Christian Profile: "From the Cactus to the Cross"

Based from the Scripture, Deuteronomy Chapter 8
Scripture taken from the "New International Study Bible, Zondervan Bible Publishers"
By Steven C. Lehenbauer, President, Owner, Red Cactus - USA

Outline:
I. Personal Testimony
II. History of the Business
III. Life Lessons Learned (Both Business and Personal)
IV. How to live a Successful Life (Be Blessed)
V. Conclusion and Personal Vision
VI. Meanings of the Company Name and Logo

I. Personal Testimony:

In the spring of 1991, while driving down Highway 70 in St. Louis, Mo, I heard God speak to my heart. He said, "Stop how I was living, or I would soon be dead." I was a good person, but very prideful, self centered, very assured of myself (I thought), living a life focused around money, things, and me. Many times I would put myself in situations where I could have literally been killed. But I was young and tough spirited. I did not realize I was trying to fill a void completely wrong. Following the world's way was not working at all. But God was about to give me a wonderful opportunity.

As a young child, I had attended a Charismatic church until I was about 5 or 6 years old, when my family stop going to church. I had not set foot in a church again until a couple of months before I had had this visitation in the car. That was one time at Grace Church in St. Louis, MO. I was invited by a friend and though I would check it out. I enjoyed church that day and believe there was a seed planted beyond my knowledge. I didn't leave that day completely changed, but the process was at work. I knew in the past months that I had been experiencing some real voids in my life, but did not know how to fill it. Although, I had been having thoughts in my mind about God and the church, I was in need of someone to lead me in. It was at work right before my eyes. Amazing enough, after that visitation, I did stop many (not all) of my ways. Several weeks later, God moved a friend to invite me to River of Life Family Church in Quincy, Illinois where I lived. God touched my heart in big way that day. He slowly began to rearrange my whole life, giving it meaning and purpose! A few weeks later, I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart at a Christian concert performed by Dallas Holmes. This was the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in my life. For now, I came not only to know the name of Jesus Christ, but was beginning a personal relationship with the creator of the world!! This was the beginning of true life, giving me an awesome purpose to live for and for helping others live a joyful life.

II. History of the Business:

Red Cactus-USA started in 1995 and I had no idea of how developing and building the business would affect and change my walk as a Christian. A bible scripture is on every jar of Red Cactus -USA product. It is found in the book of, "Deuteronomy - Chapter Eight" and explains the very course that this business and my personal life have taken over the past years. This chapter further reveals why numerous trials and obstacles have had to be endured and overcome for the true purpose of God and Success of this business to become a reality. Putting God first, following his commands, and personally experiencing the fruition of the truths that he has promised to us through both his written and prophetic word has been the sustaining force of this business and the best thing that ever could have happened in my life! Even when difficult circumstances would pressure me to quit, the promises revealed to me in God's word gave me the strength to persevere. Building this business has been a true test to staying obedient to God when circumstance seemed to say at times, "Stop the business". But to stop would have said God was not big enough to do what he had purposed to happen.

Deuteronomy 8:1-2 states, "Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised by an oath to your forefathers. Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."

A "Desert Land" refers to - (Those places the Lord leads us sometimes to change our ways and bad habits (things not pleasing to him), to teach and guide us, and build Godly character. We all know how change is always hard. Well changing a sinful life is no different.) This business has truly taught me to come through some desert land and to live spiritually minded, to walk in faith and obedience to the Lord every step of the way. The challenges and lessons along the way have very humbling; testing what was truly in my heart. There is no question that this business would not continue to survive if not for the Lord having His hand and purpose upon it. But out of every test or season there was a wonderful deposit left in my life! This is His business. Its purpose is to facilitate the spreading of the gospel and I am but a vessel to see it through. If I had not stayed close and obedient to the Lord, I could have missed the very path he had set for me. As you read the following paragraphs you will see "Deuteronomy - Chapter Eight" unfold, and how it has served as a guide to my Christian walk and the success of Red Cactus.

III. Life Lessons Learned (Both Business and Personal):

Moses told the Israelites that God would destroy Israel's enemies, but not all at once. God had the power to defeat those nations instantly, but he chose to do it little by little. In the same way and with the same power, God could miraculously and instantaneously change our life. Usually, however, he chooses to help us gradually, teaching us one lesson at a time. Rather than expect instant spiritual maturity and solutions to all your problems, slow down and work one step at a time, trusting God to make up the difference between where you perceive you should be and where you are in reality, whether in regards to your relationship with God or your life. You'll soon look back and see that a miraculous transformation has occurred.

As a Born Again Believer in Jesus Christ since September 27, 1991, both my Christian and business life have taken many a twist and turn. So many times I tried to reason out in my mind what was going on, why am I going through the trials and tests that were contrary to the course I know God set for my life and business. I often pondered the questions: where am I heading, how will I get through this. God often uses or allows circumstances beyond our understanding to help train and guide our course to success and put our dependence on him. From financial lows, career confusion, insecurity, depression, family losses, low self esteem, feeling unworthy, I continued to meet the challenges facing the business and personal life. God could have spared me of all of it but chose to allow me to work through them, not taking them away all at once, just as Moses told the Israelites. I learned to trust and obey God on the basis of His word as opposed to what human nature and present circumstances presented. He has never left me and I know he never will. God has used the challenges of building a business and the frailty of life to help me grow spiritually and in faith. Many people, including myself have often thought life and happiness was based on worldly success and acquiring natural wealth. If I could earn enough money to dress, eat, and play in high style, this would be the good life. But such things do not satisfy our deepest longings. In the end they leave us empty and dissatisfied.

Real life, according to Moses, comes from total commitment to God, the same one who created life itself. Jesus Himself stated that ones life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. To not only prosper as the world defines prosperity, but also realize the true peace and joy that comes only from a relationship with our creator requires discipline, sacrifice, and hard work, and that's why most people never find the true riches of life. At first it may not seem to be as much fun as the world's way of living, but gradually, as our friendship and commitment with God deepens, it leads to strength of character, peace of mind, and deep personal satisfaction. The long term rewards of obeying God are far greater than anything the world has to offer.

Deuteronomy 8:3-5 states, "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your forefathers had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord your God. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you."

God has always provided and taken care of me and the business through the years, though very challenging at times. I believe I would have in no way been as close and dependent on the Lord today, if I had not gone through this type of discipline and training. God's ways and the world's ways do not mix. But to know him and his ways are the only way to have true and lasting peace of mind with joy unspeakable through all circumstances!

IV. How to Live a Successful Life (Be Blessed):

God's Discipline can be challenging and leave you feeling angry, insecure and deserted. Being disciplined is never easy. But when you allow a loving God to work in your life, it is a wonderful experience. When you learn that he has your best interest at hand and loves you very much, you are glad to know him and his ways, and see the blessings he bestows upon us. I have learned that when one submits in love and obedience to his creator, it truly yields the fruit of peace, safety and his blessings both spiritually and physically. Both my personal and business life have played an important part in teaching me to learn the ways of walking in unity with the Lord, living spiritually minded, and being obedient to Him no matter what the circumstance.

Deuteronomy 8:6-9 states "Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land - a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing into the valley and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills."

Red Cactus-USA is learning to truly seek after the Lord for every step and direction to take, listening to what the Lord has to speak to our hearts, ignoring any mind games or untruths that the enemy of our souls would try to speak. The Scriptures state that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. He often tries to misdirect and confuse our life. I have truly learned that allowing God to set the course of my life and business has allowed me to experience success everyday and slowly come into a good land being careful to always remember how I got there!

Deuteronomy 8:10-20 states "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws, and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble you and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other God's and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God."

Crucial to experiencing this success has been the quality decision to commit and hold steadfast and true to the Lord's way of living life and conducting business. It is because of Him that we live, and have purpose in life. All we have is His and is for the purpose of glorifying his name.

V. Conclusion and Personal Vision:

Red Cactus-USA has a vision to help share the gospel through the means of selling food products and other items. My life experience of, "From the Cactus to the Cross" has helped pave the way. I hope and pray that you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to enjoy God's best. A life of peace and purpose! If not, please read the following scriptures and accept them in your heart. Please tell someone when you have made this life changing experience!

John 3:16 states, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Romans 10:9 states, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."

Abundant life is only experienced when a person has accepted Christ in their heart and purposed to live totally for him. Each day I learn to live more and more in union with Jesus Christ. He does not condemn me for the errors I make, but lovingly guides to me to become more like him. Who the Lord loves, He disciplines for our profit. At one time I lived for myself in a dry desert land, until the truth of how Jesus died on the cross for my sins and to give life to those would believe. I welcome business people or anyone wanting to live a more blessed life to contact me using the Feedback option on the home page of this site or email me at redcactus@adams.net. I will be glad to respond!

VI. Meanings of the Company Name and Logo:

Sitting at my kitchen table one evening nine years ago, I conceived the name and logo that appears on each jar of Red Cactus products today. I never realized that the symbols would have meaning to my very Christian walk. I often wondered why I had drawn the things I did. Once you read the following definitions you will see clearly how God had his hand at work all along and the way the symbols relate to "Deuteronomy - Chapter Eight."

The Cactus and Desert Scene represents the desert land in our lives when living without the Lord in our life or seasons when being humbled and disciplined by the Lord. The color Red of the cactus stands out to represent the blood that Jesus shed on the cross on our behalf to give us eternal life. The rising sun represents Jesus Christ, God's son, and our risen savior, who is the light of our life and world. The Cowboy Hat represents the old western statement, "I finally found something to hang my hat onto (believe in and hope in)." The rope represents a three-cord strand, which is hard to break, the 3 strands being myself, Jesus and Red Cactus-USA. Sweet salsa seeks to remind us of the sweetness of the Lord, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good" the psalmist said. He loves us, laid his life down for us on the cross that we may have life. How sweet it is! The Spines of the Cactus represent how our lives are often pricked with trials and seasons that sometimes can be painful when inflicted or allowed in our lives. But bring about wonderful change!


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