"As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Once again our friend Fred Smith has pointed us toward the timelessness of what it means to be a True Steward of Life from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert: (It does take a few reads to get even for the poets among us!)
BUt that thou art my wisdome, Lord,
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
In the 1980s movie Wall Street the villain, Gordon Ghekko's famous line is, "Greed, for the lack of a better word, is good". But greed is not good. Yet all of us are impacted by our own fallen nature and the culture in which we live and the prevailing mindset of our culture would say that "greed is good". Is there an antidote to a life of being blown by the winds of culture and the pursuit of fools gold? Yes. The antidote is found in the life of devotion to truth and love found in community. Something rarely found today. It may sound simplistic but Christ calls us to imitate His love and the Paul admonishes us to imitate him in I Corinthians 11:1, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ". A good question to start the day with is, "Whose thinking am I imitating?"
When thinking about 'how we live' and the decisions we must make I am convinced it's not so much "what would Jesus do" that should direct us, but 'what would Jesus think' and how can I imitate His thinking? That's what Sheldon wanted when he wrote those famous words. He wanted the church to "think Christianly", and his book was a reminder of how the church was to think about the sojourner and the poor.
How do we 'think' about money, education, family, the latest scandal on Wall Street and our 'calling' in light of the economic crisis we find our world? There are many unemployed and frightened people around us who need love and truth and today's global crisis may be an opportunity like few others to point friends and family to 'the' Truthgiver who brings comfort and right thinking in plenty and little.
Grace and peace.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
In considering how 'we' live and our daily personal, family and cultural problems I wonder how 'unorthodox' our fixes or solutions are? Since you can't make something whole that is broken what are we basing the solutions to our family, personal and even financial difficulties upon?
From raising kids to the economics of a household we need a standard. Any solution just won't do (at least not for our house)!
May I suggest a good start would be to read Psalm 1 several times a week and choose a Proverb a day through the holidays and going forward as a way of moving towards making un-orthodox thinking more orthodox. Maybe even resolving to read the Bible in 2009 all the way through? I don't have the solutions any more than the "authority" on CNBC this morning, but I know that the Giver of life wrote THE book that will help us think more orthodox and begin to see things from His subjective point of view. In that way perhaps we will begin to see how all things actually do work together for our collective good? Just a thought!
Grace and Peace
Monday, December 15, 2008
Last night my son Williams who just turned four brought into our bedroom a picture of crazy and indecipherable lines. He was so proud of what looked to us like a mess. He burst out with joy and a ton of energy, "These are the footprints of God!"
Those "footprints" are hanging on our bedroom mirror!!! Don't sell the little ones short.
Perhaps this will help Joe and Josephine Investor realize the financial industry is set up, not to make clients money, but to sustain and enrich itself and those who created it. As a business owner I understand that making a profit is what business is created to do. This allows for salaries and retirement systems to be funded. Yet it appears, as has always been true, some among us have taken 'gain' at others expense to a whole new level.
Wall Street, the banking system, and insurance industry today reminds me of shark infested waters and from my point of view the 'innocent' rarely survive with their money without building a cage around their wealth and understanding the need for an advocate or trustworthy guide for the dangerous waters. I believe we are seeing a shift in this industry and that the financial services industry, or any industry for that matter, can only survive long term if it's participants follow the Golden Rule that has been given to us all. A reckoning is taking place and many crooked players who have stolen from others may be exposed for what they are and the 'financial system' has become...precarious at best. This doesn't leave us without hope. It should remind us not to put our confidence in wealth or prices but to trust in our unshakable King.
Having small and maturing young children in my home I am beginning to see the 'pull' the systems of our world (economic (UGG's), cultural and social) can have on children. As exciting as it is to begin to see kids step into young adulthood I am still a bit reticent to send untrained soldiers into the 'live fire' of the world. For this reason I see why so many families are literally frightened by all that would corrupt the hearts and minds of their little ones. Yet I am confident that our Father in Heaven has plans for our/His children which do not lead to destruction.
Touching on this subject wells up considerable fear and theological discussion so I will leave the issues of Gods sovereignty to Him and encourage each of us to throw ourselves at the feet of the One who entered this dark and destructive world to make things that were wrong right. I also encourage all parents to throw themselves at the feet of Christ and beg for His mercy. We also live in a corrupt world. May our example of walking in brokenness inspire our little ones to walk with courage and faith through a world where men will dissapoint and systems will fail. Yet our Father in heaven is unchanging and always faithful to sustain us body and soul.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Eight trillion dollars in equity wealth has disappeared from our collective wallet. In an effort to offset the deflating effect of that loss, we are going to use the government’s credit-worthiness or printing presses to put more money in circulation. This cascading infusion will not be free of cost, and the extraordinary decline in the value of equities and home values—along with the accelerating reduction in wage income, stock dividends, and the like—will be painful.
And these developments will not be culturally neutral.
The financial institutions, as the perceived enablers of wealth creation, are always disproportionately influential, as are those who dream up new products and services to capture our spending power. So what happens when the wealth-enablers suddenly exit stage right while many in the wealth chain check to see whether their law firms have bankruptcy specialists? Is this a back-to-basics moment? Might even those who inhabit the precincts of corporate and government power experience a moment of humility? If so, to what effect?
My father was forced to leave college after his sophomore year to help support his family. The Depression had crippled the family hardware store and everyone in the family had to work to avoid its failure. The Depression proved to be a searing experience for my father (indeed, for a generation), informing the rest of his life. He conserved, avoided debt, and always bought locally to support his neighbors. He also spiritually and intellectually paired many of the post-Depression cultural traits with his faith. He recognized the wisdom of his spiritual fathers.
Too many act as if the source of morality is best placed in a container and kept far away from the suites of power.
As an active practitioner in business and its oversight, it is clear to me that most businesspeople do not pair the disciplines of faith with the practices of business. Too many act as if the source of morality is best placed in a container and kept far away from the suites of power.
Daniel Bell, in his book The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, observed: “When the Protestant ethic was sundered from bourgeois society, only the hedonism remained, and the capitalist system lost its transcendental ethic. Work was no longer a calling, but a mere means of seeking pleasure as a way of life.”
Our society of late has worked to remove limits on what can be bought and experienced. Virtually anything can be had—right now—courtesy of a loan. For decades the prevailing business ethic has been dismissive of limits. If there are potential buyers, produce it. Foundational principles have been contorted: to many “liberty” has come to mean “libertine” while the “pursuit of happiness” is reduced to the pursuit of pleasure. Should we then be surprised when the entire financial ecosystem is corrupted by what has turned out to be a disastrous profit chase?
Sociologists, who are eager not just to track cultural decline but to identify the cultural shapers, have generally concluded that cultural formation is a top-down affair. At the top is collaboration between those who conceive and those who act. Further down the pyramid of responsibility we find a collaboration between marketers and advertisers. Presumably those like my Dad, who as a retailer was well down the pyramid, and certainly those who purchase products and services, are expected to be mere pawns. It did not turn out that way in his case; he and much of his generation borrowed reluctantly and avoided a return to the excesses of the 1920s.
when money is easy, and especially when it is decoupled from real work or plausible amortization schedules, society suffers extraordinary indignities at all levels
I have not spent my life parsing data to figure out cultural cause and effect. But it seems clear that when money is easy, and especially when it is decoupled from real work or plausible amortization schedules, society suffers extraordinary indignities at all levels of the pyramid. A smaller-scale illustration occurred about midway through my term as Chairman of the FCC. I began to hear from indignant parents whose sons were calling telephone sex lines drawing on their parents’ credit with the phone companies. “Protect us,” they asked. In response I asked the Commission to disallow the disconnection of a phone line because the subscriber had not paid that part of the bill associated with a sex service, and it complied. The letters ceased and most teenagers chose not to buy heavy breathing with their own resources.
Of course, a loss of buying power does not automatically translate into a more benign culture. However, when the profligate and their enablers are the occasion for losses that attack pensions, college funds, retirement savings, and most of the other investment vehicles used by prudent people for important social responsibilities, the unquestioned pain awakens us to an especially fertile teaching moment. It has been decades since the Great Depression, and it seems that the lessons we once learned have largely been forgotten, often—especially—by highly educated people.
Dallas Willard commented on the dynamics of a market economy in “The Business of Business,” a 2006 Provocations essay. He observed that:
at this particular time in our history, moral calling and moral character have no weight and are thus unable to serve as established points of reference for individual practice and public policy. They are not treated as aspects of reality which must be appealed to in judgment and with which any decent person must come to terms. There is no legitimating support, therefore, for the idealism of young people who go into the professions, nor for the justifiable demands of the public to be served.
It is a convincing framework of calling and character that must be restored if professional life is to be directed in a manner which—surely everyone deep-down knows—is suited to its function as provider and protector of the public good and thus of individuals throughout our neighborhoods and beyond. The greatest challenge facing an officially post-Christian world is to provide that framework. To this point it is not doing very well with the task.”
Too often today’s decision framework is guided by a version of the excuse all parents hear from their children. “Everybody else is doing it,” says the child. But at the beginning of a new market scheme, everybody else is not doing it. There is indeed a pyramid, but many who are near its top nonetheless act more like mimics than leaders. True cultural transformation will require both moral clarity and energy up and down the pyramid.
In this new century, we now have a boundless supply of stories to illustrate and reanimate the wisdom of Solomon, whose thought offers a rich tableau of enduring truths. But we need institutions capable of trans-generational influence; institutions whose motivation is not novelty but truth, and yet which understand that truth-telling needs to find its voice in modern idioms and forms. Proverbs need to be told and re-told, and contemporary narratives can add immensely to their persuasion. The Trinity Forum and its peers need to do an even better job in underscoring the need for—and beginning the construction of—a “framework of calling and character.” Waiting for others to do the job would be as imprudent as is the conduct we lament.
Written by Al Sykes at The Trinity Forum
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The heart itself is only a small vessel,
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I couldn't agree more. And because most of us are such poor stewards in this area it is refreshing to know that a repentent heart and mind brings greater grace.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I want to conclude by saying that what we have is a culture of greed that was politically sponsored and politically promoted, a culture justified by reference to Adam Smith’s notion of the Invisible Hand, that if everybody operates in their self-interest then somehow, magically, everything is looked after. And it did seem to be that way in the eighteenth century. However, just because it was that way—perhaps—in the eighteenth century, doesn’t mean it’s going to be that way today. The level of morality in the market may not be the same today as it was in the eighteenth century. The level of complexity may not be the same today as it was yesterday. And the level of volatility may not be the same today as it was yesterday. So it’s a bit naive to expect the economy to look after itself today, even if the economy did so all that time ago. To read the full text
Thursday, October 30, 2008
What does it mean to be an Entrepreneur of Life? An entrepreneur is one who undertakes, or starts, a project, that holds some level of risk. Whether we like it or not, because of the nature of our world, we are all entrepreneurs in one way or another.
Yet as in any endeavor there is a risk return trade off. Scripture says we are to sow seed and work the field and pray for a righteous harvest. In what way today are you acting as a responsible (response + able) Entrepreneur of Life? Is there a plan? Are you winging it? If you are winging it perhaps today would be a good time to begin working towards that which God has uniquely prepared only you to do?
I hope today is your best day!
Monday, October 20, 2008
"Knowing is not enough: we must apply...such is the essence of wisdom". Johann Goethe
The last few months have shown clearly that some of the smartest and highest paid men and women in the world can make horrible decisions. If these folks can't figure things out what chance does the average person have? More than you might think! Wisdom is what's missing in our world today and fortunately Wisdom is more accessible than you may think if you know where to look.
The best educational establishments today teach, to the best of their abilities, everything you need to know about science, politics, finance and economics. But as I watch the world grapple for ideas and something foundational to 'fix' crisis after crisis, I am more convinced than ever that knowledge without understanding is foolishness. It appears the brightest minds and most powerful politicians thoughts are clouded by greed and ego. This is the real crisis of leadership in out time.
In listening to politicians and economists I have realized they are partially right about what is wrong but still terribly wrong about what is right. Describing a problem will never fix it but there is no deficit in opinion makers pronouncing how we got 'here'.
Good solutions require:
Knowledge - (Great and relevant questions)
Understanding - (Skillful thinking)
Wisdom - (Truth and skillful action)
Disciplined thinking guided by wisdom lead to a "harvest of righteousness!"
Short of this combination any recipe for parenting, career, investing, giving or rescuing a globlal economy will be a temporary fix at best. The answer to a rich and full life does not rest at Fox news or in fixing the economy and electing the right candidate. Walking with the wise, begining with The book of wisdom is the beginning of what we are looking for.
May God help us and give us wisdom.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Tell those who are rich in this age not to be arrogant and not to place their confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, let them place their confidence in God, who lavishly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." I Timothy 6:17
When we begin to account for the confusion and fear we experience when the economy is fragile and depressed it can be used as an indicator, or measuring stick, of the condition of our heart and mind. In every adversity there is a thread of opportunity to test what we believe.
How is your heart today? Mine has been distracted at a minimum and occupied with thoughts I am not too proud of concerning my future. But when I think "Christianly", through a biblical world view I realize again that my 'future' is secure and though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for the Lord God Almighty is with me. I should be as a tree planted by the water whose leaf shall not whither that brings forth good fruit. That's our shared future.
Let us remember with great fondness His promise and walk in His strength.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
US debt clock runs out of digits
Until last month, the clock had enough digits to measure US debt levels
The US government's debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiralling figure.
The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This Is Not Your Father’s Market Crash.
Rob Curran reports:
Almost every generation, it seems, has its October stock-market crash.
The cumulative losses of stocks since the plunge on Sept. 29 are comparable with those suffered in the October stock-market crashes of 1987 and 1929. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 9% this week, after a loss of 7.3% the week before.
By comparison, in the worst week of the 1929 stock market crash, the week ended Oct. 19 that year, the Dow took a loss of 8.2%; the blue-chip index lost 13% on the week that started with Black Monday, Oct. 19, 1987. So far in October, the Dow is off 14%, compared with a loss of 20% in October 1929 and a loss of 23% in October 1987.
And neither the week nor the month are over yet. The market has hardly been on firm ground Wednesday, though stocks are higher. Still, the middling reaction to a barrage of worldwide interest-rate cuts suggests that the selling may not be over. It may feel more like a tumble down the stairs than a jump from an airplane, but the end effect is the same.
Selloffs of this nature feed on themselves. The record 777-point drop last Monday “destabilized the market,” said Lorenzo Di Mattia, manager of hedge fund Sibilla Global Fund. The Chicago Board Options Exchange volatility index, known as the market’s fear gauge because it measures the premiums paid to protect against market swings, is trading at its highest level in its current form, around 58. That gauge dates back to 1990.
Both institutional and retail traders reached a “pain threshold,” said Peter McCorry, senior equity trader at Keefe Bruyette and Woods, where they were unwilling to continue holding stocks so deep in the red.
One hedge fund manager in Chicago said people he knows who trade on their own accounts are throwing in the towel. “A lot of friends of mine say ‘I can’t take it, I’m selling my stocks,’” said Jeffrey Pavlik, head of hedge-fund firm Pavlik Capital Management.
Losses are also likely feeding on themselves because of “stop losses,” or levels where traders automatically sell to limit their down side. Chatter is mounting that clients are demanding cash back from hedge funds, forcing them into the market. Whenever a trader is forced to sell, they do so at a lower price.
Amid uncertainty in their own industry, brokers increased margin requirements, or the amount of capital funds needed to underpin their positions, one hedge fund manager said. For these reasons, many funds may be selling holdings in a hurry.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
From a biblical point of view that is what each of us who follow Christ are to be. I am working on a new project I am calling LifeStewardship Advisors. Though for some that title LifeStewardship may have pro-life connotations I see no problem with that. LifeStewardship Advisors should be men and women with wisdom and a mature and well developed biblical world view that can help others navigate the transitions of life in a meaningful and fulfilling way. LifeStewardship advisors help clients see more clearly who/or who's they are; who they want to be; and what they want to do with their life from a holistic biblical world view.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Once again we are experiencing the impact of the playing out of a cycle in the economy created by the greed that permeates a fallen culture driven by an out-of-control desire for greater wealth and accumulation. The economic crisis of 2008 has many causes but the primary cause is sin. Sin is such an antiquated and difficult word to use in the 'naked public square' without being ridiculed, but it IS the root cause of the woe's of our world including the recent credit crisis.
With a few noted exceptions our entire culture participated in creating the credit crisis. In this decade we have experienced unbelievable spending and consumption while US households actually had a negative savings rate. From Congress and entitlements and stimulus checks (paid for by issuing debt), to the White House and the "off-budget" funding of a war, to credit agencies looking the other way at bundled mortgage backed securities, to neighbors and the under-employed being encouraged to mislead lenders in order to qualify for more debt than they could afford - a good case can be made that The Influence of Affluence in this case is negative - and now the price must be paid. Will we simply borrow more and extend the deadline for debt or will we begin to look with wisdom at this situation?
Although we may not be able to effect change on a macro-economic basis and our White House and Congress may continue to try and fix this problem by more borrowing - the church (that's us individually and corporately) should look upon this crisis with wisdom and speak truth in our words AND how we live. If we refuse to participate in a culture drunk on the desire for more and live as wise stewards we will have a testimony that means something and peace that comes from obedience and a world view that refuses to follow the culture. Reform of culture begins with one person making a decision to follow God and his principles regardless of the culture. Though "The 'End' of Greed" will not come until Christ return economic crisis and times like these give us opportunity to show the Truth to our families, culture and the world.
As James Madison said:
"If men were Angels, we would not need government."
and as my friend Kendall Hewitt said this morning,
"Freedom requires internal government coupled with endless checks and balances. "
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in peace and the confidence that God loves you and cares for you in every area of your life? I long for the day I can walk with God and know and understand His sovereignty over life and our welfare. In the mean time I am convinced my utmost would be an attempt, though a poor one at best, at obedience to those things He has clearly shown me through His word as well as through life and others.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
What is the kingdom of God? In the New Testament alone this phrase is used over 100 times. For the the purposes of this post 'the kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal sovereign God over all creatures and things (Psalms 103:19; Daniel 4:3). The kingdom of God is also the designation for the sphere of salvation entered into at the new birth (John 3:5-7), and is synonymous with the "kingdom of heaven".'
The kingdom as "sphere" or a way of seeing things (world-view) is the one so many of us struggle with. When we are contemplating spending, giving or keeping what we possess we are confronted with our own world-view. Is what we have really ours and does it lead us toward God? I read a great quote last week that said, "Our checkbooks should be read as theological statements of our beliefs."
Perhaps we need to begin, or renew, to consecrate all that we have and will have to God as His possessions and we merely His stewards, or Trustees, for a time? I believe this would eliminate a tremendous amount of anxiety in our lives. This is surely a world-view that leads us toward Him who stores up treasure for His children. Where is our treasure? For sure when we analyze this we get a good view of our heart!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
There is a fun and instructive tool on the web that let's you know where you stand in relation to the rest of the world at http://www.globalrichlist.com/
In light of your findings I offer I Timothy 6:17-19 which says the following:
"As for the rich in this present world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."
Friday, July 18, 2008
Henri Nouwen was a successful university professor, writer, and lecturer. At the height of his career, he left the prestigious world of Harvard to live and work among the mentally handicapped and seriously disabled people at the L'Arche community in Toronto. From the competitive world of the best and brightest, he moved to powerless people of few words, considered marginal to society.
The move changed Nouwen's life.
Living among the poor and powerless, Nouwen rediscovered his true identity.
Christian faith offers a counter-cultural answer to these questions by saying our worth and identity come not from ourselves or what we do, but from God.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus came to the Jordan River to be baptized. "As he came up out of the water, a voice from heaven said, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased' " (Mark 1:11, NRSV).
Before Jesus had said or done anything in his ministry, the heavenly voice said, "You are my Beloved."
Other voices tell us our identity is found in what we do or achieve, but the same voice that spoke to Jesus at his baptism says to each of us: "You are my beloved."
Throughout the Bible, God's voice speaks in many ways, inviting people to live in relationship with The Holy. Isaiah gives us this word from the Lord: "I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you"
(Isaiah 43:3–4). The apostle Paul says that by faith "we are children of God, and if children, then . . . joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:16–17).
Underlying pain and loneliness, compulsive behavior, the need to perform, is the fear that our lives will have no meaning. But identity ultimately is not found in jobs or success, in what we do or accomplish. Our true identity lies in the fact that God says to each of us, "I love you; you are my beloved child."
This gift God offers us, the gift of "belovedness," can change us forever. To hear the voice of the Holy and to live as beloved children of God infuses new meaning into our lives, relationships, and the work we do each day.
Questions for discussion:
Do you ever find that you define yourself solely by what you have done or achieved?
Why do you suppose it is difficult in our culture to have a healthy sense that our true identity comes from God?
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So, our family along with several other families are creating a 'mark,' or 'identity' that will act as a reminder of the blessings and responsibilities of affluence. (This is not a new church or non-profit....I promise...this is simply an exercise, or opportunity to disciple our children and create family unity.)
As you come to Him (Jesus Christ), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In this lifetime exercise, we encourage one another to "be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in His love, as Christ loved us, and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." As "imitators" of Christ we will be offering, hopefully in one more way, as a family, "a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Since most people reading this blog are already givers to their church perhaps New Living Stones can be done through the church or by simply choosing a few ministries you know that are faithfully serving the Lord by ministering to widows, orphans and the poor to help support them financially. Our families giving will be strategic, utilizing collective wisdom from others in our New Living Stones group, and our churches mission's committee, to identify where we know work is being done well and in the name of Christ. I recently heard a great quote, "Social work done in Christ's name becomes Sacred work." I believe this is true.
As an 'identifying mark' and as a witness to our world my family will wear a bracelet(Sort of like Livestrong or the others that have come along) made by hand in the areas we choose to support (Or made in that part of the world). In this we are creating economic development and creating a symbol of solidarity (which kids love!) as well as following a principle of scripture. Deuteronomy 6:8 says of God's law and the principles of communicating a generational and covenantal system of belief, "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes."
And, as a group of followers of Jesus, we do this we may even encourage our brothers and sisters, as well as a world that there is great joy and power in following Jesus. As His children we seek "to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9
The final principle I believe would be a good idea to articulate throughout this process would be that your family, or giving group, wish to see manifest a spirit of generosity, and hopefully this will strengthen, or begin a course of following Jesus in the area of giving of your life and not simply your money.
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
It's not necessary to "join me". I hope you can use this idea as inspiration or as a catalyst to think of ways your family can more clearly identify your calling and mission. I see this as one more opportunity to show the love of Christ within our families, churches, community and the world in a creative and fun way I think our kids might like.
For more information email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or just come back to the blog often.
"A Christian should not follow the crowd, but rather show them the way!" I like that.
Friday, July 4, 2008
In our day as you scan the channels on TV it appears that our country places our greatest value on comfort and financial independence. This is not true of 'everyone' yet many in our culture intentionally order their lives in a way that their lifestyle and financial condition is paramount above all else, therefore risking family and community in order to achieve financial independence. This is in contrast to our Founding Fathers who risked all to throw off a Ruler, or King, they considered a Tyrant.
In the Declaration the founders state:
"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people."
How true! Yet many of us--and at times it appears our entire culture--have willingly submitted to the tyrant of materialism without a fight. Wherever you turn our culture leads us to sell all for the rewards of "wealth, prosperity and independence." Yet, like so many before us, we find we have sold out to a tyrant for something that does not truly exist: peace and happiness apart from a life in Christ.
Paul, in the New Testament, said he willingly made himself a slave for the sake of others unto Christ and in that found his calling and purpose. I guess we are all slaves to something. As we spend our days in our community and our family what are we telling them about who we have chosen to follow? Are we chasing the illusory goal of worldly wealth and prosperity even as we profess our commitment to Christ and His church? Or are we on a journey to Independence from the things and concerns that would keep us from following the One who denied Himself the riches of heaven in order to make us rich?
Perhaps we need a new Declaration of Independence for those who follow Jesus and labor under the burden of affluence? A restatement, or Declaration, that states that we will no longer follow "A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant..." and that we make it our Declaration to follow The Prince who sets men free to Life, Liberty and True Peace and Happiness. God is calling us to follow Him and He has Declared great blessing to those who follow. May it be said of us that we, in our generation, like our Fathers before us "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence... [will] mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." This commitment means we are throwing off all that would hinder us from following Christ so that together we finish the race of life hearing from our Heavenly Master: "Well done good and faithful servant."
Monday, June 30, 2008
God has made us all unique with different gifts and callings on our lives, and I want to encourage you to work on the things you are good at doing and spend much less time on things you are weak in. As we, and our children, develop the callings and skills God has uniquely given us we build confidence and awareness that, though we are unique, He can use us all in His service and no two of us have to look alike.
Spend some time studying your children (old and young!) and encourage them in the things they are already strong and gifted. When a report card comes home with four A's and a C on which do we focus. What do they love that can be built upon as a skill or talent? How can you encourage your family to move towards what they are interested and good at?
Investing a few minutes and a couple of conversations can pay big dividends as young adults grow into adulthood.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I rarely run into anyone who wants to be a 'poor steward,' but I often run into those who are laboring with the big questions alone due to the barriers of wealth or the inability of their spiritual leaders to relate or consult. This blog will be a biblically based resource for those of us who desire wisdom in the area of the money and possessions. There are also several other invaluable resources out there I will highlight as we progress. Feel free to add your two cents or resources you find that should be shared.