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Monday, June 24, 2019

Above My Pay Grade

The Illinois governor is one of the wealthiest men in our state. I don’t begrudge him for that. Like most of the very wealthy, to the best of my knowledge he did not cheat his way to the top. Neither did Bill Gates. Or Warren Buffett. Or the Walmart founder. They’re business people. Successful business people.

I’ve got less respect for government people who find their way to riches after laying claim to being a “public servant.” Willie Brown was a California assemblyman for 15 years. I lived in that state for a good part of his tenure. Later, he became the mayor of San Francisco.

A former shoe shine kid from Texas, Willie became known for his trademark Brioni suits and Borsalino hat. His “public servant” life was one that took him from rags-to-riches. Willie often socialized with movie stars and pro athletes. He hung out past the midnight hour at trendy nightclubs and bars. And he jet-setted tor trade missions and weekend getaways around the club. On whose dime? Oh, you know.

Of course, he’s just one example. A plethora of politicians have enjoyed the life-of-rich-Riley on the backs of taxpayers. The socialist candidates of today preach a message of wanting to balance the scales. But the scales always seem to tip their way in power and pleasure.

The latest socialist offer is the GMI — the guaranteed minimum income. This social welfare provision would guarantee that all citizens or families have an income “sufficient to live on,”* provided they meet certain conditions. It also goes by the name of Universal Basic Income.

Mind you, it’s not just socialist-minded politicians who favor this. Chris Hughes is the co-founder of Facebook. In his book, Fair Shot, Chris makes his case that US workers, students, and caregivers who make $50,000 or less a year should receive a guaranteed income of $500 a month. Quoting Hughes, he said “Cash is the best thing you can do to improve health outcomes, education outcomes and lift people out of poverty.”

Just this past week, the Washington Post gave us a story about venture capitalist Nick Hanauer. This successful entrepreneur is categorized as “mega-wealthy”—a lifestyle for which the average American dreams. Nick funded education initiatives for years—believing a good education was the ticket out of poverty.

But no more. Here’s his new pitch: “I woke up one day and realized that it is false to say that education is the principal way of distributing opportunity in this country.” Hanauer is now championing paying Americans a so-called “livable wage.” That’s where his philanthropy is headed next.

For others, that’s not enough. Listen to Candi CdeBaca. Earlier this month, she won a runoff race against a former Denver City council president. Her campaign rode on the message, “I don’t believe our current economic system actually works. Um, capitalism by design is extractive and in order to generate profit in a capitalist system, something has to be exploited, that’s land, labor, or resources.”

She wasn’t finished, saying “…we have to move into something new, and I believe in community ownership of land, labor, resources, and distribution of those resources. And whatever that morphs into is I think what will serve community the best and I’m excited to usher it in by any means necessary.”

Wow. Who knows what that means?

Maybe if all these visions for economic wellbeing come true, America could become like, say, Cuba! Or….Venezuela! Their socialist leader has taken them straight to economic hell! By 2016, Venezuela’s inflation rate was 800%, the highest in its history. The International Monetary Fund projected inflation in that country to be 1,000,000% last year!! Craziness!

God’s idea of living wage has a big gap from our ideas. As Jesus said, “Don’t worry and ask yourselves, ‘Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?’ Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:31-33, CEV)

How is God able to make this work? I don’t know. It’s above my pay grade.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook. 

(* Next week, a closer look at what “living wage” actually means.)

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Grasp the Vision Thing!

It’s not uncommon to see confusion in the workplace exist over the difference between "vision" and "mission."

As it relates to any enterprise, offers this definition of a vision statement: “An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.

Then we’re directed to read up on a mission statement. Okay, let’s try that.

“A written declaration of an organization's core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time. Properly crafted mission statements (1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not, (2) clearly state which markets will be served and how, and (3) communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization.”

So how are these two really different?

Interestingly, offers the reader an article on this topic submitted by Jeffrey Glen, a writer for the website since 2013. I felt it offered a much clearer perspective.

Here is how Jeffrey clarifies the differences:

Mission Statement
A mission statement has a more 'present day' focus and really describes how a company plans on achieving its objectives. This is really a statement to employees, shareholders, and others with an interest in the organization that clearly articulates what an organization is doing, how it's going to do it, and ultimately why it's doing it.

Vision Statement
A vision statement has more to do with the future and really describes what an organization plans or hopes to be in the future. This is more of an inspirational or motivational statement that is meant to drive employees and also clearly demonstrate an organization's goals to stakeholders (customers, investors, etc.).

Thus, he draws us to this conclusion: “When considering a mission statement vs. a vision statement the key aspect to remember is the current vs. future context.”

Roy T. Bennett wrote in the The Light in the Heart, “Good leaders have vision and inspire others to help them turn vision into reality. Great leaders create more leaders, not followers. Great leaders have vision, share vision, and inspire others to create their own.”

And that, my friend, is the challenge. Our former President George H.W. Bush struggled with the term vision—yet was able to deliver one.

A quote from his own lips left many wondering whether he would inspire as a great leader if he did not grasp the importance of vision. The quote surfaced in the January 26, 1987, issue of Time magazine. Journalist Robert Ajemian shared this anecdote:

“Colleagues say that while Bush understands thoroughly the complexities of issues, he does not easily fit them into larger themes….This has led to the charge that he lacks vision. It rankles him. Recently he asked a friend to help him identify some cutting issues for next year’s campaign. Instead, the friend suggested that Bush go alone to Camp David for a few days to figure out where he wanted to take the country. ‘Oh,’ said Bush in clear exasperation, ‘the vision thing.’”

Yet President Bush could envision and articulate seeing a “Europe whole and free.” It resulted in a successful strategy that shaped US policy for the next twenty-five years.

The legendary biblical patriarch Abraham was given a vision statement by God. It went, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2, ESV)

He must have learned to rely on that often in times of doubt. Jesus of Nazareth offers His followers a vision as well: ”I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. ” (John 11:25, CEV)

Try to grasp that vision thing! It can give you a future. And a hope.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook. 

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Lies that Kill: Part 2

Last week, I shared three formidable lies advocates of abortion use to sway public opinion. I urge you to read my previous blog for details. Today, I will add to my case as to how intentional deception of the public is used to continue to take the lives of innocent babies.

Here are my next three lies to refute.

1. Campaigning to keep abortion legal is about women’s rights.

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a former communications vice president for Feminists for Life—a pro-life advocating group. Her excellent article titled, "Abortion: Women's Rights...and Wrongs" explains her mindset change from a former “pro-choice” position. (link below)

She writes, “It is because I still believe so strongly in the right of a woman to protect her body that I now oppose abortion. That right must begin when her body begins, and it must be hers no matter where she lives — even if she lives in her mother’s womb. The same holds true for her brother.”

Read her article. It will take you beyond the lies.

2. Thousands of women died each year when abortion was illegal.

Truth seekers were all served well by a recent Washington Post article titled, “Planned Parenthood’s false stat: ‘Thousands’ of women died every year before Roe.” It was a “fact checker” item. And the so-called Planned Parenthood facts—were untrue! Or said more accurately, they lied! And they’ve known it for years.

On March 6th of this year, Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, was interviewed on WFAA in Dallas. Her hyper-dramatic statement said, “We face a real situation where Roe could be overturned. And we know what will happen, which is that women will die. Thousands of women died every year pre-Roe.”

Here’s the truth. The numbers were exorbitantly exaggerated. As the Post reported, “Wen’s repeated use of this number reminds us of the shoddy data used by human trafficking opponents. Unsafe abortion is certainly a serious issue, especially in countries with inadequate medical facilities. But advocates hurt their cause when they use figures that do not withstand scrutiny. These numbers were debunked in 1969—50 years ago—by a statistician celebrated by Planned Parenthood. There’s no reason to use them today.” Again, an intentional lie.

3. This is just a “political” issue used for fundraising.

Is that true? Then any fundraising for “endangered species”must be put in the same category. In other words, there’s no real meaning behind the saving of animals. It’s just used for political gain. And the same for environmental concerns to “save the planet.” Just attention-getting, money-grabbing, politically-motivated activism. No reasonable person should believe that.

The truth is, people get far more worked up over pet mistreatment than the brutal taking of a baby’s life. Again, after feminist Frederica Mathewes-Green studied how abortions are performed, she drew this conclusion: “I could not deny that this was hideous violence. Even if there were any doubt that the unborn were a person, if I had seen someone doing this to a kitten I would have been horrified.” Exactly.

I’ve opposed abortion all my life. It seems like an overwhelmingly selfish decision by millions of women (and men) to choose to “make a baby,” only to discard this precious soul.

As a young man, one of my very favorite Psalms written by King David was the 139th. He chose to write these words: 

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

The unborn child is a treasure waiting to happen. That is the truth. I’ve seen it first hand.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook. 

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Lies That Kill

Nancy Leigh Demoss Wolgemuth has had a wonderful ministry to women for many years called Revive Our Hearts. Her husband Robert has been a successful book publisher, author, and he’s developed skills as an agent for authors as well. The two make a good team.

Several years ago, Nancy published a book titled Lies Women Believe,  subtitled And the Truth that Sets Them Free. She engages women in several areas including lies about marriage, priorities, God, sin…and themselves. Of course, Nancy offers a path to truth with a capital T.

Robert has produced his own version of this book with similar themes in Lies Men Believe. He tackles subjects such as the beliefs that pleasure and entertainment can be truly satisfying. Or if a man means well, that’s good enough.

Both of these books point back to a key word: truth. In an age of “fake news” and scams that attempt to steal our minds and our money, knowing what is real and true has become more difficult. Lacking discernment, however, can be quite costly.

We should understand the difference between mistruths and lies. A person can unwittingly believe untrue information and spread it in some form of ignorance. Lies are more egregious. They strongly imply intent. That is why lying is truly sin. And why people attempt to fend off the label, “liar.”

Indeed, we have liars amongst us in many forms. Among the liars I have come to mistrust most are those who favor abortion. Their lying perpetuates a pattern of human destruction. The pro-abortion legal victories and passing of legislation thrive on the persistence of lies.

Here are three offered for your consideration, recently spread in the news:
  1. A pregnant woman is not a mother. It may sound like I am making this up. However, last Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an Indiana abortion law requiring medical facilities to provide dignified burials or cremation to children aborted at their establishment. During the debate over this case Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “(A) woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy is not a ‘mother.'” I recently saw a meme with a smiling baby in the womb, waving upward and saying, “Hi Mommy.” He gets it. Ruth doesn’t.
  2. There is a constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy. Check the opening words of our Constitution: “We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Mull those words over and try and conclude that ripping babies from wombs meets the criteria.
  3. A fetus is not really a human being. 
Paul Stark wrote an excellent piece about this lie in 2017 for the website of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. (link below) He writes about the scientific ways to view a new life in the womb:

“Four characteristics of the unborn human (the zygote, embryo, or fetus) are important:
Distinct. The unborn has a DNA and body distinct from her mother and father. She develops her own arms, legs, brain, nervous system, heart, and so forth.
Living. The unborn meets the biological criteria for life. She grows by reproducing cells. She turns nutrients into energy through metabolism. And she can respond to stimuli.
Human. The unborn has a human genetic signature. She is also the offspring of human parents, and humans can only beget other humans.
Organism. The unborn is an organism (rather than a mere organ or tissue)—an individual whose parts work together for the good of the whole. Guided by a complete genetic code (46 chromosomes), she needs only the proper environment and nutrition to develop herself through the different stages of life as a member of the species.”

Those are only three of the many “lies” being spread about this costly and tragic plague on our society. Next week, I’ll offer more.

Jesus said, “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32, ESV)

I can hardly think of anything more damaging to a culture that to kill its children. The lies that foster that are among the worst. And they rob us of true freedom.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook. 

Join in each weekday at 4 PM Central for Mark’s encouraging Facebook Live message on the workplace.

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