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Thursday, December 15, 2016

God's Economy

   If you think this is a blog about Capitalism (or any other ism for that matter) then think again.   Instead I wrote this blog in response to something I have heard various people over the years use as a reason to hold them back from faith in Jesus.  It is the idea of God punishing people who from a worldly vantage point seem pretty decent and do a lot of good in the world.  To them, these people should not be damned.  God should make some allowances for them, given their "good lives and good works".  After all, why should God damn them and not others, just because they believe in Jesus.

    This is really nothing new.   King David lamented about a similar issue as well but from a different point of view.  He lamented that he knew he had sinned (he had committed adultery and killer her husband to boot!), and that NOTHING he could give back to God was adequate. In his words, "all the bulls on a thousand hills are all yours!".   Meaning, even if I sacrifice 1000 bulls to you, those bulls were all created by God and therefore worthless in payment.   It's like being in debt to a bank and then taking out a loan from said bank to pay back the same bank.  It's totally futile.

    But what about those "good people" and their "good works" ?  Surely that must account of something! Right?

    To explain how good works don't matter, imagine you work for a company and you as an employee make a vital mistake that costs the company $100,000.   You fear losing your job and so you go to the boss and tell him you want to make up for the loss any way you can.  He looks at you and says, "Okay! Here is what you are going to do!".  He points over to the sign near the entryway that reads "All Employees must work from 8am-5pm Mon-Friday" and tells you "Instead of working from 8-5 you will work from 6am to 6pm every day for 1 year with NO extra pay for those extra 20 hours per week you put in".  You thank him profusely for not firing you and allowing you to work off the lost money.

    But in God's world things are different. God created us to be perfect.  He says, "Be Holy for I the Lord your God am Holy!".   His employment sign simply reads: "Be Perfect".  Now the problem becomes that there is absolutely no way to go beyond PERFECT.  It's absolute.  So even if I do SOME good works, those are things I am supposed to do anyway, and I am supposed to do them ALL the time as well.   So how can I put in any extra "overtime" good works?   The simple answer is this: I can't!

    So if everything thing in the world is God's in the first place and I am required to be perfect, clearly this debt cannot be paid from a worldly point of view.  It must therefore be paid from out of GOD's OWN POCKET.

   That is what God did.  As we celebrate Christmas this year let's remember that Jesus came to pay that debt I created and had no way to pay back.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Joke is on US!

    The cartoonist Walt Kelly once said in his famous comic strip Pogo, "We have met the enemy and he is us".  The cartoon was with regard to pollution and it was posted on the first Earth Day event. He captured the essence of the problem in a way no one else could and the phrase has been used by many others (including me here) over the past decades.
    Watching the debate the other night and listening to people discuss how this election has reached an all time new low has been another eye-opening experience for me.   I have talked to people on both sides and both feel betrayed by their parties in allowing people like Trump and Hillary to be their party's nominee.   But I often reply back saying it's not Trump's or Hillary's fault.  The fault is with us!   We put them there.   We elected them.  Trump and Hillary represent what we (or at least MOST) the American people have become.  We have become two-faced autocrats that care little (if nothing at all) about the rule of law or our Constitution.  We have treated politics like some sort of blood-sport like Football or UFC fighting. My team vs. Your Team.  Winner take all.

   Hillary represents the cynical side of America.   Politics is a joke.  The law is a joke.  All that matters is winning.  We can talk about the American Dream and our "Love of Country" all the while we mean something entirely different inside.  Words are just words.   They can be made to say one thing but mean something entirely different.   To Hillary, the truth doesn't matter.   As Pilat said to Jesus, "What is TRUTH?" so also the truth to Hillary is whatever she can con you into believing to keep you on her side.   If she can con you into thinking that 3rd trimester abortions (abortions that occur in the 7th,8th or even 9th month) are not bloody and not painful to the baby they so be it.  If she can con you into thinking she only had Yoga classes and wedding plans on her email server then so be it. If she can con you into thinking that she is for the middle-class when she gets millions of dollars from Wall Street banks and Saudi princes, then so be it.

   Trump represents the Anyone-But-Hillary crowd.  He is the other side of the same coin.   He too is "connected" and he has "name recognition" like Hillary, but  Trump represents those in America who only care about appearances (which is most of us).  He is the product of Reality-TV,  Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.   He represents us: vapid, self-righteous, fake and easily distracted.  Interested in only scoring points (or "likes" and "re-tweets") but not in winning hearts and minds.

   Trump and Hillary are reflections of who we have become in America.  They didn't pop out of a laboratory somewhere like Frankenstein's monster.  No.  They took their cues from us the American people.  Like a child learning to talk and taking it's language and ideas from their parents, so also Trump and Hillary learned their behavior from us.   Most of America doesn't care about hearing the truth so they don't bother telling us the truth.  Most of America doesn't care about the law, so they don't care about the law.   Most of America doesn't care about the Constitution so they don't care about the Constitution.  Most of America is vapid, fake and heartless so they become vapid, fake and heartless.  Most of America is godless so they are godless.

    Lament all you want about your choices this election but know you had a part in creating them.  They both truly do represent us the American people.

   What is funny, is that we laugh at them when Saturday Night Live comedians satirize them and poke fun at them .   It's all great fun watching Alec Baldwin squint and push out his lower lip to try to resemble Donald.  But the joke is really on us because the real buffoons are not the candidates up on the debate stage.  Instead it's us, the American people.

   We have met the enemy and they is us.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Let the Barbarians come in

   When I was a junior at the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana in 1984 I took a course called "Roman Achievement" and it was taught by a Professor Scanlan.  He was an incredible teacher and even though it was taught in a large auditorium of over 2000 there was still a waiting list to get into the class.   He covered the entire 700 year history of the Roman Empire from its early beginnings to the fall in the 5th century.    I was amazed at how similar their culture was to ours.  Their buildings, there culture, their education, their sports and arts and even their politics and military.   I never missed a class the entire semester.   Towards the end of the semester he began to cover the fall of the Roman Empire.  How the barbarians of the north had disguised themselves and pretended to be Roman citizens and soldiers in the military.   I remember him talking about the final collapse and how within a 100 years much of Romes knowledge was gone completely.  I remember leaving the class and walking down the Quad lined with buildings that looked like they were from the Roman Empire and wondered to myself "Why God?  Why did you have to let it collapse?".   I thought of how much more advanced we would be today if we did not go through a 1000 years of darkness.

    The question of "Why?" haunted me for many years.   It seemed so pointless to lose all this knowledge and culture.   Even more so, when you realize that near the end of the Roman Empire, Rome had turned from a pagan culture to a Christian culture.    Even its very emperors became Christian ( Constantine was the first ).   So why should God allow it to collapse now?   Shouldn't God have been MORE pleased with where it was going culturally? By most evangelicals today in our country, God should have been so pleased with Rome he should have been showering them with more peace and prosperity than ever before.   But just the opposite was about to happen.

     The answer would not come to me for many years.   Just recently as I was writing a blog about how God used the Roman Empire to spread the Gospel.  He used the Roman highways to allow missionaries to travel.  He used Greek language to allow them to talk to countless cultures across the Mediterranean.  He used Roman coin to pay for these missions and help build churches across the region.   He used the Roman military to provide a time of peace to the region it had never seen before.    All these things the Jews despised were useful to God and his plan to save the world.   It was at that moment I realized, God had maximized his mission to the Roman Empire and it was now time to reach beyond Rome and into the barbarian countries.   These people were not going to be receptive to the Gospel as long as Rome was fighting with them and enslaving them.   God needed to let the barbarians IN so now they can hear the Gospel for themselves.   And hear it they did.   They turned from their pagan myths to Jesus Christ.   They became believers and were baptized.

   In short, for God to win the barbarian's souls, Rome had to lose.

   And that is what God always wants to accomplish.   I don't think God cares about Global Economics or National boundaries.  He has a completely different agenda: saving souls.   In the end, all nations will be thrown down.  In the end, all the money of the earth will be burned up and lost.  In the end, all the knowledge of the universe will be forgotten.  In the end all that will matter will be whether your name is in the Book of Life or not.

   Today, like Rome, the barbarians are at the door.   This time they are not northern Germanic tribes wielding large swords and axes but instead are members of ISIS seeking our destruction.   But along with them are many people caught in pain and suffering of being Islamic who are in need of hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   I don't often agree with President Obama, but on a recent occasion I did.   He was giving a speech about how to confront Islamic terrorism and he offered his opinion that we need to provide a "better alternative to Islamic extremism".   Of course he was referring to high paying jobs and better opportunities for them.    I say, Christianity offers the ONLY solution for them and it is so much better than what they have right now.   The problem for us right now is that so many of these countries where they live don't allow missionaries to preach to them and our efforts are thwarted.  So our only way to reach them is for them to come here inside our country.

    Does this strike fear into my heart?   Some.   Will some of these people from the Middle-East be terrorists?   Probably.   But if God can save more people isn't that what I should want too?   I hurt for the ISIS followers.  I pray for their souls and that God can somehow reach them.   Imagine the passion a former ISIS follower turned Christian would bring to the Church!   St. Paul you might say was an early anti-Christian terrorist.   In Acts it says he went from town to town rounding up all those who were believers and brought them back to Jerusalem to stand trial.   He called himself "a man of anger and a violent man".   But God was able to re-channel that misplaced passion to be used for good.    If God can do it for Paul, how many  ISIS-Paul's are out there today he can use as well?

    This is why God calls for his children to "pray for those who persecute you" because he wants them to come to the truth as well.  It's not just for you!  It's for them as well!   All too often we fall victim to the Jonah-reaction.   Jonah saw 10 out of 12 tribes of Israel taken away by the Assyrians never to be heard from again.   Jonah HATED the Assyrians and the last people he wanted to receive God's grace and forgiveness was them.   That is why he fled on a ship to the west rather than go east as he was told to.   Even after God sent a violent storm and Jonah admits to the sailors that he is at fault, he still doesn't want to go.  Instead of asking for God to forgive him and send him back to Assyria he tells the sailors to "bind me hand and foot and throw me overboard".   He essentially is telling them "drown me!". (side note: a Jewish myth was that the sea was bottomless and that "maybe" a person might be out of God's reach for judgment day).   God has the last laugh and sends him to Assyria anyway and Jonah sends God's message to them and they repent (Jonah spending 3 days in a fish was probably bleached head to toe and was a hard preacher to ignore).    God accepts their repentance and spares them.   When Jonah in anger tells God "This is why I didn't want to go because I knew you would forgive them!" God smacks Jonah on the side of the head when he says "Don't you know there are over 10,000 who don't know their left from their right in Nineveh alone (that means little children) ?".   God doesn't want to destroy them.  He wants to save them.

    We too must not become like Jonah and let our hatred get in the way of God's love and forgiveness.  God wants to save the ISIS followers too.   He wants to save the Islamic people too.

    He wants to save ALL people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

There's no such thing as a FREE Lunch!

     A common phrase heard when someone is trying to sell you on a "free government handout" is "There's no such thing as a FREE Lunch!".  Meaning simply, someone somewhere has to eventually pay for the program no matter how "free" it is. 

     The same can be said about facts of our physical world.  In physics there are some very basic laws you just cannot violate no matter how hard you try.  The most basic one is Newton's 1st Law of Energy which simply says "Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed in form".  You can channel it into other forms but you cannot add to it or subtract it.   For example a ball held above the floor has a certain amount of built in energy.   Potential energy from gravity pulling at it along with Thermal Energy inside the ball (measured with temperature) and of course Mass Energy (E=mc2).   If I drop the ball it gains Kinetic energy and loses Potential Energy at the same rate.  If it hits the floor some of the Thermal Energy might move from the ball to the floor (if the floor is cooler) or some of the impact energy might go into Thermal energy of the ball and cause it to gain Thermal Energy.

    But whatever way you slice it, the total amount of energy ALWAYS stays the same.

    You can't fool Mother Nature (or Newton's Laws)

    So what does this have to do with anything a regular person needs to care about?

    A lot actually.

    In our world today we are constantly trying to beat Mother Nature at her own game and we think in some way we have but when looked at from afar we see really nothing is changed.   We didn't cheat Mother Nature at all.  We simple re-directed its energies to other things.

    Take for example, Genetically Modified fruits and vegetables.  We can engineer a better looking
tomato or one that can last a harsh shipping environment better or be more resistant to bugs or mold, but the energy needed to produce that fruit had to come from somewhere.    Back in the late 1990's I would go to the store to buy vegetables and would buy these things that looked LIKE tomatoes (they were red in color and round and about the size of a baseball).  But when you took them home and cut them open they would have nothing but water inside them.  I called them Styrofoam Tomatoes because that is what they tasted like.   They had no flavor at all and I stopped buying them.   It turned out that the tomato growers liked these tomatoes because they had stronger inside walls and outside layer to withstand shipping without being damaged.   That's great if you want to use them as packing peanuts but as something for a sandwich or salad forget about it.   Here you see the energy that was normally used to create sugars and other nutrients was diverted an put to use in building a stronger tomato.   You gave up something for another.   Energy was diverted from one use to another use.   There was no free lunch here.  

   The same happens when food engineers create plants that produce MORE food per plant to increase profits.  For example if I create an corn plant that has 4 ears of corn per plant instead of 3, I have increased production of corn by 33%.   But if that corn plant is still getting the same amount of water, air and sunlight where did the energy come from to produce that 33% more kernels?   It had to come from somewhere on the plant.  Maybe it came from the nutrient value of the corn?  Maybe from the starch or fiber in the corn.  Maybe from the disease protection inside the corn plant?  Somewhere there was a trade off and many times we won't find out where until its too late.   Like when a fungus infestation begins to destroy acre upon acre of corn plants.  Again, nature provides no free lunch buffet. 

    How about all those time-saving gadgets we've created?   Let's take the microwave oven for
example.   On the surface we saved lots of time cooking home made meals.   We could go to the store and buy all kinds of pre-cooked foods and just pop them into the microwave oven and POOF! We have an instant meal (and with moms and dads working longer hours to pay for those taxes children needed simpler meals that they could cook themselves).  But looking back now we see that all those simple ready to eat meals came with all kinds of added sugars, carbs and chemicals.   Those easy-to-prepare-foods came with a price tag of easy-to-put-on-pounds-of-fat.    To fix this we have had to go to they gym and spend countless hours and energy to take off those pounds of fat.   Or if this was too hard to do, we had to buy new bigger clothes and spend thousands of dollars in medical bills for high blood pressure and Type-2 diabetic medications.   No energy was saved.  Energy was just diverted from cooking to other uses.

   So often we are sold the idea we can have "BOTH-AND" when it comes to advancements in technology or when it comes to government programs.   We can have BOTH good food AND plentiful food.   We can have BOTH large amounts of food and AND good nutritional food.   We can have BOTH high paying jobs AND low unemployment.    In reality much of our world is an EITHER-OR basis.   We EITHER get good food OR lots of bad food.   We EITHER get food that cooks fast OR food that is good for you (and your waistline).   We EITHER get high wages OR we get low unemployment.  Trade offs have to be made.  Choices have to be evaluated and decided on. A price comes with our decisions and energy is redirected to other areas.

There is no such thing as a free lunch!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A real life version "It's a Wonderful Life"

    One of my favorite movies to watch during Christmas is "It's a Wonderful Life" and no matter how many times I have watched it I will watch it at least once every December.   A major scene in the movie is when the banks fail and there is panic in the streets as people rush to take out all of their money.   But their money is not there.  It's tied up in loans and mortgages around the city of Bedford Falls.   James Stewart's character  George Baley tries to calm everyone's nerves and tell them that the local bank will guarantee their deposits but not for another week.   The people however can't last that long.  They need their money now to buy food and pay bills.  George's new wife, Mary, then realizes they have enough cash on their person from their wedding gifts to keep the bank open.  George uses the money to give the people enough money to hold them over and when it's all done they have $2 left to go back into the safe.  They put other peoples needs above their own desires to have a beautiful honeymoon and "drink the finest wines and eat the finest caviar".   Their selfless act would save hundreds of people who only be able to show their gratitude years later when George was in need of help.
Henry and Frieda Vogel

    Recently, I found out that this story was not pure fiction.  When I was out in Southern Illinois for a Vogel family reunion I was talking with a cousin of mine, Sharon, about some of the Vogel family history.   I asked Sharon, "I was reading about Grandpa Vogel's history and saw that he was president of the Hoffman Farmer's Bank.  Now I know grandpa was pretty good with his money, but he didn't have more than an 8th grade education.  Why would they make him bank president?".   Sharon then told me the story about how during the Great Depression, the bank almost went completely under.  Then your grandpa got together with 3 other farmers and they pooled their money they had saved at home together and were able to re-open the bank and keep it running.   The money grandpa used was money that they had been saving for some new furniture.   Because of their efforts a lot of people in the area were saved.   To thank grandpa for his efforts they later made him president of the bank and he helped get the bank on more sound financial footings (not bad for a guy with an elementary education).

    Sharon went on to tell me that grandpa would get so angry when he would hear people say that FDR had pulled the country out of the Great Depression.  He would say, "NO! It was the little people like US that helped get this country out of the depression!  Not FDR!"

    It makes me wonder how many other stories like my grandfather's are out there that are untold as well.   Just ordinary people stepping in to prevent a crisis using their own money and resources.  Would people like Donald Trump, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet do such a risky and selfless act of heroism?  I sincerely doubt it.   But out there, today, in our small towns and farms there are people like Henry Vogel ready to step up and do the right thing for their communities and their stories will never be told until years later.

Monday, June 27, 2016

By ANY Means Necessary?

     Recently a violent protest took place on the California State Capitol property.  A group called the Traditionalists Workers Party (TWP), which is a loosely organized white neo-nazi group, was granted a permit to host a rally on the capitol steps.  Another radical leftist group called BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) decided to take away this groups 1st amendment right to voice their opinion by assembling near building dressed in black clothes, wearing black hoods and masks and carrying baseball bats and rocks.  A violent fight took place between the two groups and several of the TWP were sent to the hospital.

    Do I agree with TWP?   Absolutely NOT!  

    But as citizens they have their right to voice their opinion peacefully and without interference. 

    Does BAMN have the authority to take away those rights?   Absolutely NOT!

    Groups like BAMN, make me nervous.  Do they really believe in what their name espouses?  Does ANY MEANS really mean ANY MEANS?   ANY does not leave ANY room for discussion or contemplation.   As a superlative it has not boundaries.  What is missing from their name are adjectives like: LEGAL or ETHICAL which might seek to limit the scope of what their mission might promote.  Can a person who connects themselves with BAMN feel any limitation at all?   Probably not.

     I wrote in a previous blog about how many in our government have used a similar argument:  "The ENDS justifies the MEANS".   This is a predecessor of the By Any Means Necessary ideology and has been used over the years to allow the government get its way with the American people.

    Take for example, a professor of economics by the name of Jonathon Gruber was caught on video discussing how they had lied to the American people about the effects of Obamacare on the healthcare industry.  He informed the audience that they (the Obama administration for whom he was employed) did this to dupe the people into supporting it and it worked.   The ends justified the means.

   In another case, Senator Harry Reid was asked about whether or not it was right for him to lie about Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's taxes on the Senate floor (he said Romney hasn't paid ANY taxes and he knew the Senate floor is the ONE place in the US where you can say anything and not be sued for libel ).  Reid laughed at the question and said,  "Well it worked didn't it?".   To him, the ends justify the means.

   Lies are one thing, but seeking to inflict pain or to kill others are quite another.  Other radical leftist groups will follow BAMNs mantra and will use violence to prevent others from voicing their opinions.  Those opinions might be at the voting booth,  or at the checkout counter or in your car.   They will scream out their ideology that they must stop you BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE.   In their vitriolic anger and malice nothing will stop them and as long as people like the news media choose to look the other way and misreport their actions. They will grow bolder and bolder.

    Our only hope is that those on the left who still believe in the rule of law and the Constitution will stand up in the Democratic Party and demand that these radical factions be thrown out from within them so that we can return back to nation of laws and not of tyranny.  I believe they are a silent majority in their party but they need to start speaking soon to turn the tide around before it's too late.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Government employees don't pay taxes.... REALLY!

I want you to consider a hypothetical nation of 4 people.  In this pretend country all 4 of them make $1000 per week in pay.   1 person (let's call him citizen A) works for the government and the other 3 (B,C,D) work in the private sector.   All 4 pay 25% in taxes.

So let's see how this works.   All 4 would pay $250 in taxes each each.  To make it easier to visualize, let's say they all get 2 checks each pay check.  1 check for $750 for their take-home pay and $250 check to pay their taxes.

Each week B, C & D get 2 paychecks but all of their tax-checks are directly cashed and paid to the government to cover NEXT weeks expenses (A's salary).  That's 250+250+250 = $750.    "A" however gets 2 paychecks also, with $250 assigned to the government and $750 from the money gathered the previous week from B,C & D.    One interesting difference however is "A"s $250 check never needs to be cashed as it will just be handed to him again the NEXT week.  So week after week "A" gets the same $250 check each week and a NEW $750 check from the money collected from B,C & D's taxes the previous week (why cash it when you just have to write another one to him the next week).  Since "A"s tax-check is never really cashed, you can arguably say that "A" doesn't really pay any taxes at all.

I know this is a simple case, but it illustrates the fact that government employees really don't contribute money to the government operation at all since their pay is derived from the government and their taxes collected simply get rolled over from the previous week into the current weeks pay, like a check that never gets cashed and is just re-used from week to week.

Only the 3 private sectors actually contribute to the government.

    Should it therefore be required that government employees NOT be allowed to VOTE since they don't really contribute to the government financially?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

What is "good enough"

    As children we are often wanting to know what is the LEAST amount of work we had to do in order to be allowed to go to the park or to a friends house.  Do I have to vacuum the WHOLE house or just the downstairs area?   Do I have to do ALL the laundry or just MY laundry.   We asked those questions almost immediately after being told to do the chores in question.  We wanted to make absolutely sure we did not do more work than was needed.

    Some areas in our life the minimum is not enough for us.  When we step up to the launch pad for a bungee cord site we don't ask the operator "Could you only attach the minimum number of cords to my legs before I jump?"   Of course not!  In cases like this we ask them to triple and even quadruple the number of cords needed to insure our safety going down.   We will take no chances when our life is on the line. I am reminded of a comedian from Oklahoma who talked about taking a flight on a small airline in the Midwest he called "Bubba Air" in which the booking agent on the phone for the airline asked him his weight in pounds.  He asked, "My weight??  Why do you need to know that?"  to which they answered, "We need to know how much gas to put in the plane".   In his astonishment he told them over the phone, "Well I am 300 pounds!  Fill it up! Fill it up!"   He didn't want to take any chances of the plane running out of gas to get to his destination.

   In the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus lays out the situation where 5 wise virgins waiting for the bridegroom to come take EXTRA oil for their lamps and 5 foolish virgins don't.   The wedding goes late into the night before they arrive and now the 5 foolish ones must go in the dead of night to fill up their lamps with oil.   They had considered only the MINIMUM amount of oil to take with them.  They missed out because they were foolish.

   In another Gospel Jesus is approached by a "wealthy young ruler" who asks
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
   Here another man was looking for what was "good enough" or the minimum he had to do in order to gain eternal life, but left sad as he saw the real cost was more than he was willing to pay.  So many today are still like that ruler seeking the minimum.  Do I HAVE to give up my Sunday mornings?   Do I have to give money to the church?  Do I have to stop sleeping with my girl-friend or boy-friend?  Do I have to give up my sexuality and what pleases me?   Do I have to give up my foul mouth and sick jokes?  Do I have to love those who hate me?  Do I have to return good for evil?  

    Did Jesus bargain for you with the Father?    Did Jesus ask if maybe only a few strikes of the scourge whip would be enough?   Did he ask the Father if a few beatings from the Roman soldiers would be "good enough"?  Did he ask the Father if just carrying the cross up the steep hill and being mocked by the public was "good enough"? 


    He went the whole way.  He filled up his cup with God's wrath so we didn't have to.  Our time with God spent in church on in His Word is not payback for what he has done, but is done out of love for what he has done for me.  He doesn't want us to be "fools" who think there is still time left to fill up our lamps.  Our time may be shorter than we think.   We don't know the hour of our calling and so must always be ready with ample oil in our vessels.

    Don't be a fool and play the "good enough" game.

Friday, June 17, 2016

You didn't build that... Oh yes I did!

We all remember the famous speech given by Obama in which he touted that the roads and bridges that a companies workers travel on to get to work or bring in new customers was built by the government. He also implied that the workers mostly educated in public schools and went mostly to public colleges.    The phrase "You didn't build that!"  went on into infamy along with "One small step for man... one giant leap for mankind".   

This is what is wrong with so many democrats today.  They fail to understand BASIC economics.  Yes the government built the roads and bridges that the workers used, but where did the government get the money to PAY for the roads, bridges, schools, fire departments etc.   Yes, of course, tax dollars raised by businesses who employed the workers and therefore paid the taxes that the government swept up out of their paychecks.  Money that went to the workers later paid for houses which garnered more tax dollars in the form of property taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes and DMV fees.   Without the jobs supplied by the businesses none of that would have been possible.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Words to my daughter on her graduation from college

    Congratulations!! You’ve made it!   9 years of elementary school.  4 years of high school and now 5 years of college are complete.  No more sweating out classes and papers.   No more trying to figure out class schedules and figuring out which courses to take.  The course work is all complete and now you are a graduate. It’s a time of celebration of what you’ve accomplished and anticipation of what lays ahead for you.  I wanted to share with you something that was handed down to me when I was young that has helped me.

    As you know, when I grew up in Illinois I mowed lawns for spending money.  One of my customers was a retired Lutheran pastor named Pastor Zimmerman.  He was a wonderful person to talk to and for me he was a surrogate grandfather as he went to seminary with my grandfather who was also was a Lutheran Pastor and had passed away before I was born.  He always invited me in afterward for lemonade and ginger-snap cookies.  When I graduated from high school and was moving on to college I decided to hand over my lawn business to someone else as I would not have time to do it.  On my last time with him he gave me some grandfatherly advice.  He said to me
"You probably played on the monkey bars at school as a child, and the challenge was to get from one side to the other without falling.  The trick to getting across is not losing your momentum as you swing and the best way to do this is to let go of the previous rung as soon as you grab hold of the next rung.   If you hesitate and hold on too long you will be stuck between the two rungs and will lose all of your forward momentum.  You can still get across but now you will have to exert a lot of energy to swing to the next rung.  Life is like that.  We are moving from one rung to the next in life and we need to let go of the past behind us."
    He went on to share a Bible verse with me that I have always kept mindful of.  It is from Philippians 3:13-14
"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind me and straining toward what is ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"

   As you swing from this rung to the next that lays ahead of you reach-grab-and-let-go.    Does that mean we forget the people we have worked with or spent time with?  Of course not.  It means we take them with us in our heart and in our memories  but we must leave all our decisions, mistakes and hurts behind us.  We can look at the past with fondness and learn from our mistakes, but we cannot stay here.  We must move on to the next rung and the rung after that.   Press on for the goal God has set before you.  Keep moving knowing God is there to dust you off and help you get back on if you fall.

   We are very proud of you!  You’re on to the next rung in life and moving forward!