We’re on a Mission from God

blue's brothers

mission statement – a short statement of an organization’s purpose, identifying the scope of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation.

Most successful organizations and businesses promote a pithy mission statement to communicate their purpose for being. God was the trailblazer for mission statements. We will explore my proposal for the Church’s mission statement.

God provides specific instructions to the church in 1 Timothy 2.

1 Timothy 2

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is a timely reminder for people with post-election blues after their candidate lost. We are urged to petition, pray, intercede, and give thanks for all people, especially for those in authority. There is no qualifier for those in authority. Even if you did not vote for them, do not like them, or disagree with how they govern, we are still exhorted to pray for those in authority. Why? So that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Who doesn’t want that? I believe that this is to fend off bitterness, partisanship, and pride. This is a great reminder to all in the Church. Freudenschade (taking pleasure in someone else’s sorrows or misfortunes) is a fruit of the flesh.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

This is good and pleases God our Savior. It pleases God when we live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness. Repent and confess if you have had a bad attitude. God wants you to be free from the weight of this world.

who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Here is a gem in the bible that should be on a neon sign. I believe that it’s the mission statement for the Church. The first part is that “God wants all to be saved”. All without exception. Will all believe? No. But it doesn’t change God’s will.  The next word is “and”. And is a conjunction. In logic, the statement is true only if both parts are true. The second part is “To come to a knowledge of the truth”. The Greek word for knowledge in the verse is epiginosko, which means to know that you know, an experiential knowledge of the truth. This is more than a head knowledge but a tangible knowledge. What is the truth? Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). The Bible is the truth (John 17:17). We need both Jesus (holy spirit, Christ in you Colossians 1:27) and the Bible to experientially know the truth.

Here is a summary of the 2 parts of the mission statement.

  • God wants all to be saved
  • Those that are saved to experience the knowledge of the truth

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

This is the reason for the mission statement. There is one God. There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Christ paid the debt owed for our lives (Galatians 3:13-14).

And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

Paul is certifying that these verses and true and swearing on the credentials of his office.

 

Epilogue

I realize that this teaching is contrary to the widely accepted teaching of the Great Commission as it applies to the Church. I believe that the Great Commission is true at the time during the Gospel.  Bear with me while I attempt to clarify the difference.

Matthew 28

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

“go and make disciples of all nations” is not the same as “who [God] wants all people to be saved”. Disciples are committed to following what they have been taught. In the Gospels, the disciples were sons by adoption. After the day of Pentecost, salvation is available via sonship by birth. Jesus taught about being born again (literally born from above). Adoptions do not involve a birth.

In 1 Peter 1:23

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

Adoption does not involve seed but a birth does.

Spiritual birth was not available until after the day of Pentecost. In Colossians 1:27

To them, God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 

In the Gospels, the disciples sometimes had Christ WITH them, but not always. After Pentecost, the born again sons have Christ IN them always.

“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” was likely not in the original texts. There is no record in the book of Acts where this command was carried out. It’s hard to fathom that the apostles would have omitted this critical command. The more likely translation is “baptizing them in my name” which is wording used on multiple occasions.

“teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” If we are to only teach what Jesus commanded then we lose the richness and vast wealth revealed in the Church letters. “come to a knowledge of the truth” includes the fathomless wisdom from the church letters and the commands of Jesus contained in the Gospels.

Therefore, I believe that 1 Timothy 2:4 “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.“ is a fuller and more complete command for the Church (after Pentecost) than The Great Commission.

 

Second Amendment: What does it really mean?

 

second amendment

After every public shooting in the US, there is a cry for more gun control. If only there were more gun control laws then the shooting would not have happened. If only the NRA were weaker or non-existent, then we would all be safer. Over the last 30 years, the gun control megaphone has gotten louder and more persistent. What does the second amendment say about gun control?

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

  • “A well regulated Militia”

A well regulated militia is a an organized, disciplined army. Our independence required an organized, disciplined army to defeat the British.

  • “being necessary to the security of a free State”

The armies were organized by states and provided for the security of each state. A free state requires a strong army. Federalism supporting states rights was supported by all of the states because the name of the country is the United States of America.

  • “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms”

The people in each state are empowered to keep and bear arms. The militias in each state were comprised of the citizens bearing their personal arms. Some say that the only weapons allowed were for muskets and then only for hunting. The purpose of the arms is for the defense of the state.

If the federal government tyranny becomes a threat to the states, then the states have a right to defend themselves against the overreach, even by succession. There is no authority for the federal government to attack a state.

We now have the Department of Defense, which did not exist when the Constitution was ratified. The Department of Defense (DOD) is to protect the United States, which is why it is not called the Department of Offense. The National Guard and the police are responsible for enforcing order within the country.

  • “shall not be infringed”

The right for individuals to bear arms is protected by the Constitution. Some arms are banned by law: machine guns, nuclear weapons, grenades, and many other weapons reserved for the military. Semi-automatic rifles and pistols are legal. Semi-automatic means that every time that the trigger is pulled then one bullet is discharged. There is a goal to infringe upon the right to use a semi-automatic rifle.

Many of the mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones. Robbery or violent acts are hazardous when concealed carry weapons are legal.

Note: I have never owned a gun or been an NRA member. I have shot various guns during my Naval service  ( .50 caliber machines guns, M60 machine guns, 9 mm pistols, and colt 45 pistols). I am an avid supporter of the second amendment.

First Amendment: What does it really say?

first amendment

 

Separation of Church and State. Hate speech. Media freedom. Campaign finance. Cancel speeches due to threats. Supporters claim that the first amendment defends all of these actions. The founders were specific and passionate about the first amendment. Let’s look at the text.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • “Congress shall make no law” is the opening phrase. It doesn’t say that Congress shall make some laws. It doesn’t say that Congress shall make a lot of laws. It says Congress shall make no laws.
  • “Respecting an establishment of religion” means that Congress will not establish a national religion. The founders were aware of the Episcopal church, the Church of England. The King was the national and the spiritual leader. The Puritans left England because of this restriction on their worship.

In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court introduced the phrase “separation of Church and State” to our lexicon. The phrase was taken from a Thomas Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptist church. James Madison was the author of the Bill of Rights, not Jefferson. Here is an excerpt from his letter.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

The wall was intended to separate the government from the Church and not to separate the church from the government.  Madison was clear about the intentions in the phrase that Congress shall not establish a religion.

  • “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” – Congress is prohibited from restricting the free exercise of religion. Restricting churches from involvement in politics is a violation of this clause. Christianity is about aligning our thoughts and ways with God’s thoughts and ways.
  • “or abridging the freedom of speech” – Hateful, offensive speech is covered under this clause. The majority cannot shut down disagreeable speech. Threats are not protected by this phrase.
  • “or [the freedom] of the press” – The fourth estate (media) are given special rights and protections. Due to the internet, cable TV, and mobile devices there are more media choices providing real-time reporting than any time in history.
  • “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The right to peaceful protest is one of our unique privileges. Disrupting traffic, blocking access, and violent protests are not protected. Censorship is not the solution. The only appropriate way to confront disagreeable speech is more free speech. Present your counter argument and let the listeners decide.

 

The right to petition the government for a remedy for your grievances is primarily through the court systems or by addressing elected officials.

 

The first amendment is the foundation for all of the other amendments. It’s important to know what it says instead of what others tell you that it means. The first amendment gives me the right to publish this blog and for you to read it.

 

 

Protests and Progress

peaceful protest.jpg

Today, I received the following email from Seth Godin. If you are not already a follower, then I recommend that you digest his daily nugget of wisdom.

A simple dialog can turn opinions into plans (or perhaps, into less tightly held opinions).

We ask, “And then what happens?”

Flesh it out. Tell us step-by-step. The more detail the better.

No miracles allowed. And it helps if each step is a step that’s worked before, somewhere and sometime else. The other question that helps with this is, “has that step ever worked before?”

We don’t have a shortage of loud and strongly held points of view about business, culture, or technology. But it may be that finding the time to draw a map helps us get to where we want to go (or to realize that we need a new map).

This email reminded me of the sincere #NeverTrump protests. Protests are meant to affect the desired change. It’s painful to watch angry, loud protesters with an incoherent, rude message annoying leaders. Protests are a first amendment right as long as they are peaceful.

The town hall meetings where protesters shout down the speaker, yell “Do your job.”, and dominate the public mic by asking pre-written questions are feckless events. Speakers will stop showing up if the audience does not want to listen to the speaker. “Do your job.” Seems to mean Do your job the way that I want you to do your job, regardless of how your district voted. Jason Chaffetz was reelected by 75% of his constituents. Do you think that he should ignore supermajority and bend to the 2000 protesters at his town hall? If so, then we have moved from a democracy to a mob rules state, which is the first step to fascism. Being fed questions to ask is not an organic movement.

Follow the tea party movement. Not the part where they shouted down speakers, but by promoting candidates that you support, starting in 2018.

Calling Trump and his administration fascists proves that it’s not. No fascist regime has ever been overthrown by political protests. The fascists will beat up and then jail the protesters. Temper the hyperbole.

To affect lasting change, speak reasonably but passionately. Also, other people have first amendment rights. Do not trample them in defense of your first amendment rights. These differences need to be decided by free speech, persuasion, and the voting booth. It’s worked 240 years. Hopefully, it will work for another 240. (Note: Running a third party candidate for President without winning any state house, governor, or congressional seats first is as futile as sweeping up the beach.)

The people protesting for a $15 minimum wage are seeing unwanted consequences. McDonald’s and Wendy’s are both rolling out self-service kiosks. This means that there will be some $15  jobs, in addition to layoffs.

Keep the end in mind. The extremist already supports your view. Your only hope for change is to persuade the moderates and independents.  Preaching to the choir can elevate emotion but reason moves those in the middle. Leaders need to detach emotionally during strategic planning. This allows clear thinking to prevail.

I have friends that are passionate on both sides. I like to see protests that lead to progress instead of uncivil emotional outbursts.

 

An Abortion Law with Legs

fetus

Over 40 years of failure trying to overturn Roe v. Wade demonstrates how strong the opposition has fought against the Republicans. The arguments are well known. A woman, not the government, gets to choose to deliver and keep, deliver and give up for adoption or to have an abortion.  The controversial choice is abortion. When does a child become a person with rights? In 1973, the Supreme Court decided in Roe v Wade that a child becomes a person after viability, during the third trimester.

On the same day as Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled in another abortion case, Doe v. Bolton. This case extended abortion up until birth based on the woman’s health, which included physical, mental, and emotional health. It was a sketchy case on behalf of Jane Doe, even though the real Jane Doe did not support the case and asked the Supreme Court to hear her story about the fictional case. Her appeal was denied and she has passed away.

I believe that Conservatives and Republicans need to stop trying to overturn Roe v. Wade and instead focusing on overturning Doe v. Bolton for the following reasons.

  1. Overturning Roe v. Wade is a difficult political topic because taking away a woman’s choice has strong support among non-Christians and even among some Christians. Liberal judges side with a woman’s right to choose.
  2. Overturning Doe v. Bolton involves banning abortions after 6 months. The majority of Americans do not support late-term abortions, especially partial birth, even among pro-choice women.
  3. Overturning Doe v. Bolton avoids the discussion of abortions due to rape and incest.
  4. Overturning Doe v. Bolton forces the pro-choice people to defend the abortion of a little person. An abortion delivers a dead baby and a C-section delivers an alive baby

We just completed a Presidential election cycle where I heard Roe v. Wade repeated but never Doe v. Bolton. The nominee to the Supreme Court will be nominated next week and I have heard Roe v. Wade mentioned multiple times but never Doe v. Bolton.  Why has this tactic not been tried in 40+ years? I would prefer for Congress to pass a law concerning late term abortions instead of it being a court decision. Any ideas whom in the Congress or Senate that would support this bill?Doe v. Bolton link that explains the case.

Doe v. Bolton case explained.

 

 

 

Indecision

indecision-parks-and-rec

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
― Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I don’t know. Let’s wait. I’m not sure. Maybe, possibly. One of the hallmarks of adulthood is exercising our freedom of will which is manifest in our ability to make decisions, which leads to consequences and rewards for our decisions. This requires a close coupling of authority, responsibility, and accountability.

There are various methods of decision making.

  1. Impulsive – I want it now – is a manifestation of lust, usually results in poor results.
  2. Analytical aka analysis paralysis – I need to consider all of the angles – is a rational process based on the facts as perceived by the decision maker.
  3. Intuitive – I know the right path – is a gift visionairies, successful business leaders, and many managers possess.
  4. Emotional – This feels right – is a result of the present feelings due to circumstances or relationships.
  5. Predetermined – My boss told me to do it this way – requires obedience to the person in authority.
  6. Biblical – I think this is the Lord’s will according to the Bible — could be based on the bible or spiritual knowledge and spiritual wisdom.

Indecision produces discomfort and pressure.  Seek God as you pursue your answer. God’s thoughts and ways are higher than your thoughts and ways.

Let the peace of Christ rule (be the umpire continually) in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col 3:15

1- Determine if this is a decision that you need to make. Can I? Should I?

2- Be thankful and peaceful as you pursue answers from God and enjoy the process because God is loving and faithful.

3- After your prayer is answered –  Congratulations. You added a new page to your testimony. Share the goodness of God with somebody else.

Can I? Should I?

decisions

 

Where should we focus our efforts?  The myriad of choices is endless. Decisions confront us at school, work, and with relationships. How should we prioritize our decisions?

There should be two parts to all decisions, whether you are boiling an egg or starting a company.

Can I do it? Do I have the skills or talents to complete the task? Can I learn the requisite skills? If you determine that you believe that you can, then comes the critical next phase.

Should I do it? This is where the profit is evaluated, a business case is built, or you trust in an intuitive sense. Some visionaries, like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, developed products that people were not looking for.

Spending all day on social media or gaming consumes some teenager’s lives. The bible talks about most things in our lives should be tempered with moderation.

Focusing on “Should I?” will engage your mind and heart. Sit down before I share this stunning news. Believe it or not, there are mistakes, errors, and blatant lies on the internet. Anybody with a strong sense of right and wrong, could spend hours correcting spelling and grammar, discussing logic fallacies, and arguing about how their opinion is right. Or you can just ignore it.

Engage in the profitable, fun, and relational. There is no “Should I?” flowchart to follow, but just asking the question will improve the quality of your decisions.