Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Think We Dodged That First Bullet

"Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.  Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever." - Vladimir Lenin 

We have a newly elected leader, democratically elected by the citizens of the United States.  There are so many things that we could talk about, most of which have been discussed to bits, but I want to talk about something at which I believe we should seriously take a closer look.

These political demonstrations are showing us all something.  NOT that we have a great divide, much unrest, and a group of improvident young people, although we do have these things.  I suppose you can even chalk up the level of intensity to the great divide in ideologies, but let's look underneath.

Here, we have a group of people, products, Bolsheviks if you will; indoctrinated from the day care through twelve years of public school and then segregated into a college system that is rife with liberal divisiveness and anti-American, anti-white, anti-everything-you've-grown-up-with sentiments, who are steeped in the credo of the system, and are now despondent at the prospects of having to face defeat in the real world.  Their teachers and professors and the prophets of their dogma have left them nothing: no explanations, no alternative views, no "next step," no stability.

Everyone wants to sort of excuse them due to their lack of understanding, their immaturity, their young idealism, and the fact that they honestly feel abandoned, or orphaned in the wake of this upset, but are they leaderless?


Did you know that these 'organic, spontaneous demonstrators' were bused in with fleets of buses?  Did these idealistic and passionate youth 'spontaneously' rent these buses?  No, in fact, they 'spontaneously' answered ads on twitter and other social media  to show up at these things, and were transported by these buses, right into the middle of it.

How about this: Why is the BM (aka: the Big Media) coverage about this particular group so salient?  Are the youth the only important people?  Are college campuses the only places where one's opinions are important?  Are these beautiful ones, these urbane and au courant people the only newsworthy group?  No.  The news herd has been told to be there, that something is about to take place.  By whom were they told?

These nameless leaders are now inciting these demonstrators to call for the deaths of other citizen human beings, calling for the deaths of those who simply disagree, calling for the deaths of others because they didn't get their own way.  CALLING FOR THEIR DEATH.  Allow that to register for a minute.  Indoctrinated American citizens are mindlessly, obediently taking up the call.

Who's calling these instructions to these pitiable, comfortless, ignorant, "leaderless" young people?

Big money.  Big political establishment sources and big globalist sources are paying big bucks to foment this hysteria and these increasingly hostile "demonstrations."

We should be considering something far more sinister than just this veneer: this thin little covering of young people venting their sense of abandonment by demonstrating.  There are people seeded into these crowds to fan the flames of discontent, paid for by money from seditious sources who have agendas: plans for a desired outcome.

I'm no scholar, but I'd wager that great empires have been toppled and terrible things have begun in this way.  Little Jimmy and Little Sally's immaturity and lack of self control is gross and embarrassing, but far more than that.  It is a distraction from the real issue and a vehicle for the furtherance of their agenda.  They are just a convenient channel for power mongers to exploit.

My best advice is to maintain a heightened level of attentiveness, personal DEFCON level 4.  I think they just tipped their hand again.  Stay vigilant, friends.
Just my 2.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


(I originally had a picture here of six prosperity preachers and their annual incomes with some harsh criticisms and accusations thrown in at the end.  Somehow, the picture disappeared and the post doesn't make much sense if you can't see the photo.  I'll see if I can find it again.  This picture is a substitute.  Meanwhile, it should be understood that the idea was to paint a bunch of people as heretics and liars.  I *think* it was Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer and one other that I can't remember.)

SHAME!  I really hate this.  Please READ what I have to say.  I'm sorry it's long.  I'm just SO sick of this sort of thing.  THINK, people.  Think for yourselves.  READ your Bibles yourselves, not just the parts that your favorite preacher reads to you.  READ THE WHOLE THING.

We don't know these people or their lives, what they do or think, what their callings are or their relationship to God.  YOU DO NOT KNOW.  No matter what you think you know, YOU DON'T KNOW.  I've followed some and not others, I made a point to listen to them (and others) purposely to "catch them" in their great misdeeds, and you know what?  I never heard any of them say anything heretical when heard in context, except for maybe T.D. Jakes, who said some things I found questionable, but I'd give him another listen before I judged him so harshly.  

I'm the first to say I don't agree with all they say, but perhaps their calling is far different from mine.  I certainly don't have the heavy burden of that kind of responsibility to carry around, a blessing for which I am thankful.  They glorify Jesus and name him ONLY as  Savior and Lord, every time, without fail. Can we not disagree with the point by point stuff?   Maybe, just maybe there are things we don't understand.  If I were studying to be a bus driver everything I would learn from a culinary school would be foolishness to me.  Just go back to your driver's training and leave the cooks alone.  Let them do what they are here to do.

Where is that mercy and grace that we're always talking about?  Their FRUIT is what we are to judge them by, not their money, not the press, not video snippets, not what a bunch of do-nothing armchair critics have to say, not what other preachers have to say.  I'm FAR more suspect of a preacher who would use his very pulpit to point fingers and call out others by name.  They feign mercy to outsiders and crucify their own over matters of money.

I can tell you three of them (probably all six) give things away all the time.  Their charitable outreach is enormous.  Partner gifts without donations are common among them.  Some of them don't ask for money but to say pray about it, and then if you feel led to give they will receive it, but not to let it diminish your tithes and offerings to your own churches.  I have HEARD them.  I sat through hours of sermons just to be sure I wasn't getting things out of context or missing anything.  (Jakes is an exception.  I heard him say some things I didn't think were good, but, as I said,  I didn't listen long enough.  His topics were not something I like to listen to, and I lost interest.  I'm immediately suspicious of his affiliations with Oprah Winfrey, maybe he can help her, but we shall see.)

I did the research because it's so distasteful to me to constantly be hearing "Christians" trying to destroy other people because they disagree with means or methods or some point of doctrine.  WE did not call them.  WE are not the Holy Spirit, and WE will not be responsible before God for their lives, only for what WE do.  Even if they are "the tares" God will sort them.  He said let them alone til HE deals with them.

Money just pisses people off, and if God blesses a minister we assume he's on the take.  We don't know ANYTHING.  We have NO RIGHT to persecute them for it.  We don't know the details, no matter what we think we know.  They made most of their personal money by way of personal accomplishments-- hard work and time, such as book sales and businesses-- just like any other successful American. They sell their own books and their guest speakers books and teaching series and the like. Should they not?  That's a legitimate question.

Wouldn't you want to keep what you worked for?  Maybe you should not be allowed to, and you should never live a lifestyle any greater than the local homeless, by the standards you have set for others.  No?  Then at what point does it become "too much?"  It changes with your situation, and is unstable as water.  Of course, we don't value the "work" they do, since they are "just" preachers, so in our hearts we don't believe they should prosper.  I guess they should do all they do with no money.  Have them make bricks with no straw?

Now, if YOU start making money, suddenly your sliding scale of what "wealth" is changes.   Sickening.  It's so poorly thought out.  It's NOT scriptural.  It's always a bad interpretation of scripture that takes people to the place where they condemn other people that they don't know, based on suppositions and hearsay,  with wrongly interpreted laws to govern them that they would NEVER apply to any other people group, and to which they would never hold themselves accountable.

If you *really* believe what you say you'd better not prosper!  Never mind these guys in the picture... YOU!  Don't seek a raise or that better job. No investments, new cars, better clothes or upgrades for you.  That would make YOU a hypocrite. STOP TRYING TO PROSPER NOW before you become a heretic!

Your local missionary takes offerings and donations to stay in one village or town.  They send newsletters and ask for pledges so that they can do their work and not have the burden of living and travel expenses.  They take on work for income and give of their time and effort, but they ask others for MONEY.  They operate with MONEY.  If they grow into a mission that feeds the hungry, has an orphanage or expands to new villages, even cities, they will need MORE MONEY.  Is that bad, too?  Why not?  Then, how big IS too big?  Joel Osteen big?  How much is too much?  T.D. Jakes much? Your sliding scale, the abundance vs. opulence scale, is something YOU have created in your mind, that YOU have judged to be true based only on relative, temporary things.  Gods is not so limited.  

But it goes on from there... 

Some of these guys gave the proceeds from their personal gain back into their ministries.  These guys (and gals-- most of them) do more giving and humanitarian work than most organizations that were created for that purpose.  They sent plane loads and bus loads and truck loads of relief to disaster areas, foreign and domestic. They stay on after the rest leave, past the photo ops and news coverage.  Did you know about that?  No, because their detractors don't want to address the good things they do. They reach MILLIONS.  M.I.L.L.I.O.N.S. of people for Jesus in every continent on Earth.  Did you?  

Did you know that four of these six (along with a few others) were investigated by a senate committee?  One senator just couldn't stand these prosperous preachers and he got it in his craw to bring them down.  Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa headed up a senate finance committee investigation into whether they had mishandled funds.  Though CLEARLY a hostile adversary, relentlessly trying to catch them in some extortion, theft or misappropriations, he was unable to produce ANYTHING.  The probe found no wrongdoing.  Their records were crystal clear, and their ministries were above reproach.  Why is that never a part of your argument?

Don't just get angry at me and have the old knee jerk reactions you've learned.  THINK about what I'm saying.  Do your own research.  It's just as available to see as this negative stuff.  Why are you so excited to find all that negative stuff and overlook the rest?  That's a question you should answer for yourself.

I did my homework and I can tell you that I may not agree on every point of doctrine, I may not like their messages much, maybe their mannerisms bother me, and sometimes that's the case, but they are NOT "selling the gospel" any more than Zondervan or CDB, or any other pastor who is in full time ministry.  Full time ministry SHOULD be successful.  Maybe they simply seek God.   Hebrews is clear,  "God is a Rewarder to those who seek him out."  Maybe you simply don't approve of certain levels of success and how God chooses to reward His own people.  I call that attitude judgmental, and all that is, is manifest symptoms of jealousy and greed on your part.

Why don't Christians chose ENEMIES to target?  There are some REAL bad guys out there infiltrating, they don't even PRETEND at the Truth of the Bible-- but everybody wants on the ol' "televangelist/rich guy" bandwagon.  Benny Hinn acts weird.  Joyce Meyer's clothes are too fancy.  Creflo Dollar's car is too nice.  As often as I hear the name of Joel Osteen being trashed and thrown about,  you'd think he was the stand-in for the Devil himself. They name his name more often than that of the enemy of God and man.  Ridiculous.  Jealousy and greed have infiltrated the church and they don't see it for what it is as long as the "other guy" is there to indict.  YOU, Christian, are creating strife.  And where there is strife there is every evil work.  Shame!

On a final note:  If, having done your research, you still don't like these folks, is it good for the Kingdom and pleasing to God to publicly behave in this manner?  We are to be known by the love we have for one another.  If the answer to that last question is yes, because you feel compelled to expose them to the world, first, where are your scriptural instructions to do that?  Second, are you absolutely certain that you are correct in your assessment?  You had better be.  You had better be.

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Church With *YOU* In Mind?


I'm sick of the program.  They all have the same format... everybody filters in somewhere near start time.  They sing one fast song while everyone finishes their coffee and cashes out of the book store with their mints and gum and trinkets with scriptures on them, and find their Bibles which they had earlier placed in their "regular" seats.  The band does an extra repetition of the last verse so everyone can stand where they belong long enough to signify that they silently acknowledge church has, in fact, started.  Next, they break from the music and everyone once again wanders about, inside the sanctuary this time, giving each other hugs (that I generally don't want) and exchanging pleasantries.  Intro: Check.

It's now time to do announcements about all the upcoming fundraisers and entertainment and such, conveniently affording the emcee an opportunity to bring the audience back to order, and, once again, have them ambling to back their seats.  Somewhere along in here you'll get a semi-apologetic plea for money mingled with a touch of guilt for those attendees who don't freely and happily give.  Then one more fast song while they pass the plate and to get people's attention back on the show.  Offering: Check.  Follow this with 3 slow, moody, minor chord songs-- repeat, repeat, repeat -- to cultivate an atmosphere where people can be whipped into a more emotionally sensitive frame of mind.  

(Oh, slightly off topic, and for the record, I really think if you need "worship practice" you've crossed over to a place I don't want to go.  What even can that be??  I don't practice worshiping, and I can't imagine it.  Let's call it what it is- entertainment rehearsal, just like any 'show.')

Cue the pastor.

30-45 minutes of a 3 point sermons, probably inspired by, if not downloaded straight from, followed by a felicitous prayer in their best "holy voice," then hurry off to lunch at Denny's with your friends before the church up the street gets there and moves all the tables.

OK, so I get it--  lots of the people there are doing all this with good intent and for basically the right reasons, but they are still following this pre-programmed "outline" of how we "do" church.  I can NOT do it, anymore, at all.  I can't.  I understand it, because I did it for years.  I've been sick of it for years, too, but like so many, I just tried to make the best of it.  I.can' 

It's getting worse instead of better, and the whole production is like any other social club or gathering or group: clique-ish, shallow, desperate to seem sincere, trying to mean it, and having a carefully crafted image to sell to the public.  More and more pandering to a devilish culture is turning modern churches into festering boils on the butt of Christianity. Standing back and looking at it from the outside now, after years of seeing the inner workings, I can see that it's circling the drain.  

There are some who mean for it to work.  They are clinging to the shreds of what once was, hoping to build revival on the back of something long past.  They are being stripped of their freedom to speak truth by fear of what price they will have to pay at the hands of an increasingly hostile society, or by threat of governmental interference.  Many are caving in to the pressures and "embracing diversity" at the cost of The Truth.  And the will of the people rules.   

Where is God in this?  I mean that as a serious question.  I can't get a good answer.  In my case, I know that God was with me and a few others in my church.  He was there, because He came with us, but NOT because of "the church" I attended.  Not because they said, "Come to church Sunday and Jesus will be there to meet your need!"  Not because He was billed as a healer on Wednesday night service.  Not because the special speaker promised something new from God.  Where is God in this?  I have to say I don't think He's in it much at all but for the sake of a few sincere die hards that just don't know what else to do.

I think it is time for His people to come out from among them.  I've thought for some years now that the true church will be driven underground and that we'll be meeting in homes and other smaller, private locations.  I thought it was a bad thing, and it saddened me to see it on the horizon, but now that it's here I don't feel that way.  I know that the church grows most when it is persecuted.  I see it as a purge and a cleansing.  I see it as a time to truly seek God and a time when He will reveal Himself to us.  

We need to be prepared.  We need  to have wisdom and knowledge given by God in this hour.  I believe that we are going to see great things that we haven't seen in the church since the days of the Book of Acts!  This is a time that the Bible spoke of and all mankind has anticipated.  God Almighty saw fit to place us here, now, so I am certain He has equipped us for the task.

Guard your heart!  Stay in The Word!  It will be your guide and keep you safe.  Cast off all the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Disentangle yourself from the affairs of this life.  Gird up your loins, saints!  Be prepared.  And look up!  Lift up your heads because your redemption draweth nigh!!  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Can I Get a Witness?

I read several articles today about intelligent, educated, well traveled people who really want nothing to do with God.  They weren't necessarily part of the hateful anti-god crowd we usually see in the media, but they were just woefully, sadly, heartbreakingly ignorant of who God is.  On top of that, they don't want to hear anything more about it. They are worn out with the discussions and have closed their minds and hearts to the whole thing.

So many people base their lives and eternal destinations on wrong assumptions of who God is and what sort of a being He is.  If they think of Him at all they think He's brutal and cruel and unjust and they want nothing to do with such a God. Who can blame them?  They have no concept of the One True God except what they've been sold by the big media, Hollywood, pop culture and other sources who are basically hostile towards God.  Little bits and pieces from any old source are cobbled together by under-informed people to produce a bloody and vengeful god.  When they find a Christian to ask it's usually one of the ones I call "Jerry Springer Christians" who let their mouths run way ahead of their intellect.

These people don't dig and do research until they think it's worth their effort.  Those who are sincerely interested and seeking a Christian source to inquire of, are often stuck listening to people who are just as ignorant of who He is as anyone outside Christianity.  They watch some of the ridiculous displays by these unlearned Christians and then begin to formulate their ideas about God and Christianity based on that.  Once they've been exposed to what the world offers about God, and, sadly, what the bulk of the Christians have to say, they don't really care to search any further.  They reason that their initial concepts of God must be true... a God like that is not for them.

"Well, if they wanted to know they'd ask a pastor, not just any ol' body!" Oh, you think just because a guy has "Pastor" before his name that he's got it all right? I don't care if it's Pastor or Pope, ANYONE can mislead others.  Some  do ask pastors about things they don't understand.  Often, I'd say usually, either they don't have a decent answer, they offer a wrong answer, or they become arrogant or condescending, or even hateful sounding in their response.

Why would we we expect these people to behave any differently or be open to us?  Christians are doing the same thing!  Christians have some ridiculous ideas of who God is. We've taken the word of other confused people, well-intentioned or not, and created our God in that image.  STOP IT!  LEARN for yourself!  IF God is real, then isn't it far, far too important to leave the research to anyone else?  Christians-- YOU need to know your God!  For Him!  For yourself!  For your witness!  We don't need to know what the movies say about God, not what mama said about God, not what pastor says about God.  We need to know God.  Then, lift HIM up.  HIM!  Not your doctrinal points.  People don't need highlights of your superior intellect or your deep understanding.  They need Jesus.

Now, I realize some so-called interested parties are really only asking questions in order to start an argument, but we really shouldn't let them drag us down to that level.  Recognize that for what it is and walk away.   However, for sincere questions, we, of all people, should have some real answers or at least the common sense to simply say, "I don't know.  Let me try to learn the answer to that and get back to you."  Unfortunately, many will say any old ignorant thing in order to not look stupid.  It doesn't work.  They already know you don't know everything.  All you are doing now is providing the fuel in which they will burn your argument and giving them ammunition to aim at the rest of Christianity..

You can't show Him to anyone if you can't see Him yourself.  You can't see Him if you are constantly bolstering your own argument.  You won't search for Him if you feel you have arrived.  You haven't.  Keep seeking Him.  You might even be right about a lot of things, but, if you always feel the need to prove it, then you need to press into Him a little closer.  The closer you are to Him, the more He "shows" in you-- the Light that shines.  Then you'll see there's no need for all the arrogant and combative behavior.

Then, PLEASE stop running your mouth until you know what to say!  So many people are headed for eternal damnation and all you want to do is trade blows with one another about petty doctrinal points!    Nothing like muddying the water for the whole world see.  There are people watching that are just waiting to see this kind of thing and use it against us.  Most importantly, they are being repelled by your clever arguments and heading for an eternity without God because of you and your need to be heard and proven right.

Are Christians not supposed to be known for their love for one another?   We are supposed to be the salt and the light, and yet when I look at a crowd I generally can't tell the Christians from the rest world except they fuss amongst themselves more than most.  Sickening.

YOU-- KEEP seeking HIM!  It will change, fulfill and complete you.  When you reflect Him the world will run to you!

Ending on a positive note: there is ALWAYS hope.  People close their minds and hearts all the time because of hurts, misunderstandings, ignorance, weariness and countless other reasons, but the Holy Spirit can still reach in.  Please, don't make His job more difficult by helping to harden the walls people erect.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Order in the Ranks Part 4: Equality ≠ Sameness

I agree with equal pay for equal work. I don't agree with some of the stupid arguments I hear about that AT ALL. I see it all the time.  Under educated, ill-informed people use the latest popular talking points and ignorant arguments while trying to support good and valid points. For instance: equal pay for women.  First off, the wording spins the topic to sound a certain way.  It should be "equal pay for equal work."  The truth is, women who write like this are wording it in order to make an unsubstantiated claim in just a tagline to infer that there's already an inequality at work based solely on the fact that they are women, and what they are actually trying to convey is that women should be given preferential treatment.  This is a dishonest treatment of a valid subject.  That is not equal treatment of women.

Women can be capable, intelligent, educated, good workers, even the best workers in many situations.  Just because "women can have babies, run a household and do it while they look good in heels" is NOT a reason women should get equal pay.  What a ridiculous argument.  I've seen people use witty and cute statements such as these, as though they were actually reasonable or a valid talking points.  Obviously it tripped my trigger.  Here's a reasonable talking point for you: We women should get equal pay for equal WORK. That is why women should get equal pay.  Anyone who's doing the job well should get equal, baseline, starting pay.

If we are BETTER at something we should get MORE pay. If we are NOT AS GOOD we DON'T DESERVE equal pay. I realize that last part is unpopular, but it's true.

If I own a business and am spending MY OWN MONEY to pay my employees, and I hire a man and a woman to carry bricks I will pay them the same.  If it turns out he can carry more bricks further and faster than she can, then guess what? I'm going to give him a raise, and yes-- pay him more than I pay her. He deserves it.  She does not.  I might even fire her and save myself and my business some money.  If I hire a man and a woman to manage my personal affairs I will pay them the same.  If she, as women are typically able to do, can multitask and get things done faster and in a more efficient manner than he can, I'm going to pay her more and give him his two week notice. (OH! here's my disclaimer: I didn't say "all women and no men" or anything like that, yada, yada... I HATE that everything has to be clarified for all the immature people!)  

I'm sick of the "men and women are the same" argument.  We're not the same. AT ALL. Making us the same detracts from both of our strong points, puts pressure on us in areas that should be able to flow from us with ease, and creates a stressful work environment. It kills healthy, ambitious competition and creates hostile, aggressive competition, which is NOT the same thing, and damages the work environment. 

People confuse "equality" and "sameness." My grandchild, a baby, expends great effort trying to grasp things with his hands.  My son, his daddy, a full grown man, expends great effort operating machinery with his hands.  They are equally expending energy and effort. They may be getting equal results, but they are not getting the same result.  Why?  They are not the same.  I will pay the same wage for the same work, not for the same effort.  It is not unfair.  It is intelligent and expedient.  Their effort may be equal and I may appreciate it, but in business, results are what matter.  If I don't get the results from one of my employees , that employee of mine is getting fired.  MY employee. Did you get that?  

When we attend orientation classes or meetings for a new job with a new company, they generally refer to us as "their employees."  Why is that a great thing when we're happy, but if we become unhappy with our situation, suddenly we view ourselves as something other than  their employee.  Suddenly we start making comments about how we're "just a number," and they don't care about us.  They don't see us as people.  We are suddenly entitled to something that was never agreed to and we want to demand that they do something for us that we did not earn. Now we don't even plan to earn it, but we still feel they owe it.  We don't want to be treated like their employee any more, even though that's what we agreed to when we hired on.

What if you hired a gardener to tend your garden and mow your grass.  Then, what if your gardener came over and decided he didn't have to mow your grass in order for you to give him your fifty or sixty bucks?  Would you pay him?  What if all your neighbors who never worked hard to build themselves a lawn or garden, and don't have or need a gardener, told you you have to pay yours even though he won't do the agreed upon work?  Would you pay him now?  Maybe you are weak and cave in to your neighbors.  Will you pay?  Does that make it right, now?

This brings us to an additional problem of the day: if you hire someone at any wage, and then they turn out to be sub-standard workers, you can't just fire them. You have to jump through a hundred hoops for fear of being sued for being a racist or for gender inequality or some other unequal, or dare I say nor non-preferential treatment. You run the risk of having public opinion destroy you even when you are justified in your decisions.

You have to safeguard your company and insure it's survival, so you hire people at a lower starting wage.  For this lower wage you've been squeezed into paying in order to be able to absorb the cost of the lawyer you are now forced into keeping on retainer, you get one of two things: unskilled workers that might compromise the quality of your product and eventually your reputation, or you get the government trying to force the minimum wage higher.

(So you take your business out of this neighborhood and move it across town to get away from the neighbor's demands and strong-arm tactics, and now everyone blames you for sending the jobs away and not caring about the old neighborhood!)

Then... if this isn't all a big enough hot button, try this: ANY "other" minority, 'protected' religious group, or special interest,  can run a business and hire people based on what they believe and support and it's perfectly acceptable, even endorsed ...just not men. More specifically, not white men. Women can hire disproportionate numbers of women. Hispanics can hire disproportionate numbers of Hispanics. LGBTQ can hire disproportionate numbers of LGBTQ. The list goes on. They can pay members of their own group disproportionately if they choose to do so. Let white people, men, and evidently Christians try that and the government will get all wrapped up in it and mandate quotas, wage requirements, benefits and allowances. We won't even start talking about the "refusal of service" issues here!

I'm old school. I think that if I created a business, worked hard myself and built it, I alone should decide who I will hire.  I think that I can pay them as much or as little as I choose if they have agreed and taken the job for that wage.  I don't care if I run a two man diner or a two million man corporation. If I am in the USA, the land of the free and the land of opportunity, I should do what I want with what is mine. I should not be punished IN ANY WAY for becoming a success in this country, no matter popular opinion or loudmouths, community outrage, or any other thing. 

I believe that's true if I am benevolent and charitable, and I believe it's true if I am a total jerk.  If I'm doing things poorly I believe that a thriving free market economy will either pull me into line or run me out of business.  I don't need bureaucratic paper pushers, government micro-managers or social media popularity polls to tell me what to do.

People have a choice: work for me or don't. Those used to be, and still should be, the only choices they have in this situation.  You are doing me NO FAVOR by working for me.  I am doing you a favor by giving you a job and by compensating you according to an agreement we made going in.   We can benefit each other, grow and increase one another and improve our incomes and standards of living, or we can terminate the agreement.  Period.

I also believe that IF a business belonged to you (or anyone as an individual) and you worked hard to succeed, you would feel exactly the same way. If you pull it down to a small scale it becomes clear. Start as a mom and pop hair salon and you're cute, and quaint and you and everyone else believes that whatever you earn is yours.  People are happy for your success.  If you hire someone, they agree to your wage or they don't take the job. If they take the job, they like you and stay or they don't and they quit. The end. Everyone is clear, everyone is happy, no problem.

Raise that to a new level,: Mom and pop hit it big, They wind up with many shops across the country. They reputation is good and they become so popular that they start selling franchise licenses. Did they create this? Did they do the legwork?  Did they do the research and take the risks?  Is it still theirs? Are they still the owners, beginners, founders, hardworking mom and pop? No, not according to the masses. Now they are greedy business owners who should be forced to hand over certain percentages of their OWN EARNINGS because people they never met and probably never will, don't like it, and are probably just angry about the same age old argument whose root is in class envy.

It sucks, but it's true.

If we were playing a simple board game and changed the rules as often as we do for things like this in our lives it would be completely unplayable.  There are rules for a reason.  We have GOT to stop, bending, changing, "reinterpreting" our rules every time we don't like or understand them, or something offends us or make us feel bad, or is too hard.  Grow up, citizens.  Carry your weight.  Stop whining.

My 2.
Let the butthurt commence.

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." - Colossians 3:23-24

Friday, May 1, 2015

Order in the ranks: Part 3

"I need everyone to continue performing admirably." - Mr. Spock

Excellence, responsibility, reputation.  

When I was young I worked at a chain restaurant.  Denny's, it was, and I worked for them for a long time.  I did most every job they had available.  I was a waitress, a cook, a bus person, and I was in management.  I left them several times only to go back again.  Why?  It certainly wasn't for the pay or the benefits or the wonderful hours. No, it was because I liked it.  I really did.  I particularly liked waiting tables.

I enjoy being busy, and anyone who has ever waited tables knows, you stay pretty busy.  I liked, that to some degree, I was able to affect the amount of money I earned above my hourly wages by earning tips.  I also enjoy people.  I like to interact with them.  I like to read them, their moods and attitudes.  I like to make people happy.  When stopping in at a Denny's, most people I served probably just sort of eeny-meeny-miney-moe-d and popped in without a lot of planning, but I'd pretend that they all had a special reason for being there.  I would think, maybe they've had a tough day, maybe this is the only day they get to go out, or maybe it's all they can afford, and it's up to me to see to it that they have the finest experience they can.

I had other jobs.  I even ran my own businesses, but in every case, I looked at the people I worked for as folks who really needed for me to be there and do great work.  In all cases I was always aware that I was being paid for my services.  That payment meant that, at least for this agreed upon time, they are sort of "renting" me and my skills to do a job.  I'm on their time, their dollar and I owed them a good job.  Anything less was akin to stealing in my mind, and would be substandard and unacceptable.

I never forgot about who I was.  I always knew that my good name and my reputation were the only valuable things I possessed in this world and I was 
and still am EVER vigilant to keep them sterling.  Even when I was not a person of good character I strove to keep my professional reputation intact.  As a result I was always fairly compensated, treated well and received all the benefits most good employees receive.  As a result of that, I was happy, motivated and I liked my job.  I enjoyed working for Denny's.

Then they hired a guy.  I'll call him Bill.  Bill didn't really mind the idea of working, but he was never happy to do his job.  I know, everyone has a tough day or even a tough series of days for one reason or another, but Bill just wasn't ever happy.  He was punctual, presentable and accomplished his tasks as they were explained to him: no more, no less.  And he griped.

The equipment was old and didn't always work. The co-workers were difficult.  The pay was too low for him to have to work so hard.  The required clothing, the long hours, the short hours, the holiday requirements...  "It's unfair!  The boss is...."  

And so it begins: dread, dissatisfaction, resentment.  Set your alarm.  Get up.  Head out to your job.  Another day another dollar.  Work-a-day world goes right along punching the time clock.  Working for the weekend.  TGIF.

"I don't like my job."
"I can't stand my boss."

Unfortunately, in most any job you work, there's going to be ol' Bill: the guy who is always unhappy for one reason or another.  He's just going to gripe.  It boils down to him being thankless, immature, or both, and it means that you are going to have to deal with him, because he is probably not going to change.  You can let him dictate the atmosphere, or you can step up and take charge.  Be what the military calls the Chief Morale Officer, or the CMO.  They recognize how essential good morale is to a good operation.  You don't have to do it for Bill's sake, or even the boss' sake. Do it because it's right.  It will benefit you and everyone around you in the long run.

Assess your situation.  Are you unhappy in your job, or in your life?  Check your heart.  Are behaving childishly?  Are you being thankless?  Maybe you are allowing 'Bill' or your grumpy supervisor to have way too much control over your state of mind.  Come on now, be honest with yourself.  Pray. Think it through.  Form a plan of action as you would with any situation, and with the help of The Lord, follow your plan.  Remember, you are your CMO.

I know, this is pretty old fashioned advice.  I realize it's not cool.  I'm not offering mood altering drugs or group counselling sessions, or even a late night chat over coffee to vent and let it out.  I don't offer any advice on coping with your problem. I'm telling you to overcome it.

God made you to be the light in a dark place.  You are responsible for keeping that light bright.  He also said for you to do everything as unto the Lord.  You are not allowed to indulge yourself in this destructive mindlessness.  Believe it or not, you, by yourself, are able to change your world into a place you can enjoy again.  This puts you back in the position of leader in your own life, and you will be surprised how quickly you can bring about a significant change.

ontinue performing admirably.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Order in the Ranks - Part 2

"I reject at once an idea which lingers in the mind of some modern people that cultural activities are in their own right spiritual and meritorious—as though scholars and poets were intrinsically more pleasing to God than scavengers and bootblacks ...The work of Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly 'as to the Lord.'" 

~ C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

"Rule Number One: Never Be Number Two."
"Second place is first loser."
"No guts, no story."

Cute phrases.
Funny taglines.
Motivational sayings.

For people who are leaders, born or made, these are valuable motivational tools.  They are quick reminders that we can draw on in our personal lives for our own counsel or for us to use to help those around us.  It's good to know yourself and your calling and gifts. Train yourself.  Train others.  

Many times I have said, "Always be training your replacement," assuming I'd get promoted and there would be a need to have someone ready to fill my shoes when I move on.  I always felt as a leader that I should produce more leaders rather than more followers.  It's also good to surround yourself with people who motivate or teach you and help prepare you for promotion and advancement, so I look among my peers for like-minded leader types with whom to associate. These are smart strategies.  Do whatever is right and good to fulfill your calling.  There's absolutely no problem with improving your leadership skills.

We've taught these winning goals to our children and our society as though the only goal in the world is to be the leader, number one, top of the heap, KING OF THE HILL!  It seems like a good thing to teach and we have believed that by doing so we are awakening them to a better life of success and fulfillment.  To people who are not natural born leaders, people who are called to other things in life, people who are satisfied in their lives, who are dedicated workers, passionate servants, steady, dependable, everything else-- except leaders-- we have passed along the idea to them that they are, or that we see them, as losers.  Rather than empowering them, it only serves to discourages and embitter them.

Leaders tend to be competitive, and we struggle, as anyone else does, to understand a mindset that doesn't work in the same way as our own.  I am a winner.  I don't lose.  I am ever in a contest to be better.  I will beat my old record.  I will improve my old results.  I will build a better mousetrap.  It's how I think and it's what makes me tick, however, not everyone thinks that way.  Whether I understand that or not, it's true.  Whether I'm comfortable with that or not, it's not wrong.  It's only different.
I believe many leaders have the notion that these other mindsets are wrong; they see them as lazy, undisciplined, dull, unenthusiastic, unimaginative, uninspired, etc...  Whether it's because of unrestrained, blind ambition, whether it's because we are simply unable to fathom the mindsets that others possess, or that we have been indoctrinated in our "everybody wins" generation to believe that leadership is the only legitimate goal, we as leaders have adopted these misconceptions as truth.  
Believe me when I say that people can tell when they are viewed in this way.  

Are all people leaders?  Absolutely not.  There have to be people for leaders to lead. Does that make them substandard? Lesser human beings?  Less desirable to have as part of your team, group, staff, congregation?  I like to quote Pastor Joe Cude who said to me once, "A leader with no followers is just going for a walk."   People need leaders, but leaders need people, too.

These are the under-valued people who are given a "C" rating at their yearly evaluation because the leaders don't understand the value of anything besides leadership potential and ambition.  They are constantly overlooked and go about their business day to day never being thought about by those in charge because they don't make a racket, for good or for bad.  

These people are the people who make leaders.  Without them leaders would become obsolete; leadership would be unnecessary.  These are the people leaders should be taking notice of, utilizing their gifts and from whom we should be gleaning valuable information.  As leaders, these are the ones we should be grateful for, caring for, and recognizing.  These are the people who would faithfully go on without us.  Leaders are important, but not as important as those they lead.

I don't believe in teaching people they should be leaders.  I understand, support and preach the absolute necessity of being excellent.  It is my goal in life.  I suggest we promote excellence and not hold up one position in life, or one gift, or one calling, as the only one to have without somehow coming up short or having a sub-standard life.  I suggest we stress integrity.  I suggest we stress personal best.  I suggest we teach personal responsibility and accountability again.  I suggest we go back to rewards for a job well done.  Stop handing out prizes for every mundane bit of effort.  Stress doing work that we'd be willing to sign our names to and on which we would willingly lay our reputations.

I suggest we recognize excellence in others whose callings are not at all like our own, whether we understand them or not.  Leaders are not placed over men to put a value on their lives, but to be wise and recognize their callings and to be skillful in utilizing them for the greatest benefit to the Kingdom of God.  In this there is fulfillment for everyone, humbleness, and honor to God.

Jesus brought out the best in people.  He helped them discover their potential and built them up in it.  He didn't coddle or pander, nor did He belittle or insult those who were given to Him.  He loved them.  He was always "moved with compassion" by those who came to Him.  He instructed, corrected, and eventually trusted them to carry on in His place.

He is Lord of all, Master, King of Kings, yet He came as a servant. He called us friends, and He treats us like friends.  He praised His servants for their faithfulness and gave them promotions and increase.  Is this how we treat those who are "under" us?  The only time He suggested that we were "under" Him was when He said He wished we'd let Him draw us "under" His wings.  Can we claim that this is our motivation?

Leaders: Let's stop acting like we are the only ones with purpose.  Let's stop believing that we are the only ones with smart ideas or who are capable of any real meaningful accomplishments.  Let's stop thinking of our position as a some sort of societal rank and start looking at it as a blessing entrusted to us by God for the benefit of His children.  Stop looking at accomplishments as personal victories and realize that without God we could never have done it and there'd be no need for us at all.  These people with their problems and difficulties and foibles are not stepping stones to greater advancement or notoriety among men.  They are God's favorites.  His.  He's given us a very humbling charge and an awesome ministry, not an opportunity to be a celebrity.  

Let's humble ourselves.  Real humility sees God's hand in it all.  He is filling needs and dispensing blessings through us.  Any real accomplishment is His.  Being in a position to be able to do what we do is His hands extending into our world.  It's our calling and a great blessing.  I'm thankful for it and in awe that He chose me to have any part in His marvelous plan.