Friday, August 27, 2010

Free Lessons from Tiger Woods

Free Lessons from Tiger Woods

Tiger and Elin finalized their divorced recently. It was a sad day for the Woods family. When Tiger was asked at The Barclays about his divorce he used the word ‘sad’ five times to describe how he feels. "I certainly understand why she is sad," he said. "And I feel the same way. I don't think you ever go into a marriage looking to get divorced. That's the thing. That's why it is sad” Sad indeed. It’s sad for Elin, for Tiger's mother, for the Nordegren family and it's sad for his children, Sam and Charlie.

Dreams are precious but fragile. Elin Nordegren was hesitant to marry Tiger Woods. She was aware of the women in his past. She had a fear, perhaps a premonition, that he would fail to be faithful. Her dream was to marry, to love and to be loved, and to create a happy and peaceful home for their children. Her dream was shattered nine months ago when her husband backed into a fire hydrant. Elin recently interviewed for People Magazine and had this to say: "I have been through the stages of disbelief and shock, to anger and ultimately grief over the loss of the family I so badly wanted for my children…."

All reports seem to indicate that Elin is a very genuine type of person. She was very dedicated to avoiding the limelight and protecting her children from the fame of their father. She never attempted to use the wealth and popularity of her husband to promote herself. She was very seldom seen at Tiger's golf tournaments and Tiger seemed to share this determination to protect the family from the paparazzi.

Sad indeed! Elin lost her dream and Tiger lost his reputation. The question I would like to hear Tiger answer is: "Was it worth it?" Did Tiger think that he could love twelve women and they would all be committed to protecting him? Did he think all of them would be content with a sexual rendezvous only to be put back on the shelf and told "don't call me, I'll call you? Did he think he could live in the public eye and keep his private life a secret?

We may never know the rationalizations that went on in the mind of Tiger Woods. I'm sure he thought what almost all men think who betray their wives and break their wedding vows…"What she doesn't know won't hurt her. My affairs will have no affect on my family." Many men and women seek solace in that lie as they rationalize inappropriate relationships. They cling to the idea that others won't be affected by their actions but they fail to realize the subtle affect the affair has on their own personalities. Do you think Elin was suspicious when Tiger seemed to be so preoccupied? When he became less talkative because his mind was dwelling on things he couldn't share? Do you think Elin wasn't wondering why there seemed to be a wide gulf developing between them? How much passion did Tiger have for his wife when he was dividing that passion among numerous other women?

Tiger has learned a difficult lesson. Our actions have consequences and our sins will eventually find us out.. It is so important that we stay rational and think properly. How we think determines what our values will be and what our values are determine how we behave. Tiger has a phenomenal mentality when it comes to analyzing a strategy for conquering a golf course but when it comes to building a family and retaining integrity he hasn't been thinking so well.

Sad indeed! Perhaps Tiger will learn from his failures. Some men do and some don't. His actions over the next few months will determine if there is any change in what he thinks is important in life. If he embraces a new set of values it will indicate he is thinking differently.

When asked about his wife's interview with People Magazine he said, "I wish her the best." I wish Tiger the best and the best can only be realized if he changes his ways.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Number Two (John Adams) Meet Number Forty Four (Barack Obama)

Number Two (John Adams), Meet Number Forty-Four (Barack Obama)


The second president of the United States once said, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” I don’t think anyone in John Adam’s day doubted that he had a proper concept of God and His relation to man. Forty one presidents later (Grover Cleveland is counted twice) Americans are smothered with doubt regarding their president’s claim to be a Christian.

While many have faith in Obama’s claim to Christianity, nearly 20% of Americans now think he is a muslim. We must take care not to try to do God’s work for him. Obama’s ‘Christianity’ is something between he and God. We aren’t in a position to judge but we are taught to be fruit inspectors. Obama’s two years in office has been characterized by broken promises and crafty deceptions. (I won’t take time to elaborate, whole books have been written about it: see Michelle Malkin’s A Culture of Deception). Obama was the most radical pro-abortion U.S. senator in our history. He does not shy away from participating in Islamic worship and he is the most pro-sexual deviancy president in history. There is plenty of fruit to inspect and it’s mostly rotten to the core.

Obama may have crossed his Rubicon when he caved to Islamic influence by going soft on a mosque near ground zero. Many Americans would see this as a monument to a terroristic victory that claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Americans. Obama could have come out on the right side of this issue had he spoken out in defense of the victim’s families and the friends of perished firefighters. It’s no wonder so many question his claim to Christianity.

But few Americans have any doubts about whether Obama is maniacal in his lust for power and control. C. S. Lewis warned in his book, The Abolition of Man, that human nature would finally submit to manipulation and exploitation when a tyrannical cabal would successfully rule the masses. “Man’s quest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billions upon billions of men. …Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.”

C.S. Lewis warned about the dangers of a democracy when he wrote: “The natural trend in a democracy …. is for politicians to promise more and more to fulfill the multitude of incompatible desires of the populace. To meet these promises, they print reams of money and borrow in epic proportions. As the system becomes unstable and begins to collapse, the people call for a leader to bring them out of this crisis.”

Enter Barack Obama who promised to “fundamentally transform America”. No one really knew in what direction this intended change would go. We all know now. Is Barack Obama a Christian? Only God knows for sure. Is Barack Obama a utopian socialist? Who in America could doubt that? John Adams must be spinning in his grave.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Had Enough....?"

Rev. Jody Hice is former pastor of Bethlehem First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Hice is challenging for the position of GOP Representative John Linder's position in the 7th District. Rev. Hice has always played on the very edge. He has challenged the ACLU over posting the 10 commandments on the wall of the court house and he challenged the IRS by opening supporting John McCain for president from the pulpit of his church.
Hice believes the country is in trouble and he is running on the slogan: "Had Enough of Obama's Change?" The Georgia Democrats have gone apoplectic when Hice posted the following billboards in the Atlanta area:

What do you think?  Is this fair game or is it over the top???

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Pain of Rejection

Recess was my favorite part of the day when I was a student at Neason Hill Elementary School in Meadville, Pennsylvania. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Bender, would take us out to the playground to play softball every afternoon. Mr. Bender and Mr. Lebonowski would submit captains and players would alternately be chosen. The chubby kid with the coke bottle glasses was never chosen, he was always relegated to the bench as an “assistant coach.” The look on his face revealed the pain of feeling rejected.

What must it feel like to save and save, buy the diamond, fall to one knee and make a proposal only to hear her say, “You’re so sweet but….”? My missionary brother in Japan tells me that it is not uncommon for young Japanese students to step in front of the trains because of the futility they feel after being rejected by the better universities. Al Gore felt rejection when he lost the election of 2000. Elin Nordegren felt rejection when she discovered her husband, Tiger Woods, was having multiple affairs. Rejection brings unspeakable pain. Who can doubt the prevalence of the pain of rejection when 50% of American marriages end in divorce?

I watched a television program the other night showing the reactions of spouses who had been rejected. I saw women smash out the windows of a car with a baseball bat. I saw a man take his girlfriend’s car into the countryside and destroy it with an AK47. Every two hours in the United States a person under the age of 25 commits suicide because they feel the pain of having been rejected by a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend or a parent.

It is painful to be rejected but nothing can compare to the pain of being rejected by God. I was reading about this pain today in the 16th chapter of Samuel. God came to his faithful prophet and told Samuel, “It’s time to get over Saul, I have rejected him….” (1 Sam. 16:1) Saul was rejected because he chose to disobey God. The bottom line, he loved himself more than he loved God and that is grounds for rejection.

Because of the uncompromising nature of God he will always reject those who fail to love and obey him. But, God’s nature also makes a provision for us. We can reverse the rejection of God by repenting of our sins and choosing to love Christ more than we love ourselves. Our repentance would have no meaning had the Father not loved us so much that he provided his only Son to be the sacrifice necessary to allow us to exchange repentance for salvation.

I’ve felt the pain of being rejected by God but I’ve also felt the euphoric joy of being chosen. Saul was rejected, David was chosen, not because he was a perfect man. David committed adultery and even murder. David was chosen because his heart was broken when he sinned against the God he loved. He was chosen because he repented of his sin, he turned from adultery and murder and as far as the records show, he was never involved in those sins again.

We’ve all been rejected. Our sin makes rejection unavoidable. But the good news is that we can be chosen by putting our trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and repenting of our sins.

Saul was rejected. David was chosen. Samuel was sent.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

They couldn't possibly"feel our pain".

They couldn’t possibly “feel our pain”.

There are reports that we are now in recovery but one never knows anymore whether he is being told the truth or whether the information he receives is just some political sound bite that is expedient for the benefit of a politician or political party.

Two of every ten Americans are now unemployed or seriously under-employed. I see many people in my own community who are suffering because of layoffs and lack of income. Meanwhile, members of the American aristocracy seem to be above the pain of economic recession.

John Kerry just spent $7 million dollars on a new yacht. He harbors his new toy in Rhode Island where he doesn’t have to pay taxes. He had it built in New Zealand instead of New England. Mr. Kerry, why not give American citizens the opportunity to make some money building your boat? I’m not familiar with the art of building boats but I hear that the mates in New England are second to none when it comes to building a sea going vessel.

I have no daughters so I’ve never experienced the expense of paying for a daughter’s wedding. Bill Clinton just shelled out $5 million for his daughter, Chelsea, to get married. I don’t begrudge the Clintons’ effort to make their daughter happy. If she needs a $5 million dollar wedding to make her happy, go for it.

I guess what I resent is a bunch of ruling class, aristocratic politicians constantly telling middle and lower class America that they “feel our pain.” As my mother would often say, “That’s a bunch of bunk.” This condescending and sometimes hypocritical approach is shared by some who are Democrats as well as Republicans. Some of these incorrigible politicians are actually benefiting from the pain of their constituents.

If you really “feel our pain” then don’t just say it, act like it. Start passing legislation that will benefit the masses rather than get you re-elected or keep your party in power.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Racism: Alive and Well

Racism: Alive and Well

Racism is nurturing a hatred for someone because of their ethnicity or because they happen to have a large amount of melanin pigment. If we look at the other side of the coin we can say it is a hatred for those who lack melanin. Either way, it is judging someone by their outward appearance. 1 Samuel 16:7 is a reprimand to men who judge others by looking at the outward appearance. The verse declares that God never does that, he judges a man by looking inward, into the deep recesses of his heart.

Isn’t that what Martin Luther King was declaring when he said that he had a dream of a time when men would not be judged “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. “ Racism is a particularly strong demonstration of hatred in the human heart and Christ had some strong words for those who hate, he said, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.” (1 John 3:15)

America’s first black president has been in office for nearly two years now. His promise of change brought great hope to the masses. Could it be possible that America could now turn the corner on its problem of racism? Even though this president attended Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years and listened to his constant stream of racist hatred, we still refused to lose hope and he was voted into office with a mandate from the American people to end racism forever in America.

How foolish we can sometimes be. Racism isn’t something a mere man can erase. It is a problem of the heart, it is sin in the fallen nature of man and it will be with us until all sin is eliminated or until the end of the age. Even more foolish than those who believed racism could be eradicated by a mere man was the preposterous claim of a politician who claimed he could bring us all together, the politician who answered Rodney King’s question, “Can’t we all get along” in the affirmative.

Barack Obama has certainly had opportunities to right the ship but he has failed miserably. Our racism meters began a fast tick when he defended Henry Louis Gates, Jr. before he had all the facts and declared the white police officer who arrested Gates “acted stupidly”. Obama should have been advised to stay neutral at the very least. When Harry Reid made offensive comments about the “light-skinned” candidate “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” Obama shrugged it off and seemed to send a message that racism was something only Republicans could be guilty of. Imagine if Bush or Cheney would have said such a thing.

In early 2010 some opponents of Obama’s health care plan marched on the capital. Many were accused of directing the “N” word at certain black congressmen. Yet, with thousands of phones, open microphones, video, etc. not a single “N” word was recorded. Would it not have been a good and noble thing for our president to step forward and declare such unfounded accusations slanderous and reprehensible?

It is clear that the Obama team sees an advantage in stirring the racial waters. What better way to motivate voters in November than the use of the race card. I would suggest that a president who cheapens real racism by flashing the race card so carelessly in an attempt to get reelected is most certainly racist. Those who suffer the deep pain of genuine racism are now victim of a “cry wolf” syndrome. The accusation is tossed about so carelessly that fewer and fewer people are giving the claim any credence. If you oppose Obama’s health care you are a racist. If you disagree with Obama’s policies you are a racist. If you vote Republican in November you are a racist. If you listen to Hannity or Limbaugh you are a racist and if you oppose the illegal entry of immigrants across our borders you are a racist.

Obama’s silence was deafening when the NAACP made accusations of racism in the Tea Party movement. He could have spoken words that would have brought racial healing but he refuses to do that for fear he will lose the political advantage the racist claims provide him. Is he selfish? Is he egotistical? Is he narcissistic? It’s not about Americans, it’s not even about African-Americans, it’s about Barack Hussein Obama! Mr. President, you’re no Martin Luther King!

Have You Been Chosen?

Have you been chosen?

My family and I recently visited Disney World. It was a “magical” experience for Kameron who turned five years of age while we were there. He is so proud to be five. He announced the other day that because he is now five he no longer watches “Noggin” but has now graduated to “Discovery Kids.”

I learned a lot about Disney World. I was impressed that such an organization began as a dream in the mind of one man who was willing to buy an orange grove in central Florida and dedicate his organization to making the dreams of children come true. The park has grown to 47 square miles today and only about 25% of it is actually developed.

To give you an idea of how massive is the service sector of this organization: Disney World employs approximately 54,000 people from all across the world. It is the largest single-site employer in the United States. 30,000 outfits of cast members are laundered daily! They serve more than 50 million cokes and 10 million hamburgers per year.

Innovation is such an important concept there. My son was fascinated by the talking garbage cans. Many are taken by the talking, walking palm tree at the entrance of Animal Kingdom. The massive amount of human waste in motels and theme parks is not ‘wasted’, it is used as fertilizer in the park’s tree farm which provides trees and shrubs for its landscaping. Cinderella’s castle is not made of stone, the entire structure is made of fiber glass.

I have a natural curiosity about people and I found myself studying the people who worked there. I saw a man at the ticket booth at Magic Kingdom who was born deformed. His arms were no bigger than broom sticks but he was working his station with a loyalty that seems to characterize Disney’s employees. I saw a man that was mentally impaired working at the stroller rentals. His co-workers were assisting him so that his impairment didn’t compromise the quality of his work.

I noticed that these people wore tags with their names on them along with the city and country from which they had come. I wondered what criteria the organization used to hire 54,000 employees? I discovered that all employees must attend the Disney Institute where they learn what is required to be chosen to work for Disney. 10% of those who watch the introductory film leave on their own account when they learn that they are to dress modestly and have no tattoos or wear excessive makeup.

These employees come from different parts of the world. They all have different personalities and they’ve all become who they are by an accumulation of experiences that are theirs alone. Outwardly, there is no one common characteristic but the screening process must certainly reveal a special kind of personality. My son wore a birthday badge and at the end of a day of near 100 degree temperatures, every employee was cheerfully wishing him a happy birthday.

I was reminded of the Old Testament story of Samuel as he goes to the house of Jesse and looks for a king to replace Saul. The one who seemed to be least qualified, the youngest, wasn’t even in the line-up of seven sons. He was out on the Judean hills tending a flock of sheep and protecting his father’s wealth. This was David, ‘a man after God’s own heart’, who was finally chosen to be King of Israel. He was not chosen for his appearance, nor was he chosen because he was well-behaved, (he would become an adulterer and a murderer), he was chosen because “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7)

God is building a magical kingdom and he has certain duties and responsibilities he wants done. His kingdom grows well because he employs those who are servant-minded and willing to do the small things, the grunt work. Those who prove themselves faithful in the small things (watching sheep) will one day slay giants (Goliath). Some are chosen, some are not. Are you chosen?