Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ya Gotta Have A Team

Everybody Needs A Lift

Well, the World Series is in full swing as I write this.  San Francisco  and Detroit are going at it.  Detroit was the favorite to win, but someone forgot to get the memo to the Giants.  Detroit has more “stars,” but San Francisco has been making all the right decisions and big plays.  I must admit that I wasn’t sure the Tigers would beat the Yankees and I was confident that the Giants wouldn’t beat the Cards.  Good thing I am not a betting man!  Here’s something I do know… Continue reading

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Experience Is Priceless

Experience Really Is The Best Teacher

I’m not sure who first said, “Experience is the greatest teacher,” but I know it to be one of the truest statements ever made.  Someone even took it to a higher level by stating, “Experience is the ONLY teacher.”  Problem solving is an integral part of all our careers, and personal lives.  Experience often makes us more confident in our decisions because our understanding of the situation is not brand new.

Researchers have found that infants who had an opportunity to use a plastic cane to get an out-of-reach toy were better able to understand the goal of another person’s use of a similar tool than were infants who had previously only watched an adult use a cane to retrieve a toy.

According to assistant professor of psychology and lead author of a study published in a 2008 issue of the journal Developmental Psychology, “Acting on the world is one way infants learn about the world, and only recently have there been studies showing that active, hands-on experience is a more effective way of learning than watching. This study indicates that there is a benefit to actual hands-on experience early in human development.” (Science Daily, October 9, 2008)

Executives who rise to the C-suite exude confidence.  CEOs and Chairmen are usually in their positions because of consistency in making good decisions.  In interviewing hundreds of them over the years, the one constant among them is that the confidence in their decision-making improved with age and experience.

Experience Produces An Excellent Spirit

One man, in particular, told the story of his growth.  He achieved success (financially) early in his career and seemed to have a Midas-touch.  Everything he did came easy and in his words he, “didn’t know the difference between confident and cocky.”  He had faced no hard decisions or failures according to his account.  Then things changed.  His industry had a cyclical downturn; something he had not experienced, nor had he planned for.  His fortune was lost and he was no longer regarded as he had been previously.

One thing he possessed was a strong faith in God.  He was shaken by his losses, but his faith in God and in his skills remained strong.  He began again.  He took an entry-level position in a company that would use his skills.  It was humbling, but it was a successful step.  Today, he owns the company.

As we talked, he made it clear that his stability and confidence came from his faith.  He had confidence in his skill set as it had clearly worked for him before.  He simply needed the opportunity to put those skills to use once more and he did not consider himself above taking a humble position.  My friend had an excellent spirit.

The Bible declares that Daniel had an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, a keen mind, and the ability to solve difficult problems (Daniel 5:12-13).  When called before Belshazzar to interpret a dream (a task none of his contemporaries could accomplish), he acted and spoke with absolute confidence.  His confidence was born out of his experience before Nebuchadnezzar and also his continued walk with the Almighty God.

My friend’s experience and Daniel’s experience are similar.  When my friend was given opportunity in a new situation, he performed with confidence.  Just as Daniel knew God and his employer, so did my friend.  And so can you.

Trust God…and Your Experience

Know, today, that those same resources are available to you.  Your experience has fit you for the “battle” of today and the same Almighty God can be trusted, not only with your eternal future, but with the hassles of the moment.  Daniel trusted God to assist him in solving difficult problems; God will assist you too!  You are up to the task in Him!  Know it!  Understand it!  It will create an excellent spirit in you.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (II Peter 1:3-8 NIV)

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Hope Is Not Enough

Spiritual Truth

 As you are probably aware, I have been very active in the political process for the past couple of years.  It was in a secular discussion this past week that a spiritual truth was, again, made clear.

I was speaking with an individual about the upcoming election and in the course of our conversation she said that she, “sure hoped” things would come out the way she wanted.  I asked her what she was doing to ensure that result and she looked at me with a blank stare that made clear she was totally lost.  Her response confirmed her look, “What do you mean what am I doing?,” she asked.

I responded by asking the first and most obvious question, “Are you registered to vote?”

When she told me she didn’t know whether she was registered to vote, I knew she was not.  I explained to her that unless she was registered, she would not even be allowed to cast a ballot in November.  She asked me where to go and what to do to be sure she was registered.  I told her and drew her a map.

Religion is NOT Relationship

 I must admit that I walked away from our conversation shaking my head.  What is so simple is so foreign and difficult to so many.  But so it is with eternal life.  When it comes to heaven, they “sure hope” they get there, but they have done nothing to assure that outcome.

Trusting Christ for salvation is so simple and easy, but it is so foreign and so difficult to so many.  Unfortunately, religion, and simple faith have become intertwined over the years.  The simplicity of trusting the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross for my forgiveness often gets lost in the rhetoric and the rituals of religion.

It is “hoping” they do everything right that leaves people wondering about their eternity.  Frankly, I am certain beyond any doubt, that if my eternity depended upon my “doing it right,” I would never see the Pearly Gates.  Religion has killed the hope of millions, but relationship, simple faith, always brings life.

Now, “faith” is a verb and the only activity in which I am required to be involved is “faithing.”  I must actively, intentionally, and completely faith Jesus Christ, simply hoping is not enough.

Preparation Required

 I have been involved in retirement and estate planning at one level or another since the middle 70s.  One concept I tried to communicate to my clients was that of urgency.  The future seems so far away, particularly when young.  But, without planning, the future arrives and it is not a welcome event.

Jesus told the parable of the 10 bridesmaids in Matthew 25.  The point of His parable was that bliss was something for which preparation was easy, but essential.  When the 5 bridesmaids were shut out of the feast, it was final.  There was no grace available at that point.

My friend, you too, must prepare for your eternity.  It is not sufficient to simply “hope” you’ll be OK, or that God will stretch His law just for you.  Begin your eternity plan right now.  Faith Jesus Christ, today, right now, and your eternity is secure.  Hope is not enough.

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Does Anybody Care What The Bible Says Anymore?

Faith is Openly Challenged

Last month, Hobby Lobby filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s contraceptive/abortion mandate portion of the Affordable Healthcare Act.  Hobby Lobby is the largest business, to date, to file suit, having 500 stores in 41 states.  There are some 3 dozen lawsuits against the mandate that are pending.

You might remember that Hercules Industries, a Colorado business owned by devout Roman Catholics, won a temporary injunction preventing implementation of the mandate.  Note, the ruling is being appealed by the administration.

However, a Federal court in Missouri threw out a similar lawsuit filed by O’Brien Industrial Holdings, LLC saying that the mandate to provide “indirect financial support of a practice” to which O’Brien had objected on the basis of the violation of his religious rights was not “a substantial burden” on him or his company.

Hobby Lobby founder and CEO, David Green, says that Hobby Lobby’s insurance plans do cover contraception that is preventative in nature, but that the “abortion-causing drugs go against our faith, and our family is now being forced to choose between following the laws of the land that we love or maintaining the religious beliefs that have made our business successful…We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate…our faith is being challenged by the federal government.”

Legislating Our Morality

Liberals, the irreligious, and those who want nothing to do with God or anything absolute are quick to use the phrase, “you can’t legislate morality” when they feel their rights are being violated.  We, who do believe in moral absolutes, are told that we are not to “jam our belief system down their throats.”  I have not heard one liberal, the ACLU, or any other leftist stand up and scream about the violation of the rights of millions of Americans who hold the traditional values that made this nation great.

Social engineering (manipulating a population to accomplish cultural change) is the absolute goal of godless liberal politics.  To illustrate, if a conservative doesn’t believe in owning a gun, he won’t buy one, but believes that everyone ought to have the right to make that choice.  A liberal, on the other hand, needs to engineer society so that no one has the right to purchase or own guns in order to validate his own position.  This administration is as intent on and engaged in social engineering as any in American history and it will violate our rights as Christians to accomplish its end.

In order to manipulate a population, the “foreign” (that which is radically different) must be made to feel familiar.  The cultural change being sought by the godless liberal left through Obamacare and its mandate, concerns the sanctity of life.  American society had assumed, until the past 60 years in American life, that life was sacred and that it began at conception.  The baby (not the “blob of cells”) had a right to life.  The population had to be manipulated to make holding that position become uncomfortable so that the “foreign” position could be made to feel familiar.

Where Was The Church?

In the 1950s, the absolutes of the Bible and public prayer were removed from public schools.  The blame can only be laid at the feet of the church which was silent and allowed people to be put in positions to make such decisions.

One can assert that a slippery slope was created which led to changing abortion policies in the 1960s, which led to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.  The women’s movement, women’s rights, civil rights, and environmental rights groups all formed during that era.  Moral relativism became a mainstream teaching of philosophy rather that the radical fringe it had occupied previously.  Again, the church was largely silent and those that did speak out were branded as radicals in order to marginalize their message.

Accepting relativism as “normal” and “absolutism” as radical has been a resounding success of liberal social engineers.  Making the “foreign” feel familiar was absolutely essential if the culture was to be changed and they have done it well.  A neutered church has stood silently and allowed core beliefs and values to be eradicated in the social marketplace.  This President even had the courage to proclaim that we are now a “post-Christian” nation.

One should not be surprised by the mandates and the legislation put forth by the social engineers of our day.  Their worldview does not include your individual rights or beliefs.  The only way for the agenda they espouse to be realized is to muzzle the church and every Christian.  Don’t expect things to be “like they used to be,” they will not.  The paradigm has changed and we have allowed it to happen.

A recent Gallup poll indicated that 9% of registered voters say they will only support pro-life candidates while only 7% say they will back only pro-choice candidates.  The 2% margin is sufficient to make the difference in any election.  The 2% margin comes, primarily, from those who consider themselves Christians.  How then, can those same Christians vote for the very people who advance the agenda with which they specifically disagree?

Hobby Lobby and the others who have sued are challenging the social engineering being promulgated by a “post-Christian” administration.  It is time the Church of Jesus Christ began to stand publicly for the things we say we stand for privately.  It’s time the clergy started teaching the absolute truths of God’s Word.

The Bible is replete with examples of God’s involvement in politics.  He has mandated His people be involved.  It is past time that the cowards who man pulpits and will not teach/preach on the absolutes of morality, lying, cheating, stealing, murder, and leadership because it may be offensive be removed.  God did not call the Church and its pastors to be politically correct, he called us to be the nation’s conscience.

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WE, THE PEOPLE

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

We, the People!  Note where the burden of responsibility was and still is placed, it is on We, the People.  We, the People will decide on an historical course for our nation in the next few weeks.  Many are fasting and praying for the decisions that will be made.  It is appropriate that we do. 

I have been involved, for the past couple of years, with an organization called The Proud Americans.  It is a politically conservative organization that proclaims the traditional values of God, Family, and Country that made this nation great.  I have been blessed and honored to speak, not only at church events, but all manner of events, including state-wide political events.  I have learned something very frightening during my travels.

Only about half of the people who call themselves Christians in this country, are registered to vote.  That means about 30 million of the 60 million or so “named” Christians are on the sidelines when it comes to electing people that represent the Christian view of marriage, life, and freedom.  That, to me, is an appalling statistic.  We, the People, doesn’t include half the Church?  Surely not!????

I have become weary of hearing pastors (who are educated to know better) proclaim that the Church has no right to speak to political issues.  Tell that to Nathan, Isaiah, Peter, and Jesus Himself.  I hear much noise from them and others, that our Constitution separated Church and State.  No it did not.  What is guaranteed is that we will never have a State Church (such as the Anglican).  The Constitution and the men that wrote it never intended that Christians stand down and never bring their world-view to the debate.  We, the People includes, actually expects, Christians to lead the way and be the conscience of our government.

As I speak in various churches, I encourage people to vote every time they have the opportunity.  Christians must participate.  I have never, would never, and don’t encourage anyone to vote based on party, personality, race, denomination, or “likability.”  I will encourage a vote, and will personally vote for people who share my Christian world-view and will work to advance it.  I will also do everything in my power to defeat candidates who do not.  We, the People bear the responsibility of electing worthy officials.

What a candidate believes about the definition of marriage matters to me.  What a candidate believes about when life begins matters to me.  What a candidate believes about freedom of speech and what defines “hate speech” is critical to me.  And those things are fundamental to We, the People.

The sanctity of life and marriage being between one man and one woman are not societal inconveniences, they are Biblical standards, truths.  Any politician who would “change” the truth of the Bible does not belong in a position of authority.  We, the People won’t allow it happen if we are true to our responsibilities.

But what do We, the People do when neither candidate “feels” right?  What do We, the People do when it seems that there is much to dislike about both candidates?  What do We, the People do when one candidate supports one issue appropriately and the other candidate supports another issue appropriately?  There are two things We, the People must do.

First, be informed.  One cannot even pray if not informed on the issues.  If you vote a straight party ticket – either party – shame on you, and don’t complain about anything because you have not voted from an informed basis.  There are scalawags in both parties (and some independents as well) who do not deserve your vote as a believer.  Don’t vote for them!  You must read, listen, watch, talk, discuss, debate, and learn about which candidate will uphold the values we hold dear.  Whether on a national level or local level, it matters not.  We, the People must know for whom we vote.

Second, and critical for We, the People, PRAY.  Seek God’s direction and wisdom as you vote.  He has promised that when we lack wisdom and pray, He will provide it to us.  But when you pray, make time to listen.  Talking “at” God is not prayer.  Ask, seek, and be still.  He will speak to your spirit in that “still small voice.”

It is, “We the people”, that put men and women into office.  It is “We the people” that have the power to replace them if their service has been unacceptable to “We the people.”

“We the people” means the family, the neighborhood, the local community, the Township, the County, the State, the Nation, and, most importantly, The Church.  When “We the People” humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways, then He has promised to hear our prayers and change our circumstances (Miller’s paraphrase of II Chronicles 7:14).

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