Restitution

30 Sep

On Fox News the other morning, I heard them tell a story about a pharmacy who accidently overbilled the government for a medicaid claim almost 1 million dollars. The pharmacy caught the error and notified them of the error and wanted to know what to do to return the money. The government told them just to keep it and then just keep track of what they bill them and just subtract it out of the million. Don’t you wish that would happen to you?

What would you do?

Read Leviticus 6:2-5. Notice that all the instances of dishonesty relate to our neighbor yet, it is called a sin against the Lord. Remember I said one time that everything we do is spiritual? Since we are not only physical beings, but also spiritual beings everything we do has a spiritual context. God demands complete honesty. He tells us that when we sin against others, we sin against God. Doesn’t leave much wiggle room, does it?

Now, look at the penalty for being dishonest. God says we should pay the amount we were dishonest about plus a 20 percent penalty. That’s pretty stiff until you remember that the real penalty for sin is death. 20 percent doesn’t seem so much does it?

Have you ever bought something at a store and then realized that they undercharged you, or didn’t charge you for something? Did you go back and bring the discrepency to their attention?

The pharmacy did the right thing in trying to return it as soon as they caught the error. In my opinion, that isn’t dishonesty. But once they tell you to keep it, what do you do?

If you don’t attend my class, leave a comment on what you would do. If you do attend my class , we can talk about that on Sunday. See you there!

Brutal Honesty

29 Sep

I had a great laugh yesterday. It’s a good thing I can laugh at myself because some people would have been crushed. I had an appointment yesterday and I put on some clothes that I hadn’t worn in a while. When I asked my wife if I looked all right, she took one glance at me and said, “You look like a sausage!”. The clothes I had on were a “little” tight and with the shirt tucked in and the belt cinched up, she said it reminded her of link sausage. (It’s getting worse isn’t it!)

I love my wife and I appreciate her honesty. I knew the clothes were a little tight and what I really wanted to know is if they coordinated. She was honest with me. It wasn’t the answer I wanted but I’m glad she felt she could tell me the truth.

God requires us to be honest in everything. Sometimes, honesty is brutal. I heard on the radio the other day where it may not be wise to be honest in all situations but we should never be deceitful. Is there a difference? I think it’s splitting hairs. If you aren’t honest with someone, isn’t that deceitful? Luke 16:10(NIV) says, “Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”

The next time someone asks you how they look…PRAY!

The “Why” Of The DIP Shtick

28 Sep

Tonight I was asked to share the testimony of my ministry – which is essentially, this website. I was honored and I know that God spoke through me because I can’t really remember what I said. I did write down a few ideas before tonight that I wanted to share with the group and once I returned home, the thought just leaked out onto this website!

This whole site began with the realization that I wanted to do something to serve God. The little book “The Prayer of Jabez” was recommended to me to read. I read it in one sitting and a few points really spoke to me and I want to share them with you here:

  1. I pray each morning asking God to bless me, A LOT! To bless in the biblical sense means to ask for or to impart supernatural favor. When we ask for God’s blessing, we’re not asking for more of what we could get for ourselves. We’re crying out for the wonderful, unlimited goodness that only God has the power to know about or give us. This kind of richness is what the writer was referring to in Proverbs: ‘the Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth; all our work adds nothing to it.” (Proverbs 10:22)
  2. By asking for God’s blessing, God’s power to accomplish great things suddenly finds no obstruction in us.
  3. I pray for God to give me more influence, more responsibility, and more opportunity to make a mark for God. I pray that God will expand my opportunities and my impact in such a way that I touch more lives for His glory. In short – Let me do more for Him!
  4. Our God specializes in working through normal people who believe in a supernormal God who will do His work through them.

God has blessed this website. It started out with sending emails to the 5 people in my class and today, this website averages about 400 unique visitors per day. It is my prayer that those who read this will receive the same blessing I receive by writing it!


Drowning in self pity? We often tend to focus on our current situation and take our eye off the ultimate prize. Read Hebrews 11 for some motivation!


One more thought. I am amazed at the website stats. I don’t know who is visiting my site. My curiosity overwhelms me. If you read this site but don’t receive the postings by email, could you please drop me an email or leave a comment with your City, State so I have some idea of where all of these visitors come from? I promise not to flood your mailbox with SPAM!

Relative Honesty

27 Sep

I don’t golf. I can throw the ball farther than I can hit it. It doesn’t do me any good to cheat. Just give me a 20 on every hole. That should cover it! In fact, the last time I played, I ended up driving the beer cart!

I recently read a story on ESPN.com that was entitled “In golf, cheating is minimal”. In it, the author talks about the different ways people cheat in golf and compares it to other sports. As I read the article, I was struck at how the author was making a case for cheating in golf. After comparing the cheating that goes on in golf with cheating in other sports, he states, “While it is a sad commentary on our times that we have to use the phrase “relative honesty,” within that definition, golf is the unquestioned winner.”

God demands absolute honesty. God is the God of truth(John 14:6) and he commands us to “be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”(1 Peter 1:15-16)

When we practice dishonesty, we are acting as if the living God does not exist, and it is impossible to love God if He doesn’t exist.

Think about that while I practice my stroke….

Honesty

26 Sep

A conversation with Officer Smith:

Hi Officer Smith. You would not believe what I just witnessed! I am shocked even now as we speak!

What happened?

Well, you wouldn’t believe it. You see, as I was driving down the road, a mini-van didn’t even bother to stop at a stop sign. They just did one of those slow-and-go things and they pulled right out in front of me. But that wasn’t the worst thing. They had one of those fishes on the back. (whispering) They are Christians.

Can you believe they call themselves Christians and then don’t even bother to stop at a stop sign? Well, I never would do that. I am a good Christian – I would never run a stop sign. They are so hypocritical!

Do I know how fast I was going? Well, I’m not sure.

Oh. 10 miles over the speed limit? That’s not bad. I thought I was speeding.

I was speeding? You must be joking! Everyone knows that you can go over the speed limit a little without actually “speeding”.

10 miles over is speeding? You have got to be serious. Where were you when those other bozo’s ran the stop sign? What they did is much worse. You should give them a ticket.

Oh. OK. Just give me the ticket so I can leave. Yes. I will slow down.

Thank you Officer Smith. I’ll be praying for you.

Think about it….

Eulogy for A Song About Cartoons

26 Sep

Almost every day when I take my daughter to school the song “Cartoons” by Chris Rice is playing on KLOVE. This is a fun song and Sarah really likes it. For the longest time, we never knew who sang it. Finally, today I did a Google search to find out who sang the song. My search came up with Chris Rice and a link to his website. On his website, he published an article entitled “Eulogy For A Song About Cartoons”, about why he has decided to stop performing this song live. I have to admit, when I read the article, I was left saying “HUH?”.

It seems as if this song has been kind of controversial! A lot of people LOVE it. It has been (and probably still is) one of the most requested songs on Christian radio. Others rebuff his “cartoon praise” theology. He says in his article that it was written as a satire and that nobody got it. Everyone took it as legit!

I like the song. It is a fun song to sing. The point of the song is correct. It isn’t for cartoons to praise God, that is what we were made to do! I also take issue with those who say it is bad theology! If we were created to praise God, then anything we do should be to praise God! If you are a cartoon artist, then drawing a cartoon praising God could be your way of praising God. In the Bible, Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:23 that in EVERYTHING we do, we should do it as we are doing it for the Lord! That says to me that everything we do has a spiritual context.

Are you a part-time Christian or a full-time Christian? Think about it before you answer.

While you think, I’ll just sing “Yabba-dabba-do-lu-yah!”

Contentment

24 Sep

Here is an editorial originally published in our Blair paper. I will link to the original if/when they post it online.

What is the difference between rich and poor people? That is an awesome perspective!

Take, for example, the story about the father of a very wealthy family who took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

The two spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

The son replied, “It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yea,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four.”

The son continued, “We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.”

The father stood in amazement as the son continued by saying, “We have servants who serve us – but they serve others. We buy our food but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us and they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

I guess it boils down to the fact that we need to appreciate every single thing we have – especially our friends!

Perhaps this will help us refresh our perspective and appreciation. Life is too short and friends are too few.

(Originally published in “The Enterprise”, Sept. 23, 2005 by Kenneth Rhoades.)

Common Perceptions about the Church

22 Sep

Dan Kimball just posted a list of perceptions about the church he has heard from mainly 20-somethings who either dropped out of the church, or grew up outside of the church and want nothing to do with church. Read these, and then leave Dan some feedback.

One thing that I think is important is that as I read the list, I keep saying to myself, “Why in the world would they think that?” Then I realize that today, that is how Christianity is portrayed in the pop culture media. The perceptions have been cultivated over time and there will always be “examples” to hang their hats on. The only way to reach these people is to develope personal, intentional relationships with them. The old addage stands true – “They won’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.

The AMerican WAY

22 Sep

Have you ever done something you just knew the Lord was telling you to do and then after you did it, you figured out it wasn’t the Lord telling you as much as it was all you? Did it involve a financial matter? Did it cost you money, time, relationships?

Years ago, I just knew that AMWAY was my answer to early retirement. Now, I wouldn’t ever say out loud that I got into it to get rich, but, I just knew that the Lord led me to that first meeting and I knew that I would be successful – all the people told me so! I was in the Marine Corps at the time and I wasn’t making much money. I convinced Patti that this was a Christian organization and that we could retire off of the business we built through Amway.

For years, we spent almost every evening at some meeting or another. We drove thousands of miles, up and down the east coast attending different functions. We spent thousands of dollars on overpriced products, conventions, gatherings and clothes. We didn’t make any money. I wanted to stop but I was too proud to just quit. It might just start happening the next month! Finally, we just couldn’t do it any more. Everyone of my “friends” that I talked to encouraged me to stay in. Of course, my friends had a vested interested in us staying in.

Now, I don’t have anything against Amway as a company. I am just not a salesman. I don’t like asking for people to buy something. I can’t stand rejection! It’s a personal flaw. I should never had joined. But I did. I didn’t seek wise counsel. The only people I talked to were already part of Amway. They had a biased opinion. Was it from God? I sincerely doubt it. I realize now that it was my greed all wrapped up in a “Christian” package. I wanted to take a short-cut to success. There was a period there for a few years that I tried a few more of those “make quick money” businesses. All unsuccessful. All cost me money. All without the benefit of wise counsel.

Our memory verse for this week is “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (Proverbs 12:15) (Don’t you just hate it when a verse was written specifically for you? :))

I think I am wiser now. I turn down all “great opportunities” now.