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Los Angeles, California, United States

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's In Your Memo?

As believers in Christ, we are given a spiritual birthright, by the blood of Jesus, to many benefits and blessings But with those benefits and blessings, come responsibilities, which should not seem unreasonable to us. After all, Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, that we might have these blessings. That we might be able to cry unto God “Abba Father”. [Rom. 8:15] Our job as believers is to find out along with our rights, what our responsibilities are... and they intensify as we mature spiritually. The greater the blessings we walk in, the greater the responsibility. We need to find out what's in our memo.

When I first started working in television, I worked freelance for a small production company that used something called deal memos as employment contracts. The deal memo laid out your responsibilities to the company/show you were working on and it also stated how much you would be paid and when for the services you rendered.

For the third show I worked on for this company, “Story of a People: Three Cities Revisited”, I was hired as the Associate Producer and was responsible for hiring crew for our out-of-town shoots. I typed up the deal memo for the field producer I hired in Atlanta and discussed the terms and compensation with her over the phone. I faxed the memo to her for approval and had her sign, fax and mail a hard copy of the signed memo back to me. This was proof legally, that we both understood and agreed to the terms of the memo and that full payment was conditional upon her delivering all of the items requested in that memo, i.e., beauty shots of Atlanta (day and night), b-roll of the family she was interviewing (their home, neighborhood, their place of work), and an informative interview with at least all of the questions I sent her answered). This was the bare minimum that was required for her to receive payment and a show credit.

The morning of the shoot, I spoke to her briefly with some last minute information and asked how she felt about the shoot. She seemed excited and eager to get started which was a relief to me because I would have preferred doing the interviews myself, but the show couldn't afford the travel expense of me going to Atlanta. I had to relinquish absolute control of this shoot and trust someone I had never met, to do my bidding for me. I had to trust that she would ask the questions I sent her, that she'd read the research material I sent her and that she would build a rapport with the family she was interviewing. The interview subject has to trust that they are in good hands so that they feel safe enough to really open up. You get a much better interview that way. I also had to trust that she had good instincts and would be able to recognize if the subject said something during the interview that was useful but maybe off script, and she would know how to follow that line of questioning and tie it back into the questions I'd sent her. I had to trust that she would get all of the above-mentioned elements, in the proper format, back to me in a timely manner because we were going to edit within few days of the shoot. There was a lot riding on this total stranger and our initial conversation did put my mind at ease.

I spoke to her again at the end of the day. She joyfully exclaimed that everything had gone according to plan and that I would be pleased with the outcome, so you can imagine my surprise and terror when I looked at the footage and saw that some of the b-roll I needed (beauty shots of Atlanta at night and the work location of the subject) weren't there. In a panic, I picked up the phone and called this field producer to ask what on earth had happened. She then informed me that she and the crew had been caught in traffic, the day ran long and there just wasn't enough time to get all the shots I wanted. After all I wasn't really paying her that much so this was the best she could do. I then took her back to that deal memo we'd discussed in depth and that she'd signed and faxed back to me. I informed her that as per the terms of the deal memo, she was in breach of contract and that ANY further payment was contingent upon her delivering all the items listed in that memo. She hadn't been coerced into signing it. If she thought the pay was not sufficient or the work load too heavy, she had every opportunity to negotiate different terms or not take the job, but if she wanted the remainder of her pay (she was paid half up front), she would have to deliver the the missing elements that I had requested, and fast! Two days later, I received the missing elements and we were finally able to go to edit but needless to say, I never recommended her services to anyone and I certainly never hired her again.

Just as the terms of the my deal memo with this field producer were clearly stated in writing, the terms of my rights and responsibilities with Christ are clearly stated in His “deal memo” with us, the Bible. As I grow in faith, I am able to walk in more of the rights and benefits that are stated in the bible. I have a right to joy unspeakable [1Peter 1:8]. I have a right to “the peace of God, which passes all understanding...” [Phil. 4:7]. I have a right to the Holy Spirit, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” But I am also responsible for more.

I am responsible for the Truth, the word that I know. [Jn. 8:32] I am responsible for what I have been taught, by both God and man. I am responsible to stand for what I believe when I know that it lines up with the Word of God, regardless of how others feel about it. [Ephesians 6:13] I am responsible to share with others, to give my testimony of what I've been taught and my experiences with God, with those who permit it. [Matt. 11:15] For we are saved by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony. [Rev. 12:11]

Unlike the field producer, I NEVER have to worry about God being in breach of contract. He is perfection. He is truth and heaven and earth shall pass away before his word returns unto Him void. [Is. 55:11; Lk. 21:33]. I can trust Him implicitly and relinquish any need to control how He accomplishes His part of our Deal Memo (how is not my responsibility), but rest in the knowledge that it will be done.

The New Testament covenant we have as believers, has made us all kings and priests unto God [Rev. 1:6], with rights and benefits reserved only for the high priests of the Old Testament and greater responsibilities as well. But the benefit of eternal life and intimacy with God far out weigh any burden we may carry. Christ even helps us with that. [1Peter 5:7; 2 Cor. 12:9]. He has made us free, no longer slaves to fear... fear of the opinions of men, of separation from God or of ever being alone again, because He will never leave or forsake us. [Deut. 31:6] And this liberty and relationship we have as believers, is not reserved for a select few (the presbytery) but for all who believe. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” [Hebrews 8:10-11]