Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Politics August 31

August 31 2009 Monday Politics

Just as a comment on both church politics and non-church politics: When someone raises a criticism of your position, past behavior, or apparent future direction, answer the actual problem. If you want to also add in that it's not really something that you think is a fair criticism, that's fine. But don't just say it's not a fair criticism and if that's the way you and your ideas will be evaluated you'll just leave, that doesn't really buy any credibility. And counter the criticism with facts and definite statements. Don't give us the “You can't really believe I__________.” Actually, yes we do believe it, that's why the question is being asked. Answer the question.

On that note, the House and Senate should soon be headed back inside the Beltway, back to the insulated cocoon of Washington D.C. It's been nice to have them out here mingling with the masses, but I think they're longing to escape the public and go make decisions for us again. Don't let them escape your opinion. They are there to represent you and your fellow citizens, with an oath to the US Constitution. Let's make sure that our elected representation understands that if they make decisions that don't represent us, they will not be our elected representation at the first legal opportunity.

Monday Morning Politics on the Doug Blog wishes to extend condolences to the Kennedy family in the death of Senator Kennedy. For the record, at this point his record doesn't count. The Lamb's Book (Revelation 21:27) is the only one that counts. He now knows what others are only guessing at. Let it be a reminder to us all that no amount of wealth, power, or fame can stave off that appointed day. Are you ready?

A final thought based on history: the United States of America was formed in the fires of a war. Not everything that our Founding Fathers did was right, but much was. They foresaw the need for a government that could be strong when necessary, but was limited in its scope. They foresaw that times would change, that additional groups of people would be allowed the rights endowed them by their Creator. The post-Revolutionary War era wasn't the greatest economy. People lacked necessities like food and shelter. People lacked access to health care. Our country survived and grew because our government system was constructed on the idea of the government not doing what people can and should. Since then, we've come to a better understanding of our responsibility to care for the poor and downtrodden, but we cannot become a government that attempts to provide all things for all people. We've survived 200+ years not doing so. Let's not start now.

Should we eliminate government assistance? No. But we need to structure it in ways that prevent corruption and theft, and that build pathways to self-reliance. It's been amazing to hear how we're going to pay for health-care reform by all the money we'll save eliminating Medicare and Medicaid fraud. If we really have billions of dollars lost to fraud, we need to stop the fraud. Period. It's no wonder the Medicare system is estimated to go bankrupt in the next 10 years. Likewise, we should not be seeing people have children on Medicaid then see their grand-children born on Medicaid. I'm all for making sure we have healthy babies, but somewhere in there a family should have been able to take responsibility for themselves. Everyone in America is not only provided a free education, but it's the law for you to get it. Why do we have these cycles if education is the answer?

My point is this: we, as a country, have some issues. We have needy people that we've never really helped in a way that helps. We have government and business structures that enable a cycle of dependence and discourage independence. The solution is not to pass laws that entrench dependence, but to actually look at what works to break it. Provide the help that is needed. Not that is wanted, not that makes us feel good. But what people really need.

August 31 Daily Journal

August 31, 2009 Daily Journal

Proverbs 31:1 →Don't ignore your mother. She has many good things to teach you.

Proverbs 31:5 →It's the responsibility of rulers to remember the weight of their duties and the laws they are charged with upholding. This only is a justification for term limits. It's for the health of rulers, lest they stress out. Additional application thought: church leaders? Do you think it's appropriate to try and “forget” the worries of church leadership for a little while? I'm not downing taking some vacation time, but while you are away, or on your day off, are you really entitled to completely forget your responsibilities? NOTE: I read this week about a church whose pastor, who had been serving as a Guard/Reserve Chaplain, was called to Active Duty and deployed to Iraq. Church members tried to get him to continue dealing with the minutiae of church life in the states. That's beyond wrong. He wasn't on vacation, and he was surely still burdened for his church at home, but he was fulfilling other duties. As with all Biblical principles, use the wisdom God gives you, and don't be a knucklehead.

Proverbs 31:8-9 →These verses speak to seeking justice for those who are completely unable to seek it for themselves. This isn't about speaking on behalf of Michael Vick or Bernie Madoff. They have the means to speak for themselves. This is about speaking on behalf of the unborn, the widow, the orphan, the truly oppressed. We ought to do more of it. Here's a start: check out Voice of the Martyrs and the work they do on behalf of oppressed Christians. Or International Christian Concern . Get involved with a crisis pregnancy center or a children's home . Do something.

Proverbs 31:27 →Ok, you have the whole Proverbs 31:10-31 passage about a capable woman, and about her traits and behaviors. I want to isolate this verse: Proverbs 31:27. This doesn't say she never rests, never takes a break. The literal is that she does not “eat the bread of idleness.” Basically, she is not content to have things given to her that she doesn't earn. She doesn't spend all of her time idle and wasting it away. I've heard this verse used to justify women working 60-hour weeks away from home, to justify women being expected to never sit down and rest. That's not what it says! Ladies, rest is acceptable. Idleness, a life spent focused on luxury, is not. Whether you are working for pay or not, be sure you are not being idle when you should be expanding the Kingdom of God. Men, don't neglect Proverbs 31:28-29: bless her, praise her. Build up your wife.

Devotional Reading: Exodus 3:1-15 → God is defined by Himself. What that means for us is that we should seek out what He has said, and trust it, rather than applying our standards to God.

Sunday School this week, from Lifeway's Explore The Bible curriculum (which, back in the olden days, was the Baptist Sunday School Board's Bible Book Series, I think. Goes to demonstrate that content is more crucial than title.) Psalm 19:1-14. Today: Psalm 19:1-6 → I think we're doing an injustice to the concept of “God's Glory” by associating “glory” with “weightiness.” While the archaic Hebrew words are related, the modern English words are not. The concept is that the Glory of God is the impact on the universe around Him, it's what is felt by mankind. It's not that God is in need of a diet. The other impact in these verses is that God is evident in creation, whether we see Him there or not. Have you ever considered that a marvelous creation is there to drive us to study the Creator, not the creation? Any science that does not have as its long-term goal the praising of God is going to come up short.

2 Peter 1:2 →Have you ever wanted to just have grace and peace, and for your preacher to leave you alone about learning? Ever thought that what the church needs is less theology and more grace and peace? We put a division in a place where God puts a connection. The more we grow in our knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord and of God, the more we receive and show grace and peace. And remember, in Scripture, “know” isn't just an informational awareness. It's a behavioral adjustment.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Reviews

Many of you, dear readers, know that I do book reviews for a few different publishers. In exchange, one of the things I get are free books.

Well, one of those companies is WaterBrook, an imprint of Random House. Somehow, though, I managed to accidentally accept a book tour invite from them that I had no interest in. What books would I have no interest in? Ladies-oriented Christian Fiction. Now, I don't have anything against the genre, but it's just not me, you know? However, the way these programs work is this: you get the books, you do the reviews. Got it? Good. So, I have dutifully read as much as I could of these books, and here's my take on them:

Book 1: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y'Barbo. What did I think of this one? Well, it's everything I've come to expect of most Christian fiction: there is no foul language, no illicit sex, and most everyone at least pretends to care what God thinks. Eugenia has a life planned out by her father, but this novel features her learning that life doesn't always go as planned. She also learns that sometimes having your fantasies come true comes with a cost. Is it perfect? No. Is this a storyline that will make a blockbuster movie? No. A Hallmark channel film? Yes. So, if you need a quick escape, this one's not a bad read. It also doesn't over-extend the expectation of men in romance. Guys know what I mean with that comment. Sometimes these romance stories create an impossible goal for men to keep, but I don't see that here. Well, except being a rich silver baron, but, well...

Here's what the cover looks like:

Book #2: The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo

Ok, this one was hard to plod through for me, mainly because there seemed to be a lot of dialogue that was just useless chatter. However, that may be normal for a book about women getting together to talk about love and novels. In fact, it's probably normal for that situation in real life. The book does a good job portraying people across various places in life, so that women in many situations could, hopefully, find themselves in it. There were a few things I didn't care for, especially with the pastor's interaction with his wife. Those exchanges reinforce the idea that the faith of a church member is entirely their own business and not at all the church's. Biblically, that's an unsound idea. Definitely so of church leadership. While I've seen many churches slide too far into meddling and demanding things of the pastor's family that are unattainable, it's not a cut and dried line between the two extremes. The other difficulty I had was the undercurrent of faith in the book. It's a deep undercurrent, barely perceivable. The friends are very open in their reliance on each other, which is often how God meets our needs for guidance and help, but there's not much mention or sense that God is the one behind it all. Again, there's no illicit sex or bad language, which I think has become the defining criteria for a Christian novel, but I'd like to see it go deeper and be something that reflects God at work. Mind you, I'm glad to have the no sex or profanity, but I think we might be capable of more. That's not just a critique of this book, though. That's a general issue with Christian artwork in multiple genres.

Here's the cover, hopefully hyperlinked to the Amazon page:

The 3rd Novel was entitled Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner. This book was far more enticing than the other two. There was a good amount of plot development, although I had trouble sometimes keeping the timeline straight. This is a problem I have with books with flashbacks in general, though, and shouldn't take too much away from the work. The characters are dealing with real pain, and even looking back there are some difficult issues to be addressed. There is still no overt profanity or sexual activity in the book, but the plot explains that some of the characters have less than perfect behavior and you see the comment "He cursed" or "he swore" without giving you the exact words. If you only pick up 1 of these 3, I'd get Rose House. Of course, all 3 are available from Amazon and are in the 4-for-3 promotion, so you can buy these 3 and pick up a free book. Anyway, Rose House wasn't quite neat, clean escapist fiction, but that's a good thing. Here's the cover so you know what to buy:

One other quick note: All three of these books are available on Amazon Kindle, just like this blog! So get yourself a Kindle, get Rose House and the others, and maybe subscribe to a blog or two to your own personal e-reader.

If you're around Monticello or somewhere I'll be, let me know, I'll be glad to pass on my copies of these books. Just drop it in the comments, and I'll keep you in mind.

Disclaimer: I got all three of these books free from WaterBrook/Multnomah. As you can tell, I didn't sugarcoat anything to get them free.

One last thing: Author Bios! The wonderful folks at Waterbrook want you to know about the authors, so here you go:

Author Bios:

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma, she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming, where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.

Friday Business--August 28

Friday Business Guru: August 28, 2009

The Golden Rule-- 12  "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matt 7:12 (NASB)

Now, as a Christian, I claim that all my life has to follow what Jesus has taught. This would apply even to business related decisions. And, if you are a Christian in business, guess what? Yours should too.

Most people I know that claim to be believers do try to live by this verse, but there is sometimes a failure to really think it through. So, I'd like to hit on applying the Golden Rule in business decisions and behavior.

First of all, I do firmly believe that your business behavior is an extension of your character. As a Christian, you cannot separate how you act at work towards your employees or employer, co-workers or customers, from your Christian life. You aren't two separate people. That being said, there are some differences you do need to realize:

  1. These are business relationships. In most cases you are not building relationships based on mutual faith or interests. You're building relationships based on getting the things you need or want. Both parties are in this situation. I don't go to a car dealer to make friends. I go to buy a car. The salesman isn't trying to be my friend, he's trying to sell me a car. It's a successful relationship if I get the car I want and he gets the sale he wants. If we end up golf buddies but don't transact the business, then it's not a business relationship anymore, and that's not what we were looking for. Now, sometimes you get something you're not looking for, like a friendship where you went for business. That's the exception, not the rule.

  2. These are not life-long relationships. You have these interactions for a season, and then you move on. I don't long for the co-workers I left behind at UPS, though I miss the few that became friends. Out of several hundred, I miss about 5.

  3. Business relationships have an added set of rules. Namely, the rules related to the business involved. For example, a teacher has a set of rules for how they relate to their students and have a requirement: that they teach! You aren't standing in front of a classroom of friends, but of students. Typically you can see this in the fact that these relationships have labels: teacher-student; lawyer-client; salesman-customer; doctor-patient; pastor-congregant; boss-employee; coach-player. You get the idea. If you have a relationship defined by a title, then it has guidelines.

So, how does the Golden Rule apply in these situations? Well, I think we have a tendency to only apply it in a shallow fashion. For example, we start to think “I want everyone to be nice to me, so I have to be nice to everyone.” Is that really true, though? You wouldn't want to hear bad news, so you won't give it? What happens if you're a doctor? I think we need to work on a deeper application of the Golden Rule in relationships. Try to list 3 things you want from business relationships. Here are 3 from me:

  1. Honesty: I want anyone with whom I am doing business to be honest with me. I want my church congregation to be honest with me. Not that I dislike nice, but honest is just much more helpful. As an extension, there's openness: don't hold back information that you know I need or that I'm supposed to have to be able to honor my side of the relationship.

  2. Promptness: this may be my pet-peeve, but be prompt. If you know today something I need to know today, then don't wait until tomorrow to tell me. Likewise, be aware of the fact that you and I both have other things to deal with, so do what you said when you said you'd do it, and I'll do the same. The clock/calendar is not our master, but it is an impartial referee between us.

  3. Clarity: This one is important as well. I don't do well with indirect or elliptical statements. Come to your point. Don't tell me that “well, it might be better if you were more relationally minded” when what you mean is “You hurt my feelings because you didn't send me a birthday card.” Likewise, I don't need to express to an employee or co-worker that “They need to do better about realizing the world doesn't revolve around them” if I don't follow up with something more concrete. Like “Look at your watch/cell phone/the clock on the wall and start and finish on-time.”


Now, am I at the top of my game on these 3? Not quite. I struggle with being honest when it's going to hurt your feelings. Really, no one wants to tell you what you have on looks bad. But it does. Promptness requires me to do better knowing who needs to know what, and that takes time and effort. And clarity is something I'm working on, because I want you to figure it out yourself, but I need you to know now, so I need to be a little clearer.

What can you do about it? Well, if you are responsible for people, here are 3 steps:

  1. Make a list for yourself of the things you need to work on. Don't broadcast it to everyone, but to a trusted group that can help you with it.

  2. Develop clear communication with the people you are responsible for. Clearly communicate to them your expectations and their roles. Do this by finding measurable standards that they are developing the non-measurable traits you are after. For example:

    1. Do you have an employee that seems to disrespect other people's time? Give them a measurable goal of being places on time and scheduling.

    2. Do you have a person that needs to develop their relational skills? Give them something objective to do, like send notes/cards and see if they do it. Then work with them to get there.

    It takes time, especially if you are re-orienting an organization. As a subset of this, develop a fairly fixed time to communicate. We all bad-mouth meetings from time-to-time, but they are a necessity.

  3. Hold yourself to your list, and your people to their list. Analyze why you are not living up to your list, and make plans to get there. Analyze why your people aren't hitting their goals, and try to help them get there as well.

Remember that your goal is to think about how you really want to be treated as a person, and to treat your business relationships the same way. My goal is more honesty, promptness, and clarity. What are your three?


August 28 2009 Daily Journal

August 28, 2009 – Daily Journal

Proverbs 28:1 →There's nothing here to say the righteous always stay put and get over run. Just that they are bold. There's a difference between an orderly withdrawal and a rout. See also Proverbs 27:12

Proverbs 28:5 →Evil men. This is why the behavior and attitude of people is as important as anything else when selecting leaders. This is why your affair is relevant, Governor. This is why your drinking problem is relevant, Senator. These things matter, because one who has evil habits does not comprehend justice. It's not true that one can properly discern justice during working hours without living it the rest of the time.

Proverbs 28:9 →There is no sense in praying if you are ignoring God's Word.

1 Peter 5:10 →Suffering is only for a little while, then God will perfect us, scraping away the rest of the worldliness that the suffering didn't remove.

James 5:1-3 →I'm not sure why we jump to the conclusion that the rich James addresses here aren't believers. It's generally understood that the epistles, except perhaps Hebrews, are written to either churches or groups of believers. James addressed the letter to the 12 Tribes that were dispersed, and reading through it you see an assumption of faith in Christ, so he's apparently writing to what he considers the 12 tribes dispersed, Christians. Probably, given the early date of James, most of these Christians were assumed to be of a Jewish background. Early church leaders don't seem to have written mixed letters addressing both the world and the church, but recognized the difference between the two. There's some question whether or not they may have written to the outside world, but those are not the letters found in Scripture. (Except, probably, Hebrews, written to persuade Jews to follow Christ)

So why do we jump to this conclusion? I'm convinced we don't want to accept that “rich” Christians would have behaved the way James is condemning. Surely they would have known better! Well, a few thoughts on that: 1) They would have been new to the faith. Estimates put James' letter in the first decade after the church is established. First decade! At that point, you've got a lot of people coming to Christ that have no idea what it is to follow Him. So, James is writing correction and rebuke. 2) If they're baby Christians, why the harshness? My opinion? Consider our own ways. We have a tendency to try and hold on to the things of this world that seem good and helpful for us. Really we do. James is trying to thoroughly establish the division between worldly behavior and Christian behavior. That you cannot keep acting like you did before your conversion. And that, just because you did it to get rich doesn't make it right.

I see in this part of the danger of study Bibles. You read one study note that passes this off of Christians and onto the world, and you never read it the same way again. And the study Bible I'm looking at uses a generic “Bible scholars generally agree.” Who and what? Bible scholars? General agreement? Without better explanation, this is an appeal to an authority no one knows. And what's a general agreement? 51%? When a study note seems to contradict the plain understanding of the text, you need better explanations than that.

Acts 3:1-10 is the Sunday morning sermon text. I'll not give you any more thoughts on it until Sunday. You'll just have to come and hear me preach. For my few faithful readers that aren't around here, I'm still working on podcasts, so that you can nap at your leisure...

Recommendations for the day? Read Emil Turner's Blog. That's always time well spent on Friday. Then look ahead at your weekend and make sure your plans including being mentally and physically present with God's people to hear the word and strengthen and encourage each other.

Oh, one last thing. I'm trying to find ways to complete a fully-accredited Master of Divinity. I'm looking for good academics, something I can actually complete (there are a lot of schools that offer partial distance, and you have to finish through short-terms on campus. That's fine, if the campus is close enough distance), and something reasonably affordable. So, any suggestions? Thanks.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday Sports August 27

Thursday Sports! August 27 2009

Well, baseball is winding towards its conclusion, with playoff races firming up and some teams going ahead and letting players get the season-ending surgeries they've been putting off (Santana of the Mets is an example). Meanwhile, football is working through its 4 pointless pre-season games, and college football cranks up, I believe, this weekend!

So, here are some sports picks for you:

Baseball: Detroit will win the AL Central, go on to the World Series, and then the economy of Michigan will recover because of all the long-shot bets placed on the Tigers at the beginning of the season. Tax revenues from W-2G income will balance the state budget.


NFL: There are 32 NFL Teams. That means that, currently, 32 men have jobs as NFL head coaches. By October 1, at least one of those men will be out of a job. No team will even consider hiring a woman for that role, but nobody will mention that.

Team specifics: Eagles: as soon as McNabb has a bad day, the fans will scream to put Vick in as starting QB. Vick will return to his ways at Atlanta, and get hurt, resulting in another team going into “Well, if only (insert star player name here) hadn't been injured” mode.

Cowboys: Visiting teams will deliberately bounce punts off the scoreboard hanging over the field. Some will set-up ways to play this to their advantage. Eventually, a QB will attempt to use it as a deflection shot. Then, somebody will manage to hit it just right to wedge the ball into the scoreboard. Since it's in play, the ball stays live, and it'll take up the rest of the game clock to get it down. And Jerry Jones will fire a coach.

Titans: Decent season, probably not resulting in a Superbowl win, which will lead to questions about Jeff Fisher as a coach, and all sorts of reminders about coming up 1 yard short in 2000. He will remain, and continue as the longest tenured coach, because Bud Adams understands it's about more than just one title.

Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy will be begged to return to coaching. Dungy won't. Cowher might.

Colts: Manning will use not having Dungy as coach for the excuse for this year.

College football: The BCS will be whined about. Congress and the President will meddle with the system, force a playoff, which will then be complained about because it's not fair either, just like all of the playoffs in pro sports get griped about. Why? Because we're lousy losers in this country.

Teams: Arkansas will do ok, but not as well as we'd like. People will continue to blame Houston Nutt for it, but next year Petrino's going to have to produce.

Mississippi will do well, and people will claim that it's not because of Houston Nutt.

At least 2 SEC teams will fire coaches.

Other conferences will talk smack about the SEC, but nobody will want to play SEC teams.

At least 2 NCAA coaches will claim 'no interest' in coaching in the NFL, but will be considered, and possibly hired, as NFL coaches anyway. And will come back in 3 years or less.


Daily Journal August 27 2009

August 27 2009—Daily Journal

Proverbs 27:1 →Do not boast in tomorrow, or in next season, or in what you will do later. You must focus on what is in front of you right now! Couple this with the command to boast only in the work of the Lord, and you see where our focus is: on the grace of God for right now.

Proverbs 27:2 →Don't brag on yourself, period. Let someone else build up your fame.

Proverbs 27:5 →And yet many of us don't want open rebuke, and are hesitant to give it. Guess what, church? We need to get back in the habit of open rebuke when necessary. See Proverbs 27:6, that friends sometimes wound, and it's a sign of faithfulness.

Proverbs 27:11 →As parents, do we want our kids to be rich, famous, athletic? Or are we more interested that they be wise?

Proverbs 27:12 →This verse is why some people are stockpiling canned goods and ammo. While I'm not sure that this verse really should be applied that way right now, it is a good warning. Are you looking at danger to prepare for it? To avoid it?

Proverbs 27:14 →Remember, blessing should be receivable as blessings. If you know your neighbor hates what you're doing, it's not a blessing. Be sensitive to the needs of others.

Proverbs 27:17 →Men sharpen men, but sometimes it becomes a destructive process. Why? Resistance. If we acknowledge our need for sharpening, it goes better.

Proverbs 27:19 →What you focus on shows what's in your heart, and shows all that needs to be known about you.

Psalm 124:6 →The Lord is the one who chooses not to turn us over for destruction. And to Him we owe the praise for that!

1 Peter 5:8 →Be on the alert. You have an enemy, but he reveals himself. After all, no one can claim that a roaring lion is hidden! The only times that a roaring lion isn't a warning to people to flee the lion is when they don't know what the roar is. Know God's truth, and the roar will be obvious as an action of the devil, and you will be able to handle it!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

James 5:13-20

August 26, 2009 – James 5:13-20

James 5:13-20 → There's a lot within these 7 verses. It is, overall, an explanation of prayer and the need to pray, along with the release of God's power when prayer is done right. Even in James' day, there were physicians, there was medical knowledge, but he advises the sick to ask for prayer. He tells the suffering to pray. He doesn't outright forbid seeking medicine, but I think he'd be aghast at our tendency in the American church to seek doctors first and prayer second. James 5:13-14 show me that suffering and sickness should be met with prayer first. I see suffering as mental/emotional issues and sickness as physical. Both may need a doctor, but first the church should be in prayer for the ones dealing with these. We have, unfortunately, gotten too individualistic in the American church. I can't ask you to pray with me over depression because I don't want you to know.

Why don't I want you to know? Because we lack the discipleship in our churches that helps us trust each other with that information. We've got some people in the church I serve suffering through things, and there is concern that once the information goes public, it won't be used to pray, but to gossip. Why? Because we have, as churches in general, failed to disciple people, train them in God's word and in righteousness enough that we have true fellowship and trust for each other. Yet we see here in James that prayer from others is essential. This section starts and ends with that. James 5:20 addresses the need for us to be involved in the lives of our fellow believers.

Elijah prays for no rain, and gets no rain. He prays for rain, and there is rain. Why? Because Elijah was in a right relationship with God, and what he prayed was in line with the character and heart of God. God desired the people of Israel to turn with their whole hearts back to Him, and Elijah was His instrument to make that happen. Elijah was no less an inheritor of a sin nature than I am, yet do I pray like him? Do I act in faith like that? Not often. It's something that we must do!!

Our faith is useless unless we act on it, and part of that action is involved in trusting others to act in faith as well. We have faith that God can heal, but we don't trust the prayers of our family of faith to be a part of that. Why not? Is it because our own prayers are so weak? One area of life that I'm striving to grow in is my perception of others. There is a human tendency to perceive the behavior of others through our own self-understanding. I interpret your actions based on what my motives might be.

You see this when you notice that politicians seem to be distrusting of honest people, like citizens at town hall meetings. The politician has an ulterior motive, a hidden message, a group behind him telling him what to say. Since that's true of him, he assumes that the person speaking is the same way, whether they are or not. We do this when our own insincerity, for example, causes us to doubt the sincerity of another.

So, we doubt whether anyone else really prays for us, because we don't really pray for others. Sure, we give it lip-service, but we don't really do it. We don't agonize in prayer on behalf of our family, so we don't think they'll really pray for us. Two things need to change there, your perception of others and your own actions. Change your actions first. Determine to do what you would want others to do, not what others have done. We tend to turn Matthew 7:12 on its head and use it to justify our shortcomings. Jesus wasn't giving us an excuse, but a challenge.

Then you'll see your perceptions shift on their own. You'll find a willingness grow to allow others into your life. You might not find reciprocal interest from the people you are around, but be patient with them.

Weird Wednesday August 26

Weird Wednesday August 26 2009

I'm wondering, if we go with Canadian-style public option health insurance, will we spend money researching things like this? Let's hope not. And on the Canadian-style thought, who really thinks of Canadian Bacon as the same as real bacon? Really, now. It's not. Do we want to change bacon?

Weird Tweets this week:

just alerted that my old boss [a US Congressman] confused 'Cialis' for 'Ambien' in a health care town hall address – Ooops! I think those two medications would be mutually exclusive for use.

Camaro owners can get a free Papa John's pizza today, seriously. -- Because, after all, sports car drivers are probably having trouble paying for food AND insurance!

Rick Pitino is talking to the media at 3 p.m., and no one knows why. -- Um, I'm sure he does.

Megan Fox kicked Jay-Z. WTF is #GiladShalit. A snow Leopard saw Catwoman steal Batman's iPhone Who's driving AT&T and Apple to success? -- This is a tweet composed of the top trending topics on twitter at the moment it was written. And you thought I had too much time on my hands!

Off the tweets...

Apparently, iPhones are starting to explode, all on their own. And here I thought AT&T couldn't move data fast enough to run the nuke program!

There's a headline on my page from Motley Fool, where I get all the investment advice I'll never use, that instructs me to “Take a moment to tally your cash.” Yeah, that'll take a moment. Only a slightly longer than it takes to count my income from blogging!


Fortunately, this doesn't look like it'll happen here anytime soon. As long as nobody pulls the cord that holds the moon close too tight!

Did you know that there's an investor named Guy Hands? I didn't, and so I thought this looked odd: Guy Hands in Talks for Wind-Farm Deal. It still looks weird.

That's what I've got this week...


August 26 Daily Journal

August 26, 2009 –Daily Journal

Proverbs 26:1 →Because even though we might like the cold, snow in summer is just bizarre. It shows something is wrong with the world. So does honoring fools, yet we see it all the time. Don't be discouraged by it. Just imagine throwing a July snowball at the fool, and go on!

Proverbs 26:2 →We spend some time worrying about curses and the forces of darkness in this world, but without a cause it doesn't hit. What's the cause? God allowing it to be used for His glory. Focus your heart on God, not on avoiding curses.

Proverbs 26:4-5 →Ok, we've seen this verse pairing before. It's on several websites that claim this shows how useless the Bible is, since it contradicts itself right here. It's not a contradiction. This is a collection of wise sayings. One of them expresses that you don't answer and argue with fools in the same manner they present themselves. The other says to answer the fool lest he thinks he's not a fool. Example? If someone is screaming, yelling, ranting, and raving, is it effective to scream back? It's not, is it? People assume your both fools for the argument. Control your response, speak the truth and let it go. Another aspect here: this isn't just about trivial things. The Fool of Proverbs is someone lacking any sense of right and wrong, of morality. This isn't about arguing with your waiter over being charged too much. It's about bigger, real issues. If you can't control your temper with the waiter, there's plenty of other verses about that, like Proverbs 25:28.

Proverbs 26:13 →Here's my lion again. I love that lion. He's a great excuse. What excuse do you use? Are you blaming your laziness on something less deadly than a prowling lion?

Proverbs 26:16 →If you read the Dilbert comic strip, this would be Wally's life verse. Why do anything if you can get away with doing nothing? It seems wise, but it's destructive to your life.

Proverbs 26:18-19 →Be careful with your sense of humor.

Romans 12:1-8 →Need a step-by-step to get started on this? #1: Keep yourself from doing evil or from enjoying it (think about the entertainment choices you make). #2: Immerse yourself in the things of God through reading, listening, and participating in the Word and in worship. #3: Then find your place of service. It's a transition, where not only are you ridding yourself of taking in evil, but you are filling yourself with God. Then the actions follow. Being the light of the world requires us to change from being burned-out bulbs to lit bulbs, and then staying connected to the power which is God Almighty.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scripture and Prophecy Part 2 Tuesday Theology August 25

Prophetic Evidence of Scripture—Part 2

Tuesday Theology

August 25 2009

One of the most frequently cited references to Biblical Prophecy being fulfilled is the city of Tyre. Now, if you search the internet for information about Tyre and Biblical Prophecy, you'll find explanations of how it is evidence of Scripture's truth and atheistic explanations why it is not evidence. Something to keep in mind when doing many types of investigative research: you can find what you're looking for. Almost without fail. Atheists want evidence the Bible is false. Christians want evidence it's true. We both find what we're looking for. Why? Because no one is completely open-minded.

So, why bother? Because some times people are willing to give the benefit of the doubt and think about it. If someone is absolutely unwilling to consider any evidence of truth being found in the Bible, this won't convince them. If someone is willing to consider the possibility, this might help.

On to the referenced prophecy: Ezekiel 26:8 claims that Nebuchadnezzar will destroy the mainland part of the city of Tyre; Ezekiel 26:14 mentions that the city will be desolate, not rebuilt, and used as place to spread nets. Now, these are useful tests of accuracy because there is some specific terminology used. If someone were to have prophesied that “Tyre will someday get conquered and destroyed,” that's about useless. Anybody could throw that out there. I wouldn't be going out on a limb to prophesy the destruction of New York or Atlanta someday in the future, would I? But to predict that Atlanta would become a gravel pit with an apple tree plantation would narrow down the options. For that to actually happen would be a bit less likely, unless I had some source to know the future.

So, predicting that Tyre, a city with a mainland part and an island part, would see the mainland conquered, without mentioning the island being conquered, is a specific prediction. Did that happen? It did. Then, later, Alexander the Great destroyed the rest of Tyre. Eventually, the old city of Tyre was stripped of much of its rubble and the large, flat stones are a place where local fishermen spread their nets. This took until after the Crusades before the destruction was complete.

Now, what is the counter to this as evidence? First, the great friend of all who poke holes in the Bible is time. The claim is that, given the 2,000 years, it was automatic that Tyre would be destroyed, and, being on the coast, people would mend and stretch fishnets there. Consider that for a moment, then consider that the city that is now Amman, Jordan, also existed in Biblical times, as Rabbah of the Ammonites. So did Jerusalem. Rome has existed since about the time of Ezekiel's prophecy, and this doesn't consider eastern world cities like Peking or Tokyo. It's not automatic that a city will be destroyed and not reoccupied just because of the passage of years.

Ah, but the second argument is that Tyre has been reoccupied! Well, there is a modern city of Tyre. It's within visual distance of old Tyre. But it's not at the same location, and, well, how much does modern naming count? Would one argue that New York replaces Old York? That if Orleans, France, was destroyed, it would not matter, as there are is a New Orleans? Does anyone suggest moving the Palestinians to East Arkansas, to the town of Palestine? No, because there is more to a location than a name. So, yes, there is a modern city of Tyre. It is not, however, ruled by the same empire (it's not even independent), it's not where Tyre once was, and it's not occupied even by the same people group.

What happened to old Tyre? The rubble was hauled off and used to build various other cities around that part of the world. Tyre, as a whole, will not be found again, as prophesied in Ezekiel 26:21 because it became part of cities like Acre and Antioch.

There were prophecies of the city of Sidon, part of the same empire as the city of Tyre. Sidon was prophesied to survive, and, indeed it has. Ninevah was prophesied to be lost and never rebuilt, and in fact its very existence was doubted until archaeologists found it in the last century.

There are ways to argue with these prophecies. One argument is that in places, Biblical prophecies say a city will never be “found” again. If we have rubble, it's been found. However, is that the only sense in which “found” can be taken? No, it's not. Found can also refer to the glory or power that the city held. For example, Arkansas Post here in Arkansas once was the capital of the region. While we have remains, that power will never be “found” there again.

Am I inserting a loophole to make the facts fit my theory? Perhaps I am. I come to the Bible with the assumption that the Bible is right and truthful. However, I've never seen anything that I'd say shows an absolute contradiction. Do some apparent contradictions take explaining? Certainly, but no more so than the apparent correct portions! I'm prepared to look at this world and realize it's not all explainable to me. Are you?


August 25 2009 Daily Journal

August 25, 2009 – Daily Journal

Proverbs 25:1 →Hezekiah is remembered as a good king. What did he do that was so good? Apparently, copied from the smart guy! Don't be ashamed to have sources for your wisdom and knowledge. Just be sure to give credit where it's due.

Proverbs 25:3 →The hearts of kings cannot be investigated because even they don't know what they're doing!

Proverbs 25:4-5 →If we could remove the wicked from influencing the government, we'd be making a silver-level masterpiece. Remove the wicked that are in the government, and we'd be up to gold!

Proverbs 25:6-7 →It's okay to receive recognition. Don't seek it.

Proverbs 25:8-10 →Take care of your issues with other people without public knowledge if it is at all possible. Don't rush to have others involved in your situation.

Proverbs 25:16 →You can get too much of a good thing. Really. So, just take what you need. Leave the rest for others.

Proverbs 25:17 →Let's not overreact to this one. It's one thing to not be too often in your neighbor's house. It's another thing entirely to never be there. Let's learn to be honest enough with each other to welcome as much as possible, and to tell people “not today.”

Proverbs 25:20 →Sometimes people need to be sad. Don't try to force cheerfulness on them.

Proverbs 25:27 →Don't seek too much honey, don't keep pursuing glory. Let your life settle down. Every day is not fantastic or marvelous, every experience is not sweet and glorious. Some are downright dull. Learn to live with that. Some days are Folgers, some days are Cameron's Amaretto. You appreciate the great because you live through the ordinary. And the ordinary need not be despised just because it's ordinary.

Psalm 124 is this week's Psalm of Response in my devotional book. The setup for this response is the story of the oppression of Israel at the beginning of the book of Exodus coupled with the deliverance of Moses, who would eventually lead the people to freedom. How ought we respond to oppression? With praise and thanksgiving:

Had it not been the Lord on our side, had we been trusting on others or had we turned against Him that He was against us, we would not only have lost a little, but all would have been lost. Where is our help? Where can we find assurance in this world? In the One who made heaven and earth! Thanksgiving and praise to Him who has done this!!

Do you see here one of the reasons we fight for the right to teach our children that God has made the world? Why it is that a generation taught from 1 st Grade through college that the world was not made by God but by the processes of nature without any divine design or intention, why that generation is falling away from God? Why? It's illustrated in Psalm 124:8. Our help is in the maker of heaven and earth. If heaven and earth have no maker, we have no help. There is no God to turn to, no one to cry out to.

1 Peter 5:6 →Do we trust God with our exaltation? I tend to seek my own favor. I want people to recognize how awesome I am, how wonderful I am. And when I am seeking that, I'm usually doing a lesser job of the things I want to be recognized for! I must determine in my heart that I will seek only to do the Lord's work, and let Him handle my exaltation in His time, not my own.

James 5:7-11 →Be patient! It takes time to see the work of God in your own life, much less the life of others. Yet, we cannot neglect the work that must be done. A farmer doesn't simply scatter seed and ignore the fields until harvest, but protects and strengthens the crops throughout the growing season.

Likewise, we have no right to complain about each other. At all. Whatever excuse you thought you had, just erase it. You have no excuse and no right to complain. I have none. We must quit the whiny bickering that characterize so many of our churches.

And let's consider the prophets whose lives were characterized by suffering and rejection. These are our examples to follow. Not the kings that lived in wealth and splendor.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Politics August 24

Monday Politics:

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Exodus 1:8 (NASB)

This verse in my reading of Exodus today causes me to think about American politics and education. Now, if you're looking for someone who will parallel President Obama with an Egyptian Pharaoh, that's not going to be the point. Even though I'm sure one could find those parallels, especially looking back to the Pharaoh that took everyone's land in exchange for food. Might be some comparison there between all American Presidents that have run the budget on borrowing from the next generation, especially these last 2 that have done it “to keep us from collapse.” Why not be wise, realize that good is followed by bad, so we should, as a nation, have a reserve for when bad happens. And we should lead by example our people to do the same. I'm not even going to jump down to show the connection between Pharaoh's slaughter of babies and America's national shame of slaughtering babies.

Instead, I want to think about why a Pharaoh arose over Egypt that did not know Joseph. How could you not know Joseph? The nation had been saved from sheer disaster at the hand of Joseph! Joseph had been used by God to keep Egypt alive throughout a seven year famine that would have laid many nations low. This allowed the nation to keep its prowess, and to extend its influence by selling food to the nations around them. Joseph was the Pharaoh's right hand man. How do you not know?

There are a variety of Biblical studies theories, all of which are conjecture, since it's not even certain when along the time line this happens. It's got a 300-year time span to fit in, so there are many options. I think the Hyksos period has something to do with it, but exactly what escapes me.

What is definite, though, is a breakdown of education. There is a sheer failure to teach the history of Egypt and the people that have gone before. It may be that time had dulled out those memories. It might be that differing power groups wanted to downplay potential rivals' impact on the nation. There might have been a move to make sure all of Egypt was represented in the teaching. Conversely, a move might have been made to an “Egyptians-only” version of their history. However it happened, not only does the Pharaoh not know Joseph, but neither do his advisers or his ruling group. None of the taskmasters remembered why these sons of Israel were in the land, although apparently the lead midwives did. I wonder if “proper education” had reduced the story of Joseph to an “old wives' tale”?

So, the Egyptians chose to treat a people that had contributed to their greatness with contempt. The long-term result was the reduction of Egyptian power in the world. Egypt remains important in North Africa after Exodus, but never really recovers. The Assyrians, Philistines, Carthaginians, Babylonians all erode at Egypt until the nation is finally subjugated to Rome. How could Egypt's history had been different? Perhaps, though we'll never know, a Pharaoh concerned about the number of Israelites would have remembered they came from Canaan, an area under Egyptian dominance at the time. Had he simply sent them back, encouraged them to return, even provided the land as a gift, and Egypt is spared the plagues. Spared the deaths of the first-born, the loss of the army, and instead granted a strong ally in the land of Israel.

What should we learn for our politics and history? Here's my take:

  1. History is what it is. America was founded by fallible people. Many of them were white men that owned slaves and thought women the weaker sex, even though they realized they couldn't manage a household on their own. That they were fallible doesn't require us to ignore them. Nor ignore their accomplishments. We need to continue to teach history as it was, not as we wish it was.

  2. Some people in history aren't just like us. This is an extension of point 1. Not all of the people critical to American history are white men. We cannot ignore the good, and the bad, of the people of various races, ethnicity, and gender that built this nation.

  3. It's an indictment on any nation to forget their debts to the generations before. We see a little bit of respect and admiration for the WWII generation in America as they are slowly passing away, but we seem ready to discard the next group. Rather than hear a word of what the “Baby Boomers” have contributed to America, we constantly hear how they're going to bankrupt Social Security, Medicare, they're destroying the health care system, they made the “consumer economy.” Enough.

    They also built America into the prominent country in the world. Boomers fought in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Libya, and countless little conflicts around the world seeking to preserve democracy and prevent a third World War. Boomers guarded the Fulda Gap and DMZ in Korea, flew the alert force bombers and manned the missile silos that were the defense against weapons that there is no real defense from. They marched for Civil Rights, kept going to baseball games after integration, went to desegregated schools in spite of the bitterness in their communities. They have seen 2 Presidents shot, 17 Astronauts die, and were the last generation in America to face a draft. We cannot neglect them and their accomplishments. We cannot ignore that all of the great things we have in America were passed down by them. We cannot say, well, time to get them off our medical facilities.

  4. Don't neglect old wives' tales. Don't assume that formalized education is the only way to learn what needs to be known. We've professionalized education in this country to the point of insanity. It's not down here in Monticello, but in Memphis there were people that were concerned that their 2-year-olds get in the right preschool to learn necessary skills. Necessary skills? At 2? Those skills are: more food in mouth than on face; go potty; sleep; learn to talk a little; walk; maybe throw a ball the way you want it to go. What else do you need? Listen to the old wives' tales that some kids don't learn to read until 7 or 8 or sometimes later and actually do fine. Listen to grandmothers who say to just let the kids play and they'll get it.

Many of us seem more ready to prepare to overthrow tyranny than to prevent it. Should we be that way?

August 24 2009 Daily Journal

August 24 2009 → Daily Journal

Just as an observation: it's much easier and quicker to empty the baptistry than to fill it.

OT Reading: Exodus 1:8-2:10 →Lots here about obeying God rather than man. About being a people that are so dedicated to living out who we are that we are perceived as a threat by the world. A threat to their well-being, that we will rise up and take over. We as believers in Christ ought to hit that point. The world should be afraid that self-sacrifice, love for others, joy, and compassion will take over. And either join us or try to oppress us. Either way, the Kingdom grows.

Proverbs 24:5-6 →Yet what do we do? We idolize strength and denigrate 'wiliness.' We want a football coach that will jam a running back up the middle 30 times a game, but never try a fake punt. Why? We prize strength over wisdom or knowledge.

Proverbs 24:10-12 →And this is why we still try to act in politics, even though the Kingdom of God is not of this world. We must act, even in difficult times. We must try to save those stumbling toward slaughter.

Proverbs 24:27 →Do what is necessary to survive, then worry about comfort.

Proverbs 24:29 →Repay evil with good. Just as God repaid our evil with good at the Cross.

James 5:1-6 →the first part of this is a warning. Are you growing wealthy by denying people their rightful wages? Do you leave small tips at restaurants? Do you skimp on what you pay people for work they do for you? Do you run a business but not pay your workers well?

The last verse, though, is enough for those of you who feel like you are getting the bad side of being underpaid. James 5:6 shows that the righteous man does not resist the evil being done by the wealthy. The righteous trust God to handle the situation.

Acts 3:1-10 → Read that, and think about what Peter and John learned in John 9:1-5.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23 2009

Sunday, August 22 2009

I've been reading and contemplating the posts by John Piper related to the tornado in Minneapolis and the vote of the ELCA to allow homosexual clergy. It's interesting to see people miss what he is actually saying, that disaster is a warning to all sinners to turn from approval of sin, and pounce on his viewpoint shared. I'm curious what your thoughts are. Here's the link to his original, and his follow-up. I'm inclined to agree with his conclusion, that calamity is a reminder to us all to repent. And I'm glad he doesn't turn all namby-pamby and start the “I'm so sorry I hurt some of your feelings by saying God causes and allows disasters to warn us about sin” nonsense. I'm personally tired of preachers that say what they understand the Bible to mean and then back up when someone says “That hurt my feelings!” Anyway, discuss your opinions, but be nice.

Proverbs 22:1-3 →If you fatten at the trough of the ruling parties, be wary. Very wary.

Proverbs 22:4-5 →When you've killed yourself for wealth, what have you gained? Nothing.

Proverbs 22:6-8 →Meals should be about more than food. They're about fellowship and relationship. About gathering with someone, not just piling on nutrition.

Proverbs 22:17-18 →There are those who have acquired much in terms of wealth, power, and prosperity, but they've done it wrongly. How do we respond to what they have? And how do you handle this in light of Romans 3:23, that points out we're all sinners? Don't be envious of anyone, neither of their wealth or poverty.

1 Peter 4:19 →Are you doing what is right and entrusting to the Creator the results? I struggle with this. I want to handle the results myself, and take whatever ends are necessary to get the results I want.

I hope you make the opportunity to gather with God's people today.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 22 2009

August 22 2009—Daily Journal

Proverbs 22:1 →Also, a good name does not equal great wealth, neither should wealth=a good name. These are two different things.

Proverbs 22:3 →What dangers do you see and not take cover? How often will you play with fire and think you'll not get burned?

Proverbs 22:7 →If the borrower is slave to the lender, what does that make our country to the Chinese?

Proverbs 22:10 →'s some reform for you: drive mockers out of court so they can't file dumb lawsuits. Then everyone's expenses go down, except for mockers.

Proverbs 22:13 →Here's that lion again. Every month I'm taunted by the excuses I make, realizing just how lame and stupid they are.

Proverbs 22:16 →There's something there about how we run our businesses, isn't there? That perhaps if we're making a profit from helping the poor, it shouldn't be excessive and certainly shouldn't result in multi-million dollar bonuses to millionaires?

Proverbs 22:24-25 →Be careful the temperament of your friends. You'll adopt it, whether good or bad! And preachers, watch what preachers you emulate.

Proverbs 22:29 →Be skilled. Work to develop your skills and your work. Then let the honor and accolade come on its own.

1 Peter 4:11 →Do we do all things that God may be glorified? Is He glorified in your actions, words and attitudes? He is glorified in mine?


Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21 2009

August 21, 2009—Daily Journal

Woke up to the weather alarm in the house warning us of a flash-flood warning. Not in Drew County, though. The warning was for someone else, somewhere else. How often do we hear those types of warnings and not respond? Oh, that persecution is somewhere else....oh, that's the Florida Government prosecuting the principal for praying...oh, that's a decision made in Washington. Do we even respond with compassion to those affected? Or just rejoicing that it's not us?

Proverbs 21:1 →And we saw with Pharaoh and others that God intended to send them to judgment. This isn't saying the king's way is always righteous, but that God is in control anyway.

Proverbs 21:2 →Why you do what you do is a large part of what God is watching and wants that driven by His word. If we will adjust our hearts to be motivated by the things that please God, then our ways will be right before Him.

Proverbs 21:5 →Profit? What does Proverbs consider profitable? Wisdom, compassion, and the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 21:6 →Same with complex market derivatives.

Proverbs 21:9 →Husbands, if you seek to change your wife from nagging, live this out. Move up onto the corner of your roof. Then explain why. Or, perhaps, learn to communicate and listen to her before she nags. Either one. But you'll certainly make your point climbing a ladder with a sleeping bag.

Proverbs 21:17 →Pleasure seeking will destroy your wealth, because pleasure will always increasingly cost you.

Proverbs 21:18 →So let the wicked pay for universal healthcare for the righteous. Get out your checkbooks!

Proverbs 21:19 →Future husbands, be careful what type of woman you marry.

Proverbs 21:27 →Do not think that your 'sacrifices' please God if your life is against Him. Move your heart, then your wallet.

Proverbs 21:31 →We must prepare ourselves and our material for the battle, but victory comes from the Lord.

James 4:6-10 →Do we resist the Devil? I think we don't. We spend so much time claiming he's attacking us and that we're beat down by him, that we must not resist. We must just roll over. We must develop the habit of drawing near to God instead. We cannot do one without the other. And just as the best way to resist an enemy in war is to do the work of the stronger opponent (just as the best way for the French Resistance in WWII was to help the British and Americans), we should do God's work and so resist the Devil.

James 4:13-17 →What do we boast in? How often do we say we have this plan or that for the future, and God's will is merely an afterthought? We have our plans and expect God to bless them when we haven't included His word in the origination of them.

1 Peter -> And this is my summary of 1 Peter: It's not going to be easy to be a follower of Christ. People not of the faith will hate you. People that are loosely attached to the faith will scorn you. People that think they know the faith better than you will disrespect you. Why do you care? Follow Christ.


Business Guru August 21 2009

Friday Morning Business Guru—August 21 2009

I'm not a big time business genius, but wanted to share a couple of thoughts:

  1. If you run a small business or have thoughts of running a small business, buy and read Scott McKain's Collapse of Distinction. Really. It's not a comprehensive evaluation of why every business rises or falls, but it's a good start. What makes you stand out as a business? Do you do something that memorable? Seek out your niche and stay with it.

  2. Another good read is Thomas Nelson's CEO Michael Hyatt. His blog carries his opinions about doing business and involving technology and people in the process.

  3. Beyond that, what would you want to see in an occasional business comment around here? Anything? I'll probably relate stories of good and bad service and observed business practices. I'll dig back into my time in restaurant and logistics to offer my opinions, and how they might relate. But this will probably be the least frequent segment of my blog, because I'm not the world's greatest business man.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20 2009

August 20 2009—Daily Journal

Listening to the baptistry fill. Wondering if we'll ever tip over into being so passionate about reaching the lost that we never drain it.

I'd suggest that everyone click-through and read this from Thom Rainer.

The whole morning turned chaotic on me, and I don't have much else to add to this today. I really recommend Rainer's blog, linked above, and I'll try and make up missing content to you tomorrow.


Thursday Sports-August 20

Thursday Morning Sports—August 20 2009

Well, the Thursday sports crew has had a busy week. The Braves have done well, done poorly, and moved hardly a notch in the standings. NFL pre-season games have started, and our beloved Titans won their first game, although Yahoo Sports was misreporting the score the next morning. The scoreboard on my home page showed them losing 24-21, when they had won 21-18. You know what matters? Really, none of it---it's a preseason game! However, there's a real record book, and there's what gets reported in the media. Even if every news agency reports it wrongly, no matter who believes CNN/SI, FOXSports, CBSports, or ESPN, there is an accurate record kept by the NFL, and that's the only one that matters. Hmmm....there might be some thoughts to add to Tuesday Morning Theology. About the idea of objective standards and records compared to what the world thinks or believes. Then, we've got College Football cranking up, and the SEC is sure to be the crazy conference it's always been. Add to that the increased governmental interest in nit-picking the BCS to death, which might blur over on to Monday Morning Politics.

So, what shall we turn our attention to today?

First, a warning to Kentucky fans. Right now, the reports are that Memphis will have to vacate the wins, and the national runner-up status, from the 2007-2008 season. You remember that one? When John Calipari had recruited Derrick Rose to come to college free for a year before going to the NBA? When, since NCAA rules prohibit using the names of incoming freshman to advertise, they just put up billboards around town with a rose on it and talking about the Tigers “Blooming”? Well, guess what? It turns out that, apparently, someone involved with the University of Memphis Basketball program, related to recruiting, qualifying, and bringing in new athletes, was aware or involved with helping falsify an SAT score for qualification of a new freshman player.

No names have been released, but apparently it was a freshman on that team that never played for the Tigers again. And because of this, which is cheating, the team will have to invalidate its wins for that season. This is the second team that Calipari has coached to the Final Four that ended up vacating its wins. It happened at Massachusetts in the 1990s.

So, Kentucky fans, I'd like to pass on a warning for you. If the Wildcats make the Final Four this year, don't celebrate yet. Wait until Calipari has gone on somewhere else, and the NCAA is done investigating before you celebrate. Better a late party than voided party. Now, I'm sure there are some that believe “He didn't have anything to do with it.” Right. After all, as the head coach, he's not responsible for what happens, right? And he's never been tainted by this type of scandal before, right? So, it's just an illogical jump that he'd be involved.

The university athletics system is breaking, folks. It exists to provide educational opportunities to student-athletes and to provide the leadership and life training sports can provide. It is becoming a self-serving beast. Your college doesn't have a team to win championships, but that's what we expect. And coaches should be teaching athletes by word and deed the life skills they need. Instead, they are learning that as long as they win games, any wrongdoing is overlooked. Is it any wonder we have steroid scandals, sexual assault scandals, drug dealing, dogfighting, and all manner of other criminal behavior?

Second observation: stick with what you're good at. Jimmy Johnson knew he needed to pit, but then decided to play fuel-mileage games at Michigan. And lost. Mark Martin knew he probably needed gas. Didn't pit. Lost, and is just a few points from falling out of the Chase. Both of them could have pitted, fueled, and still finished top-10 in that race. Lessons? 1.)Refuel when you need it. 2.)Don't press your luck. It'll get pressed enough. Mark Martin could find himself caught up in a wreck next week and fall completely out of the championship race, while he'd have held on to that spot had he finished top-10. Life will send enough bad your way. Don't add to it.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19 2009

August 19 2009—Daily Journal

Proverbs 19:2 →Do you know what you are doing? Yes, you have enthusiasm, but do you know how to use it? Do you understand the consequences? Don't miss doing what you ought because you were hasty.

Proverbs 19:8 →Best thing you can do for yourself? Acquire wisdom. Best thing you can do for others? Acquire wisdom. Hmmm....

Proverbs 19:10 →Because the fool has either acquired luxury falsely or will not appreciate it. And the second half: other places the Proverbs speak of slaves ruling because they have wisdom and sons don't. It's not fitting for a prince to neglect wisdom thus allowing another to rule over him. He should rule over himself.

Proverbs 19:11 →Our insight should show us that God is still at work in the people around us, and in us. So, we should be patient with them!

Proverbs 19:12 →Dew doesn't last. And a roaring lion allows you to know it's there, and to prepare your defense. Or run away. Remember, if you and I are being chased by a lion, I don't have to be faster than the lion. Just faster than you.

Proverbs 19:14 →God alone can bring the right spouse your way. Parents, train your children to obey God's word in finding that spouse, but you cannot do it for them.

Proverbs 19:18 →I like how Proverbs is soft-spoken and open to interpretation. Oh, wait, this is pretty plain, right? If you don't discipline your children, you are seeking, you are intent on, their death. Remember, you're not their friend. You're the parent.

Proverbs 19:19 →How many times have you covered someone's tantrums or outbursts? They'll keep letting you cover for them until you let them face their own consequences.

Proverbs 19:25 →Sometimes punishment is to teach others. It's not just about restitution, rehabilitation, or revenge. It's to warn the next person. Notice, also, that the discerning learn from words while the inexperienced learn from physical punishment. And the mocker doesn't learn at all.

Proverbs 19:29 →Mockers are those who are consistently against God and His ways, while fools tend to just blunder around. So, a mocker receives a judgment, a long-term punishment, while the fool is beaten and sent on his way.

1 Peter 4:12-13 →Why do we not emphasize this verse more? Do not be surprised at the ordeal! Guess what, Christians? Peter expressed that life would be rough sometimes, and that we should not be surprised by that fact.

1 Peter 4:8 →Love covers a multitude of sins. Don't take this to mean that love 'covers up' for sins, but rather that if we love one another, we'll more easily forgive and ignore the 'sins' we commit against each other. Like those great Baptist sins of preaching on money, sitting in my seat, showing up for church and Sunday School on time, those kinds of things. Our love for each other ought to overlook the wrong notes in the right song, not the wrong song.

Romans 11:1-2 →Paul's evidence that God has not rejected Israel? Himself, an Israelite that God had saved through Christ.

Romans 11:29-32 →All are in disobedience, showing that none are saved apart from God's grace.

Romans 11:33 ->Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Those are my thoughts this morning.


Weird Wednesday August 19

Weird Wednesday—August 19 2009

In a discussion on another blog, we've been joking about who should run for President in 2012. Certainly they were joking, but somebody put my name in the meta as a suggestion. Can't do it. Why, asks the crowd of disheartened Americans? 1.) I was born in Texas, which is like a whole different country; 2.) Even if you count Texas as America, I can't find my birth certificate; 3.)I've got this secret desire to be a Broadway Producer; 4.)I've started running for exercise, and am planning on making it to the 2012 Olympics as both a sprinter and marathon runner; 5.) Well, what other reasons do you need?

Tweets that need better context or grammar:

“has a great breakfast meeting with a church member and a friend – I'm blessed with the people God has placed in my life.” (Are you having breakfast with 1 person or 2? A church member and a friend? Or are the church members your friends?)

Something about me: I'm a photographer currently without a camera.” (Can you be a photographer without taking pictures, for which you need a camera?) [Context developed: all cameras recently stolen.]

God is the ultimate enlightened capitalist” (That just gets a “HUH?!?” Well, and a “tell that to Bonhoeffer, Wurmbrand, or the North Korean Christians that just need food)

Is at the bus stop, waiting for the first day of third grade to start” (Ok, so it's a mom. But still, at first look it seemed funny.)

Moving on....

Since Brett Favre had said he was not going to play football, and now is going to play football, what does that do for his playcalling? Does he go in the huddle and say “ Alright guys, I-formation, sweep left to the running back” and then come out, take a shotgun snap and throw a deep slant right?

Watching the History Channel last night, there was something on about Mars. The statement was made, in a very serious tone, that “The history of Mars goes back farther, all the way to the formation of our solar system.” Really? You mean that? Mars has been the fourth planet in our solar system the whole time? WOW!!

Thinking about stock market terms: If a bear market is one that eats up all you have, does a bull market leave stinky piles everywhere for someone to clean up?

I went to Dallas with 2 of my deacons last week. We went to a church for a conference that took up an entire block in Dallas, and that you could probably put everyone from Monticello inside, with room to spare. What's weird about that? That they painted the inside of their sanctuary pink. Not 'cactus rose' or something earthy and soft. Pink. I don't think I could handle that every Sunday. I know we go to church to worship and learn and fellowship, but some distractions are hard to take!

Not a lot of weird stuff, because I've been doing other things than looking for it.


Sermon from May 19 2024

 Good morning! Yesterday we talked about Simon Magus. Didn't actually hit on the sin of simony, because we don't really see it that ...