Thursday, December 7, 2017

What is the goal of the Church?


What is the goal of the Church?

We are a Christian Disciple-making Movement
 
Goal:  To win every neighbor to Christ, discipling them and equipping them for the work of the ministry, growing in grace and fellowshipping together, to glorify God.

This will require us to:

1 – Reach every neighbor with the Gospel of Christ by personal evangelism and relationship building, and personally inviting them to follow Christ.  Mark 16:15.  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

2 – To disciple every believer, (one on one discipleship – the older teaching the younger), teaching them to obey all commands, and equipping them to minister to others.  Matthew 28: 18-20.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.

Ephesians 4:12-13.  …For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

3 – To grow together as ‘the’ family of Christ, breaking bread, praying, sharing together from Scripture, worshipping and praising God, growing in grace, serving together, and concerning ourselves with each other daily…  Acts 2:42-47.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayers, And fear came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

4 – And the Lord will add to our number daily those who are being saved.  (There will be such excitement and energy in this Body that people will fear missing out by not being part of it.)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Some thoughts from John Ruskin


From: Unto This Last…  John Ruskin:

This exclusive search for physical and economic well-being prosecuted in disregard of morality is contrary to divine law, as some wise men in the West have shown. One of these was John Ruskin who contends in Unto This Last that men can be happy only if they obey the moral law.  – Gandhi

If I pay due wages to my man, I shall not be able to amass unnecessary riches, to waste money on luxuries and to add to the mass of poverty in the world. The workman who receives due wages from me will act justly to his subordinates. Thus the stream of justice will not dry up, but gather strength as it flows onward. And the nation with such a sense of justice will be happy and prosperous. We thus find that the economists are wrong in thinking that competition is good for a nation. Competition only enables the purchaser to obtain his labour unjustly cheap, with the result that the rich grow richer and the poor poorer. In the long run it can only lead the nation to ruin.   A workman should receive a just wage according to his ability. Even then there will be competition of a sort, but the people will be happy  and skilful, because they will not have to underbid one another, but to acquire new skills in order to secure employment. This is the secret of  the attractiveness of government services in which salaries are fixed according to the gradation of posts. The candidate for it does not offer   to work with a lower salary but only claims that he is abler than his competitors. The same is the case in the army and in the navy, where there is little corruption. But in trade and manufacture there is oppressive competition, which results in fraud, chicanery and theft. Rotten goods are manufactured. The manufacturer, the labourer, the consumer, – each is mindful of his own interest. This poisons all human intercourse. Labourers starve and go on strike. Manufacturers become rogues and consumers too neglect the ethical aspect of their own conduct. One injustice leads to may others, and in the end the employer, the operative and the customer are all unhappy and go to rack and ruin. The very wealth of the people acts among them as a curse. Nothing in history has been so disgraceful to human intellect as the acceptance among us of the common doctrines of economics as a science. I know no previous instance in history of a nation’s establishing a systematic disobedience to the first principle of its professed religion. The writings which we (verbally) esteem as divine not only denounce the love of money as the source of all evil, and as an idolatry abhorred of the deity, but declare mammon service to be the accurate and irreconcilable opposite of God’s service; and whenever they speak of riches absolute and poverty absolute, declare woe to the rich and blessing to the poor. True economics is the economics of justice. People will be happy in so far as they learn to do justice and be righteous. All else is not only vain but leads straight to destruction. To teach the people to get rich by hook or by crook is to do them an immense disservice.

 ESSAY IV

 Ad Valorem

 We have seen how the ideas upon which political economy is based are misleading. Translated into action they can only make the individual and the nation unhappy. They make the poor poorer and the rich richer and none are any the happier for it. Economics do not take the conduct of men into account but hold that the accumulation of wealth is the sign of prosperity, and that the happiness of nations depends upon their wealth alone. The more factories, the merrier. Thus men leave village farms with their spring winds and coming to cities, live diminished lives in the midst of noise, of darkness, and of deadly exhalation. This leads to deterioration of the national physique, and to increasing avarice and immorality. If some one talks of steps to be taken to eradicate vice, so-called wise men will say that it is of no use at all that the poor should receive education and that it is best to let things alone. They however forget that the rich are responsible for the immorality of the poor, who work like slaves in order to supply them with their luxuries, and have not a moment which they can call their own for self-betterment. Envying the rich, the poor also try to be rich, and when they fail in this effort, they are angry. They then lose their senses, and try to make money by force of fraud. Thus both wealth and labour are barren of all fruit or else are utilized for chicanery. Labour in the real sense of the term is that which produces useful articles. Useful articles are those which support human life, such as food, clothes or houses, and enable men to perfect the functions of their own lives to the utmost and also to exercise a helpful influence over the lives of others. The establishment of big factories with a view to getting rich may lead a person into sin. Many people amass riches but few make a good use of it. Accumulated wealth which leads to the destruction of a nation is of no earthly use. The capitalists of modern times are responsible for wide spread and unjust wars which originate from the covetousness of mankind. Some people say that it is not possible to impart knowledge so as to ameliorate the condition of the masses; let us therefore live as seems fit and amass riches. But this is an immoral attitude. For the good man who observes ethical rules and does not give way to greed has a disciplined mind, does not stray from the right path, and influences others by his acts. If the individuals who constitute a nation are immoral, so is the nation too. If we behave as we choose and at the same time take our neighbours to task for their wrongdoing, the results can only be disappointing. We thus see that money is only an instrument which makes for misery as well as happiness. In the hands of a good man it helps in the cultivation of land and the harvesting of crops. Cultivators work in innocent contentment and the nation is happy. But in the hands of a bad man, money helps to produce say gunpowder which works havoc among its manufacturers as well as among its victims. Therefore THERE IS NO WEALTH BUT LIFE. That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others. This is not a time for self-indulgence but for each of us to labour according to our capacity. If one man lives in idleness, another has to put in a double amount of work. This is at the root of the distress of the poor in England. Some so-called work is nugatory as in jewel-cutting and even destructive as in war. It brings about a diminution in the national capital, and is not beneficial to the worker himself. It seems as if men are employed, but really they are idle. The rich oppress the poor by misuse of riches. Employers and employees are at daggers drawn with one another, and men are reduced to the level of beasts.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

13 Reasons Why God...

Here's what our teens are working on now.  To see more, go to Teen Innovation Zone on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-PaDRhhOt2pggpKoLr2fWw 

When we first started our youth group, in the first week, the teens shared that two of their friends from Durango had committed suicide recently.  They shared about the new Netflix show, which they said portrayed a world without hope.  In response to the Netflix show ‘13 Reasons Why’ which dramatizes and highlights various reasons a teen commits suicide, we have decided to create a YouTube series ‘13 Reasons Why God…’  We now have several uploads there.

We will be shooting each one separately and incorporating our work on the music video into the videos.  Each one will be posted to our YouTube channel: Teen Innovation Zone.  Teens, please be thinking of creative ideas that will best dramatize these subjects:

 Abortion and unwed pregnancy

Anger and violence

Bullies and words that hurt

Depression

Social media – responsible use and dangers of

Gossip and character assassination

Jealousy

Lying and truth telling

Substance abuse

Suicide

Self harm – cutting, binging, anorexia

Self doubt

Fear

 
Each will include the redemptive message of Christ – grace, forgiveness from God, forgiving others, and even an invitation to accept Christ.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Turn The Other Cheek

Here is a teaching for our teens on Christian nonviolence:  Turn the other cheek.  Seventeen minutes long.  Hope you enjoy it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUslQ97w-xI&list=PLXTOMk7HwA36Tws1VpNwMgKCpzd28KR9K

Monday, November 27, 2017

Persona

Part of building a strong writer's platform is to develop a 'persona'.  If that means you have to tell people who you are, then I get that.  So here goes:

I am a committed Christian.  I take my walk with Christ seriously.

I follow the way of nonviolence.  More violence in the world will only cause more trouble.

I am a leader of Open Source Churching.  Make the goodness of Christ available to everyone, and everyone benefits.

Preparing for an uncertain future.  The collapse of the current economy is coming.  I am an Austrian when it comes to the economy.  Work hard, give to God, save something back, borrow only when you know you can pay it back, raise a solid family...  Good old Christian values, I guess you'd say.

I am an author of nonfiction and fiction, and always have been.

I am a publisher, not afraid to roll up my sleeves and publish.

I am an ideas person, and not afraid to carry them out.

That is the 'persona' I want to project to others.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

THE END OF THE ECONOMY

My fiction reflects my fear for the end of the current economy.  The bubble bursts we saw in 2008 were prelude for what is to come.  By holding interest rates artificially low and by pouring printed currency into the markets to prop them us via the Quantitative Easing, there is no place to go but down.

In my novel 'The Adventures of Jesus' one of the characters predicts the coming collapse:

Unable to artificially hold interest rates down any longer, interest rates are allowed to rise.
Auto loans become more expensive, slowing the rate of auto production and sales.
Layoffs in the auto industry
Mortgage rates begin to rise, causing a slowdown in new home building and sales.
Layoffs in the housing industry.
Credit card rates increase, causing a reduction I overall consumer spending.
Layoffs in the retail sector.
With higher interest rates, bond yields become more attractive.
Investors abandon over-priced stocks to buy bonds.  Stock market declines.
Businesses, no longer able to get low-interest loans, cut back production.
Layoffs of workers.
Laid off workers cannot buy goods or services, causing further decline in consumer spending.
Faltering economy causes downward pressure on the dollar.
Consumer credit bubble bursts.  Consumer goods become scarce.
Housing market bubble bursts.  Mortgages are underwater.
Stock market bubble bursts.  Loss of wealth.
Dollar collapse.
Default on national debt.  (Over $20 Trillion dollars)
National bankruptcy.

It is that collapse that provokes war and nuclear strikes in my new novel.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The writing of 'The Adventures of Jesus'

This novel just poured out of me.  In less than four months, it is complete.  My eyes need a rest.  I'm looking forward to getting it into the hands of an agent.  This is a fast-paced story!