Friday, April 10, 2009

And I thought being independently wealthy was a good thing...

If you thought the American Dream meant owning your own home, running your own business or being independently wealthy - you better think again. That can't possibly happen under the current government structure.

After paying my taxes this year and seeing the cuts that are going to affect my business next year, as well as the reductions in credits for my status as a "family" I am left with no other options. In reality I can earn more money if I closed my business and applied for welfare, filed bankruptcy and let the bank foreclose on my house - at least then I would get back a big chunk of the taxes I paid over the last 15 years back...

Oh, but wait - I am responsible, intelligent and able bodied - oh and an obedient follower of Jesus - that means I can't do that. I have to do what is right and be a good steward of the gifts that have been given to me. Imagine if more people did that...

Want your head to explode... watch this:

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Truth - a focus group

Unfortunately most Christians today know very little about what they believe or why they believe it. Many are biblically illiterate, and most are not operating out of a biblical worldview. That is, most believers simply bring a secular worldview to bear on the issues of the day, and fail to integrate the biblical message with the big questions of life.

The Truth Project is designed to correct this problem. It is a Christian apologetics and biblical worldview teaching kit designed for small groups. The set includes 12 one hour lessons on 7 DVDs, as well as a study guide. Taken together, the kit provides a comprehensive and solid presentation of what a biblical worldview is, and how we can think biblically about every aspect of life.

In the presentation, the teaching is done in a classroom setting, headed by Dr Del Tackett. Short snippets from various experts are also included, featuring outstanding Christian thinkers such as Ravi Zacharias, Os Guinness and R.C. Sproul. The course provides a comprehensive and systematic exposition of the biblical worldview, and its application to our world today.

The content is very rich and full, thus the need to break the whole package down into 12 parts. All the big worldview questions are addressed, such as: Is there a God? What is man? Is there such a thing as truth? How can we know? What is right and wrong? What is the meaning of life? And, is history meaningful?

Also, biblical foundations are laid for the various important spheres of life: law, politics, economics, history, science, the arts, sociology, education, and the media. All of these crucial areas are examined in terms of the biblical worldview, and we are taught how to apply biblical principles to all these key fields.

The cumulative effect of all this is transformation: transformed minds leading to transformed lives. And that nicely fits in with the goal of the apostle Paul when he wrote in Romans 12:2 that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Unfortunately too many believers seem to read that passage as if it says we are to be transformed by the removing of our minds.

The mind is important. God made us in his image, and that includes the area of intellect. But for too long Christians have ignored the mind, minimized learning and ignored biblical worldview thinking. But that error must now be abandoned. We must love God with our minds as well as out emotions, our will, and so on.

R.C. Sproul rightly says that this may be the most important project Focus on the Family has undertaken. It is absolutely vital that believers today love God with the totality of their person, and offer clear biblical understanding in the key areas of thought and action today.

For too long we have marginalized ourselves and our faith, and allowed a growing secularism to call the shots in every area of life. But the Lordship of Christ demands that we extend his kingdom in every sphere and every domain. And this teaching series will help equip believes to do just that. It is a much needed tonic for the relativistic, secularist and postmodern times we find ourselves in.

Did you know that less than 1% of the youngest adult generation in America has a biblical worldview? And, only 9% of ALL American adults have a biblical worldview!

Here is a sample of some of the content:

Dawn and I are starting this as a focus group (others may be doing this as well) are you interested? It is a 12 week committment and trust me - you will gaze upon the face of God, and He will change your life!

Give me a comment and let's talk about it...

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Twitter/Facebook/blogs... what?

I saw this post on another blog and it reminded me about a conversation I had over dinner last night - then I saw this video...

A couple years ago I was coerced into blogging by a dear friend. This friend has since tried to get me to 'twitter' - I have resisted. I couldn't put my finger on why - until now.

Is Facebook, Myspace and Twitter causing us to create shallow acquaintances rather than real friends? I realize there is some benefit to these electronic means of communication - but really, do I need to know your every thought or every personal accomplishment? You really aren't that important to me. Really, you aren't. Sorry to burst your Narcissistic bubble.

Rachel, the author of the blog post that started me thinking said, "As our ability to easily interact with more people in more places increases, it’s easy for us to get spread too thin; to have many shallow relationships instead of a few solid relationships." I really agree with this thought.

Yeah, facebook has reconnected me with some folks I haven't seen or talked to in over 20 years - but, in reality - there was a reason I didn't talk or socialize with these folks. There is a reason most people choose to be 'friends' with others.

Do I really want to hang out with beer swilling, gang banging, dive bar visiting, cohabiting smokers that think a good night out is tossing back a keg and getting laid?

Absolutely not!

Why? Am I better than them? No. So why would I "friend" them - and then read about their latest conquest or how hung over they are - or how difficult it is to get a job. I do pray for them, but I could do that anyway - I should be doing that anyway.

Anyway, I digress, but the realization remains - should I have 219 facebook "friends" - are they really friends - some are - most aren't. Why are they called friends anyway? Just because some programmer (who probably is a huge introvert and has very few real life friends chooses to build his self esteem up by calling electronic acquaintances "friends") called them that... I don't know -

What if they were called something else? Electronic Buddies (EBs), Digital Communication partners (DCPs)... Think about it.

Rachel gives some really good advice: "The key to avoiding selfish and inane “conversation” is to not follow the people who offer it - and to not be one of those people yourself."

So, for that reason, I have decided to end my Facebook time - I won't be twittering it to all my virtual friends. I will resume calling my friends to communicate, sending a letter to them, going out to breakfast, lunch and dinner with them.

I find Facebook really dangerous lately - A friend (at dinner) told me (face to face) about a college counselor that found out one of her students passed away over facebook - what a way to find out! Today, many April Fools day jokes about wives being pregnant were posted on facebook. This caused people to respond with joy and happiness - it caused me to wonder why someone would announce such a wonderful event over a distant, non personal way. It really troubled me.

I guess it's no different than using the paper for an obituary or birth announcement - but the fact behind that communication is once you read about it you would call the party involved to give your condolences or congratulations - you wouldn't post an ad yourself saying "I'm so sorry". That would be silly...

Our society is becoming more and more narcissistic. More and more 'self' centered. More and more self absorbed. More and more LAZY. All of our communication is being reduced to one line updates on a rotating basis. That's wrong and it is troubling and I can no longer participate in that downward spiral.

Goodbye Facebook.