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Technology Rules!

We all know that technology rules, and in our wireless connections how can we keep ourselves private? Good question, and it will continue to get worse, because technology is growing.  In fact here are some forecasts you might find interesting.

Cisco Systems has released several predictions about where the Internet is heading, noting that overall traffic will grow fourfold by the close of 2015, reaching zetabyte territory for the first time. The data boom will be driven in large part by the increased use of wireless devices, which are expected to account for more Internet traffic in the next four years than the entire Internet did in 2006, and are expected to outnumber people by a 2-to-1 ratio.

By 2015, the traffic across global IP networks every five minutes will be the equivalent to the data size of all movies ever made. There will be six million households globally that are consuming a terabyte of data each month. That isn't hard to fathom with the way everything is moving towards streaming deliveries for software and video.

The traffic during the so-called busy hour will increase by a factor of five between now and 2015. The traffic during the busy hour by 2015 will be the equivalent of 200 million people streaming HD video continuously.

If these predictions are right, life will be consumed by internet traffic in commerce, entertainment, and with personal data. What does this all mean?  Well, it means we are fulfilling a prophecy found in scripture. It means that eventually you will not be able to buy or sell without a mark.

Revelation of John 13:16-18

16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,  17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.  18This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

That mark, I am convinced will give you access to the internet and the financial systems that will eventually be only on line.  More and more institutions are charging for printed statements, meaning, they want you on line with everything you do, including paying your bills. Access to the internet now is free, but once it becomes a controllable entity, and all your information is stored on line, it will be an easy sell to take the Mark.

So whats my point?  Technology is the new Babylon, it is the new market square, it is the small group you always wanted and it is the place you can be a voice to the world. We don't have to afraid of this technology, we need to use it while it is day, for the night is coming when no man will be able to work.

John 9:4

 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

Today, this technology is a great friend, but there is coming a day it will be your worse enemy. Use it wisely today to tell people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is our only hope to overcoming the Babylon of Technology. (read about Babylon in Revelation 18 it will help you understand this phrase)

Keeping it honest and truthful.....K

You might find this link interesting!


Donors: Has The Giving Wind Changed Directions?

David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group writes: “The implication is that church and non-profit leaders should prepare for another lean year. Response to this reality suggests avoiding high-risk and untested fundraising efforts and communicating effectively with constituents. In addition, consider proactive financial management, including adjusting income expectations. Avoid using traditional financial projections as reluctant donors are likely to cut back on the number of organizations and frequency of their support. One of the fundamentals is relentlessly addressing six donor motivations – as identified in previous work by the Barna team – including: operating efficiently, featuring the compelling cause at the core of your work, communicating the urgency of the need, nurturing personal relationships with donors, demonstrating transformational impact, and helping contributors feel a sense of personal benefit from giving. These appear to be as important as ever as donors scale back their giving.”

Those six donor motivations are extremely perceptive, and appear to be on course for non-profit work and their ability to raise money.  I think the day is passed for most people who make contributions do so simply because you are a Christian ministry.  Donors want to know that their contribution is going toward ministry work that is truly preaching the gospel whether it's by the preaching of the word, or by transformation works done in the name of Christ. I know my giving has taken an extreme turn about, and for the most part I am supporting missionaries that I know are on the front lines of communicating the gospel. The winds of change are affecting the way people give.  We all know that if the economy is poor it will affect the giving levels of believers. However, giving to Christ shouldn't be tied to the economy because faith isn't held captive by what the marketplace does.  That is why the tithe (10%) is a great standard for the percentage of what should be given away. Regardless of what is brought in for income in a household, a tithe should be given to your local Christ centered ministries.  Now, most pastors say that the tithe belongs to the local church, and in principle I would agree with that, however, if your local church isn't preaching the gospel, or actively seeking the lost, I would reconsider that principle.   Simply to support the infra-structure of buildings and salaries is not what I would call wise investment. The Barna Group also reports that only about 7% of believing Christians actually tithe.  That in itself should tell you about the confidence we have in what we do in ministry, or the type of faith we really have in God.  My point is simple, giving trends have changed, and ministry leaders must come to grips with that reality.  Many ministries, including local churches are poorly run, and have little to no vision.  They have been benign for years, and I think people who are donors refuse to invest money into a black hole. Secondly, ministries that are only self serving the body will also have a harder time extracting contributions. As the younger generations mature in their giving, they will be looking for ministries that are compelling and prove they have what it takes to drive the message of the gospel into the spiritual vacuum in our culture. Simply to hold a worship service or provide an educational forum is no longer a strong enough reason to give money. Donors are looking for transformational evidence that what you say or what you do is having an affect on people for Christ, period...!!!  So if you are on a non-profit ministry board, serve the local church, or work in some advisory capacity, you might consider reviewing Barna's six donor motivations again, they are proving to be prophetic. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K


Where Is Your Head At?

I remember my mother scolding me about a bone headed act I did, and she said, "where is your head at?"

Well, I guess it was at the top off my shoulders, but I think she was referring to my brain.  Not thinking is a common complaint for many today,  in the marketplace, in government agencies and in the church. I have blogged before about the death of discernment, and common sense, because it appears both are a thing of the past. One of my biggest complaints is against leaders who either are so heavenly minded, they don't see the needs in front of them.  At the same time, we have leaders who are so immersed in social justice issues they forget about the great commission.  So, either way, we lacking in a balanced perspective in how we present the message of the gospel. The Apostle Paul gave some good advice on this in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

 31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,  33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Paul's advice: try to make yourself an instrument of God, not driving people away but drawing them into an awareness of God. Leadership is not suppose to drive itself from within a persons ability, it is driven by the Spirit of God whose guidelines for leadership are different from what is written about leadership today.

Today's Leader: I have so many books from Jim Collins to Andy Stanley to John Maxwell. Most of what they say about leadership can be helpful, but I am no longer convinced that mixing business techniques with spiritual application is serving us with the best principles. It sells books, fills up auditoriums, and gets publicity, but I personally am not convinced it has made a difference in how we lead people. Jesus told us what makes great leaders.  The great leaders are those who learn to sacrifice, and pick up the call to follow Christ no matter the cost or commitment. In Matthew 16:24 we read:

 24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

God doesn't care how much experience you may have in leadership, it changes once you follow the Lord. It becomes about him at that point, and how He leads you will be completely different than what is said in many of the various textbooks on leadership.  Yielding to God, convicted by the cross, inundated by the Holy Spirit, and motivated by His Word, can ever be improved upon by the current trends in leadership. God's leaders are different, they come in all sizes and shapes, and most of them will never publish a book, or speak before important people. They are people who know God and follow him with a burning desire to lead on His behalf. 

I have linked a music video that is produced from around the world. It reminds me of the type of leader God uses, ordinary people who have nothing to gain and no one to impress. They lead from their heart. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K


Is This Disaster Really Brought by God?

We have had more billion dollar disaster storms in the last several years than ever before, one right after another. If it isn't hurricanes, its tornados, if it isn't tornados, its flooding, and if it isn't flooding it's earthquakes,  and on on and on.  More lives have been lost so far this this year to tornados than all of 2010. In fact 10 times as many. So whats going on? 

Often when these kinds of disasters happen you will hear the groom and doom preachers come out of the wood work with the idea that this is the judgement of God against a community.  Then most of the Christians I know dismiss this kind of thinking as foolish and uninformed.  God doesn't work like that, He is a God of restoration, and love, and He isn't into any form of judgment since the cross. 

Well, I am not so sure. Of course if you have lost loved ones, and lost your home in a disaster you're not open to hearing such things, but does God have a hand in these disasters? We do know that nature is groaning for the the coming of the Lord to earth again, and can be acting upon a last days prediction that there will be signs in heaven and earth as stated in Romans 8:22-23

 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Amos 4 tells us repeatedly that God was trying to get the attention of the people of Israel. Repeatedly disaster upon disaster He brought against them without any response. It says starting in verse 6, that He would bring famine, with hold rain, water would be lacking, there would be diseases to the crops, diseases to humans, and there would be disasters like Sodom and Gomorrah, and yet all of these attention getting incidents did not bring the people back to God. In fact, God said in Amos 4:12 that He would bring a final disaster to Israel and gave them this message in Amos 4:12

12“Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”   

There are many disaster events in the scriptures, where God does intervene for His purposes and His plan. So does God bring about disaster?  Here is the answer most of you may not like to hear, but yes.  Christian teachers today have invented a God who stays out of the crisis business, and all storms are just a result of nature, or the Devil. However, if you push the nature  cause far enough, nature is ultimately controlled by the all powerful God, and no where in scripture does Jesus rebuke Satan for controlling the weather. 

If God allows weather to take it course, it is because He is trying like to get our attention , like in the days of Amos. There is coming a day, that all people will have to face God, face to face. There will be no texting, emails, or internet home pages to consult or communicate with, it is a face to face encounter with the living God. These disasters are the early warning signals that Jesus said would happen, it is the labor pains of the birth of something new here on earth, and most people are not ready.  Its much like what a funeral reminds us of, that death is imminent and no one alive will escape it. A disaster is also a reminder that life is more than things, and in a moments notice everything can be wiped and we are left with nothing. We came into this world with nothing, and we leave it the same way.  What we do for God, and His kingdom while on earth will be what will last, it's what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20

19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

When disaster happens, remember God is trying to get our attention. "Prepare to meet your God."  

Keeping it honest and truthful...K


The Two Greatest Lessons To Learn

So what are they?  Everyone has some kind of greatest lesson theory out there, so what are mine?  Well before I share those with you, I found this in a recent Readers Digest. 

Manners that need to make a comeback:

1. children looking people in the eye when spoken to

2. covering your mouth when coughing

3. a handshake with proper greeting

4. written thank-you notes

5. Apologizing face to face instead of on Facebook

6. Excusing yourself to take a phone call

Well, these manners may not be that important when it comes to life's lessons, however, they show respect and courtesy to the people you are around.

My two greatest lessons to learn in life? 

1. Learn to live

2. Learn to die

Simple but profound.

Learning to live is not about getting a good job, finding a spouse, having some kids, and settling in some comfortable neighborhood to live out a routine that pays the expenses of your lifestyle. But real living is about first finding your purpose in life, why were you born, what is it you were born to do, and how much impact or progress have you made to achieve the first two?  Life well spent is a life worth living someone once said, and I believe it. Too often we spend a lifetime wasting time on meaningless tasks and projects only to discover that in time much of the things we thought were so important, turn out to be nothing at all. To me that is heart breaking, because a person can't go back and recover all that time spent just doing a routine or pursuing a fun filled lifestyle. Meaning, purpose, reason to get up everyday and make an impact can describe a person who has found life worthwhile. Finding your call in life and then actively pursue goals to achieve it, is the greatest lesson you can learn. That's the lesson of living.

The lesson of dying, a topic most people avoid. What a downer. However, unless you really understand death and what it means to die, you will be afraid to live. Death can be tragic but it doesn't have to be the end. A legacy of a life well lived can impact generations to come.  Dying is a process that takes us from this life to the life to come. That journey can be prepared for in an instant, and you can have the assurance to know before departing where you will end up. The Bible tells us to be absent in body, means to be present with the Lord. Now that is only true for those who know the Lord. In knowing the Lord you not only prepare for your imminent death, but you will prepare for an eternity with God.

John 11:24-25

 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

You see, Jesus promised that death doesn't have the final say, you can be with Him for life everlasting, and that is the greatest lesson of all. Doesn't it make sense to have eternity secure for yourself and in turn you help others prepare too?  Jesus Christ's mission in this life was to come and give us this kind of opportunity, please learn this lesson well. 

Once you learn to base your life on the purpose and call God has on your life, and you prepare for your death by making Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then you can fill in the blanks of living everyday.

These two greatest lessons can and will fulfill your life, because they answer the big questions of why. 

Have a great weekend, and live it well. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Take a few minutes, breathe deeply, and click on this link.  Go ahead, it will be good for you.

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