While the title may hint at a political column, this post is really much more than that.
Its about a level of arrogance that breeds extreme ignorance.
Its about having blinders on so big that even road ahead looks black as night.
Its about self-righteousness that has run so far amok that even the Klu Klux Klan begins to look like a bunch of moderates.
That word has had a huge impact on my life, having discovered it some time in the Fall of 1990 while sitting in a Cultural Anthropology class at California Baptist University. Dr. H. Bruce Stokes dropped that term on us a few week before Halloween that year and spoke for nearly 30 minutes on how it had led anthropologists and archaeologists alike on a number of wild goose chases.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines is being “characterized by or based on the attitude that one’s own group is superior.” Dr. Stokes explained further people will fight to the death defending something they have convinced themselves is real, or that they were taught falsely – even when the facts are clear to the contrary.
Its really sad when intelligent, experienced, well-educated adults allow themselves to be sucked in on such gullible tales only top repeat them as thought they were fact. Its disheartening when people lose the ability to think and research for themselves, but instead rely on some talking head from one news station to do it for them.
And people, this doesn’t just happen in politics. It happens in religion too.
People have been mislead by preachers spouting a “name it and claim it” Gospel, so much so that they blame God when they don’t get they want or get things their way. Rather than seek the will of God in matters, they pray for their preferred outcome to occur, and question God’s ability or presence when it doesn’t come about.
Let’s get this straight people – we serve God, not the other way around. God’s plan is God’s plan and we need to get on board with it or get out of the way. Why? Because He’s seen all the possible outcomes and knows the best way to get the job done. He is infinite, not finite. His is omnipresent, not just hanging out. He is omniscient, not just good at guessing what card you picked from the deck.
Remember that Jesus told us that all of the law – not some of it, part of it or just the stuff we read – can be boiled down into just two commandments. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
Judging people for the purpose of condemning them? Sorry, not in our job description.
Shunning people because they don’t think or act like we do? Not in there either.
Forcing people to live according to God’s word? Nope, not part of our duties.
Then just before He left, Jesus gave us what is termed as the Great Commandment: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28: 18-20, NIV)
Now it seems to me that with Jesus proclaiming that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” He could have given us any number of tasks, jobs or game plans to carry out. And as His followers, as Christians, we would have the authority and the power to carry them out. I mean really think about this, He could have said…
“Go out and end world hunger!” or
“Go make everyone a Christian!” or
“Hate everyone who doesn’t follow my laws!”
But he didn’t say ANY of those things or anything like any of those things.
Jesus told us to go out and make disciples all nations; to make them students and hopefully followers of his teachings. Remember the two commandments, so whatever we do we must do in love. So everyone on the planet, from the tall to the small, must make a choice to follow Jesus. We can’t make it for them, no matter how bad a choice we think they are making.
That includes people who choose to be gay.
That includes people who choose to commit abortion.
That includes murderers, rapists and even the lowliest liar.
No sin is blacker than any other. So whatever you’re doing that is outside of God’s will – and that you make excuses for – is just as bad as the worst sin ever committed. And while that may sound condemning, it can also be a source of great hope. Because no matter what sin you’ve committed, Christ still sits waiting for you to come to Him and choose the life that He wants to give us. Life that is abundant and full and riuch in every way imaginable.
Christ never said it would be easy. But you can bet that it will be well worth the effort.
So I challenge you thin think for yourself. Don’t let some writer or news monkey be your only source. And certainly don’t let this writer be your only source. Read, research and best of all pray for yourself. If you truly let God lead you, He will never lead you wrong.
Six years doesn’t seem like a long time.
It’s longer than the life of your average band and most TV series.
But six years in the life of a fledgling church that has walked a long and winding road seems a lot longer when you start looking back at where you’ve been.
This Sunday will mark the 6th anniversary for The River A Christina Church in Las Vegas. And it is one that, after some trials that would have staggered most mega churches, seems to be celebrating a rebirth as it moves forward.
I came to The River in the Spring of 2010, having just met my soon-to-wife online and getting ready to start a new life. My first visit was one marked by meeting senior pastors Ed & Lorri Conover. Lorri greeted me briefly with an effervescent smile and a hug. I only met Ed for a moment as he was in what would prove to be the final stages of a battle with cancer. He passed about five days after that encounter while I was back at home packing to make the move.
Unbeknownst to me at that time, Lorri had also been diagnosed with cancer, a battle she fought until June of this year when the Lord called her home. My last moments with her were spent with my wife holding her hand and my reading the book of James to her, Ed’s favorite.
Losing one pastor is a lot for any church to handle, but losing two is usually has people packing up and moving on.
But The River family has instead closed ranks and chosen to stay true to the call given their founding pastors six years prior.
As the last three years have passed I have become intimately involved with the administration of the church. It started with volunteering in the sound booth when its director left. I came in to help out and four weeks later was placed in charge of it.
A few months later I was the church “historian” (for lack of a better word), asked to record all of the events and what not through photography.
In the last year and a half I have taken on the roles of marketing and web administrator.
They keep me around much longer and they’re going to have sign some deeds over to me or something.
But as we prepared for Sunday’s celebration, I tried finding a theme for graphics and what not that I might circulate through our social media outlets. And so I looked at what the expected gifts might be for such an anniversary.
Traditional: Candy and Iron.
Someday somebody is gonna have to explain who came up with that stuff and why, but that is for another day.
But as I pondered those items it became clear that they were very appropriate for The River in this season.
No doubt, it has been a very bittersweet six years. The creation of a church and being involved in such wide-ranging events as The Sound and Passion Play were certainly high marks. The loss of two pastors and the travails that come with not having your own building, not so much. Like a bag of Halloween candy, there’s always some you can’t wait to get to and other s you hope your parents will take.
The resolve that The River family has shown in this season is inspiring. Like Iron being forged in a fiery furnace, it may be shaped and bent to the master’s end purpose. But when it is done it will be stronger for it and be more useful than the lump of mineral components could have ever been.
And when building for the future, as The River is now, it requires a good foundation and framing. It requires that it be done right and that it be done with craftsmanship so that it stands the tests of time. So that when the storms come, and they will come again, that it will not be blown down or torn asunder by the shifting sands.
Six years. Seems like a long time. But in the scope of what The River was called to do, it’s but a blink of an eye.
And those eyes are only looking ahead as we move forward.
Lately I’ve been researching my family tree and it’s been quite interesting.
In the last two months since I really got into it, I was finally able to find the birthplace of my grandma MacDonald. Just getting there was a task, but thanks to the Internet and Facebook, I was able to find so much more.
I actually found pictures of her as a child, as well as her brothers, sisters and father – my great grandfather.
And once that door opened up, I was able to start seeing connections to people in the past that I’d never known. And interestingly enough, some I did know.
I found that I was related to the likes Robert The Bruce, Charles Martel and even Charlemagne.
Finding yourself attached to those folks is somewhat sobering. But this weekend it might have gotten even better.
I was searching for pictures of these new-found family members when I found a web site that linked members of this royal chain even farther back than I expected. I knew I didn’t have time to enter in all the data, so I just started clicking through the father’s names until I hit one I recognized.
Isaac (Ishaq) ben Abraham.
That seemed a little coincidental, so I glanced over at his wife’s name and found it to be Rebekah. One more look and I found that his father’s name was Abraham and his mother’s Hagar.
And it suddenly dawned on me that – according to this one web site – I had a direct lineage to the father of Israel. Not just any Abraham but the Abraham.
Of course you make enough clicks backward and you end up with a nice pair of newly weds (and newly createds, for that matter) named Adam and Eve who were having some housing issues.
It dawned on me at that point that what I had always thought to be true with the story of Noah, was true all the way around.
We’re all family.
Think of all of the evil in the world today. Greed. Theft. Envy. Lust. Murder. Wars. This list is practically endless.
And when we think we’ve just about reached the end, we always seem to come up with a new spin on an old sin or something completely out of the blue.
But what is we thought of each other as family.
As a child considering the saga of Noah, it occurred to me that everyone on the planet must be able to trace the ancestral roots back to one of Noah’s three sons and then to Noah. That no matter our skin color, race or sports team affiliation we are all related.
Think about that for a moment.
That guy who cut you off in traffic and gave you the bird.
That woman that called trying to collect a bill.
All of them – and yes, even the Congressmen – are your brothers and sisters. They may be a few times removed, but we are all part of one family. The family of man.
And it was for that reason that God sent the Son of Man to atone for our sins. Because to make amends for the seemingly endless array of things we have done and will continue to each other, He had to send a member of the family to get it right.
Am I directly linked to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. Well, if I believe the story of Noah then I must be somehow. But whether or not I am in their bloodline means little in that we are all one race, under God and we really ought to start acting like it.
One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one
~ Thee Dog Night (1969)
There may have been a good reason for the classic rock band to have stopped at two back in the day, but likely not because they figured out what we now know today about the number five.
There are lots of ways to get the message out about your business. But its generally accepted that the best form of advertisement is word of mouth. There is something about the personal referral that really seems to hit home with people.
So how do you get people chatting about your business, and particularly in a favorable fashion?
A good product helps. But even great products have gone bad when service isn’t part of the equation. People like to feel special.
Lyoness, like a lot of other home based businesses, relies on people sharing it for those involved to be successful. But when hit with the initial though of sharing something like that, people tend to freeze.
I recently did a survey where I asked people to think about something in their life that they were at least somewhat passionate about. It could be a person, a project or a cause, but the important things was that they cared about it to some degree. And when asked to consider that, I asked them how effective they though they could be sharing it with others.
Of those that responded, just over 86% thought they could share that passion with others and recruit at least five people they know to help with that cause and be somewhat passionate about it as well. Another six percent thought they could share their passion with others, but not get five people.
I also asked if they thought they could accomplish the task in 30 days? 77% thought they could do that while 6% thought it would take them longer than that. Eight percent though that they could do it in less than that amount of time.
So in summary, about 4 out of 5 people thought they could recruit the five people and do so in 30 days.
“OK Allen, why all the stats? Are you gonna start talking about your days as a high school basketball player again or something?”
No, I only bore my wife and kids with that stuff.
But what those stats show is that roughly 80% of people in my survey thought they could share something they believed in.
So the question is: Do you believe in Lyoness?
Recently some seminars have shown that by just sharing the Lyoness cash back card program with five people, and helping them do the same thing, can have dramatic results.
Let’s say in a month you share Lyoness with five people, so there are six of you. And in the next month those five people share it with five more of their own. That means that your Direct and Indirect referrals now number 30. Not too shabby. And if you all spend $1,250 a month with Lyoness merchants on the things you already buy, you get a minimum of $12.50 in cash back and get $187.50 in Friendship Bonuses.
Not too shabby!
But let’s assume that you and your 30 friends all take your cash back rewards and route them into your back office. I mean, seriously, what are you going to do with $12.50 but blow it on lattes and scones, right?
The reason you’d put it into your back office is that it would give you a minimum of $25 a month in your Loyalty Account. That means that every three months like clock work you and your friends would create a Shopping Unit. More on that in a minute.
Back to you 25 Indirect Referrals for a moment. What if they kept up the trend and in 30 days referred five more of their friends into Lyoness. That would add 125 more people to you tree. And if that replication process continues every 30 days, with everyone spending $1,250 with Lyoness merchants, at the end of month four you have 625 more people in your tree. At the end of five months there are 3,125 new people and after six there are 15,625 more.
So what do all of these people mean? Well, remember that every three months they generate a Shopping Unit. And as they do the sheer number of units passing through your group of referrals will establish you in the Volume Commission and Volume Bonus sections of Lyoness. When those 3,125 people generate their units, they establish you at Level 5.
What it does do is qualify you for a $4,500 monthly payment and at least $1 for each of the 3,000-plus units that got you there. That’s a payout of at least $7,000.
And once you’re established as a Level 5, you’re good for six months. Hit the Level 5 qualifications again just once in that period, and the clock resets for another six months.
Those are just two of the 10 ways to get paid in Lyoness, and Level 5 is only halfway up the Volume Commission schedule. A little hard work and encouragement of your team could pay off big down the road.
All because you saw fit to share Lyoness with just five people.
So how much can you do?
If you’d like more information about Lyoness, send me an email or leave a comment below. You can also open your email program by clicking on the Lyoness link on the right of this blog. As always, the information and the membership are totally free.
It appeared after the 2012 election that the Republican Party had gotten a wake up call.
They and their team of paid pundits, aka Fox”News”, had predicted a resounding victory for their candidate Mitt Romney. They assured the American people of a blow out win that would make the Reagan-Mondale fiasco look small in comparison. At least that’s the way Fox promoted it.
And then they shut up.
I called the outcome of the election with a decided amount of accuracy. Among other things I stated that Obama would win, that he’d have a 3%-5% margin in the popular vote and that have at least 280-290 votes in the Electoral College. And when all of those came true, plus a few more, my GOP friends were astonished. How could their news station, their candidates and their constituency have been so wrong?
Well don’t look guys, ’cause its happening again.
The Grand Old Party is digging itself a hole that it may not be able to get out of.
After recovering from the shock of their 2012 loss, the Republican leadership evidently didn’t learn that they are severely out of touch – even though they paid lip service to that sentiment. They didn’t learn that the average American is not buying their rhetoric any longer.
The American people don’t believe that huge corporations running unbridled and unchecked is a good thing for them.
They don’t believe that the GOP is telling them the truth very often, if at all.
And they don’t believe that shutting down the government so the GOP can get their way is right whatsoever.
But that’s what the Republicans decided to do since they didn’t get their way with the Affordable Care Act.
Jon Stewart did a wonderful job of explaining why this is so ridiculous on The Daily Show Sept. 30, 2013. Because I can’t get the actual video up or find a transcript, here’s a paraphrase of what he said.
The GOP protesting the Affordable Care Act is like the New York Giants, after having lost to the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend 31-7, telling the NFL, “Look, we know we lost, but unless you give us 25 points we’re going to shut down the NFL!”
Republicans just don’t get it. They lost and they lost big. The Affordable Care Act passed the House and the Senate. President Obama signed it into law and when challenged, the Supreme Court backed it up saying that it was Constitutional.
But that wasn’t enough. So while we have an economy still reeling from the financial crash of 2008 (which came under George W. Bush’s watch) the Republicans decided to waste vote after vote – 41 in all so far – attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act law.
And now that they have no recourse left, they are willing to take some one million federal employees and toss them to the wolves without pay. They think it is perfectly fine to commit a political terrorist act and hold the entire nation hostage so they can get their way.
My son use to think that way when he was three years old. I swatted his butt and he stopped doing that. Makes you think doesn’t it?
The images and emotions of this year are being indelibly etched into the minds of Americans, especially the ones who are now out of work. And as the holiday season turns toward 2014 in a few months, the real meat of the next political cycle will begin. Unless the Democrats throw a complete loser into the race, the GOP is gearing up for another sound thrashing.
How will it go down? Probably something like this…
The GOP will open any discussion on the Affordable Care Act by saying that it is costing Americans billions of dollars. They won’t have any specific figures, and when they do one won’t match from one pundit to the next because they aren’t bright enough to check their lies before they tell them. They’ll point to Democrats as the ones who wouldn’t budge and meet their demands.
The Democrats will counter with the fact that Affordable Care Act is a law, pointing to the various members of the GOP that voted for it to make it so. They will repeatedly show that what the Republicans did was wrong, and they’ll prove it.
But all that won’t really matter because what will still be fresh in their minds of the more than one million federal employees that got laid off will be that their jobs were cut off for some extended period of time. And when the dust settles, the majority will realize it was the GOP that did it to them.
And the icing on the cake will be a slew of commercials about how the Affordable Care Act helped person after person who previously had no health care or couldn’t get it due to preexisting conditions.
At that point it won’t matter if they have a Ronald Reagan clone running. The damage will have been done.
The hole may just be far too deep.
The 2016 election just became the Democrats to win lose.
And with more than two years left before my next set of prognostications are due – which I’ve made every presidential election since Jimmy Carter and been right every year – I’m going to sit back and enjoy the show.
Hey, can someone reading this back up a dump truck full of popcorn for me.
This is gonna be good.
It’s a wonder Santa Claus hasn’t taken a cue from Costco and Sam’s Club and started making his rounds in August.
But even as ol’ St. Nick spends his final three months of vacation in a thong somewhere on a Bermuda beach (Yeah, try and get THAT mental picture out of your head) we’re turning the corner on that time of year when we our thoughts turn to presents, snow and tons of great food.
And with all of that we’ll spend a ton of money.
That’s right, beginning October 1, we’ll begin the biggest single spending quarter of the year. What with presents, big meals and people traveling everywhere, Americans spend more in the last three months of the year than at any other time.
So as consumers and small businessmen, how can we take advantage of that?
As business owners, finding new ways to attract customers is key. If we can get them now we may be able to keep them well into the new year.
As consumers, we know that businesses are fighting for our hard earned dollars. So we should be looking for the best deals and savings and any way that we can increase our buying power.
Lyoness gives both sides of that equation just what they’re looking for.
I Buy, Therefore I Am
Think about all of the stuff you’re going to buy in the next few months. For most of us the expense of gifts alone with be several hundred dollars, if not a thousand. We’ll probably hit a few dozen stores to collect just the right gifts for the people on our list, even though one in seven of our recipients (14.3%) will return them.
Gift cards have grown in popularity over the years, with one study showing that nearly 61% of adults would rather have one of those than something they may end up returning or not using.
As a gift giver, Lyoness gives you the perfect opportunity to make the best of both scenarios. Whether you shop online or in person, whether you’re buying actual gifts or loading up on gift cards, Lyoness can help you save money and earn extra cash.
If you remember from a few posts back, we saw a stat that showed the average family of four spends about $1,500 a month on things that a Lyoness membership would help save money on. So over the final quarter of the year that would be $4,500. And for the sake of argument, let’s say that same family is going to spend about $2,500 extra on presents, food and travel to get to grandma’s house (driving over the river and through the woods is not cheap). So all in all, about $7,000 in expenditures.
I think my wallet just had a seizure.
But then it remembered it had a Lyoness card in it and all is well.
Over the course of the coming quarter a Lyoness member could earn as much as $140 in cash back, not to mention what could be going into his piggy bank (aka Back Office). With some retailers giving as much as 10% in Loyalty Benefits, that could add up to an additional $700. That’s almost 10 shopping units.
But remember the Lyoness mantra – Shop, Share and Repeat!
So if you make any kind of an effort to share Lyoness and they made similar expenditures in this final quarter, your Friendship Bonus for their purchases would net you $35 per family. Share it with just 5 people and that’s $175. Share it with 10 and its $350.
And if your five friends share it with five friends, all of similar family size, that’s $1,050 in Friendship Bonuses. If you had shared it with 10 and they shared it with five, (that’s 55 people contributing to the bonuses) you’d earn $1,925.
That simple act of shopping and sharing could pay for your normal $1,500 in expenditures for all of January, and leave you a few hundred bucks to start planning your wife’s Valentine’s Day gift.
Yeah guys, I’m lookin’ out for ya here.
Ummm … What’s In It For Me?
So I’m a business and all these shoppers are able to make money by using Lyoness over the holidays. Can I use it to make money too?
Lyoness will hit more than 100,000 members in the U.S. well before year’s end. At this time last year when I first registered I was member 28 thousand and change. And at that time, there were only a few hundred businesses online. Now there are more than 2,000 merchants in the states and thousands more around the world.
First, don’t miss the opportunity this holiday season to become a Lyoness Loyalty Merchant. Lyoness members are looking for deals, for ways to save money and make money while they shop. They are fiercely dedicated to finding deals. Become one of their choices.
Secondly, Lyoness will only allow up to 50% of the businesses in a given industry to become part of their network in each city. That allows their loyalty merchants to have a leg up on the competition. So if you owned one of 10 restaurants in a given city and five of them registered, you’d be out of luck unless two more came along.
Don’t sell your hair to wig shop, become a Lyoness Loyalty Merchant today.
Another big advantage of getting on board before this holiday season starts is that you can register customers as Lyoness members when they come in. They’ll shop with you and get cash back and loyalty benefits. They’ll be happy, come backl and tell their friends.
But they won’t likely spend all $2,500 of that extra money in your store (but if they did, WOO HOO!). So as they scurry about getting gifts and fruit cakes for their loved ones, you’ll be earning Friendship Bonuses on all of their purchases with other Lyoness merchants.
The average person maybe has eight or nine friends they’ll be able to easily register for Lyoness. As a business, you have hundreds of customers every day that are all looking for savings. What better way to help them out by offering them a free Lyoness membership that saves them money in your store and thousands more around the world?
And what a great gift for your employees? Register them, let them register your customers and they could start earning a great holiday bonus that will show up every month throughout the year!
If you get any of your suppliers to become Lyoness Loyalty Merchants, or maybe you already shop at some place like Sam’s Club for a bunch of your stock and supplies, you could be earning even more cash back.
Joining Lyoness is smart move any time of the year, but getting on board now with the holidays closing in is a great chance to take advantage of the extra shopping you and others are going to do anyway. Don’t miss out.
If you’d like more information on Lyoness or would like to get registered so you can start turning your expenses into income, leave a comment below or drop me a line via email. The information and the membership are always free.