Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Government is not a business

There are people who correctly claim, “If I ran my business like the government, I would go out of business.” Their point is usually financial. They cannot endlessly spend more than they take in and remain solvent. The entity that prints or mints the money can do things that those who must earn money cannot.

The point is well taken and should be instructive for the government. While a government may be able to stretch financial limits more than those with more immediate accountability, it, too, can face a day of reckoning when its bill finally comes due.

Comparisons of government to business should stop here. There is an important way in which government and business are not and should not be alike.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

3 surprises in the U.S. Constitution

Happy Constitution Day!

232 years ago the United States Constitution was ratified. This is the document which describes that which constitutes the United States of America. Without this document, the states would not be united. This document effectively takes the sinful nature of man into account by separating powers into different branches of government, similar to what we see in Isaiah 33:22: “For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us.”

The Virginia Declaration of Rights reminds us, “That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” Congress has done this in recent years by opening its new term with reading the still-active parts of the Constitution on the House floor.

As for the non-active parts, “The text we will read today reflects the changes to the document made by the 27 amendments to it. Those portions superseded by amendment will not be read.” Some people get wrapped around the axle about whether the parts not read are being ignored or suppressed. There are a few things I find interesting still in the document, one related to parts others are concerned are suppressed.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Why higher tax revenue?

Today third quarter estimated federal taxes are due. When people have to pay their taxes themselves, that makes them more likely to consider the rate and its purpose.

Conservatives, of which I am generally one, have had an interesting approach to tax policy for a few decades now. During the Reagan Administration, Arthur Laffer introduced his famous curve. The basic premise is government tax revenue would be $0.00 if the tax rate were 0% and if it were 100%. Somewhere in the middle it reaches a high point. Then, the 0% point, peak, and 100% point form a curve of expected tax revenue based on the tax rate.

This was developed at a time when the top income tax rates were well north of 50%, presumably on the far side of the curve when it was nearing 100% and revenues would be heading to $0. The conclusion, then, was if tax rates were reduced, that would move the revenue point on the graph back which would move the amount of revenue up the curve. That is, with the government taking less money, people are free to spend or invest more, the economy grows accordingly, and as the economy grows, the government tax percentage grows with it—higher revenue with lower tax rates.

Where that high point is on the curve—that is, what tax rate produces the most revenue—has been the point of much debate over the years. Democrats agree that as the economy grows, revenue goes up. The disagreement is about the cause. This post is not an argument in that debate. The purpose of this post is to ask questions about each side's assumptions and conclusions.

Conservatives tend to perpetually believe that lower tax rates will produce higher revenue. Let's assume that's true. Why do conservatives, who want smaller government, push for something that would produce bigger government revenues?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

God doesn't hammer us into place

And the temple, when it was being built, was built with stone finished at the quarry, so that no hammer or chisel or any iron tool was heard in the temple while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7).

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Construction can be loud, right? Not with God's temple.

Did you know, if you are a believer you are being built together into a holy temple?

The tools made no noise where the physical building was built. I think there's something to be said in applying this to how God builds His temple with us, too. He doesn't hammer us into place.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Limits to the size-of-government argument

Conservatives, of which I am one, like to argue in favor of smaller governmentPresident Reagan laid the foundation for popularizing this argument in his first inaugural address in 1981: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”

That is actually a statement more about big government than it is smaller government. To a government bureaucracy, problems become less something to be solved (which would put bureaucrats out of a job), and more something to be managed (which would keep bureaucrats employed). It is no coincidence, then, that as government has gotten bigger, society's problems have increased with it.

It is logical to conclude that reversing this trend would improve things. If big government makes things worse, smaller government would make things better. While there is truth to this argument, it also lacks a foundation. Size is entirely relative. Taking this argument to its conclusion, one would wrongly assume conservatives believe having no government at all would solve all our problems.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

How to evaluate any political argument

Start with Who.

In any policy or political debate, when considering the point a candidate is making, ask • Who are the governed? and • Who is governing?

The governed are the free—those who do good. Those governing are the ones who punish those who do evil and praise those who do good. The essence of governing, then, is to identify evil and decide how to punish it, and to identify exceptional good and decide how to praise it. What punishments for the crime? What recognition for the good would be most appropriate? That is the essence of governing. Outside of those two things, government is not there to do anything. (Distinct from evaluating public policy is the evaluation of debate about public policy.)

With that understanding, ask yourself if the candidate is proposing something that governs or something by which government participates in doing good. Doing good is a good thing, but not with the government. If you want to do good, go do it. Why use coercive government to do it? This is dangerousGood policy debate is about how government reacts to the actions of others. Bad policy debate is about making the government a participant in whatever area the candidate is focused.

If those governing are promising to use government to do good or make government “a force for good,” then ask yourself, Who will be there to govern them while their government attempts to do those supposedly good things?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Floridian memories of September 11, 2001

Last year I wrote about my own memories of 9/11/2001. This year I asked David, my 9/11-born brother in Florida, to share his memories, and he did. Links added.
The morning of September 11th, 2001 was originally just like any other Tuesday morning. Classes went as expected, it was my birthday, my 16th no less, but being in high school, that really did not mean as much as it did when I was a kid. Little did I know that my birthday that year would end up as anything but ‘sweet.’

While I was walking on my way to my American History class, I started to hear some commotion. This was in the days before smartphones so information did not travel nearly as fast as it does today. When I arrived at the classroom there were a few students telling the teacher to turn on the TV, but at first, the teacher thought they just wanted to goof off so their requests were denied.

However, one student heard what had happened and said that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings! We were shocked to hear that because this came from a student not known for making outrageous, false claims. So, the teacher promptly turned on the television. On the screen was a picture of one of the World Trade Center buildings, on fire! Every network was covering the news — we were witnessing American History that day!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Is a 'right' to health care absolute?

The left generally does not like absolutes, especially moral absolutes. “Who are you tell me abortion or homosexuality is wrong?” They're not in to higher authority.

Rights come from God, but they'd rather people think they came from them. And the rights they do like to “afford” to others they speak of in near absolute terms.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he wants to “guarantee healthcare”, the services provided by medical professionals, “to all people as a right.” The key word there is guarantee.

They're trying to have it both ways—something absolute without absolutes. That's why this is an important and telling question: Does the left believe the right to health care is absolute?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Health care reform at 10 years

Today is the 10-year anniversary of President Obama's health care speech to Congress.

SMMRY of the speech:

Unless everybody does their part, many of the insurance reforms we seek—especially requiring insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions—just can't be achieved.

While there remain some significant details to be ironed out, I believe a broad consensus exists for the aspects of the plan I just outlined:

consumer protections for those with insurance,
• an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable coverage, and
• a requirement that people who can afford insurance get insurance.

An additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Understanding the nature of obedience to God

Someone once tried to rewrite the Ten Commandments, “stating them as a positive.” They didn't like the “negative” tone of “Thou shalt not…” There are several problems with this.

First, not all ten are written “as a negative,” as it were. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” and “Honor your father and your mother,” are written as a positives.

Second, if “as a positive” was the wisest way to write them, wouldn't God, who is alone wise, have written them that way?

Third, this misunderstands the nature of the freedom God intends.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Breaking streaks

This week I decided to ditch daily electronic to do lists altogether—even for the recurring and electronic tasks. Late nights due to internet access have still been an issue.

Electronic devices can far too easily hold my attention, and make me constantly check to see if there's something else to do.

Swipes is one of the most effective at this. While this is powerful for helping ensure things get done, it's too powerful if it feeds internet addiction.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Guest biometrics

Just before leaving town for the August recess, there was a special order hour on the House floor about immigration. One of the speakers, Representative Scott Perry, said, “I have been here for 7 years, and I have seen ‘comprehensive’ come up in healthcare, and I have seen ‘comprehensive’ come up in immigration. What I have learned is that when you put ‘comprehensive’ in front of a cause, it doesn't happen. It is political speak that says it is not going to happen because the room becomes divided, and everybody uses it as a political tool for the next election.”

This reminds me of a similar observation I made a while back in realizing the meaning of “reform.” Anything they want to “reform” is usually something they want to eliminate. Those in favor of “campaign finance reform” really just want to eliminate all campaign finance. Of course, they would say they just want to eliminate private campaign finance, and make everything publicly funded, but that's a formula for preserving the power of those who already have power. (More on this in a few weeks.)

Nonetheless, Rep. Perry: “What I want to do is, instead of trying to do comprehensive immigration reform, I want to focus on a small bite of the apple.” His small bite is “a guest worker program” in lower-skilled “agriculture, hospitality, and construction.” His focus that night was on agriculture.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

5 ways to reinvent newspapers for millennials

As newspaper subscriptions have dwindled to the point of endangering a longstanding business model, it's worth pointing out some things could be done to revive print journalism business.

After all, there are some things to like about newspaper content. It's daily. It's not always-on, up-to-the-minute/second. This provides an inherent value filter against the immediate. It's local which increases the odds the content will actually be relevant. It's in print which creates a bias toward words and meaning, not images and emotion.

There are some things that can be done about some of a newspaper's inherent limitations.

First, get rid of newsprint. It's gross.

For a generation that grew up on laser printers, unsealed ink on newsprint is substandard. I once worked in an office that had a staff person gather the “clippings” each morning by physically cutting articles out of a newspaper. She literally had to spray and wipe down her work space every single day because of the disgusting mess the newsprint would make in just an hour. It smelled nice afterwards, and it was a potent reminder of why I have no interest in a newspaper subscription.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

An Ideal French Address

I am told that a French sermon is like a French speech—it never names an historical event, but only the date of it; if you are not up in dates, you get left. A French speech is something like this:

“Comrades, citizens, brothers, noble parts of the only sublime and perfect nation, let us not forget that the 21st January cast off our chains; that the 10th August relieved us of the shameful presence of foreign spies; that the 5th September was its own justification before Heaven and humanity; that the 18th Brumaire contained the seeds of its own punishment; that the 14th July was the mighty voice of liberty proclaiming the resurrection, the new day, and inviting the oppressed peoples of the earth to look upon the divine face of France and live; and let us here record our everlasting curse against the man of the 2d December, and declare in thunder tones, the native tones of France, that but for him there had been no 17th March in history, no 12th October, nor 9th January, no 22d April, no 16th November, no 30th September, no 2d July, no 14th February, no 29th June, no 15th August, no 31st May—that but for him, France, the pure, the grand, the peerless, had had a serene and vacant almanac to-day.”

I have heard of one French sermon which closed in this odd yet eloquent way:

Monday, September 2, 2019

What is unique about America

Chesterton's observations about humor and familiarity were in the context of his observations about questions posed by America to foreigners: “Are you an anarchist?” and “Are you in favour of
subverting the government of the United States by force?” As if “anarchists and polygamists are so pure and good that the police have only to ask them questions and they are certain to tell no lies.”

Seeking not to be the traveler who “has found something to make him laugh, and he will not suffer it to make him think,” he continued, “It is not to deny that American officialism is rather peculiar on this point, but to inquire what it really is which makes America peculiar, or which is peculiar to America.”
America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

To what should the Bible be applied?

The Bible should be applied to whatever it applies itself.

This may or may not mean our personal lives or something in them at any given time. Not everything in the Bible is about us or the Church. Some things are about things larger than us—like nations—and some not dealing directly with people at all—like nature.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Unfamiliarity ≠ Inferiority

Let me begin my American impressions with two impressions I had before I went to America. One was an incident and the other an idea; and when taken together they illustrate the attitude I mean.

The first principle is that • nobody should be ashamed of thinking a thing funny because it is foreign; the second is that • he should be ashamed of thinking it wrong because it is funny.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Don't ride out a category 4 hurricane

15 years ago Central Florida got hit by at least three hurricanes in a single season. The following year, Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 storm, hit New Orleans and did lots of flooding damage.

I remember one of my loved ones (who does not like to be quoted in public) after seeing these storms over those two years saying, if a category 4 storm was headed his way, it was time to go.

Category 4 hurricanes will flatten and flood what's in their path. They do catastrophic damage of historic proportions. They do not leave conditions habitable. Damaged homes, flooded roads, downed trees, downed power lines, and few supplies available are not suitable for a family.

It's good to prepare your home and be ready to ride it out.

It's also good to prepare to travel and be ready to leave if that times come.

Just because your neighborhood has never looked like images of those neighborhoods-turned-lakes one sees after a flood doesn't mean it can't happen to your neighborhood this time.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The way of the attached

The third book of the Bible is Leviticus. While much could be said and written about this shortest of Pentateuch books, this post is just about its name.

Leviticus is about the way of the Levites.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The reductionist nature of click rates

Jeff Hammerbacher once famously said, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”

The problem isn’t the click rate.

There are many things on which people can click or tap. These things can be good or bad.

The click rate, however, does not reflect this moral dimension. It reduces the question to only show whether or not there was a click, and a click is always considered good. It's all about the count, not the content.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Adjustments

Earlier this month I wrote about dividing up my waking hours in a day into 10 segments of 1.5 hours each, and then how 60% of that was for maintaining activities and 40% for advancing. That seemed a bit skewed at the time, and it was. The intended maintaining activities beginning remain roughly the same, but with only 4 of the segments bookending 6 segments of advancing instead of 6 bookending 4. The ratio is flipped. 40% maintaining, 60% advancing—in theory.

I've also ditched trying to have a pre-structure for the 60% advancing time. Considering time as free time or margin time is better than trying to have a plan for every waking moment.

One interesting numerical coincidence of this new plan is the first two segments and the last two segments occur at the same time, just offset by 12 hours.

Monday, August 26, 2019

What makes students thrive or flounder

I’ve put this question to dozens of teachers over the past two years.

As the son of a public school teacher, and as the husband of a former public school teacher, I’ve been in countless discussions with teachers about what, at bottom, makes students thrive or flounder.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Scriptural Evaluation of Salvation Invitations

Invitations given at the conclusion of a gospel message must be clearly and precisely conveyed. It is of upmost importance that everyone listening will understand the specifics of the invitation. Above all, the invitation must be biblically-based.


Clearly-worded invitations:

Will you accept the Lord Jesus and trust Him as your own personal Savior?
This invitation is biblically correct. Accepting (receiving) the Lord Jesus as my Savior is believing that He died for me and paid the penalty on the cross for my sin (Romans 5:8). Because He loves me, He died for me (John 3:16). Placing my personal trust in His death for me is God's only requirement for salvation (Romans 3:24). Trusting Christ is personal. Christ died for me, and I personally trust Him to save me from the penalty of my sin. “As many as received Him” (John 1:12) is the open invitation for anyone to be saved. “Receiving” results in immediate possession of salvation (Romans 6:22).

Christ died for your sins. Believe it personally. That's all you need to get saved.
This is the heart of the gospel (Romans 5:8). The Bible uses believe as an absolute trust in the work of Christ for me (John 3:18). Christ died for my sins and demonstrated His victory over sin by His physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 4:24-25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The work is all done! Our Savior lives to assure the believer that He can and will complete our salvation (Philippians 1:6). The payment is complete for the penalty of my sin (1 John 2:2). Knowing my guilt of sin, all that I can do is believe that He died for me and trust that payment to be all I need for salvation (Romans 4:5; 6:23).

Saturday, August 24, 2019

American Dream

I've been thinking about adding some new music to my library and current listening rotation, and today I discovered that since I last tuned into the epic music genre a couple years ago, one of it's shining stars has released another album.

Thomas Bergersen's American Dream is currently ranked #48 in soundtracks on Amazon.

It's like one big 45-minute epic.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Don't be a beta power user

I got an invite to the iOS 13 public beta recently (during public beta 5), though I don't remember signing up for that, it looked legit (good email From domain). I asked an Apple fanboy friend of mine about it, and he said, “This is the public beta so it's stable enough for regular use. Some apps may have quirks here and there but those will be updated in coming months. … I'd run the beta on both devices. Have fun.”

After two weeks of use, I've sent in 48 Feedback reports. I've also amended some as certain bugs have persisted over two successive betas.

The thing is, each one of these reports can generate a massive amount of diagnostic data to send to Apple. They warn you about the possible content, but not the size.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dying in a city without echoes

Hana Abu Salman, a young psychology researcher whom I got to know at the American University of Beirut, once did a project interviewing her classmates about their deepest anxieties.

Among their greatest fears, she found, was this fear of dying in a city without echoes, where you knew that your tombstone could end up as someone's doorstep before the grass had even grown over your grave.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Better than tuition-free

If I had a choice between an education provided by the public sector (the taxpayer), and an education provided by the private sector (the value producers), this would be an easy, hands-down decision: go for the value with the privately-funded education.

Those in the private sector who are seeking to bring their people up to speed on current work needs, like Amazon, are inherently invested in ensuring the education directly produces value. In a tight labor market, businesses have a vested interest in raising and retaining valuable people.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The ‘most Christianising’ physical science

Maury's address at the laying of the corner-stone of the University of the South, on the Sewanee Mountains in East Tennessee, was delivered at the request of Bishop Otey on Nov. 30th, 1860.

Physical geography,” he said, “makes the whole world kin. Of all the departments in the domains of physical science, it is the most Christianising. Astronomy is grand and sublime; but astronomy overpowers with its infinities, overwhelms with its immensities. Physical geography charms with its wonders, and delights with the benignity of its economy. Astronomy ignores the existence of man; physical geography confesses that existence, and is based on the Biblical doctrine 'that the earth was made for man.' Upon no other theory can it be studied—upon no other theory can its phenomena be reconciled. . . .

Monday, August 19, 2019

Proximity in Productivity

I find to-do lists to be most useful when they are located closest to where things are to be done.

Paper to do lists have one huge advantage over electronic to do lists. Once the ink is on the page, it stays there. The only thing one can do after writing something down is cross it off, presumably when done. It is also easy to have them always on and visible—no battery charge required.

Electronic to do lists too easily create the illusion of accomplishment by enabling doing something with a to do item other than doing it. I can move it, color it, categorize it, edit it, sort it, time it, date it, locate it, email it, share it, remind it, flag it, subtask it, and on and on. In the end, these things have a tendency to make my to-do list longer, not shorter.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Christianity is nominal

To be a Christian is to believe in the name of Jesus. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

There are some who sound like they are describing the free Gospel of grace in their evangelistic appeals to others. Then, once people are saved, they claim good works “must” and “always” follow their salvation, and if it doesn't, then he is a nominal, “Christian in name only.” That's not the Gospel. That's not freedom. That leaves no room for sanctification or forgiving one another. This is called Lordship Salvation, and it is a great danger in our day.

To be a Christian in name only—the name of Jesus Christ—is to be a Christian. Lance Latham used to say, based on Romans 4:5, that he was 100% confident he could stand there in the pulpit for the rest of his life, never again do another good work, and still know that he was saved and going to heaven. Why? Because he believed in the name of Jesus and that's all it takes to be a Christian. The blood of Jesus covered all his sin: past, present and future.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A grateful homage

From his First letter to his daughter DlANA after her marriage to Mr. S. W. Corbin, of Farhyvale (Virginia), May 9th, 1858.

I was speaking of the Christian graces and human virtues and those traits which you should cultivate, and which embellish and adorn the character.

The one great point which, after duty to God, you are to keep constantly in view is, to identify yourself with your husband, and strive mutually each to make yourselves the companion of the other.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Casting the mould for domestic happiness

To his eldest Daughter.

My Dear Daughter, (from) Buffalo, Nov. 26th, 1856.

My thoughts dwell with you, and my heart, brimful of the most tender and affectionate solicitude, clings to you. Alone in my room, there is something which keeps you ever present. The step you are about to take is the step of life—with a woman it certainly is such.

You have given your hand to a young man of irreproachable character, of an amiable disposition, and a cultivated mind, and were it not that he is of kin, the match would be as free from objection and quite as promising as need be.

That you are both poor is no ground of solicitude; happiness is above riches, and if you are not happy, being poor, wealth would not, I apprehend, make you happy. Poverty has its virtues, and my struggles with it are full of pleasant remembrances. I hope your experience will tally with mine. I do not say, strive to be content, for in that there is no progression; but be content to strive.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A game plan for JCPenney

Retail is no longer just about products. It's also about the customer experience.

The customer experience means more than good customer service. It's about the relationship the customer has with the store's people, and the relationship the store has with the community.

Retailers primarily want two things:
• people coming in the door
• a chance to talk with them

People seeking a third place want two things:
• WiFi
• a place to sit down

The biggest stores that are thriving today are those the offer more to do at their location than buy things. There's a reason grocers and discounters have added coffee shops and restaurants to their facilities. They are meeting the desires of people today.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Beirut’s version of the Second Amendment

Beirut's wealthiest flocked to Goodies to buy all their food. A gaggle of Mercedes-Benzes could always be found parked outside.

Legend has it that one day a disheveled young man entered Goodies, walked up to the cash register with a rifle, and demanded all the money. Within seconds three different women drew pistols out of their Gucci handbags, pumped a flurry of bullets into the thief, and then continued pushing their shopping carts down the bountiful aisles.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

If the law of the jungle reigned

In his classic work Leviathan, the seventeenth-century English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes described what he called “the state of nature” that would exist if government and society completely broke down and the law of the jungle reigned.

In such a condition, wrote Hobbes, “where every man is enemy to every man … there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

Hobbes, who at the time of his writing was trying to defend the idea of absolute monarchy, believed that men escaped from nastiness and brutishness—the state of nature—only by forming societies wherein rulership was vested in a single authority with absolute powers. Man, he argued, is moral only in a social context. Therefore, a state, backed by force, was needed to socialize men, to curb their savage instincts, and to prevent them from chaotic behavior and the war of all against all.

I don't know if Beirut is a perfect Hobbesian state of nature, but it is probably the closest thing to it that exists in the world today. If so, Hobbes was right about life in such a world being “nasty, brutish, and short,” but he was quite wrong about it being “poor” and “solitary.”

Monday, August 12, 2019

Eternal implications of 3 universal currencies

Author Josh Kaufman has identified three universal currencies:
In every negotiation, there are 3 Universal Currencies on the table:
  • Resources. Tangible items like money, oil, etc.
  • Time. The universal limit of capacity.
  • Flexibility. The cost of not doing something else, which is a very real Opportunity Cost
Focus on the appropriate trade-offs between the parties to find Common Ground in these Currencies. By mixing these currencies in different ways, it's easier to reach an agreement that the parties can agree with.
What might an eternal perspective on these things look like?

Resources are those tangible, temporary things which, if used to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ, produce eternal results.

Time is limited. “Teach us to number our days so that we may have a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Tradeoffs are a thing. “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 15:34).

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Why God has more than three possible answers to our questions

Some people in churchianity like to say that “God has three possible answers to our questions: Yes, No, and Wait.”

Two thoughts: (1) This claim comes from a very limited view of God, and (2) it says more about us than about God.

There are two types of questions one can ask. Only one type has limited pre-defined answers.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The difference between Sunni and Shia

The Muslims of the world have long been divided between Sunnis, who are the majority, and Shiites.

In the seventh century, shortly after the death of Islam's founder, the prophet Muhammad, a dispute arose over who should be his successor as spiritual and political leader, known as caliph.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Unalienable Rights

The United States of America is founded on a Declaration that opens:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Unalienable,” or inalienable, is a word not often used today. It means, “not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied.” Our rights come from God, and when God gives us a right to something, no one should deny us that right or attempt to take it away. This is why we have laws against murder, theft, and other evils.

From a speech on the Senate floor, we can see the American left now considers references to natural law and natural rights as “code words often used to undermine the rights of women and the LGBT community.” During a minute of debate on the House floor, a similar claim was made: “These terms have no legal meaning and have deep associations with homophobic and discriminatory movements,” “an ideology that has been associated with discrimination against marginalized communities, including the LGBT community, women, and religious minorities.” Tell that to Thomas Jefferson who used those terms in a legal document that had deep legal meaning for this nation.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Understanding power deficits

Power is fundamentally about controlling, changing, or disrupting a situation.

A power deficit is formed when one's ability to see a situation is greater than his ability to participate in, change or control a situation. Images can amplify a person's sense of being able to see a situation and a person's desire to be able to participate in, change or control the situation. These situations are frustrating and can form self-defeating feedback loops. Extreme power deficits can lead to a sense of powerlessness and isolation.

A positive response to a perceived power deficit is to make friends, talk about things, and figure out a plan. Evaluate the value and validity of the desire, figure out a direct path toward the desire, and if that is not possible or ideal, find an alternate route. Either the desire remains no matter the angle at which one views it, or the desire may change.

A negative response to a perceived power deficit, and unsuccessful attempts to overcome it, is to inflict a power deficit on others. If he can't be happy and get what he wants, then no one else can either. If he must feel powerless, others must feel powerless, too. The objective turns destructive, and external tools—sources of power to overcome the perceived power deficit—are sought.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

'Mental illness' vs. the Gospel

An illness is when a person is sick or has a disease that interferes with normal organ function. There are clear symptoms and signs for identifying when one has a condition needing medical attention. The brain is one of our organs, and when it is not functioning right, there are clear symptoms and signs, like seizures, for when it needs medical attention. Medicine is in the realm of hard, natural science.

Anything that has to do with the mind first pertains to how one thinks. This is first a matter of philosophy and purpose, not body function. Of course, one's mental state can be affected by one's physical state, particularly as it relates to desires and unmet needs. Being hangry is a thing, but then we're already back to hard sciences.

When people speak of “mental illness,” they are neither speaking of things from natural science, nor from philosophy. A mental disorder, as it is more properly known, is in the realm of soft, social science dealing with human behavior.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Free speech is step 2

Having a mind and using it to think is step 1.

Free speech is how we share our thoughts, or thoughts we affirm, with others.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Dividing time

Have you ever noticed how we divide time tends to shape our perspective on how those newly divided subsections of time can be used?

Technology tends to shrink our view of time. The BlackBerry introduced us to 15-minute intervals. It's instant delivery of email sometimes even made the space between time segments even less. Twitter has made everything instantaneous. I prefer to consider time in terms of days, but even there, how many parts are there to a day?

Sunday, August 4, 2019

400 Days

I'm 40% of the way toward my goal of 1,000 days of writing.

Yesterday I took a look at my more frequently-used tags for posts. The more commonly-used ones can also be matched to my six-word pattern I wrote about last year.

1 — Biblecreation, purpose, life

2 — Booksleadership

3 — Value, businesswork, productivity, granularity, time

Friday, August 2, 2019

When measurements are irrelevant

This week I was sad to read the news of Josh Harris' divorce and abandoning of the Christian faith.

In the latter announcement, Josh makes a comment that indirectly, and maybe unintentionally, is also a comment on Christianity. He wrote, “By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.”

The thing is, Being a Christian is not defined by something we measure.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Best- and worst-case scenarios for Boeing

This being a new month, I checked in on transportation policy news, among other things, and noticed that the groundings of the 737 MAX remain front-and-center.

I looked up some of the recent news that made headlines in July, and Tweeted several quotes from those articles. I had a couple questions none of the articles answered for me. The first: How long would a full-scale major design classification certification process have taken?

In looking that up, I instead found a 105-page guide to the process. It does not include an approval process timeline estimate. It also doesn't say anything at all about software which is striking considering (a) how much planes are controlled by software today, and (b) the two fatal 737 MAX crashes were caused by software bugs.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Governing AI

The prevailing view of technology in our culture is, If technology can do something, then it should do something. The means justify the ends, and woe be to those who get in the way.

Some people inaccurately assume technology has no bias. For some, there is no logical leap from there, to concluding that if technology is not bad, it must be good.

And then there are the biggest cheerleaders of technology who love to loudly proclaim that if we let technology get big and powerful enough, it will solve all our problems. Utopia! (Social media was going to bring us all together and usher in world peace, remember?) Some are so blind to their own tyranny that they want to criminalize anyone who questions or interferes with this supposed march of progress. Therein, of course, lies the first clue that not all is as good as they would have it seem.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A teacher with no limits?

Henry Kissinger has noted some of the possibilities about artificial intelligence and has raised some important questions:

Some “AI projects work on modifying human thought by developing devices capable of generating a range of answers to human queries. Beyond factual questions ("What is the temperature outside?"), questions about the nature of reality or the meaning of life raise deeper issues. Do we want children to learn values through discourse with untethered algorithms? Should we protect privacy by restricting AI's learning about its questioners? If so, how do we accomplish these goals?”

Monday, July 29, 2019

The objectives of AI

In Henry Kissinger's analysis of artificial intelligence, he noted the following:
Automation deals with means; it achieves prescribed objectives by rationalizing or mechanizing instruments for reaching them. AI, by contrast, deals with ends; it establishes its own objectives. To the extent that its achievements are in part shaped by itself, AI is inherently unstable. AI systems, through their very operations, are in constant flux as they acquire and instantly analyze new data, then seek to improve themselves on the basis of that analysis.
Let us not forget that artificial intelligence is still fundamentally pattern matching. That is, no matter how much data it has, it's still just looking for and extrapolating from patterns it sees in the data it's given or processes. Therefore, even though it may be able to apply logic and make decisions, he does not substantiate his claim that it “establishes its own objectives.” No matter how many games of Go or Chess it plays, or how sophisticated its learning of each may be, it's still, respectively, just trying to take over the board or capture the king. Artificial intelligence does not contemplate the meaning of its own existence.

Two categories of productivity

A few years back I would look at my time spent in terms of whether I was spending it on consuming things, like information, or producing things, like writing and coding. While this is still a factor, I've recently shifted to a more helpful way of looking at productive time.

If I get a bit more granular on time spent producing things, I've learned there are two broad categories of productivity. Am I maintaining something already in place, or am I advancing into new territory?

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Rewriting the search of history

Last year, Henry Kissinger described how he was captivated by a conference session on artificial intelligence. He subsequently organized additional dialogue and discussion to better understand “the impact on history of self-learning machines.”

The historian first describes the past:
Heretofore, the technological advance that most altered the course of modern history was the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, which allowed the search for empirical knowledge to supplant liturgical doctrine, and the Age of Reason to gradually supersede the Age of Religion. Individual insight and scientific knowledge replaced faith as the principal criterion of human consciousness. Information was stored and systematized in expanding libraries. The Age of Reason originated the thoughts and actions that shaped the contemporary world order.
There are several things here to address.

The first major accomplishment of the printing press was the printing of the Bible. The publishing of the entire Bible in a single volume and in large quantities laid the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation. While this may have supplanted liturgical doctrine in the Catholic Church, the proliferation of the Scriptures put more people in direct contact with the Word of God than ever before.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The story of America

Tuesday, President Trump spoke at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit 2019. The following is an excerpt of those remarks.
We know the story of America is the story of good defeating evil. We protect so many people, and in some cases we shouldn’t have been doing it. It’s right overcoming wrong, and it’s freedom smashing tyranny. Americans are the patriots who threw off an empire, won an independence, settled the Wild West, ended slavery, secured civil rights, pushed the boundaries of science, vanquished the Nazis, brought communism to its knees, and put a man on the moon many, many years ago, right? And we will become the first nation to land astronauts on Mars, where they will proudly plant a very beautiful American flag.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Ready for self-programming AI

A lot of people are worried about the coming AI apocalypse, and I am not among them.

Supposedly AI threatens jobs everywhere. Among the most meta of these threatened professions is programming itself. Woe to those with high-paying jobs that machines can do themselves, right?

Here's the thing: There's already a lot of programming not being done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

2-year, 2-page budget deal agreement reached

The leaders of the US federal government worked out a two-year budget deal that's two pages long.

Can we always keep it that simple?

This is not a call to oversimplify it, but to truly just keep it simple—keep government to its intended purposes.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The meaning not found in numbers

Beware the law of the instrument.

To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

To a man with a database, everything looks like a data point.

To a man with a search engine, everything can be measured in search result counts.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The key to getting things done

The key to getting things done is getting started.

The key to getting started is to pick a starting point.

The key to picking a starting point is to pick something in the middle of the beginning.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The reasons for the Church gathering

Believers in Jesus have been gathering together since the formation of the Church. The practice pre-dates them to the days of Nehemiah when the people gathered and told Ezra to read them the Law. They built a platform from which he could speak, and several people supplemented the reading to help the people understand and have the sense of what was being read (Nehemiah 8:1-8).

The clearest call in the New Testament to continue this kind of gathering is found in Hebrews: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Many church leaders focus on the “forsake not the assembling of ourselves together” part, and forget the rest. As for what to do when we’re assembled, instead of looking at the context in these two Hebrews verses, they instead go to Acts 2.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Using AI to encourage self-censorship of abusive comments

Instagram is using AI to stop people from posting abusive comments
Rather than rely solely on its algorithms to censor offensive material, it will draw on users' self-censorship as well. As a comment is posting, if the platform's AI model flags it as harmful, the poster will see a pop-up asking, "Are you sure you want to post this?" In early tests, Instagram found the feature encouraged many people to rescind their comments. It's a clever tactic to try to alleviate some of the burden on human content moderation without being too restrictive.
Here's another source of motivation:
How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment (Matthew 12:34-36).

Thursday, July 18, 2019

History is no judge

If one wants to fundamentally transform America, one must also find a way of describing that transformed America as morally acceptable.

Around the time the Supreme Court handing down its latest gay marriage decision, a phrase prominently entered the American political lexicon: “the right side of History.” It's as if to say, “We had it wrong before, but now we're getting it right, and future generations will see it our way now.”

The problem here is “History” is not a thing of its own. History has no agency. History is the story as written by whoever won and gained power. That doesn't necessarily make it right.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Future of Value, Generalist Edition

As previously noted, there are two characteristics of people who will be especially valuable economically in the future: they have specialized in a unique combination of areas. The more exclusively one is able to do certain things of value, the higher one's income potential.

There are times when the opposite of exclusivity is valuable. In these the generalist thrives.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A Civic Biology

Missed in the Scopes Trial was an opportunity to show the social implications of evolution for what they are. In what author Michael Kazin called “the most dramatic confrontation of the trial to date,” William Jennings Bryan “defended the rights of parents to control what their children learned in school” though not the full implications of what that learning would mean for them.

“Scopes had violated the statute unintentionally one day while substituting for the regular biology instructor.” The textbook used in class was A Civic Biology by George William Hunter. Of Bryan's arguments in court, Kazin noted the following about Bryan's approach to the book.
Strangely, he neglected to say anything about Hunter's use of social Darwinism. Almost seventy pages after the “tree”—which the author urged students to copy in their notebooks—appeared a vigorous endorsement of eugenics.

Clearly, the “civic” in the title of the text was no accident.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Maximize your unique contribution

Terry Monaghan has written a book called 101 Things to do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time RIGHT NOW!

5. Focus on what you do brilliantly, delegate the rest

6. See what can be automated, and automate it
Are there things you do over and over?

7. Stop doing everyone else's job
Would you pay someone your salary to do the things you're doing? “The more you can turn over tasks to a team, the more time you will have to leverage your own unique contribution.”
Read more »

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Making it home

There is a great difference between my building a house and my going to reside in that house and make it my home.

And there is a great difference between the Holy Spirit's work in regenerating a soul—the building of a house, and His coming to reside, abide and control in our innermost spirit and our whole life and being.
SourceSimpson, A. B. (Albert B.). Days of Heaven Upon Earth (June 29). Kindle Edition.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Billy Graham Rule

Robert Foster, a married man, is taking a lot of unfair flack for not agreeing to meet with a woman for an entire day which would often include time alone with her in his truck. He sticks to the Billy Graham rule, and said no.

Foster is a candidate for governor in Mississippi, and a reporter, Larrison Campbell, asked to tag along with him for a day. After finding out the reporter was female, and having no campaign staff who could join them, he asked her if she could provide someone to tag along. She balked, and the interview/day-long tag-along was called off.

One mistake Foster may have made in this is stipulating that the colleague the female reporter bring along be male. I agree having someone else present is a good idea, but I don't see why the third person would need to be a man. That actually complicates things, because presumably she would need to travel alone with that man in order to meet. Foster was possibly requiring her to violate the same rule he was trying to keep.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Evangelical Support for President Trump

Jesus told a story of a man who had two sons:
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’

“He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.

“Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.

“Which of the two did the will of his father?”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Enhancing his earthly joys

Of George Read, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, it was once written, “The same year he led to the hymeneal altar, an amiable, pious, and accomplished daughter of the Rev. George Ross, of Newcastle: thus adding largely to the stake he held in the welfare of his country, enhancing his earthly joys, and giving him an influence and rank in society never acquired by lonely bachelors. She fully supplied the vacuum abhorred by nature, and proved a valuable partner of his toils and perils, his pains and pleasures, through subsequent life.”

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How human nature is constructed

Human nature is so constructed, we are so persistent, that when we know that we are born to a thing we do not care what the world thinks about it.

—Mark Twain
Source: Mark Twain's Speeches

Monday, July 8, 2019

A career of usefulness

Mr. Livingston was among the few, who, in those days, received a college education. After his preparatory studies, he entered Yale College, and graduated in 1737. In common with most of the descendants of that celebrated family, he was blessed with strong native talent, which he improved by an excellent education. With principles firmly based on religion and moral rectitude, he was eminently prepared to commence a career of usefulness.

In those days of republican simplicity, graduates from college, instead of riding rough shod over those whose literary advantages were less, believing themselves forever exonerated from the field, the shop, and the counting-house, thought it no disparagement to apply themselves to agricultural, mechanical, and commercial pursuits.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Only God has heart knowledge

There is a special Greek word for heart knowledge: kardiognostes. It comes from two other words:

Kardia = heart
Ginosko = knowledge

It's only used two times in the New Testament, and both times of God.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Internet access = later nights

This week I discovered something I already should have known. Now I have data to back it up.

I keep track of how well I keep a good schedule, and in recent weeks my numbers haven't been so great. I scrolled back through several fortnights and noticed that for 200 days my schedule was better during the winter and fall. The key difference of that time period was internet access.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Not Afraid of Poverty

Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence by Charles Augustus Goodrich, circa 1834, opens with a thorough introduction summarizing events which led to the Declaration of Independence.

As the colonies began forming committees of correspondence, unifying their message was not confined to legislative bodies.
Numerous meetings were called in the various towns of the provinces, in relation, as well to this particular measure, as to other oppressive acts of the British parliament.

In these meetings, the town of Boston took the lead. A committee was appointed to address the several towns in the colony, and to urge upon them the importance of an unanimous expression of their feelings with regard to the conduct of the British ministry. “We have abundant reason to apprehend,” said this committee, in their address, “that a plan of despotism has been concerted, and is hastening to a completion; the late measures of the administration have a direct tendency to deprive us of every thing valuable as men, as Christians, and as subjects, entitled to the rights of native Britons.” — “We are not afraid of poverty,” said they, in conclusion, — “but we disdain slavery. Let us consider, we are struggling for our best birth rights and inheritance; which, being infringed, renders all our blessings precarious in their enjoyment, and trifling in their value.”

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Understanding Appreciation

Appreciating someone or something means more than saying thank you.

Appreciation means to understand the value of something or what someone brings to the table.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The last and final and most precious reward

My own history includes an incident which will always connect me with England in a pathetic way, for when I arrived here seven years ago with my wife and my daughter—we had gone around the globe lecturing to raise money to clear off a debt—my wife and one of my daughters started across the ocean to bring to England our eldest daughter. She was twenty four years of age and in the bloom of young womanhood, and we were unsuspecting.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Totally destroy the Johnson Amendment

I can think of no better topic to start a new month—especially one in which we honor and express gratitude for our freedom and independence—than religious liberty.

One of the earliest very positive indicators me about then-candidate Trump was his particular emphasis on crushing the Johnson Amendment.

This is not some random pandering issue for him. If anything, if you listen to his nomination acceptance speech, one could have the impression he was advised against including this issue. From conversations I've had with a few connected people, I know that he talks about this in private, not just publicly.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Meet your words

"The sweetness of the lips increaseth learning" (Prov. xvi. 21).

Life is very largely made up of words. They are not so emphatic, perhaps, as deeds. Deeds are more deliberate expressions of thought.

One of the most remarkable authors of the New Testament has said, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man."

It is very often a test of victory in Christian life. Our triumph in this often depends on what we say, or what we do not say.

Friday, June 28, 2019

President Trump, a Good Samaritan

President Trump addressed the Faith and Freedom Coalition this week. During his speech, he had Natalie Harp get up and tell the story of her fight with bone cancer including perspective on her use of the Right to Try law President Trump signed.
MS. HARP: Thank you, Mr. President. You know, we all know the story about the Good Samaritan. But what you don’t know is I was that forgotten person on the side of the road — the victim of medical error, the number-three cause of death under the previous administration — and left to die of cancer.

First, the medical establishment — they came by and they saw me there, so they wrote prescriptions for opioids, and they walked on. Next, the political establishment, they saw me there. And they stopped just long enough to come over and tell me how to die, how to speed up my death so I could somehow die with dignity.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

When gold becomes useless

When investors like Warren Buffet make the point that gold is useless, this is why:

The golden asteroid that could make everyone on Earth a billionaire

If everyone had that much gold, no one would think gold was worth anything. Gold itself doesn't put food on the table, put a roof over anyone's head, or produce anything of value.

This kind of economic dynamic has happened before.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Disturbing developments from Twitter

I've been a long-time Twitter user, and have appreciated the service and being able to use it.

This year, there have been two disturbing developments that have me seriously questioning if I'm going to continue using this service.

First, Twitter has specifically decided not to allow Live Action to sponsor any ads until Live Action removes all information about abortion from its Twitter account and it's own Web site.

That's what Live Action does. It tells the truth about abortion.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The birth of John

After Mary conceived Jesus, she went to visit a relative who was 6 months pregnant with a boy to be named John. Therefore, John is considered to be six months older than Jesus. Since Jesus' birth is remembered on Christmas, 6 months back from then puts us on today. This is why on the liturgical calendar June 25 is considered the day John the Baptist was born.

The events surrounding John's birth were quite noteworthy.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Making a unique contribution

Sometimes we end up with things on our To Do list that really should be on a To Don't list, especially for handling requests from other people.

Adam Grant has come up with a way to identify which items belong on which list. He simply decides if something is a way in which he can make a “unique contribution” or not. If it is, great. If not, “Sorry, but this is not in my wheelhouse.” For him, he feels he can make a unique contribution in directing researchers to relevant work and psychology studies.

I find this helpful. I also have some work to do in this department. I've done a variety of things over the years, and there are parts of them I can do well and enjoy, but are they really in my wheelhouse?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Determined to Rejoice

"My heart is fixed, O God" (Ps. lvii. 7).

We do not always feel joyful, but we are always to count it joy.

This word reckon is one of the keywords of Scripture. It is the same word used about our being dead. We are painfully conscious of something which would gladly return to life.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Summer Constellations

In the spring of this year, I started noting which constellations are visible in a particular hemisphere for a particular season.

Northern hemisphere constellations visible during the summer include: Aquila, Cygnus, Hercules, Lyra, Ophiuchus, Sagittarius, and Scorpius.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Begin Teaching Doctrine Early

I know that some people will say that such doctrine is too deep for boys and girls. Paul Rader had an educator visit the Tabernacle, offering her the opportunity to survey our boys' work and give her opinion of the way we worked with the boys.

Her report was something like this, “Well, you certainly do a lot of things wrong. I observed a boy sixteen years old teaching some twelve-year-old boys. He was actually teaching them doctrine. At their age, they should be told stories. And yet,” she mused, “the boys were giving perfect attention and seemed interested. That I couldn’t understand.”

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Security vs. Curiosity

Our paranoid world does not reward curiosity. There's a saying commonly promoted: “If you see something, say something.” In practice, the rest of that line can end up as, “…so we can think it's you.” Don't get too curious about how security systems work. Too many questions are unusual and make you a target.

On the flip side, it's nice to be thought of as a responsible one, but don't expect someone to be responsible if you're going to be hostile to their efforts to ensure security if those efforts may exceed yours.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Gold-miner's compliment

Mark Twain once told the story of a 42-year-old gold-miner who was designated to introduce him for a lecture in a log school-house. The miner objected, saying:

“I don't know anything about this man. Anyhow, I only know two things about him. One is, he has never been in jail, and the other is, I don't know why.”

Monday, June 17, 2019

Energy Drinks vs National Security

The US military has even warned against troops consuming too many energy drinks since doing so has been associated with sleep disruption, leading to periods of fatigue during briefings or on guard duty.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

3 times in 84 years

A little nine-year-old boy approached me at Camp Awana one day. He was the he was only the third person in my 84 years, and 63 years as a Christian, to ask me if I was saved. I assured him that I was.

He then ventured, “Doc, I was saved a week ago last Monday. My, it’s wonderful to be saved. And to think that I’m going to walk the street golden streets. And I’m going to see Jesus face to face. I can hardly wait to see him.”

He had the right idea.
Source: Breese, DaveLance, A Testament of Grace, 1978. pp. 212.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Speaking Openly

Jesus said, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing” (John 18:20).

Sometimes I wonder how far this goes. Does this mean we should never speak in secret? Is this limited to teaching?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Following Jesus

In keeping with the evangelism messaging theme this week, today I want to look at another way we describe being a Christian: being a “follower of Jesus.”

I have nothing against following Jesus and becoming more like Him. That, however, is not what makes someone a Christian. Followers of Islam say they follow Jesus, too.

The question is not, Who do you follow?

The question is, Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cold War Memories

June 12 is a date with a few layers of significance for me.

On this date, in
1918, my grandfather, Ralph E. Hansen was born.
1924, President George H.W. Bush was born.
1987, President Ronald W. Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” speaking of the Berlin Wall.

For some of us these people are history; for others they are memories. I recently heard the claim that those born after 1980 have no personal memories of the Cold War. I was born in 1977, and I remember things about the Cold War from the 1980s.

In my family, a couple of us kids were born before 1980 and a couple after, so I had a ready sample to test this hypothesis. I asked my brother born in 1984 if he has any memories of the Cold War, and he does not. Just as I did last 9/11, it seems appropriate to share, and record for posterity, my memories of the Cold War.

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you build one.
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