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Spiritual Unemployment

I’ve been in too many grocery stores where it seems that a tornado went through and rearranged everything randomly so that I could have a “fun” challenge to find what I was looking for that day. Maybe you’ve shared my experience? My thoughts…? …Where are all the workers? Why are they not doing their jobs!!! How about trying to find an employee to ask a question at a hardware store? Yep, same question. Where is everyone? I need help after all!

Now, before you get too sucked into a handful of bad memories, think about some history. Maybe your history. Have you ever been in a job where you felt overwhelmed, felt that management should provide more workers to get the job done? What happens all too often today is what? Yes, the company cuts the workforce even further and expects you to work EVEN MORE! Crazy and infuriating, correct?

The fact of expecting more from workers is in the blood of our nation historically. This attitude is a failing and not a strength. Maybe you disagree, but I doubt it.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”LordofHarvest2_987450940

Jesus recognized the problem that we are all too well acquainted with! This passage from the end of Matthew 9 is regarding Jesus sending out the disciples. Whether you are a Christian or not, you most likely know that Jesus did a lot of work over a short period of time (3 years or so). If he hadn’t, then there would be no way the Christian faith would still be around today. Or am I wrong about that theory?

Let’s think this through. Jesus did turn a lot of heads and did die for ALL sin, so I’m not belittling the sacrifice. I am going to say that it wasn’t really Jesus who propagated the Christian faith. It was the workers. Read that passage again. Jesus tells his disciples to pray for workers to be send out. Doesn’t Jesus know that he IS sending out his Disciples? Of course he does! Jesus knows that there needs to be a lot of workers!! Note that in this instance he didn’t say to pray for those that needed help…he said to pray for workers. I don’t think we do this…and we wonder why there are billions of unbelievers and starving people around the world.  Hmm.

So, are you a worker? Do you pray for workers to go into the “harvest fields”? You see, in our culture we have failed to study, to really read the words of Jesus in many ways. We sit at home, we read about other people doing the work, we wonder why things aren’t getting better…. We are sickened at the disarray of the Church, sad that more people have not come to faith in Christ, and lost as to how to do anything about it…

In much the same way, we are baffled at poorly kept grocery shelves, no help to find the garage door part we need and having to do the work of three people. Do you see any links here?

  • We need to pray for workers to enter the mission field, Jesus said to do this.
  • We need to stop and listen and be a part of the solution
  • We need to look in the mirror at our culture to see exactly why our faith is so weak.

You may be employed at a job, but are you spiritually unemployed? What are you going to do about it? You might want to consider starting to pray. After all, in many places like South Korea they fill stadiums up at 4am to do nothing but pray. What are we missing?  They fill stadiums just to pray.  We ARE missing something.

Thanks God and to David Platt whose book Radical inspired my thoughts today.

Power & Authority

Here’s a quick study on some scripture from Dr. Luke.  Reading through Luke 9:1-6 we see something that can directly apply to many of us today!

1When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,

Let’s think like a leader, a manager or anyone who is in a position to instruct someone else about what they need to be doing.  Jesus gave these men, who are obviously “under” him two things:

1) Power

2) Authority

How many of us are in a position where we do not have the power nor the authority to do our job how we think it should be done?  If we are above people, do we give employees the power and authority they need?

2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Here we have the boss giving us some clear direction.  Go out and preach.  Preach what?  Well, the boss has already spent a considerable amount of time teaching what to preach (and how to heal).  Jesus laid out the job requirements, the “how to” and now He expects some results.  The direction doesn’t end there:

3He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. 5If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.

What a boss!  We even have details.  I’m pretty sure I could ask questions of this boss and not be disappointed.  Do you feel that way at work?  Do you have clear direction?  Power and authority?  Here’s the deal:

6So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

They went out.  They DID what they were told.  No grumbling.  No back stabbing.  What a work environment!  Do you feel motivated to do “what you are told” at work?  Do you feel equipped to do your job?

On the flip side, do you GIVE your employees that power and authority to do their jobs?  Do you give direction?  Clear details and expectations?  Do you WELCOME questions?  Do your workers do what they are told?

And you thought the Bible didn’t have anything in it that was relevant to your life today! Get reading!

Knocked Down and Definitely Out (Chapter 4)

So, here I am.   A 7th grader who made the football team on a technicality who can’t seem to catch a football wearing pads and has a deep desire to hit people really hard.  I wasn’t quick yet, either.  That’s a problem.  Of course, you could argue that I never got quick, but I’ll just add that at 37 I can still pick a teen or twenty something clean in basketball and run the floor.

Hmmm, basketball, I’ll have to write about that next.  Ahem, forgive me for my lack of focus.

football 4So, how does a kid feel who gets to play mop up minutes and a few kickoff’s?  He feels really bored and has a sore butt from sitting on the bench.  The remedy?  Stand up along the side line and be the best cheerleader in the world!  I honestly can’t remember too much about what I played and did in 7th grade.  Hence why I’m writing this memory out as best as I can!

In the end, 7th grade football was truly my introduction into competitive football and real life.  I saw that I had to work to get ahead and if someone was naturally better than me, then I may never get to play…just like life!  Tell me, how does the rampant philosophy that everyone should get to play exactly the same amount of time and every kid should get the same reward help us learn anything?  Oh, wait, it does teach us something.  That we will get taken care of no matter how hard we work, and we wonder why so many people now want the government to take care of us on every front!  The way football was meant to be coached and played surely prepared us for life, now the cushy-everybody-wins-league CEWL (cool) ruins us.

8th grade is where the fun begins.  Hang on for an emotional ride.

(to be continued)

To jump to a different Chapter, select from below:

Forfeit the game back to Chapter 1

Throw an interception back to Chapter 2

Take a time out and head back to Chapter 3

Recover a fumble! Head to Chapter 5

A Hard Days Work?

workSomething for every Christian (and non Christian) to think about.

A simple teaching from Matthew 20:1-16 that carries a deep challenge.

In this parable, an employer is hiring workers throughout the day.  At the end of the day, whether you worked 1 hour or 8 hours everyone got paid the same.  Those that had worked more “grumbled” about those getting paid the same for less work.  The employer reminds them that they agreed to work for the set amount of pay.

The employer then proclaims what I contend is the key to this parable.

Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?

The idea of being “generous” is often replaced with the self-centered idea that what is seen is “unfair”.  Isn’t that sad?  I’m confident we’ve all had these feelings at some time in our lives.  Let’s see, you’ve been playing a game all day and losing,  and a new guy comes in and wins right away.  Someone at work gets a promotion that you feel you deserved.  A family member you dislike becomes a Christian after living a life of molesting other family members.

poutingIf you happen to be in the “unfair” crowd, I challenge you to really think about where you stand with God.  Think where God sits in your life.  Under you? Or on the throne of your life?  If you are a non-believer, think why you have such a problem with generosity.  In the end, generosity from God is what is always available once you accept and understand the concept of the free gift of salvation…

Back to the parable, this parable is ALL about salvation.  Many people don’t think it would be fair for Osama Bin Laden or some other “evil” person to be allowed to be saved.   What these people fail to perceive is that God has made it clear the we are all evil and should not be allowed to be saved.  Disagree? Run down the list of the Ten Commandments and see if you’ve kept them all.  We don’t deserve God’s grace and generosity, yet, we are all offered the same “reward” no matter when we proclaim our faith.  Best of all, it’s free.

Think hard.  If you feel it’s unfair that a party animal who has lived the life of a “heathen” can become a Christian late in life and get the same reward, are you jealous because you “wish” you could have lived the life of a heathen and gotten away with it?  Are you self righteous and feel only people like you deserve salvation?

We should have the attitude of Christ and the angels in heaven who rejoice when anyone is saved!  And, for the non-believer, view things in a more positive, less self-centered point of view instead of, “It’s not fair!”.  Remember, whether you see it from God or from your boss, they have the right to say, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

Enquiring minds…

Want to know…Well, I’ve been reading a bunch of news that I’m fed up with.

Racism is defined as racial prejudice or discrimination.

Prejudice in this context is well defined as an opinion or judgment formed melting-potwithout due examination; prejudgment; a leaning toward one side of a question from other considerations than those belonging to it; an unreasonable objection against, anything; especially, an opinion or leaning adverse to anything, without just grounds, or before sufficient knowledge.

Discrimination is well defined as treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit.  It is also defined as prejudice.

So, I have never understood why the terms “race” and racism are still so fervently used in our society.  As many wise people have proclaimed, “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” [most recently spoken by Chief Justice John Roberts] Or…”the use of race does greater harm to our social fabric by being there than by being eliminated.” [Edward Blum of the American Enterprise Institute].

It does seem simple.  With kids, if we don’t want them to spill the beans and talk about something, WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.  This isn’t to say that racism didn’t or doesn’t happen, but we do have a president that seems to buck the idea of racism being alive and well.

Frankly, the time has passed where all the checks and balances were needed.  The programs and safety nets that were put into place to straighten out our “racists” ways are a waste of tax dollars.  They now only stifle the majority and take away the majorities’ rights (or former majority in some areas of the country). 

I mean how can it make sense to have a Society of Black, Hispanic or Asian Engineers but it would be “racist” to have a Society of White Engineers?  There was a time for some of these groups, especially the NAACP, but now that time has passed and these groups are racist or at a minimum discriminating in and of themselves.  Any blind person knows the “merit” issue behind discrimination has been a joke for years.  If there are 10 equal people up for a job, the minority applicant disproportionately gets the job.  Prove me wrong.  That’s discrimination!  Read that definition above again.  Has anyone ever considered that a valid reason why minorities feel like they are victims of racism may be that people view them as receiving special treatment?

Eliminate the use of these terms, eliminate these unnecessary groups and in effect launch the elimination of macro-racism once and for all.  If not, be ready for accepting White or Caucasian into the circle of special groups seeking ways to help “their” people.  I don’t want any part of it.

As a Christian, I believe we are all ONE people, the term racism is invalid in my opinion.  We are childish and need to grow up as a society.

A Day of Rest?

I’m curious what others think about the Sabbath.  The day of rest. In the book of Exodus, chapter 20 it’s stated:

 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Now, Jesus clarified that if an oxen fell into a pit, we should help get it out, workrestand that healing on the Sabbath was not “work” in the spirit of this law.

I’m just curious how people observe, or don’t observe this commandment.  Why do you feel the way you feel about it?

Kids on Lipitor and Antidepressants

 Something is wrong. Something is greatly amiss. Something is sadly, grossly messed up in the culture of the USA. I’m reading in the paper that kids, many VERY young kids need cholesterol medicine? Come on! I know there are extreme cases where some kids need drugs for various issues, but COME ON!  Parents, get your kids eating right and exercising. Stop letting your kids run YOUR household! Teach them, discipline them and BE A PARENT! When we were kids, the number of obese kids in my 6th grade class (3 rooms of kids) was two (2).  Most everyone else would have been considered skinny by today’s standards. This is just crazy. We feed our kids CRAP, we sit them in front of the TV, and then we say, “I don’t know why he is sick, or tired, or sad.”  Are we that dumb?  How often do your kids eat at home?  How often do you eat at home?  Hey, I’m guilty too.  I know many families need to work multiple jobs, both parents working, things can be crazy.  But I think in many of these situations the “perceived need” to work is to “keep up a certain lifestyle” which is unnecessary.  Again, I’m not trying to be mean.  Everyone has to figure this out on their own.  Money versus healthy, well adjusted kids, that’s the real debate you need to have with yourself. 

8 year-olds with a need to take cholesterol reducing meds?  Bad cholesterol levels are usually associated with poor eating habits and lack of exercise….hmmmmm.

Depressed prepubescent kids?  Depression is often linked to genetics, but also eating poorly and not exercising….hmmmmm.

Like I said in my last blog, I’m a little wiser now than I used to be, but I would still consider myself just a wise idiot.  There are so many ways to look at these statistics about drugs kids need today.  I simply cannot fathom how we have failed to parent our kids so abysmally.  These are our kids!  How can we just feed them chicken nuggets and french fries? 

How can we not let them outside to play, or at least take them to a playground to burn off some calories?  When did PLAY stop being fun?  I think many parents have become lazy, and would rather let their kids rot, than put some effort into being a parent first.  I can be as selfish as the rest, and I understand the need to “get away” from the kids, but there has to be a balance.  Maybe you are a parent who somehow never took to liking veggies and fruit.  Shouldn’t that make you want to help encourage your kids to like them all the more?  I dislike raw tomatoes, but I tell ya, my son gets them all the time.  I love colored peppers, so does my son.  My son has tried potatoes (other than french fries) many times, but just doesn’t like them.  I’ll keep offering them to him for the rest of his time in this house, because one day he may start to like them.  It takes work!  I forgo house cleaning to sit outside and watch my son and his friends play.  Sometimes I’m “IT”, so I get some exercise too!  IT TAKES WORK!

I just don’t understand.  You would work to buy a big TV, but not at being a parent that teaches your kids how to eat or play to stay healthy?  I am just sick and it’s not due to a lack of exercise or eating poorly.