culture Healthy? from shop.

    Please let me know what issues you would like to hear about in next month's Relationship Tips. I always want to hear your feedback and desire for this e-zine to enrich your lives and relationships.

    Relationship Tips is a monthly e-zine written and published by Suzanne Martinez, founder of SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC. Our purpose is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize individual and organizational performance.

    You may copy, forward or distribute this e-zine if this copyright notice and contact information for Suzanne Martinez is included.

    Suzanne Martinez
    SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC
    P.O. Box 9172
    Reston, VA 20195-9172

    Copyright ©SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC, 2006-2007.

    Would you forward this e-zine to others who would benefit from it? For a complimentary subscription, they can sign up at Please help us get the word out by forwarding this issue to others. Thank you!
    Relationship Tips
    January 2007
    Vol. I, Issue 3

    Relationship Tips is published once monthly.

    You are on our recipients' listing because you indicated an interest in this ministry and e-newsletter. To manage your subscription, see the link at the end of this email.

    February Specials

    For a Valentine's Day special with purchase of Reversing the Curse and Becoming a Godly Woman CD, get a special $20 price, along with free shipping. Just contact the office at 703.282.2325.

    With enrollment this month in an upcoming teleseminar or the purchase of an e-store product, you’ll receive a complimentary 30-minute personal or church coaching consult.  Just contact my office at 703.282.2325. I'd love to serve you.

    Suzanne's Bookshelf

    Becoming a Woman of Godly Character

    Our words reflect what's in our hearts and also in our character. In the CD, "Becoming a Woman of Godly Character:

    Hear answers to common questions women ask, and receive encouragement as you grow in your character and walk with Christ.

    Learn qualities of a godly woman and the process through which God changes us throughout our lives to make us more like Christ.

    Click here to order yours...

    Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

    Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships
    This four-week, small group study guide leads women to simple, but powerful, tools to reverse the effects of the curse and transform their relationships in amazing ways.

    As women learn and incorporate these three simple "power tools" into their relationships, they will find that they rediscover joy and fulfillment in those relationships in a new and fresh way.

    Click here to order your copy.

    Reversing the Curse: Rediscovering Joy and Fulfillment in Relationships

    our Comments

    The newsletter was really great...Continue to do God's work in the workplace. Workplace wisdom is an area that needs to be explored more - serving God on a daily basis in our place of work.  What better place to be an example! MR

    I just wanted to send a short note to thank you for copying us on your "ezines." This latest one had a special impact as I never stopped to tell my father how much I appreciated him...instead, my last memory was using harsh words, that I later regret. I was too young and too self-centered to see the impact of my words...I could have used this ezine years ago! I hope to do better with my daughter. You have wisdom! SH

    It's fun for me to listen to different people on the same subject. God has to hit me over the head sometimes/ most of the time... I am really
    learning a lot lately about marriage! :-) About time! ... And thank you so much for starting me on the subject. I had stuffed a lot of things because I couldn't change them. Didn't know I was doing that. God Bless you.

    About Suzanne

    Suzanne France Martinez Founder & Principal

    During the last 20 years as Suzanne served in the marketplace and in ministry, she learned to excel amidst the pressing demands and challenges of leadership in each setting. Suzanne's passion is to help leaders develop healthy leadership cultures and relationships - cultures that promote growth and optimize both individual and organizational performance. Suzanne desires to help leaders renew and refresh their vision, attain new levels of leadership excellence, and build healthy and strong leadership organizations.

    Copyright ©2006-2007 SFM Consulting & Associates, LLC