Creativity

 “When all men think alike, no one thinks very much”.
What a telling quote. We are like sheep in a lot of ways.
 The group of 7 were very talented Canadian artists. After seeing so many other Canadian artists copying them, I’m thinking, is any of them really creative or are they just cookie cutters of what was learned in art school.  In business we see the lack of creativity in franchises.  If it works here it must work everywhere. Try to find a shopping mall that is even slightly original. I’d love to see a mall that took a chance with mom and pop stores that were different than the big chains. I think it would be a great success. I might even shop there myself.
 The church has the worst record for creativity. Their evangelistic efforts are so predictable that even sinners stay away. Gosh, it worked last year, let’s do it again. Let’s button down the gospel into 4 easy steps. Let’s go down to the street and hand out tracts to the homeless.  Flipping through the radio dial you can always tell the Christian radio station. The songs all sound painfully alike. 

 I am constantly amazed at how God has put this world together. I guess that’s why we call Him the”creator”. He creates beauty and order out of nothing. The closer you look at what He’s made, the more beautiful it is. Ever look at a butterfly wing under a microscope?  In contrast, whenever men puts something together, for it to be beautiful you need to stand back a ways. 

 We serve a creative God and for us not to be creative is an affront to Him. 

Tolerance

I heard a quote saying “No man has the right to be tolerant to another for tolerance is an assumption of superiority”.
  We are all created equal but it’s what we do afterwards that makes us unequal. When someone’s actions interfere with your life or become offensive, it’s only natural to be intolerant to them. 
 If I’m having a picnic and a car alarm goes off. It doesn’t take long before I become intolerant of the owner of the continually beeping car. If someone abuses an animal, watch how quickly people come to it’s rescue and become intolerant of it’s owner. 
 I was waiting at a stoplight when a guy In the crosswalk winked at me. I flipped!!! I instantly became the most intolerant person on earth! I wanted to jump out of my car and pound the guy. Aarrggghh the dirty rotten so and so just made a pass at me!!! I felt violated and indignant, now they’ve really got me going. 
 Settle down Bill, even thinking about it makes my blood boil. 

 Is it possible that the emotion I was feeling may have been a reflection of God’s heart?  He uses the strongest possible words to describe their sin. Detestable, an abomination, vile.  It’s hard to separate the sin from the sinner but sometimes even God doesn’t bother making the distinction.  
 If God is intolerant of certain people because He is offended at their sinful actions, shouldn’t we be too? It doesn’t mean we don’t offer them an opportunity to repent and receive salvation.
 Tolerance has become an excuse to put up with all sorts of vile behavior in our society. We cower in fear of offending anyone and in doing so share in their condemnation. Even on the street, a cocaine addict remarked to me about a transgender in the soup line. “It’s wrong, it’s just plain wrong” he said in disgust. 
How much more should Christians speak up about what we feel is wrong? 
   All evil has to do to prevail is for good men to do nothing. 

Debt part 2

Couldn’t sleep last night. I kept thinking about the false hope I may have given people in yesterdays blog that if you somehow got your spending habits in line everything would be ok. Actually I honestly believe it’s too late. Even if everyone stopped spending more than they made and saved every penny, we have already cooked our goose. Our debt has already passed the point of no return. We have gone way beyond the tipping point. Basically we should now be in damage control mode. It’s like the guy that forgot to apply the parking brake. As he watched his driverless truck roll down his driveway, no amount of yelling and screaming could stop it from crashing into the neighbors car.
I should clarify, when I say “we” I really mean the U.S. The problem is that Canada is so closely tied to them that when they go down so do we. And believe me, they are going down hard.
Any money that is not in hard assets could be subject to devaluation or outright forfeiture. The bank with it’s smiling tellers is the worst place to have your assets. Mutual funds, GIC’s bonds, anything that resembles a piece of paper is just a promise to pay off the bearer with more useless fiat currency.

The famous Englishman Bernard Shaw once said “one has the choice between the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of honesty and intelligence of government. And he was of the opinion this choice was not hard.”  Yes I’m a gold bug. Well not really, I like silver better. Same diff. They are both real currency, the only way to preserve your wealth when all financial hell breaks loose. Any one can start by saving 35 bucks to buy a Canadian silver coin at the local mall. When our currency collapses, you have something to trade for things that really count.  Like food for example.

So why is China now the world’s largest purchaser of gold? Do they know something we don’t know? We are due for a complete currency change. The greenback is no longer going to be the world’s currency. The change over has already started in parts of the world. China and Russia no longer trade with each other in U.S. currency.
What does all this mean to the average working stiff? The difference between your take home pay and your expenses is diminished. Imported goods are unaffordable. (we didn’t like the cheap offshore junk anyways). Families now need 2 incomes just to survive. Women are too stressed and too busy working to make babies. Some people don’t think that’s such a bad thing but when you destroy the family fabric, so goes the country. Unemployment is a given for more and more people. Social unrest becomes a serious issue. We become a third world country.
If you put a frog into a pot of hot water he will jump right out. Put him in cold water, slowly turn up the heat and he will stay there complacently …til he’s cooked.

Debt part 1

In a time when the economy seems to be taking a nose dive. I noticed something interesting. The feeling is it’s just one more recession we have to weather out. In a few years we’ll be back on track. Somehow things will sort themselves out. It’s cyclical and we’re just on the downward side of the swing.
We live in such a make believe world that we have lost sight of reality. There’s a button on the dash of space ships called the warp speed button. I’ve asked numerous 20 something year olds if they thought the button was technically viable. Invariably they would argue that it is possible. I guess if you see it on TV enough times it must be true. Talk about a real estate bubble, we live in a reality bubble or should I call it an unreality bubble. Unfortunately it’s about to burst for a lot of people.
The U.S. is 16 trilllllllion dollars in debt! And it’s not going to go away all by itself. We have had a bad debt addiction for to long and it’s coming home to roost. The economy is not going to just turn itself around without a complete change in the way we do things.  Europe has the same problem. They are hopelessly addicted to socialism which is another form of spend now pay later. Well later has come home to visit them and he wants his rent.
Yesterday I got a phone call about someone who lived with us about 8 years ago. He ran up a credit card then decided not to pay it. 8 years later we are still getting regular calls trying to locate him. I think he thought if he closed his eyes long enough they would go away.
There are consequences for our every action. We must take responsibility for our debt addiction and begin to practice living within our means. Cut the credit card in half. Don’t spend more money than you have. It’s as simple as that.

The Italian Aria

Recently I listened to an Italian aria and sensed the pure emotion of it all. 
At one point I was driven to worship God as expressions of thankfulness to Him welled up inside of me.   So, I questioned …Where did that come from?    Where there is great injustice, suffering, extreme poverty, anguish of spirit, tremendous sorrow or grieving, overwhelming emotion, God is close by.  His Holy Spirit is hovering, waiting for a heart that out of brokeness is turning to Him.  On the streets of skid row the presence of evil is tangible, life is on the edge, but the Holy Spirit is also near.  Waiting for a hurting person to cry out to God.  Romans 10:14 comes to mind.
  “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed ? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have not heard ? And how will they hear without someone preaching ? And how are they to preach unless they are sent ?”
For that brief moment in history I am sent. For that man I met sitting on the curb at main and Cordova st. He sorely needed the nourishment in the stew he was eating from the Salvation Army truck. He was a shadow of a man, gaunt and ravaged from disease and drugs sitting in squallor and filth. I challenged him to repent and die like a man rather than like a gutter rat. He started to justify himself and say that he didn’t do drugs.  I ignored his feeble lies and invited him to join us in the Salvation Army  prayer circle that started about 15 feet away from him. I turned and joined them and much to my amazement he came and stood beside me. As they prayed a deep sense of God’s presence overwhelmed me. Lord, could I make a difference in this hell hole.  I couldn’t hold back the tears as I prayed in the spirit.  Once again Rom. 10:14
Came to mind.
We are the hands and feet of Christ in desperate situations. If Jesus were here  he would go to where people are hurting. Our human nature is to go the other way, then wonder where God is. He’s hidden himself where extreme emotion abounds. 

Getting saved

It’s very important why you get saved. Let me explain. 
When you get saved because your life is difficult and you want Jesus to make life go smoother, guess what? Persecution is no fun at all. And if you signed up to escape trouble, when it comes, your faith will falter.
Coming to Jesus because He offers peace is a bit like getting married for sex. Sex is a wonderful gift from your spouse but really should not be the primary reason for getting married. I’m always leery when someone uses God’s peace as the main carrot to attract them to salvation.  With Jesus, an individual’s sin is always the main concern.   The salvation He offered was always tied to repentance and then trust.  Sometimes it was simply “follow me,” implying “leave what you are now doing (change or repent of it) and follow me.” 
If repentance is not somehow at the core, it won’t stick. Salvation based on your needs, other than to humble yourself and repent, is using God as a divine Santa Claus. Yes he gives us gifts but only in response to us turning to Him, not when we seek the gift before God.  We must be very careful not to offer cheap entry to a costly gospel.
  That reminds me…  When we tell people to accept Jesus as their personal savior, it puts it on God to prove that He’s worthy of our acceptance. He should be so lucky that we have checked Him out and reluctantly take Him on as our little god. This is thinly disquised post modern trash. 
   This is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings we’re talking about here. Actually it’s us that’s fortunate enough that He would even consider condescending to our low estate.  They have no idea about the magnitude of His being, and how incredible it is what He has done for us. If they truly understood they would instantly repent.  
It’s up to us to inform them!

National debt

When the economy slows down what do you do? Well you tighten your belt, watch your spending, try to be out of debt, you know, common sense stuff.   What does the government do? They blow money on make work projects in hope that everyone else will be tricked into loosening their belts too. Problem is we’re not stupid.  It’s called Keynesian economics and it doesn’t work. It didn’t work with QE1, it didn’t work with QE2 and you can bet your boots it’s not going to work with QE3.
If you recall, on Obama’s inauguration day the U.S. debt was $10.6 trillion. Obama has added $5.33 trillion in new debt in under four years. It’s now just shy of $16 trillion!!!  Remember what he said about President Bush adding $4 trillion in new debt over an eight-year period. In one of his campaign speeches he said Bush’s debt record was “irresponsible, unpatriotic”. But we looove to hate Bush don’t we.
Obama has been spending money like a drunken sailor. Right out of control. This is money he doesn’t have so where’s it coming from? Debt! He’s enslaving the next generation in crushing debt. So much so that short of a miracle there is virtually no hope of ever recovering from it. So he soldiers on in right Keynesian fashion blowing more money on QE3 and horror of horrors Obamacare!  Anyone who thinks universal health care is a good thing needs to sit in the emergency waiting room in a Vancouver area hospital. A 4 hour wait is fairly normal.
Probably the best case against Keynesian economics going as QE3 looms is the mess it has created in the U.S. economy. I’m really glad our prime minister just gave it lip service. After all he was an economist, not a lawyer.