A New Year’s Resolution for Everyone- Let’s Do This Together

Resolutions are difficult but here is one that can be transforming. Can we work together for this one?

We have a problem in America. Our view of God has slipped away from the God of the Scriptures. Christians are picking and choosing the parts of God they like. That’s not who GOD IS. We must regain an accurate view of God.

In 2016, let’s focus on teaching as many people as we can WHO GOD IS really.

 

“It’s Not Fair” is Our Comfort Blanket

 

“It’s not fair.”

It is the phrase that has become society’s personal crutch. Three simple words that hinder people from taking ownership and responsibility for their actions. The sentence used as justification for us to fall apart. Often, we examine our experiences and instantly resort to pointing out what’s “unfair.”

To a certain degree, “It’s not fair” is our comfort blanket.

Yes, in many situations, things are unfortunate and completely out of our control. Circumstances arise and life throws some pretty hard curve balls. However, do you know what is in our control? The way we approach our adversity.

Stop Wallowing

We need to stop wallowing in sorrow and making excuses. You lost your job? Does that mean you should have a pity party for yourself? No. Work on your resume and start hunting for a new one. You did not get accepted into a program. Should you give up on your dream of being in the field? No. Start exploring alternative ideas and mapping out potential paths.

If you want something, fight for it. Do not become paralyzed by fear or rejection. Success comes through repeated mistakes. What is the worst that could happen? You get denied? Well at least you tried it. Sure, it might take 10 attempts, maybe 100, but if it’s your life dream: go for it! Keep striving for it until you see results.

Instead of focusing on the problems, start discovering solutions. Every new day is an opportunity to transform our lives. Heartaches and disappointment should not control us. Personal pain should not break our spirits.

Avoid becoming lost in comparing journeys with the people around you. Instead of constantly over-analyzing personal flaws, embrace them. Instead of taking in the disappointment, take in the memories. Just because things did not work in your favor now does not mean it will never happen.

Look for Opportunities

It’s about having optimism and being content — understanding that the timing you have planned might just not be what is right for you at this time. Maybe grad school is not happening right now, because an even greater is opportunity is coming along.

Actions always have consequences, but stop allowing them dictate your life. Sure, there will be times where you wonder “why?” There will be times where you put in so much effort, but there is no return. However, be comforted in knowing that is natural.

Someday when you achieve your dream, the satisfaction of knowing you fought for it will be invaluable.

We evolve every single day. Whether or not you realize it, you’re probably not the same type of person you were five years ago. Not even five months ago. Stop beating yourself up for regrets you may have about the past. Supposed “mistakes” often open doors of opportunity. Life isn’t fair. It is a balancing act of highs and lows. Ironically, that is what makes it beautiful. The challenges we face allow us to appreciate our successes. Rough times make great ones even greater.

It is OK to acknowledge something is not fair, but avoid resting in that state of mind. Challenges present the deepest learning experiences and sometimes, the most cherished memories. We might not know what lies ahead, but at least we have the power to choose what we leave behind.

Money and the Church

“Why do pastors always talk about money at church?” .

They Preach It

On top of that, pastors preach sermons about money from time to time, and some of those sermons also seem meant to motivate people to give more to the church.

Many people believe that pastors talk so much about money, and they ask their people to give so often, that it makes them feel uncomfortable about how they manage their own finances, and a little guilty about how much, or little, they give to the church.

So why do pastors and churches talk about money? Is it meant to make people feel uncomfortable or guilty? Do we do it too much?

Think on this

 

If you think pastors talk too much about money at church, you should see what they do at the grocery store. Every single time I go there and put something in my cart, they ask me for money. And when I go to the doctor, he asks me for money too. When I go to the gas station, they ask me for money. When I go to the movies or out to dinner, they ask me for money. Come to think of it, wherever I go, people are asking me for my money in exchange for some service that they provide for me.

My point is this: No business, organization, or ministry survives without money. Businesses charge their customers for the products and services they receive. Churches do not. Instead, churches invite people to give to meet their financial needs so they can accomplish the work God called them to do, and serve people who cannot repay.

The ultimate goal for pastors in asking people to give is not to make budget, save for a new building, fund programs, or employ staff. They are simply showing people how their tithes make a real – and eternal – difference in the lives of real people through the daily ministry of the church inside the four walls, across the street, across town, and across the world.

Jesus Talked Money

 

  • Jesus talked about money more than He talked about heaven and hell combined
  • Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.
  • 11 of 39 parables talk about money
  • One out of every seven verses in the Gospel of Luke talk about money
  • About 25 percent of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels relates to money, stewardship, and the resources God has given us

Money Talk is Everywhere

Think about it. Do you know a person who doesn’t talk about money in some way every day? There’s hardly a family in your church or community that doesn’t have a daily dialogue about money. People talk about it, argue about it, and try to make their plans around it.

What’s wrong with the church doing it? 

So Which Side Effect Do I Want?

So Which Side Effect Do I Want?

 

The only thing more annoying than TV commercials is TV drug commercials. Nowadays the two have become virtually synonymous Whatever happened to commercials for Tide or the Ginzu knife? Now it’s one mind-numbing Cialis, Pristiq, or Lyrica commercial after another. There’s the commercial with the doctor standing in his white coat out in public next to a giant mirror, not saying a word as people walk up to him. That guy should be arrested. There is the glowing nocturnal butterfly, flying from house to house, presumably flying into the head through your ears while you sleep, to eat your brain. There are sad people who suddenly have drug-induced happiness. There are COPDers, accompanied by elephants. There’s the guy who doesn’t have to make the turn off to the Protime Clinic because he’s on Xarelto, and can go fishing instead. All the commercials have high production values, but many, like the doctor and the mirror, just seem weird.

Each commercial follows the same pattern:

Part I:

The cheerful narrator sets up the problem and then introduces the drug-based solution. No commercial gets to the point quicker than the Cialis commercial. The awkward, non sequitur intro goes something like this: “It’s the little things she does, you never get tired of. But your erectile dysfunction? That may be a matter of blood flow.”

Each goes like this.

Part II:

The same narrator reads the list of side-effects, in the same cheerful but somewhat more pressured tone of voice, having only 30 seconds to get them all in (“…stop taking Cialis and seek medical attention if you have an erection lasting more than four hours…” or “…in rare cases Happy Drug X may cause death, suicide, liver failure, kidney failure, and so forth and so on…”

….Wait, did he say after four hours call the doctor? I can’t call I also have blurred vision, now what do I do? 

A Bit of History

Direct to consumer prescription drug advertising was approved by the FDA in 1997 and is only legal in two countries in the world: the USA and New Zealand. Proponents of these ads argue that they should be permitted by First Amendment free speech and that they are useful to raise public awareness of diseases and their treatment. Opponents argue that this is wasteful spending, adding to the cost of these drugs, and that the ads create pressure on physicians to prescribe drugs they wouldn’t otherwise prescribe. The ads encourage the viewer to self-diagnose conditions like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or “Low-T”, leading to unnecessary drug treatment of naturally occurring conditions. And, as the commercials warn us in that cheerful, friendly voice, there are some risks associated with these drugs. Even though the $4.8 billion dollars the drug industry spent (in 2008) on direct to consumer advertising is considered trivial compared to the total cost of health care (and is much less than the money spent on direct to physician marketing), clearly these ads work for the industry, or they wouldn’t bother spending the money.

$$$$

With Congress being the representative of industry rather than of the people, it is unlikely direct to consumer drug advertising will ever change. Maybe if US physicians united to protest these commercials, then… Whoa! What I am thinking. Physicians in this country actually uniting to accomplish something? What do you think?

Tell Me, Is this Being Nosy or Good?

Bad Parenting or Nosy Good Samaritan?
As I was reading through my bookmarks, as I do every day, I came across an article about a parent that got arrested and their children were taken away for something that shocked me. So, I found some articles from the Washington Post and will share some amazing reasons that parents were considered bad and on “bad behavior”.
The first case comes from South Carolina where a mother, Debra, allowed her daughter to play at the park near where she worked at McDonalds. She gave her a cellphone for emergencies and noticed that at any one given time, there were usually near 40 children playing in the park at a time. It was the second day when an adult asked her where her mom was. When the girl told her that her mom was working, the adults called the cops and was arrested for “abandonment” of a child.
Another story involves a mother named Kim that went to the store. As she left home, her four-year old child insisted on going with her for the quick errand. When they arrived the child refused to go into the store. Since it was a mild and overcast day of near 50 degrees, the mother allowed the child to stay in the vehicle. Another adult saw her leave the child and recorded it all on a cell phone and called the police and she was arrested.
We all know of stories that have turned out poorly and this appears to be on the mind of the “good Samaritans” that phone the police. But do they know the whole story? Did the parents do irresponsible things? Are they guilty of bad behavior as parents?
Bradley Balko of the Washington Post writes about:
“increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions.”
In the book called The Quest for Community by Robert Nisbet, he states that a society without private associations will find the state taking their place. He wrote:
“It is hard to overlook the fact that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.”
In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning.
A father named Jeffrey from Ohio had the police show up at his front door and arrested him in front of this entire family because one of his sons skipped church. He now faces six months in jail.

Here is the story:
The local Woodville Baptist Church sends a van to his neighborhood twice a week to offer free transportation to those interested in attending services. Williamson’s children ride the van regularly on Wednesdays and Sundays. This morning was no different, as his eight-year-old son Justin and siblings said goodbye to their father and left their house to board the van. One problem: Justin skipped church and went to play instead. The young boy stayed in the neighborhood to play with friends and then later ended up at the local Family Dollar store down the road. After police officers were called to the store by a customer who recognized Justin, they took him back to his neighborhood where they proceeded to arrest his father for child endangerment.
We now see the breakdown in modern American community—without a sense of communal closeness or responsibility, we act as bystanders rather than as stewards. We warn kids of “stranger danger”, we put guidance system on them, and we lock our doors because the neighborhood is not as safe as it once was.
What is sad in this is that parents are no longer supported by their community. What ever happened to calling the parent first or walking to the McDonalds and checking out the story. Possibly, not sticking our nose into someone’s business with our cellphone video.

Society today wants to be police, judge and jury from their seat and not truly be the Good Samaritan of the olden days.
Remember the “it takes a village” cry? Now it seems to be “every man for himself”.

The opinions in this blog are those of Tom Knuppel

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