I heard on the news this morning that Pres. Obama said that he believed in redistributing wealth. DUH! He has said that for many years. Why is it news now? I too believe in redistributing wealth, but of a different kind. Let me explain.
Socialism is the act of taking from those who have much and giving to those who have little. It sounds noble, but it leaves out the fact that there is only so much you can take from someone before they have nothing left to generate wealth with. It does take money to make money. Our government believes this and that is why they propose stimulus packages. Pretty soon those who had money and could make money lose that ability and then there is no one to provide jobs that pay a living wage. It won’t matter what the minimum wage law is, if you don’t have people to hire others, there just won’t be anyone with money. This is what happened to Cuba and is happening in Europe.
But there is a source of wealth that is never-ending. It is the riches of Heaven and of God. He has told all of His believers to give and give abundantly. Give to the poor and it will be given to you. Perhaps this is an area of neglect by the church that has motivated governments to try to step in a help. If the church and its people gave like God says give, we would not need government welfare. But giving should be an act of love not a mandate of government.
Jesus did not from those who had much to give to those who had little. All through the Bible when God asked people to give, it was those who were poor. The widow and her son were asked to give to Elijah. The boy with a couple of fish and some bread was asked give. The widow gave the most because she gave a penny. Jesus took what those who gave in faith and in love and multiplied it and redistributed out of His power, not the power of the all mighty dollar or a government.
Christians need to trust in God’s provisions. We need to be those who redistribute the wealth, but not our own; God’s.
Luke 6:38…Give, and you will receive. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your pocket. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.”
So the federal government is going to do another stimulus package. Where is this money coming from? Last time I checked, the US was trillions in debts and the last 2 or 3 stimulus packages did nothing to stimulate. I know that the rich have plenty of money, but even if we took it all from them it would not pay off the current debt. The federal government does not produce goods for the money they get, they get it from the citizens and there is not enough of my money left to pay any more to a wasteful bunch of government bureaucrats. STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON”T HAVE!!!
I can’t go out tomorrow and borrow enough money to pay off my house that I still owe on and expect my financial situation to get better. I can’t put all of my bills on a credit card and expect it to stimulate my savings account and retirement fund, nor will it give me more to eat in the next few months. Sadly there are not even enough jobs out there for me to get another one in order to make more money to pay my bills, which if I were in a financial mess would be the right thing for me to try to do, much less get another job to pay of the governments debts that I did not cause.
The American people are being duped into a financial disaster that can’t be fixed without someone putting a stop to this outrageous spending of our tax dollars. It is not because we are not paying enough in taxes, no matter who you are, it is that the government is spending money that it doesn’t have. Can anyone tell me how printing more money and going into debt helps create jobs? How does going into debt make things better if you aren’t making enough money to pay what you already owe? Stupidity is running a muck in Washington DC and I am sick of it. I am calling and writing my elected officials and telling them that they are fired if they spend one more dollar that I make and don’t have to give to them. If they want to stimulate the economy, grow a pair and make the tough decisions to be responsible with my money. Say no to more to printing and borrowing and spending. Resign and quit getting paid with my tax dollars if you want to stimulate the economy. I have a 3-year-old grandkids that can lose the money I give to her and she doesn’t require a six figure paycheck to do it.
I love our country. As yesterday celebrated the birth of our freedom, I couldn’t help but get a bit nostalgic. I served in the US Navy for nine years and come from a family where my dad was a twenty year Navy vet. From the time I was a child, I was taught to love our country and its freedoms. Standing at a baseball game while the National Anthem played, removing my hat and placing it over my heart was a regular event in my childhood. We would go to cemeteries and place American flags on the graves of veterans for patriotic holidays like the 4th of July. In elementary school I got to be the one to raise and lower the flag and was selected because my dad had taught me the proper way to fold it.
The freedom that we have here was earned and won on the battlefields through the years. Freedom does not come without a price and that price is a high one. But men and women from the beginning of our country’s founding have thought it worth paying whatever price needed to secure it. Every generation has those who question the times and fear that freedom is fading. Our founding fathers put many layers of protection into the documents of our government to help protect what had been won and to remind each generation of the fragile nature of freedom.
Today we are experiencing many things that threaten our freedom. People who use this freedom to fight against free markets and religion don’t realize that if they are successful, they could lose the very freedom of speech that they are using to fight what they disagree about. The attack on our free market society is one that scares me. The demonizing of people who own companies that hire good, hard-working Americans is counter-productive to our freedom. The idea that if you work hard and achieve the American dream of owning a business and having it be successful is somehow made to seem wrong. Instead, we are being force-fed that our country is about fairness rather than freedom. And, somehow we are supposed to think that fairness means taking what someone worked for and giving it to someone who does not work? I am confused.
I also worry about how our schools and local government make anti-American laws and policies. I am always hearing about cities and communities who won’t allow the flag to be displayed, even on the graves of veterans. Or schools that don’t allow the pledge of allegiance or patriotic shirts because they might offend those who are here illegally. That flag represents a country that loves those who come here for help and offer opportunity for all who are willing to work hard and legally to make a better life. Our schools are a place to teach children how to read and do math and science and to grow up to be productive members of a society of free people. Nothing is offensive about that and pledging to support our country and our freedom is not a bad thing. If we quit supporting what this country stands for, we won’t have people coming here for freedom…duh!
Religion is another place that I feel our freedom is being threatened. Yes, I am a Christian. I am a pastor and I have a personal attachment to this part of freedom. I guess the two areas that I feel most threatened from freedom of religion standpoint it the way we are being told that separation of church and state is a constitutional issue. It is not. That phrase is not in the constitution; read it for yourself. This is what the constitution says about religion and government: The constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Separation of church and state was a phrase used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, talking about the intrusion of government into church business and how unconstitutional it was. Government is not to intrude in religion, not vice-versa. All legal citizens are free to participate in whatever level they chose in our government, no matter their religious beliefs.
Secondly, I feel freedom threatened by the bending over backward of our government to accommodate the Muslim religion and even to allow a perverted part of that belief, Sharia law, to override our countries laws, in some cases. Nothing against that faith, but that perversion of that faith allows for the killing of many people, including Christians. How can our government work so hard to suppress Christianity, which is responsible for more charity work all over the world than any other organization, and promote, often through silence, or making of special exceptions, a religion that kills those who don’t believe their way? I know these are isolated cases, but this is a serious issue that must be watched.
I am not in a panic mode, but I think that we should take a hard look at how some are attacking freedom. No, it is not a perfect country that we live in, but it is the best country and the most generous country in the world. I was happy to celebrate its independence yesterday and look forward to continuing the annual celebration. Freedom can only fade if we let it. Let freedom shine brightly for the world to see!
Here is my first blog of 2012. What is important to you?
I have a friend who pastors a church in the Philippines and although I have only met him personally once, he has an amazing impact on me and my ministry. When we first met nine years ago, I had just been called to pastor a dying church in Rock Hill and he had just started a church in his home town in the Philippine Islands. He was trying to raise money for his ministry and I was trying to find hope in a church that had decided to turn inward and reject the people who lived all around.
Our church had a million dollar building bought and paid for, that included a full kitchen, class rooms, bathrooms, a 400 seat auditorium, and, despite being located in a part of town that was known for its crime and poverty, we have the full support of the police and government. His church was meeting in a graveyard because it was safer than anywhere in town. They had no classrooms, no running water, and if they were caught, they could be killed because of some of the terrorist groups that inhabit the islands and a government and police force that does not have the means to protect them.
Today, I pastor a church that has closed the original church, sold the building, and relocated. We have grown from a group of about 30 to a group of 150 and we have a different building with all the amenities of the previous building. It has been a challenge and a joy to see the change, and despite what I think as challenges, they pale in comparison to my friend’s nine years at his church.
They finally got a building, we would call it a roof over some chairs. They have grown numerically as well and I am sorry to say that I don’t have the numbers to report. They still don’t have it as nice as we do and probably never will, but they continue to grow and worship, despite the unending threats. Last night we talked and he told me that his health was a challenge due to diabetes and they are praying for the finances to be able to by a vehicle to transport people who live too far to walk to church.
In our conversation he told me that God was bigger that health or wealth problems. He said that God has never let him down and had always given them more than they deserved. He was optimistic and hopeful for the new year and knew that God would provide for their needs and allow them to continue to grow and prosper.
If our churches in America were in the same predicament as his, they would close and people would abandon their “faith”. I have seen people leave the church because they did not get their way in choice of color of carpet. I have seen people leave the church because the music was too loud, too slow, too new, or too old. I have seen people complain because there was not enough parking to keep them from having to walk too far in a parking lot. I have seen people complain about not having a playground or not having the temperature of the heat or AC set to their liking. I have heard complaints about my sermons being too long, too topical, too much about money or too much about a particular sin. I have had people refuse to be baptized because the water was too cold and refuse to become members because the church did not have a softball team.
My friend baptizes in a muddy river, has no AC, no parking lot and few vehicles to get people there. They have no carpet, no video system, and no playground. They complain about having to leave too soon if the pastor doesn’t preach and teach long enough. They risk physical harm and even death and still they join the church. They bring their friends and family and then they bring others. They believe that what they have is a blessing and they receive anything more with utter amazement that God would show them such grace. They think the most important thing that they have is their salvation from Jesus Christ. Because of this they make their church and their ministry about reaching lost people and not comforting themselves. They believe that God has and will supply all of their needs and because of that, they make the most important thing in their lives, God.
What is important to you?
The political season is in full swing. This is one of my least favorite times. In case you are wondering, I consider myself a fairly conservative guy. If you have decided to never read my blog again because of that statement, then you are part of the problem that bothers me. America is a great country full of sinful people who will always make a mess of things if not kept in check. Whether you are conservative or liberal in your political likings, we should all decide to make a stand on a few things.
First we should all agree that our country is a great country and that there is nothing wrong with us being great. Greatness is more than being the strongest. We help more people around the world than any other country. We defend our friends and keep our enemies at check. We do more to keep our planet clean and safe than anyone else ever has or ever will. We have freedom to speak out against the things we don’t like and to make an honest living pursuing our passions. There is plenty of room for improvement and differing opinions but nowhere else in this world can you be as free as we are. That is how I can write this blog and you can agree or disagree with it openly.
Second, I think we should all hold our media accountable for what they put out as fact. This may spark some controversy, but stick with me. Right now, Herman Cain is being accused of sexual harassment by at least four women. At first, it would be easy to say that with that many who are accusing him, he must have done something. The majority of the media is reporting this as if it were fact, yet our courts would probably not take any of them as a legal case because hearsay is not admissible in court. And, in America, we are innocent until proven guilty. Not so in the media. For those on the liberal side who may think that this is fair, I am just as upset with those who covered anyone who accused Pres. Obama of not having a birth certificate.
The media has a responsibility to report facts, not opinions, when they claim to be reporting the news. Investigative journalists should remember the journalistic code of ethics that says than you never report on a subject without verifying your sources and their credibility. But those of us who watch the news never seem to question the ethics of those reporting as long as it suits our political agenda. I believe that we should all write letters expressing our dissatisfaction with inaccurate and unfair reporting no matter which side it is on. When they see that their customers are upset, things will change. Let me state very clearly that if a candidate has done something wrong that they should be raked over the coals until they apologize or get out of the business.
I did a blog a few weeks ago about how we need to think for ourselves and to think logically. How many things have been contradicted over the past five years by so call science and or studies or the media? One minute salt is bad for you and we are taking it out of food and the next it isn’t. One minute cell phones are causing gas pumps to blow up and the next there is no evidence at all that this is true. But still today there are signs at gas stations that tell you to turn them off. Weather forecasters tell us that each hurricane season will be the worst ever and every year it doesn’t seem to happen. When are we, the common folk, going to start thinking that the problem may not be the stuff that is being reported on and start wondering if the problem is not the ones doing the reporting?
Third, and last, with this all being tied back to our politics, I think that it is time to hold the feet of those who make promises in the campaign but break them in office, to the fire. I know that there are things beyond their control once in office, but don’t promise me that you will never do this or the first thing that you will do will be that, and the opposite happens and you didn’t put up one heck of a fight. I am sick of political speeches that promise the moon for my vote and all I get for my vote is a broken promise. We should vote out every politician who only talks the talk but never walks the walk. Pretty soon liberals and conservatives alike will have the government that we really want. Of the people, by the people, for the people. We should all ask the media and ask politicians, do you really want me to listen? If so, change some stuff.
Our government gives the poor way too much. It is not the job of the federal government to give food and housing to the poor. It is called the American dream to own a home, not the American right to own a home. Owning a home requires one to be able to pay for the home and just because the government makes it easier to get financing, does not mean that you are ready nor deserving to own the home. Just yesterday I saw that there is even a government program to give poor people a free cell phone with 250 free minutes. Why?
There is no such thing as the government giving anything for free. It is all paid for and due to the fact that our government has no money of its own, that means that those of us who work and pay taxes, pay for all this free stuff. Since I pay for my own food, house, and cell phone, I can’t afford to pay for someone who can’t afford it for themselves. I bought my house based on my good credit and my good work record and because I budget my finances well I have a cell phone.
Food is a touchy subject. I do believe that people need to eat. I believe that if someone has no job and can’t buy food that they should have a means in which to eat. I just don’t think that it should come from the government. And I don’t think that someone who refuses to work should be able to eat as well or better than someone who does work but has to make sacrifices because they are paying for someone else’s home, cell phone, and groceries.
By this time I probably have about half of the people who read my blogs fuming mad. I have probably been call insensitive and had my Christianity questioned. However, I am not wrong; it is not the government’s responsibility to do these things.
Let me make one statement that I hope we can all deal with; No one has a right to a free cell phone and minutes.
Let me now clarify some things from the above statements.
It is the churches responsibility to take care of the poor. I can’t and wont argue with someone who is not a Christian about whose responsibility it is. Hopefully we can all agree that helping someone in need is a good thing and we just do it. BUT… The Bible is very clear that the church, Christians, should feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and house the homeless. It is not the responsibility of the government.
The church should do it out of love and a desire to show Christ’s love to others. We should do it with a motivation to help others become self-dependent and then for them to be able to help others. We should not just give to those who are not willing to help themselves. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.” There is a difference between those who can’t work and those who won’t.
Our society has created a class of people who are freeloaders. They know every agency and every charity that is willing to give away something free. When asked to work they refuse because they have more than they need from the give-aways, including a free cell phone and minutes.
My challenge to you is this. As of right now, things are not going to change when it comes to government give aways. But we can elect officials who will work to change these things. I am not talking about yanking the rug out from under poor innocent people who are down on their luck. I am talking about stopping the use of our tax dollars to promote freeloading. Pray about how you can begin to work within your church to help those in need. The old saying, give a man a fish, you feed him today, teach a man to fish, he feeds himself for a lifetime, is still true. We must help people become self-sufficient.
I will never allow someone to walk away to starvation. I will never allow someone to freeze to death because they have no shelter. I will never stop someone from calling 911 on my cell phone in an emergency. But please stop giving away so much free stuff without accountability. Even Jesus requires us to be accountable with the new life that He gives us, so what is wrong with require accountability from others?