Saturday, June 30, 2012

ISAIAH 9:10 JUDGMENT

Yowsa.  That's pretty much my reaction after watching the two DVD set of Isaiah 9:10 Judgment.  In addition, I also shook my head more than once in disbelief and what I was hearing....and then I did some wishful praying.  If you want to challenge your thinking about what course of direction our country is in check it out.  And I mean soon.

Here is a short summary of the video.

Many followers of the Christian faith believe we are witnessing the end times as our world becomes more globalized and as the United States government continues to commit the sins of a nation on behalf of greed and corruption.  An obscure passage in the Book of Isaiah describing the fall of ancient Israel, has since September 11,2001, been eerily re-enacted in the United States exactly as it originally occurred in the time of the great prophet of Israel, leading to the nation's demise.  Has America set out on a similar journey which will lead to the eventual destruction of the United States?

"The Harbinger" a book written by  Jonathan Cahn, has been shocking audiences by revealing the astonishing parallels between the fall of ancient Israel and currents unfolding in the U.S., what he calls "an ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future and the collapse of the global economy".



Yet, while many Americans are making "The Harbinger" and "The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment" national best-sellers, the mainstream media has largely ignored their meteroric popularity.  "Do you think there's an increasing divide between Americans who recognized these eerie harbingers of judgment and Americans who don't attribute any significance to these type of things", Cahn was asked.  "Absolutely", Cahn replied.  "We're watching a polarization and this is a dynamic of end-times civilization-that the dark gets darker and the light gets lighter".

 "Yet", Cahn says, "The Harbinger is such that you can be an atheist...and still say, "Wow.  There's something happening, there's something going on.  And I think there's an underlying sense in America that there is something wrong, that we are in a critical period and the "Harbinger" is connecting the dots in a way that, again, if you are a total skeptic, it's still hard to avoid".

YGG,

John






Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THE CROSSROADS OF MEDIOCRITY


Have you ever felt like you've been stuck in mediocrity?  Never being able to ride that wild crest of euphoria to the top?  Never being that person that everyone wants to be around, seldom having anything in your life be of some great value.  Well, don't feel like the Lone Ranger.  Many, many people are in the same boat.  All desiring to have some impact or making a difference in someone's life.

Rick Nielsen shared this poem with his followers today.  I'm grateful to be one of them.  The words speak so much truth about who we are and what we want to be or want to be known for.  It's titled "Mediocrity".

I'm a small and lonely man, my friend,
The world will not build a monument to me,
Somehow I've become sunken
In the mire of mediocrity.
Alone along life's torturous trail
Repeating my meaningless deeds,
Early errors now haunt me
And like a tumor on me feeds
Great things left to other men,
Great decisions not my care,
Noble steps and moments
Not my privilege to share.
Each life has its crossroads,
Be careful which you choose,
A life of greatness and happiness
Is all to easy to lose.

Ever been there?  Are you close to throwing in the towel today?  Are you at your wits end?  Have you given up?  Charles Swindoll touches on this subject in his writing, "Living Above the Level of Mediocrity".  "It is my firm conviction that those who impact and reshape the world are the ones committed to living above the level of mediocrity.  There are still too many opportunities for excellence, too much demand for disctinctiveness,, to be satisfied with just getting by.  As Isaac D'Israeli once wrote, "it is a wretched waste to be gratififed with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us".

Are the Crossroads awaiting you?


You might have needed to hear these words today.  I know I did.  Not that I'm discouraged, but the meaning they convey is challenging to me in regards to a new venture I'm about to jump headlong into.  Perhaps you are too.  Know that these words are there for you to lift you up and give you strength when you feel you've run out of resources.  The Bible verse below adds some additional zip.

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.   Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism".  Colossians 3:22-25


YGG,


John


Saturday, June 23, 2012

WHERE'S THE ACCOUNTABILITY?


I just got off  the phone with a local restaurant operator.  It's the first time I've ever talked with him, but he seems genuine and one that most people could work for.  He has dreams....and he wants to share those dreams with his employees.  His business from the outside looks quite successful....but on the inside, it's another thing indeed.

His biggest struggle is the myriad of problems he sees his employees bring to work, that is, if they come to work.  "We see people in some of workers ones who are struggling, right on the edge of losing some thing or having a relationship go south or facing a legal action for making some bad decision", he said.

Hmmmmm.  I wonder if his situation is all that much different than any other employer, big or small.  "I just need people who are accountable and who will show up for work", he continued.

Accountability has to start with making a difference

So when did this accountable thing go astray? The problem with accountability is that it is the recipient of more lip service than action.  Accountability-to do what needs to be done-requires a level of commitment and discipline that many leaders spend time and energy seeks ways to avoid.  Every leader does this to some degree.  But the problem with accountability is that the more a leader avoids it, the more leaks spring up throughout their company.   Want proof?  Speed-write a list of issues your company is facing at this very moment.  Without question, every item on your list represents an accountability compromise.  Systems missing or not followed.  Rules broken .  Commitments broken.  Responsibility avoided.  Problems ignored. Tough decisions avoided.  Budgets not adhered to.  Information not shared.  Opportunities missed.  I've got more, but you get the point.

Somehow we've lost sight of the basics.  The New Normal is about reviving some fundamental principles such as are accountable to do the work for which they are hired.  Whether it's a management position or not, it doesn't make any difference, you  are accountable.

The New Normal is about having clarity about expectations and following through. When a person accepts a job, there’s an implied agreement to perform the work for which they are hired.  If a person says they didn’t know what was expected, why did they accept the job?

Sometimes it’s easy to blame the boss for not explaining what’s expected or for not providing training to do parts of the job but that’s not a good excuse to slack off. If you don’t know what you are supposed to do why don’t you ask?  What are you waiting for?

There’s no magic formula for success.  It’s really very simple: Success comes from being accountable.

We are all accountable for what we say and do. We are all ultimately accountable to God, and we should always remember to act accordingly. We are however also accountable to each other, to one another as fellow believers, holding fellow believers and Christians accountable. The Bible teaches us to encourage, exhort, pray for and correct one another in love, and in Christ. It is extremely useful to have people of the same mindset (i.e. fellow believers with the same goals) in our lives that we are accountable to. These “accountability partners”  can help us stay focused, encourage us when we need strength, and help us get right back on track when we start to stray.  We should also remember to be accountable to ourselves, holding ourselves responsible for our actions and for the results of our own actions – instead of blaming others.

"For it is written.  As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God-Romans 14:10-12.


YGG,


John  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

LENDING A HELPING HAND

A friend of mine, Kim Baker, posted on Facebook yesterday the following comment:
"God wants us to help others win in life, to be people who reach, invest and help others to be the best person they can be. We each have skills, influence, position and knowledge to impart to others"!!!

Amen Kim.....

As the day went on, I couldn't help but think about that remark.  So when I was around the computer several hours later, I decided to "share" his post.  But even that wasn't enough.  I continued to think more and more about the statement.  "What Would Jesus Want Us To Do?", I thought.   Here's what was most impressionable to me in doing research with the aid of David Hopkins..  

Helping others was something Jesus did on a daily basis. He was constantly approached by people, but He always found time to stop what He was doing to help those in need. This is a lesson we must learn if we want to be anything like Jesus, our savior.

THE GOOD SAMARITAN

While Jesus was teaching one day, a man in the crowd tried to test him to see if he would give a wrong answer. He asked Jesus, what he must do to inherit eternal life.

Jesus, who knew the man was a lawyer, told him to follow the law, which says to love God and love your neighbor. In order to justify himself, the lawyer asked who his neighbor was. Jesus then responded with this parable.

Luke 10:30-37 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.



To the Jews of Jesus' time there was no such thing as a "good Samaritan." Jews and Samaritans hated each other for religious and political reasons. The fact that it was a Samaritan who helped the Jewish man shows we are all neighbors. It also shows that God is interested in showing mercy rather than maintaining prejudice.
Not to mention the fact that the Jewish priest and Levite who are temple assistants, and are usually recognized as servants of God didn't lift a finger to help the man who was badly beaten.

Then since this is the case our first priority should be to ensure that justice is carried out around us, that we show mercy to our "neighbors," and that we practice our faith and not just talk about it, while letting go all stereotypes, forms of discrimination and hatred.

TREASURE IN HEAVEN

A rich young man was wealthy enough for this life but he wanted to know about eternal life. He was unsure of his destiny and came to Jesus seeking security for his future.

Luke 18:18-25 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Notice how Jesus did not challenge the young ruler's claims about his life, but said that he still lacked just one more thing. He then told the young man to sell all that he had, distribute to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven.

This focused on his wealth and caused the rich man to become very sorrowful because his money was obviously most important to him.

However, Jesus clearly makes service to others the last indication of fitness for eternal life aside from keeping the ten commandments.

Therefore real wealth involves following Jesus by living not to be served, but to serve others and to devote one's life to the well being of others.

On this Father's Day take a moment to reflect on sowing a seed.  Have you planted any recently?  And if not, why not?

Kim.  Thanks for planting a seed with me.  It's not that I didn't know the importance of your words....I just needed reminding!!!

YGG,

John


Thursday, June 14, 2012

HONOR "YOUR" FLAG

FLAG DAY....It's a day that doesn't get the proper respect it deserves DESPITE all it represents for us.  Maybe, just maybe it doesn't because we don't know the true origin of day.  Here is the background of a day we need to lift up and exclaim it's greatness!!! 
 
The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'.
 
On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.


Respect and Reverence all in One!!!

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.
 
In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.
 
Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself."

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

YGG,

John

Sunday, June 10, 2012

IS YOUR PATIENCE WEARING THIN?

I've been hearing alot about people's problems lately.  One person I know can't find a job for the life of him.  Another is ready to leave his wife and put his house up for sale...because she says she doesn't feel the "old" tingle in her bones anymore.  And....

I recently met a young man who seems as normal as anyone you'd ever want to come across.  Then I find out he's been hooked on meth for over 15 years, been in and out of prison several times and now he's out of a job.  Seems like he couldn't conform to his boss wanting him to be responsible, you know, show up on time and all.  So they got into an argument and he walked off. NO one was going to tell him what to do.  Sadly, he has three lovely daughters that would love for him to be a dad rather than the misfit he's become.  But the desire isn't there and patience is nowhere to be found.  Yeeee gads......

These are but a few of the stories I've come across. And in them all and others I haven't told you about, it  would appear a lack of patience is a big part part of the problem.  I listened to our Pastor Mike Housholder speak this weekend about some of the hypocrisy in the church today.  He told the congregation of some of his weaknesses and yes, sins.  Envy, being one of them.  By definition you can see where envy and patience (or lack thereof) meet.
  1. spite and resentment at seeing the success of another (personified as one of the deadly sins)
  2. a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something possessed by another
  3. be envious of; set one''s heart on
  4. feel envious towards; admire enviously
How are you doing today in this area?  Do you consider yourself a willing person  to wait for those things that God wants you to have?....or is your patience wearing thin because your envious of someone else?  Have you reached that juncture where if you can't have it here, then you'll force the issue or move on to what you might see as "greener pastures".

Hey, I'm as guilty as the next guy.  Don't think I don't suffer from some of these same things....BUT.....walking with the Lord has taught me a whole new set of rules.  Ones that I'm trying to apply to my life, not only for me, but for my family and my family's family.  Here are some words to turn to when you feel beat down, beat up and no where to turn.


25:1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
25:2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
25:3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
25:4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
25:5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
25:6 Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness' sake, O LORD!
25:8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.
25:10 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees. -Psalm 25 1-10


YGG,

John

Sunday, June 3, 2012

THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS


A young woman named Marina Keegan died last week in a single-car accident in Dennis, Mass., on Cape Cod, five days after graduating from Yale. She was 22.  She wrote for the Yale Daily News while a student there, and her writing was so good, so compelling, that the News included her column, "The Opposite of Loneliness,'' in a special edition of the paper distributed to all students and families at graduation.

You go to college for many reasons, the biggest of which is probably (but not definitely) to get trained for what you'll do for the rest of your life.  But along the way you experience a collegial feeling that's hard to describe until you've been through it. And Marina Keegan writes about it as eloquently as I've read.
"More than finding the right job or city or spouse -- I'm scared of losing this web we're in,'' Keegan writes. "This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.''


A proud family before their loneliness

"The first time I read the piece, I cried,'' the editor-in-chief of the Daily News, Max de La Bruyere, told me Sunday night. "As a professor of ours said today, 'Marina always spoke her mind.  She was determined to always be herself.'  She knew what she wanted to write, and she always wrote it so well. She was such a shining light.  She found time to do so much.  She was the president of the Yale College Democrats, which takes up quite a lot of time. She wrote fiction and non-fiction, and she wrote a full-length musical last summer. And this story about life at Yale was so beautiful. Thank God she left us with this.''
It's beautiful. Read it. It'll make you sad, but sadness is part of life too.  Enjoy.....

"We don't have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that's what I want in life. What I'm grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I'm scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.

It's not quite love and it's not quite community; it's just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it's four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can't remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers -- partner-less, tired, awake. We won't have those next year. We won't live on the same block as all our friends. We won't have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse -- I'm scared of losing this web we're in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They're part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn't live in New York. I plan on having parties when I'm 30. I plan on having fun when I'm old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clich├ęd "should haves..." "if I'd..." "wish I'd..."

Of course, there are things we wished we did: our readings, that boy across the hall. We're our own hardest critics and it's easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I've looked back on my High School self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.

But the thing is, we're all like that. Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading (except maybe the crazy people who win the prizes…) We have these impossibly high standards and we'll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that's okay.

We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.

When we came to Yale, there was this sense of possibility. This immense and indefinable potential energy – and it's easy to feel like that's slipped away. We never had to choose and suddenly we've had to. Some of us have focused ourselves. Some of us know exactly what we want and are on the path to get it; already going to med school, working at the perfect NGO, doing research. To you I say both congratulations and you  (are so fortunate)". 

Stories like these got Marina Keegan an editorial assistant job at the New Yorker, which was she was due to start a week from tomorrow in Manhattan.

As difficult as it must be for the Keegan family to make sense of the timing of Marina's death.....there is an answer.  Marina wanted to experience the opposite of loneliness in its fullness.  Some of her last words were "we are in this together.  Let's make something happen to this world".  I think she did and she passed it on to us.  Now it's our turn to take the baton. 

Isaiah 41:10
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

YGG,

John