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Outrageously Wrong

Holding to the truth when error screams in your face.

Outrage seems to be the language of the day. If you say something with enough force, many emojis (since you are too lazy to find real words), and an abundance of bandwagon hashtags, your cause de jour may trend. Copy and paste, retweet, and forward… you can start a movement. 

Back in the day when email was a new invention someone dubbed it as “spreading darkness at the speed of light.” This is even more true today when spontaneous beats are thoughtful. Speaking of spontaneous, have you signed up for BeReal yet? (Most of you haven’t… I know since I only have one friend on the app… and he doesn’t respond. It works by sending users a simultaneous once-a-day push notification declaring it is “time to BeReal”. A two-minute timer counts down; users must let the app take a picture with their smartphone camera and then upload it to BeReal.) But I digress. 

Two weeks ago...

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Money Can't Buy Me Love

Anyone who has been around longer than the Internet knows the Beatles lyric, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” Many Boomers belted out this song and then went on to pursue careers that chased money. Even hippies of note trod the money trail eventually. Each successive generation of college students dreams of reinventing the economy but seldom does, perhaps because college debt locks them in the system. I am not going to go on a tangent about whether we now might do this with circular economies, blockchain, and crypto: I want to take us in a different direction by saying the Beatles were wrong: money can buy love.

It is the end of March 2022 as I write this. The blunt and brutal Russian invasion of the Ukraine persists. People are huddled in basements and bunkers. The underground train stations buried deep under Kyiv—I was in them 30 years ago—are packed with safety-seekers. I know quite a few groups who are successfully...

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Is Contention, Dissension and Division the New Normal?

You don’t need a genius IQ to figure out that the world is divided, split, fractured. Arguably, this has been the case since man broke the unbroken human-divine connection in the Garden. Since then it has been a ripple of billions of sub-fractures that have splintered society. Then came Jesus and he united the unthinkable, made one the implausible, and formed a family from diversity. There has been nothing else that comes close to His unifying embrace of humanity.

Yet here we are in 2022 with our paltry opinations dribbling precious unity away like desert sand running through arthritic fingers. We have avid covid camps, rabid pandemic politics, and infallible science splits where our opinion is the right one, of course. We are experts in masking, vaccinating, and herd immunity when the only real herd we have is the hubris herd stampeding through the narrow canyon of our limited perceptions. “We” know best; “they” are uninformed. “We” are...

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Maintenance Is For Weenies

If a man is lazy, the rafters sag.
Ecclesiastes 10:18

We sat at lunch one day with a team from our office. It was a farewell meal for an intern who had joined us for three or four months. He was a very likable chap, had a bright mind, and was a genuinely nice guy. For our part, we had put him in tasteful accommodations, given him a car to drive, had him participate in some interesting projects, and given him exposure to life in Silicon Valley when all was well in Dot.com land. So at the end of it, all my wife asked, “What did you learn from your time with us?” His answer caused more than one person to nearly choke on their Chinese food: “I don’t like maintenance.” That was it. The grand conclusion from the twenty-year-old on what he had learned from his work stint: maintenance sucks. 

The first to respond was our Information Technology manager (who, incidentally, spent most of his day maintaining other people’s computers). He gently explained...

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Love Is The Goal

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
I Timothy 1:5

In the introduction to this letter, Paul tells Timothy his work assignment: “command certain men not to teach false doctrines.”  Later he says (in verse 8), "We know that the law is good, if one uses it properly."  There is a sharp contrast between a genuine movement of God, which has at its core "love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith," and the complex formulation of institutions built around laws and structures and complexities made up by man.  

As we deal in business, we will write contracts, deals will be signed, and plans will be made.  In all of these things let us remember to have "love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith." 

Reflections

  • Is your heart pure?
  • Is your conscience clear?
  • Is your faith sincere?
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Stand and Ignore

Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.   Ephesians 6:13 (NLT)

We like to think of amazing accomplishments, great acts, momentum, and being on the offensive. But there are seasons where it is enough to just come out on the other side still standing. 

“…so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet.”(The Message)

When suffering leads to perseverance that chisels out character that ekes out hope; when we have stared through the difficulties to the God-faced possibilities; when our knees have wobbled and our toes curled ‘round the clods’; when the day of evil has come — "and after you have done everything, to stand." Sometimes just showing up and standing is enough. The harvesting will come on another day.

Not as a contrast, but to preserve us from hopeless hanging around, while we are standing there are things we can do. Standing naked will not suffice. There is apparel even for...

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Plodding vs. Pontificating

There’s a difference between perpetually pontificating and persevering. The editor of the Manchester Guardian once said, “Comment is free; facts are sacred.” Every day billions of opinions are tweeted as facts. Zillions of sage advice tweets and posts might give the impression that there are billions of people doing amazing things. I too have opinions. While I am not prone to untamed tweeting I am in danger of confusing perseverance with pontification. It is one thing to hold an opinion and quite another to back it with the actions that lead to an outcome. 

A little phrase caught my eye: “You need to persevere.” Like many of you, I am in the midst of planning for the next calendar year. This usually involves several months of revisiting old mind maps where I listed an unreasonable number of things I hoped to work on, then tweaking them for the coming year. I have done this long enough to know the difference between dreaming and planning. It is...

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How Ripe Is Your Field?

they are ripe    John 4:35

When Jesus ventured into non-friendly territory he encountered a thirsty woman, turned her town upside down, and gave his disciples a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee lesson. “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” He saw the opportunities, but they saw the obstacles. 

  • One obstacle was their reputation. “What if people see our boss talking to a woman of ill repute?” 
  • Another obstacle was religion. “Why are you wasting time on Samaritans? They are not our target market.” 
  • Their third attempt to ‘get out of Dodge’ was practical: “Why don’t you get something to eat?”

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 

What do you see in your workplace? Is it an environment where people are neutral to spiritual things? Perhaps you see it as disinterested, not caring much about God and all that...

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Home Game, Away Game

Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan. 

And Dan, why did he linger by the ships?  Asher remained on the coast and stayed in his coves.  Judges 5:17

Not that long ago the New York Giants won their 10th consecutive away game, an NFL record. Winning on the road is tough. There were “away game” players in Scripture with catchy names such as Barak, Benjamin, Ephraim, Issachar, Napthali, and Zebulun. They all played an away game, won, and their names are recorded in history. Let me set the context. Israel had been oppressed for twenty years, and their leader, a woman prophetess names Deborah, called on the nation’s leaders to fight their enemies. The opposition was formidable, but God had given an instruction, and Deborah passed it on. 

“The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his...

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Ambition, Brand, Comfort

Baruch was of more noble birth than the prophet Jeremiah yet was his scribe. For many years he had prophecies that were ignored and sometimes burned in the flames. Poor old Baruch had to rewrite them. After a slew of people had been taken captive to Babylon and only the stragglers remained in Israel this remnant came to Jeremiah and asked, “Should we go back to Egypt?” It took Jeremiah 10 days to get an answer from God and it was a resounding “No!” The problem, however, was that the leaders had pre-decided that they wanted to guarantee their comfort and go back to Egypt. They hoped Jeremiah would confirm their predetermined plan. They predictably ignored his counsel and, to make matters worse, dragged Jeremiah and Baruch, his scribe, with them. History says Jeremiah never saw the Promised Land again. 

No wonder Baruch was feeling despondent. When he signed up for the job of scribe to a great prophet he probably didn’t think that Jeremiah would be...

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