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Tuesday
May232017

All Are Welcome Here

 

My neighborhood has signs that say:  “All Are Welcome Here!”  I wonder what the relatives of the 22 who died (12 were children under the age of 16) and the 59 who were injured in Manchester England would say to that today?  I want to make a sign that says, “All are welcome here, except those who want to kill Americans.”

I wonder when the world will wake up and answer this multiple question:

“What religion kills people because of their militant interpretation of their belief in God?”

  1. Christianity
  2.  Judaism
  3.  Hinduism
  4.  Buddhism
  5.  Islam

I know that some people believe that radical Islam is a hijacking of Islam, but that is just not true. Why? Because the Quran teaches that belief in Allah means you are an enemy of those who do not believe.

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

This radicalism will continue until the western countries stop being soft targets for this kind of behavior.

Ecclesiastes 8:11

“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people's hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.”

Today the threat in England is high, and the military has been employed to protect the public against what authorities say are “other threats that are imminent.”

One news commentator said the issue for some radical Muslims is that entertainment is perverse and these kinds of venues are a soft target to make a statement with a violent attack. What right does Islam have to violate the rights of others who have freedom to dress and be entertained as they wish?  What right does Islam have to kill others because it has a terrorist mandate to disrupt and to frighten the West?   Here is where Westerners are naïve and quite stupid. The Europeans are like those whose lawns in my neighborhood are blanketed with signs saying, “All are welcome here.”

I am sorry BUT I don’t want them here. Any religion or people group that does what has been done in France, Manchester, London, Spain, Orlando, San Bernardino, Boston, Belgium, Germany and many more places in the world, are not welcome here. Why would you welcome them here? What is it about a religion that teaches that it is okay to kill people who don’t believe like you - why is that okay? Why are they welcome here?

You say well, most Muslims don’t kill people, and that is true, but the teachings of their religion tell those who have the guts to kill people that it is okay to do so.

I want to know why that is okay, and why are they are welcome here?

What happened in Manchester England where many of those who died were 16 years of age or younger, should be a global outcry for radical change within Islam.

Every mosque in every country needs to preach and teach that Islam is more than terrorism, and it must prove to the world that Muslims are better than the terrorists that are now in control of its image. I just don’t see the Muslim community actively fighting against how the terrorists represent Islam around the world.

Until there is a radical change within Islam, no country in its right mind will allow a Muslim person to immigrate into their land.

Preservation of our children and a way of life, our freedom, is our job as parents and grandparents, and unless we stop the migration from the Middle East we will never be safe as a nation. This is not a hateful statement, it is a statement of reality, and the Western World needs to wake up and realize what they are facing.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

Thursday
May182017

A Generation of Excuses

Luke 14:24 “For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.'"

Jesus was using a parable, a lesson that was directed at Israel. They were invited to a very special dinner and those initially invited (Israel), had excuses as to why they could not come:

  • I have to look after the land I just bought
  • I have to look after the animals I just bought
  • I have just been married and I need to look after her

All of life was a big excuse. So the man went to the highways and common areas of the town and invited the most unlikely people in to his special dinner.

I hear excuses every day from all kinds of people, including myself, about things that are difficult to face. There was a man I knew that loved to complain about others, nothing was ever right with other people and his complaining never ceased.  Then one day he got wind that he was being accused of something and was the talk of the town. He was so angry that he gave every excuse in the book to prove he was innocent of what was being said about him. He may have been innocent of what he was being accused of, but he was not innocent of reaping what he had been sowing for years. People who live by the sword will die by the sword, and God will not be mocked. If you live to sow excuses for your behavior, attitude, or negative thinking, you will reap the wrath of those excuses by being accused. An excuse is the language of a coward because he does not want to face the responsibility of being honest. How many times have we made an excuse to get out of a commitment and our excuse sounded better than the truth of, “I just don’t want to go?”  Our country has become a nation of excuses. No one in Washington, DC will take the blame for the mess our country is in, because it is always the other party’s fault.  Wouldn’t it be great if both parties admitted to being part of the problem, and swear an oath to stop blaming and start fixing what is wrong?   All we hear out of Washington these days is blame, and a tirade of excuses as to why we can’t fix healthcare, voter fraud, media bias, leaks, and premeditated lies to destroy the elected officials who the voters put into office.

I hate excuses and even though I get caught using them at times, I hate myself for it. It is time we stop using excuses and tell the truth and move forward in doing what we know is right, all the time. My wife taught me a lesson the other day. We ordered some ceiling lights to go into our bedroom and a set came and we were happy. A few days later another set came and we spent an inordinate amount of time trying to return them. In fact, there was no record of a charge, no return labels, nothing. So, I just said, “well let’s just keep them since there is no way to make this right.” “No,” she said, “It’s not right.”  She persisted hour after hour and finally got someone to help her return them. You see, my excuse was “well, there is no way to return them, so let’s give up and keep them.”  “We are not stealing them, we just can’t find a way to return them.” Excuses are never justifications for not doing what is right. However, we make excuses all the time in not treating people right, or making things right.

There will be no excuses when we come before Jesus on judgment day. He will know our motives, He will not entertain the excuses, and He will award us according to the honesty we demonstrated in our lives. I have prayed for more self-awareness in my life, being aware of my shortsightedness that usually is the reason for an excuse to be born. I want to live free from an excuse-driven life, and face the truth on all accounts in all relationships, starting first with my family.

How about you?  Have you ever been disgusted with how dishonest you can become and make excuses just to save face?

The story Jesus told had grave ramifications to Israel because her excuse cost her the recognition of her Messiah.  Our excuse may not have that grave of an implication, but the dishonesty of an excuse can have its problems.

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K

Monday
May152017

Gratitude: What Are We Grateful For?

One of my clients happens to be my son. He has developed into a businessman who is motivated by the right kind of thinking. Here is a short excerpt from a recent blog of his.

The most important time in my day is the first 30 minutes. Why? The first half hour of my day gives me the opportunity to check my attitude and determine where my perspective is. I sit quietly and reflect in a state of gratitude. I think about everything that I am thankful for. Gratitude is crucial for achieving success.  

You can’t be blessed with more if you aren’t grateful for what you currently have.

Nathan is a success in many ways, he is a great father, a good husband, and has several businesses that are in the top 1 % of his profession. As he stated the right kind of attitude is critical for success.

So do you live a grateful life?

Do you maintain a sense of gratitude throughout your day?

Do people see you as a grateful thankful person?

Many of us would like to think we are grateful people, but are we grateful because we are living a good life, have all the benefits and pleasures we need?   Or if we had less of what we are grateful for, would we be grateful or would we be wanting?  Gratefulness is a tricky thing you know. I am grateful for many things, my wife and family, my opportunities to work with many fine ministry leaders whose work extends to the boundaries of this country and beyond. I am grateful for lots of things, but am I grateful just to know God?  If all were stripped from my life could I be as grateful as I am now writing this blog and all I had was a simple knowledge that God loved me, could that be enough to live a grateful life?  (I think that was the lesson in the book of Job)

Gratefulness is much harder to maintain when life doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it. There are a lot of people who are disappointed about their lives especially if they start comparing themselves to others. Yet God’s perspective on gratefulness isn’t about who you are, or what you have, it is about how you live your life in accordance to loving and obeying God.

Being grateful is at the highest level when you know God, love God, and serve God. When God is your gratefulness, this is where real success is found. Jesus said it this way.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” –Matthew 6:23

I think my son Nathan is right: starting your day with a perspective that is centered not on you but on your gratitude is the best recipe for success. Being grateful that you know God is a powerful motivator to start your day. 

I like grateful people because they make living life at work or home so much better, so I do hope you are one of them.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 



 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday
May142017

The Death of The Individual

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.  –Matthew 25:23

One national talk show host likes to use the term “groupthink” because he says it is symbolic of where our culture is at today.  Groupthink started in grade school where all the kids had teams to work together on the projects they were assigned. The team would do the work together and they would be graded together, all getting the same grade. I noticed that my kids were some of the few kids who would do the work and kick start the team ahead. The problem I noticed is that some kids didn’t do any work, while other kids did all the work. This started a process where thinking was done in a group, and never on your own. Process was always done with others, and that is how you perfected the process of “groupthink.”  Whatever the idea was that the group came up with was always much better than what you could do on your own.  Perhaps the educational process that started this team/groupthink wasn’t devising a system to destroy the individual, but that is exactly what it has done.  There is no thinking outside of the group box, and life doesn’t exist any more as an individual – after all, strength is in numbers. Anyone who thinks outside of the group setting isn’t accepted.  Men from the past century such as James J. Hill, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie, who forged America into the industrial revolution, would not be accepted in today’s technological world. Why? Because they were men whose ideas drove their lives, and their progress wasn’t dependant on the consensus of the groupthink.

This kind of thinking has also permeated many churches, elevating the group and ostracizing the individual. We want clarity that comes from a standard evaluation from a group of pastors, scholars, authors and the like. And the consensus of a group always bears more credibility than an individual.  Do you think I am wrong?

How about the Pharisees and Jesus. Did they not come against him because he was not a learned man, a man from Nazareth?

“Where did this man get such wisdom and miraculous powers?” they asked. 55“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56 Aren’t all His sisters with us as well? Where then did this man get all these things?”…Matthew 13:55

There was no learned consensus accompanying Jesus, He said what He did and you either had to believe Him, or dismiss Him as a false prophet. Jesus didn’t come with a cohort of learned support He came as an individual that reflected the word of God, and that was His consensus.

John 1:14 John “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Ross Clark writing for The Spectator, a magazine in the UK, said this:

Of all changes in British life over the past generation, nothing has been quite so as stark as the strange death of individualism.” 

Until the mid-1990s everyone seemed to want to leave smoky, rotten old London. Yet there has been a snap-back, with people choosing to live piled on top of each other in overpriced broom cupboards, while rural property struggles to sell. (London’s population was under 7 million in 1995, and has now passed 8.5 million.) There has to be some other explanation for the rise in herd behavior. Some interpret it as a reaction to more solitary working environments. Where once we worked close together in factories, goes the argument, now more of us work from home, and so we get to the end of the day gagging for human company.”

We have seen changes like this here in America as well. Young people not interested in home ownership per se, but wanting to live in carefree turn-key condos with the freedom to come and go in their free time. This herd culture has helped microbreweries spring up all over our city drawing large crowds of young people.  My biggest concern is that this herd mentality will ostracize the person who thinks differently, acts differently, and has a different worldview from the herd. I believe this is where bullying has it roots, in picking on people who are different than the herd.

In the church if you have a different point of view than the herd, you are seen as someone who is off base or delusional in some manner. For example, I was speaking with several pastors recently about the treatment of women in the church or in Christian organizations. They were somewhat stunned to think that women are often treated with less respect in a corporate Christian setting than men.  Most women I have talked with, if they are honest, feel put down, marginalized, or not taken as seriously as a man. I felt like I had just nailed some questions to the Wittenberg Door.

My point is as an individual it is great to cooperate with others, that is what is called being a part of His body, but we should never lose our individual right to think and use our gifts accordingly without the scrutiny of the HERD CULTURE.

When we stand before God, our rewards will be based upon our personal sacrifices as an individual, and the words, “well done my good and faithful servant will not be said to a group, but to the individual.” My concern for today’s posting is for you to realize that the herd is not always right, nor is it good to groupthink with people who are convinced that they have the right answers simply because they have a consensus.

Beware of those with consensus, their theology may be agreeable, but that doesn’t make it right!

Keeping it truthful and honest...K 

Monday
May082017

The Church

I have often been asked the question what is the Church?  There are many different aspects of the church so it might be hard for some people to define it. I like to define it by what it does. For example:

  1. The Church is a moral voice in society. The Church may not have much of an influence in culture in our present day, but its voice should be loud and consistent on morality.
  2. The Church is to speak for the marginalized and disadvantaged, because these are the folks that get overlooked and ignored.
  3. The Church is the bearer of the good news of the gospel. It is the one place on earth where we are convicted about sin, and are convinced that the mercy of God’s grace in Jesus Christ is the answer to all sinfulness.
  4. The Church teaches about the hope for the future on earth with God in control, and His government will last forever.
  5. The Church is a place of acceptance for all people and in that acceptance comes the message of truth. The Church accepts all people, but does not deny them the reality of God’s truth, the Bible.
  6. The Church is a place of forgiveness and restores people to the dignity of being made in God’s image.
  7. The Church is a place of reconciliation where people of differences can find peace and accept one another in love.

To me this is the definition of the Church.

Going to church or being the Church are two entirely different things. If going to church means that we are to learn how become the Church as indicated above, then going to church is a good thing.  Going to church because our tradition has us doing so but we don’t know why, then it’s time to come back to understanding what the Church really is all about.

There are two really good definitions of the word church:

1. The Church is having faith in Jesus Christ and you are a part of His body.

2. The church is a local assembly of believers whose meeting is religious in nature but may or may not adhere to anything Biblical.  

You may have your own ideas about what the Church is, but I hope you will give mine some thought.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K 

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