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answering your questions

  • How do I get past the grief stage of my loss?
    Grief is not a dirty word. It is part of the healing process that we go through when we face a loss or crisis. It is a very natural response when you suffer the loss of someone that you love. If this happens to you, let grief run its course, but no more than that. It is normal to have feelings, just don't be dominated and controlled by them. Don't be afraid of grief. If you lose someone, don't shut his or her memory out of your life. Share your thoughts and express your feelings about them. Remember the good times. Don't be afraid to laugh or cry. Most of all look to the Lord. He is faithful. Listen to what He promised that He would do.. "The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all of her ruins. He will make her deserts like Eden and her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing." (Isaiah 51:3) God is looking on our ruins with compassion, and he is going to bring a restoration to your life if you will let him. There are three phases to the restoration of a life. They are taken from the book of Nehemiah. FIRST- walk through the rubble of the city that is in ruins. This is the grieving process. SECOND- on your next trip, see what can be kept and what ruins must be discarded. This is a time of sorting everything out. You are choosing what must stay and what must go. THIRD- return and rebuild. It won't be long until that thing that you have grieved over has become a treasured memory held close to your heart.
  • I have been asked to give counseling to someone. Is there a place that I should start in helping them resolve their problems?
    If you are going to accept the task of counseling someone, your first goal is to get a clear understanding of why they are there. Start with two questions. What is the problem and what do you want the results to be. The rest of the questions that should be asked fall in place behind these. It would surprise you how many people really don't know what the problem is, much less what they want the solution to look like. When you counsel someone, learn to listen. It takes discipline and determination. Look for the conversation that is going on between the lines. Learn to ask questions that make them think and that help them come to the right conclusions on their own. When interpreting misbehavior, you need to say the following things: What are you doing? You are supposed to be this way. Here are the affects of your actions. You have a decision.
  • Is having a Revolution rebellion against authority? It seems some countries need to be over thrown.
    I agree that sometimes rogue nations need to be over thrown. But a real revolution is deeper than that. A revolution is actually one of ideas and thought. The overthrowing of a government and the shedding of blood is not the revolution, but rather the means to enforce the revolution. Without a real change of the former, the latter is nothing more than lawlessness and destruction. Many governments have been overthrown by war lords, but they themselves did not have the ideas and thought to sustain themselves once they were in power. A revolution by nature is violent, but a true revolution is one of ideas and thought. A successful revolution should look like the slow grind of time.
  • Are you a failure if you quit your project mid-stream?
    There are times when a plan is aborted through outside means. You must know when to walk away from it and let it go. I don't look at this as quitting. It is just that the success of the entire plan does not usually rest on one individual or individual idea. In other words, other factors which are out of your control can cause it to go down. You must see that the project continues to merit your time. It is easy to get tied up in something and spend the rest of your life chasing dimes with dollars. This is usually because of a lack of judgment or because of pride. Don't let pride make your business decisions. You must discern the time to breathe life, time, and money into a project, and you must also know how to read the handwriting on the wall and to put it out of its misery. There are many battles in each war. There will be another day. There will be another opportunity.
  • Is it wrong to get angry?
    There is a ditch on both sides of anger. On one side is a wimpy non-aggressive who feels guilty if he ever raises his voice, and on the other side is someone who tears the house down when they explode in rage. Both beat themselves up in condemnation. We have never been taught to process this emotion because we did not understand its purpose. First of all, God is the author of your emotions. That includes anger. Anger is not evil, it is a tool and it has a purpose. Ephesians 4:26 - Be ye angry and sin not, and let not the sun go down on your wrath. Proverbs 16:32 - He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. Titus 1:7 - Don't be soon angry. This says three things: It is not uncommon or wrong to be angry. You have the power and responsibility to use it as a tool. You decide how long anger is expressed. Anger works like adrenalin. It is a "power emotion" that produces the fuel you need to change your circumstances. Anger is a "break through" emotion. It empowers you to "Break through" barriers and difficulties. Anger is a righteous and even godly response to anything that is wrong, destructive or out of order. Most people only relate to anger as it has been displayed through an uncontrolled manner. But that is not the true image of anger. Abraham Lincoln saw a cause and was angry about it. The same could be said of Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa. We all know of Martin Luther King Jr. What was the motivation that empowered him to continue in spite of all the adversity that he encountered? It was the emotion we call anger. Anger is the clearest voice when the cause is righteous. However it is only effective when it is put into action in the positive. If it is held in too long it will lead to frustration and destruction. The reason is because it is designed to be a problem solver. Most people are frustrated because they see a problem and feel helpless to do anything about. Frustration is anger that has been cooking too long. Anger is not rage but it can turn that direction. Anger can be expressed in a quiet, respectful and orderly manner. You don't even have to raise your voice, but you are motivated. One word of caution, if you are angry all of the time, then you are out of balance with life and you are poisoning your environment. Just like a pinch of salt can add flavor, but too much of it ruins the meal. Anger in the right place will keep your life in order, but too much will destroy your family, your relationships and your future. Anger is only expressed the way God intended when it is through the fruit of the Spirit called "Self Control" (Galatians 5:22) For more of a more in-depth study on the subject of anger, I suggest that you download the message I preached on the subject.
  • I have trouble making decisions. What do I do?
    I find indecision to be one of the most frustrating things that I can experience. If you are not careful, you will just pick and choose because of the pressure of the moment. Most of the time, indecision comes because you have not thought a situation through. The greatest cure for indecision is getting alone in a quiet place and listening to your heart. And next to that would be to seek the counsel from someone you trust. Practice making decisions by asking your self questions: What happens if I don't do this? Which situation will have the greatest impact? What do I like the most? What would my mentor do? One final thought. When it comes to the welfare of the people around you, take time to work through your decisions. Don't let pressure force you into being impetuous. It is better to suffer the consequences for a short time of a late decision than dealing with the regret of a hasty, wrong decision. Once you have made your decision, be firm with it. This is a very important test of your life and leadership.
  • Is there a clear-cut standard for right and wrong? Can we talk about absolutes in this area?
    Where are the lines or ethical standards for conduct drawn? That is a good question. I am taking for granted that you are not speaking about the things that are covered by the laws of the land. Rather the ethical and moral standards of right and wrong. I find that with each generation the standard moves. The taboos of yesterday have become common activity today. People do today without a thought, things they would have never considered doing a generation or two ago. And what is condemned in one part of the world is considered normal behavior in another part. The absolute standard of right and wrong is covered in the Word of God. However, the scripture at times seems unclear in addressing specifics of conduct and morality. When scripture is unclear, as it is with many of the traditions of man, the highest authority is that of the conscience.
  • We just returned from our vacation and we are exhausted. We went a lot of places but I am not sure that we really had any rest.
    Most vacations mirror the lives of those who take them. The trip is always an annoyance and the destination is always in the future. They don't know what it means to "live" in the moment. Whether at home or abroad, make the decision to smell the flowers, to see the beauty, and to touch the present.
  • Why is fear and worry so harmful to us?
    The reason fear is so bad is because the information it gives the body can be real or imagined, but the body doesn't know the difference. The body does not know the difference between reality and unreality. It responds simply to what it is told. If the mind perceives that there is a monster in the closet, the body will respond with anxiety and panic. The mind has such power over the body that what the mind perceives as reality is communicated to the body and you physically feel the effects. Worry has the same effect on the body. It responds to what it is told. Fear produces stress that affects all parts of the body and can eventually put you in the grave. This is why Jesus was so emphatic about the believer living free from care and worry. The mind also has the ability to refuse to let stress and fear take up residence. This is done by making the decision to live in the promises of God. The reason the Word must be used is because fear cannot be simply displaced; it must be replaced with something bigger than itself.
  • The bible seems to support the death penalty. Do you believe it is right or wrong for our states to use the death penalty today?
    In the days of the bible there were people who were just as dangerous as there are today. There were criminals who would murder, rape and destroy with no regard for life. But when it came to incarceration, their options were limited. In that era, they had no real facilities to restrain someone for the rest of their life. You can only keep them in a tent so long. The problem was that when you had an individual who was that dangerous to the community there was no place for secure incarceration and punishment. The death penalty is not necessary today as it was in the past. We have better facilities and resources to capture and punish wrong doers. A better solution is to make that person pay the penalty for his terrible transgression for the rest of his natural life. Not in the convenience of a cell with satellite and Internet, but rather a lifetime of hard labor. Seems to me that lethal injection lets them off the hook while the families of their victims suffer every moment for the rest of their lives. I see the death penalty as a step in the wrong direction. I would like to see it removed. Nevertheless, if one of our states chooses to keep it as law it must never be taken lightly and remain to them an agonizing process. However, when the decision is made, the task should be carried out within a year. The years of appeal and the millions of dollars are simply irresponsible.
  • I have invited people to my house for dinner and they don't seem to know when to leave. How do I get them to go home at the end of the evening without causing offense?
    It's a difficult situation to have a guest over for dinner and they won't go home. How do you dismiss them? Let's suppose that the dinner is at 7:30 p.m. A good time to leave would be around 9:30 p.m., or at the latest 10:00 p.m. The guest of honor should actually be the first to leave, giving a signal for the other guests to follow at that time. If you have no guest of honor or your guest does not know the protocol, at the end of the evening, you, as the host, can rise from your chair and with a jolly attitude express your appreciation for all of the guests coming, then say, "It is late. I'm sure everyone has a busy day tomorrow, let's call it an evening." If you know ahead of time that you have to dismiss them at an early hour, or at a specific hour, it is helpful to let them know in advance that you have to do so because of other obligations. They won't mind if you let them know early. If you are at a restaurant, you can call for the check, express how much you enjoyed the evening and make a statement like, "Well, it's time to let these fine people clear these tables." If someone is in your office, you can rise, and usually they will rise at the same time. Your conversation and body language will tell them that it is time to leave. As you rise in a warm manner move toward them and then toward the door. End with a statement like, "I appreciate you coming by to see me." All of this will vary depending on the individual, but it will at least give you a rule of thumb.
  • What is your favorite poem?
    Where the heart is without fear and the head is held high. Where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls. Where words come out from the depths of truth, Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sands of dead habit. Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action. Into that heaven of freedom my father let my country awake. Ramone Donner DeGore - A poet of India He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1917
  • It seems to me that Debt is a way of life. Everyone does it. What are your feelings about debt?
    I don't see it as wrong in the sense that you have done some evil thing if you go in debt. Some use other people's money as leverage to bring greater opportunity to themselves. But that is not the case in most people's lives. Do I consider it smart? No! Do I think there is a better way? Yes! The lifestyle of debt can be very dangerous. Some people are bound by alcohol, some by drugs, and the taskmaster of debt is equally cruel. It is intimidating and hindering. Greed is at the heart of it. Greed is on one side of it and compulsion and lack of judgment on the other. God intended for you to enjoy what he has given you. To really enjoy it, pay cash. Debt robs you of opportunity. It keeps you bound to a system that is unstable and unreliable. The flow of financial opportunities has a down side to equal its high side. The man who is in debt is bound to take the ride down. The key is to be debt free, and when you see that the downswing is coming, you can step out of the loop for a while. Catch it on the upside. A debt free man is free to control his own destiny, and he can go from one peak to another. However, the time to buy is when the flow is on the bottom. Hard times hold many opportunities. You can't do that if you are broke and in debt.
  • I have a guy on my team who seems great at starting projects but he fizzles out before the job is complete. Should I replace him?
    Some people are sprinters. Some are marathon runners. You must understand this when you expect something from someone. Sprinters have the ability to get things going, and you need that for certain projects, but the marathon runner can finish the job right down to the last detail. You need both on your team. The sprinter is usually the energy of the team, most likely a Sanguine. Learn to utilize their strengths. We spend so much time trying to improve ourselves in areas of weaknesses and on things that we are not good at. I believe you should work on your strengths and staff your weaknesses.
  • Can you explain why we don't see more people healed after they are prayed for?
    The greatest misconception in the scripture about healing is the word "Recover". You know the scripture. "You shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover". Unfortunately our attitude about receiving healing is very limited in what we see at the moment we are prayed for. But that is not how healing works. I have seen miracles like that but healing is different. Healing is a process most of the time. A wound begins to heal and after a time you realize that the healing has occurred. Here is the application. There are sick people whose body is not healing as it should. Prayer for them is the catalyst that goes to the root of the problem and corrects the problem so it can heal. Sometimes that healing is accelerated and sometimes it is not. After they are prayed for they should go on with their life and as they go the healing is occurring. They shall recover. Spend this time in thanksgiving to the Lord for what He has done. Protect what is being done with your faith and confession. Don't dismiss what God is doing simply because you don't see it at that moment.
  • I have a feeling that my mate is being unfaithful to me. He denies it of course but there are signs that suggest the contrary. Is it foolish to ignore the signs?
    While I don't hold to the "Chicken Little" philosophy as a way of life, I do believe that if something hits you on the head, you should at least look up. There is a healthy side to paranoia. Have you ever heard the saying, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"? Learn to listen to and trust your heart. This sounds like the time to more carefully monitor your affairs.
  • Is it in God's plan for us to retire?
    To embrace the concept of retirement is to be deceived into thinking that you have productive and non-productive years. That in it self is very narrow-minded. The fact that you have been given additional years should tell you that you have not yet completed everything that God wants you to do. You may not do the same thing that you did thirty years ago, but every year of your life yields a harvest of wisdom, understanding, and experience. It is alarming how much of that harvest is left to rot in the fields. You were never designed to retire. To accept retirement is to declare to your body that you are ready for a quick death. That is nothing more than an abandonment of life. Productivity and activity should never be replaced with inactivity.
  • Is euthanasia ever permissible?
    Are you speaking of ending a person's life because they are suffering through pain or letting them go because they are on life support? That is comparing apples and oranges. I don't assume myself capable to understand the suffering that some are going through on a daily basis. And I certainly don't want to lightly esteem their condition. But when someone is in extreme pain, they cannot rationally judge their situation, and because I am not in their pain, I cannot make true judgment about what they are truly going through. To help end their life with that understanding or rather lack of understanding would be morally wrong. Neither of us are capable of making that call. The problem with euthanasia is that the boundaries are so many and so vague that judgment becomes unclear. One thing is certain. We must never let the responsibility fall into the hands of the government. If we allow this to come into law, it leaves off the question of right and wrong and becomes an issue of when and who. Who is qualified to answer these questions? If the government controls these reins, the decision will soon become an issue of economics. The same is true with the medical profession. Based on their standard, the patient loses the right to life because they need the bed space. That becomes too easy when you are dealing with people you don't know. However, as long as we can maintain the value of the human being, there is flexibility. And I am speaking of someone who is dying. It is my belief that only a family member could ever come close to making that decision. And even then it must be approached with fear and respect. We must never let the government attempt to legislate it into the hands of a stranger. One other thing I want you to consider. To send someone out of this life to end their torment may not end their torment. It may accelerate it for eternity.
  • We are having a problem in our church. I have a couple of families who are working against me. I am thinking that maybe I should resign. It feels like they have taken the joy out of what I do. How should I respond?
    Any time you experience turmoil or conflict whether it is in the context of a nation, church, or business, the strife and contention are usually found in a very small minority. In most cases, it is only one or two people causing the turmoil. Deal with them and a great calm will follow. The scripture says "cast out the scorner and strife and contention will cease." One person with a contentious spirit can cause turbulence at every level. Their spirit is prevailing. They don't speak for the majority, but at times it seems like they do. Don't listen to them. Don't resign your position or yield to their pressure. The storm will soon pass and they will fade away. They cannot unseat you, so they try to pressure you into unseating yourself.
  • If God is truly a part of our lives, shouldn't we be drawn to restore past relationships that have fallen by the wayside? And if so how far is far enough in chasing them?"
    Relationships are very important to our lives. They are the connections God uses to take us to our future, and above that God places a high premium on them. He shed his blood for the sake of relationship - restoring us to the I think that the example has been well established. Sometimes the season in a relationship seems to be over but that is not to say that God doesn't have a plan for it in the future. That is why it is important not to burn bridges. When dealing with a relationship that has fallen by the wayside due to an offence and not just someone that you have lost contact with, we do as believers have a responsibility to restore the relationship and remove those offenses. The bible is pretty clear on that ...we must attempt to bring reconciliation. Romans 12:18 reminds us..."If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Now your second question is the real question - how far is far enough in chasing them. I guess a lot depends on how fast they can run...haha! I think the reality that we are having to chase them might be a sign. Sometimes all you we can do is apologize and leave it in God's hands hoping for them to be open to you in the future. I know that it is one of the enemy's most effective plays - to separate the body of Christ. No winners there.
  • I am tired of having to push #1 for English. Why should we have to change our lifestyle for other people who want to come to our country?
    I understand. It frustrates me to have to push #1 for English. However, the American spirit comes with a willingness to embrace diversity and pushes us to make room for new social and economical opportunities that come in the form of "push #1 for English".
  • Is debate a healthy thing for us? In this day of political diversity, it seems that it just brings division and contention. How do you see debate?"
    Here is why debate is important. It is only as false beliefs are placed upon the table of examination that we have the opportunity to fully understand our own belief. Only when we hear fully that with which we disagree can we with authority embrace that which is our own. Dare we prefer one opinion above another based on ignorance of what the other side holds? The majority of people today hold opinions that they have not earned, but rather ones that have been imposed upon them by their peers. They have never allowed themselves even for a moment to become the person with whom they disagree. If you don't fully know both sides, you have no grounds for professing one above another. We forfeit our rights by adopting the opinion of others. You might just as well never have this freedom if you simply choose to go the direction of the majority. To truly hear the other side of the debate, you must find someone who believes with conviction that their side is correct. Only then can you have a genuine exchange of passion, thought, and will. When you talk to someone, do not dominate the conversation, or be afraid to hear any opposing view. Pause at due intervals and determine to hear what they are saying. And don't just hear, receive it, absorb it and embody it in your reply. Until we come to the place that we can see all sides of truth, we must realize that our perceptions of truth are only half-truth. Diversity is not necessarily evil. It may be a broader view of what is right. However, when you must debate an issue, be blunt and straightforward with truth as you see and understand it. If you don't believe it then why should anyone else?
  • How come we don't see miracles like they used to?
    Our belief in miracles will rest on our understanding of God and the part He plays in our life. All of the handiwork of God is a miracle. Creation at every level is miraculous, from the opening of a flower to the balance of the universe. Which would you say is the greatest miracle, the opening of a blind eye or the birth of a child? To embrace only one is to not understand the other. We usually distinguish a miracle by its frequency. The more we see it, the more we don't see it. If the sun only came up one time in your life, your response would be that it is the most miraculous thing that you had ever seen. But because we see it each day, it becomes common to us. We call it "natural." As a result, many miraculous things happen around us every day and we don't see them. Maybe it is not that we stop seeing miracles, we just stop taking time to appreciate them. Our society has become so hardened, that as unthankful children, we cease to be impressed. At the center of the failure of human nature is an unthankful heart.
  • How do you handle crisis when it comes?
    It is unrealistic to think that you will never face difficulties. They are a part of life and are sometimes unavoidable. The question is not, "Will I ever face a crisis"? The real question is, "How will I respond when crisis comes my way"? FIRST- determine the source of the crisis. The reason is often deeper than what appears on the surface. In many cases we bring them on ourselves. We have bad habits, we listen to bad advice, we follow popular opinion above what we know in our hearts is right. This is the time to be brutally honest with ourselves. Confess your part... if any. If you brought this crisis on yourself, admit it and ask forgiveness. Don't make excuses and don't blame others. Accepting responsibility is a mark of a maturing believer. SECOND- determine the results. Ask, "What can I learn from this?" Every crisis is an opportunity to enlarge my perspective, sharpen my skills, and develop more of God's character in my life. The ability to overcome struggle is one of the characteristics that has made great people throughout history. THIRD- Determine your response in advance. Go through your thought process before you are in a situation where there is high emotion. This way, you are not being challenged to determine the proper response at a time when you are less capable of doing so. It is almost like deciding to forgive someone in advance. That is the time to make tough choices, before you get to them. You certainly would never choose to experience crisis, but you can choose how you respond to it when it comes.
  • I need favor on my job. What should I expect from God in this area?
    It seems to me that people want and expect the miraculous favor of God without any effort on their part. I assume that they expect God's favor to fall on them like pixie dust. Let's look at His design. If you want the favor that God gives, you should cultivate the character and nature of God in your life. Wisdom, understanding, stewardship, faithfulness, integrity and honor. These are Godly traits that open the door to favor. Out of these comes favor in the market place.
  • Is extravagance wrong?
    It is hard to put your finger on extravagance. To one man it is one thing, but to another man it is entirely different. I believe the key is to live humbly within your means. If your earnings afford you some of the finer things of life, then so be it. Don't let envy enter your heart. However, extravagance is usually coupled with compulsion and a need to prove something. I believe you should strive to show extravagance in two areas. Giving and hospitality.
  • Why is giving necessary for me?
    Giving is a principle of necessity in our life. It does several things. For one, it keeps us from being immersed in self-interest and helps us to see the bigger picture. It declares that there is enough to meet the need and moves us from fear into faith. Since the material with which we become charitable represents our time, talent and energy, and giving is a spiritual principle, giving enables us to spiritualize our life and our material substance. Giving ties the spiritual and the material together. Without charity, material gain becomes a deceptive, ultimate symbol of idolatry. Charity reaches out to others and transforms diversity into unity.
  • I live alone and most of the time I feel a great deal of loneliness. I am ready to get married.
    There is a need to belong to someone, and to have someone belong to you. Don't fall into the trap of taking the first person that comes along. When lonely, you are very vulnerable and it is easy to get hooked up with someone that you will regret later. It is difficult to make good judgments when you are lonely, so be slow, be cautious and listen to the counsel of someone you trust. The right person will come along and you will know it in your heart when they do. Time is your friend.
  • What is maturity?
    Maturity is: The ability to do a job without supervision The ability to complete a job once it is started To carry money without spending it To bare an injustice without wanting to get even
  • We recently had some people leave with no explanation whatsoever. It was and is a very painful experience. They are nice to us when they see us but it leaves us in pain trying to figure what we did wrong.
    In the life of every leader, they face a time when people leave them with no explanation or reason. They just leave. Although it may sound very crude, every healthy organism must have a bowel movement from time to time. Please listen to the heart of this statement. It is part of growing. As you grow, it is normal to discard some of the things that would be excess or unnecessary for your body to function. Some people are just scaffolding. They are only intended to be there until the building gets built, then they leave. Don't take it personal. Let it happen. To try to hold them when they are supposed to leave will release poison into your whole body, and it won't be long until the body shuts down. It may break out in bitterness, rebellion, strife, and contention. This is usually the response when someone has been there too long.
  • Would you rather be "happy" and not see the bad, or "less happy" and see things as they really are?"
    A cat went to England to visit the Queen. When he returned home they asked him what he saw. He said, "I saw a mouse". In life you usually see what you are looking for, and you usually get what you see. As the matter of fact, what you see becomes the watermark for your whole life. Maybe this will help you in choosing your friends. Little people talk about people. Big people talk about plans and ideas. Those who criticize tend to be pessimist and they see life through a dirty filter. That becomes their reality, but it isn’t truth. So in answer to your question, neither of your options are absolute. One final thought. Are you ready to change where you are? Maybe you need to change what you see. Your reality is found in this.
  • Should we have prayer in school today?
    The discussion of prayer in school should not center only upon the issue of religious freedom, but rather on the issue of fairness to the rights of all that attend the school. In this day and time, we have a diversity of nations represented in each community. To assume that prayer must be given in a certain way is to assume that each person worships God as I do. But in our society we find the Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and even the atheist. I may not agree with the way that they worship, but neither should I impose my prayer upon them without their consent. If we have prayer in the public school, whose prayer must all of these nations submit? If the taxes of each of these nations contribute and provide an educational system, then they, within that system, should be protected from a religion or belief of which they disagree, being imposed upon them. One of the pillars of our constitution is the freedom to worship God as we see fit. Therefore, the teachers who are paid by the state should not impose religious preference upon any student. However, each student should have the freedom of religious expression as he or she sees fit, provided it does not interfere with the class structure or become intrusive to other students. I see the issue of prayer in school as an exercise of religious freedom rather than religious worship. Most of those who argue for prayer in school do not pray at home. It is a political move and not a spiritual one.
  • Do you think an employer should be forced to be fair and equal with promotions and pay raises?
    If you are speaking of quotas, I don’t believe quotas work. In the long run, it enhances dependence on others to carry you. It downgrades quality and ties the hands of those who seek excellence. I understand that people need equality, but I can see this more on an entry level. An “across the board” requirement for quotas is very frustrating to those in leadership. The same is true for “across the board” pay increases. Equality should be seen in opportunities, not promotion or pay raises.
  • I have a tendency to exaggerate a little bit. What’s the big deal?
    To exaggerate leaves the impression with people that you are impulsive and not quite responsible or levelheaded enough to make a proper judgment concerning a matter. Be sure of your facts before you give them, otherwise, people will take your words lightly and you will look foolish.
  • Do you think every person has someone who is a match for them?
    I was watching a really odd couple at the grocery store. Honestly this was one of the strangest most misplaced couples I have ever seen. The deeper thought hit me which was this. There is a need within us all to be loved. It's probably the greater need within us. To be accepted, acknowledged, needed and wanted. I looked at these two and wondered, “How did you ever find each other?” Every pot has a lid. No matter how bizarre the individual, there is someone who is a match.
  • I was divorced a few years ago and find it difficult to trust anyone again. How do I restore trust?
    I am sorry for the hurt you have gone through. I am glad to see you making steps in this direction. You are on your way to healing and restoration. I would like for you to look at trust from a different point of view. Trust is not “being able to predict what other people will do”. Trust is “knowing that I can handle what other people do”. I know that I am going to be ok and I can enter a relationship because I know what to do if something goes wrong. If you bring negative trust issues into a new relationship you will sow seeds of suspicion, fear and rejection into everything you do together. These things are toxic to you new relationship. Your new partner should not have to pay for what your last partner did to you. That’s really not fair.
  • What is the greatest thing that we can do for mankind?
    The greatest gift we can give mankind is education. It is misguided to think that we can give man equality, but if we can educate, each man will have the opportunity to rise to his own mark.
  • Do you think we can talk ourselves into being happy?
    I do believe that there are many situations that we encounter or experience that we actually help create. You might call it “self fulfilling prophesies”. If we expect people to act a certain way, we tend to treat them in such a way that would draw out that behavior. There was an experiment where men were put on the telephone with women that they thought were beautiful and those men became more charming in their conversation. This led to the women being much warmer in their response. A wonderful environment was created out of a perception. Another experiment led some university men to believe that a female student was attracted to them, while others were led to believe that they were not. Later conversations between them revealed a self fulfilling prophesy. When the man believed the woman found him more attractive, he responded to her in such a way that she was more likely to make her act as if she did. When you idealize someone it draws those responses out of them. Whereas when you criticize someone it has the same effect. This tells me that only a fool would criticize or degrade their spouse. You might ask, “In long term relationships, does idealizing your partner set you up for later disappointment? No. Positive illusions about partners tend to be prophetic. Those who idealize their dating partners as having many virtues and few faults tend to have a more satisfying and long lasting relationships. These perceptions tend to be self fulfilling. People tend to accept their partners perceptions. I heard it said that love is not blind, rather, it helps to create the reality that it presumes. In short, you need to be nicer to people. You need to treat your mate in such a way that you spark the reaction that you desire. Your action cannot help but draw a reaction. What you say has an impact. When you talk about happy things, you tend to draw people who have the same attitude. I will answer by saying that you can talk yourself into or out of just about anything.
  • I want to get married but I am concerned that I find the kind of man who will be good to me and be the kind of husband and father that I need. Do you have any suggestions?
    There is a lot of good material on the subject of finding a mate. I strongly suggest that you research what others have written and heed their counsel. Stay away from the bars, night clubs or places that suggest a compulsive or uncontrolled temperament or life style. That includes his compulsions about money. If they have all of that baggage when you meet them, they will most likely carry it into your marriage. His baggage becomes your baggage. Make sure that his core values match yours. Mostly listen to your heart and trust the counsel of your family. They will help you see things more clearly. Someone sent me this funny quote and I cannot resist reposting it. “For all you single ladies who are in such a hurry to get married, here's a quick piece of Biblical advice: Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz. While waiting on YOUR Boaz,don't settle for ANY of his relatives: Brokeaz, Poaz, Lyinaz, Cheatinaz, Dumbaz, Cheapaz, Lockedupaz, Goodfornothinaz, Lazyaz, or Marriedaz, and especially his third cousin Beatinyoaz. Please, wait on your Boaz & make sure he respects Yoaz.”
  • What is the difference between Christianity and all of the other religions?
    Oh, I suppose I could draw up many conclusions that tell the differences. I think it is best summed up in that Christianity is the only religion where God pursues man instead of man pursuing God. I hear people in church talk about their new birth experience when they found the Lord. I always want to say, “You didn’t find him. He found you. He wasn’t lost, you were”. We weren’t capable of finding Him. He loved us when were yet sinners and were dead in our trespasses and sins. He died for us and in doing so he purchased us with the payment of his own blood. As my friend Grady Grandstaff puts it, “He is the hunter and we are the hunted”.
  • What are your thoughts about Afghanistan and what is the biggest need there?
    Afghanistan is a sink hole. I understand why we are there but we must understand that we cannot change them. It is a tactical error to attempt to tame or Americanize that part of the world. We can’t fix them. It is like herding cats. The best we can do is to make an attempt to contain them. Education is the key to helping the world. Iraq has an infrastructure and roads systems that are in place, but Afghanistan is like taking a trip into the past. They still operate mainly off of tribal leaders. They have no roads, no infrastructure to speak of. Their lack of education is what keeps them in the past and makes them vulnerable to the radical fringe like the Taliban. The best we can do in the present distress is to try to buy the allegiance of a few of the tribal leaders and let them do the fighting and maintain the peace. They have been doing that in those mountains for five thousand years. They are pretty good at it. In short, to fight radicalism you must produce economic opportunities and educate. They depend on the ignorant to keep their cause going.
  • I am having a problem with something in my church. What should I do?
    Here is my question. Is it something that you just don’t like or is it something that truly affects you? If it is just something that you don’t like, then get over yourself. If it is something that is affecting you and those around you, then make an appointment with the leaders to talk about it. Don’t talk about complaints to those who are around you. That is gossip, and although you may be strong enough to work through it, the person that you are talking to may not be. When you talk to your leaders be clear about what is troubling you. Approach them with the attitude of fixing a problem and not just complaining about one. Don’t be stubborn about what you think you know or understand. It’s possible that there are things in play that you don’t know about. You may not be seeing the whole picture. Listen to your leaders and give them the benefit of the doubt. Ask what you can do to help. Once you have voiced your complaint you have done your part. Drop it. Give them time to work on it.Trust the Lord. I have had situations as a leader that I could not immediately fix and had to let it run its course. Jesus addressed something like that when he talked about the tares sown among the wheat. If you pull the tares out you can also pull out the wheat along with it. He said let them grow together and the Lord will separate them out. Sometimes you have to wait for the Lord to solve the problem. To deal with it prematurely might hurt the people who are innocently connected to it. Maintain a supportive and problem solving posture. Relationship is about making concessions. Relationship is about trust. Relationship is walking with people who are imperfect. It’s about overlooking the flaws in those that are around you and allowing people to work through their difficulties. Hopefully your love for the people around you will be greater than the shortcomings that you see. If the problem is just too great, then you should approach the Lord about moving you to another fellowship. Don’t leave until he releases you. When and if that time comes, sit down with your pastor and ask him to release you so you can move on. Never, ever encourage people to leave with you. You don't need that on your hands. There is only one reason to go to a church and that is because you were sent. There is only one reason to leave a church and that is because you were sent. Don’t let problems derail you from the will of God.
  • I was telling a joke and hurt the feelings of my friend. What do I do?
    Apologize. Remember that there are always two sides to every joke. One side is not always funny. Most all jokes are degrading to someone and a bad punch line can leave you looking very insensitive and mean. If you must use someone in a punch line, preferably, let the joke be on you.
  • How could our fore fathers be slave owners?
    I do not know. It is interesting to me that the men who founded this nation on the idea of freedom and liberty found it palatable to be slave owners. This just shows that each individual is a little more passionate about their own freedom than they are someone else’s. As the matter of fact we can become downright hypocritical when it comes to our own comfort.
  • What is the rule of thumb in being a good neighbor?
    Take time to get to know your neighbors, but know when it is time to give them space. Privacy is very important to people. The trick to being a good neighbor is to make them feel that you are there, but that they are not obligated to you. Always wave, or give a casual greeting, but don’t make them dread seeing you by feeling that you are going to take up their time. Respect their space. They are paying a lot of money for it.
  • It seems like everything in my life is a struggle.
    It was struggle and victory over struggle that put individuals in our history books. History called them great because of how they responded in time of struggle. I believe that true advance is only obtained through struggle. What made the chicken strong enough to live outside the egg was the struggle to break the egg from the inside. Don’t be afraid of it. If confronted, that struggle will develop character and enlarge your capacity to move to the next level of your life. Let me give one word of caution to the people who are continually going through tests, purging and trials. You will face challenges during your growth process, but don’t let it become a lifestyle. Life with God is not just a test. Purging shouldn't take forty years unless you have a heart full of rebellion.
  • Is sex just a physical function or is there more meaning behind sexuality?
    The best word to describe sexuality is in the word “knowledge.” Sex is intimate knowledge that is shared through experience by two people. Without proper respect and understanding about this, sexual boundaries will become blurred and sexuality will lose its purity and intimacy. It will become a mere bodily function that selfishly takes advantage of others for the benefit of one’s own physical use. In a nut shell, that describes all pornography. Sex is very important to a married relationship. I will say that married couples that abstain from sexual intimacy are drifting apart. From time to time, every relationship suffers from a lack of communication and closeness. For one reason or another, you hit a wall. You can’t even get conversation going with each other. You feel unattached. Sexuality brings a few moments of intimacy that surpasses the roadblocks that seem to be before you. It gives you an opportunity to be intimate even in the midst of difficulties. Sexuality is communion between a husband and wife. Communion is the intimacy of partaking of another person. If held in the proper context, this time of intimacy can bring healing to your marriage.
  • My husband is devastated because our son didn’t come in first place in track. He is pretty transparent about it. What should I tell my son?
    I am a firm believer in training to win the gold. But here is the balance. Your son should know that finishing is the most important lesson in life. I was watching a foot ball game last year of two teams that didn’t stand a chance of coming in first place in their division, but they were holding up one finger yelling, “we’re number 1”. They both lost first place, but they played their game with all of their might. We teach our children to win, to be number one, and almost always that is unrealistic. In competition only one team wins. Only one crosses the finish line first, but they all finish. Every child should be trained that someone will cross the finish line first, but everyone must cross the finish line, and they are all successful because of it. There is something powerful about being a finisher. You finished the course, you kept the faith. This has become a challenge in our society. If you are an individual of talent or ability, your life is spent with people telling you that you will be great, and we unfortunately misinterpret what that means. We believe that success is only found in the “number one” position and that when someone is faced with a call into leadership, often they don’t even consider any other options except that of “top dog”. Suddenly, teaching the Pre-school children or helping support someone else just doesn’t seem to measure up. Success is not a “one time” event. It is a journey, and a series of victories and defeats. Success is life lived, life experienced and life shared. Winning is not the result of not’s the result of not quitting. Winners get knocked down. They just don’t stay down. It’s not what knocks you down that changes you. It’s what makes you get back up that does. God doesn’t use the perfect. He uses the recovered. (Proverbs 24:16) WE ARE THE GETTING UP PEOPLE! Let me caution your husband that his son must run his own race. Help him, support him and cheer him on, but be careful that he is not trying to relive his own childhood through his son. He will transfer his own sense of disappointment and need to his son and the game will stop being fun.

encouraging, empowering and equiping

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