Yes, friends, it has indeed been a long time, and much has happened. To borrow a phrase from the golden age of the soap opera: It is later that same day...

Several months ago, quite a while, in fact, a friend from church gave me an old computer that she had outgrown, and was planning to toss. She knew how much I needed an upgrade, as I was using a nearly 10 year old Pentium 3 (I know!), so she rescued her old Pentium 4 from the dust bin and donated it to my cause. Well, the machine was not in its prime to begin with, and it seems her son had tinkered with it, and it wasn't working (which was why she was throwing it out in the first place; she had already moved on, and it wasn't worth it to her to get it repaired), and I wasn't sure what it would take to get it fixed (repaired, not neutered [sorry, I just can't keep that joke from showing up]); at any rate, I finally took it to the shop. It turned out to be far less costly to repair than I had feared, and before long I had a great Pentium 4 computer with a lot of the bells and whistles I had been lacking before.

Enter Murphy and his Law. While this new machine was in the shop, my old one, the P. 3, the one that crashed whenever I tried to watch a YouTube video, bit the dust. To be honest, I think it's something relatively simple, like a busted power switch, but I couldn't see having both computers in the shop at the same time, especially since I had no idea of the cost of fixing either one. The upshot of all this is that for about three weeks I was destitute; no computer, no internet, no email, not so much as a solitaire game to my name. (That is, at home. I could access my email from work.)

Eventually, I got the new (used) computer back, and it works, and I've now spent a week or so reconfiguring it to fit my own needs. It is one thing to take a brand-new computer and impress your personality on it, but to take a used computer and try to convince it that you're not Susan, well, it adds an extra layer of challenge, to say the least. Not that it isn't fun. I know that the end result will be, and is already, worth the effort, and I am enjoying the process. And I have already expressed to Susan my appreciation for her thoughtfulness and generosity, and now I will say publicly (How many of you are out there?) what I have said in private, "Susan, I can't thank you enough for the gift of this computer. Even in these early stages of transition, it is being quite useful and productive, and I can tell that the next year or so are going to be much easier and more fun because of you. Bless you!"

Of course, the reason I brought all of this up is because of the impact my personal woes have had on the progress of The Pulpit. I am in, as you know, if you exist, a series of articles on the subject of money. It's about attitudes, about un-learning some of the wrong information we have been heir to from the past, about finding out the information God has for us in His Word, and applying it His way to our lives and situations today. I am still writing the articles, but the latest one, which was about two-thirds finished when Murphy got involved, is stuck in the hard-drive of my old P. 3 computer, and so the series is on hold for another couple of weeks at least, until I can haul yet another computer to the shop. (I also have hundreds of pics from my wife's and my digital cameras, locked up in there, so salvaging the hard-drive is a top priority for more that one reason.)

My point is that I have not abandoned the Pulpit, nor the Money series. I have been on a sort of forced sabbatical lately, but I'm on my way back. The future is ahead, the past is behind, and the present hardly exists at all. (I just made that up. Could you tell?)

Cheers, and God Bless,
Dave
aka St Enoch
aka Bagg O'Hammers
 
 
Hello again, friends; Welcome back to St Enoch's Pulpit. As you can see, we've returned to the "Money Questions" series.

So: We've established that the offspring of the system of Mammon are better at working their system than we are. (All together now: "Well, Duh!")

We've also established that there is more to it than that. The "Mammonites" are better at working their system than we are at working our system. ("Huh?" or "Say What?")

And that, we've established, or at least that was what I was going for, is the problem. We, the children of light, didn't know we had a system! How are we going to succeed in God's financial system if we don't know that such a system exists?

"...and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous." (Prov. 13:22b NKJV)

There is a Word from God Himself, giving us in no uncertain terms His intentions where finances are concerned. Read those words over again. Do you see that it is not His will that the World have all the wealth? Is it not obvious that the wealth the World accumulates is supposed to be transferred to "the just?" So why isn't that happening? What stops us from partaking in the transfer of wealth from Mammon to the Kingdom of Light?

Once again, it is ignorance of God's financial system. We've mentioned before the so-called "lottery curse," whereby many who win huge jackpots very quickly find their lives and fortunes heading straight down the drain. If you were wondering, that's why God doesn't just answer our carnal prayers and dump tons of cash in our laps. He isn't interested in giving us yet another excuse to go to hell. The vast majority of Christians in this country just aren't ready for that kind of pressure.

What we need is a combination of education and attitude adjustment. First, we need some solid teaching on what God's financial system is and how it operates. The days are past when God "winked at ignorance;" He demands of us serious financial repentance if our circumstances are going to change. Second, we need to shuck off the old poverty, or victim, mentality. It is high time for the children of light to stand up and begin acting like the children of light, not like some orphans pressing our noses against the World's window, watching the Mammonites making and spending money, and feeling like our Christianity was a financial disadvantage. If God has declared that we should be the head and not the tail, why oh why, fellow pilgrim, are we so ready to settle for being the tail?

If, as I contend, we are in the shape we're in primarily because of ignorance, then the question remains to be answered: Ignorance of what? How to make the money? How to transfer the wealth of the World into the hands of the just? No, or not yet. First we must deal with something else.

Our problem is, indeed, ignorance. We have always, it seems, been ignorant of just how suseptable we are to the power of wealth. And it doesn't take a lottery jackpot, either. We've all heard stories about how just a small amount of money has ruined ordinary people like you and me. An insurance policy or a piece of real estate will do the trick. The detective novels and television police dramas are full of that kind of thing. Truly, if we're going to be the head and not the tail financially, we're going to have to be "dead to the power of wealth."

As we wrap it up for this installment, let me leave you with one more verse of Scripture to ponder until next time:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8: 9 NKJV)

We'll take a good look at that verse, and some others, and discuss the concepts of financial freedom in the context of Christianity when next we meet. In the meantime, that's the word for now from the Pulpit. Hasta la vista, baby.

BTW, don't forget to leave comments; your feedback is always welcome.

Dave
 
 
(
No dear friends of the Pulpit, I have not abandoned the Money Questions series. I'm just "striking while the iron is hot," so to speak. The oil spill is important, and I feel compelled to act now, while the mulberry leaves are rustling, if you get the reference. You know the drill: Read, Share, Comment. And this time I mean it!!!
)

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been on everybody's mind of late, and with good reason. Millions of barrels of oil have spewed, and continue to spew, into the waters of the Gulf, and the end is not in sight. Most of us have hoped and wished for a speedy recovery: stop the leak, clean up the mess, back to business as usual. That is not going to happen.

The world we live in is not the world of two months ago. The world has changed, and there is no going back to normal. Normal isn't there any more. Hand-wringing and finger-pointing and name-calling are not the answer; there is enough blame to go around, but that isn't the answer either. The time has come to set our emotional turmoil aside and bring our intelligence to bear on the situation as it is.

Before we can find solutions to the problem, we must understand what the problem is. We need to know, for starters, that the leak will, eventually, be fixed. Eventually. The logistics of such a leak so far below the surface of the ocean is completely outside our experience; whatever the answer is, it hasn't been thought of before. Given time, we'll get there.

Next comes the question of what to do with the oil that is already there. The staggering volume of oil, growing more staggering by the minute, is daunting, to say the least. This also is a problem the answer to which hasn't been thought of yet.

I believe the answer to the oil problem will come in the form of an entirely new industry, which I, for the moment, am calling "oil reclamation." Somebody is going to figure out how to separate the oil from the seawater pretty soon, and when that happens, the clean-up effort will begin to pay for itself. Besides which, the formation of this new industry could potentially create enough jobs to render the illegal alien problem obsolete.

How much oil is there, under the Gulf? Who knows? Enough to dig the United States out of debt? Enough to free us from dependence on foreign oil? Enough to bail out every bank, auto-maker and bad mortgage in the country? Very likely, to all three. Alright, let's do one more: enough to fund some real research into clean alternative energy, like solar? I like to think so.

This country has never been short on brains, but sadly it takes a tragedy of epic proportions sometimes to focus those little gray cells in the right direction. Now that we're there, let's not lose momentum, huh?
 
 
(
We here at the Pulpit (me) are taking a short break from the Money Questions series to bring you a piece on the Gulf Oil Leak. Hope you like it. As always, all comments are welcome.
)

About a month and a half ago, April, 2010, a disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico that will affect this nation and the world for generations to come. An oil leak pours about a quarter-million gallons of oil per day into the waters of the gulf, and so far, all efforts to stem the leak have met with failure. I've given this situation some thought, and I'm putting some of my thoughts down here, in the form of an open letter.

If you read this letter, and you know someone who might make good use of it, or who might even just want to make fun of it, by all means forward it to them. A few names, just off the top of my head, include: Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Richard Branson, Ted Turner, and Oprah Winfrey. These are people whose talents and influence have produced fortunes, in terms of both money and power; many of them are industrial leaders who could supply engineers and manufacturing complexes to make a real difference. Read on:

Dear Sir, and/or Madam,
In the weeks following the Gulf Oil Disaster, the federal government and the oil industry, primarily British Petroleum, have done a lot of finger-pointing and name-calling, and none of it has helped. Who is to blame? Who pays for the clean-up effort? Who is responsible for damages? The answers to these questions, if they are ever answered, will not fix the problem. What we need, and the sooner the better, is a fresh approach.

So far, everybody seems fixated on one aspect: how to stop the leak. And that is indeed an important aspect. It isn't, in my humble opinion, the most important one. If the leak were plugged tomorrow, there would still be an incredible amount of oil-tainted water washing around the gulf area, threatening wild-life and the lives and livelihoods of countless people living on the gulf coast, to say nothing of tourism, the fishing industry, and, well, the list goes on.

But look at it from a different perspective. What if we could find a way to extract the oil from the seawater? What if, apart from just "plugging the darn hole," and then "cleaning up the darn mess," we were to reclaim that oil and  refine it?

What if we were witnessing the birth of a whole new industry that would provide jobs and profits galore for generations to come?

We have been giving lip-service to the idea of becoming independent from foreign oil, and now here is a domestic source of oil volunteering itself up in our own back yard, and what will we do with it? Plug it up and go back to energy dependence? Oh, how I hope not!

We have the brains and the resources here in the United States to not only cope with this problem, but to recognize a golden opportunity when it lands in our lap. Somebody today knows, or will soon figure out, how to separate seawater from oil, without chemically destroying the oil. Somebody can figure out how to protect the coastal lands from further damage while other somebodies are figuring out answers to other aspects of the situation.

Once upon a time somebody saw Niagara Falls and said, "How pretty!" Many years later, somebody said, "How powerful!" And built electricity generators.

People today are saying, "How horrible!" Some day, somebody will say, "Let's make it work for us!" But who? When?

How 'bout us? How 'bout now?

Think 'bout it.
Cheers,
Dave
 
 
Hello again, friends; Welcome back to St Enoch's Pulpit.

This is, as you have no doubt guessed, the second in a series of articles on the question of money in the New Testament Church. I introduced the series in the last installment, so this time, let's just jump into the deep end. Alley Oop!

--
"...for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." (Luke 16: 8b KJV)

We're starting just about where we left off last time, in Luke chapter 16. We used the New King James in the previous article, but as an old dinosaur, I really prefer the wording of the original. Jesus has just told the story of a dishonest steward, one who has mis-handled his master's money, and when he is found out, he continues his embezzlement in order to secure a less disastrous outcome for himself. Ironic as it may seem, his master, the victim of his dishonesty, commends him for his shrewdness. And Jesus himself adds to the irony with his assessment in the above quote.

I've spent a good deal of time over the decades (it takes time to become a dinosaur) thinking about the story of the dishonest steward; maybe (I doubt it) it would have been quicker if I had been using a more modern translation. In any case, I finally came to the conclusion that the words "in their generation" are the key to the mystery. The steward in this story is the product, the offspring, if you will, of the current economic environment. The world's system, which we like to call "Mammon," was, and still is, the prevailing system. In that system, that is, in his "generation," the steward is an expert. He knows the angles, he knows his way around. We aren't told how long he has been cheating his employer before he is caught, but apparently it has been going on for some time. Then, when his dishonesty is discovered, he continues, still at his master's expense, to work the system. He is so good at it, in fact, that his master expresses admiration for his skill.

The children of this world's system are indeed wiser in their system than the children of light. Those folks, the offspring of the Mammon system, know what they're doing, and we don't. If you or I were trying to play the game the way the experts play it, we would lose. Period. Firstly, because we don't know how the game is played, and then because of that pesky thing called morality. We can't play their game because we can't play by their rules.

For some, this gives us an opportunity to play the victim. We stand at the fence and gaze mournfully into the world's territory, wring our hands, and contemplate how we might have become wealthy or successful if only we weren't so honest. Honest people don't have a chance in this world, we say, and we believe it. Christianity is a handicap to financial success; and after all, since money is the root of all evil, we just have to wait until we get to Heaven to have really nice things...and so on and so forth.

But there's more to it than that. It isn't just that the world is playing a game in which we, the children of light, can't participate. The offspring of the system of Mammon are better at operating in their system than we are at operating in the system of light. What!? We have a system?

And that, dear reader, has been the problem all along. The children of this world are pretty shrewd at their system, while the children of light didn't even know we had a system. No wonder we've never developed any degree of shrewdness; we're losing the game because we didn't know we were supposed to be playing.

The attitude of most Christians, and this is strictly based on my own observation, seems to be that money is somehow distasteful, that our focus should be on higher things, and we shouldn't strive for worldy gain. The phrase "filthy lucre" appears in the Bible, and it colors our thinking. It never occurs to most of us that lucre can be anything but filthy.

Money is not the root of all evil; the love of money is. One of the reasons Christians have such a hard time with finances is because "love of money" is a sin you can commit without a dime in your pocket. God cannot bless us financially as long as we harbor that particular form of idolatry in our hearts, and many of us don't recognize it when we see it, even in our own lives. But that coin has at least one other side, and we must take it into account.

It is true that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. But the alternative to serving, or worshipping, money is not to ignore it, but to make it serve us. Like fire, money is a useful servant, but a dreadful master. And there, fellow pilgrim, I think we'll leave it until next time.

God has a system, one that will culminate in the financing of the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. We have made but a poor showing until now, but the time is short, and if we're going to use the tools God has designed for us to reap an end-time harvest, now is the time to get on board. We cannot afford to remain ignorant of our assignment any longer. We are going to continue in the next installment discussing God's system, and how we can participate in, but continue to remain "not of," the world's system.

For now, that's the word from the pulpit. Until next we meet, God bless and keep you.
Dave
 
 
Money Questions -- Part 1

And possibly an answer or two.

Greetings, dear friends:

Today I am embarking on a new venture, one that I trust will prove to be profitable both to me and to you as well. The idea is to start a series of pieces here in the Pulpit, concerning that most dreaded of Scriptural subjects, MONEY!!! Before we begin, I need to offer some thoughts by way of disclaimer:

First, I've mentioned before here in the Pulpit that I keep irregular hours, mostly due to my work schedule, so a series means that I plan to put some thoughts on paper, and they won't all fit in one article. How many articles it will take, how often or how far apart the various pieces will come, these things remain to be seen. No promises, except that I have much to say, and I intend to say a lot of it.

Second, these are thoughts that are rambling around in my head. I don't expect you to agree with me on every idea; I don't expect you to understand everything I have to say. Some of it I don't quite grasp myself. This is really just an attemp to "think out loud," if you will, to organize my thoughts in public. Sounds dangerous, I know.

Third, What I have in mind is sort of my personal response to what has come to be called the "prosperity gospel." Now I've been around a while (I just turned 56 this past February), and in a way I am an eye-witness to the birth and development of the Charismatic renewal, and of the "Word and Faith" movement that grew out of the Charismatic renewal. I've seen God speak to his people, and I've seen those same people take a word of truth and drive it to the brink of insanity; several times, in fact. (I don't know why Pentecostal people are so prone to such nonsense; probably because we tend to mistake our emotions for the Holy Spirit.)

My intention here is simple: to attempt to set my own emotions aside, and to try to look at what God really wants the Church (all of it, not just our little group) to know about money, and why that's important. Sound like fun? We'll see...

***

It is a fact, you can look it up: the New Testament has more to say about money than about Hell.

Over the course of the two-thousand-plus-year history of the Church, God has, from time to time, opened up various areas of truth that had previously been hidden. Of course we've had the New Testament for nearly that whole time, but certain subjects have been virtually ignored or misunderstood for long periods, sometimes centuries, until suddenly, Blam! The curtain rises and the Church "discovers" a vein of truth, and a few new denominations are born. At the turn of the last century, the world was shaken by a Pentecostal revival that we usually call, here in the U. S., the Azusa Street revival, after the mission in Los Angeles where the revival broke out in this country. There were other outbreaks around the same time in other parts of the world, and it became clear, at least to those who could receive it, that a new day had dawned for the Church.

Similar "outbreaks" have occurred throughout the twentieth century, in addition to, or as a result of, the Pentecostal revival, like the rise of numerous healing evangelists; Aimee Semple McPherson, Oral Roberts, and A A Allen, to name just three, changed the face of the Church forever, and many others besides. It would be foolish to ignore or deny the fact that many of the prominent healing ministries of the time ended in scandal and disaster. We are, after all, fallen human beings. None of us are immune to temptation. As C S Lewis observed, "We come of a race that cannot afford to be proud."

But God hasn't given up on us. He draws us along, moving the Church as a whole along a path that will eventually, sooner than we can know, culminate in the return of Jesus Christ to take up His throne as God and King of a New Heaven and a New Earth.

The history of the Church is the story of God working His will in the earth, but having to use flawed human beings like you and me to do it. But most of us don't think of ourselves as agents of God's will; we tend to think of God's will as something that happens to us. We pray, "Thy will be done," and then sit and wait to see what God is going to do. (Sometimes, we simply accept whatever happens to us as God's will; it's no wonder we're so confused.)

But God's will is being done, both to us and through us, and I don't think it is any secret that things are moving along at an unprecedented rate. The world is changing, and if we, the Church of the Living God, are going to fulfill the Great Commission, then we'd better pick up the pace. The world is not sitting around waiting for us to send a few more missionaries to the far-off jungles of Africa or South America. In short, sinners are being born faster than we are reaching them with the Gospel. Something drastic has to happen or we will completely fail to be the Church God wants and needs us to be. And that brings us to to the money issue.

--

Each and every year, this miserable fallen world flushes trillions of dollars into various sin-related industries. I'm talking here about things like pornography, prostitution, and child exploitation, not to mention drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, which we may discuss in a later installment. And let's not even start on movies, television, video games, and other such mindless entertainments whose single goal is just the killing of time. How much waste, not to say sin, is tied up in the word "fun" is anybody's guess.

Trillions, we're talking about. Dollars. Down the proverbial drain. While we host our little fundraisers, trying to send Aunt Millie to the mission field with bake sales and ice cream socials. Does it seem like the world is better at its job than we are? Most assuredly, yes. In fact, we have Jesus' own word on it:

"...For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light." (Luke 16: 8b NKJV)

Let that percolate for a bit while I organize my thoughts for the next part. I want you to get the full impact of that quote from Luke's gospel as we continue our discussion of money. I think you will be surprised at where this is heading.

And that, for now, is the word from the Pulpit.

God bless you all,
Dave
 
 
Hello again, Gang!

The following is a comment I left on Brendon Burchard's blog page, in response to a request that his readers share with him, and each other, what we think the meaning of life is. I wrote this answer, and was so impressed with myself that I copied it to share with you. At the end, I will put a link to Brendon's blog. He's one I think you should get acquainted with. He has much to say that we all could learn from. Dave

Brendon, you asked us to comment on the meaning of life. I could direct you to buy my 6-vol treatise on the meaning of life, except I haven't written it yet. In the meantime, here's a piece of it:

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Of course, that is only helpful if you know what "love" means. My personal definition, cobbled together after decades of listening to preachers and teachers around the country, is this: Love is an attitude (not an emotion!) of willingness to give of yourself and your resources to meet the needs of another. Boil all that down to a two word definition: "Love" means meeting needs.

I could leave it at that, but I'm not going to. I don't know if you read this stuff yourself or if you have an assistant who weeds out the crazies, in which case maybe your assistant will see some of the following before it hits the shredder, but as long as I'm deluding myself that I have Brendon Burchard's attention, I can't waste such an opportunity as this.

If I were sick, I'd appreciate someone offering to drive me to the doctor's office, or pick up my medicine at the drugstore, or pick up dinner for the kids while I took a nap. But right now, I'm not sick. But someone around me is sick, or hungry, or lonely. Loving my neighbor is as simple as reaching out to do for them what I'd like them to do for me if I were in their shoes. I can't change the world, but I can help the next guy out.

"What if you don't love yourself?" There have been times in my life, lots of time, in fact, when I thought, and said, that I hated myself. Of course, I didn't really hate myself. I may have hated my job, or my boss, or my wife (previous wife; I love!!! my current wife). In fact, what I hated were the bad decisions I had made that brought me to such a lousey place in life. I didn't atually hate myself. I wasn't standing in the rain trying to die of pneumonia! I was actually trying to take care of myself. I ate food that I liked, slept in a warm bed, watched really enjoyable TV shows (hours on end!). So my advice for those who "don't love themselves?" Think about this: If you're cold, do you put on a sweater? Then find somebody who's cold, and give them a sweater. It's that simple.

We are put on this earth to be God's family; that relationship was interfered with, and now God is on a search-and-rescue mission. Each of us who return to the family are commissioned to go out and rescue somebody else. "Love your neighbor as yourself" is the battle cry of the rescue mission.

Sorry, but it's your own fault; you hadda ask!

http://www.brendonburchard.com/blog/goldenticket

 
Must-See Video! 04/19/2010
 
Hi gang -- Great to be with you again. Just a short note this time to tout a video I just watched last night. You may have heard of Frank Kern -- he's one of a small number of Internet Marketers that has become, in the last few years, known as a "Guru," meaning he has been so successful in business that others want to know how he did it and how they can duplicate his success. He has a blog with a number of free videos that give away a lot of his secrets, and of course he has launched a number of training products that people pay HUGELY for, but here is a link to a 2 hour video where he lays it on the line. It was difficult for me to find, and you do have to log in to see the video, but the info on this video is absolutely vital! I can't stress enough the value you will get out of this thing. Be warned, however, that Frank is not a Christian, and the event at which he is speaking is a secular seminar for marketers and business people, and the language used is coarse in places. Anybody who is at all involved in a people-to-people business, not only sales and marketing, but evangelism, teaching/preaching, even personal relationships, will benefit greatly from the info on this video. Watch it through to the end, and be prepared to take notes and probably watch again. This thing is worth it.

Here's the link:

http://www.getcoreinfluence.com/?ref=U9MSvWKD3Z5iCQnf

When you've seen the video, please leave a comment here or by email to let me know who you are and what you thought of it.

Cheers, and God bless.
Dave
 
 
Guys, I know it's been a while, and I know you (if anybody's out there) think I fell off the earth. I haven't, yet. I have, however, been deep in thought for some time, preparing for my next foray into the murky depths of blogsylvania. (That's my word, and I don't want to see anybody stealing it!) Truth is, I'm preparing a series of articles that promises to be worth the wait, so brace yourselves. In the meantime...

...just a quick word from the Pulpit on the subject of parenthood. That is one of the joys of life that has eluded me lo these many years, to my eternal (or at least temporal) sorrow. However, although I'm not a parent, I can just dimly remember being a child, and that'll have to do.

The question is, how would you, as a parent, respond, if, when you called little Junior in for supper, he refused to come in? You call and call, he stays outside by the door, refusing to come to the table, or even go wash his hands. You beg, you plead, you threaten, and finally you ask him for the reason. Why doesn't he come in to eat supper? And he responds, it's because he is unworthy.

Unworthy. After all, haven't you, Dad, or of course, Mom (equal billing), spent virtually the entire day telling Junior how naughty he is? How disappointed you are at his conduct, at his lapses into pre-potty-training behavior, at his immaturity in general? How tired you are of having to clean up after him, pick up his clothes, make his bed, put away his toys, cook, sweep, labor to provide for him, and this is the thanks you get???

Any of this sound familiar? And yet, here it is, time for supper, and this little semi-domesticated house ape (I don't remember where I got that line, but I love it!) has the prunes to look you in the face and say he's unworthy of the food you have worked so hard to prepare??? (Don't think of it as murder, think of it as retroactive abortion.)

Of course your kid does no such thing. Kids just don't think like that. You know, and so does your kid, if he were sophisticated enough mentally to think about it, that your providing for his needs, food, clothing, shelter, bath-room privileges, even love and affection, is not predicated on his performance. All that you do, the pleasant as well as the less pleanant, like the scolding and discipline and constant and repetative admonitions about his behavior, are all meant for his good. All you want out of life is for Junior to be a good little boy, well-mannered and polite, a credit to his long-suffering parents. And isn't that the only true goal of parenthood? A well-behaved child?

In a word, no.

Turning your precious little bundle of tax-deductible joy from a selfish, self-centered fun-killer with a screaming, eating mouth at one end and a poop-machine at the other into a healthy, happy child who plays well with others and speaks only when spoken to, who combs his hair and washes his hands without being reminded to, and doesn't need help with his homework, is not your goal, and neither is that the goal of your Heavenly Father. God's intention, from the day He put you into that child's life, was to produce, with your help, an adult human being who knows in his heart that he is a worth-while, loved, member of God's family, with a purpose and a destiny of his own.

And that, by the way, is God's goal for you as well. He isn't interested in populating the earth (or Heaven either, for that matter) with toddlers and infants who behave themselves and don't get in the way. He is trying to produce mature sons and daughters who will go out into our communities and work-places and reproduce after our kind. As long as you see yourself as a "child" in God's kingdom, you will not be the son or daughter He desires you to become. You have a place to occupy and work to do in the kingdom, and God loves you too much to leave you in the playpen.

You crawl until you learn to walk. When you learn to walk, you don't sit down, you grab a bicycle and move to the next level. God is much less interested in today's behavior than in the person you are becoming.
*****

In the coming months, expect to see some activity on this blog page, with corresponding activity on Facebook and Twitter as well. The subject of personal growth, spiritual and otherwise, has formed itself into a motto (I was tempted to say "mantra," but I was afraid of sounding too New Agey): "Be, Then Do." In the meantime, that's the latest from the Pulpit. Feel free to leave a comment.

Love, Dave
 
 
News Flash -- The Book Is Out!

Here's how it went down: Over the course of several years, I've been writing little articles and stories, mostly on Biblical subjects, and for quite a while I didn't know what to do with them. Along comes the information superhighway (Thanx, Al), and suddenly words like Blog, and Social Network, start to filter into the language. Now I'm a reasonably intelligent guy, apart from the spelling and grammar and the fact that I'm dumber than a bag of hammers (and wouldn't Bagg O'Hammers be a great name for a private eye?), so I recognized the potential of the internet for some real productivity for the Kingdom of God. I mean, I'm no evangelist; I'm a teacher and a writer, but the end result is the same: reproducing after our kind. The winning of souls is the object of all ministry, period. So I got onto MySpace, and began posting my little scribbles in the Blog section of my MySpace space. Pretty soon, at the urging of my good friend and hands-lifter-upper Alistair, I began submitting my stuff to Ezinearticles.com (I've mentioned them in a previous post). So now I have a growing body of work that is getting some exposure, but I feel like there is a lot of potential going wanting; eventually I'm going to want to do something major, like a book. What am I going to do then?

Enter Amazon, and their self-publishing subdivision, CreateSpace. Alistair pointed me in their direction, and just to see how the process works, to see if I could actually produce real book, I pulled some articles together and started through the process of publishing it via CreateSpace. The result is a 50-page book called A Prophet In Sychar and other stories. Now, let me stress that the content of the book was already written, barring a bit of tweaking here and there, and it did take a little time and effort to figure out how to make my word processor format the pages the way I wanted them. Apart from that, I began submitting files to CreateSpace on December 11, '09. I made a revision or two to the internal content file, created and tweaked the cover art, and here we are on January 2, '10, with a real live book for sale over the internet! Ain't that a kick in the head?

So now the word is going out over every avenue I can think of: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, this Blog, and email: Buy This Book! Go to the CreateSpace site (see link below) and order copies for several hundred of your nearest and dearest. If you really loved me, you'd take out ads in your local papers and magazines, rent billboard space, and really push this thing. And I won't forget you little people when I get filthy stinking rich; I'll still be the humble, loveable bag of hammers I am today.

Cheers, and God Bless
Dave
aka Bagg O'Hammers (I'm adopting it as my new persona.)

https://www.createspace.com/3418197