Have You Added “Giving” to Your Financial Plan to Show Thanks?

Posted on December 14, 2017 in Money by

Wealth CreationDo you struggle with giving? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans (even Christians) struggle to give out of their abundance.

I work in an industry that doesn’t value giving. It’s not that we discourage giving, it’s more that we focus on accumulation. One of our main objectives is to make sure people have enough to sustain their lifestyle long after they stop working. With a heavy emphasis on wise spending and debt reduction, there is often little room for conversations around giving.

Occasionally I run across a client that includes giving int their financial planning. This takes the form of tithes, donations, and random acts of kindness. It’s encouraging, and, hopefully, we will see more people make giving a cornerstone of their financial plan.

Giving is somewhat an industry in our culture. We all know non-profits that work diligently to secure one-time and annual donations to fund their mission. We’ve all received mailings, phone calls, and emails asking for our donation at this “urgent” or “critical” time of need. I’m not suggesting this is a bad thing, just acknowledging that the “giving industry” exists.

A recent article explains the “art” of fundraising pitches and how they are designed to tug at our heart strings. While we might be tempted to get angry at such tactics, I think we should consider why the tactics are needed in the first place. One reason, the article explains, is that even though we can have immediate feedback about an object we purchase. But donating to charities doesn’t have a mechanism for feedback. This can create an almost built-in skepticism when giving to charities. The article states: Continue reading

Mega-Church Pastor Gives Terrible Answer to Abortion Question on Live TV

Posted on December 12, 2017 in Life by

pastor-carl-lentzIf you’re a pastor, it should be easy to determine what is sin. And you should be willing to call sin sin, you know, like Jesus did.

Mega-church pastor Carl Lentz, lead pastor of Hillsong Church appeared on The View recently where he wasn’t quite sure if abortion is sinful. The exchange took place when host Joy Behar said: “So, it’s not a sin in your church to have an abortion?”

Lentz responded:

“That’s the kind of conversation we would have finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe. … I mean, God’s the judge. People have to live to their own convictions. That’s such a broad question, to me, I’m going higher. I want to sit with somebody and say, ‘What do you believe?’”

This evasive non-answer has landed Lentz in a bit of trouble. And well it should.

The question asked was simple, it needed a simple, truth based response. For any Christian the answer to whether abortion is sinful is a resounding yes. Some want to talk about nuances and specific circumstances, but such a discussion is not necessary when talking about human life. As one that used to believe abortion in the case of rape was acceptable, I am familiar with these conversations. But once one understands that life is life, regardless of how it is conceived, the nuances disappear and the conversation becomes simplified. Continue reading

When Can Hobbies and Recreation Be A Bad Thing?

Posted on November 30, 2017 in Theology by

Relaxing

Anyone that has spent time encouraging Christians to study God’s Word, serve their church and community, or grow in prayer has run into the main obstacle to such Christian duties: entertainment.

I had a conversation with a friend several years ago in which we discussed his decline in Sunday attendance during football season. He explained that he had season tickets to his favorite team and went to every home game during the season. Since most of the games started around 1 pm, and he needed time to drive, park, and get into the stadium, he couldn’t be at church on those weeks. Thankfully, this brother was bothered by this reality and was seeking some ideas on what to do about it. I told him to get rid of the tickets because they were a distraction Satan was using to keep him from being a faithful Christian.

If you were to talk to the average American Christian you would think that the beginning and end of Christian duty is Sunday between 10 am and 12 noon. Christians often see the morning church service as the primary time of “being Christian.” It is the time that shows everyone around us that we are Christian, the time that sets us apart from our neighbors.

When we can’t make it to church on Sunday, it’s not a problem because we “live under grace” and God’s okay with it. The end result is a Christian that sees Sunday morning as the primary time to “be a Christian” but doesn’t attend faithfully (which is okay) because of distractions and recreations. Continue reading

Is Calling God “Mother” Theologically Helpful?

Posted on November 28, 2017 in Theology by

God as FatherWhy calling God anything but Father misunderstands our relationship with Him.

A recent article reminded me of an exchange I had recently with a friend concerning whether it is appropriate to address God in anything but masculine pronouns. It’s not a new question. It’s not peculiar to our modern culture to have this discussion. People from every generation before us have wondered out loud whether God is male, female, androgynous, or unknowable.

What may be peculiar to our generation is the number of men asking these questions.

The article is a little too “sympathetic to these arguments,” even though she makes it very clear that it is proper to address God in masculine terms. Her review of God from William Paul Young’s ‘The Shack” is more favorable than I believe is proper. There’s nothing in her critique making it clear that “The Shack” is a heretical work that completely distorts Scripture on everything from the Trinity to Salvation. And while the author disagrees, presumably, with Young’s portrayal of God, the language is not strong enough to make clear that “The Shack” is not a proper example for Christians to use.

That aside, the author of the article makes some very good points for why it is not proper to address God in anything other than masculine terms. One of the main arguments for referring to God in feminine terms is to be more inclusive of people who have abusive, absent, or unknown earthly fathers. But, as the author makes clear, this argument is far too short-sighted (and maybe sexist) to abandon Scriptural precedent: Continue reading

Christian Business and the Ministry of Wealth Creation

Posted on November 21, 2017 in Money by

Wealth CreationHave you ever considered “wealth creation” as a “holy mission”?

I live in the “wealth creation” world. Part of my objective is to help people create and maintain assets that will allow them to live life the way they desire. It’s what all of us in the financial services industry seek for our clients on a continual basis.

One notable difference for me is that, as a Christian, I am constantly seeking to integrate my faith into my work and be “light and salt” to those I interact with. Many believe that wealth and religion are segregated. The thought persists that our finances and our faith have nothing to do with one another. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In recent years more Christians have begun to understand the just how intertwined their faith and their finances really are. From using personal vacation time to serve global missions to donating money, time, and resources to reach out to their community. We are finally seeing that we cannot serve God with all our “heart, soul, mind, and strength” while refusing to surrender our wallet.

There is certainly a right and proper place for discussions around biblical stewardship. Jesus had no shortage of comments on the topic. In fact, while on earth, Jesus spoke more on the topic of money than any other topic; followed closely by hell. It’s interesting that these are the two topics people seem least interested in hearing about when in church.) This being true we can agree that this topic, money, is important. Continue reading

Hugh Hefner: Proving Hollywood is a Hypocrite on Morality

Posted on November 15, 2017 in Uncategorized by

Hugh HefnerWhat can I say about Hugh Hefner that has not already been said? In the days after his death my newsfeed streamed with articles memorializing and honoring Hefner and his life’s work at Playboy. It’s a surreal world when powerful men are brought low by accusations of sexual abuse, even by sexual harassment. Then, other men are praised and lifted high for treating women as objects of sexual desire and lust.

It’s hard to make sense of a world that can compartmentalize the lives of Harvey Weinstein and Hugh Hefner. Maybe if Weinstein would have offered to pay women and make them famous for accepting his sexual proposals he would not be in the trouble he is in right now. Then again, I think Weinstein did pay and make women famous. Just like Hefner.

And yet, Hefner is lauded and Weinstein is fired.

What exactly is the “legacy” of Hugh Hefner? He’s a man that dedicated his life to destroying the moral fiber of our world while making untold millions of dollars in the process. He may be more responsible for tearing families apart and advancing sexual crimes than any other single individual in history. An article at Fox News summed up Hefner’s legacy with this comment:

“He was the force behind the mainstream objectification of women, someone who paid them to take their clothes off and convinced them it was empowering to do so, using the same arguments pornographers use for the same goals.”

Somehow Hefner convincing women to take their clothes off in order to make money and become famous is socially acceptable. However, anyone else, Harvey Weinstein for example, using the same tactics is socially unacceptable, reprehensible even. This shows the clear disconnect between our social assurance that pornography is perfectly normal but the motives behind it are not. The disconnect is the only way Hefner can be praised for his “enterprising work” while Weinstein, Toback, Halperin, Polanski, and many others are brought down (as well they should be). Continue reading

The Miracles of Jesus Revealed The Wonder of the God-Man

Posted on November 14, 2017 in Theology by

BibleDid Jesus really have to do all those miracles?

Did He have to heal the blind and deaf and the lame? Did He really need to feed all those hungry people and make sure everyone was full?

The simple answer is yes! He had to show us that He was Lord over all heaven and earth. He couldn’t just come and die for us without first showing us Who He really was. He knew we wouldn’t believe that He was God’s Son without some evidence, some proof that He more than just a man. He knew our hearts would doubt, even if we watched Him die. So He came as a baby, lived as a man, and bent time and space to His will with just the words of His mouth.

He needed to walk on the water so we knew that the powerful ocean was under His command. He needed to calm the storm so we knew that the untamable wind obeyed His voice. The mighty earth with vast oceans and dizzying mountains belong to Him and He wanted to make sure we knew they would bow to Him when commanded to do so.

He needed to heal the blind and the deaf to show us that the mortal flesh we carry is but dirt in His hands; dirt He can mold and shape and do whatever He wills. He needed to bring Lazarus back to life to give us proof that the breath of life belongs to Him and He can restore it with the word of His mouth. Yes, even the command “come forth” and the dead must obey His voice. Continue reading

An Open Letter to Hollywood Regarding Ratings (And Morality)

Posted on November 9, 2017 in Sexuality by

HollywoodDear Hollywood,

You’ve got a problem. It’s a big problem costing millions. The headlines are all talking about it and sharing a lot of details that I am certain you won’t like. They’re talking about the major flops that have come out of your studios this year and the millions (maybe billions?) in lost revenue.

Here’s where I think the problem started.

You thought that since everyone loved going to the movies that you could produce whatever you wanted. You could include all the filthy language, graphic sex, violence, and anything else you wanted and we would simply accept it. And, for a while, we did. We went to the movies, we rented them, and we watched just about anything you were willing to produce. It was our mistake to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume a movie was just a movie.

But our mistake emboldened you to produce movies with even greater graphic sex and violence. You assumed that since we were watching that you had carte blanche to create whatever twisted picture you could imagine. So the endless stream of graphic horror movies and sex-filled drama’s started rolling. Then, it really got crazy.

I suppose you got bored with those sex and gore movies as your desire to be politically active grew. So you started inserting your political viewpoints into movies. You even produced movies that were nothing more than thinly veiled political propaganda films. And while you gathered 12 times a year to pat each other on the back and give each other awards, you didn’t notice that we were going to the movies less and less. Continue reading

If I Get To Define Grace We Are All in Trouble

Posted on November 7, 2017 in Theology by

graceWho gets to define grace?

I had an encounter not long ago in which I affirmed the disciplinary action a school took against a student. I wrote my comments in a blog post and made them public. I engaged in numerous conversations with multiple people that did not share my perspective. One comment that was made multiple times was “The school should have shown the student some grace.”

I challenged that statement by asking two questions:

1. How do you know the school did not show any grace?

2. Who gets to define grace?

Christians are big on grace. We like grace. And why shouldn’t we, “it is by grace we are saved.” The subject gets a little murkier when we seek to define grace for others. Defining saving grace is easy because the Bible has already done it for us. It is the gift of God shown to each of us that, combined with faith, allows a person to be born again. Defining grace for other people, or, more specifically, what grace should look like in the lives of other people, that’s a very different matter.

Trvin Wax has written an article I wish I could get everyone to read. You would be well served by taking a few minutes to read and understand what he is discussing in “Welcome Everyone, Affirm No One.” In the article Trevin makes this statement: Continue reading

The Hypocrisy of Feminism is on Display in the Boy Scouts

Posted on November 2, 2017 in Public Policy, Sexuality by

Boy ScoutsThe modern feminist movement is a hypocritical movement.

Modern feminism is a movement quite unlike the movement that sought equality in the 1960’s. While there can be no doubt that the founders of feminism in the 60’s wanted more than just equal pay, or the right to vote; the movement as it stands today communicates a male-hating hypocrisy that is hard to ignore.

The deafening silence of modern feminism to sex-selective abortion both in the United States and abroad is enough to earn the title of hypocrite. However, I am particularly interested in the reaction of feminism to the recent announcement by the Boy Scouts of America to allow girls into the program.

It was recently announced by the Boy Scouts (BSA) that they would begin allowing girls into the Cub Scouts starting in 2018 while developing a program to integrate girls into all stages of the BSA program. The end-goal will be to give girls access to the Eagle Scout program. And while boys and girls will not initially be mixed, it is reasonable, given the many changes in scouting protocol to assume that boys and girls will eventually be together.

Albert Mohler commented on his daily podcast, The Briefing, that this change comes as a result of “years of pressure from women’s groups that say girls should have access to programs like the Eagle Scouts.” Here’s where we can see the hypocrisy of feminism and those that adhere to a modern feminist worldview on display. Continue reading

Archives

%d bloggers like this: