Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord"

Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”

My Christmas came early on Saturday night December 3.  Second Baptist invited the singing group Veritas to give a concert for worship.  Their music along with the orchestra and choir was moving, powerful, amazing and stirred the soul.  As I serve in the new member ministry I have the great privilege to be a small part of confirming people’s faith in Jesus.  There is no doubt the highlight of my celebration of the Christmas season came this evening.  There can be no better reminder of the incredible gift of grace and mercy we all have been given through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  What an amazing gift and reason to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I often arrive at Christmas hurried and miss the opportunity to truly contemplate the enormity of God’s gift of redemption.  Tonight I was stopped in my tracks by the powerful music that resonated in my soul.  Following that time of worship I received another special gift and high privilege of being a very small part of confirming Wilson’s acceptance of Jesus as his Savior.  Christmas came early this year.  Celebrating the “Good News of Great Joy for All the People”.  Merry Christmas!

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Can God use Donald Trump for His glory?

2 Chronicles 7:14 and My people [d]who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Daniel 2:20-21 Daniel said, Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.

The Republican primary started with 16 candidates.  The least likely and most unqualified was Donald Trump.  It was a presumed publicity stunt for the Trump brand, but his unpolished, in-your-face, anti-establishment rants won him a fan base.  There was no way Donald Trump would survive against these other polished, qualified, well spoken candidates.  One by one dropped and Donald Trump won the nomination.  Polls said 60% of the Republicans could not stand to think they would vote for Donald Trump.  He could not seem to control himself and responded unprofessionally and improperly to criticism.  His opponents and the sitting president claimed he was unfit for the Presidency, he was a loose cannon and unpredictable.  His repeated gaffs, crazy antics and seeming inability to control his emotions made for great Saturday Night Live skits.  He offended nearly every minority group and was an embarrassment to himself and our political process.  NBC released recordings from Access Hollywood of his sexist, arrogant, ego maniac comments made about women.  Donald Trump is a deeply flawed person and candidate that is unfit to be President of the United States.  His opponent, Hillary Clinton, is also a deeply flawed candidate but immensely qualified, has the backing of the sitting President, media-elite, educators, rising minority population.  Hillary is well spoken, stays on message and seemed unstoppable. 

The stakes for the election are very high.  The next President will have the opportunity to appoint several judges to the Supreme Court which will shape the laws of our country for the next generation.  Our nation has lost it’s moral compass and secular humanism is driving social change where we have seen the “progressives” push for legalized marijuana, legalize same sex marriage, blurring gender identity, open borders and expanded abortion rights just to name a few. Our churches for the most part have remained silent, failed to effectively share the good news of great joy for all the nations, failed to live out the truth of Jesus to attract this generation to know the love, grace and mercy that God has for his people.  We are past the tipping point and on the fast downward slide of self glorification and idol worship of our culture.

But there is a remnant, a minority in our nation that still knows the God of the ages.  Behind the scenes millions of Christian Americans got on their knees and prayed for God’s mercy.  Considering the terribly flawed options presented by both parties, Christians prayed for God’s mercy on our nation.  Evangelical Christian leaders came together to pray for America and support and pray for the candidate that ran on the Republican platform.  According to the Washington Post 80% of evangelical Christians voted for Donald Trump.  Against all odds and all predictions Donald Trump won the Presidency. 

The peaceful transition of government that is the beauty of American democracy has been initiated.  Donald Trump has appointed Governor Mike Pence, who is well-known for socially conservative policies, to lead the transition team.  It is notable and hopeful for our nation and evangelical Christians to see that Donald Trump is nominating men and women that are outspoken committed Christian leaders to the highest positions of leadership in our government.  Some of the names emerging for Trump’s transition team include former Governor Mike Huckabee and Governor Sam Brownback, a socially conservative Catholic, are being considered for agency posts according to Buzzfeed. Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at Perkins’ Family Research Council, is overseeing domestic policy for the transition team, according to Politico. Others that have stood for Christian values include Senator Jeff Sessions, Reagan aide and former Attorney General Ed Meese, and immigration conservative Kris Kobach. Other names that will likely serve in top leadership spots include Dr. Ben Carson, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and Michelle Bachman. 

I do not identify as a Republican or Democrat, but an independent Christian that votes for those who stand for conservative Christian values.  I am hopeful that God will use Donald Trump and other flawed people to bring revival to the United States of America.  I am hopeful that God will act in a super natural way to change the hearts of men to know His love and follow Him.  I am hopeful that our country will have Justices in our Supreme Court that will uphold biblical truths that protect the sanctity of life and religious freedom for all people and religions.  I am hopeful that our country will again be a beacon to the values of liberty and freedom that give hope for all men to pursue life, liberty and happiness.  I am hopeful that the United States will support Israel and will resume as the world leader of hope.

Is it possible that God can use Donald Trump for His purpose and His glory?  As I struggle with the person of Donald Trump leading our country I reflected on the people God has picked to use for His glory. 

Abraham -Was old.

Elijah – Was suicidal.

Joseph – Was abused.

Job – Went bankrupt.

Moses – Had a speech problem.

Gideon – Was afraid.

Samson – Was a womanizer.

Rahab – Was a prostitute.

Samaritan Woman – Divorced.

Noah – Was a Drunk.

Jeremiah – Was young.

Jacob – Was a cheater.

David – Was a murderer.

Jonah – Ran from God.

Naomi – Was a widow.

Peter – Denied Christ three times

Martha – Worried about everything.

Zacchaeus – Was small and money hungry.

The Disciples – Fishermen who could not stay awake while praying.

Paul – A Pharisee who persecuted Christians before becoming one.

God did not choose people who were the “most likely to succeed” or the most popular and influential candidates, but worked supernaturally through the broken, the weak, the left behind, the sinners, the unreligious and the outcasts.  Those least likely to bring honor and glory to God He chose to represent Him and do great works that changed the world for His purpose and His glory.  Can God use an immensely flawed Donald Trump?  Can God use me or you?  Yes He can!  My hope is not in Donald Trump or in the people he puts in place of leadership, but in Jesus Christ.  My hope is that God has mercy on us and bestows His undeserving grace on our nation so that we may respond to His call to know His love, worship Him and love our neighbors.  God is still in control.  May God bless America!

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Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson

One of the men that I study the bible with on Friday mornings sent this book to me with a note of encouragement for the “Lions” I have chased and the friendship we share.  Chase the Lion is a book written by Mark Batterson and based on the inspiration of one of David’s warriors named Beniah.  chase-the-lionAs recorded in 2 Samuel 23:20 Beniah chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day and killed it.  David surrounded himself with a band of courageous and loyal warriors that would endure any hardship, fight any battle and take on the strongest of enemies.  Mark Batterson builds off the resume of Beniah who went on to become commander-in-chief of Israel’s army under king Solomon to write a book that will inspire young men that have yet to take on the challenges of conquering a 500 pound lion and encourages those of us who have lived to face a few lions in our life.  As is my habit while reading books I underline sections that I agree with, challenge me, encourage or give me inspiration.  The following are some of the highlights that encouraged me and inspire me to continue to pursue dreams that God brings to my heart.

P 2. – If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small

P 3. – In every dream journey there comes a moment when you have to quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.  You have to go after every dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.  You have to go big or go home.  You have to take the road less traveled or settle for status quo.  You have to bit the bullet or turn your back on your dreams.  I have a theory:  your favorite scripture will become the script of your life.  (By the way I wrote in the margin 2 of my favorites Proverbs 3:5 and Ephesians 3:20)

P 4. – At the end of our lives, our greatest regrets will be the God-ordained opportunities we left on the table, the God-given passions we didn’t pursue and the God-sized dreams we didn’t go after because we let fear dictate our decisions.   Most people believe God is real, but few people actually live like it.

P 5. – God honors big dreams because big dreams honor God.

P 8. – What impossibility do you need to repent of?  It’s not just our sin that we need to repent of.  It’s our small dreams.  The size of your dream may be the most accurate measure of the size of your God.

P 13. – Your greatest legacy isn’t your dream.  Your greatest legacy is the next generation of dreamers that your dream inspires – the dreams within a dream.

P 21. – If you want to live an epic life, you have to overcome some epic challenges.  You have to take some epic risks, make some epic sacrifices.

P 22. – You can’t steal second base if you keep your foot on first.

P 26. – One of the best ways to discover your destiny is to study your history.  The seeds of your dreams are often buried in your memory, three levels down. Take inventory. …p 27.  It’s not until we inventory our inciting incidents that we begin to see why we do what we do.

P 29. – I want to die doing what I love to do, doing what God has called me to do.  I want to pursue God-sized dreams until the day I die.  And if it kills me, so be it.

P 30. – Sadly, many people die long before their heart stops beating.  We start dying the day we stop dreaming.  And ironically, we start living the day we discover a dream worth dying for.

P 30. – I need a life goal to keep me going.  I need a noble cause to keep me committed.  I need a God-sized dream to keep me from getting demotivated.

P 33. – But once the door to the future opens, the door to the past slams shut.  There is no turning back.

P 36 – What was the genesis of your dream?

P 40. – Focus on becoming the right person.  If you keep doing the right things day in and day out, God will hold up His end of the bargain!

P 55. – When we fail to take action, we forfeit the future.  And just as inaction is an action, indecision is a decision.  As Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

P 57. – Don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can.

P 59. – You need to identify the battlefield you’re willing to die on.  Then you need to fight the good fight until your hand freezes to the sword.

P 63. – A dream without a to-do list is called a wish list.

P 78. – change of pace + change of place = change of perspective

P 81. – I’ve since discovered that God-ordained dreams often go through a death and resurrection.  Only when the dream is dead and buried can it be resurrected for God’s glory………Don’t put a period where God puts a comma.

P 82. – When we operate in faith, we aren’t risking our reputation.  We’re risking God’s reputation!

P 83. – Don’t settle for your plan A.  Go after God’s plan B.

P 84. – Many people hit a dead end in their dream journey because they’re waiting for God to go first.  In my experience signs follow.  If you wait for God to part the Jordan River, you’re going to be waiting the rest of your life. You have to sep into the river and get your feet wet before God will part the river.  Faith is taking the first step before God reveals the second step.

P 85. – Faith is climbing our on a limb, cutting it off, and watching the tree fall down.

P 87. – If you want to experience the supernatural, you have to attempt something that is beyond your natural ability.  If you want to experience God’s miraculous provision, you have to attempt something that is beyond your resources.

P 100. – Success isn’t winning or losing; it’s obeying.

P 121. – Don’t accumulate possessions; accumulate experiences.  (I would add:  accumulate relationships)

P 135. – You are never going to be more than about 80 percent certain….Don’t let 80 percent certainty hold you back.  …A goal is a dream with a deadline.

P 144. – In the plot line of our lives, dram markers are defining decisions.  …How much is your dream worth?

P 145. – If you want God to bless you beyond your ability, try giving beyond your means.

P 159. – Even when you feel as if you aren’t making a difference, God might be using you in ways you aren’t aware of.  And it’s not the immediate impact that matters most; it’s the exponential impact, to the third and fourth generations.  …Legacy is the influence your dream has on others even after you die.

P 160. – Until you can selflessly invest yourself in someone else’s dream, your not ready for your own.

P 162. – You may not influence a million people, but who knows?  You may influence one person who influences a billion people.

P 163. – They are not dead who live in lives they leave behind.  In those whom they have blessed they live a life again.

P 168. – Your potential will be determined by the people you surround yourself with.  So hiring decisions become the most important decisions you make because they have an exponential effect.

P 170. – I need to be around people who make me feel small because their dreams are so big.  I need to be around people who make me feel far from God because they’re so close to Jesus.  I need to be around people who make me feel as if I’m doing next to nothing because they’re making such a big difference.

P 171. – The true test of greatness is measured by the accomplishments of those you surround yourself with, those who come after you.

P 175. – Leadership is first and foremost servanthood.  Is your dream about you?  Or is it about others?  If your dream is about you, no one will rally around it.  If your dream is about others, you won’t be able to keep people away.

P 183. – The best way to learn leadership is to serve under a gifted leader.

P 191. – What are you doing today that will make a difference one hundred years from now?

So I have been inspired by men like Jim Elliott, who died as a missionary to the Auca Indians.  Jim’s wife Elizabeth tells of a time when Jim went to a football game and dreamed about stadiums of people cheering for Jesus.  Bill McCartney, former football coach of the Colorado Buffalos and founder of Promise Keepers dreamed of stadiums filled with men desiring to pursue Christ.  Bill McCartney, “Big dreams create the magic that stir men’s souls to greatness.”  I am a product of the influence of my grandparents, parents, pastors, camp directors, friends, bosses, the bible, books I read, life experiences and my own children.  These have all greatly influenced me and I hope that I can influence my children and others I know and share my work with to influence millions for many generations to come.  Thank you Mark Batterson for being a leader who chases big dreams and for the encouragement and inspiration you have provided to me.

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My Life Speaks – Neply Haiti

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Ben and Summer attracted the kids

my-life-speaksMy wife, Julie, and I have a list of goals and adventures that we want to share with our children to expose them to sports, culture, history and life experiences.  One of these goals was to take them on a mission trip where they can connect with other real people in another part of the world that has a very different life than we live in the United States.  I first heard about My Life Speaks after a friend shared about their family experience at this mission.  Through emotion and tears Julie shared My Life Speaks with me and it was pretty clear that I had little choice in the matter and we were going to Haiti.

As I considered the trip I realized how many friends and connections I had to Haiti.  I am happy to do any labor, but felt that if I were going to go to Haiti there were other areas of much higher value that I could contribute if I would do some planning ahead of the trip.  Most of my career I have worked to build a network of connections and find value in connection people and opportunity.  So I started to contact some of the people that had interest and investment in Haiti.  Kanakuk Kamps is associated with a group that operates many schools and a farm to teach people farming.  Focus On the Family has resources for the family and for abstinence based sex education curriculum that has been translated into many languages and successfully used across the world call No Apologies.  My Rotary Club has made 7 trips to Haiti to train and certify people in repairing of medical equipment in hospitals.  My parents introduced me to a couple from Haiti in their bible study class who had political ties in Haiti and had run for President of the country.  I have college friends from Baylor who are now pastors of churches that have missions in Haiti.  So I set about learning about the missions and making connections with the local missions in Haiti.  It did not take long to stir up lots of conversations, meeting and some excitement.  At the end my main goal was to connect the resources to My Life Speaks so that the various missions could know each other and possibly collaborate on mutual goals.  I also brought the Focus on the Family, No Apologies, resources in digital and print form to My Life Speaks in English and French. I had the most hope for building on the work to repair medical equipment that my Rotary Club had started.  They have certified and trained dozens of people to fix equipment and have technical support and inventory in Houston to supply parts and coaching.  They also have a stream of inventory that is continuously being taken out of service in the Texas Medical Center and could be shipped to Haiti.  All they really needed was an entrepreneur and leader in Haiti that could organize and build a business with one hospital and begin to employ technicians, execute the operational plan in one hospital and eventually grow to other hospitals and clinics.  All they need is one entrepreneur to be the catalyst to begin to make a difference to a clinic, community and a family through employment.  We have a local Rotary Club and individuals prepared to make connections and provide mentoring services.  We also have Rotary International that could build on a successful program and spread it across the world.

Port of Prince

Port au Prince

So armed with some contacts and a business plan I had hope we could make a difference for Haiti.  What I encountered when we arrived in Port of Prince and along the journey to the My Life Speaks mission was like nothing I had ever seen.  The lack of basic government services, crowded streets, shanty houses pieced together with relief tarps and remnants, burned out cars, cooking on the street, cows, chickens, pigs, goats and dogs going through the mountains of garbage piled up on the streets, in the gutters and filling the rivers.  The only word that could describe the appearance was apocalyptic.  I had come to Haiti with a great hope and my hope had taken a direct hit and was severely damaged by the circumstances that I witnessed as our van crawled through the dirty streets.

Arriving at My Life Speaks close to the coast and in the midst of sugar plantations was a much better sight.  Mike and Missy had moved with their family to live in the village.  img_0672The village does not have running water or electricity.  They have adopted several abandoned kids with various handicaps and sponsor 4 host families who have also adopted kids and live with them.  Mike and Missy are respectful of the community and have gradually earned trust and are now employing some of the villagers who identify kids in the village at risk from not having enough to eat.  My Life Speaks feeds 120 kids each day.  The groups that come from the U.S. serve the community by going to the homes of the elderly and doing their wash and make improvements to the sponsors homes to care for the special needs of the handicapped kids they have adopted.  The groups provide buyers for local entrepreneurs who sell drinks, snacks and hand-made gifts.  One of the sponsors has created a partnership with Austin Children’s Hospital who has established a clinic to take care of the medical needs of the community of 2,800 people for a $3 office visit if they can afford it.  We worship together, clean up garbage, have crafts and give back rubs to the elderly, and various other projects to improve the community.  I have been a skeptic of many “missionaries” that have asked for support and whose mission does not really involve living amongst the community and closer to an international study abroad program.  Mike told me that he plans to live the remainder of his life in this community and have a viking funeral where they put the body on a boat, set it on fire and push the boat out to sea.  Mike and Missy are the real deal and live every day with the daily hardships.  Mike happened to be in Nashville when hurricane Matthew hit Haiti and Missy rode out the storm with the village.

Sponsor Family home

Sponsor Family home

During our trip I mostly worked on putting screens and rat wire around the porch of one of the sponsor homes where Cami lived.  Cami has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair.  She spends most of the day on the porch and does not have the ability to swat the flies on her.  Cami watched as we secured the frames, screen an rat wire.  Trapped in a body that does not function well is a beautiful person that enjoys being around people.  When I spoke to Cami her face lit up and you can see in this picture the little girl who was rescued and is now one of several kids that are in the care of My Life Speaks.

Cami can light up a room with her smile!

Cami can light up a room with her smile!

The village of Neply is an amazing place where people live differently than we do in the United States.  They may not have the material possessions or things we expect and take for granted, but they are are raising families, have love for each other, serve each other and are happy in the lives they live in this small sugar cane farming community.  We feel the need to help them be like America, but as they consider the opportunities that their american connections may be able to offer they are wise enough to recognize both the good and the bad that will come to the families and community with some of the conveniences we take for granted.  It was a great experience to live and work with the people of Neply.  It was a privilege to be invited into their spaces to pray with them.  They were nice enough to let us do a bad job hand washing their clothes in the river water.  They accepted us in their community and make us feel like family.  We got to teach their kids Bible stories and even put on a play of famous Bible stories for the whole community.  Our kids got to know and just be kids with the children of the village.  Can you imagine what the neighboring community thought when we all showed up in a bus to cheer on the Neply soccer team.

Go NEPLY

Go NEPLY

I want to commend Mike, Missy and their family for the commitment that they have made to this community, to the children that were left for dead, and to a life of service in a country and community that has been a forgotten nation and is close enough to be a neighbor to the United States.  Mike and Missy are examples of self sacrifice for the love of others.  Love your Neighbor.

Love your neighbor

Love your neighbor

Matthew 22:36-40  36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

How would you like to establish your heart without blame in holiness before your God and Father?  I Thessalonians 3:12-13 tell us how.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 – 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else(Love your neighbor), just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.  

 

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Highlights from You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan

you-and-me-foreverWhat I really like about Francis Chan is his eternal perspective on life and the way he challenges us in the midst of our “normal” lives to take decisive action on the familiar commands of scripture.  My practice while reading any book is to underline thoughts and paragraphs that teach me something new or cause me to think or re-think about a subject. The following are some of the highlights for me from You and me Forever – Marriage in light of eternity by Francis Chan & Lisa Chan

P 11 – We are sad because godly marriages magnify God’s ingenious creation, but few marriages radiate that glory.

P 16 – These are the spiritually bedridden, resigned to spending the rest of their lives studying the Word without over making disciples or tangibly caring for others.

P 16 – Why not assume you should adopt kids unless you hear a voice telling you not to?  Wouldn’t that seem more biblical since God has told us that true religion is to care for the widows and orphans (James 2:27)?

P 25 – If we don’t stare at God, we’ll spend our time staring at lesser things.  Namely, ourselves.

P 29 – The words in your Bible carry an unparalleled power to penetrate to your very core.

P 52 – The Spirit fuels us so powerfully from the inside that His active presence is tangible and indisputable (see Gal. 5:22-24).  If the actions aren’t pouring out of your life, you have to ask yourself:  Is He in you?

P 54 – You are now called by God to showcase the power of His Spirit by the way you live.

P 55 – We are called to paint such an attractive picture of marriage that it causes people to long for the coming marriage with Jesus.  God calls us to display the love and humility of Christ through our marriages.

P 62 – Life is about Jesus.  We are not here to tell our story, but His.  We are here to live His story, not ours.

P 67 – We teach that even though Jesus lived simply, we have the right to live luxuriously(some prefer the term “comfortably”).

P 76 – He left the glory and comforts of heaven for you.  He endured torture and ridicule for you.  He endured the Father’s wrath for you.  No one will ever love you that much nor endure that much pain for you.  He didn’t sit passively in heaven criticizing you.  He zealously came after you.

P  81 – No woman wants t be led by a joyless man.  Let Christ fill you so you have plenty to give your wife.  Find all your security and worth in being a child of God, a member of Christ’s body.  He “nourishes and cherishes” you, which enables you to do the same for your wife.

P 98 – …you should sit down with your spouse tonight and figure out how to structure your lives around the command to make disciples.  This command should dictate everything about your life:  where you live, where you work, where you spend your money, how you spend your time – everything!

P99 – He wants us living life with others so we can demonstrate a life of obedience and teach them to do the same(1 Cor.  11:1).  True discipleship involves opening up our homes, schedules, and resources to others in order to allow them to see Christ and follow Him.  For more on this.  www.multiplymovement.com

P 107-108 – You feel trapped in meaningless routine and everything in you knows you were created for more.  Life might be fun and relationships might be good, but you know something deeper is missing.  You sense that you were created for more.  You want to experience a deeper communion with God where the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is flowing thorough you undeniably.  You want to touch God rather than merely talk about Him.  You long for a knowledge of God that goes beyond your intellect, the kind of deep knowledge that only comes from experience.  This happens only when you are on His mission.  His love and power flow through you to others as you seek to bring them into His kingdom.  There is nothing like it, and there’s no other way to get it.

P 116 – Can you really call your marriage “good” if your focus on your family keeps you from making disciples, caring for the poor, reaching out to the lost, and using your talents and resources for others?

P 117 – Marriage-centered marriages have become accepted and applauded rather than Christ-centered ones.

P 122 – I can testify that the mission is far more appealing than the safety of the status quo.  Yes, sometimes I am tempted to pursue an “ordinary life”.  There are moments when I just want to be selfish and not think so hard about what God wants.  But it’s too late.  Once you have experienced true life, there’s no going back!

P 154 – Lisa and I want to raise children who love Jesus far more than they love us.  We want them to trust Him more than us, to enjoy Him more than us, to find more security in Him than in us.  And we are convinced that the best way to teach this is to demonstrate it.

P 157 – Our kids must be taught and shown that the world does not revolve around them – it revolves around Jesus.  We live for Him.

P 168 – “You saw that there was nothing mom and dad were not willing to sacrifice for the gospel, not even our lives.  Now go and do the same.”  How many of us are living in such a way that we can say the same to our children?

P 169 – The greatest lesson you can teach your kids is how to make decisions with an eternal mindset.

P 174 – As important as a commitment to the church is, your kids need to see God’s truth shaping your lives throughout the week.  If they can see you living out the gospel in the most intimate relationship you have, they will have an authentic picture of what it means to live according to the Word rather than the world.

P 175 – Our kids hear us pray often that we would all love God more and more, Truly, that is the heart behind every prayer we will ever pray for them.  To love God more is the fulfillment of the Great Commandment (Mark 12:28 – 30).  It is the on e thing that will keep them in step with His Spirit and obeying His word.

P 188 – Wherever you are in the journey, picture how you want this life to end.  We make our best decisions in hindsight, so imagine yourself standing before God.  How would your ideal life have looked?

These are just a few of the things I underlined in my read of You and Me Forever.  I am personally challenged to take bold action and live out what I claim to be truth.  I have experienced the truth and reality to many of these claims and still want to be a shell fish and stay in my comfortable shell.  I know that the adventure and reward that God provides by trusting in Him, taking action, accepting risk and living out life for others is an abundant life that He calls us to live.  To live in our family, to live in our occupations, hobbies, community and church.  The Chan’s provide additional resources on their website:  You and Me Forever.

Thank you Francis and Lisa for this encouraging and challenging work.  May you continue to experience the abundance of life that God supplies for those that accept His calling and live to bring glory to His name.

5 minute video, Be INSPIRED:  THEIR STORY

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Ben’s Eagle Project

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Finished!

I am so proud of Ben and his efforts to achieve Eagle Scout.  Ben loves the outdoors and has really enjoyed his time as a scout.  Scouting has exposed him to so many skills and adventures.  Scouting has given him the opportunity to accept leadership positions, learn diverse skills and required discipline and perseverance.  Among other leadership positions, Ben served as the Senior Patrol Leader.  He went to numerous Boy Scout camps including hiking 100+ miles at Philmont where it was told that he carried some of the cooking gear to give the mule a break.  

I was briefly involved with scouts, but did not have the same experience as Ben.  My father and grandfather both earned the rank of Eagle Scout so Ben earns the honor to continue this tradition in the Applegate family.  

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America(BSA). The designation “Eagle Scout” has a long history since its founding over one hundred years ago. Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process. The requirements necessary to achieve this rank take years to fulfill. Since its founding, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men.[2]

Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges. The Eagle Scout must demonstrate Scout Spirit, an ideal attitude based upon the Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Ben selected a project to provide a sensory garden that is used as part of equine therapy for the treatment of autism.

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Special Cheers

 Special CHEERS is an occupational therapy center located just behind our home that treats children and young adults with physical and mental challenges utilizing a multi-faceted approach to achieving functional living skills.  The sensory garden that Ben and his troop built had 3 elements.  

 

 

On the scheduled weekend, Houston had major flooding and the project had to be delayed.  See these photos of us kayaking down Clay road and into Special Cheers.

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This is Clay Road

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Special Cheers – Eagle Project cancelled

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Teeter Totter is a exercise that works on balance and core strength as the horse moves across the tilting platform.  The platform also provides a different surface where the hoofs will “Klip-Klop” as the horse walks.  The therapist will walk along side the student to assist as necessary.

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Building the Teeter-Totter

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Teeter Totter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crunchy Course is a path of pea gravel that provides a different texture and sound as the therapist leads the horse along the path.  We had to fill areas of the path that were flooded prior to laying timber, ground cover, sand and pea gravel.

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Building the Crunchy Course

Crunchy Course

Crunchy Course

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The changeable hanging obstacle has foam noodles that the therapist leads the horse through.  This helps the horse become comfortable going through brush and allows the student to navigate the obstacle.  The noodles are secured to the cross beam with D-rings.  The therapist can change the obstacles by simply removing and adding new obstacles.  There is a flag on one of the posts that can also be raised and lowered.  Leaning to the side helps with balance and core strength.

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Mixing cement for the posts of the Hanging Obstacle

 

 

 

 

 

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Hanging Obstacle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Bayou City Lumber for their generous support of our project!  It is a great testimony to the scouting experience that business leaders support the leadership and service activities of scouting.  Thank you Bayou City Lumber.  Ben has a great troop that was very supportive of his project.  We could not have completed our project in one weekend without their help.  Thank you Troop 13!

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Ben’s friends from Troop 13 Houston Texas. Thank you!

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The Circle Maker

The Circle MakerI mostly read books to get new ideas, learn from others and get inspiration that I can apply to my own life and work.  As I read, I underline the statements or sections that resonate with me and I may want to recall.  If they are really good, I will write it on a note card and put it in a box if notecards that I specifically use as quotes or illustrations in other writings or lessons.

The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson is one of those books that encouraged me in a number of areas and I thought I would share some of the ideas and thoughts that I underlined.  The book is based on a true legend of Honi the circle maker.  He was a first-century Jewish sage whose prayer ended a drought and saved a generation.  I hope that you are also encouraged and inspired by some of Mark’s thoughts.

  • P.25 Define your dream, claim your promise and spell  your miracle.
  • P.37 But we should praise God for disappointment because it drives us to our knees.  Disappointment is like dream defibrillation.  If we respond to it in the right way, disappointment can actually restore our prayer rhythm and resurrect our dreams.
  • P.44  The older you get, the more faith you should have because you’ve experienced more of God’s faithfulness.
  • P.45 We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without His help.  We go after dreams that don’t require divine intervention.
  • P.48  But if you aren’t willing to step out of the boat, you’ll never walk on water…In order to experience a miracle you have to take a risk…You cannot build God’s reputation if you aren’t willing to risk yours.
  • P.57   If you give beyond your ability, God will bless you beyond your ability.
  • P.58  Writing is praying with a keyboard
  • P.73  God is infinitely bigger than your biggest problem or biggest dream.
  • P.112  We want a one-week or one-month or on-year supply of God’s provision, but God wants us to drop to our knees every day in raw dependence on Him
  • P.127  I’m grateful for the moments God got in the way of my plans and rerouted me.
  • P.165 Those moments of absolute brokenness before God are too few and far between.
  • P.196  I’m not looking for the path of least resistance; I’m looking for the path of greatest glory.
  • P.213  When you dream big, pray hard, and think long, there is nothing God cannot do.

My hope is that these thoughts can also encourage you in the challenges you encounter and dreams you have.

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Art Briles Symbolizes the Loss of Innocence for College Athletics

Art Briles

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke

This week has been a horrible week for Baylor football fans.  Our beloved coach who finally brought the Baylor Bears football program to national prominence has found himself in a real mess.  The tragedy is that we know the core of Art Briles as a man of integrity, grounded in his Christian faith and extremely passionate for the game.  Art genuinely cares for his players and has an intense and contagious desire to win.  However, Art Briles is also human.  Conference championships, Heisman trophy winners, and new river-front stadiums create fame, National TV exposure on ESPN Gameday, fortunes, high expectations, and extreme pressure to win.

The boys who make up the program have just left the nests of their hometown and are experiencing independence and freedom living on their own for the first time .  They don’t have their parents, siblings, family and community to hold them accountable.  They have been recruited from their humble positions because they were good athletes in high school by powerful men that appeal to their egos and offer the very best the world has to offer. The very young men who are still early on in developing their own identity in one day step from a regular high school kid into the big-time college football world of power, fame and fortune that is totally unknown to most of us.  The young men who enter this program, wear the uniform, and drink from this fountain of success are in no way prepared to handle the privilege and responsibility that comes with being part of a successful college football program.

Operating under extreme pressure, 24 hour a day scouting, recruiting, planning, university appearances, fund raising, speaking engagements, preparing and coaching football we also expect our coaches to parent and police the activities of these testosterone-filled, recently independent and uniquely privileged young men on a campus surrounded by thousands of beautiful young women and party every day temptations.  It is an impossible task.  With all the responsibilities and expectations of our coaches it is certainly understandable to see how dismissing the many innocent mischievous events, looking the other way at a few general misconducts, and then working with authorities to downplay some criminal behavior can be rationalized, but leads down a path of destruction.  There is so much at stake.  First, the lives of the young women and others that are forever changed because of the poor choices of these young men.  Secondly, the efforts to recruit these young men, the talent that they possess, the personal relationships developed, the aspirations for their individual success and the tragic loss and impact to their future if they were dismissed from the program also weigh heavily on a coach.

The board of regents took the right action.  It was too late.  Evidently there was a pattern of concealing transgressions and looking the other way.  Had they admitted to the problem earlier, confronted the difficult decisions head-on and made the tough personal choices the fans, media and world would have had compassion on them, given them second and third chances to fix the problem.  It was too late.  Proverbs 28:13 tells us “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion”.  

We can all learn from this tragedy.  All of us are corrupted by small compromises.  All of us conceal transgressions.  We must recognize that these decisions and non-decisions will lead to destruction.  However, if we recognize our sin, confess this as sin and forsake it so as not to continue down this path we will receive compassion.  Compassion from our friends, family, co-workers, fans, media and even our God.  Remember 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Because of grace, we also all have the opportunity for redemption.  John 3;16 “16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

The situation we have created for our players, coaches and administrators in college football is an impossible situation.  It is impossible that the situation at Baylor does not happen every day in every major college program in the nation.  It is also too late for college football.  College athletics has forever changed from an athletic competition to an entertainment industry.  The loss of Art Briles symbolizes a much bigger loss –  a recognition of the loss of innocence for college athletics.

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We Are a Treasure Bearer

2 Timothy 1:14  "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you."

2 Timothy 1:14 “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.”

Imagine with me for a moment that you were on a trek deep in the mist-veiled Llanganates mountain range between the Andes and the Amazon.  You have heard the stories of this lost treasure of Inca gold and on your trek you have found this fabulous treasure of Inca gold and gems long-ago hidden from Spanish conquistadors.  You are overwhelmed with excitement about the find, the extreme riches that this will provide, and the blessings and gifts you can share with your family, friends and community.  You are making your way back home and recognize the great responsibility that comes with this treasure and realize the significant positive impact this can make on your world.  You are pregnant with anticipation and excitement to share this gift of unimaginable riches.

Have we forgotten? Do we not remember that we are children of the almighty God.  Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  As believers in Christ, we are fellow heirs with Christ and have a treasure far more valuable than Inca gold, a treasure of eternal life in the presence of our creator, redeemer and king.  We have a great responsibility that comes with bearing this treasure.  We realize the significant positive impact this treasure can have on our family, friends and community.  We bear the greatest gift one could offer and all we have to do is share this gift with others. 

Have you ever bought the perfect gift for someone?  A thoughtful gift that expressed your personality, filled a need, and would greatly please the person receiving the gift.  Can you recall the excitement and anticipation of watching them receive the gift?  One Christmas, I got my parents a gift certificate for a balloon ride.  They never would have guessed this gift and I could not wait for them to open it.  I attached a small basket to a balloon, put the gift certificate in the basket and wrapped it up in a box.  I knew it would be a life memory that they would have forever and enjoy the experience.  I think I received more enjoyment giving the gift than they did experiencing the gift and remember giving this gift decades later.

Brothers and sisters in Christ we bear this great treasure of inexpressible joy and eternal life to give.  Why does it seem so difficult to share this gift?  Is it simply a mindset or perspective where we do not recognize that the message of God’s love is such a great treasure and gift to share?  Do we think of it as a chore to share that may end up in rejection or worse, offensive?  I write this not because it comes easy to me, but that I must remind myself that I bear the greatest treasure ever given to man and it is my privilege to share this treasure with others.  The message is simple and the gift is truly amazing beyond all that we can think or imagine.  God loves us.  He chose the Jewish people and gave Moses a system that illustrates the high cost of sin in that blood needed to be shed through sacrifice to atone for our sins.  He then sent Jesus, His son, to shed His blood and be the ultimate sacrifice for sins.  That if we believe Jesus is God’s son and he was sacrificed for our sake, and raised from the dead then we are saved from our sins and judgement deserved from our choices. This gift was given not only to the Jews, but to all men of all nations and is not something that we can earn from doing right, but a gift if we simply believe.  It is not our burden to bear, but our treasure to share.  Remember that you have the greatest treasure ever given to mankind.  Maintain this perspective, be overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation again with the opportunity to give this gift to others.

The following is message given by Billy Graham ministries.

God loves you and has a plan for you!

The Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” — a complete life full of purpose (John 10:10).

Man is sinful and separated from God.

We have all done, thought or said bad things, which the Bible calls “sin.” The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The result of sin is death, spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).

The good news?

God sent His Son to die for your sins!

Jesus died in our place so we could live with Him in eternity.

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

But it didn’t end with His death on the cross. He rose again and still lives!

Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness?

We can’t earn salvation; we are saved by God’s grace when we have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is believe you are a sinner, that Christ died for your sins, and ask His forgiveness. Then turn from your sins—that’s called repentance. Jesus Christ knows you and loves you. What matters to Him is the attitude of your heart, your honesty. We suggest praying the following prayer to accept Christ as your Savior:

“Dear Lord Jesus,
I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead.
I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior.
Guide my life and help me to do your will.
In your name, amen.”

Billy Graham Evangelistic Foundation

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Theology in Manufacturing

God CreatedYou might be thinking “Theology in Manufacturing”?  Where do you find God in manufacturing?  For some reason manufacturing lost its identity and image in the hearts and minds of America.  Somehow we decided that manufacturing was “yesterday’s jobs” that could be outsourced to other emerging countries who would take these dirty low-wage jobs and manufacturing was not worthy of remaining a part of the esteemed American economy.

Manufacturing

USNS Bob Hope

Manufacturing is in my DNA.  My father worked for the big steel companies and I saw 4″ thick steel cable drag lines that he sold and were used in mining.  I heard about the navy ships and aircraft carriers that were built with precision weight steel that he sold to get top performance and speed.  I saw video of the launching of underwater structures taller than the empire state building for new oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.  During my career I had the privilege to work for manufacturers where we supplied components to OEM companies.  I participated first hand in the emergence, growth and eventual transfer of manufacturing to other countries first with Compaq Computer and then with Motorola and Nokia.  This was a fantastic time to live and experience the rapid growth and change in manufacturing and participate directly in the great technological advancement that radically changed our lives and culture.

Compaq Computer Manufacturing Lines Houston Texas

Compaq Computer Manufacturing Lines Houston Texas

I saw these companies build factories overseas, install the most modern equipment, train these emerging countries how to operate and hand over our manufacturing knowledge and experience.  First it was appliances, then computers, cell phones and then automotive.  I saw plants close and friends lose jobs or move to start a new life in Mexico or China.  I questioned whether I should leave manufacturing and start a new career in the service industry.  I tried that for a year as I sought to employ manufacturing techniques and operational metrics to the staffing industry.  During this year I had the chance to reflect and consider what I really wanted to do and decided I had to be involved in a career that made something.  I convinced myself that manufacturing was a noble career and there were niches that were relationship based, high value, service oriented and could be profitable and sustain growth in the United States.

The remainder of this article is my case for why manufacturing is a noble career and why I have chosen to put my God-given talents, finances, and energy to build a custom plastic injection molding company and why I founded the Gulf Coast Medical Device Manufacturers and Greater Houston Manufacturing Association to advance the image of manufacturing in Houston.  “Theology in Manufacturing” may seem a little extreme and is not making manufacturing a religion, but will reveal manufacturing as an honorable career that creates great value and is a worthy endeavor to apply your gifts and talents.

God introduces Himself as a manufacturer

Michaelangelo Creation of Adam

Michaelangelo Creation of Adam

How did God chose to introduce Himself to us?  Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God Created”. Choosing to introduce Himself as creator and describing the act of His Creation express the very essence of God and nature of Him.  The fact that He “spoke” creation into existence through His Word tell us of the mighty power of His Word.  Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the [a]worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”

The incredible imagination and beauty of His creation is never ending.  The perfect order, balance and physical laws that cause the the universe to work in perfect harmony exhibit his careful planning, architecture and engineering.   The power, grandeur and immensity of His creation testify to His awesome power.  Psalms 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have [a]displayed Your splendor above the heavens!” Clearly the act of creation reflect the almighty glory of our God and He gives high value to creation.  

Psalms 8:3-9  “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?  Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!  You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

The final record in Gods creation was to create man in His image.  Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  We are created in the image of God.  When we participate in the act of creation we manufacture value and testify to the glory of our God.  Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Creation and Manufacturing can be a “calling” to bring glory to God through your work.  Regardless of the role you play in the manufacturing process you can glorify God in your work. Colossians 3:23-24  “23 Whatever you do, do your work [w]heartily, as for the Lord [x]rather than for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward [y]of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

Manufacturing Expresses the Attributes of God 

Manufacturing encompasses the achievement of the entire creation process in human terms.  Manufacturing brings out the best attributes that God put in us and give us the privilege to reflect His glory back to Him when we participate in the act of creation.  Manufacturing comes to life in the process of working together to create a product.

Imagination  – The inspiration and power to dream of a new invention to improve our life or solve a problem.  The expanse of the universe, the diversity in the creatures that swim in the waters, fly in the air or crawl on the ground, the uniqueness of each individual testify to the unsearchable imagination of God.  He has given some the inspiration and talents to imagine a better world and create products to improve life.

Design and Engineering – Manufacturing includes the process of design and engineering to collect information, brainstorm ideas, modeling, testing, evaluating and improving on the idea.  I have lumped both of these disciplines together for simplicity as volumes of books have been written on the worth of these disciplines.  God reveals Himself and fills us with His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to participate in the creative act of design and engineering of products to bless us with enhanced quality of life.

Exodus 35:31-35 31 And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all [a]craftsmanship; 32 [b]to make designs for working in gold and in silver and in [c]bronze, 33 and in the cutting of stones for settings and in the carving of wood, so as to perform in every inventive work. 34 He also has put in his heart to teach, both he and Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with [d]skill to perform every work of an engraver and of a designer and of an embroiderer, in [e]blue and in purple and in scarlet material, and in fine linen, and of a weaver, as performers of every work and makers of designs.

Planning and Organizing – Efficient manufacturing requires planning your materials, time and resources.  It requires ordering these resources in a way to maximize efficiency to eliminate wasted movement and loss of resource.  God instructs us commit our work to Him for His glory and if we follow His instruction we will prosper.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your works to the Lord And your plans will be established.”

Proverbs 16:9 “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”

Colossians 3:23-2423 Whatever you do, do your work [w]heartily, as for the Lord [x]rather than for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward [y]of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

Proverbs 3:5-6Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”

Leadership, Teamwork and Communication – Manufacturing requires Leadership, Teamwork and Communication.  Leadership is the ability to influence those around you.  Teamwork is the ability to accomplish more through the effort of a group and communication is the vehicle by which you accomplish both.  The Bible reveals God’s wisdom to us and provides many illustrations of leadership, teamwork and effective communication with men such as Moses, Joseph and David, but none more that Jesus.  No on has influenced the world more through leadership, teamwork and effective communication than Jesus and His disciples continue to this day to carry forward the “good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 . . . there has been born for you a Savior.”  No one has modeled leadership, teamwork and communication better than Jesus and if we follow his instruction we will prosper. 

Psalms 25:4-5 Make me know Your ways, O LordTeach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

Deuteronomy 29:9 – “So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.”

Problem Solving – Those in manufacturing understand that working through problems is the path to eliminating waste and creating value.  We work to find truth as a means to solve these problems.  Understanding the issues and finding solutions requires wisdom and is worth pursuing.  Often the solution is what creates a competitive advantage and tremendous value to the organization when found.  Manufacturing allows us to draw on the wisdom God provides and return glory to him by following His truth.

Proverbs 2:2-4 “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, [a]Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures”

James 1:5 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Management – As leaders we seek God’s wisdom in finding truth and knowing what the right thing to do.  As managers we seek to apply discipline in training men to do things in the right way.  God’s word provides the wisdom and instruction on how to train and equip us to do this work.  The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, blesses us with characteristics to make our efforts effective and reflect God’s love to others.  When we reflect God’s wisdom in training men and manage by demonstrating the characteristics of the Holy Spirit we will be much more effective in building a productive team that respect each other and gives glory for their efforts back to God.

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

John 13: 34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Galatians 5:22-23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness,self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Analysis and Continuous Improvement – In manufacturing we establish a cycle of success by setting goals, measuring our performance, evaluating our progress, and setting new goals.  We seek to learn from our mistakes and become better from turning from our old ways and pursuing new goals.  I can’t help but see similarities in how the Holy Spirit works in us to recognize our own deficiencies and pursue improvement through the miracle of redemption given as a gift by God Himself and continuous practice to follow the right path by following God’s word.

Psalms 119:66 “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.”

Ephesians 1:7-8 – “In [a]Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He [b]lavished on [c]us.”

Psalms 119:9-11 – “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By keeping it according to Your word. 10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments.  11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”

Manufacturing is a noble and honorable profession where we share in the act of creation that creates high value and was uniquely inspired by God Himself.  Innovation and manufacturing are at the heart of the success of America and has created enormous advancement of prosperity and wealth for all nations who manufacture.  I believe you cannot separate manufacturing from innovation as innovation is birthed by solving problems through employing the processes involved in manufacturing.  Manufacturing in America is in a period of renaissance and the image of manufacturing is improving as we recognize the value and importance to our nation.  It is good to be a manufacturer and it is a great place to employ the unique gifts given to you by God to use for His glory.  Manufacturing requires and exercises the characteristics uniquely created by God in man and gives us the privilege to reflect His glory back to Him through our achievement.  I am proud to be a manufacturer and to know my creator better through participating in all of the manufacturing process.

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