Personal Statement of Michael H. Voss, President, Voss Lighting

My present goal for Voss Lighting is to prayerfully grow in present locations. My future goals for Voss Lighting include careful expansion by new branches, divisions, or acquisitions, all solvently and spiritually. Since things always change, our business plan must be flexible and full of "faith." Proverbs 16:9: "The mind of man plans his ways, but the LORD directs his steps."

Since God has graciously blessed Voss Lighting through all the years with good growth, great people, and a Godly purpose, we must faithfully make sure our business stays solid financially and Biblically. We must faithfully care for our employees and their families. We must foster trustworthy "relationships" with our many valued customers and vendors.

And we must stay firmly focused on doing what Voss Lighting does best; "specializing" in the sales and distribution of the world’s best light bulbs and ballasts. Our primary purpose is to maintain our rare way of blending together a group of Christians who pull together loyally for the Lord in a common business and biblical cause: we "Sell To Tell." Thus I will fund the distribution of the tremendous Truths of God’s Word to the world, and help gifted men find further Bible training through solid Bible Churches. It is true, as we stay committed working together for our Mission and our Master, we’re successful.

Retirement Plans: Christians are to always be working "heartily for the Lord."
Reward Plan: By God’s grace, all Christians will get to spend eternity in Heaven’s glory.

Because Voss Electric was founded by God’s sovereign grace, built on a solid past, and anchored by many hard working Christian people presently, Voss Lighting now provides lighting products to thousands of "down the street" industrial and commercial businesses, political and government institutions, and a growing number of large National Accounts.

What distinguishes Voss Lighting, is that we "specialize" in excellently servicing our customers by stocking and shipping the best quality light bulbs and ballasts in the world, sold by lighting consultants calling directly on our customers – all "to the glory of God." I hope to continue this "core value" tradition, all to the glory of God. A verse in God’s Holy Word, the Bible, I Corinthians 10:31, explains this emphasis: "Whether, then, you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all the glory of God."

Reviewing such good growth by Voss Electric, a small American entrepreneurial lighting business that grew up, could prompt a wrongful pride. I believe we should have a proper pride, but guard ourselves from self-reliance, humbly reminding ourselves to be relying on God’s enabling grace.

Today, Voss Lighting has thirteen branch locations nationwide. Each branch facility has both a sales office and a 4,000 to 15,000 sq. foot warehouse full of premier lighting products. It is my sincere pledge to care for our existing customers as a stewardship responsibility for our Lord, the One who started Voss Electric in 1939, and blessed it all along the way.

As our Mission Statement reads, the mission of our company is to "SELL TO TELL," meaning we SELL lighting products well – so we can TELL God’s Gospel or Good News of His having lovingly provided for us as sinful mankind a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many believe, even in America, that businesses should not "mix business with the Bible." I believe that in our free country, we must do that, yet in a proper, professional, respectful way. So like most businesses I believe our Mission Statement describes our motivation for being in business, and why I want to share with everyone I can Who I ultimately work for, and why I try to work "heartily," knowing I sometimes fail to live up to the Biblical standard which is recorded in Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

By God’s grace Voss Lighting still provides our customers with many value-added products and services. With over 200 energetic employees, we currently ship our premier lighting products to 40,000 customers through our national distribution chain of 17 branches in 12 states, doing $50 million dollars in annual sales. However, I want you to know that our growth and success is not just because of our many lighting experts doing their very best for all our customers – big and small.

Another real reason is the inner motivation of our many Christian employees who, because of their Christian faith, are "ambitious," not only to please our many valued customers, but also to be "pleasing" to our Lord, as these three Bible verses instruct Christians even in business: II Corinthians 5:9: Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. I Thessalonians 4:11-12: "And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." Colossians 1:10: "… that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects."

In 50 A.D., the Apostle James wrote this to the early Church in James 4:13-15: "Come now, you who say, ’Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ’If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.’"

I believe Voss Lighting’s many Christians try to follow what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 10:31-33: "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved." I intend to focus on following a business plan for profitable growth – and – the Bible’s perfect plan, seen in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Jesus promised in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." The Bible says because God is gracious, loving, and holy, He must judge unbelievers. Jesus is coming again, at any moment, in the clouds, for His Church, or all Christians. (I Corinthians 15:51-58; John 14:3; I Thessalonians 4:13-18). Are you ready – today?

Where will you spend eternity? Jesus said in John 8:24: "unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins." II Corinthians 6:2: "now is THE ACCEPTABLE TIME, now is THE DAY OF SALVATION."

This is why I believe God began Voss Lighting through Henry Voss in 1939, and has chosen to bless us with growth – through many trials and tears and years – with way more sales than we ever hoped for or deserved! It’s all so we can ask three questions?

  1. When you do die, where will you spend eternity?
  2. Why?
  3. Would you like to know what the Bible says about how you can know for sure when you die, that your sins will all be forgiven – and you will spend eternity in Heaven?

If anyone wants to know what God says in His Holy Word about the only way to Heaven, I will gladly share that "one way" is by God’s grace alone – through personal saving faith alone – in Jesus Christ and His Cross-Work – alone. The Scripture records what our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, declared in John 14:6: "I AM the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through Me."

The question is often asked, "will Voss Lighting be able to survive or thrive in the future, in light of all the consolidations, international acquisitions, and mega retail marketeers trying to "do it all" – including selling light bulbs? We know the Lord determines that. We do not know the future, but we do know the One who does pre-determinately know. Thus from our perspective, since only "time will tell," we will continue to "Sell To Tell!"

These are the real reasons behind why a Nebraska based specialty lighting distributor called Voss Lighting has successfully grown over the past seventy years, and why we gladly give God all the glory for Voss Lighting’s business success and Biblical purpose.

A.M. Voss wrote this about having grown up in Nebraska, beginning in 1882: "I was trying to become a worthwhile individual in this wonderful, free country my father had brought us to with such great sacrifice."

So in light of these memories from the past of those who overcame many hardships to pave the way for Voss Lighting’s current employees, we must give a hearty, patriotic tribute to our beloved "America," where we freely get to engage in doing business. Coming to "America’s" freedom was the hope of Voss Lighting’s immigrant ancestors, and the fruit of that freedom, economic and religious, was flourishingly fulfilled.

What a history, and what a hallowed heritage! How can we not share such a story? I trust you now see why we willingly want to be good citizens of such a great country, as the Bible says in Romans 13:1: "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God."

I have shared this historical information about Voss Lighting’s pioneer forerunners who, though they were immigrants to America, helped build our great country as it grew – partly because in 1963, A.M. Voss, at the age of 87, wrote this at the end of his life story:

"Dear Children, Grand Children, and Great Grand Children: The writing of memoirs requires a good memory. My memory may be somewhat impaired. Hence, it is possible some errors may have been made. Kindly be lenient and try to correct them if any. May these memoirs be good enough to deserve handing down from generation to generation."

Ewald (Adolph) Wilhelm Max Voss

 

If any of the sentimental, storied history of Voss Lighting’s success sparks your interest, please understand it was all of God’s grace and mercy. For sure, if you knew Henry Voss or Voss Lighting’s Management Team, you’d know God did it all. Something common to each of us is our having had a solid Bible teaching Pastor in our local Church. Our jobs are very important to us, but the center of our family’s life is our local Church, where we learn God’s Word and serve our Savior.

So the theme of this historical overview is that our God is a Sovereign Savior, seen in His guiding and guarding us through all the years. That’s why my goal is to build a strong, Godly business for generations to come, should Christ tarry.

Are we "successful?" As businesses go, according to a worldly measure, somewhat. But the spiritual measure of a Christian’s life of successful ministry serving the Savior is 1) Faithfulness to Jesus Christ and His Word: 2) Did we make a difference for eternity?

I have explained our business perspective. Please let me explain our biblical perspective.

The Bible teaches salvation is a free gift from God, and cannot be earned by any "works" at all. Yet, true saving Christian "faith" includes a God-wrought willingness to turn from sin and surrender to the Lordship of Christ. That’s the message Jesus preached, and that’s the message His saved servants are to preach. The heart of the message is Christ’s death on the "cross" to pay sin’s penalty for us sinners. Thus for a sinner to be saved, they must understand the infinite cost Christ paid, and repentantly believe He died and rose again for them. That means a life of sin must go, and from then on, their life belongs to Him.

I do know the openness of my Christian faith and that of other Christian Voss Lighting employees is problematic to some, which is why we strive to be an excellent lighting distributor, for we must back up our profession of faith – with professional business practices. Voss Lighting’s Christian workers do not lightly call themselves "Christians." We sincerely want to be revealing by the way we do business that the character and conduct of our lives and lighting business are genuinely Christ-like. That is why hard work, great products, and consistent integrity must characterize us, so that people may listen when we humbly share that in the Bible, God has told us His Truth about our own sinfulness, and His loving provision of Jesus Christ to be our Savior.

Since I’ve used the words "saved, salvation, Savior" and "the Gospel," let me explain what they mean, for the Bible teaches that lost sinners must "believe the Gospel," to be "saved."

The Bible is a Christian’s ultimate spiritual authority. Scripture alone is able to spiritually transform and mold those who believe in Christ into the person God wants them to be. A saving knowledge of Jesus Christ comes only through His Word, as Romans 10:17 says: "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God." As a person studies the Scripture, they find everything they need to live a godly life is contained in the pages of God’s Word. The Apostle Peter wrote this in the Bible in II Peter 1:3: "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him."

The leadership of Voss Lighting believes that God’s precious written Word, the Bible, is "inspired ("God-breathed"), innerant, infallible," and "sufficient" for all matters of faith and conduct, as II Timothy 3:16-17 reveals: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." In Psalm 19:7, King David wrote: "The law of the LORD is perfect (complete, whole, sufficient), restoring the soul;" The Bible alone is God’s True Truth. Psalm 119:160 says: "The sum of Thy Word is truth." Jesus said this of believers in John 17:17: "Sanctify them in they truth; Thy word is truth."

The words "saved" or "salvation," refer to being spiritually "rescued" from sin’s penalty and ruling power when a sinner first repentantly believes in Jesus Christ as their "Savior," and ultimately will be "delivered" from sin’s presence, when spending eternity in Heaven.

Thus God’s "salvation" brings full forgiveness of our sins, and frees us from it’s guilt. Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

The Biblical words "the Gospel," refer to God’s "Good News" of salvation found in Christ. The Bible records the inspired content of God’s saving "Gospel" – or "Good News" – in I Corinthians 15:1-4: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and He was buried and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures;"

The Apostle Paul referred to the Truth of God’s saving "Gospel," when he recorded this tremendous truth in Romans 1:16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Part of that "Good News," is the "bad news" we are all equally Hell-deserving sinners, as Romans 3:23 declares: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God’s provision for a sinner’s salvation is seen in Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

So the Bible promises that there is a deserved judgment coming for all unbelievers with unforgiven sin, and, a perfect provision offered for the salvation of any unsaved sinner. The Bible records in Acts 17:30-31 what the Apostle Paul said while he was in Athens: "God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because he has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:28 that any spiritually lost sinner can appropriate Christ’s sacrificial provision for sin – personally – by God’s gracious gift of "faith" alone. Romans 3:28: "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."

The Apostle John wrote this about the Lord Jesus Christ in John 1:11-12: "He came unto His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as did receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." Paul wrote this in I Timothy 1:15: "It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." In Romans 3:10, Paul wrote of us all: "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE."

Yes, we are all sinners, and there is nothing any of us can do to make ourselves righteous before a Holy God, including doing "good works." God’s righteousness is attained, when we simply "believe" in Christ’s Person and Cross-Work, and He declares us "righteous" – as II Corinthians 5:21 reveals: "He (God the Father) made Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Acts 16:31 says: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved." To "believe in" Christ, means to totally "trust" in the Person of "the Lord Jesus" and His death on the Cross for the saving of our sinful soul. We must "rely" upon Him as the One who paid the penalty for our sin. Saving "belief" is a personal thing. We must "believe" He died … for "me."

First we must know the Gospel, and then "believe" it, by placing our "faith" in Christ’s work on the Cross, not in any way trusting in our own works. So personal faith in Christ, because of His death and resurrection, brings God’s salvation from sin to all who will personally, "by faith alone," believe Jesus Christ, the eternal, Divine, only begotten Son of God, died on the Cross to pay sin’s penalty for them – and arose to give all who believe "new life."

Today’s popular sports slogan says of famous, impassioned athletes, "we live for this!" Voss Lighting’s Christian employees should "live for this:" to be working heartily for our Lord and our customers and vendors, so that we can share the Gospel with credibility. When the testimony of God’s work of saving grace in our lives is so evident some notice a distinct difference in our lives and business, some may be prompted to ask us why that is, and place their own faith in Jesus Christ. No, Christians are no "better" than anyone else, we are just fully forgiven sinners who live now in eternal appreciation of God having saved us. Nothing a Christian does is really "secular," everything we do is a "sacred" work.

Paul instructs Christian employees and employers about how to spiritually view their jobs, in Ephesians 6:5-9: "5… be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7With good will render service as to the Lord, and not to men, 8knowing whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. 9And, masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him."

Thus I and many other Voss Lighting employees passionately want to share the "Good News" of God’s free gift of salvation from sin, offered to all who will personally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who promised in John 8:12: "I AM the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."

This is my historical overview of Voss Lighting, and the spiritual record of the path God sovereignly used to save the souls of Henry Voss in 1937; Mike Voss in 1960; A.M. Voss in 1964; John Carey in 1973; Bob Block in 1975; Rob Jensen in 1977; Bill Cooley in 1978; and Steve Sanderson in 1979. Why share this? Because it’s the same soul-saving, sin-forgiving, life-transforming Truth which, when believed by faith alone, can save you!

God’s salvation is inclusive or freely offered to all who will "believe" in Jesus. Romans 10:13: "WHOEVER CALLS UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." Salvation is not earned by being good or doing good works (baptism, communion, etc.)! Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works that no one should boast."

God’s salvation is exclusive, for the only Savior from sin is Christ, who said in John 14:6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through Me." Paul wrote in I Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." The Apostle John wrote in I John 5:10-12: "The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in Himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has born concerning His Son. And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life."

I enthusiastically like to sell specialty lighting products by showing their "energy savings," but I really love to tell everyone of the "evangelism savings" of God’s Gospel, and have dedicated my life and the resources God gives me to do so. For Christians, obedience to God and His Holy Word is the standard by which we live. The Bible instructs Christians to be giving "witness" to the saving power of Jesus Christ’s life-transforming Gospel, both visually and verbally. When Paul wrote to Christians, he did not discount the importance of Godly living, which manifests true conversion. And Paul made clear Godly living is always inseperably linked to having a good knowledge of true Bible doctrine. That is why I believe doctrine and duty go together. If we are truly born again, we’ll gladly be telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please consider these verses showing why I believe it’s my duty to "Sell To Tell." Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33: "Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in Heaven."

The Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 2:14-15: "Thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." II Corinthians 5:20-21: "We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

In Ephesians 6:19-20, Paul wrote about his own need of prayer to "speak boldly:" "Pray on my behalf, that utterance be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in proclaiming it I may may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Similarly, in Colossians 4:3-4 Paul wrote: "Praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ; in order that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak."

The Apostle Peter wrote concerning witnessing in I Peter 3:15: "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." That is the Biblical balance in Christian businessmen and women "witnessing."

Romans 6:4 says: "God saves us so we too might walk in newness of life." II Corinthians 5:17 says God’s salvation always produces transformed hearts and lives: "if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

There has been "new life" for the Voss’s in America, and there is spiritual "New Life" in Jesus Christ, alone. It’s my desire as an individual and as a businessman to conduct myself at all times as a Godly Christian and a good citizen of a wonderful and free country, America.

This information, and the information contained in the Timeline and Historical Highlights of Voss Lighting, come from recollections of 50 years spent with my father, two papers by Henry’s grandson, Mark Voss, based on interviewing Henry; and the life story of Adolph Voss, "The Lone Sower: My Life Story," published in the Buffalo County Historical Society’s "Buffalo Tales," Oct/Nov/Dec, 1981.

As I write this, I sit by my father’s old desk which still has on it his 1940’s Bible; order pads with handwritten orders for light bulbs from the 1950’s; Christian tracts he used to hand out; an old Royal typewriter and Monroe hand-cranked adding machine; wooden radio; pictures of his mother, father, brothers, sisters, wife, kids, army buddies, missionaries he supported, and friends from Church. Is it any wonder my own work area looks so similarly ancient? I only hope my life at work and elsewhere is making an eternal difference, like Henry Voss’s did.

Henry Voss, because God graciously saved him in 1936 when he by "faith alone" trusted solely in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial and substitutionary death to pay the penalty for sin and supernatural resurrection, is in heaven today. It is my prayer that many will read this history, will heed it’s Scripture verses, and, by God’s grace, savingly believe in Henry’s Lord and Savior also, as God promises to save everyone who believes in His Son. Jesus declared in John 6:40: "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."

Isn’t it wonderful that all truly born-again Christians can joyfully sing songs like Augustus M. Toplady’s "Rock of Ages," which was written way back in 1776. Verse 3 – based on Exodus 33:22: "I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand" – victoriously rings out; "While I draw this fleeting breath, When my eyes shall close in death, When I rise to worlds unknown, And behold Thee on Thy throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee."

God’s promise of salvation producing fully forgiven souls and transformed lives, is seen in Charles Wesley’s 1739 hymn, O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing: "He breaks the power of cancelled sin; He sets the prisoner free. His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me." (Verse 4)

In closing, it’s obvious I loved my father and grandfather; I love the heritage and history handed down to us; and I desire that these values which undergird Voss Lighting be instilled not only into tomorrow’s Voss Lighting employees, but also shared with our customers and vendors, who know we provide the proper product and price, with personal, professional, and courteous service, all to God’s glory.

Yes, "honesty" and "hard work" were Henry Voss’s watchwords. As I’ve learned through the years, since Voss Lighting’s customers and vendors can trust us, our business relationships and light bulb and ballast sales are being strengthened.

May we be faithful in the future like our Christian forefathers were in the past. And may we be found faithful like the Godly man Joshua in the Old Testament, who said in Joshua 24:15: "… as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Indeed, the Christians who work at Voss Lighting know all we are "in Christ" – and all that we have – depends on God Almighty’s graciousness and faithfulness.

In this website we are trying to humbly share the history behind why our lighting business can provide our many customers with great products, price, and service. We continue to try to get even better as a specialty lighting business, so we can earn more new lighting customers. Thank you for your interest in Voss Lighting.

God bless,
Michael H. Voss
September 2006

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