Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
As I came upon the second mile of my run I glanced at my watch and decided that I would see how quickly I could finish up the remaining mile. I finished the 3rd mile basically running flat out for the last quarter mile and was pleased with my overall time. I now have a goal to meet or beat that time in each run and would like to lower my minutes per mile even more on race day. Given that the race day course is basically flat and my training course is made up of several sizable hills I should be able to achieve this goal.
As I walked up the hill into our neighborhood, a young African American girl, whom I have seen many times and greeted, said something to me. I didn’t catch what she said, so I asked her to repeat it.
“Aren’t you cold?” she asked, obviously noting that I was wearing shorts and a long sleeved t-shirt while she was wearing a thick coat and pants.I walked on.
“It’s a little cold when I’m not running. The wind is what makes me cold more than anything.”
“Are you cold?” I asked.
“Yes” she replied as she turned and headed towards her front door.
At the crest of the hill there was a neighbor out on his corner lawn with two small dogs in tow. I was walking on the opposite side of the road but wanted to be friendly.
“Hello” I offered.So I crossed the street and asked him about his dogs. I learned that the dogs were his daughter’s who was in Spain on vacation with her husband. She is a helicopter pilot in the Marines and is getting transferred when she to San Diego when she returns. The conversation continued down a path of family and military service that was inextricably linked.
“Good evening” the man returned.
He appeared to be in his 60s.
“It’s a little breezy out tonight.” I said, as I was about to walk past him.
“Yes it is.” he stated. And then he paused with a look on his face as if he wanted to say something more.
The man I was talking to had served in the Marines for 12 years, his daughter is a Marine, his son is in the Air Force and he has two nephews who are in the Army, one who just returned from Iraq and the other is in Afghanistan. His grandfather had served in the military and been deployed to Siberia at the beginning of the Bolshevik revolution. There were multiple family members who fought and died in the Civil War.
He spoke about how the military had become more family friendly over the years. He stated that when he was serving the approach was basically Corps first, family second and he is glad things have changed in that regard because it was too hard being married and serving at the same time.
Then, while talking about change, he mentioned the current political situation. He talked about how he is saddened by the fact that the campaigns these days are so incredibly negative. He spoke of a longing for a campaign that talked about its own virtues and beliefs versus bashing the other candidate and promoting hatred and animosity. He wished for a candidate that was passionate and spoke his/her mind about an issue on the fly, as opposed to the talking points, campaign speeches and polished image being delivered by “Madison Avenue Poster Children” – I believe that’s what he called them.
He stated that he has been a Republican all of his life. He talked of how he was excited to have a young man who spoke with enthusiasm running for President and then he spoke of his disappointment in learning where he stood on the issues. He wondered why the Republican Party has not had a truly inspiring candidate in decades and if that trend would ever been discontinued. He longed for the day when a candidate would speak with passion about what they believed, inspire people to be more than they are and promote fiscal responsibility in government.
He then stated “If there were a third party candidate running that stood in front of people and said ‘I want you to vote for me and when I become President I won’t remember you or anything you want me to do’, well I might just vote for that person because at least they are being honest with me.”I couldn’t help but agree.
We talked about the lack of honesty and integrity in public office these days and he lamented the fact that there seems to be a void of character, passion and family values in the next generation of politicians. He spoke of past politicians that he felt had served their country well in their offices and then retired from them with dignity and respect. We spoke of the animosity between the Republicans and Democrats and both wished for something different, something more.
As the sun sank lower in the sky and the night air became cooler with each breeze, we ended our conversation. His little dogs were shivering with the cold as I introduced myself to him and shook his hand as he responded in turn. I thanked him for his service to our country and that of his family currently and through the generations. I wished him a good night and continued on my way home.
What I had thought was going to be a quick solitary run had turned into an opportunity to meet a neighbor. When I took the time to recognize those around me and focus on them for a few seconds, God gave me the chance to share an encounter with them. When I decided that the wind blowing against my exposed legs was worth enduring for a conversation with someone who appeared to need it, I was blessed with a wonderful experience that I would not have otherwise gained.
I need to be more aware of the possible conversations that I pass by every day.
Sometimes I run by them because I am focused on myself.
Sometimes I walk by and don’t hear them or I don’t respond for clarification.
Every once in a while, when I take a moment to respond as I feel compelled, I am blessed to meet a neighbor and share in a great conversation with them.
I’m glad that I stopped tonight and spoke with this man.
I’m not sure if he got anything out of our conversation, but I know I did.
And that’s how God works. He brings people into our lives, prompts us to interact with them and, when we obey, we walk away blessed.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Hypothetically, what if the choice in an election comes down to two candidates--one who supports abortion policies, and the other who supports an unjust war? Whom would--whom should--you choose? ...He embedded the following video about abortion in his blog, but I do not want to do that here. The images in the video reduced me to tears and I do not wish to unwillingly inflict that upon anyone. The message of the words at the beginning is incredibly strong (everything up to 1:17) and if you don't want to see the disturbing images then stop there and you will not have seen anything. If you watch the video in its entirety, you will be exposed to very graphic images of abortion. I post the following link because I feel the message it contains is important and powerful.
I don't like the label "single-issue voter" and don't use it to describe my position. I'm not sure there's a better term--but the fact remains that there are many issues that are of concern to me. By using the term "single issue," I think we suggest that an issue like abortion is the only issue of serious consequence in this election. Some may believe that, but I don't.Nevertheless, the fact remains that abortion is the great moral outrage of our day--and no one, for example, in the mainstream media (or in many churches) makes a peep about the daily slaughter of the weakest members of the human race.
As a man awaiting his first child, this video shook me to my core. It reinforced all of my thoughts regarding abortion and put a very vivid image of what abortion does to the little human lives that are ended violently. From the beginning of our pregnancy, I have set little goals along the way - milestones of achievement and accomplishment that had absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with God doing His amazing work and Lisa and the baby remaining healthy.
My first goal was to get out of the first trimester without any complications. This is when a large portion of miscarriages happen. My second goal was to make it to 20 weeks, when I would be able to see my child again (for the last time until birth) in an ultrasound. My third goal was 24 weeks because I knew from Lisa's work experience that it is possible for a child to survive outside the womb at that point. My fourth goal was to make it to 37 weeks, where the baby is considered fully formed and can survive outside the womb without any assistance whatsoever from an oxygen machine. Now that we have hit all those goals without any issues or complications, I look back and praise God for what He has done for us throughout this pregnancy.
Sitting here waiting for the arrival of my first child, I am moved to prayer for those who have aborted their first child. The devil has tricked millions of people into thinking that this was their right and their choice to make when in reality it was God who had determined that this baby would come into existence. Just because it is aborted prior to the action of giving birth does not cease to make this child a person and more importantly a creation of God. While the act of abortion might stop the process of creation that God is involved in, it doesn't stop God's involvement in that mother's life. I believe that the reason that women have such a terrible time "getting over" having their baby aborted is because the Holy Spirit is letting them know that they interfered with an act of God. It's not that God is suprised by the act or caught off guard, but I believe that it grieves Him and He lets the mother know it.
In the aftermath of an abortion, God can open the mother's eyes to recognize what she has done and still show her that He is more than willing to forgive her of that sin in a way that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. This makes me wonder why I don't pray for others more often. I pray for myself, my wife, our child, our family and our friends, but I do not spend much time at all praying for those around me who are suffering due to their sinful state and the actions they have taken.
Today, I am praying for all the mothers of the world - those who have carried their babies full term and those who have stopped God's knitting process along the way. The need for a Savior is found in both cases and is a very pressing need.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
When good things happen to "good" people, God is at work.
When good things happen to "bad" people, God is at work.
When bad things happen to "good" people, God is at work.
Right now you might be wondering "What is going on in his life to prompt such a statement? Has something bad happened?"
Let me put aside any questions of the sort by stating that nothing bad has happened to me or Lisa or our baby. In fact, everything is going really well at the moment, praise God!
So where is this post coming from?
It's coming from a small verse tucked away in the Old Testament.
It's coming from a time when the nation of Israel was suffering and in bondage.
It's coming from the book of Ezekiel.
It's coming from God to His people who had turned from Him.
It's something I heard quoted a few weeks ago and have had rolling around in my head ever since.
"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes." - Ezekiel 36:22-23In this passage, God is telling His people exactly what He is going to do to free them from the bondage they are in and how He is going to restore the nation of Israel in the Promised Land. He is laying out His reasoning why in every step and it is not because He loved them above all other people. Read it through again if you don't believe me. Sure, God had heard and decided to "yield to the plea" of Israel, but their sorrow and suffering was not His reaoning for bringing about this change.
"Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.' "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD." - Ezekiel 36:36-38
God determined to free Israel and re-establish them because He wanted His name to be glorified and magnified to the nations. God wanted to use the Israelites to be a visible witness of His Holiness to the nations around them (Ez 36:23) - the very nations that had seen Israel "profane among them" the name of the Lord.
God did not have to free Israel - He was in no position of obligation.
Israel was in bondage, in part, due to their defamation of God - they had nothing to offer God for salvation.
And yet, God inclined His ear to the Israelites and heard their plea.
But when God chose to act, He did not do so out of pity, charity or empathy.
- God chose to act for His name's sake.
- God acted in such a way so that His glory could be revealed to the nations.
- God acted so that others might see His Provision and praise Him as the One True God.
- God acted so that His people would turn from their wicked ways and give Him the honor He deserves.
- God acted so that His name might receive the praise and adoration He is due.
- God did all these things to the other nations and for Israel in order to garner Glory.
And that is hard for me to grasp.
I always think of God taking care of His people out of love and compassion, but that is only a portion of why He acts. God takes care of His people in order to be praised by others and by His people.
As one of His Children, am I living in such a way as to bring more glory, honor and praise to God in every aspect of my life? The obvious answer to that question is a resounding "No!", but in asking the question I cause myself to take a look at my life and take notice of the aspects of it that are either lacking or nonexistent.
If I love God, which I do, then I should live in such a way as to proclaim His Name and Glory to not only the nations but to my neighbors, friends and family as well. (Isaiah 26:8)
Here's an analogy that does a pretty good job of explaining our "progressive" tax system.
Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
"Since you are all such good customers", he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20". Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?"
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!"
"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, University of Georgia
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This means it is time to take the Walker baby poll.
In the comments below, state the your guess in the following format:
Birth Date/ Sex / Weight / Length / How much hair (if any) / will look the most like Lisa or me
Incidentally, our baby's heart rate measured in the midpoint of the healthy range at our appointment on Wednesday, as it has at every other appointment over the last 36 weeks. So if you are into guessing the gender based on the heart rate you will have to try another method...
You have until 31OCTo8 to get your guess in (less time if the baby arrives early).
You might also want to share your music choices for the labor room.
You can watch the video of the debate here:
The transcript of the debate can be found here.
OBAMA: So, look, nobody likes taxes. I would prefer that none of us had to pay taxes, including myself. But ultimately, we've got to pay for the core investments that make this economy strong and somebody's got to do it.I do! I already pay too much to Washington, DC and I am not willing or desiring to pay any more.
MCCAIN: Nobody likes taxes. Let's not raise anybody's taxes. OK?
OBAMA: Well, I don't mind paying a little more.
OBAMA: But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments...Yes, we have been living beyond our means and the answer isn't more programs and more taxes. It's nice rhetoric to hear that he will go line by line to eliminate "programs that don't work", but who decides if they work or not? Also, if we are using a "pay as you go" program, how does that help us eliminate the deficit and our national debt? While it would be nice to see federal spending not exceed the level it has already attained, it is actually more important that the level of spending decrease in order to pay off our debts. We need to decrease our spending and reduce the national debt and I see that happening through fewer federal programs and lower taxes.
Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches...
We need to eliminate a whole host of programs that don't work. And I want to go through the federal budget line by line, page by page, programs that don't work, we should cut...
And we're going to have to embrace a culture and an ethic of responsibility, all of us, corporations, the federal government, and individuals out there who may be living beyond their means.
MCCAIN: Another one would be a number of subsidies for ethanol.I am opposed to subsidies at all levels. The market will decide which companies thrive and which companies fold. If a product is not competitive on the market without government intervention then it should be left on the shelf until someone figures out either how to make it marketable and profitable or they can figure out another way to reach to the same end that is desirable by the consumers.
I oppose subsidies for ethanol because I thought it distorted the market and created inflation...
I would eliminate the tariff on imported sugarcane-based ethanol from Brazil...
I know how to save billions. I saved the taxpayer $6.8 billion by fighting a deal for a couple of years, as you might recall, that was a sweetheart deal between an aircraft manufacturer, DOD, and people ended up in jail.
But I would fight for a line-item veto, and I would certainly veto every earmark pork-barrel bill...
Oh, and earmarks are a huge part of the problem in both our politics and economic situation.
MCCAIN: Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.This should have been said at every opportunity over the past 12 months.
MCCAIN: So the fact is, let's look at our records, Senator Obama. Let's look at it as graded by the National Taxpayers Union and the Citizens Against Government Waste and the other watchdog organizations.This was a good couple of moments for McCain.
I have fought against spending. I have fought against special interests. I have fought for reform. You have to tell me one time when you have stood up with the leaders of your party on one single major issue...
Senator Obama, your argument for standing up to the leadership of your party isn't very convincing
MCCAIN: ... unacceptable. So the point is -- the point is that I have repudiated every time someone's been out of line, whether they've been part of my campaign or not, and I will continue to do that.Obama dodged this question as fast as possible and moved the conversation past a point he didn't want to discuss.
But the fact is that we need to absolutely not stand for the kind of things that have been going on. I haven't.
OBAMA: Well, look, Bob, as I said...
SCHIEFFER: I mean, do you take issue with that?
OBAMA: You know, here's what I would say. I mean, we can have a debate back and forth about the merits of each other's campaigns. I suspect we won't agree here tonight...
SCHIEFFER: Do you think she's qualified to be president?McCain answered the question, while Obama danced again. I suppose it was above his pay grade to answer it.
OBAMA: You know, I think it's -- that's going to be up to the American people. I think that, obviously, she's a capable politician who has, I think, excited the -- a base in the Republican Party...
MCCAIN: I think that Joe Biden is qualified in many respects. But I do point out that he's been wrong on many foreign policy and national security issues, which is supposed to be his strength...
MCCAIN: We can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45 new nuclear plants, power plants, right away. We can store and we can reprocess...If we are trying to "save the environment", does it really matter where the technology comes from to do it? Most of the solar and wind power technologies have been developed outside of the US and brought here. If a European company figures out how to make a car run on water and a US company uses the technology in one of their vehicles, doesn't everyone win?
So the point is with nuclear power, with wind, tide, solar, natural gas, with development of flex fuel, hybrid, clean coal technology...
So I think we can easily, within seven, eight, ten years, if we put our minds to it, we can eliminate our dependence on the places in the world that harm our national security if we don't achieve our independence.
OBAMA: I think that in ten years, we can reduce our dependence so that we no longer have to import oil from the Middle East or Venezuela. I think that's about a realistic timeframe.
... telling the oil companies the 68 million acres that they currently have leased that they're not drilling, use them or lose them.
And I think that we should look at offshore drilling and implement it in a way that allows us to get some additional oil...
That's why I've focused on putting resources into solar, wind, biodiesel, geothermal. These have been priorities of mine since I got to the Senate, and it is absolutely critical that we develop a high fuel efficient car that's built not in Japan and not in South Korea, but built here in the United States of America.
MCCAIN: Well, you know, I admire so much Senator Obama's eloquence. And you really have to pay attention to words. He said, we will look at offshore drilling. Did you get that? Look at. We can offshore drill now. We've got to do it now. We will reduce the cost of a barrel of oil because we show the world that we have a supply of our own. It's doable. The technology is there and we have to drill now.McCain finally calls out what Obama is doing - he's wordsmithing his responses like the lawyer that he is.
OBAMA: When I talked about the automakers, they are obviously getting hammered right now. They were already having a tough time because of high gas prices. And now with the financial crisis, car dealerships are closing and people can't get car loans.They are getting hammered right now because they built inferior products during a time when foreign companies were focussing their efforts on gas efficiency. And then, when the market began to shift they continued to make products that a lot of people did not want to buy. Detroit dragged their feet and they deserve to face the consequence of their poor choices, even if it means they go out of business. Someone else will rise up in their place and will figure out how to make vehicles that people want, that get good gas mileage, that last a long time and don't cost an arm and a leg to build. My guess is that at some point, if there are 100,000 autoworkers unemployed and looking for a job they might decide that they would rather have a job that pays them than pay a union that does nothing but run them out of business.
That's why I think it's important for us to get loan guarantees to the automakers, but we do have to hold them responsible as well to start producing the highly fuel-efficient cars of the future.
And Detroit had dragged its feet too long in terms of getting that done.
MCCAIN: I will find the best people in the world -- in the United States of America who have a history of strict adherence to the Constitution. And not legislating from the bench.I am not sure McCain means by that last statement, but I agree that there should not be legsilating from the bench and an adherence to the Constitution.
SCHIEFFER: But even if it was someone -- even someone who had a history of being for abortion rights, you would consider them?
MCCAIN: I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test.
OBAMA: And it is true that this is going to be, I think, one of the most consequential decisions of the next president. It is very likely that one of us will be making at least one and probably more than one appointments and Roe versus Wade probably hangs in the balance...It sound like both candidates don't believe in a litmus test, but they are both looking towards nominating candidates that reflect their views on Roe vs Wade.
Now I would not provide a litmus test. But I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided...
MCCAIN: Let me talk to you about an important aspect of this issue. We have to change the culture of America. Those of us who are proudly pro-life understand that. And it's got to be courage and compassion that we show to a young woman who's facing this terribly difficult decision.This was, in my opinion, John McCain's best moment in the whole debate.
Senator Obama, as a member of the Illinois State Senate, voted in the Judiciary Committee against a law that would provide immediate medical attention to a child born of a failed abortion. He voted against that.
And then, on the floor of the State Senate, as he did 130 times as a state senator, he voted present.
Then there was another bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the state of Illinois not that long ago, where he voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion, one of the late-term abortion, a really -- one of the bad procedures, a terrible. And then, on the floor of the Illinois State Senate, he voted present.
I don't know how you vote "present" on some of that. I don't know how you align yourself with the extreme aspect of the pro- abortion movement in America. And that's his record, and that's a matter of his record.
OBAMA: There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade. The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment, which is why not only myself but pro-choice Republicans and Democrats voted against it.But you didn't vote against it Senator! You voted "present".
MCCAIN: That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, "health." But, look, Cindy and I are adoptive parents. We know what a treasure and joy it is to have an adopted child in our lives. We'll do everything we can to improve adoption in this country.This section resonated within me. Speaking from a stanpoint of compassion and aid, McCain took more than a pro-life stance here. He stepped up to the mic and let the world know that he believes not just in trying to overturn Roe Vs Wade but also in providing care for single mothers and their infants. I feel he shoul dhave spoken a bit more about his adoption experience, but I am glad he finally spoek up about his feelings around this issue.
But that does not mean that we will cease to protect the rights of the unborn. Of course, we have to come together. Of course, we have to work together, and, of course, it's vital that we do so and help these young women who are facing such a difficult decision, with a compassion, that we'll help them with the adoptive services, with the courage to bring that child into this world and we'll help take care of it.
OBAMA: Well, we have a tradition of local control of the schools and that's a tradition that has served us well. But I do think that it is important for the federal government to step up and help local school districts do some of the things they need to do.In order to improve the educational system we should increase the buraucracy that is already incapable of handling the finances it is given? I believe that the US Department of Education is one of the worst entities ever to be allowed to continue to not only survive but dictate what should be taught in our schools. Obviously, it hasn't worked so far, so whay should me expect it to get any better with more money and more red tape?
It was Obama's debate to lose and McCain knew this had to come out swinging hard with some great points if he was going to be seen as the winner. While McCain made some points that I feel were solid and well-timed and Obama seemed to be on the defensive for most of the debate, I do not think that the majority of Americans would have been swayed by either man's arguments. It's one thing to agree with a man's stance on an issue and shout "Hurray!" when he finally speaks his mind about it, but it's another thing entirely to state something so profoundly impacting that it causes someone to choose you over the person they had in mind. I'm not sure McCain hit the homerun he needed.
It was good to finally hear a little talk about actual stances and issues as opposed to regurgitated stump speaches and television talking points. I felt this debate was much better than the last one.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Why I Can't Vote For Obama By Huntley Brown
A few months ago I was asked for my perspective on Obama, I sent out an email with a few points. With the election just around the corner I decided to complete my perspective. Those of you on my e-list have seen some of this before but it's worth repeating... First I must say whoever wins the election will have my prayer support. Obama needs to be commended for his accomplishments but I need to explain why I will not be voting for him.
Many of my friends process their identity through their blackness. I process my identity through Christ. Being a Christian (a Christ follower) means He leads I follow. I can't dictate the terms He does because He is the leader. I can't vote black because I am black, I have to vote Christian because that's who I am. Christian first, black second. Neither should anyone from the other ethnic groups vote because of ethnicity. 200 years from now I won't be asked if I was black or white. I will be asked if I knew Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior. In an election there are many issues to consider but when a society gets abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning wrong, to name a few, economic concerns will soon not matter.
We need to follow Martin Luther King's words, don't judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I don't know Obama so all I can go off is his voting record. His voting record earned him the title of the most liberal senator in the US Senate in 2007. (NATIONAL JOURNAL: Obama: Most Liberal Senator in 2007 (01/31/2008)) To beat Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton as the most liberal senator, takes some doing. Obama accomplished this feat in 2 short years. I wonder what would happen to America if he had four years to work with.
There is a reason planned parenthood gives him a 100 % rating.There is a reason the homosexual community supports him.There is a reason Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Hamas etc. love him. There is a reason he said he would nominate liberal judges to the Supreme Court. There is a reason he voted against the infanticide bill. There is a reason he voted No on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. There is a reason he voted No on banning partial birth abortion.There is a reason he voted No on confirming Justices Roberts and Alito. These two judges are conservatives and they have since overturned partial birth abortion. The same practice Obama wanted to continue. Lets take a look at the practice he wanted to continue.
The 5 Step Partial Birth Abortion procedure
A. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps. (Remember this is a live baby)
B. The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
C. The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
D. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
E. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed. God help him.
There is a reason Obama opposed the parental notification law. Think about this: you can't give a kid an aspirin without parental notification but that same kid can have an abortion without parental notification. This is insane.
There is a reason he went to Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years. Obama tells us he has good judgment but he sat under Jeremiah Wright teaching for 20 years. Now he is condemning Wright's sermons. I wonder why now? Obama said Jeremiah Wright led him to the Lord and discipled him. A disciple is one in training. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19 - 20 'Go and make disciples of all nations.' This means reproduce yourself. Teach people to think like you, walk like you, talk like you believe what you believe etc. The question I have is what did Jeremiah Wright teach him?
Would you support a White President who went to a church which has tenets that said they have a
1. Commitment to the White Community
2. Commitment to the White Family
3. Adherence to the White Work Ethic
4. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the White Community.
5. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting White Institutions
6. Pledge allegiance to all White leadership who espouse and embrace the White Value System
7. Personal commitment to embracement of the White Value System.
Would you support a President who went to a church like that? Just change the word from white to black and you have the tenets of Obama's former church. If President Bush was a member of a church like this, he would be called a racist. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been marching outside. This kind of church is a racist church. Obama did not wake up after 20 years and just discovered he went to a racist church. The church can't be about race. Jesus did not come for any particular race. He came for the whole world. A church can't have a value system based on race. The churches value system has to be based on biblical mandate. It does not matter if its a white church or a black church it's still wrong. Anyone from either race that attends a church like this would never get my vote.
Obama's former Pastor Jeremiah Wright is a disciple of liberal theologian James Cone, author of the 1970 book "A Black Theology of Liberation". Cone once wrote: 'Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. Cone is the man Obama's mentor looks up to. Does Obama believe this?
So what does all this mean for the nation?
In the past when the Lord brought someone with the beliefs of Obama to lead a nation it meant one thing - judgment. Read 1 Samuel 8 when Israel asked for a king.First God says in 1 Samuel 1:9 'Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.' Then God says 1 Samuel 1:18 ' When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.' 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. 'No!' they said. 'We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.' 21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, 'Listen to them and give them a king.'
Here is what we know for sure. God is not schizophrenic. He would not tell one person to vote for Obama and one to vote for McCain. As the scripture says, a city divided against itself cannot stand, so obviously many people are not hearing from God. Maybe I am the one not hearing but I know God does not change and Obama contradicts many things I read in scripture so I doubt it.
For all my friends who are voting for Obama can you really look God in the face and say "Father based on your word, I am voting for Obama even though I know he will continue the genocidal practice of partial birth abortion. He might have to nominate three or four supreme court justices, and I am sure he will be nominating liberal judges who will be making laws that are against you.. I also know he will continue to push for homosexual rights, even though you destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this. I know I can look the other way because of the economy."
I could not see Jesus agreeing with many of Obama's positions. Finally I have two questions for all my liberal friends. Since we know someone's value system has to be placed on the nation:
1. Whose value system should be placed on the nation.
2. Who should determine that this is the right value system for the nation?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Should I use only instrumental music? If so, should that music be limited to piano and stringed instruments or is would certain woodwind instruments (ie flute, panflute, oboe, clarinet) also be acceptable?
Would music with vocals be acceptable or tolerable in such a setting? Obviously, certain types of vocal music would never make the playlist (hard rock and rap come to mind), but what about some of the more mellow artists like James Taylor or Norah Jones?
I am currently thinking of creating two playlists. One list will be strictly instrumental and the other will have some vocal music mixed in. It's entirely possible that when it comes down to it we may not want any music at all, but it is better to be prepared and not use it then want it and not have it.
Anyone have any thoughts on artists, albums or types of music that might work in the playlist?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
What does a nonessential church look like? Certain commonalities exist among those churches that are not reaching the next generation. In the next section we will describe seven sins of dying churches that are the driving factors behind losing the generational battle.
Seven Sins of Dying Churches
The age-old adage rings true for churches: if you are not moving forward, then you are moving backward. Stagnation equates to dying. Your church may look the same week in and week out, but if you are not winning the next generation for Christ, then you are losing the battle. We will categorize some of the more prevalent transgressions that dying churches commit. These seven sins are not mutually exclusive and are often interconnected. The list is not exhaustive, but we almost always observe some combination of these sins in dying churches.
Sin 1 - Doctrine Dilution
Certain absolutes found within Scripture are so crucial that a Christian should be willing to sacrifice his or her life for them… Teaching anything less than the absolute truths in Scripture will make the younger generation feel betrayed when they learn that a large gap exists between what the Bible really says and what they were taught in church.
Sin 2- Loss of Evangelistic Passion
Dying churches have little evangelistic passion. They putter around in sharing their faith… Dying churches stop speaking about Christ to the world. Evangelistic fervor becomes apathetic disinterest in a lost world. As we will see later in the book, much responsibility rests upon the leadership of the church. It is the responsibility of the pastor and other key leaders to exhibit this evangelistic passion. In many thriving churches the driving force behind obedience to the Great Commission is the passion that the senior pastor maintains for the lost. This passion will flow from the top down. As the congregation sees his zeal, they catch the same fire.
Sin 3 - Failure to Be Relevant
Relevance is a buzzword among churches today. We believe that it is a good one. And there is nothing more relevant to a lost world than the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The unchanging truths of Scripture will always contain the answer for those searching to fill the void of their lives. The church, however, must find ways to relay this gospel message to the culture around them. Churches that do not find ways to become relevant in their respective communities will eventually falter. Churches that keep their internal culture unchanged for fifty years while the world around them goes through continual periods of metamorphosis typically die with that old culture. Churches that ask the question, “How can we best relate the unchanging gospel to the shifting culture around us?” are one step closer to relevancy and reaching a new generation.
Sin 4 - Few Outwardly Focused Ministries“It’s all about me!” is the anthem chant of the dying church. As crucial as Bible studies and fellowship are, dying churches gorge themselves on closed study groups and church wide fellowship events while neglecting outreach in the community. The country club church can remain so for a limited amount of time. In order for the American church to survive, it must reach into the community with outwardly focused ministries. Dying churches heavily skew their ministries internally. Essential churches think outward into the surrounding communities and into the world, earnestly seeking ways to win the next soul for Jesus.
Sin 5 - Conflict over Personal Preferences
People within the church can squabble over the most insignificant things. And these internal conflicts smother a church. These quibbles overshadow the true purpose of the church. When the church focuses on trivial matters, the greater gospel message is left on the sidelines. Essential churches grasp the primacy of the gospel. Languishing churches are mired in conflict over paltriness… They do not see the imperative to win people for Christ due to the blurriness of their own selfishness. The essential church breaks through the quagmire of personal preference and unites the people around the common causes of spiritual growth and missions.
Sin 6 - The Priority of Comfort
Dying churches are comfortable with their ministries. They do nothing outside the bounds of their comfort levels. Church members do not come to the leadership with reservations about the next ministry goal because they are not spiritually stretched… Churches that flourish get outside comfort zones and reach into areas that are uncharted for them… Essential churches hunker down and prepare to get uncomfortable in following God’s call. Dying churches refuse to stretch beyond their limited zones of comfort.
Sin 7 - Biblical Illiteracy
We are to be diligent to present ourselves to God, workers not needing to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth (see 2 Tim. 2:15). One of the major sins of a dying church is the neglect of theological teaching. If a church member does not understand the basics of Scripture, then they are hampered in their witness. Those who do not comprehend the Scriptures will also have trouble remaining obedient. Biblical illiteracy runs rampant in floundering churches. Since the people of the church do not understand the foundation of their faith, they stand on shaky ground and falter during the first time of trouble.
Reading that section caused me to pause and think about not only past churches that I have attended but also my current church home. As member of our Pastor Search Committee, I find myself focussing on "sins" number 2, 4 & 6 at this moment. I believe that the leadership of a church is vitally important and that there is a difinite "trickle down" effect on the congregation with regards to attitudes about evangelism, outreach and the passionate pursuit of God and furthering His Kingdom. The challenge set before the PSC is to find the man that God has equipped for our church and challenge him to take us where God wants us as a congregation to go - which is not necessarily where we want to go. We like our comfort zones and we are deeply entrenched.
My prayer is that God would ignite in us a deep, disturbing desire to lunge out of our trenches and charge the field of souls that is ready to be harvested.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Palin (p5) - “We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt. Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don't live outside of our means. We need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. It's not the American peoples fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of.”Dave Ramsey would be proud of this statement and I believe it to be true.
Palin (p6) – “We do need the private sector to be able to keep more of what we earn and produce. Government is going to have to learn to be more efficient and live with less if that's what it takes to reign in the government growth that we've seen today. But we do need tax relief”I am a huge fan of the idea of reducing the size and scope of the federal government.
I wish she would have answered or responded directly to the deregulation question/issue.
Biden (p7) – “Well Gwen, where I come from, it's called fairness, just simple fairness. The middle class is struggling. The middle class under John McCain's tax proposal, 100 million families, middle class families, households to be precise, they got not a single change, they got not a single break in taxes. No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax. And 95 percent of the people in the United States of America making less than $150,000 will get a tax break.Sounds like fairness only extends to the middle class.
Now, that seems to me to be simple fairness. The economic engine of America is middle class. It's the people listening to this broadcast. When you do well, America does well. Even the wealthy do well. This is not punitive. John wants to add $300 million, billion in new tax cuts per year for corporate America and the very wealthy while giving virtually nothing to the middle class. We have a different value set. The middle class is the economic engine. It's fair. They deserve the tax breaks, not the super wealthy who are doing pretty well. They don't need any more tax breaks. And by the way, they'll pay no more than they did under Ronald Reagan.”
Palin (p8) – “Now you said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. In the middle class of America which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, that's not patriotic. Patriotic is saying, government, you know, you're not always the solution. In fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and on our families and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper.”When I heard this and reread it I just about shouted "Amen!"
Biden (p8-9) – “Now, with regard to the -- to the health care plan, you know, it's with one hand you giveth, the other you take it. You know how Barack Obama -- excuse me, do you know how John McCain pays for his $5,000 tax credit you're going to get, a family will get? He taxes as income every one of you out there, every one of you listening who has a health care plan through your employer. That's how he raises $3.6 trillion, on your -- taxing your health care benefit to give you a $5,000 plan, which his Web site points out will go straight to the insurance company.Wasn't Biden talking of giving to the middle class and taking from the rich earlier and calling it fair?
And then you're going to have to replace a $12,000 -- that's the average cost of the plan you get through your employer -- it costs $12,000. You're going to have to pay -- replace a $12,000 plan, because 20 million of you are going to be dropped. Twenty million of you will be dropped.”
Palin (p10) – “I want to go back to the energy plan, though, because this is -- this is an important one that Barack Obama, he voted for in '05. Senator Biden, you would remember that, in that energy plan that Obama voted for, that's what gave those oil companies those big tax breaks. Your running mate voted for that…I liked how she states what she had to do to overturn at the state level what Obama and others voted for in the past at the federal level. It's kind of a "I'll see your energy package and raise you a *zing!*." I'm a big fan of states rights.
So it was Barack Obama who voted for that energy plan that gave those tax breaks to the oil companies that I then had to turn around, as a governor of an energy-producing state, and kind of undo in my own area of expertise, and that's energy.”
Biden (p11) – “And, look, I agree with the governor. She imposed a windfall profits tax up there in Alaska. That's what Barack Obama and I want to do…This was a classy move by Biden. It might have been brought on by the fact that he couldn't respond to her previous statement directly, but this was a great way of dodging any further discourse on that topic.
So I hope the governor is able to convince John McCain to support our windfall profits tax, which she supported in Alaska, and I give her credit for it.”
Biden (p13) – “Number two, with regard to bankruptcy now, Gwen, what we should be doing now -- and Barack Obama and I support it -- we should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe.”If this happens then I would like to see my principal also re-adjusted by the same percentage that these free-spending, immediate graitification seekers receive. Anything less than that wouldn't be fair, right Joe?
Palin (p13) – “I'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet.”This statement gives me reason to hope that Palin has actually read up on the topic and understands that the drivel being forced down our throats by Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore and the media is not necessarily the absolute truth.
Biden (p14) – “If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting. Now, let's look at the facts. We have 3 percent of the world's oil reserves. We consume 25 percent of the oil in the world. John McCain has voted 20 times in the last decade-and-a-half against funding alternative energy sources, clean energy sources, wind, solar, biofuels.”I like the idea of alternative energy, but I disagree with Biden's drinking of the global warming koolaid. Notice how it is now inconvenient to talk about global warming these days and how everything is about "climate change"?
Biden (p14) – “Drill we must, but it will take 10 years for one drop of oil to come out of any of the wells that are going to begun to be drilled.”Only if the government stands in the way. New refineries and transportation infrastructure can be built in much less time and once oil is struck all you need is the refinery capability to process it. Again, the government has to get out of the way.
Palin (p15) – “Barack Obama and Senator Biden, you've said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we're in. You even called drilling -- safe, environmentally-friendly drilling offshore as raping the outer continental shelf.”And yet, clean coal is the answer suddenly. Why is the idea of drilling a hole in the ground worse than digging a huge pit in the ground that can never be filled effectively? Can someone explain this to me?
Palin (p16) – “Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. And unfortunately that's sometimes where those steps lead. But I also want to clarify, if there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that I would be anything but tolerant of adults in America choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, I am tolerant and I have a very diverse family and group of friends and even within that group you would see some who may not agree with me on this issue, some very dear friends who don't agree with me on this issue…Her stance is clear and straightforward and I appreciate that. I also know that she will be drug repeatedly through the mud for it.
But I will tell Americans straight up that I don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and one woman, and I think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. But I'm being as straight up with Americans as I can in my nonsupport for anything but a traditional definition of marriage.”
Biden (p17) – “Gwen, with all due respect, I didn't hear a plan. Barack Obama offered a clear plan.”I agree with Biden. Palin didn't talk at all about a plan.
Palin (p18) – “Now, you said regarding Senator McCain's military policies there, Senator Biden, that you supported a lot of these things. In fact, you said in fact that you wanted to run, you'd be honored to run with him on the ticket. That's an indication I think of some of the support that you had at least until you became the VP pick here.This was a highlight moment for Palin and I am sure it will brushed under the rug.
You also said that Barack Obama was not ready to be commander in chief. And I know again that you opposed the move he made to try to cut off funding for the troops and I respect you for that. I don't know how you can defend that position now but I know that you know especially with your son in the National Guard and I have great respect for your family also and the honor that you show our military.”
Biden (p19) – “I promise you, if an attack comes in the homeland, it's going to come as our security services have said, it is going to come from al Qaeda planning in the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's where they live. That's where they are. That's where it will come from. And right now that resides in Pakistan, a stable government needs to be established. We need to support that democracy by helping them not only with their military but with their governance and their economic well-being.”I agree with these sentiments, but I am not sure it’s a reason to bail out from Iraq at this point.
@ 47:42 – 48:33 – 4 times Palin said nucular – yikes! I’m sure this triggered a lot of GWB thoughts for a lot of people.
Palin (p20) – “But again, with some of these dictators who hate America and hate what we stand for, with our freedoms, our democracy, our tolerance, our respect for women's rights, those who would try to destroy what we stand for cannot be met with just sitting down on a presidential level as Barack Obama had said he would be willing to do. That is beyond bad judgment. That is dangerous.No, diplomacy is very important.I agree wholeheartedly.
First and foremost, that is what we would engage in. But diplomacy is hard work by serious people. It's lining out clear objectives and having your friends and your allies ready to back you up there and have sanctions lined up before any kind of presidential summit would take place.”
Biden (p20) – “Can I clarify this? This is simply not true about Barack Obama. He did not say sit down with Ahmadinejad.”Yes he did. View the question and the response from the CNN/YouTube debate 23JUL08. Hillary's answer to the same question was actually very well stated and lines up with the position that Obama and Biden are now attempting to spin.
Palin (p21) – “Israel is our strongest and best ally in the Middle East. We have got to assure them that we will never allow a second Holocaust, despite, again, warnings from Iran and any other country that would seek to destroy Israel, that that is what they would like to see.”We allow a travesty worse than the Holocaust to occur on our soil every day – abortion. Obama and Biden don't see it that way. See my previous post "Biden's Beliefs Betray Babies".
Responding to Darfur Biden lists his talking points as A and Number 2 - whoops…
Both candidates agree there is dire need for action Darfur, which I agree with.
This is an issue that should have been aggressively approached by the US and the UN at least 3 years ago.
Palin (p28) – “So that people there can understand how the average working class family is viewing bureaucracy in the federal government and Congress and inaction of Congress.She hits the nail on the head here but I don't think a lot of people understand that fact.
Just everyday working class Americans saying, you know, government, just get out of my way. If you're going to do any harm and mandate more things on me and take more of my money and income tax and business taxes, you're going to have a choice in just a few weeks here on either supporting a ticket that wants to create jobs and bolster our economy and win the war or you're going to be supporting a ticket that wants to increase taxes, which ultimately kills jobs, and is going to hurt our economy.”
I thought that Joe Biden did a good job answering questions directly. He did seem to spend a lot of time talking about the past and the current administration as opposed to what he plans on doing to bring the "change" that their ticket is promising and Sarah Palin called him on it. Overall, I felt Joe did a good job and gave decent responses.
I felt that Sarah Palin did a little dodging of questions and diving back into previous questions, but she had the most to prove and to try and convey throughout the night so I guess I can understand it to a point. Her answers satisfied me and obviously reflect my viewpoints on a lot of issues. I think it would have been fun if she would have pointed out at some point that Barack Obama has less governmental and leadership experience than she does, but I understand why she didn't.
Overall, I feel that it was a decent debate with no outstanding qualities. Neither candidate made a major gaffe and they both presented their side of the issue well. People where I work seemed to think that Palin was idiotic, rambling on about things that weren't the question and altogether avoiding the major issues. I don't necessarily see it that way. I think she knew what her strong points were and she tried to stay in that arena as much as possible. Frighteningly, a lot of people I know have already chosen which pill they will swallow on November 4th and they are signing up to join Barack's creepy children's choir.
If you enjoy music and worshipping God through music then you would probably enjoy Bob Kaughlin's blog. He's proving to be a great resource and a wise and talented musician.