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Archive for March, 2014

The Minimum Wage And The Kingdom Of God

March 31, 2014 7 comments

I recently had a conversation in social media about the minimum wage.  It began with me posting a Tweet that went something like this:

Minimum Wage Increase = Price Increase. Net Effect Zero.

An old high school friend took me to task because I stated that companies would raise their prices to pay for the increase.  Unfortunately, I have to stand corrected.  There are other ways that businesses can pay for a minimum wage increase.

A business can reduce its workforce.

Hours can be cut.

Benefits can be removed.

After all, the guy or gal who benefits from having his wage increased doesn’t suddenly begin producing more for his company.  This is an expense for the business and is not simply absorbed.  At least not by the normal business.

The thought that came to mind, though, was how should we who live in the kingdom of God react to a minimum wage increase?  Or better yet, how should we be good corporate citizens or business owners?

First, we should always strive to do better than the world.  Will we always have jobs that pay less than others?  Absolutely.  Some simply do not produce the same value as others.  The guy who brings more income to the business should be rewarded more than the guys who is simply in a support role.

However, we should always try to do more than the minimum required of us by the world.  If the minimum wage is ten dollars an hour, how about practicing a tithe and pay ten percent more than required.  Perhaps that isn’t feasible, but it would be a great goal to shoot for.

There are other ways that we can do our best for the kingdom of God as well.  How about building the most efficient and creative systems that we can that will benefit our employees?  Attrition happens.  If you lose someone from your team and don’t replace them, spread their pay among the remaining workers.

Seek to give better benefits than the company down the road.  Do better than the standard.  If two weeks of vacation is the norm, do better than the norm.  Are six sick days a year the average?  Be above average and give seven.  Is a six percent match on 401(k) what most people get?  Give an extra percent.

Will it cost you money?  Yes.  Will it attract better employees?  Yes.  Will you make a difference in people’s lives?  Absolutely.

Obviously this ended up being about more than the minimum wage.  As well as it should be.  Could  a business do all of these?  No.  They still have to stay in business and make a profit for the owner.  However, we should try to honor the Lord by being better than those businesses that simply follow the standard worldly business practices.

What are some ideas for how a business could make the lives of their employees?

Capturing Thoughts

A couple of people asked me a while back how I have so many ideas to write about.  I’m not completely sure, but I think it has something to do with something I heard Zig Ziglar say several years ago.

In describing how to get water flowing from a pump, Zig said that you had to prime the pump.  A pump is primed by pouring just a little bit of water into the pump.  This helps create the pressure needed to get the water flowing.

It’s the same with writing.  Once I got the ideas flowing, they just continued to come.  Some days I might  have one idea.  Others I may have ten.  Rare is the day that I don’t jot an idea down.

One of the things I have learned is that I have to be ready.  I never know when the ideas will come.  They may come while I’m running.  Sometimes they come when I’m in the shower.  I am unable to turn it off or on, and I never know exactly when they’re coming.

What I have learned is that these thoughts don’t make it easy on me.  They don’t want me to track them down.  They creep in when they know that I am least prepared for them.  They make secret runs into my mind, as though they are on a mission to tease me with their existence.

They know me well.  They know my tendencies and movements.  These thoughts laugh at me as they rush away from me, knowing that I can’t catch them if they have a head start.

I have to be smarter than them.  I have to hide and camouflage myself.  I have to set traps  until I can capture them.

Sometimes I must have someone text me.  Other times, I have to find a scrap piece of paper.  It doesn’t really matter.

I just have to capture these thoughts.

*****

There’s one other thing that I have to do if I want to follow Christ.  It may be the hardest part.  I win simetimes, but fail as much or more so.

I have to capture every thought to the obedience of Christ.

*****

There was a stretch where I know for sure that I wasn’t doing this.  Subconsciously, I may have even done my best to make sure I failed.  I didn’t want to take every thought captive for Christ.

Instead, my thoughts were for my own glory.  They were designed to be clever.  I wanted to the world to know how smart I was and how cool I had become.

I was a failure in my writing and I was a failure in life.

I was not capturing every thought to the obedience of Christ.

How do you capture your thoughts for Christ?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

We Were Created For A King

March 27, 2014 2 comments

Camelot has always confused me.  No, not the Camelot of Arthurian legend, the one we might read about in books or see in movies.  No, not the Camelot where knights sat around a round table in equality.  Nothing like that.

No, I’m talking about the Camelot of the 60’s, just before I was born.  The one where Kennedy was elected president, along with his beautiful wife.  He was the first president of television really, going back to his debates with Nixon.

I understand the excitement over a president being elected and the hope he brings.  I have experienced it once in my lifetime, when I was twelve and Ronald Reagan was elected.  I was too young before and have never experienced what Reagan brought to the country since.

No, what I don’t understand is Camelot, because Camelot indicates a throne.  A throne and a king to sit upon it.  As I have sat back and thought about it, I have never been able to articulate it, at least not until  I read this post.  It all made sense at last.

We were created for a king.

*****

When the Revolutionary War was won, the people wanted to make George Washington king.  That’s all they knew.  Being wiser than most of us, Washington declined.  The country had just freed itself from the clutches of a tyrannical ruler.  Another king stepping in was not the answer.

Our founding fathers created a system of government that separated the powers out so that no one would hold absolute power in our country again.  Our constitution provides a balance of powers, a system of checks and balances to hold each branch accountable.  They created a system where the politicians worked for the people and reported to the people.

What do people think about this?

Once we had a Civil War, a disarming name because there was nothing civil about It.  As each generation lives and dies, our civility lives and dies with it.

A president is elected and people choose sides.  They act as if it is winner take all.  Their neighbor supported the loser?  Get over it.  My guy is in office.  He gets to make the rules now.  He’s our ruler, over all.  The losers and Congress and everyone else needs to get in line.  Supreme Court?  You need to do what he says.  He’s the president.

Why?

We were created for a king

*****

Two hundred plus years after revolting over the rule of a king and creating a country where democracy reigns, things have changed.

We get excited when the prince of the country we revolted from gets married.  We long for the royal couple to visit us.  We long to bow at their feet if they would just grace us with their presence.

We are excited when they find out they are with child.  A baby.  A royal baby.  One that will grow up to be king or queen someday.  They bring hope to us.  Maybe they will  make the world a better place.

Why?

We were created for a king.

*****

Our King will return one day.  He promised He would.  If it wasn’t so, He would have said so.  We long for that day to come.  He will make final defeat of his enemies.  He will defeat the last remnants of the enemies hold upon us.  He will rule us with the authority he deserves.

Why?

We were created for a King.

Have you ever wondered why we’re fascinated by royalty?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

Why Story Is Better

March 26, 2014 5 comments

I recently wrote a sermon.  I do that sometimes, whether I know that I’m going to preach or not.  It has come in handy in the past.

Several years ago, I was sitting in Sunday school class minding my own business.  Our pastor at that church was out-of-town.  A retired pastor who loved every opportunity to preach was scheduled to preach.  Alas, it was not to be.

Before he made his way to our church to preach, he had a heart attack.  I’m not sure who told us, though I’m guessing it was his wife.

About 10:15, the door opened to our Sunday school class.  One of the deacons looked around and motioned me to follow him.  We went down to the pastor’s study where the other deacons and another young preacher had already gathered.

The situation was explained to us.  Someone needed to preach.  I had told one of the deacons that I had been working on a sermon, so they asked me if I was ready.

I had no notes or anything, but I said that I would give it a try.  The other guy was asked if he could preach that night and we were off.  They left me alone to pray and gather my thoughts.  I jotted a few thoughts on a sticky note that I still carry in my Bible to this day.  It land s right there between Romans 13 and 14, though the stickiness of the post-it is about worn off.

I preached and it still, even after hundreds of sermons since, may be my best preaching ever.  I didn’t depend on myself or my ability at all.  I had to depend on the word and the Spirit.

I definitely didn’t have much time to get nervous.

*****

I write this not to brag about anything, there is nothing to boast in.

I don’t put down these words to show what I can do.  I didn’t really do much.  I was available and somewhat prepared.

I tell this story to simply say that story is better.  Telling you a story is better than trying to give a list of reasons about why we should be prepared and ready.

I tell you a story to give you glimpse, a snapshot of me, of where I’ve been and who I am.

I tell you a story to show what God can do when He shows up, to give Him the glory for that day.

I tell you a story because story is better.

Do you prefer story or just the facts?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

What My Sin Is

March 25, 2014 4 comments

I sinned yesterday.  I know that may cause some of you some consternation as you probably think I’m perfect.  I hate to burst your bubble.  I’m going to have to let you down, but I’ll be as easy as possible.  I am not as perfect as you think.

When I reflect on my sin, I wonder why I did it.  What was I thinking?  What caused me to be disobedient to the Lord?

As far as I can tell, there is really only one reason that I sin.  I mean, I could argue that I’m simply not perfect.  Perhaps I could say that I was just born that way.  I could say that I’m going to sin in some way everyday.  I could offer any number of excuses, but none of them would be valid.  There’s only one reason I sin.

Unbelief.

I don’t believe in God’s promises.  I don’t trust in what He has told me through His word.  I’m must more interested in taking the easy way out to satisfy myself and be happy.  I don’t truly believe that taking His path will be the better path.

We see examples of this in the Bible.  Ultimately, that’s what Adam and Eve did.  They were given the way to live a perfect life of happiness.  Work for the Lord.  Eat of every tree in the garden but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  That’s all they had to do.  One thing.  We know how that turned out.

Look at the Israelites.  All they had to do was enter the Promised Land.  The Lord would go before them and drive out all of the other nations.  Instead they stubbed up.  They were afraid.  They didn’t believe Him.  Hebrews calls this disobedience unbelief.  So, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years until a new generation came up.

We fall into the same trap.

We don’t believe that we should feed the hungry, instead focusing on our own satisfaction.

We don’t believe that one person for the rest of our lives is enough, so we commit adultery.

We don’t believe that coming to Christ makes us into new creatures, so we do what all of the old creatures do.

We don’t believe that we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind, so we remain conformed to the pattern of this world.

We don’t believe that certain people won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

You name your sin, you look at the angle of your own unbelief.  It’s there.

How about we try this?  Let’s try trusting the Lord.  We say we want to.  We say we trust Christ to save us from the wages of sin, death and hell.  How about we trust Him in how He wants us to live as well.

I sinned yesterday.  So did you.  We didn’t believe the Lord.

Why do you think we sin?

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: ,

Getting Your Bibles Dirty

March 24, 2014 2 comments

A few months ago, Andrew and I went to a football game.  We were looking forward to getting home as quickly as possible.  Alas, when we got to the truck, it was not to be.

We had a flat tire.

I was parked on a slant, so I had to move the truck to a flat spot and we got busy changing the tire.  Andrew had never really changed  a flat tire, so he gained some valuable experience helping me.

When we finished, we left for home.  Everything was good except for one thing.

My hands were dirty.

Later I was talking to someone I know about my experience.  This person said that they and their spouse never changed a flat themselves.  They always call Triple A.

I don’t think it’s their intention, but they never get their hands dirty when it comes to flat tires.

*****

I think the Pharisees would have called Triple A to make sure that they never got their hands dirty.  They truly seemed to think that their righteousness could be demonstrated by how clean they kept their hands clean.

Jesus had another idea.  He taught that our righteousness was about how clean our hearts are.

*****

I wonder about that sort thing when I see some Bibles.  They look as clean and perfect as the day they were bought.

Other Bibles show their use.  They are worn.  Their pages are marked up.  They automatically open up to certain passages.

These people have taken the time to get their Bibles dirty.

****

You and I can’t say for sure that who is righteous by looking at their hands, their hearts or their Bibles.  We have to examine the evidence of what we have in hand.

Out of the mouth proceeds what is in the heart.  If I follow you and listen to your speech for a day, I might have a pretty good idea.

I believe that I will have a decent idea if I take a look at your Bible.  Is it clean or is it dirty?

Is your Bible worn or is it perfect?

Categories: Christianity, Faith

God’s Not Dead: A Movie Review

March 23, 2014 7 comments

I watch a lot of movies.  It’s one of my favorite leisure-time activities.  My interests range from action to comedy to epic and super-hero flicks.

What I normally don’t normally do is spend a lot of time watching Christian movies.  It isn’t because I disagree with their viewpoint or message, though sometimes I do.  It has to do with the fact that the production values are often poor and I don’t find many of them to be entertaining.  Simply watching a movie because it originates from a certain subculture that is geared toward me isn’t my thing.

I wouldn’t have gone to see God’s Not Dead if my church had not purchased out a few showings of it at our local theater.   I probably would have waited until it came out DVD before watching it.

First let me try to tell you a non-spoilerish summary of  the plot.  A young man goes to college where he enrolls in a  philosophy class.  The professor requires each student to sign their names to the statement God Is Dead.  The young man cannot do this due to the fact that he is a Christian.  The professor then requires him to prove the opposite, that God is not dead.  He gives him three chances to present his case to the class.  In the end, the class gets to decide who is right and who is wrong.

There are other sub-plots, such as an Islamic girl at the college who is secretly a Christian.  The professor’s girlfriend is a former student and Christian.  This girlfriend has a mother who is an Alzheimer patient.  Her brother is a successful businessman who is dating a reporter who ambushes Willie Robertson and the Newsboys for stories.

So, how did I, a follower of Christ who normally avoids movies like this, like it?

It was ok.  The acting was fine.  Kevin Sorbo, of Herculess fame, was the professor.  The young man going to college was on Good Luck, Charlie, from the Disney Channel.  Dean Cain from the old Lois and Clark TV show was in it as well. I didn’t really recognize anyone else.

It was predictable from the standpoint that I knew the student would win in the end.  One event in the end surprised me, but everything else followed my expectations.

The Gospel was presented well, as were the apologetic arguments for the existence of God.  This was the main point of the movie, so this was to be expected.

My favorite part of the movie actually had little to do with the main part of the story.  It involved a preacher and missionary who were trying to go to an amusement park, but kept being stalled before they could leave giving the movie some comedy.

Overall, I recommend God’s Not Dead.  Recently, due to my friend Matt Rawling’s blog, I have become interested in apologetics and this movie continued to stoke the fire.

If you have a chance, go see God’s Not Dead.  I would advise going to see it during a matinee.  I would not spring for a full movie price for it, but, then again, I don’t even do that normally for the movies I love.

Have you heard of God’s Not Dead?  Do you have plans to see it?