Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, current events, History, Justice, Patriotism, Politics, Taking Responsibility, Uncategorized, Working together

Forever chasing nothing

As a nation, we pride ourselves as being an advanced culture with highly intelligent people and as having the best of everything — pound for pound — the world has to offer. Sadly, I struggle to find anything we do as signficant to mankind.

Now this is not a bash America blog! I used to say I love America but like many I could not tell you why. It was my only frame of reference so I loved what I knew. I assumed that people in government were looking out for the little man — looking out as defined as making laws and provisions for the little man to grow and develop into something more, not throw him a bone and keep him dumb.

There was a study done in the 90s with 21k people across 7 nations to test there literacy. The study covered more than 30 tasks over a 45 minute span. The test takers were between the ages of 16 to 25 and the specific items on the test dealt with reading comprehension, following directions, reading maps, completing job applications etc. — things you would need to function and thrive in every day life. The results were astonishing (see table below). There were level grades from 1 to 5 where a 4 or 5 was pretty high functioning and of course a 1 was struggling. Sweden’s population of that age group were the brightest with more than 40 percent functioning at the highest levels. Only 18 percent of Americans at that age range preformed as well as the Swedes.

What does that mean you ask? Well other than the obvious, it seems that the study has also proven that higher functioning was related to higher wages. When France talks about job creation and the US talks about it, those are two totally different conversations. France is only talking about a living wage where you can take care of a family with a modest living. In the US, we say a job is a job — better than not having one.

Today we are in a literacy crisis. No one should be surprised about this but I don’t think we understand the effects.

 

  • More than 30 million adults in the United States cannot read, write, or complete basic math above a third-grade level. —  Proliteracy
  • Children whose parents have low literacy levels have a 72 percent chance of being at the lowest reading levels themselves. These children are more likely to get poor grades, display behavioral problems, have high absentee rates, repeat school years, or drop out. — National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  • 75 percent of state prison inmates did not complete high school or can be classified as low literate. — Rand Report: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education
  • Low literacy is said to be connected to over $230 billion a year in health care costs because almost half of Americans cannot read well enough to comprehend health information, incurring higher costs. — American Journal of Public Health

Our problem: Politics. We constantly elect people who can not relate to the problems of the average American and they could care less about those problems. It doesn’t even matter what political party you belong to — both parties have failed the little man.

It seems that we have disfellowshipped the word demand because we don’t demand anything — nothing of ourselves and nothing from those who rule the world. So we sit and take it — you live your life paycheck to paycheck and die in a sea of debt. In our country they tell you that you have the right to pursue happiness, they just forgot to tell you it was nearly impossible to catch.

Posted in Accepted, Accountability, Adam and Eve, Change, Death, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, Garden of Eden, God, Guarantor, Happiness, Jesus Christ, judgment, Justice, Love, Opinions, repentance, Resurrection, society, The Family, Truth

The Truth about death

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Death gets a really bad rap I suppose because it can be so sneaky. Death doesn’t always come timely and it sucks if it happens too soon.

There are much older folks wondering why they are still here and some young folks wasting their life away and it seems that there could be a better use for that life.

From the very beginning we were introduced to death in the negative for God told our first parents that death was the result of disobedience. Since then, mankind has been running from the death sentence. As if death was the sheriff carrying bounties for us all, we attempt to cheat death.

There is another way of looking at our friend — yes I said friend.

Without death, how can we measure life? What actually makes life precious is the fact that it doesn’t last. Further, death was not just given to us as a result of disobedience, but a reminder that this world is temporary and that we should make good use of our time while we’re here.

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Moreover, our God will transport us to himself in a vehicle called death. You cannot get to God without it. With that said, death can be a beautiful thing, like a flower with a prickly stem. The prickly stem does not take away from the beauty of the flower. Likewise, untimeliness cannot lessen the true effect of death.

For some of us, death will have a sting. For those that are in Christ, there is no sting. The worst part of death is the sting, but if you have been born of the water and the spirit into the family of God, the sting is gone. And death only hurts on the time-side of life, not the eternal side. Therefore, as a great songstress once said, “…living in Christ we know that death is our friend. It will take us home.”

Make death your friend today. Believe that Jesus died according to the scriptures and he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. You don’t need a degree in biblical studies to understand the facts of the gospel and the fact that the savior himself said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.

Death is coming. Will it be your friend or foe?

Questions or comments welcomed!

Posted in Change, Confidence, Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, freedom, God, guilt, Happiness, Health, helping, Jesus Christ, judgment, Justice, Life, Love, Obey, Opinions, Progress, Relationships, Religion, significance, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Is your church a placebo?

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So we know that the church is the body of Christ and Christ’s kingdom here on earth.

He reigns supreme in this gathering of believers. Some might call it cultish due to the unfeigned faith each member has for the king.

Throughout the New Testament one can find many examples of how the body of Christ functions and relates to head of the body. And from here its even easier to see how the relationship with the head effects the horizontal relationships throughout the membership.

So, things like service, forgiveness, unconditional love, faithfulness, compassion, truth and longsuffering should abound in such places. There is a definite togetherness and sense of having all things in common among the believers. Judgement has no place here, only encouragement to be the best you can be and assistance when you stumble.

A placebo is a measure designed merely to calm, please or pacify another. It is more for a psychological benefit than for any spiritual effect. A placebo church only exists as a method to control. It is only a form of godliness, but it denies the power there of.

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The largest problem with this type of church is there is no spiritual growth, there is no support, there is no fellowship and there is no forgiveness. When trouble comes you are on your own. When Satan attacks you are judged instead of helped.

You stay in this system because it looks right, but it is far from righteousness. So I ask you this day: Is your church a placebo and more importantly why are you still there?

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, God, Jesus Christ, Justice, Light, Obey, Progress, Self, society, Truth

How bright is your light?

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We are consciously aware of the spiritual warfare going on inside of us. The physical world that we live in is a manifestation of that war.

When we see the darkness of this world, it sometimes looks like we are losing the spiritual battle. We see sin reign, hatred in abundance and ego elevated beyond the heights of selfishness.

Somehow we lost sight of God’s plan…or did we ever know it?

Here’s the plan: God wanted to show his goodness to us so he gave us grace and mercy. We were to show our gratitude through imitation of his son and obedience. The model he gave us was the burning bush. If we are doing it correctly then we would be surrounded by the fires of this world, but never consumed. We would remain in this state until he sent his son back to get us.

He would take us from the burning bush to a new tabernacle not made with hands. We would then dwell with him forever. But in the mean time we are to simply let our lights shine bright in the mist of this dark world. We were never supposed to eliminate the darkness but create as much light as we could.

The light would be in the forms of love, justice, forgiveness, service and goodness. Despite the evils of this world, our God wants to see the flourishing beauty he created. He expects for this creation to not conform to the world, but be transformed by a renewed mind. This is creation is precious to him. He called this creation Christians!

Posted in Accountability, Change, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, friend, God, Happiness, Health, helping, Honor, Justice, kindness, Life, Love, Mind Power, Pain, Relationships, slave, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth

I’m not the Wolverine

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One of the heroes from Marvel comics Xmen series is a character called the Wolverine. This character has the ability to heal himself at an accelerated rate, making it nearly impossible to destroy him.

Imagine that. With every hurt comes almost instantaneous healing. No scratches. No scars. No fuss. You cut him one minute and in less than 30 seconds he’s healed.

This is not a point where art imitates life. It’s the contrary.

Sometimes we say things to each other that really hurt. The whole “sticks and stones” saying is a lie: Words cut! And the problem is that we are not the Wolverine. We take time to heal and depending on how deep the cut, it could take years.

Now imagine being in a relationship with someone who constantly cuts you with their words and you do not have a chance to heal before the next cut. And this person does not give you any assistance in the healing. They just cut away at their leisure.

And then you tell them it hurts and to please stop. You become vulnerable with them and because of the close relationship you thought you had established, you pointed out the areas that would hurt the most. And instead of honoring and protecting those areas, they come at you like Freddy Krueger and continue to stab.

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To subject yourself to years of that is sick. To think that it will get better is psychotic. And to allow it to continue exposes just how much you love yourself. You enter into a relationship with another person to make each other better, not worse. There are people who bring out the worst in us and there are people, praise God, who bring out the best.

Life is too short and you are not the Wolverine. You have been taking cuts for far too long. It’s time for you to make some cuts and empty your life of all those carrying knives. This will be the best Independence Day of all!

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, Free Will, freedom, God, judgment, Justice, Marriage, Politics, Relationships, Religion, Religious Freedom, repentance, society, Truth

Let’s get serious about this marriage thing

The outpouring of emotion and anger surrounding the Supreme Court decision has prompted me to write this post.

There are some things that never change. Same-sex relationships have been around for centuries. The struggles with sin have been around just as long and the word of God has been around longer. For those who were outraged by the decision, I hope this is a new beginning for you.

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I hope that this decision forces you to study to show yourself approved of God. I hope that this decision makes you hold your spiritual leaders to a higher standard and I hope it encourages you to be the best you can be for Christ.

Satan has allowed this to become a religious fight and it is not. This is about civil rights and that is supposed to be as important to the Constitution as salvation is to the bible. In our preamble it says we are to, “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” although this country does not always do this, the decision today was a strong attempt….and rightfully so.

Our Constitution and our bibles are two different things. But what they agree on is free will. Our God offers us a choice and holds us accountable to that choice. I do not ever want the government to attempt to control my choice. But insurance companies were controlling the choice of who your spouse could be and whether or not they would pay benefits based on who you chose as your spouse.

So if the insurance companies allowed for their customers to define who gets the benefits they are paying for, then there would have been no need to incorporate marriage into this situation. Civil marriage has taken a hit, but holy matrimony has not. I would rather same-sex couples simply refer to their relationships as civil unions and the same benefits given to married couples be extended to them as well. That way everyone would satisfied. But I’m not the president.

Furthermore, we have never had a righteous president in the history of America. Every single president has innocent blood they must give an account for, whether what they did was direct or indirect. So why are we looking for righteousness in unrighteous places??

What every child of God needs to do is not react to what has happened with emotion. And definitely don’t try to be the bible scholar you are not. Instead place all of your blame and expectation on yourself — first for joining this fight so late and second for not having any influence in the matter what so ever.

What you can do right now is make sure that your own household is in order. Make sure that you are leading in the education of your family and not relying on Congress to guide your moral compass.

Allow the world to be the world and allow the word of Christ to dwell in you richly. Where most see chaos and turmoil in this decision, I see opportunity — to God be the glory!

Posted in Accountability, Bigotry, Change, Death, Fear, guilt, History, judgment, Justice, Politics, Racism, Religion, Religious Freedom, Self, slave, Truth, Worship

Our hypocrisy

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I struggle with the evils of this world. But I’m struggling more with the hypocrisy of America.

Only in America does it matter how you were killed and the circumstances around your death play a factor in who even gets involved.

Yesterday’s shooting was a huge tragedy and I can relate in so many ways. I can relate as a member and as a pastor. I have thought about what I would have done as the pastor. I attempt to change shoes with the deceased. I’m thankful that no one ran background checks on the victims or attempted to somehow blame them for what happen.

Think I’m crazy? Is this going too far?!?

I watched the press conference at noon today and heard how many government agencies came together to assist in this tragedy. I watched as Charleston’s Mayor, police chief and the Governor of the state got choked up over what happened. They spoke of bringing everyone together to heal.

Then I thought about Walter “Lamar” Scott who was gunned down by a police officer in the same city. Someone please tell me what is the difference in these two incidents?

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Are we to believe that it matters who pulls the trigger? In each shooting, those who died won’t come home. Are my feelings supposed to understand the difference?

I can relate to Mr. Scott as a Black man who has been pulled over by police. I share his same fear whether or not I will survive the encounter. I have to consider if I have fostered enough respect, credentials and support in my life to withstand the criticism left for my family to hear. The criticism that argues what I may have done wrong to justify my murder or how it could somehow be my fault that I was gunned down.

There were lots of prayer vigils tonight and not nearly the amount for Mr. Scott. I’m  saddened that this is our reality. My heart goes out to ALL who have suffered loss. I repent for my part in the hypocrisy and I pray that God heals our land.