Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Infighting over Texas while putting America at risk

Familiarity often breeds contempt in the political realm. I know the familiar Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, is not perfect. I haven't agreed with all of his decisions; but I've agreed more often than not. He has been around a long time having served 6 years as Lt. Governor under George Bush and is going on his 10th year as governor.

Another one of Texas' less-than-perfect politicians is challenging his governorship. At what cost is this challenge from Senator Kay Baylee Hutchinson going to come? Senator Hutchinson has been in office since 1993, a total of 16 years in office. Clearly both candidates have the quality of experience.

My question is this? What is the popular Republican senator willing to risk by running against the popular Republican governor? The senator has the endorsement of Dick Cheney; President Bush' right-hand man. That is ironic considering the governor was previously the President's right-hand man. Governor Perry counters with the endorsement of the ultra-popular Sarah Palin. That endorsement is interesting as the rogue lady from Alaska bucks the notion she should endorse another Republican woman.

At tally time in 2010, the great state of Texas could be minus the services of either of these candidates. How could that happen? Is it possible? It certainly is and much more so thanks in large part to Senator Hutchinson's quest for governorship.

First, by challenging Governor Perry, she is forcing him to spend millions on a primary campaign that could otherwise be saved for the general election. Also, the battle is sure to be heated and neither party is going to look better to their constituents after the messy campaigns. It is very possible, that the big winner of the Perry versus Hutchinson battle is going to be Democratic nominee Bill White.

The Houston mayor is probably not going to get much of a contest from eccentric former independent Kinky Friedman. I still don't think Texas is ready for a governor named Kinky! Mayor White's biggest competition was former President Bush employee, Tom Shieffer, who served as the President of the team for the former owner of the beleaguered franchise. Mr. Shieffer, wisely and very strategically threw his support behind Mayor White. Can the Republicans learn nothing from this show of support within the party?

I am certain that the good senator has Texas' best at heart. Perhaps she knows the governor better than all of us and feels it is time for a change. But seriously, how much is she willing to put on the line for this? If she wins the primary, her seat in the Senate could up for election. Are the republicans certain they win back that seat if she decides to vacate. For now, she has stated she will not vacate the seat, but will she change her mind after winning a primary? Let's hope not.

At any rate, instead of 4 more years of Rick Perry and a Republican in Texas' U.S. Senate seat; we could end up with 4 years of left-of-center Bill White and a big question mark in the Senate.

While I'd gladly support term limits in congress and the Texas governorship, I prefer the safety of the status quo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wrestling Against the Powers of this World

The shooting at Fort Hood has made America sick to their collective stomach. It's not the first of its kind either. I am sick of the media and the military blaming this on stress or traumatic emotional damage. This was a cold, calculated, planned attack on Americans. This was suicidal treason for religious and political reasons.

I'm not going to rehash everything you've already heard and read about this story, but did you notice the uncanny timing. I was watching C-SPAN because I couldn't take the mainstream media's presentation of the tragedy. Guess what was on C-SPAN? They were showing a taped recording from an event held on Capitol Hill earlier in the day. Thousands of folks had gathered in Washington D.C. on the steps of the Capitol to stand against the House voting passage of Nancy Pelosi's health care bill. There were dozens of speakers from the Senate, House, and conservative media to encourage folks to make a last ditch effort to stop this horrendous monstrosity. They had a copy of the bill on the podium and it was 2 feet thick!!! It makes War and Peace look like a comic book. It imposes a $250,000 fine for NOT accepting government health care; does that sound like freedom? While this effort to get Americans to call their congressional representatives and provide their opinions of this bill was proceeding; a mass murderer was carrying out his insidious plan.

Normally, thousands of people gathered on the steps of Capitol Hill is newsworthy, but on this day it was not. A dark cloud quickly overshadowed any attention this media event would have normally received. If I hadn't of stumbled upon C-SPAN's coverage of it, I would never had known. The planning was for this event was obviously extensive as the list of speakers included Mike Pence, Michelle Bachman, Mark Levine, and many others. The crowd at the event appeared very large although it was difficult to tell from the camera angles provided.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I do not believe there was some super secret connection between Nancy Pelosi's legislative efforts and the timing of the terrorist attack on Fort Hood. Yelling "Allah Akbar" while shooting dozens of unarmed men and women is called "terrorism". From what I've seen, the media seems to have forgotten this; even Fox News.

So where is the connection, if any? Some of you are going to think I'm nuts, but I'm going to connect the dots for you. Abortion is the missing link.

Who has the most to gain from the passage of Pelosi's "healthcare" plan: the insurance companies, AMA, ACORN, AARP, illegals, the unemployed, China, the Democratic Party? How about none of the above. The one person with the most to gain is Satan. He has a murderous agenda that is carried out with each and every abortion. He has masterminded the killing of innocent children throughout all of history and he would love to see a system that makes abortions free.

I believe he pulled the strings on his puppet to murder Americans in an effort to overshadow any negative news coverage that the Pelosi bill would have gotten otherwise. Without the killing spree, the Conservatives are the lead story speaking out on Capital Hill. I'm sure MSNBC would have made fun of them and found (or hired) some lunatic dressed as a Nazi to be the centerpiece of their coverage; but at least it would have been on the news.

So what happened? The bill passed.

Once again, we are reminded that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against forces and powers of a supernatural element in this world. You may choose to think I'm crazy or that it was just a coincidence; but I do not believe in such things. We are in the midst of a massive war for all of the marbles! The good news is that the good guys have already won. You need to choose sides if you have not already done so. By the way, there is no Switzerland in this war.

Satan is tricky, but his Foe is wise, all-wise. Satan is intelligent, but his Creator is all-knowing. He never stood a chance opposing God.

Despite the passage of the bill, a group of staunch pro-life supporters were able to corner Nancy Pelosi into putting forth a vote to remove funded abortions from the bill. So for now, despite lack of media coverage; abortions will not be funded by this ridiculous government take-over of your health and wealth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finders Seekers, Others Weepers

Jesus said, "Seek and you will find". Find what? Seek who?

The answer must be God or more specifically, the "Kingdom of God".

I've heard so many people say, "all religions lead to God" or "every religion is trying to find God in their own way". Are all religions simply different methods of seeking God? If that is the case, then according to Jesus, every religion will find God. Isn't that great news! It doesn't matter WHAT you believe, just stay in our own path and eventually you will get to meet your Maker.

It should be pointing out that almost immediately after Jesus stated, "seek and you will find"; He also said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (read Matthew 7). That certainly does not give you the same warm and fuzzy feeling about your path.

Is it possible that every religion is simply a different "narrow path"? If that is the case, then who are the "many" travelling on the wide road?

By the way, do you know what happens when you put a true Christian, a Muslim, a Mormon, and an atheist in the same room? I do! The Christian gets outnumbered 3 to 1 and ridiculed mercilessly. Meanwhile the other 3 don't have any issues with each other. Don't believe me. Ask my wife. She is the true Christian by the way. Why do the other 3 get along so well? They are on the same road!

How do you reconcile all of those well-meaning religions seeking God and Jesus' statements. Did Jesus contradict Himself? Is this an example of logical fallacy in the Scriptures? How can these religions fulfill Jesus' promise of finding while also going down a broad road that leads to destruction?

I would argue this: Jesus did not teach that all religions lead to God, nor did He teach that every religion is a different way of seeking God. John 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.

Here is the truth. Those who find God and His Kingdom, go through Jesus Christ to do so. There is true religion and there is false religion: that is all. True religion includes true seekers on the narrow road. False religion includes those on the broad road, but they are NOT seeking God.

If you are really seeking God; He knows it. No man is capable of judging the intent of the human heart with regard to spiritual inclination, but God can do it in His sleep. Of course God doesn't sleep, stay on task here!

All religions, with respect to the one true religion of Jesus Christ, are not separate attempts to find God. They are similar efforts to avoid God. Whether you go to a church or not; whether you are atheist, deist, polytheist, monotheist, or satanist; there is seeking God and there is NOT seeking God. Only God and the individual know the difference.

Was Eve seeking God when she bit into the forbidden fruit? No, she was seeking knowledge and power. Churches are filled every Sunday with people looking for fig leaves to cover their nakedness instead of the Lamb of God to take away their sin. They seek fig leaves of acceptance and tolerance. God is not tolerant! "He will in no wise clear the guilty."

God will not clear us, but he will forgive us if we accept the payment He provided for our sin. When God found Adam and Eve hiding after they had disobeyed Him, He pointed to the "Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world". There has always been only one way to God and that is through Jesus.

God laid on Him the iniquity of us all. For all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. Whoever believes on Jesus will not perish, but have everlasting life! He did not come to condemn us, He came because we already were. In Adam, death passed upon all men; but in Christ we can be made righteous.

Every world religion seeks to get around God's revealed plan of salvation. They are NOT seeking God, they are running away from Him.

Atheists deny God's existence. God calls them fools.

Muslims invented a god of hate to replace the true God of Love.

Mormons make God a man, and think they will become God. I think Lucifer thought of that first. It didn't really work out for him.

Catholics think they are getting into Heaven because they are "Catholic". "Oh, you are a Catholic? Well why didn't you say so; come on in!"

No one is exempt from having to trust in Jesus.

What about those people in the deep dark jungles who have never heard of Jesus? Heard that one before? I'm not the Judge and I can't speak for Him, but He did say, "If you seek, you will find". How many stories of missionaries have you heard where they get to the field and the people praise God declaring, "We were praying for you to come!".

Don't let any religion, philosophy, person, plight, or power keep you from truly seeking God. If you can get to a Bible, read it. When you are done, read it again; I bet you missed a few things! God wrote the Bible in a common everyday language. It is not hard to understand. If you feel like you've run into a door seeking God, knock and it will open. If you lack faith, ask for it and He will give it to you.

See you on the narrow road.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Subtle Serpent

I have a question and would like feedback from all of my theological peers and mentors.

Was the serpent able to talk before the fall or was it a supernatural enabling similar to Balaam's donkey speaking audibly?

In its current design, a snake's mouth really isn't physically capable of producing human speech is it? I'm not a 100% sure on that, but I'd be surprised if it could. I guess I should have asked my biological peers and mentors that one. Wait, I don't have any. You folks will have to do.

Eve does not seem alarmed at the speech. Could conditions have really been that much different prior to man's disobedience to God? I know behavior was certainly modified, but were anatomical alterations made by the Creator?

I'm all ears....or eyes, kind of like a house fly.

Of the People, For the People, and By the People

To what extent are we as Christian citizens of the United States of America supposed to be submissive to government authority? My question stated this way would lead Bible Thumpers to Romans 13. I love Bible Thumpers by the way: I'm trying to be one!

What if I asked a different question? What is the role of the Christian in the government of the United States of America? The first question presupposes that the Christian is separate and apart from the government authority unto which one is submitting. The second question does not contain this presupposition.

If we lived in a monarchy, a communist state, a fascist state, or any other form of government other than ours; then we would be bound to submit. But what about a government of the people? What about one by the people and for the people? Lincoln stated that our founding fathers envisioned a new kind of government based on the "proposition that all men are created equal".

How does the vision of our founding fathers affect the Christian's responsibility in light of Romans 13?

In his farewell address, George Washington stated, "The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government."

He continues, "All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community, and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests."

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Did George Washington have Proverbs 29 in mind when he said this...

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness – these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, "where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?" And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Romans 13 teaches that everyone is expected to be subject to the government authority in their life. God ordained the entity of government. That does not mean every government acts in accordance with God's designs. God invented parents as well; and how many poor parents do you know? Paul makes it clear that poor governing is no excuse for an individual Christian to revolt.

Why can't I revolt? Submission is part of the Christ-like life. If you study the American War for Independence; you will find that Americans were very submissive and respectful. King George attacked us, not the other way around. The Americans had every right to form a "more perfect union" and as a formal government cast off the shackles of the English monarchy. They made every attempt to do this in a peaceful manner, but were forced into a war for their very survival.

Paul knew something about stubborn monarchs. He dealt with the likes of Emperor Nero (a.k.a world's craziest emperor ever!)

Christians have a higher purpose in life than forming a perfect government to rule; however, that holy calling does not preclude a responsibility to govern as God would govern. If we are really in charge, then we are the government! It is "of the people", so if we fail to govern as God would govern; then we are failing in our God ordained responsibility.

In America, it could be argued that failure to vote and get involved in the political process is actually failing to submit to the government. "I'm not going to vote, because it doesn't matter anyway" is a rebellious attitude that causes the American governmental system to break down. It is, after all, a government of the people.

So how is your government doing?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Modern Day Prophets of Baal

In God We Trust. It's on our money, but is it in our hearts?

There is a great story in the Bible featuring a really tough old dude named Elijah. Imagine a guy who acts like John Wayne and looks like Mongo. If you don't know who Mongo is, then think big and hairy. How can you NOT know who Mongo is? Elijah goes to battle against 450 men. Not a physical fight to the death, but a spiritual fight to the death. The battle is actually between El Shaddai and Baal, respectively represented by Elijah versus the 450. Seems like a mismatch, but not in the way you think. You see, this battle really is a mismatch of incalculable proportions. The Deity who created all and is all powerful versus an imaginary person. I can just see the WWF advertisement: "SMACKDOWN! Hulk Hogan versus little Timmy's imaginary friend!!!"

Regardless of the truth, Elijah had to feel outnumbered physically even if he had the decided spiritual advantage. How often do you find yourself in the same situation? The visible circumstances of life seem to cloud the reality of the situation. The God of the universe has revealed Himself as "The Lord who provides" (a.k.a. El Shaddai) and has promised to go with us through any valley as the Lord our Shepherd. If that is the truth, then why are there more Elijahs running scared than facing off against the Baal-worshipping loons.

I've talked with many Christians and I keep hearing the same theme -- our country and our world is messed up! Many believers feel overwhelmed by the opposition. Honestly, I don't think this is anything new or that believers face more extreme opposition than those in the past. Christianity has always been opposed by the enemy and by his prophets of Baal. Christians are up against formidible foes such as crime, violence, drugs, abortion, hedonism, unbelief, false teaching, sexual perversions, and various other examples of sinful behavior. Apparently Paul witnessed the same kind of wickedness in his day and records that it was nothing new then.

Romans 1:21-32 Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is shameful, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was fitting. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not proper; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It is important to note that we are not alone in this struggle. Elijah felt all alone. It is common for Christian leaders to feel alone. That is one major reason so many fall victim to the very sins they despise. Facing off against the modern day prophets of Baal is not for the feint of heart. On the other hand, you don't have to be big and hairy either. I believe Paul has the answer in Romans 1 to prevent any person from cooking up this "recipe for paganism"? Know God. Glorify God. Thank God.

Who are these modern prophets of Baal? Where do I start? How about the fools who want to remove God from any public displays? The Freedom from Religion Foundation is suing to prevent our nation's motto, "In God we trust" and the pledge of allegiance (at least the "under God" part) from being engraved into public displays. Think they will regret that decisions one day? Let's encourage them to know God, glorify God, and thank God. How? Compel, convince, reason, proclaim and live the truth, preach the gospel, teach, intercede, lead, mentor, and above all love.

An integral part of Baal worship was child sacrifice. This is common among ancient pagan religions. We've come so far in our modern society! Instead of "sacrificing" our unwanted children to appease the gods, we attempt to prevent them from being born. As if killing them before they are born is somehow more humane! Instead of immitating the mentally sick by shooting abortion doctors, let's encourage them to know God, glorify God, and thank God.

Who was this Baal character anyway? What was he supposed to do? Baal's alter ego was "god of rain". The Canaanites trusted him to provide rain for their crops. Israel fell in love with the religion of Baal, so that is why he had such a following during Elijah's life. God punished the Israelites for worshipping Baal by - this is so cool - holding rain hostage for seven years. Not until after Baal's crushing defeat on Mount Carmel did God release the rain. When He did everyone knew it was from El Shaddai, the Lord Who provides, and not the rain god, Baal.

Times are getting tougher. People are losing their jobs. The golden age of prosperity in America may be coming to end or it may just be a slump; but people are worried. Where is our faith? Is it in the God who provides or something as helpless as Baal? A lot of folks are refusing to trust in God, they are refusing to know Him, glorify Him, or thank Him. Romans 1 gives us a clear picture of what their lives are like.

What about you? Are you going to trust in God? We are on the mountain; Elijah is mocking the prophets of Baal. They are cutting themselves trying to get their rain god to do something. Are you going to stand with Elijah and call out to the One True God for rain?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Barbara Boxer boxing the black view

WOW! Trying to call out the thought police backfires on Barbara Boxer. This says a lot of about how racist some members of congress have become. Isn't she advocating a "slavery" of black ideas by her actions. I think she was trying to make this black man look stupid because his view was in the "minority". It is emboldening to witness a man or woman rejecting the chains to this form of thought control and demanding that their ideas be heard and valued. Click below to watch.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

New articles coming soon!

I have several articles in the works that are festering in my mind. You might ask if mean fermenting. Strangely enough, I meant to use festering because many of my friends are offended by the use of alchohol. However, a pus-filled bacterial infection does not offend nearly as many. Since society has determined it morally responsible to offend as few people as possible - the obvious exception being the Christian white male (a.k.a. society's cockroaches) - I have chosen to use the term fester. I'll pop the brain zit in a few days so you will be able to enjoy the product.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaders Who Disappoint Us

Well all of the details are supposedly out and it looks like another politician will be crippled politically, but remain in office. I'm not sure how these people keep their positions after such disgraceful behavior!

The Bible is full of men who have acted just as shamefully. David cheated and murdered the faithful husband of his mistress -- and did not resign. Father Abraham had many sons and one was the product of an ungodly relationship with his wife's servant. The "wisest" leader who ever lived had 300 "mistresses" with whom to be unfaithful to his 700 wives. President Clinton has nothing on King Solomon!

Politicians and preachers have been getting caught for as long as I can remember. Why? Why so many lately? For one, they are getting caught more often. Second, the media has no problem exposing them to society these days. In prior years, a scandal would be kept quiet to preserve the people's respect for leadership. That was when integrity meant something. A handshake was preferred to a roomful of lawyers and piles of fine print. Baseball players didn't cheat. Oh, come on! Let me at least have 755 "honest" Homering Hank homers! ...sigh, you're right - he probably did cheat.

You may have guessed which politician I am talking about who has recently disgraced those he represents. Whatever anyone thought about this person before this story broke is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

If you are thinking that Portland deserves better, than I could not agree with your more! The good people of that city deserve much better than a pedophile for a mayor. I think we still call men who admit to "making out" with 17 year old boys "pedophiles" in this country. I hope we do any way. The attorney general dropped the case against Sam Adams this week and will not pursue bringing him to trial. So, he remains in office. He remains an outspoken homosexual activist who claims his 2 year sexual affair with the boy only began after he turned 18. Whatever! If you believe that; then you incredibly gullible.

Some of you are trying to figure out who I'm talking about and why I didn't mention Mark Sanford who is all over the news right now.

For some reason, the news media finds it more "news" worthy to tell you all about a right-wing Republican governor (admittedly, that does outrank mayor) who admitted to cheating on his wife. They have been nearly silent on the "less-evil?" "less-interesting?" Portland politician: the leftist gay activist pedophile mayor Sam Adams.

Last week all we heard about was the Republican senator who cheated and this week the GOP is getting preached to by the left about Sanford!

Why does the left only think cheating on your wife is wrong when a Christian or a Republican do it? Cheating on your wife is wrong. It doesn't matter it you've got "Killed giant named Goliath" on your resume or if you are a greeter at Wal-mart. It doesn't matter if you are a fun-loving, jovial, McDonald's-hamburger-eating, lying-to-America's-face president or if you are a governor who lied about where he was going to disguise his affair. Adultery is adultery!

"Fireproof" is a movie with a great message for husbands and wives concerning adultery and not giving in to it. I am reminded of the liberal movie critics who hated the movie, bashing it's moral preachiness. Their opinion was that the movie was ruined by keeping the marriage alive in the story. One critic I read, went so far as to state that the adulterous affair was his prefered path for the characters involved to pursue. You can read Michael Hardy's critique of Fireproof here.

Being a pastor and knowing some who have fallen in similar fashion as the recently caught Republicans doesn't prevent me from being disheartened each time it happens. I just wanted to shine a little light on the sins of those eagerly throwing stones.

The expression of their faces bears witness against them,
And they display their sin like Sodom;
They do not even conceal it!
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.

Isaiah 3:9 (NASB)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Big Government vs Big Corporation

Whom do you fear? Are you afraid of a government so powerful that the individual has relatively no power to effect change in society? Are you afraid of giant corporations with massive amounts of wealth that can effectively do what they wish in society? You may say both! I've been thinking about this a lot and I hope my thoughts provide some value to you.

It seems that politicians and political pundits are preying upon the fears of citizens these days. I hear so much about how dangerous our government is; but then I hear others speak of regulating and limited the power of the filthy rich businesses. TV shows and movies often cast these powers as the "evil" influence behind the antagonists of their stories. Stated accurately by someone: "absolute power corrupts absolutely". Perhaps hollywood is correct that we should fear these behemoths of power and money.

Conspiracy theories seem to always point to these powers as the villians: evil people with too much power and too much money. Perhaps the crazies are on to something!

Remember the "NO FEAR!" t-shirts? I think those things quit selling after 9/11. Correct me if I'm wrong on that. Perhaps I should start selling, "I'm afraid" t-shirts. Hmmmm. Please place your order in comment and paypal me your $19.95.

The division among the people afraid of the bigs is startling to me. Those scared to death of Big Oil, the mighty Microsoft, and giant GE have no trouble granting unlimited power to politicians with equally troubling moral compasses. Conversely, those who fear politicians are going to ruin society by enacting troubling policies, making unwise decisions, and behaving in an unethically corrupt manner do not have any trouble allowing giant corporations to plunder an unsuspecting people. Perhaps the little man has no chance after all.

"Since when is being selfish considered a virtue?" was an often aired quote of President Obama while on the campaign trail. He has made no qualms about where he falls on this issue. His actions demonstrate we have less to fear from big government than we do from big business. Many are arguing - and I believe correctly- for the limiting of government power and control. "Power needs to be put back into the private sector" is the argument. Free market capitalism seeks to limit the government and empowers successful businesses.

Big corporations flourished in the 90's and into the new millinium the sky seemed to be the limit. Well the sky wasn't the limit and the old adage of "what goes up must come down" applies to the economy as well as apples. Big business made some big mistakes and big government has taken advantage to become even bigger. Even still there are some mighty companies with huge piles of money (most if it being devalued as I type by the way), and plenty of people afraid of their power.

Should we be afraid of either of these entities? I don't believe so and I'm going to try and live my life free of the fear of either. I'm not putting blinders on to their greed, corruption, immorality, unethical bevavior, and etc; but I'm not going to let them bully me either. To be honest, I have to say I'm more inclined to fear big government because I think I have less control over them. Corporate power seems to fluctuate and I can always stop buying their product if I desire. Even with this inclination, I am determined to fear neither.

Here is why.

Psalms 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare: but whosoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

That seems to sum it up just fine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Keys to Victory in Super Bowl of Life

I had fun preaching this a few years ago and thought I would put in on the blog.

Keys to Victory in the Super Bowl of Life

Psalms 98:1

O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

Introduction: Many people are predicting that Peyton Manning’s golden arm is going to secure his team a victory in tonight’s Super Bowl. Others are sure that the Bears defense will be the difference they need.

I wanted to give you a very special Super Bowl message this evening. Tonight I’m going to give you 6 keys to victory in the Super Bowl of life. The good news is that there are no commercial interruptions. The bad news is that we will not be serving refreshments during the game. I hope that this message reminds you of the keys to victory in your life. Unlike the game being played in Florida tonight between the Colts and Bears that everyone will forget sooner than those players realize, the game of life you and I are in is for real. The consequences of tonight’s Super Bowl are minimal compared to the consequences of your life.

Having established the importance of the game we are involved in, please consider these keys to victory.

I. You need a consistent running attack.

Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

A. You have to keep running even when it seems like your not gaining ground.

B. You have to remember the game is not one play.

C. You have to keep the goal line in focus at all times.

Philippians 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

II. You need to have a solid defense.

Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

A. Prepare for an aggressive attack against your team.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

B. Stand firm against the swelling tide of opposition.

Ephesians 6:13-14 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

C. Never give up even when things look bad for the team.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

III. You need to limit mental mistakes.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A. Guard your thoughts during the game.

Mark 14:38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

B. Concentrate on the goal.

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

C. Put in the necessary preparation for the game.

IV. You cannot fumble opportunities away.

A. To witness for Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

B. To serve the Lord.

Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

C. To be a blessing.

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

V. You must memorize the playbook.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

A. The plays are perfectly designed.

Psalms 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

B. The plays in it will work.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

C. The plays must be practiced often.

Repetition is the key to success in executing a spiritual game plan.

Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

VI. You have to listen to the coach.

A. He has devised a winning strategy.

1. It only needs to be executed as directed.

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

B. He is guiding us to victory.

1. He has guaranteed victory for His team.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

C. He can be trusted without wavering.

1. He will not ask you to do something you are not able to do.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Conclusion: Now go out there and win!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

Five years ago I didn't know anything about politics.  I voted Republican because I am vehemently opposed to abortion.  "The Prophet", a novel by Frank Peretti, woke me up to this issue.  Something happened during the 2008 Republican primaries that caused me to pay attention to politics as I had never done before.  I think it was the combination of buying my first house, our 3 children all getting older, and pastoring a small church that finally forced me into the murky waters.  

Five years ago I couldn't stand watching the news.  I wouldn't read an editorial if you paid me to do it.  I might force myself to listen to Rush Limbaugh occasionally on the radio; but I would get bored quick.  

Five years ago I lived in the most powerful nation on earth.  I had confidence in the president; although I must admit, I wasn't paying all that close attention.  I felt relatively safe for my family.  Financial peace was within the horizon.  

Five years ago there were rumors of a collapse of America's financial and industrial strength, but I refused to live in fear of a day that may or may not come.  I wasn't heavily invested in the stock market and had a secure income, thus my lack of concern.

Today I'm very much into politics and observant.  I watch Fox news. I read editorials every day.  I still don't listen to Rush, because I don't think his show is that interesting.  I prefer the other conservative radio talk shows.  I read my Christian Law Association letters faithfully.  I subscribe to several other Christian legal alerts.  I pay attention to how my congressmen vote and let them know my opinions. 

Today I'm worried about our country's future.  I'm not worried about my future, but I'm worried about my kids.  They deserve the freedom and opportunity I took for granted.  I want them to aspire to be great and have a shot at succeeding.  

Today I am more informed, but with that information comes unwelcome baggage.  Fear, anxiety, righteous anger, disgust, and the occasional fit have replaced my apathy, ignorance, tranquility, and peaceful bliss.  That is an exaggeration, but it really isn't that far from the truth.

Today I need the Joy of the Lord.  Today it is a necessity; whereas, five years ago it was a perk of my faith in Christ.  My bonus has become my bread and butter.  

Tomorrow is for my children and for yours.  I will teach them Nehemiah 8:10.  I will tell them the stories of the Bible.  Stories of God saving the day, rescuing His people, and extending mercy to those who cry out for it.  

I don't know if my children will grow up in the same kind of country that I grew up in, but I do know the Joy of the Lord will be their strength.  All other sources of strength are fleeting, false, and feeble.  

Don't look to Rush, Obama, or Ralph Nader (if you prefer) to bring you Joy.  Look to the Savior of all mankind, the only true source of Joy - indescribable Joy, real Joy, Strong Joy.

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  Nehemiah 8:10

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Foiled Terror Attack on New York

"Odd said the duck, very odd."  

You have to have read one of my kids books called Duckat to understand that. It is well worth the 2 minutes!

A few days ago the FBI saved the day by foiling a plot by terrorists to blow up synagogues and shoot down military planes.  Wow!  Awesome work!  Thank you to all the men and women who are to credit for taking these 4 terrorists down.

Ironically, on that same day our President gave a speech.  I don't care to comment on everything else he said - maybe later.  One thing he did say was that he planned to move the 240 "detainees" in Gitmo (I can't spell the long name) to prisons in the U.S.  What is wrong with that idea many rightfully ask?

The 4 terrorists that tried to attack New York City were radical muslims, but they were homegrown.  They were recruited in our prison systems to do this evil - YES I CALLED IT EVIL! SHOOTING DOWN MILITARY PLANES IN AN EFFORT TO CRASH THEM IN CROWED NEW YORK STREETS IS EVIL!  

This caused me to ponder at the thought of the 240 "detainees" being thrust into our prison system with all of the worst sorts of people America has produced.  Whether or not any of the 240 ever see the light of day is besides the point, they will be given the "opportunity" to recruit more Americans who will eventually be released into society.  How many more homegrown radical muslims will we have to worry about in the future.

Did anyone hear the president mention the foiled attack?  I'm fairly certain he was briefed on it by the time his speech was finalized.  

Did the president mention in his speech that part of his "new" plan to fight terrorism was to cut funding by 40%  for the very people that stopped this attack.  The Department of Homeland Security is apparently having budget problems, so the next attack on New York will have to be stopped by fewer people and less money.

We can afford to spend billions on GM, but not a few million to stop terrorists.  

"Odd said the duck, very odd."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who gets the money?

It's a familiar story.  3 business men. 1 business owner.  2 business models.  

You can find the story in Matthew 25:14-30.

To summarize the parable: an rich investor gave 3 men a certain portion of his wealth entrusting them to invest it wisely and turn a profit.  He trusted one of the businessmen with a large portion - let us pretend is was equal to $5000.  To another he entrusted $2000 and a third man received $1000.  

Two of the men put their money to work and by the time the investor returned; they had doubled their stacks of cash.  The poorest of the businessmen who received the smallest portion of the investor's capital did not make any profit.  He was terrified of losing the investors money and too afraid to start a company using the capital,  invest the cash or even put it in a money market account!  

What was the reaction of the rich investor?  He was very pleased with the first two!  He was so pleased, he offered them full-time permanent positions within his company.  He told them he was going to give them more money to see what else they could do now that they had earned his trust.  

Now when the third man showed up bearing the crisp (albeit a little dirty) $1000, the investor's countenance changed.  His smile was turned upside down and the steam began to pour out of his ears.  After going on a justified tirade, he stripped the man of his venture and declared in his best Donald Trump voice, "You're Fired!"  

Pay particular notice to what he does with the resurrected grand!  The guy with the MOST gets it.  What?!?!  

To be perfectly honest, when I was younger I thought the man with $4000 was getting cheated.  I convinced myself that the wealthy investor was not kind and if he had been the money would have gone to the rightfully deserving hard-worker with less.  Challenging our notions of how God should run His world is something Jesus does with style.

Why did Jesus' fictitious Mr. Trump put his previously uninvested funds into the portfolio of the new star of his enterprise?  Granted, the wording of my question gives the answer away.  The wealthy man rewarded the one man he obviously trusted the most.   This man did not get rich by being careless with his cash.   One might argue that the man who started with less, did just as well percentage-wise with his portion.  Yes he did!  But, why did he get less in the first place?  Why did one man get 62.5% from the owner?  He trusted him the most.

Now I do not believe that the point of Matthew 25:14-30 is to teach investment strategies.  Jesus was making a much more important point about His own return to earth in the future.  A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  I'm drawing my conclusions from the earthly story part, not the heavenly meaning.

Jesus' parable is illustrative of how He thought economically.  Seeking a suitable illustration, he chose this one because his audience would easily connect to it and understand His heavenly meaning.  In Jesus mind the expected behaviour of a business owner would be to be careful with his investments, reward those employees who performed well, and fire those who did not.

Let us change the story for the sake of argument.  Remove Mr. Trump from the story and plug in President Obama.  Who gets the money?

Our story is probably much different utilizing a spread the wealth economic model.   In fact, Jesus' "heavenly truth" goes out the window, but that is beside the point.  Our characters probably will receive a different sum under this different economy.  We would also see an entirely different outcome as well.  

Look at the numbers in Jesus' version.  $8,000 given to 3 stewards reaped $7,000 in profits with the "unprofitable" steward being fired - he gets no additional funds and loses what he was given. The portfolio looks strong with 2 profitable stewards of $15,000 plus the pending additional investments.  A bright outlook for the business owner and his two new partners.   As for the fellow on the outs; let us hope that after a period of wailing and gnashing his teeth he is able to learn his hard lesson and become profitable elsewhere.

Now let's imagine Obama's version.  $8,000 invested equally among the same 3 stewards would not reap as much.  Why?  We have a slacker in the mix.  With each getting $2,667 we would hope to get %100 return from the hard-working business men.  That means the $8,000 invested is going to reap $5,334 in profits thanks to the efforts of two men.  Now what is Obama going to say when he is given his results?  "Well Done!"  So we have 2 men with $5,334 in their portfolios and 1 with $2,667 (just what he started out with).  Obama would then presumably take from the richer men and "help" out the one lagging behind.  After all, "Since when is selfishness a virtue?" (Obama, 2008 presidential campaign)

Obama's company now has a total of $13,335, which is $1,665 less than Jesus' company.  But that is not where the most money is lost!  It is lost in the ensuing investment cycles.  The man who contributed nothing to the profit margin has no incentive to work hard in the next cycle.  And worse, the men who contributed all of the profit have LOST their incentive to contribute.  What is going to happen is that the two hard-workers will leave for greener pastures and Obama's company is being run by Timothy Geithner.  

I'm not trying to pick on the President, but he is the face right now of redistributionism.  Jesus' simple parable should help us to see the wisdom of the wealthy man in His story.  The rich man is after all, God.  The wealthy man was acting on sound business practices.  

This practicality and wisdom provided the character Jesus needed to convey a deeper spiritual truth.  That truth is that one day Jesus will return to earth.  Jesus has invested everything in His followers.  Those followers will not all be faithful to produce a return on Jesus' investment.   Some will bury the truth of the gospel and thus angering their Lord upon His return.  Some will let their light shine and spread the gospel (the real wealth!) to many; thus pleasing Jesus immensely.  He will be so pleased that rewards will be granted to those faithful followers; He will also grant them higher honor and service in His Kingdom.  

Jesus and Obama's economics are very different.  Both Jesus' earthly story and his heavenly truth teach incentivised labor; while our hypothetical company attempts to appease everyone ultimately rewarding failure.

As good stewards, let's redistribute the good news of Jesus Christ and invest His money wisely.  The world will be off in Jesus' economy.  God Bless America.