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July 2009

Religion Today Summaries - July 31, 2009

Financial Advice from the Bible a Growing Trend

The Chicago Tribune reports that financial advice straight from the Bible is gaining in popularity. As more try to get a handle on their personal finances, it's only nature for them to look at the "best-selling personal finance book of all time," said Matt Bell, author of "Money Strategies for Tough Times." Programs such as those by Dave Ramsey, Crown Financial Ministries and Good $ense base their instruction on the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible that concern money and property. Bell notes the Biblical order often focuses on giving as well as spending and saving, an idea that "flips the cultural teaching on its head." Dave Ramsey's radio programs always end with a spiritual reminder: "There's ultimately only one way to financial peace and that's to walk daily with the prince of peace, Christ Jesus."


Not surprising.

The Bible addresses many practical issues with timeless wisdom, compassion, insight, and an ethical compass.

If one only had the book of Proverbs as a guide for business relationships, work, investments, and generosity to the poor, there would be some powerful building blocks for a person's financial health.

The teachings of Jesus revolutionize thinking about money as His teachings revolutionize all of our thinking.

Crown Ministries and Dave Ramsey are both doing a wonderful work in helping to bring biblical perspective to difficult times.

Aquino, heroine of Philippine people power, dies | Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) - Former President Corazon Aquino, whose "people power" revolution swept dictator Ferdinand Marcos from power in the Philippines, died on Saturday after a 16-month battle against colon cancer, her family said. She was 76.


Cory Aquino may not have been a great executive or a decisive leader after "people power" brought her into office, but she was an inspiration and source of courage to many, including a friend of mine who testimony has affected me deeply.

My friend, Myrna was living abroad and working as a nurse in the days of the revolution. When she was challenged by Cory and the the news reports of her countrymen being arrested, threatened, and beaten, she was deeply moved and booked a plane back to the Philippines where she took up her place outside Marcos' palace in Manila.

She recounted to me that if her people were suffering, she needed to be with them.

This was also the example of Cory Aquino.

Myrna was with them, outside the palace, standing in prayer and protest of the cruel and corrupt regime of Ferdinand Marcos, when the order was given to open fire on the protesters.

The people decided to stand their ground in prayer.

My friend remembers something she can only describe as the Holy Spirit coming to restrain the soldiers from firing.

She will always remember that as a great movement of the Spirit.

Soon, Marcos fell and people power brought Cory to office.

Whatever else her legacy might be, it is one of faith and courage.

To quote Reuters' Raju Gopalakrishnan:

"Aquino often turned to her faith to steer her through difficult times."

""There was never any moment that I doubted God would help ... If it was time to die, so be it," she said when rebel mortars pounded the presidential palace in 1987."

Cristina Page: The Breakup of the Pro-Life Movement

Excerpted from Article:

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) is, in many ways, a typical pro-life American. He opposes abortion and, because of that, supports every effort to prevent the need for it. Just like most pro-life Americans, Ryan supports contraception -- primarily because it is the most effective way to prevent unintended pregnancy, and thereby abortion. And yet because of this, Ryan no longer qualifies as "pro-life." He was recently banished from the board of a national pro-life group he served on for four years. Ryan, in return, has turned vocal. He's leading the call for common ground and pragmatism, and rallying the no longer silent majority of pro-lifers who support contraception. And he is provocatively trying to fight what he views as an unrepresentative slice of pro-lifers, those who can't bring themselves to support contraception. "The new fault line," says Ryan, "is not between pro-life and pro-choice people. It's within the pro-life community. The question now is: 'are you pro-life and pro-contraception, therefore trying to reduce the need for abortions, or are you pro-life and against contraception and you hope that people's lives improve just by hoping it, wishing it so.'"


I am not sure this is the best title for the article describing the controversy, but it is a rather interesting perspective on dividing lines within the pro-life movement. It also redraws some traditional boundaries, redefines some terminology, and raises questions about what arena will host the debate over solutions to the tragedy of abortion.

The question that it implies is "What are our values, goals, and objectives?"

Is it primary to our cause to reduce and end abortions or to do it in a specific way?

Protestants have never had real problems with contraceptives, but in the fight against abortion, our chief allies have been in the Roman Catholic Church. They do have such a problem.

The Aristotelian ideal that potentiality = actuality is one of the driving forces.

But is the pro-life cause primarily about moral chastity or is it, as we have often argued, about the saving of lives and the valuation of human life as an essential principle driving civilized society?

Dr. Frank S. Page, Rev. Joel Hunter, and Jim Wallis join Planned Parenthood and NARAL in supporting Jim Ryan's legislation entitled., "Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act."

Is this an "It wasn't our idea so we aren't going to support it" issue? Or is there some other fundamental objection to working with ideological opponents to achieve an end that we desire?

It would be an odd thing if the answer to the concerns of us who have labeled ourselves"pro-life" came from outside the realm of the movement that goes by that name. It would be similar to the peace accords in the Middle East that were hammered out by the two unlikely, hawkish leaders, Begin and Sadat. What the peace advocates could not do, they did by talking to each other.

It remains to be seen and debated.

What's in a Name? | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Agnes Monica is the Miley Cyrus of Southeast Asia. The Indonesian teen singer's face is ubiquitous. Her performances are packed out. But in Selangor, Malaysia, no one is allowed to play her song "Allah Peduli" ("God Cares"). Monica is a Christian, and Malaysian law bans non-Muslims from referring to God as Allah.


A live debate is raging in the east. How does this inform the debate even among Evangelicals about the names of God?

Atrracting Birds and People

What are you attracting with the landscape of your home, business, club, or church?

A landscape in a yard is an environment that is shaped and sculpted to create a feeling of "home" for people and a habitat for whatever sort of creature they wish to attract.

What sort of social, spiritual, and environmental landscape are you creating for the people you wish to bring to your business, church, or organization?

If you can do it with birds, you can do it for people.

Attracting Birds through Landscape Design

What could be more pleasant than sitting on your patio in the morning, sipping a hot beverage, reading a paper, and hearing the chirping of birds around you. Then to look up and see them feeding brings a feeling of bucolic bliss. ... Read More

Ten Landscape Design Tips to Attract Birds

Quality Landscape and Design is one of my clients and I promote them without reservation because I know the business ethics and standards of excellence employed by their founder and principal. I have seen the pictures of their work and it gives me no small amount of confidence in what they offer their clients.

The Creation of the Copier

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The Creation of the Copier

Author: Bill Tucker (Other articles by this author)

It hasn't always been so easy to make copies. We now can just walk up to a photocopier machine and press the print button and we instantly receive perfectly replicated copies of our original. Just forty seven years ago the copy machine was a pen and some sheets of carbon paper. Instead of pushing a button you had to write and write and then write some more! Just before the 60's this was a reality and carbon paper was a big seller. Chester Carlson, a patent attorney knew how much of a pain it was to continue rewriting everything by hand because Carlson had arthritis. Carlson had an idea of designing a machine that would automatically make copies, so he didn't have to do all of that copying by hand.

Think about doing your job without a copier. You probably will have a hard time imagining it. Did you know that most manufacturers didn't think that a copier would be of much use? Chester tried for years to get people to catch his vision but nobody was interested. Between 1939 and 1944, Carlson got the thumbs down by many corporations, including IBM, Kodak, General Electric, and RCA.

In 1937 Chester invented a process called electrophotography. They renamed it Xerography in 1938. He figured out that if the image of an original document was projected onto a photoconductive surface, current would flow only in the areas where the light shined on it. The first copy was made with a sulfur coating on a zinc plate. He took a glass microscope slide and wrote on it 10-22-38 ASTORIA with ink. He then pulled down the shade to darken the room. He built an electrostatic charge buy rubbing the sulfur surface with a handkerchief. Then the slide was placed on the surface and a light was shined on it for few seconds. He then sprinkled lycopodium powder on the sulfur coating. Gently blowing on the surface, the loose powder blew off and all that was left was the inscription, 10-22-38 ASTORIA. 10-22-38 is the date that the first photocopy was made. Astoria was the location.

The Birth of Xerox The company that decided to take a chance on Carlson's dream was the Haloid Company. Haloid was a photo-paper manufacturer in New York. Guess what they came to be known as? Yes, the Xerox Corporation. In 1960 the first office copier was produced. It was the Xerox model 914. It was the first office copier that could make copies on plain paper.

Being a copier repairman for over twenty years I have seen the good copiers with the bad copiers. I began working on copiers in 1983. The copiers that I began working with were messy and they would not last long in between servicing. The prices for the machines were very high especially for higher volume copiers. There were some interesting ways of transporting the paper through the machine like the Sharp SF-740. It grabbed the paper with two gripper devices that were driven with chains. This machine fused the toner to the paper with a toaster oven type device.

Some people may even remember having to pour toner into the copier from a bottle. But today's copiers have a cartridge system that works well. They keep most of the toner inside the copier, not on you best pair of slacks or your dress. They have rollers for fusing the toner to the paper and have very sophisticated paper feed and transport systems that help reduce jamming problems. Digital copiers are now on the market. Now you can not only copy, but print, scan and even fax with them. Perhaps the most revolutionary change in the industry is the full color copier. The sales of full color copiers have really started to explode. There are a lot of new and exciting products being introduced and the quality is really quite good. We have come along way from Carlson's '10-22-38 ASTORIA. I just can't help to think what the future will bring us. What will the copier of the year 2020 look like?

Chestor F. Carlson (1906-1968). Chester F. Carlson was born on February 8, 1906 in city of Seattle. His father was a barber and they came to live in San Bernardino, California. He was a bright young man and was curious of how things worked. Carlson's mom died when he was seventeen years old. They say that Carlson donated $100 million to charity before he passed away in 1968.

About the Author:

Bill Tucker has been in the office equipment and supply industry for over 20 years and has several published industry related articles that help the end-user as well as the technician.
Click here for more industry related articles and high quality OEM and compatible toner cartridges –

Article Source: - The Creation of the Copier


My friend and church member, Bill Tucker, offers a fascinating look at the history and functionality of the copy machine.

It is astounding how one machine has changed our lives and the way we do business, Most businesses, church, schools, and non-profits would be crippled by the loss of this one item in their offices for a week or a month.

We have grown dependent on duplication.

Good business has always be dependent on duplication. The ability to duplicate, replicate, and disseminate one's knowledge, skills, values, and systems has always been crucial to the growth of businesses, movements, and even the gospel.

Whatever has made that simpler and more effective has always found a ready market.

Enjoy the article and consider what it is your are producing that is worthy of duplication and how you can more effectively multiply it in others.

Conversations with M. Scott Peck

"You can accept Jesus, you can reject Jesus, but you cannot reasonably ignore him."


Peck actually quotes from Elton Trueblood in this 1998 conversation with Fuller Theological Seminary psychology students. In this conversation, he recounts his journey through secularism, eastern thought, and world religions before finding "Jesus making more sense."

He speaks of how his baptism was kind of a death to him and discusses how he entered the Christian church through the "back door."

Forgiveness without Conviction and Other Radical Ideas

"Forgiveness without conviction is not forgiveness; it is irresponsible toleration. It doesn't lead to reconciliation and peace; it leads to chaos." -Brian Mclaren, "A Generous Orthodoxy

I see Mclaren coming under a lot of fire lately as having an agenda beyond or contrary to orthodox Christian beliefs. Yet, I keep coming across truths like this that I wholeheartedly embrace.

A case in point would be these words, two pages over, "...I fear that for too many Christians, 'personal salvation' has become another personal consumer product (like personal computers, a personal journal, personal time, etc.) and Christianity has become its marketing program."

What strikes me is a call to radicalism in the same sense that M. Scott Peck called himself a "radical conservative" - one who goes to the root of things and seeks to conserve that ideal.

To determine what the radix of the Jesus message is, one must focus on the person, work, and message of Jesus in His context and beyond His context.

No one was ever more forgiving; yet no one was ever more brutally truthful. His judgment did not condemn and His forgiveness let no one off the hook of personal or collective responsibility for their choices.

I sense that it is going to take some radical and disturbing voices to bring us back to true center and remind us that the standard for orthodoxy cannot be found in the last 100-200 years of the church as wonderful as some of those years might have been and as mighty as many of their preachers were.

Nostalgic faith can only carry us so far back into the history of God's salvific work in affairs of humankind.

The quest for roots must go back much further than that and be reexamined in light of timeless truths revealed by God. The message must be contextually and linguistically translated to each new generation without losing its core.

Then, concepts such as forgiveness will be meatier and more potent and the personal message of pietism and spiritual vitality will be seen within a Kingdom context.

The conviction that we need, besides the obvious conviction of our sins, is a deep conviction that "it" is all about God and not about us.

Perhaps that will be one of the contributions of a new generation of radical believers.

STUPID Questions

Stupidty - Quentin_Massys_030An Allegory of Folly (early 16th century) by Quentin Matsys

Have you ever asked or been asked a stupid question?

What constitutes stupid questions? How does the asking of them often nullify their stupidity?

There is an old adage that the only stupid question is the one we do not ask. That is true sometimes, but there really are stupid questions that are asked.

"Stupid" has this etymology:


"Middle French stupide, from Latin stupidus, from stupēre to be numb, be astonished"

The relationship between exercising stupidity and being in a stupor is profound.

1 : a condition of greatly dulled or completely suspended sense or sensibility <a drunken stupor> 2 : a state of extreme apathy or torpor resulting often from stress or shock

Therefore, a stupid question is one that is numb, disengaged, apathetic, or drunken.

To break it down with an acronym, a stupid question has these characteristics:

  • S - Surface - It is exemplified by the student who, after a moving lecture of the meaning of life, raises his hand and, as the professor prepares of an insightful and probing question asks, "Is this going to be on the final?"
  • T - Trivial - With the opportunity to probe some pretty profound principles of perpetual truth, we focus on insignificant details. Another professor, Dr. Charles Tyer, once lectured us from a classroom overlooking a bucolic mountain view. He asked us if we were focused on the view or on the fly specks on the window. Trivial questions miss the view for the fly specks.
  • U - Unconsidered - Any question worth asking someone else is worth asking oneself first. Then ask if
    • (a) you could not find the answer within yourself,
    • (b) you want a second opinion, or
    • (c) you sense that there are any number of answers and approaches to the question and you wish to enter into dialogue over it. Once you have wrestled a while with a question, it is no longer stupid.
  • P - Perfunctory - A perfunctory question is one you are using to accomplish something other than the quest for truth. It is an obligatory question like the one at the blood donation center when they ask if you have had marital relations with a non-human primate in the last 12 months. It is the question where you state your name for the record. It is merely functional and automatic. Anyone can ask it given a script.
  • I - Inflammatory - An inflammatory question is asked when you know that the answer is going to embarrass,indict, inflame, or discredit the person giving the answer. In online forums,people who asked such questions used to be called "flamers." They were just trying to start fires. There was no value placed on the quest for truth.
  • D - Disengaged - This is the essence of stupidity in every area of life. As Forest Gump's mother said, "Stupid is as stupid does." That is why Gump was never stupid in spite of his lower than average intelligence quotient. In spite of the challenges he faced, when he set out to do something, he fully engaged in the process. When he asked a question, he really wanted to know the answer. He looked beneath the surface of things. He thought about life and the big questions. Gump was, as his drill sergeant said, "brilliant," because he was fully engaged.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. No question that digs beneath the surface a bit, ignores the fly specks, is given some thought, comes from your own heart and mind, seeks real answers, and is fully engaged can ever be a stupid question. ASK!


Frederick Buechner: The Wrestler & Quotes

“It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.”

“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you.”

“Lust is the craving for salt of a man who is dying of thirst”

- Frederick Buechner

Read more quotes by Frederick Buechner at THINKEXIST



The Unfinished List

When people ask me how I get certain things done, the response is often, "I work them into the cracks of my life between major commitments. Ironically, the things we do in those squeeze times are not always the least important, but sometimes the most.

Earthquake spasms create cracks in the surface of the earth and life spasms do the same in our schedules. That is why we can never be complacent and must always be aware of the landscape of our existence.

Because you have so much to accomplish and must make the best of every crack in your calendar 9as I am doing at this very minute), I am going to offer some suggestions in my next few posts. The first is about lists: ALWAYS HAVE AN UNFINISHED LIST!

If it gets finished without you adding to it, you are already behind and wasting time. Never let your list get empty. Always have something on it that you can be working on when an unexpected crack opens in your daily schedule. Categorize your list; let it flow into multi-layers; give it thought; give it prayer; keep it with you.

That's all for now because the crack is closing around me and I have an appointment across town.

Mental Notes

A mental note isn't worth the paper it is written on.

You can make mental notes all day long, but they lack the safety features of paper and digital notes. For one thing, you lose them. They exist, but they are floating out there is a closet of cerebral clutter and are only retrieved when looking for something else and usually after a deadline has long expired.

A basic problem with mental notes is that they are subject to the distortions of time. It has been demonstrated by neurological researchers that eye-witness accounts are often unreliable and altered by time and intermingling with other memories.

Perhaps that is why the Bible required two eye-witnesses before a person could be convicted of a capital crime.

Mental notes are often relegated to lists of lesser leverage in our thinking simply because we did not render them important enough at the moment to write them down.

Entrepreneurs eat ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Good ideas are worth remembering and writing down. So are not-so-good ideas. They can be sorted out later or even trigger good ideas.

Make a note of that.

Diminishing God

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."  - C. S. Lewis

So, there is no referendum on this issue. It either is or it is not.

What we believe does not alter reality. What we refuse to believe does not nullify it.

Are we angry with God then, or with people who profess a belief in God? Are we anger with books and sermons and institutions because we do not like the character that they describe?

The importance of personal belief lies in what happens inside of me when i believe and identify with that which is ultimate. The current flows with overwhelming and sometimes invisible force in whatever direction it will.

I cannot change that. What i can change is whether it will sweep me away or if I will flow with it for the ride of my life.

Make a Friend Tomorrow.

Make a Friend Tomorrow

Before you go to sleep tonight, you will most likely review your plans and appointments for tomorrow. Perhaps you will mentally prepare for them or pray about them. You will think about what you will wear based upon your tasks and appointments, what time you will need to get up, perhaps even, what you will have for breakfast.

May I suggest an assignment for tomorrow?

Make a friend.

Go out of your way to meet someone you do not know and establish a relationship. Do it without ulterior motives or a sense of "prospecting." Do it with an open mind and heart. Do it for no other reason than the knowledge that this could be a significant and mutually beneficial relationship.

Make it a goal and a commitment. Otherwise, it most likely will not happen.

Get excited about it.

You may be about to meet the person who will come into your inner circle of social or business relationships. You may meet the person who needs exactly the kind of friendship you offer or whose insights will take you to the next level of achievement.

You will meet a person of infinite value, wonder, and potential.

You are about the meet someone made in the image of the Creator, someone that God has arranged for you to meet.

All it takes is your willingness and resolve.

Decide to make a friend tomorrow.

Big Day

God has a very big day in store for you tomorrow.

You will conquer fear, despair, and sorrow.

You will rise to heights you've never known.

You will sigh and laugh, and sing and grown.

You will live and celebrate your inspired humanity.

You will rise above the dull, monotony of senseless insanity

To soar, to roar with the voice of the lion, to score.

The door is before you, the voice of God whispers, "There is more!"

Tomorrow is yours to face and embrace with wonder.

It is for your voice to shout the victory, to thunder,

"I am here and I have come to conquer this day!

There is no fear that can sway me or turn me from this way!

I am a soldier or love, a warrior of peace, a child of God.

My strength is from above. My joy shall not cease. I stand on the sod

Of a new day ... tomorrow.

Reinhold Niebuhr on Reporters and Preachers

I think there ought to be a club in which preachers and journalists could come together and have the sentimentalism of the one matched with the cynicism of the other. That ought to bring them pretty close to the truth.

- Reinhold Niebuhr


One wonders if such a club now exists due to the emergence of cyberspace, specifically, social networks.

Has the sentimentalism of the pulpit been quelled by the information available to the pulpit and the pew?

Has the cynicism of the press been dulled due to two-way dialogue with readers?

Have the poles become less polar?

Do we have reporters preaching and preachers reporting?

Just what are we coming to?

Counting Sheep

Some people think of counting sheep as a way of falling asleep. I would suggest it as a metaphor for staying awake and alert.

Proverbs 27:23-24 says (NIV), "Be sure to know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations."

Your business or ministry will not thrive, grow, and prosper without your attention. Your people will not become all they can be without your help. Your organization will not be protected unless you protect it.

You must pay attention to what has been entrusted to you.

Your network needs your knowledge and you need to know what is going on.

Technology is your friend. We have phones, e-mail, databases, back offices, and so many tracking tools ... but we need to use them.

We cannot assume that everything will take care of itself and that matters will be OK if we ignore them. We need a hands-on approach while trusting people, systems, and the leaders we train. We have to know what is going on with our flocks.

You are a shepherd over your business or ministry. It is your job to care and guide.

Relaxed leadership is fine; disengaged leadership is disastrous. Inattentive and apathetic leadership hurts your entire organization and all the people in it.

Some of the things that require your attention are:

1. The raw numbers. You need to be tracking the internal trends within your system.

2. The attitudes and morale of your people. Look for subtleties that need to be addressed before they become problems.

3. The trends in your industry and in those societal factors that effect and affect your industry and the attitudes of people toward it. don't be the last to know.

4. Technological advances and innovations. Don't be caught off-guard.

These are just a few of the signposts to which you need to pay attention. The bottom line is: PAY ATTENTION!

The rest of the passage (25-27) is a promise:

"25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, 26 the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. 27 You will have plenty of goats' milk to feed you and your family and to nourish your servant girls."

How Is Your Fig Tree?

Proverbs 27:18 NIV) says, "He who tends  a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored."

This is pretty simple:

Do your job.

Do your best.

Then, do better.

Treat your job, if you still have one, like it is your own business and act in the boss's interest as if his or her success if yours.

Even if you are trying to retire with all the energy and ingenuity you have  during your off hours by building your own empire, do your J-O-B (just over broke) with diligence and be conscientious.

There will be fruit. Sometimes the fruit will grow in places you do not expect, but it will grow and you will eat it.

Of course, once you get your own fig tree, you will get a bigger share.

Sharpen Up

Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities that come to you with arms and legs every day?

You have been gifted with associates above you and below you on charts made by human hands who have the capacity to add value to your life with every conversation and as you observe them.

Some of them make big mistakes, but even they are not useless. You can use them as examples of what not to do.

You can learn from everyone with whom you come into contact.

Proverbs 27:17 in the NIV says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

How does this happen? Many ways. Perhaps we can touch on a few of them with the word, SHARP.

S = Seeing - We observe the other person's life, choices, habits, techniques, strategies, behavior, and interactions and learn. If we will watch people closely, we will collect valuable information and will observe timeless principles being fleshed out in their lives. Paul once told some of the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ.

H = Hassle - The word means "struggle" or "contest," but we use it to refer to the resistance we sometimes get when we need to reevaluate our behaviors and choices. So it is sort of a struggle that begins within us and continues as others compete with us or challenge us about our behaviors. we get shaper and either change our choices or become stronger in them. Never discount the benefit of a good hassle.

A = Accountability - If we are never accountable to anyone, we will drift into an undisciplined and unproductive life. That is almost always true because God has made us for community and has designed systems of accountability into the framework of churches and businesses. Network marketing employs that principle. So, call your leader, your pastor, or your accountability partner and do it regularly.

R - Respect - We learn respect for ourselves by respecting others, We learn respect for others when we reverence and respect God and His handiwork in fashioning people so magnificently. When you look upon one of those polished pieces of iron with arms and legs, you are looking upon the very handiwork of God. You will get sharper by respecting people.

P - Practice - People give us the opportunity to practice principles, to practice our presentations, and to practice our principles. People sharpen people through practice, interaction, conversion, struggle, and shared labor.

Don't be a loner. If you make the choice to do it all yourself, by yourself, you will suffer unnecessary setbacks and delays. Let other people make you sharper and let them benefit through their association with you as well.

What Can You Say in 100 Words?

Two lessons to me on blogging:

  1. Relate to where people are by speaking from your present emotional location.
  2. Say it as succinctly and clearly as possible.

I love what Steven Heartsill does with his 100 word blog posts. They are worthy of emulation. I am not sure I have what it takes, but he does:

Stay on Your Toes

The admonition is to be alert and take nothing and no one for granted. Live life on tiptoe in anticipation, and in awareness of what is going on over the horizon.

Boasting vs Believing about Tomorrow  

We are to make faith declarations and dream statements as freely as we breathe, but boasting is another matter. It presupposes that we are self-sufficient and need neither God nor other people to reach our aspirations and excludes gratitude from the success equation of our lives.  

Thus, the writer of Proverbs declares (27:1): Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring forth." (New International Version)  

Of course we do not know. There are variables beyond our oversight and capacity to predict. We do not control other people's choices or the heartbeat of nature. There are larger purposes than our own and we function best when we view our lives as part of a larger plan and submit ourselves to a greater will.  When that happens, the dream that is planted within our hearts is a dream we must pursue and can pursue with divine guidance and power.

However, we do not know what valleys of sorrow or storms of trouble through which we must pass.   We cannot boast about the time frame.   All that we can determine are our choices and our beliefs and these we must control or they will be controlled by the circumstance.  

You can believe in tomorrow without boasting about it.

You can predict your own success without presumption.

You can embrace a life of faith without assuming that there will be no battles to fight or hardships to bare.

You can control your decisions without controlling all of your circumstances.   You can choose to be an overcomer without knowing what tomorrow will bring.   You can live in absolute ignorance of the specifics of the future and remain positive if you know and trust the One who holds tomorrow.


The only thing that is consistently predictable in the universe is the consistent persistence of chaos...

And in that, we behold the emergence of divine order at a magnitude that stretches our minds ...

Beyond their capacity.

Just Be

Tonight as you prepare to rest, just be.

Being is what you were meant for, made for, and are maturing into.

You are, after all a being, human and developing.

Be yourself. Be REAL - Responsible, Evolving, Authentic, and Loving.

Be what you are becoming as in what you will COME to BE (BE -COME). Your future is as real as your past and present. There are just more obvious unknowns.

Be strong, courageous, honest, and full of wonder.

And since it is Saturday night ... Be-HAVE Be-CAUSE there is a new day tomorrow and we need you on the team.

See you in church.

Who Can I Lift Today

A Prayer

Who can I lift today from dregs or rags or rubble?

"Who will lift me?" replies the me within me whose focus, inverted and cross eyed cause me to stumble over unexpected opportunities.

For that me knows the dregs and rags and rubble common to all.

"Refocus!" shouts the me within me that can see. Refocus and move forward and ask again the first question.

Who can I lift today and, in the lifting, lift myself?

Who can I encourage? Who can I bless? Who can I walk alongside and with that one, share a burden?

Who can I love. To whom can I give what You have given me? To whom can I give what You are yet to give through me

Who will be my brother or sister or lifelong friend I have never met?

Who will you bring along my path today, Oh Lord, by divine appointment to change my life as I give myself away?

For I have come to see that it is not me. And I have come to realize that I am not the prize. And I have come to understand that it is not by my hand that dregs are transformed and rise to the top, that rags become garments of silk or rubble turns to castles of granduer.

I am not the helper to the helpee.

I am not the mentor to the mentee.

I am not the big brother to all the little sisters and brothers.

I am a fellow traveler, struggler, wanderer, falterer, and friend.

I am helped in the helping, mentored in the mentoring, brothered in the brothering.

I am lifted as I lift and keep my focus on another.

When I sought to be lifted, I fell.

I stand before You on tiptoe, Oh Lord, with childlike anticipation and wonder, waiting for the moment and the person that You will bring along my way that we might lift each other.


Are you optimistic?

The Online Etymology Dictionary is my friend, confirming my quasi-informed suspicions about words and their origins such as "optimism."

When I say I am optimistic, I want to know that what I think I mean is what I am really saying. Here is their take on the word:

"1782, from Fr. optimisme (1737), from Mod.L. optimum, used by Leibnitz (in Théodicée, 1710) to mean "the greatest good," from L. optimus "the best" (see optimum). The doctrine holds that the actual world is the "best of all possible worlds," in which the creator accomplishes the most good at the cost of the least evil."  See the full article here

The greatest good, the least evil, the best of all possible worlds. These are lenses through which I choose to view life and goals which i have in every challenge, circumstance, and problem.

I am an optimist. A pessimist, by definition (pessimus = worst in Latin) looks for the worst. That being said, I think that there is another self-description that becomes an enemy of the optimum or best in our lives. It is being a minimalist.

I am not making a value judgment about art or design here. There is a value to minimalism, especially with regards to consumption and excess. I am talking about the potential of every situation. I am referring to the outlook of a person on life and growth especially with regard to the call to overcome our obstacles and to become all that we can be in life.

Two people can exist in the same milieu of circumstances, suffer the same limitations, face the same challenges, and be buffeted with equal opposition and one will succeed while the other fails. There may be any number of factors involved in these outcomes, but one thing we know given the scenario is that they are internal and volitional. In other words, they involve the choices that each person makes.

Of course there is no way to duplicate identical circumstances, but we can approximate them. Each of us is imbued with our own distinct mixes of gifts, strengths, weaknesses, genetic predispositions, family backgrounds, and belief systems, but even with those, we all have choices.

I think that one of the great deciding factors in our lives is in our choices to believe the best, the worst, or the least about where we are and where we are going. Brain science, behavioral research, and the worlds of business and performance motivation fall into line with anecdotal illustrations of the power of belief and attitude to determine what will be made of the "givens" in our lives.

These fall into alliance with the scriptures as recorded in such passages as Proverbs 23:7, " For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he ..."

Optimism is not fantasizing about a desired future. It is believing in its possibility and rallying our thoughts, prayers, and actions toward the realization of that future. It is acting on what we believe in and pray for. Proverbs 28:19 (NLB) distinguishes between wishful thinking and positive thinking resulting in positive actions:

"A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty."

In order to work the field, the farmer must believe that the process can and, most likely will, bring results. In order to have any validity to his beliefs, he must do the work. The two go hand in hand and both exist with the realm of the knowledge of God's sovereignty and love.

For those who like acronyms on which to hang their rhetorical hats, here is one for the optimist:

O - Over the top thinking as opposed to under the circumstances thinking.
P - Positive about the possibilities of proactive beliefs and action.
T - Truth - The optimist is not hiding his head in the sand, but standing in the sand and seeing beyond.
I -  Inspired and inspiring to others.
M - Makes the best of things rather than surrendering to the worst or the minimum.
I - Initiative-taking rather than waiting for things to work out.
S - Sacred values are important to the optimist who stakes everything on them.
T - Time expended and energy invested are what it costs and what is multiplied in a true optimist.

It is your choice. I get a little shaky sometimes,  I must confess, but in the  end, I always choose optimism because anything less is simply unacceptable.

Taming the The Rhinoceros - LEAD

 Diceros bicornis.jpg

By Jonathunder - Own work, GFDL 1.2, 

If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."— G.K. Chesterton to Alexander Woollcott

The creature would certainly have a passing influence, but it would never be confused with positive leadership with the capacity to produce long-term life transformation. At best (or worst) it can alter the the circumstances of our lives through brute force. In fact, the sheer power and imposing strength of the rhino, if it were a metaphor for those qualities in our lives, might be a detriment.

Peter Drucker observed that, " No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human."

Real leadership is more about character than charisma. It must be something that can be duplicated in other people who are willing to develop in character and pay the price of integrity and consistency.

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a market for great leadership. Not only do we have the opportunity to find those kinds of people in our lives, but we can be that kind of person to someone else. In fact, the cycle is not complete until we find ourselves on both the giving and receiving ends of mentorship.

You can be more, but you can also be the person who invites and inspires someone else to be more. Never under estimate your capacity to be a positive influence. Intimidating people, beating them up, overpowering them, out-talking, and staring them down will only produce temporary results and not positive ones at that.

How then might we lead as to inspire people to reach their next level of greatness?

1. Love them. It may seem trite, but it is a reality that a trust worthy leader is someone who not only loves his/her followers, but communicates that love in service, refines it in prayer, and oozes it in words of encouragement and sensitive silence. Jesus declared and modeled that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

2. Elevate them. Desire and drive their rise to prominence. Take a back seat. Rejoice when they prosper. Swell with delight when they are recognized. Brag on them and let them take the bows.

3. Accelerate their opportunities to learn, grow, be exposed to other great leaders and to expose themselves to the public. Pass on books, articles, audio teaching, and event announcements. Take them places and introduce them. Give them assignments that will stretch them.

4. Direct/Mentor as a friend, a coach, a parent, and a sibling. Most of all, be a positive, practical, and observable example. Be available. Listen, advise, and applaud. Become their cheer leading section and be available.

That is L for Love, E for Elevate, A for Accelerate, and D for Director/Mentor = LEAD!

"You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that's assault, not leadership." — Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you want fast results that will produce no enduring fruit, release the rhinoceros in you in some crowded place. If you want to be a leader who inspires people to greatness, however, LEAD.



We stagger through life encumbered by the pressures of everyday problems and phantom concerns. We are sensitive to slightest slight and the subtlest gesture. We are quick to take offense and slow to receive healing when offended, much less to extend forgiveness. We step gingerly into new experiences and tremble at the very suggestion of risk or danger. We take our cues about our self-concepts from other people's words and evaluations. We speak our minds and hearts with question marks. We timidly go where many have gone before and wouldn't think of venturing where none have trod. We live as if we serve an impotent God who is far removed from our life experiences and the daily challenges that come our way. Our lack of confidence provokes our guilt and that makes us even more timid. We have an unhealthy fear of God that has no resemblance to the reverential fear that He demands. And that fear extends to other people and to the realm of unknown tomorrows. God, on the other hand, calls us to hold Him in reverence and receive His love with the understanding that if He before us, none can be against us (Romans 8:31).

From the introduction to "The Confidence Factor"

Five Reasons You Should Visit a Toastmasters Club This Week

Toastmasters International is an octogenarian organization (the club, not the members) that teaches leadership and communication skills in an atmosphere of fun, acceptance, dignity, and collegial support.

You should visit and then, you should join.

You begin where you are today. There is no judgment, no harsh criticism, and no big surprises of the embarrassing sort.

Here are five reasons not to put this off.

1. Sometime this year, you will be called upon in your work or community to make a presentation. If you are a Toastmaster, you already have a group of supportive friends who will help you prepare.

2. If you put it off to another week, it will become easier to continue putting it off until you forget altogether.

3. The club really wants you. Your presence will bring added value to the club and its members know it. You have unique gifts and experiences from which others can benefit.

4. There are people already meeting weekly with whom you need to network and you can meet them all in one place.

5. You have friends to meet, experiences to share, learning to be accomplished, ideas to share, skills to prefect, and recognition to achieve. There is no better time than right now.

Locate a club near you:

Meeting locations

Can't find it? Start a club!


The Grow Flow

We dream; we grow;
We move; we flow;
We laugh; we glow.
While here below,
We live in anticipation
Of pomp and circumstance
And graduation.
We are matriculated in the school of life
Articulated by toil and tears and strife.
We are students of all that passes
Work and play, day by day, our classes.
We are classmates with our fellow creatures.
These also are our students and our teachers.
And this is our assignment:
Absolute and total realignment.
And someday through the pain and stress of it.
We will celebrate the gain and success of it.
We dream; we grow and
by God's grace we move and flow
And laugh and glow
While here below,
We live.

Live well.
Live Long.
Prosper and overcome.
Be all that you can be.
You are more special than you know and it is an honor to know you.

Be Hungry

I was a little taken back as I sat in the training session for aspiring vacuum cleaner salesmen and heard the trainer say, "I hope you are all in serious debt or financial trouble. If you are, you will be successful."

I didn't like what he said at the time, but I came to understand that he was right.

The wise teacher of the proverbs tells us, ""A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on" (Proverbs 16:26 NASB). This can be known through careful observation and is as true today as it was in Solomon's time.

You have to be hungry. At the very least, you must possess an appetite for more. If you are satisfied, you will stay where you are. If you are complacent, you will not exert extraordinary effort in any direction. If you are resigned to your circumstance or to the world as it is, you will not do much to change either.

Even Jesus said that those were blessed who hungered and thirsted for things to be right (ie... righteousness).

What does the hunger that works for us and drives us on look like? Let us break it down.

H - HATE. Hunger involves hate, not in the sense of vitriolic preoccupation with a destructive emotion toward other people. but the broader definition of detesting something to the point of turning away from it. You must be willing to make a clean break with your addiction to an undesirable condition in order to embrace something better. Some people are addicted to their self identities as poor failures and hopeless "losers." It takes something as dramatic as hating those designations to break free of them. Like Scarlet O'Hara you declare that you will never be hungry again. - except for the next goal.

U - URGE - We have used this word before to point to something inside that goes beyond rejecting the old to the idea of being drawn toward something in a powerful and compelling way. When you are deeply hungry for food, that hunger urges you on. You move in the direction of your goal. It drags you out of bed and out of the house. The urge is powerful and is empowered by the faith and hope that what you long for is possible with God's help and with your commitment.

N - NOTICE - When you are hungry for your goal, you start noticing things around you that you have previously ignored, things that remind you where you are going, examples of what you desire.You notice other people on the same path. You notice books, articles, and information designed to equip you in the fulfillment of your dreams. You notice open doors and opportunities. You notice people in a new way.

G - GRASP - Having identified a goal for which you hunger, you are always grasping in that direction. You hold what is in your grasp and reach for what is beyond it. You also grasp concepts you never would have paid any attention to before because understanding them is a means to your desired end. You make grasping a tool in your belt for reaching that to which you aspire.

E- EXHAUSTION - you stop at nothing less than the exhaustion of every effort in the service of your goal. if you haven't tried everything, you are not done. If you have not tried some things several times and several ways, you are not finished. If you have any energy left, you use it. of course you pace yourself, get adequate rest, and care for your body and soul in the process, but you DO NOT QUIT until all options are exhausted and even when they seem to be, you look for more.

R - RESILIENCE - When you fall, get up. When you fail, try again. When you falter in your faith, renew it and never let entertain discouragement for any longer than it takes to be encouraged by positive people, scripture, prayer, and your own commitment to keep on keeping on. Successful people are resilient in their hunger. They are often the folks that stayed in the game just a little bit longer than everyone else, tried a few more tricks, and refused to quit. They are knocked down, insulted, wounded, and wearied, but they have elastic in the back ends of their trousers so that that they bounce when knocked on their posteriors. Be that kind of person and your hungry appetite will drive you to success.


Getting It Done - Quotes to Motivate

"We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough."  - Helen Keller

" If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. " - Walt Disney

" Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin now! " - Goethe

" Humanity cannot forget its dreamers. It cannot let their ideas fade and die. It lives in them. It knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know. Composers, sculptors, painters, poets, prophets and sages these are the makers of tomorrow. These are the architects of heaven."  - John Donne

"Commit yourself to a dream. Nobody who tries to do something great but fails is a total failure. Why? Because he can always rest assured that he succeeded in life's most important battle; he defeated his fear of trying." - Dr. Robert Schuller


Lessons from a Penny

I was trying to find something to write about a few years ago and was completely stumped. Hoping to distract myself into a state of concentration, I picked up a penny and turned it over and over.

I asked myself what messages that small coin might give me.The following is the lessons I learned:

It is round. I am not sure what the significance of that is except that we tend to make our coins round in this country. I could make more of it, but I am focusing on the obvious.

I do need to be more well rounded in my life.

It reminds us that we as a people, for the most part, trust in God - or like to tell people that we do. This, the smallest of coins, calls me to the greatest of faith.

As Kipling said of his nation, puffed up with power:

"If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!"

It tells us that we as a people value liberty.

At the heart of our national love of liberty is a free enterprise system.

How sad, that we are tempted to sacrifice liberty for expediency and safety. Inconvenience for the greater good is expected. To accept long lines for the well being of all is a virtue. However, we must be vigilant to guard our freedom and remember the words of Patrick Henry, proclaimed in my own hometown of Richmond,

"I know not what course the others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

Men and women have been willing to die for it and have died for it. let us never take it lightly.

As you build your own businesses, you are also fighting for freedom.

The penny reminds us of the nobility of character of a man like Abraham Lincoln who failed many times on his road to success, but kept getting up again until he, the most unlikely of candidates came to the place of leadership where he would steer this nation through one of its greatest crises.

Whitman called him, "Oh Captain, my Captain ... fallen cold and dead."

His legacy tells us that greatness can come from humble beginnings and that great trials, both internal torment and circumstantial heartache can fashion great people.

And Lincoln on the coin reminds me to never take myself too seriously. He could laugh and make others laugh.

"A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like a Medicine." - Proverbs 15:13

What could be more humble and insignificant than a tiny penny? yet it is intricate and beautiful and pennies accumulate. Some people do not value small things, but have you ever been just a penny short?

"Do not despise the day of small beginnings." (Zechariah 4:10)

Everything magnificent starts off small.

In certain markets, a once cent fluctuation can make a huge difference in the economy.

On the back of the penny is spelled out, "One Cent." That means it is one part of one hundred cents that add up to a dollar.

Everything is a part of something else. You are a part of something greater than yourself. We are made for community and collaboration. It is American and it is universal.

Every cent counts. Believe me, they count them at the bank.

If you keep your penny, you will never be broke - not flat broke anyway.

Ben Franklin said, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

The Lincoln Memorial is on the back and I remember the words of a speech I learned as youngster that are inscribed there: The Gettysburg Address. My great grandfather was there at Gettysburg where so many died, that "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" would not perish from the earth.

Out nation was founded, as Lincoln said, "dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

It took a civil war to solidify that idea and prepare the way for it to be institutionalized at the next level where slavery simply could not be tolerated.

There is slavery in the world today and we cannot tolerate it.

There are indignities and cruelties perpetrated on men, women, and children made in the image of God. My little penny tells me that I must care and I must do what I can to stop it and help make the world a better place for all humanity.

My great grandfather was fighting on the wrong side of that tragic war, but Lincoln's legacy and the resilience of the American ideal healed the nation and we are one people once more with one currency and one great dream.

Lincoln was prepared to forgive the South and treat her people generously. While those who came to power after his death were not as open handed as him, they did bring the nation together again.

This penny reminds me that there are stronger things than our many differences, that America is greater than her partisan politics, and that we can heal if we focus on what we share in common.

We are diverse and in that diversity is our strength because it forces us to focus on what is truly at the core of our nation's identity. We unify, not around peripheral concerns, but around core values. The message on the penny brings us back to what the great American experiment in representative government and self-determination was and is all about.

That penny represents opportunity and everyone has an opportunity for success. You can play the game and win.

And we will need some of your pennies for the common good. You know that; April 15 is much to recent.

"E Pluribus Unum," it declares, out of many, one.

These are the words from our national seal of which it has been said,

"The center section of their shield has six symbols for "the Countries from which these States have been peopled:" the rose (England), thistle (Scotland), harp (Ireland), fleur-de-lis (France), lion (Holland), and an imperial two-headed eagle (Germany)."

We come from so many backgrounds, cultures, languages, nations, and families. We are also representative of many regions of this country with varying customs, dialects, and histories. Yet, we are one people, one nation under God.

The penny was once made of copper and now of a mixture of metals that mean nothing to me except that I find the penny to be the most beautiful and appealing of coins because of its bronze color.

It is still one cent, no matter what it is made of.

Emblazoned across the top of the second side of the coin, we read, "Untitled States of America."

We are states with powers that are sovereign in their spheres.

We are united so that we surrender some of those powers for the sake of the whole and for the possibility of interstate commerce.

here we are on the Internet because people can do together what no one can do alone.

If you are in a home based business, it is likely that you are in that business "for yourself, but not by yourself."

We are "of America" which means that a guy named Americo Vespucci did a very good job of creating a map of a new and largely unexplored continent and that our forefathers put aside their fears and apprehensions to come and explore it.

We are still explorers charting new courses and embarking on adventures into the realm of success and significance.

I can look at this penny and know when it was minted - 1978, and where - Denver.

I know where I was in 1978, finishing up my 6th year of college, married since 1975, pastoring two small churches in western Virginia, and still swelling with pride in America in the afterglow of the Bicentennial celebration of 1976. In fact, cyclists were still stopping at our little church along the Bicentennial Trail to rest and refresh themselves.

It was a great time in our nation's history.

In 1978, I was preparing to come to California in 1979, but I did not know it at the time. I would move from one coast of this nation to the next and I would need every penny I could find and that God's people would generously bestow upon me to make it.

Here, at the Western edge of our Continent, I have planted my life and ministry and worked on my American Dream alongside my wife of nearly 32 years. We have raised two sons and are helping to raise two wonderful grandsons.

We try to teach them the value of a penny, to earn it honestly, invest it wisely, give it generously, save it judiciously, and spend it frugally. My wife is better at that than me.

I have only been to the airport in Denver, but I know there is a Mint there and my penny came into its present form there and was disbursed from there.

I don't know where it went from there, how many times it has crossed this land, whether or not it has traveled overseas, how many people have lost it and how many have found it.

It has traveled, as have you and your ancestors. Now you are here and the choices you make from this moment forward will determine where you are going.

This penny has been in many pockets, heard many stories, perhaps even been carried into battle. It has used for good and most likely, for evil. It has years of usefulness left as well.

It is faded, so it has not been pampered.

Oh the stories it could tell.

Oh the stories you can tell.

I told you, I had nothing to write about.

It is a good thing someone left a penny on my desk.

If I can get all of that out of the tiniest coin in our economy ... and I could go on much longer, how do you say that you have no story to tell?

You are a person of great experiential wealth and intricately interwoven complexity. You have a fascinating past and a wonderfully mysterious future.

Tell your story; fight for your liberty; be all that you were made to be.

Live well.

All the best to you. You are truly a center of influence. God bless you today and always.

God's First Creation


Image result for first creation

If I were to ask you what God made first, you might say, "light" based upon the first chapter of Genesis. However, it does not say that. It says that He made everything in the beginning and that He made light before other physical phenomena, but Proverbs 8:22 informs us of a prior creation that is not as tangible or corporeal.

Wisdom speaks and says, "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;" (NIV)

God created logic and reason first and then, used that wisdom to fashion a reasonable and rational creation that can be investigated, observed, and celebrated by people He made in His image.

Verse 18 says, "With me are riches and honor."

Everything observable, predictable, and ordered is based upon the genius of God. every principle that works in business, economics, life, science, and human behavior is rooted in His wisdom.

Wisdom is not God; it is the creation of God. To study any discipline of science or philosophy is to study the Mind of God - how He thinks and How He reveals himself.

That is part 1 of Psalm 19, but only part 1. Nature and creation teach us what; part 2, the Word of God, teaches us WHY.

And a WAY without a Y (WHY) is just a WA.

It is not enough to be successful; our lives are only truly fulfilled when they are significant.


The Eyes of Time (Spelled I-Z-E)

Time has eyes. In this case, it is I-Z-E:






I could throw in a few more just to be cute and thorough, but these may do. We can revisit categorize, synthesize, and scrutinize later.



The Grand Courtship

(Jeremiah 31:3 KJV) The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Everlasting love. It is as much of a quality as it is an expression of duration. In fact, what makes God’s love endure is that it is durable, patient, passionate, and aggressive. That is the character of His love. God actively pursues the object of His love in the way described by Francis Thompson in his immortal poem, “The Hound of Heaven.”

God appears to us of old with this romantic word of wooing, He has been loving us all along. It is new only by its freshness. “Yes, I have loved you …” He affirms with conviction and passion, “and my love never ends.”

Not only does He love us, but He courts us. With loving kindness He reaches out to us and draws us to Himself. Loving kindness is an inadequate English translation of a Hebrew word, which is best translated, “covenant love.” It means that God’s own character, word, and integrity are at stake and that He loves us simply because He has chosen and committed to do so. He will not back down. He is relentless in loving us. It is about who He is that He loves so deeply.

God is a jealous lover—not in the immature sense of one who is insecure, but with the confidence of one who knows that He is the only one for us and that all other suitors are bent on our destruction. The jealousy of God is selfless and generous. He will settle for no less than the best for us.

Billy Graham - Reluctant Hero

If there was one thing that Billy Graham has always resisted, it is hero status. He would be the first to remind us that he was a sinner saved by grace and a simple servant of Jesus.

However, it is humility and willingness to be used that make him a hero nevertheless.

Now in the winter of his life, we can be inspired by his example.


Faith and Futility

I thrive on "busy." I move amongst projects and big ideas and run on full steam until something intervenes. I love solitude and I love crowds. Go figure. Starbucks is my office. I like some people around me while I am working, but not too many.

I am a dreamer. There are so many big pictures in my mind and heart that I must frequently stretch the canvass. I know about strategies and appreciate them. without strategies, nothing will materialize from the vague to the concrete.

As the somewhat dubious Father Divine said, "The problem with most metaphysicians is that they don't know how to tangibilitate."

I am working on this. However, today's lesson is also centering for me as well as sobering. Psalm 127 is my bookmark in the Psalms for today and it is very specific about the spiritual dimension of our planning:

1 - Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Getting lost and discouraged in the vanity of a thing is an occupational hazard for dreamers and
schemers. Futility is the fate of those who run on spiritual empty without regular infusions of divine direction, inspiration, and hope.

2 - It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Work ethic will not substitute for God's energy and purpose. It is the essence of working "smart" that we conserve energy and maximize effort when our hearts are beating with the heart of God.

3 - Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

For instance, here are children. Who could think that miracle up or bring it to pass with human effort?

4 - As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5 - Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Surprisingly, our greatest accomplishments are those that God has more to do with than us.

Spelling Money Biblically

M - MANAGE it; never let it manage you. It is a great slave and a poor master. Love people and use money; not the reverse. It is not money, but the love of money that is the root of all evil.(I Timothy 6:10). in fact, Ecclesiastes 5:10 says that the person who loves money never has enough. Management is what stewardship is all about. It is all God's money and He has given us management responsibility for it.

 O - Let it bring you OPPORTUNITIES and let OPPORTUNITY bring money to you. It will enable you to embrace those opportunities as they come along and seizing opportunities for success will enable you to accumulate more. In Luke 10, the Good Samaritan could not have been as helpful to the wounded and robbed man if he had not had the money to pay for his care.

 N - Take care of the NECESSITIES before you start on the frivolities. Though not always seen as a necessity by all, building a business, profession, or income form the future is essential. Build your source of income first before you build a lifestyle. (Proverbs 24:27). we also need to have the integrity to pay our bills before we purchase luxuries.

 E - EXPAND the reach of your influence using money as a tool. Proverbs 11:25 says that a generous man will prosper. Proverbs 22:9 says that he will be blessed. Proverbs 17:8 says that "a bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds." Since verse Proverbs 17:23 frowns on bribes being received to pervert justice, this might be understood as a gift given to open doors in a business relationship. Money in good peoples' hands can do a lot of good in the world.

 Y - Say "YES" to options, yes to people, and yes to God. How many times have you had to say "no" because you were in financial bondage to debt or lack of positive cash flow? Money can be a tool for freedom in its proper perspective. II Corinthians 1:20 says, " For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God."


An Ation Evening

It was July 1, 2006. I had an "ation" evening. Have you ever had one?

Saturday night - anticipation, inspiration, perspiration (It is hot in Fresno), exasperation (Andrea is preparing the church finance report), motivation (some, but not much - I'm ready for bed), temptation (Saturday Night Live really does give me a chuckle, but I should sleep and pray), elation (Andrea just finished the finance report)., aggravation (I just read this to Andrea and she walked away), termination (I'm going to save this and go to the other room), inflation, salvation, one nation under God. Good night.

Make Someone's Day

image from

Let me start by saying that if you chose to open this posting and read it, that is a good sign that you are on the right track and your heart is in the right place. You have already moved from the realm of unlikely positive outcome to likely positive outcome. You have identified making someone's day as an intention in your life and that kind of intentionality is a real key to accomplishment.

Proverbs 18:1 says,

"An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends;
       he defies all sound judgment."

It is in the pursuit that our judgment is magnified.

So I may leave it at that for today. To be friendly and to desire the good for someone else today will move you far down the road of being a blessing. When you wish someone well, it is communicated in your attitude, your words, and your deeds. you cannot help but be an encouragement to all who are receptive and in need.

The very desire to make another person's day is an indicator of character and a predictor of success in that endeavor.

Today, I will start to spell out how to do that by examining the word, "D-A-Y." First let us look at a proverb for today, Proverbs 19:1:

"Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse. "

To apply that to our theme, we might paraphrase it this way: "While wealth and prosperity can open doors, create opportunities, and enable us to do much good for others, it would be better to do without it if it meant that our words wounded rather than healed, deflated people rather than inflating them, and discouraged rather than encouraged."

Words are powerful and how we use words will determine much of our success in making someone else's day.

And the good news is that if you make the day of enough people, it will eventually lead you on the path to success.

We don't have to choose between our success and that of others if we are willing to put our primary focus on helping others succeed.

Now, here is the D-A-Y

D = Decision. You make a decision about the kind of day you will have. You make it early; you make it firm. You decide that whatever comes your way, "The is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." It is always a decision and if you make it, it will rub off on others. While you make the decision, early in the morning, to have a great day, decide to bring others along as well. Pray for opportunities to encourage, lift, and serve people. They will come!

A = Attitude. It is always about attitude. Attitude can make or break your day and will affect others. Positive attitudes are contagious, but so are negative attitudes. If you walk around all day with the attitude that is selfish, angry, resentful, and bitter, that will take the wind out of people's sails who are living on the edge. Not everyone has learned the power of a positive decision.

They need to see a living example of positivity - YOU!

If you carry your decision to have a blessed day with you throughout the day and reflect that in your attitude, those same people will see and catch some of your spirit. Smile at frowns; speak gently to harsh voices; deflect criticism; be kind when you are treated without kindness. Be the master of your moments and your emotions. Elevated your attitude and you will elevate others.

Y = Yes, Yes living. It is a no-no world. All around us, people are looking for reasons to be critical, to disagree, to complain, to gossip, to make other people feel small. You have chosen to live the opposite way. You are looking for areas of agreement. You are searching for the YES. You are endeavoring to find things you can compliment and affirm, people you can encourage, and lives you can touch with God's love. You are actively giving out smiles. Your goal is to build and what you are building are people.

The only two things that will last forever are the Word of God and the souls of people. One builds the other.

Make a decision to have and promote a great day. Put on the attitude of positive thinking and living, the attitude of love and grace. Put it on the same way you put on a cheerful shirt in the morning. Look for yes every where and build upon each yes you find. Decision - Attitude - Yes = DAY.

Better than anything I can say, watch this awesome young lady's awesome video:


America Mourns the Loss of Uncle Walter

Walter Cronkite has died at age 92. We have all lost a trusted friend and member of our family.

Read about his life.

"And that's the way it is. Friday, July 17. Goodnight."

Walter Cronkite in the 1960s

Broadcast journalist and CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite in the 1960s. Hulton Archive/Getty Images'

How ironic to receive the news on the day we commemorate the landing on the moon 40 years ago. Cronkite guided us through the process, explained it to us, made it alive for us.

Kids of our generation really thought he was our distant uncle.

He had been there for us when a president was assassinated. He guided us through the War in Vietnam. He helped us understand the news and history.

He remained active well into his later years and will be sorely missed.

Don't Lose Heart

  • 5 words from II Cor 4:16: "... we do not lose heart ..." Never lose heart.
  • To lose heart is to lose center & create vacuum which shall suck up something to fill itself. We may not want that calling the shots.
  • Losing heart is no option. Losing heart is placing our choices in the hands of chance. Heart is what controls us - center -core - choice.
  • Losing heart is not an emotional "emptying;" but a void of choice, determination, & commitment. Commitment drives when all else come loose.
  • Our choice is to not lose heart, to maintain commitment to center, commitment to God, commitment to mission.
  • CHOICE: Calling - Hope - Obedience - Insight - Commitment - Energy.
  • Based on calling, with hope, in obedience, with insight, we commit to the energy necessary to choose => CHOICE!
  • Pro- Choice => CHOOSING not to lose heart in heartless deflating days of economic downturns. Recession is no excuse to take a recess.
  • With that, I'm back to the field.

Each of these points was a separate "Tweet" one day this week.



Turning Up the Heat 1 Degree

212 is your magic number.

Turn the heat up a notch!

Scotty Wilson posts so many encouraging and thoughtful things on FaceBook and Twitter.He posted this SimpleTruths video this morning that really lifted me.

It is so true. Sometimes it is just the extra degree, extra mile, extra effort, extra smile that makes the difference. Sometimes it is just another day, hour, or minute that turns the tables. Sometimes all it takes is turning up the heat a bit. Go for it!



( Also found at )

It doesn't matter how hard you've tried in the past or how many times you have failed. Keep on keeping on. If you are on the right track, you are going somewhere and somewhere might be right around the corner.

If you are out of ideas, strength, energy, motivation, belief, or desire ...

Get around the right people who can heat up your heart.

Get into the right books and magazines that can elevate your mental and spiritual temperature.

Consciously think positive "hot button" thoughts that will stimulate your mind and heart.

Pray proactively.

Act affirmatively.

Move forward.


They may not have been all that odd, but they struck me that way.

At the courthouse, a homeless guy was sprawled out on the ground next to a light pole with an electrical outlet. Plugged into the outlet was a cord attached to a charger that was rejuvenating his cell phone.

Actually, I find that quite resourceful. If all I could afford were a cell phone, a gym membership for showers, a mail box, and a few essentials, it might make surviving in the summer a bit easier.

Driving down the road I saw an ambulance with its lights and siren on seeming to emerge from a cemetery.

Seems a little late, but things are not always as they seem.

Entering the Johnny Quick convenience store in 105 degree weather, I had to trip over ... FIREWOOD for sale.

Life is ironic. Enjoy it.

Chewable Vitamins

New term, usage coined by me (I think), nevertheless, used by me. If you say or post something that makes me think and has the potential to bring nourishment to my mind, soul, spirit, it is a CHEWABLE VITAMIN -

It needs some chewing (thought, meditation, work within) and it has great potential.

I am getting many such vitamins on FaceBook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web.

Finding a Y

Napoleon Hill said, “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now."

Adrian Rogers said, "It's always to soon to quit, never too soon to start. "

So start where you are right now and build faith into your life and thinking.

The first challenge is to FIND A REASON and to FOCUS on the dream God has placed in your heart, the one thing that you must do, become, and achieve in life.

A  Way without a Y (WHY) is a WA – meaningless concept. God has placed a big dream in each person’s heart just as He has a dream for you, your church, your business, and for His world. Will you commit to seek Him for that dream one week?

Let's use F-A-I-T-H as an acronym for the steps (weeks, months) we need to devote to this process.

Step 1: F - FIND a reason, a far-reaching goal that takes you beyond yourself and FOCUS on that dream. Hebrews 1:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Step 2: A - ADJUSTMENTS and ATTITUDES: Philippians 2:5 - Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

Step 3: I - IMAGINE new possibilities and INVEST your life in what God is doing in and through you. Ephesians 3:20 – Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine according to His power at work in us…

Step 4: T - TRUSTING God: Psalm 37:3-5 – Trust in the Lord and  do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn; the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Step 5: H - HARVEST the Fruit: Galatians 6:9 –Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  

Deserts Green

Perhaps this can encourage someone who is passing through a personal desert or living through a profound drought of dream and drive. There are some mighty oaks around you that can speak to your soul, "You can do it; you can be it; you can!"

Deserts Green

 For every river flowing free

There is a desert with a tree.

Unknown waters make it green,

Mighty rivers, never seen.

Deep within the dry, parched earth,

Roots run deep beneath the dearth.

Though the sky suspends its rain,

Sun beats down its scorching pain ,

Though none other blooms in sight,

Nothing robs it of its might.

It knows sources only few

Have known, afresh and new .

It has found the secret place,

Cooling streams, refreshing grace.

God speaks from that one lonesome tree

"Come to the stream, come unto me." 

God's sentinel in deserts grim.

Drink from the stream that flows from Him. 

 © 1991, 2006, Thomas B. Sims, All Rights Reserved