Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party Motivations

Much has been written and said in the media regarding what motivated thousands of people across the United States to gather last Wednesday, April 15th for Tax Day Tea Parties, and while I doubt that my thoughts regarding this matter will ever reach a sizable audience, I feel compelled to share why I attended the St. Louis Tax Day Tea Party.

The following reasons are listed in no particular order:
Reason #1 – The Federal Government is much too large for it to function efficiently and smoothly and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that all that red tape and back scratching leads directly to wasted taxpayer funds. The scope and reach of the Federal government was never intended to encompass everything for every citizen from cradle to the grave. This is a false idea of what a democratic republic is supposed to be and it is an idea that can never be fully realized as republic. Most, if not all, of the new programs being launched and funded by the Federal government, along with mos of the other ongoing Federal programs do not appear to be activities authorized within the scope of the Constitution.

Reason #2 – The Taxes levied by the Federal government have become too burdensome and outrageous for the common man to be able to understand, let alone keep track of them all. If nothing else, the recent barrage of government appointees’ accused of tax fraud should exemplify the pure insanity of what we accept to be a proper and justifiable level of taxes and the rules that go along with them. The Federal government gets more of my check than any other entity, including God Himself. I enjoy giving to those things that I believe in and that I believe are beneficial to my family and me. When was the last time you looked at all those taxes being stolen from your check and thought “I sure am glad the government is doing all this great stuff with my hard earned money!”????

Reason #3 – The total national debt is out of control. Yes, this has been a problem for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge this problem and begin taking the necessary steps to tackle this problem. When the government consistently, year upon year, spends more than it takes in, continues creating more wasteful programs and refuses to reign in and reduce spending, then the obvious outcome of that snowballing debt is a complete and total debilitation or failure of the economic engines that propel American prosperity. If you or I ran our house like the Federal government controls its checkbook, we would all be bankrupt and in prison for falsifying documentation, counterfeiting, and stealing.

(Check out the National Debt Clock)

Reason #4 – The devaluing of our currency is an economic and moral nightmare. The Federal government has pumped so much cash into the economy over the past 6 months that it would seem altogether impossible for this action not to result in inflation, at best, or hyperinflation, at worst. Either outcome is harmful to American and its citizens and should be avoided by all means necessary. At this point, the question is how to begin reducing the amount of currency in circulation and the answer is one that the Federal government refuses to accept: let the free market correct itself and determine the true value of the dollar. While such action will undoubtedly lead to tougher times ahead, this correction is necessary to overcome the mistakes of our past and ensure that we are standing on solid financial ground in the future.
The Federal Government is devaluing the dollar by printing way too much money.

Reason #5 – The free market is being crucified by career politicians who have grown so fat and rich off the lobbyist dinners and donations that they cannot relate to the middle class, let alone the poor. The decisions that these fat cats are making have no basis in wanting to lead the country out of a economic crisis, but rather seem to be determined by who pays them the most in kickbacks and perks. The whole idea of a free market is to let the public decide which companies are worth keeping in business and this is the driving factor behind causing companies to innovate and alter the way they conduct their business in order to stay in the game. When the government injects itself into any market, the dynamics of that market are altered until the government removes itself from that market. As such, the housing, banking, insurance and automobile industries, to name a few, are currently functioning in a false environment that is being manipulated by the Federal government. It is one thing for the government to offer tax incentives and tax write-offs to members of an industry to motivate growth and increase profitability, but it is a completely different animal when the government actually takes control over large institutions in those industries. The outcome of these maneuvers can easily lead to nationalizing entire industries, which, in turn, leads us to the doorstep of socialism.

Reason #6 – States rights appear to have ceased to exist. With the Federal government making it clear that a state cannot deny the funds the Fed “gives” them and must use the “donated” funds according to the directives passed down by the Fed, the politicians and bureaucracy in Washington DC have all but made any sort of local control over budgets and programs totally obsolete and unobtainable. As such, there is little incentive for a local government to attempt to enact any localized policy that its residents deem valuable of agreeable, as such policy will either be overturned by a federal court or it will be overruled by the Federal government. It was never the intention of the Constitution to allow the Federal government to dictate policy to the states. The Constitution exists to promote ease of commerce, transportation and defense of the consortium of states, allowing the states to determine all other issues as they see fit.

Reason #7 – The America I grew up in is disappearing. My daughter was born on November 10, 2008, the same day the bailout of AIG was announced. Since that time, the politicians have done their best to make certain that my daughter has an ever-increasing amount of Federal debt hanging over her head, growing it at a rate that defies imagination and pushes the current form of government to the brink of existence. Everything within me screams that something has to change and that we need that change to occur rapidly. I realize that a lot of what I’d like to see take place will never happen, but I also know that if I do not take a stand around these issues then I will one day have to look at my daughter and say “Yes, I understood what was going on and what was happening, but I didn’t feel compelled to say or do anything about it.” I don’t want to have to claim inaction or ignorance and so I do the small part that I can.
From St. Louis Tax Day Tea Party

Graph showing the increase in the national debt for the United States from 2008-2009
The above debt data is from the US Treasury.

Reason #8 – Political correctness and political dishonesty are accepted as the norm. Somewhere over the past 6 months this nation has seemed to forget the idea that everyone can form their own opinion and has the right to voice that opinion in a peaceful manner. During this time, it has somehow become unpatriotic to speak in a negative tone about anything the government is doing. I refuse to allow my rights to free speech to be stripped away out of fear or unpopularity and I will not condone the actions of the government by sitting idly on the sidelines with my mouth clenched shut, knowing that I should speak up and have the right to do so. I refuse to point my finger solely at one party and refuse to vilify any one person for the actions our government has taken over recent months. Every politician is to be held responsible for their votes and actions, and I am determined not to let political or religious affiliation to dissuade me from holding their feet to the fire that they have created, fueled and allowed to grow out of control.

Reason #9 – The political machine of America is broken and we need to fix it. This isn’t about a party. It’s not a Republican thing or a Democrat thing. It’s not about Libertarians and Constitutionalist crying “Foul!”. This about what is at the core of the idea behind America. It’s the idea that when I disagree with how the Government is being run, I can speak up against it without fear of retribution. This is about me standing up for what I believe is common sense and good governing practices. This is about me fearing the direction our government is heading and wanting to help raise awareness and bring about a renewed sense of what I believe our Founding Fathers prayed for. (Just to further clarify this reason: What the elected officials passed through in 2008 is just as detrimental to this nation as what has been passed in 2009. A Republican President and Democratic Senate all played their role then, and the Democratic President and Republican Senators have all played their roles recently.) There’s more than enough blame to go around. Let’s stop pointing fat fingers and start slimming down by doing the hard work that is necessary of we hope to get out from under this mounting calamity.

I’m sure I could think of more reasons, but this is a good start for now.
I didn’t go to the tea party as a frustrated Republican.
I didn’t go to the tea party as an anarchist wanting to overthrow the government.
I didn’t go to the tea party to be a part of a spectacle.
I didn’t go to the tea party to denigrate one party over another.

I went to the tea party as an angry, frustrated, misrepresented citizen.
I went to the tea party as a concerned, motivated and loving husband and father.
I went to the tea party because I felt that I needed to join in a protest of what my government is doing, in order to let them know I think it is wrong.

That seems pretty patriotic and American to me.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day of Questions

It's interesting for me to think that a little over 2,000 years ago there was a bunch of incredibly confused, frightened men sitting huddled up in a room in Jerusalem, not knowing what to do next and wondering if they had wasted the last 3 years of their lives. I'm sure they were mourning the loss of their teacher and friend, but I'm sure there also had to be nagging, and perhaps, unspoken questions that resonated within them: "That's how this journey ends? Where's the Kingdom He spoke about? How can He rule when He is dead? Have I been tricked?"

They sat cowering in a room, in a town where the people had just called for and then carried out the brutal execution of their leader. He said He was the long awaited and promised Messiah. I'm sure none of them thought this was part of the plan for that foretold Deliverer. How can you save anyone from anything when you are dead and literally in the ground? What was next for them?

So they waited.
They cried.
They we perplexed.
They were disenfranchised.
And they were right where God wanted them to be.

Where do you find yourself today?
Are you waiting for something?
Are you missing something?
Are you confused about what is happening in your life?
Are you angry with how your life has turned out?

Guess what?
This story didn't end for those men all those years ago on this Day of Questions.
This story doesn't end there for you.

God has provided the Answer to all of those questions you have and is waiting for you to see Him as He is today.

He's not dead in some tomb in a far away land.
He's not some footnote on the bottom of the page of a history book.
He's not just a leader who died and left His followers to fend for themselves.

This Day of Questions will pass and when the sun rises tomorrow, His followers will recognize the Answer.

Today I revel in the questions, knowing that tomorrow I get to participate in the celebration of the Answer.

If you are looking for a church in the St. Louis/ St. Charles, MO area to attend for Easter services, I'd invite you to join me at First Baptist Church of Harvester. Services will be held at 8am, 9:30am and 11am. Childcare and nursery services are available.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where's Waldo?

Students, faculty, and staff at Rutgers University tried to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people dressed as Waldo at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, N.J., Thursday. More than 1,000 people participated. The children’s character has been around for 21 years. (Augusto F. Menezes/Home News Tribune via Associated Press)

(HT: Wall Street Journal)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What the Cross Accomplished

Driving into work this morning, I listened to Love Worth Finding on the radio. This morning’s message from Dr. Adrian Rogers, titled “The Cross”, was a timely reminder to me of what God has done for me. Dr. Rogers compares the execution of the sacrificial lambs of Passover with the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ (from 8 minute mark through 10 minute mark). His description of the process of a Roman crucifixion is descriptively clear and totally messed me up (18 minute mark).

The portion speaking of what was accomplished through the cross encouraged my soul and caused me to praise God for His Provision (24 minute mark).

I am reminded today of how much Christ accomplished for me in those brutal hours on the cross and how much God has done for me in the following days.

“Where, oh death, is your victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55 (Isaiah 25:8, Hosea 13:14)

Who God Is

I used the following video last night at the REALM to begin our conversation with the college students about Holiness. Specifically, my emphasis was on Sanctification, but this video allowed for some interaction with the students and started us at a place where we were recognizing and acknowledging God's Holiness and other absolutely incredible attributes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Little Girl - A Review

My Little Girl by Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas
This short children’s book is the story of a young girl and the day she spent with her father. After dreaming of what the day might involve, she is a little disappointed when she find out that there is nothing special planned. However, as the day progresses and she spends time with her dad doing nothing in particular, she finds that she is enjoying every moment with him.

This story, although geared towards young girls, is also targeted at fathers. The inescapable overtone throughout the book, and stated at the end by the authors, is to promote the importance of father-daughter bonding time. The message lets the reader (the father) know that in order for you to become a more vital part of your daughter’s life, one of the best things you can do is to spend time with her.

This book is 100% geared towards fathers and their daughters. It would be virtually impossible to read it to your son, as the storyline and photos are geared towards girls in every way. It is also meant to be read by the fathers, as the story would lose its message a bit if the mother were to be reading it.

Overall, it was a nice little book, with a great message:
Dads need to spend time being with their girls and enjoying that time with them.