Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Here is how it works. You take 8-10 various spices of varying flavors-sweet, spicy, bitter, etc. and put them in individual bowls. You then have participants walk through the line and pick out three spices of their choosing. Once the person has their spices, they are to find a place where they can take the time to focus and then taste each spice one by one and listen/pray to see what the Lord has to say to them. That may sound strange, but the chance to step back and take a few moments was amazing, and I would encourage you to try it if you are looking for some experiential worship opportunities.
So for me, I chose seasoning salt, Italian spices, and sugar. I started with the seasoning salt and immediately it made me thirsty. As I sat there reflecting, I found myself thinking about the verse that says hunger and thirst for His righteousness, and I was reminded that in the busyness of life I need to remember to always long for more of the Lord. When I moved on to the Italian spices-which I love on pizza and other various dishes, I found that they were bitter alone and did not taste very good at all. This reminded me that things that are enticing may not always be beneficial, and if I am not careful they can get in the way of my relationship with God. Finally I tasted the sugar and immediately the thought of "taste and see that the Lord is good." God is better than anything the world could ever offer to me, and I need to remind myself of that daily.
As I said, this type of worship experience is difficult for me, but was awesome. I hope to explore this more, and would encourage you to do the same for yourself and your youth ministries if you are involved with one.
That's my idea for the week, thoughts?
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I will not support any congressperson who votes to implement such a policy. Instead, I submit the following three steps:
Common Sense Plan:
A. Insure the sub prime bonds/mortgages with an underlying FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate and needed liquidity.
B. In order for a company to accept the government-backed insurance, they must do two things:1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.
a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages mortgage companies to go the extra mile while
working with the borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.
2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs and executive team members as long as the company holds these government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps under performing executives from being paid when they don’t do their jobs.
C. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction of the current proposal.
II. MARK TO MARKET
A. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on only sub prime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.
B. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the taxpayer nothing.
III. CAPITAL GAINS TAX
A. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free profits, creating tremendous—and immediate—liquidity in the markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.
B. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy. This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and retirement investments that go up instead of down. This is not a time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all of us, as Americans, to stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.
If we do our part as Americans together, we may be able to change what I think will be a bad decision on the part of our government. It shouldn't be our job as taxpayers to bail out companies that were stupid with money!