Archive for October, 2009

Brain Drain??

October 27, 2009

I read an article the other day about the steep reduction in pay being forced upon the executives of the large banks that had received a government bailout.  The concern that was expressed was that these individuals were brilliant in their fields, and that if they were not paid what they thought they  were worth, that they would quit their jobs to work for someone else.

If they are so brilliant, then why did the government need to bail them out?

For most people, if their area of responsibility had failed miserably, they would be looking for a new job, not cashing bonus checks.  Are they going to put on their resume  “We oversaw the destruction of our last company, now what can we do for you”???

If the government had not bailed them out, either they would have worked themselves out of the hole, or they would have been fired and replaced, or their entire business would be consumed by other businesses that were run more efficiently.  The business world can take care  of itself.  The strong survive, the weak are devoured.

Why did we interfere?

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Adjust

October 26, 2009

As a pastor, I am paid after the last Sunday of the month.  We made this arrangement years ago, when I was working a full-time job outside of the church.  The church set my salary at what they would like to pay me, and then paid me at the end of the month, after the bills were paid.   If there was money available. 

 It was my idea.  I was, and am, willing to trust God to provide for us.

 Sometimes I got a full check, and many times I did not.  Over the years, the church has become financially more stable.  I went to working a part time job.  (My wife also works outside of the church.)  The months that I did not receive a full check became less and less.  Now it is a rarity, but it still occurs occasionally.  ( Twice this year, so far. )

I practice what I preach. 

When the income drops, I adjust the family budget for the month.  Need versus want,  is applied as the budget must be adjusted.  Hard decisions about where the money will be used must be made if our monthly budget is to balance.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with a wife who is willing to live within a budget, and who volunteers ways to reduce our spending, that affects her personally.

God provides enough for us, even as I blogged earlier in a post titled “Enough”.  Not only do I practice what I preach; I believe what I preach.  Our church income this month was significantly reduced.  We will adjust.  It will not be without sacrifice, but  it will be enough.

Get a Better Pastor!

October 22, 2009

Is it time for your church to get a better pastor? One that preaches with a little more inspiration?  One that is more sensitive to the needs of the congregation?  One that just seems regularly, to be filled with the Spirit of God?

You don’t have to fire your current pastor, to get a better one.

Pray for the one that you have now!!

If the congregation is regularly praying for their pastor, then God will hear those prayers and the anointing of God will be upon them and they will be better.

Of course, the same can be said to pastors of  their congregations.

H1N1 Response

October 21, 2009

The H1N1 virus is sweeping through the country.  There are lots of people who are getting sick, some are dying.  It is serious.  There is significant disruption that is being caused to schools, businesses, and lives.

There are two things that concern me about this situation.  The first is how many people will go to the doctor or even the hospital ER, at the onset of flu symptoms.  When I was growing up, the first response to flu symptoms, was to stay home from school on the couch, with the tv on, and 7up at hand.  It was only if we were sick for more than two or three days, or if our temperature went very high, that a visit to the doctor was in order.  If you do go to the doctor at the onset of flu symptoms, they will simply tell you to stay home, rest and keep hydrated.  This is a concern because of the strain that is being placed on the medical system from cases that do not yet warrant a visit to the doctor. 

The second concern is a little more serious.  The vaccine for H1N1 was rushed through research and production.  When something is produced quickly, under pressure, the chances of unforeseen consequences are increased.  There is a reason why drug research normally takes a long time before a new drug is introduced to the market.  I am sure that the medical professionals who are in charge, are acting in accordance with their best judgement.  They are certainly more informed about these matters than I am, but it still concerns me.   

I wonder what the final evaluation of our countries’ response to this illness will show us.   Did we respond correctly?  Only time will tell.

Need versus Want

October 20, 2009

Early in our married life, my wife and I often had conversations about the difference between “need” and “want”.  There are some things that we need, there are many things that we want.

Our government could learn from this simple life lesson.  There are many things that our government is spending money on that are not needs.  When our deficit for a single year tops a trillion dollars, as it has this year, we need to make changes. Change is going to be painful for some, but our governmental leaders should really take a hard look at where our money is going, and they should greatly reduce or completely eliminate things in the budget that are not needed. 

It’s painful, but necessary.  Whether it is personal finance, corporate finance or government finance, the basic principle is still the same.  You need to have more money coming in, than you have going out, or you are in trouble.

As a country, we are in trouble.

Balloon Boy

October 19, 2009

It sounded really fun at first.  A family working together to create a large helium balloon out of readily available supplies.  Create the balloon, attach tethers, fill with helium, let it fly, all for family fun and education. 

There was a problem, the balloon lifted off without the tethers being secured.

Bigger problem; the youngest son is missing, and one of the children say that he is somehow aboard the balloon.

Dial 911.

A dramatic scene unfolds as a nation watches the story of this bizarre event, hoping and praying for the welfare of the child.

Hours later, the child is found safe.  Safely hiding in the garage rafters, only coming down after the balloon has landed, and it is evident that he is not onboard.

Childish prank?  Or something else?

We certainly want to encourage families to do fun, educational activities together.  We certainly want authorities to assist in the event that things go wrong.  We certainly don’t want innocent people to be treated as criminals.

We also don’t like to be duped.

Something Special

October 15, 2009

My wife has a gift for home decor.  I have always been amazed at how nice our home has been decorated throughout our twenty plus years of marriage.  This has been accomplished on a very low budget.  Many of our things are gifts, or garage sale finds.  I can sit in any room of our house and look around in amazement at the things that I see.  There is an ongoing combination of new and old; things that bring back memories, and stuff that I didn’t even know that we owned.  (I am not always the most observant!)  Gloria is constantly adding a little here, taking away a little there, making small changes… that I might not notice for months.   What I do appreciate is that it always looks good. 

This gift is something special because it really helps to make our house our home.  The stuff that we have kept, and the things that are on display, tell a story of our lives, who we are, where we came from, what’s important to us, and so on. 

Now if I could only get the garage and the basement in order.  You guessed it, those are my areas of responsibility… sigh….

October Snow

October 14, 2009

I enjoy the four seasons, but clearly I enjoy winter less than the others.  Normally, fall is my favorite season. 

It snowed the other day.  In mid October!!  I feel as though I am being cheated out of fall.  Winter weather is not supposed to happen yet.  How annoying!!

I am reminded “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  I sigh heavily and try to refocus my thoughts on something more positive.  After all, there are always blessings, and things over which we can rejoice.  It is just a question of what we are focussed on.  Dwell on the good, deal with the bad.  “Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Faith, Presumption and Ignorance

October 13, 2009

Faith is the belief that God exists.  It is believing that God hears us when we pray, and that prayer can make a difference.  Faith believes that He is willing, and able, to intervene on our behalf.  Faith is a very good thing.

Presumption is when we assume that God will grant our requests.  It is when we treat God like an ordering service.  I want this, this and that; and if we don’t get what we have ordered, in timely fashion,  we immediately call the complaint department.    I have even heard it said that we are supposed to tell God what to do.  That goes beyond presumption to audacity!

Ignorance is when we believe that God must answer our prayers in a certain way. That God only acts in supernatural fashion.  That we must wait for a miracle, or it isn’t faith. That an answer to a problem; rooted in the natural realm,  that involves human action and involvement, is not an answer to prayer.      

Faith is very beneficial to living an abundant life.  The blessings of God upon people of faith are rich and varied.  Presumption and ignorance however, are harmful, both to individuals, and to the cause of Christ.  May God open our eyes to the merits of faith, and may we recognize, and turn away from presumption and ignorance.

empty nest

October 12, 2009

Both of my sons are now in Minnesota. 

Andrew left Saturday with his truck packed to capacity with the things that he was taking with him as he starts his new life in Minnesota.  He is going to be living in a log cabin, on a lake north of the twin cities.  He is very excited about starting the next stage of his life.

My wife and I are not quite so excited.

Don’t get me wrong,  we are very happy for him and believe that he is ready and capable, and that this is how it is supposed to be.

Except that, maybe a little closer to home would have been nice.

Of course we should be glad, he had wanted to join the military, and then talked about the border patrol, so I guess we should be happy that he is only one state away.

At any rate, we are now empty nesters.  This really started to hit me about a week before Andrew left.  The impact was truly felt on Saturday as he drove away.  Our big old house, where our children grew up is going to be very quiet, and seems pretty empty.

Sigh….

The transition might not be smooth, but I believe that each stage of life brings its own challenges and rewards.  I believe that God is good to his people and that our lives can be filled with blessings that come from God.

Our little blessings have grown up and moved on. 

I am certain that God’s blessings will continue in our life.

They will just be different.