Visions of the future--what about reading?

A friend of mine posted in our school discussion board in which he talked about the future of blogging. (That is our discussion question for the week.)

He made some points that made me sit up and then made my heart weep...

I have often bemoaned the way journalism has slid into the mucky muck of opinion and bias. I tremble at the thought that we won't ever get un-opinionated news with bias words wrapped around it so tightly there is no way to get to the pure truth. Has relativism gone so far into our brains that truth isn't that pinnacle we strive for anymore? Does anyone get that vision of Pilate standing in front of Jesus with this doe-in-the-headlights look, "What is truth?" he asks Jesus. The Truth was staring him in the face and he could not even see it.

Vlogs were mentioned in the discussion. Vlogs are video blogs. I am not a fan of videos except for the very few exceptional ones that come to my inbox ever so often. What takes an hour to watch, I could get much more out of reading the text and doing it in 1/4 the time. I have a white-knuckled grip on my paperback books and I'm so afraid our future will be like Total Recall when the news is on 24/7 on the wall screen and no newspaper beside your breakfast coffee.

I'm also so extremely sorry that kids today "don't like to read"... what a lot they are missing!!! What kind of control over their imagination they are giving up.

There is a fellow by the name of Shane Hipps (you can view an interview here at YouTube) who talks about how we become trapped with images. When reading or listening to a story and you hear the words "an old man", your imagination takes off and conjures an image for your mind that can be as wild or staid as you care to be. Yet, if someone says, "an old man", and hold up an image then they control your imagination and your creative thinking stops at the image (Shane, 2011). Creativity is trapped.

Our minds are great and glorious things because God created them that way. I am not saying that our creativity stops, it just doesn't have to work as hard when we look at images. So is creativity going off in a different direction? What is the point of having an imagination if we just sit and watch TV or a movie or YouTube videos? That puts us in that realm of someone telling us what to think about. Will it come to the point where everyone is watching the monkey, but only one or two have their eyes on what is really going on?

Hipps, S. (2011, April 14). Interview with Shane Hipps: The OAT Podcast. Spring Arbor University.

Ye Shall Laugh 2

Ye Shall Laugh Luke 6:21

There are some very Funny, Strange and Stupid Things People Do in the Bible.

Whoever said, “The Bible is boring,” has no imagination and has no sense of humor. Studying the Bible is all about attitude…Attitude of the heart and attitude of the mind. Who was it that said, “You get what you put in to it”? Oh, yeah, it was “Whatever ye shall sow, that shall ye also reap.”

Where else should Christians turn when they have problems?

Where else do we find God’s intent and God’s purpose for our lives?

And where else is there a collection of such exciting and, yes, humorous stories that are so true?
The Bible is true to life; true to Man’s nature and reveals the consequences of our actions. The life lessons jam-packed into such a small collection of 66 books could not possibly be crammed into the Library of Congress when applied to our own daily lives. In fact, Solomon was absolutely correct when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” And that was about 3000 years ago.

"What?" you say, "Nothing new? What about Japanese cars?”
Acts 1& 2 & 4 tell us there was at least “one Accord” back then.

“What about microwaves?”

Leviticus 10:1-2 tells us God “micro-waved” Aaron’s sons after they offered profane fire before the Lord without a little box and a plug in to electricity.

“What about Email?”

The Spirit of the Lord is faster and a lot more dependable than Email. And Jesus didn’t even have to say, “Scotty, Beam Me into the locked room where my disciples are.” He just was instantly there! And how about Philip? He was here one minute and walking beside the Ethiopian the next second. Instant. That's faster than getting approval for a credit card swipe.

Okay, so it’s a bit ridiculous … but, I hope I made my point. Man’s mind is finite and is so limited compared to our Almighty Lord God. And God gave us our sense of humor! There was once a preacher that said basically, “Hilarity is obscene before the Lord.” Poppycock!

Sorrow of the heart breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:13) however … A merry heart doeth good like medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22. And Solomon wasn’t talking about having a “heart merry with wine” in that verse, don’t you know.

So I'd like to hear what is your favorite funny story in the Bible... Gee, there are so many to choose from!

Ye shall laugh

Excerpt from my Bible study - Ye shall laugh.

Stand-up comedians will tell you that most people laugh at the ridiculous, at a “twist” of meanings and a surprise outcome to the end of a story. This is why jokes are funny, they surprise us and it is why some jokes are not funny, the punch line isn’t a surprise. Or sometimes the images conjured up are so ridiculous that we laugh no matter how many times we've heard the joke. Other people laughing is contagious. A merry heart does good like medicine, but sorrow dries the bones. Solomon said that. What was it that made you have a mind-cleansing, soul shaking belly laugh?

The key for finding funny stories in the Bible is to look for the ridiculous, the incongruous—strange, odd, bizarre—and the surprise ending and/or surprise statement of one of the people in the story. Most of the time, we are so serious when studying the Bible, that we overlook these aspects in the stories. Things like a donkey talking, lead floating, a king's right hand man dipping in muddy water to be cleansed of leprosy and a prophet's servant being punished with it, and four lepers saving a city. The list goes on and on.

My friend Rocky loves this story from Exodus 32: The golden calf. "When people got restless of Moses being gone too long and demanded something be done about it. Aaron had people give him gold and he formed an idol of a gold calf to worship. When asked about it -

'Moses, it's not my fault, really! I just took this gold jewelry see - I threw it into the fire. And you won't believe this - you really won't. But when I took this out of the fire you know what I found? It's totally unbelievable man - out came this gold calf! I sat there and all I could do man, was like, say wooooow!'

Ok ok - so it was a bit of license done on the paraphrasing....:-)

One of my favorites is found in Mark 5:30-31

30 And knowing instantly within Himself that power had gone out of Him, Jesus turned Himself around in the press and said, Who touched My clothes? 31And His disciples said to Him, You see the crowd pressing on You, and do You say, Who touched Me?

Can’t you just see this mob of people squishing Jesus and His disciples? Jesus feels the power go out from Him. He looks at Peter and asks, “Who touched me?”

Peter, the typical Jewish male, shrugs up his shoulders, throws up his hands palms up and says “What? All of a sudden I’m the answer man? Why don’t you ask Andrew! You never ask him the hard questions! There’s a million people right beside You and You ask, ‘Who touched Me?’

So why did Jesus ask the question? He knows everything. He healed the sick, that’s a job that He took on from the very beginning. What was a little power going out of Him to heal a woman who’d been sick for 12 years? What was the big deal?

There is nothing secret from Him. He knows all the secret sins, but more importantly, He knows all the secret acts of faith.

Just as the Holy Spirit immediately convicts of sin within the Christian’s heart, so does He also immediately acknowledge the acts of faith of His children. He wanted the woman to acknowledge her faith publicly as well as proclaim what had happened not only for God’s glory, but also as an affirmation of her faith, because faith does bring God glory. Faith that God can do the impossible, brings Him even greater glory.

But, more than that, Jesus wanted all the people to know how much her faith had to do with her healing. This was huge, and so many of those people who pressed in so close to Jesus never “got” it. They kept asking for signs and more signs. Even John the Baptist when in prison sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he really was the One. Jesus told them to go back and tell him, “The blind see, the lame walk, the sick are healed, and the dead rise.” It was enough of a reminder of the Old Testament prophecies that John was reassured.

The Gentiles not only understood, but knew it in their hearts. The centurion understood. He said, “Just speak and it will be so. I command men and when I say do this, it is done.” The centurion understood the far reaching authority of Jesus. The woman understood Jesus’ healing power and had hope and faith that she would be healed.

How do you choose a church?

I was doing a bit of research and discovered this post I wrote five years ago. Sometimes I astound myself at how well I listen to God's promptings when I write. Then I wonder, why can I not hear as clearly today? Then I realize I'm still hearing Him, He is just saying something different.

How do you choose a church?
Do you visit and visit and then one day you walk in a church and just know... this is it? This is where God wants me?

Do you wait to see who comes to visit after you've visited?

Do you go to the church were the most people have invited you?

Is driving 30 minutes to go to church too far even if the people are really friendly?

I'll tell you, just about every church I have belonged to has been "on the hunt" for a pastor. Side note: I think there are too few God-called pastors which is why it takes so long for a church to find The Man God has called to the church.

The trouble is not finding A church. In Picayune there are so many churches one would think that there aren't enough people to fill them all. This town is a church going town. The problem is finding THE church that God desires us to join, roll up our sleeves and get to work. THE church.

So. How does one get to work in a church that doesn't have time to go visit the visitors?

How does one get to work in a church that is friendly and has a great preacher and the people love him so much that they flock around him after service so that no one else can shake his hand or so that he can search out the visitors and ask them to come back?

How does one get to work in a church that is so far out it takes 30 minutes to just get there?

How does one get to work when a church has lost its pastor, its associate pastor and the music minister all in the space of about 3 months? Who's at the helm?

Ahhhh... but, wouldn't that church be the one that needs the willing worker? Wouldn't that church be the one that needs the prayer warriors? Isn't that the church that would be surprised if someone would join when there wasn't a pastor instead of waiting to join along with a whole flock of people joining the day a new pastor steps into the pulpit?

Is it up to us to choose or is it God's choice?

Technology must haves for survival

Here is a graphic lifted from a technology/theology blog called Don't Eat the Fruit.

It was designed by Nicholas Carr of the "Is Google Making Us Stupid" essay; and is called the Hierarchy of Innovation.

I'm not thrilled that pharmaceuticals is in that top shelf reserved for selfish desires. I think aspirin is one of the greatest of all drugs invented or discovered. Sometimes just removing myself from a particularly annoying person will relieve my headache, but aspirin does that, too, with no discomforting need for explanations.

What do you think about this hierarchy? Is it on target? Out of touch? 

So what are my must-have technologies? I'm so glad you asked!

Gina's Must-Have Technologies

I must have my cell phone in case I have car trouble (This is what my Mom makes sure of every time I step out the door. Gone is the question: Do you have clean underwear on?)

I must have a car because I really would die walking farther than the mail box in this heat here in the South.

I must have my computer. How else could I go to school which will help me get a job teaching which will help me pay bills which will keep my creditors happy which will keep me out of jail. I do not want to go to jail. People die in jail.

I must have my air conditioner. I would suffocate with out it.

I must have my big screen TV which helps keep my eyes healthy.

Did I mention my air conditioner?

I think that does it for my must haves for the foundation of survival. Did I mention my a/c?

Thank you, God, for these wonderful gifts! Thank you, God, for my a/c.
In Jesus' name, amen.

Blogging is the New Town Square

I have written my paper that I asked Christian bloggers to help me with. I created this powerpoint and saved as a pdf so I could post it here.
Blogging is the New Town Square

Unemployed? Seth Godin has some excellent advice

Back in 2009, Seth Godin had this very excellent advice to unemployed college graduates:

How about a post-graduate year doing some combination of the following (not just one, how about all):
  • Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit.
  • Teach yourself Java, HTML, Flash, PHP and SQL. Not a little, but mastery. [Clarification: I know you can't become a master programmer of all these in a year. I used the word mastery to distinguish it from 'familiarity' which is what you get from one of those Dummies type books. I would hope you could write code that solves problems, works and is reasonably clear, not that you can program well enough to work for Joel Spolsky. Sorry if I ruffled feathers.]
  • Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team.
  • Start, run and grow an online community.
  • Give a speech a week to local organizations.
  • Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about.
  • Learn a foreign language fluently.
  • Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about.
  • Self-publish a book.
  • Run a marathon.
 I have just a few things to add to this list...

  • Turn off the TV and put the video games in storage. Take a technology fast unless, of course, you are doing #2 above.
  • Become a mentor to someone.
  • Become an expert in something that fascinates you then blog about it, posting everyday.
  • Volunteer to read to a blind person for at least an hour per week.
  • Start a non-profit organization advocating whatever is close to your heart.
  • Learn everything there is to know about LinkedIN.
  • Become a master at social media, then blog about it everyday, then self-publish a book on it.
  • Discover who THE mover/shaker is for your community and shadow him or her one day per week for as long as he or she will allow you to. Then analyze, and write about what you learned.
Doing these things will change your life and your outlook on life. 

Engraved in His palm,


I cannot live without my friends.
The earth is a dry and barren land without friends. I pant like the deer pants for water during the dry spells.
I much prefer the rain kissed earth, the sweet smell, the hugs the satisfaction and the refreshing dew of talking with my dear friend, writing, my friends, reading from my friends and being with my friends.

I love the sweet messages from my friends.
I adore the loving kindnesses of my friends.
There is no treasure on earth that compares to the pearls of friendships.
Loving kindness is the tie that binds and the cords that hold with the strength of steel.

Thank you, God, for my friends!

This is a repeat, and so well worth the repeat. I have made so many new friends since I wrote this Five years ago!!!

US judge and Mississippi Law

A U.S. judge blocked enforcement of a Mississippi law which requires Ob-Gyn physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital. You know, the kind of law that makes sure if something goes terribly wrong, the mother can go to the hospital. The baby is killed, but at least give the mother advanced medical treatment if she starts bleeding to death. The judge it studying the law for Constitutionality.

Whether or not a state allows abortions is the state's decision which means the state can put laws in place to regulate the abortions. You can read all about state laws here.

Like most of his kind these days, Judge Daniel Jordan will write law for Mississippi. I'm increasingly disgruntled with The System these days. Justice may be blind, but there is no place for judges to make laws that undermine states' authority like they have done in Arizona and with Obamacare.

God gave us freedom. It is an inalienable right which means it is God-given. When we remove God from our lives, our court systems, our legislative systems, and from the executive branch, then we open up the floodgates for slavery to the system and to those who usurp authority.

God did not give us freedom over other people's freedoms and rights. God has charged us with our children's care and upbringing, not ownership of our children or abortion of our children. God has charged us to love our neighbor as ourselves, not to usurp authority over our neighbor as Obama has done in his fight for power over the American people.

After this mandate to purchase healthcare or pay a huge tax (call it what they will,  penalties can only  be levied on taxes), what comes next? Will we be mandated to keep our mouths shut or be taxed--uh, penalized? Will we be stripped of our right to own guns? Will we be taxed because we eat too much? If we're over a certain body weight will that cause a penalty because it increases the cost of healthcare?  Will the number of children per family be limited to regulate costs?

The Ten Commands
Jesus told us that the Law pinpoints consequences of disobedience to the law. It doesn't make a person obey it. The law has no power, and can never change a person's heart attitude. In fact, the law cannot force anyone into a particular action. Only 1) fear of the consequences or 2) deep desire to please the lawgiver can change action or change attitudes. The System is failing.