Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Best Church Choir in America' on Christmas Eve


Atlanta West Pentecostal Church Choir performs "Hallelujah Choir"

Merry Christmas ... enjoy!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Best Friend



I heard a message on joy Sunday. It was an excellent message given by Saddleback Church's Rick Warren, titled "Radical Joy," which is Part 3 of the series, Radicalis: Developing Spiritual Roots.

There was only one problem ... I didn't come away joyful ... or at least I thought I didn't. You see, my true joy has been in Jesus for the last 11 years. By His grace, after praying to accept the Lord, my life has radically changed. So, you would think I would know better than to be bummed out after Sunday's service, catching myself thinking about family "issues" that often seem to sprout around Christmas.

Nevermind that Warren produced a "Saddleback Spa" type setting, replacing the pulpit with falling snow flakes in a beautiful forested setting shown in a looping video on a large screen TV behind him. Warren, who was joined by his associate pastor, worship leader and a virtuoso guitarist, and seated on comfy leather chairs, purposefully wanted his audience to relax ... and get joyful.

I knew I was in the right place at the right time Sunday ... so, it wasn't a question of wanting to be elswhere. I just found myself asking, "Where's the joy?"

Later, I went about my business, meeting with my parents for breakfast, and having an okay day ... but, I prayed a lot. Yah, sure, I intellectually know that my true joy is in the Lord, but I don't always feel joy. I was doin' a bit of the Christmas blues dance Sunday.

It wasn't until Monday morning that my spirit was really uplifted. I read from one of my daily devotionals ... and although everything certainly is not right with the world, I can again feel the joy we all so desperately want to feel. Like Warren said Sunday, "I've got news for you, life isn't fair, but there is one who can bring you joy no matter what. That one is Jesus."

Sometimes, I might add, joy comes in a simple message.

Here's the devotion that I read this morning in Charles F. Stanley's God's Way, Day by Day:

Our Best Friend

No longer do I call you servants, ... but I have called you friends. -- John 15:15

"All who call Jesus Savior and Lord are invited to be His friend.

What kind of friend is Jesus? He is the best friend you will ever have. He does for us what no one else can do, He helps us in ways no one else can help us, and He loves us as no one else can ever love us.

We may have difficulty seeing Jesus as our Friend, but Jesus doesn't have any difficulty seeing us that way."


Can I hear an "Amen"?

Merry Christmas!

--Alexander

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas In A Nutshell




From Worship House Media:

Admit it, you've given some terrible gifts. There's someone who has never given a bad gift, though—GOD! For Christmas, however, He gave us something no one could've imagined. This video illustrates the miracle of Christmas in a fun and poignant way.

Monday, November 30, 2009

JMC LIVE: Slaves, foodstamps, and marriage


"JMC LIVE" is the husband and wife team of Jeremy and Miranda Caverley. They bring to you the hot topics that affect all of us from a biblical perspective.

JMC LIVE show for Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009, at 8 pm EST



Tomorrow's subjects include slave labor in America, the current increase of food stamps usage, and Ohio's dismissal of an arranged marriage of a former Muslim.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Church: Let's Get Honest About Social Media!


New friend Jay Kranda posted this video recently and I want to help him out! What kind of job is the church doing with social media? How much emphasis should we put in learning about stuff like let's say Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube? And if we already know how to use these social media sites, how much time should we spend using them? And for what?



You can also vote in the poll, "What grade is the church getting in the usage of Social Media?" posted in Jay's The Church & Social Media? post. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Encouragment: put on the whole armor


You are overwhelmed. You realize you are behind schedule. You are past deadline. Your assignment was due yesterday.

You wake up in the morning and already feel like you are barely treading water.

Then you remember... go to God. He is our King. He is the one. He is Jesus. Start with Him.

So, you go to His word. You grab the Bible and realize you've been given the tools. You've been given the armor ... you are encouraged once again ... and it's time to attack the day!

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. -- Ephesians 6:11-13




Tuesday, September 29, 2009

David Crowder Band - Here is our King


Thank you, Big Daddy Jesus Freak, over at Tangle.com for posting this on your page. Your music video selection made my morning!



Need to get your message out? Visit Outreach New Media ... we'll help you soar!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Way To a Balanced Life


For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light. -- Proverbs 6:23

I don't like struggle. Yet, I find myself struggling much more than I think is fair. However, this week I found an antidote to struggle ... getting into the Word!

Charles Stanley makes it so clear in one of his devotions from God's Way this week:

Time With the Word

If you want to know what the Holy Spirit thinks about something, read the Bible. The Scripture is His thoughts on paper. It doesn't get any clearer than that. You and I are not left to discern the mind of the Spirit through the presence or absence of peace and the voice of conscience alone. We have His thoughts written on paper!

The most balanced Christians I know are those who spend time in God's Word on a daily basis. The most unbalanced Christians I know are those who do not. It is that simple.

__________


Internationally-acclaimed author and preacher Charles Stanley adds to his impressive legacy with a year's worth of devotionals drawn from his previous writings including best-sellers Success God's Way, Seeking His Face, and Enter His Gates. This best-selling devotional is loaded with life-changing thoughts and beautiful four-color illustrations. Divided into twelve months but not dated for a specific year, this book promises to become a perennial favorite. - Amazon.com

Get a copy of God's Way Day by Day now!



Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where's Your Focus?


Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. - Ephesians 5:17 (Msg)


Are you looking for a vision for your life? I am. I've taken this summer to try and really focus on what God would have me do with my life.

Earlier in the summer, I took a couple of days retreat in the mountains ... and despite being teased about eating at a restaurant a couple times and not really "communing with nature" it was nevertheless an attempt at trying to get direction from God.

Also, this summer, I've had a 40-day focus on trying to discover my purpose. I combined reading Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life again, Bible reading, note-taking, and prayer.

Do I have a vision or goal for my life right now? Well, in some aspects I do, in others I don't. However, these things are true ... my joy is in the Lord, and my focus on Him directly relates to how well I am able to see Him working around me and even through me.

Please know that I'm still looking for answers. My words here are for me as much as they are for you. It's not about preaching!

Warren writes:

There is nothing quite as potent as a focused life, one lived on purpose. The men and women who have made the greatest difference in history were the most focused. For instance, the apostle Paul almost single-handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. His secret was a focused life. He said, "I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." - Philippians 3:13 (NLT)


Are you still looking for direction? My prayer is that your focus on God is more intense than its ever been. Your growth in the Lord depends on it!

_______________

Alex Murashko, the founder of Outreach New Media, has been helping people get their message out for more than 16 years.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fear Not, For I Am With You Always


"This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" - Psalm 118:24

From Fear Not Promise Book by Max Lucado

"This is the day" includes every day. Divorce days, final-exam days, surgery days, tax days. Sending-your-firstborn-off-to-college days.

God made this day, ordained this hard hour, designed the details of this wrenching moment. He isn’t on holiday. He still holds the conductor’s baton, sits in the cockpit, and occupies the universe’s only throne. Each day emerges from God’s drawing room. Including this one.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Since when did praying in Jesus' name become a legality issue?


Jesus is not an illegal word, the Bible is not a banned book, and evangelistic speech is not a crime. - Gordon James Klingenschmitt

Later today, people will be gathered on the steps of Lodi's city hall and praying. Another group of people will apparently be cursing the effort to keep the option of saying "Jesus" during this Northern California city council invocations.

Is it a big deal?

Well, like a good pastor friend of mine said, "I will be praying in Jesus name regardless." Regardless if this country squelches all expressions of faith. Regardless if one faces the threat of a potential lawsuit...or arrest...or prison time...he and I and others will still be praying in Jesus name.

It just seems very said that in a country whose people once boasted about their First Amendment rights, quietly, without much battle from many, saying "Jesus" in the public square has met so much intolerance.




Below is "Chaps" prayer and petition. You can sign by going here.

A PRAYER TO ALMIGHTY GOD,
and
A PETITION TO MAYOR OF LODI, CALIFORNIA, LARRY D. HANSEN,
and COUNCILMEMBERS MOUNCE, HITCHCOCK, JOHNSON, KATZAKIAN:


Dear Mayor and Councilmembers:

We the undersigned, respectfully petition you to defend religious freedom by allowing visiting pastors

of all diverse faiths and denominations, to pray aloud publicly according to the dictates of their own conscience,

at or before city council meetings, even if they dare to pray aloud publicly "in Jesus name" or invoke their own specific deity.

Please do not cave-in to atheist intimidation by the enemies of religious liberty, including

Americans United and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who are threatening to sue to silence all prayers.

Please conform your decision to First Amendment precedent which allows Jesus prayers among other rotating diverse prayers,

as already decided in the 7th Circuit (Hinrichs v. Bosma) and 11th Circuit (Pelphrey v. Cobb County)

and by the Supreme Court of the United States in two decisions: Marsh v. Chambers and Lee v. Weisman.

Jesus is not an illegal word, the Bible is not a banned book, and evangelistic speech is not a crime.

Please simply adopt a policy similar to Tulsa City Council, and declare the prayers are private speech, not government speech,

or allow the prayers to be said aloud during optionally attended time, just before the first government business is gaveled to order.

Please allow pro-bono Christian lawyers, from the Alliance Defense Fund or others, to defend your pro-Jesus prayer policy in court.

We pray to God you will stand with us by taking a courageous stand for liberty, in Jesus' name. Amen."

Sign petition.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let this be a prayer for you and me


May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock! -- Charles Spurgeon, Morning & Evening devotional guide.


Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional book has been very impactful for me these last few weeks. If you are looking for encouragement and strength through Jesus, I highly recommend this book.

Here is an excerpt from the July 11 morning devotion. It has been my prayer this last couple of days. Let it be yours as well!

First, the verse:

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. - 1 Peter 5:10

...May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock! May your faith be no "baseless fabric of a vision," but may it be builded of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite. May you be rooted and grounded in love. May your convictions be deep, your love real, your desires earnest. May your whole life be so settled and established, that all the blasts of hell, and all the storms of earth shall never be able to remove you... (more)


Monday, June 1, 2009

Outreach New Media is Here!


Make Your Message Known!

Getting your message out there is no longer about just contacting a few local newspapers and hoping for some publicity. Media surrounds us in all forms. News sites, blogs, social networks, and other Internet-based forms have made public and media relations a new kind of business.

Outreach New Media is here to help get your business, or event, or ministry, out into the world. Whether it be a local barbecue or a global movement, we can provide the message and the means to make your message known!

Contact us today!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A home Bible study with parking problems...or something else?


Thanks to a tip from a friend this morning I was able to get on top of a story first published on the WorldNetDaily.com site.

A legal rights group is reporting that a San Diego pastor and his wife were interrogated by a county official and warned they will face escalating fines if they continue to hold Bible studies in their home....FULL STORY

This might be something we all need to keep an eye on.

You'll find my story as the LA Church & State Examiner here: San Diego official says home bible study needs permit

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why should Christians imitate Christ?


A few months ago, I started reading Charles H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening daily devotional and if I could sum up the book in one word I would say, "encouragement."

Reading the devotions is a great way to help me make sure I stay focused on the Lord both day and night. If I'm faithful to my effort, I read the devotions for the day as the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night.

It has been one of the most encouraging books I have ever read. Rather than trying to par down today's morning devotion and give my two cents, I've cut and paste the entire devotion. It's just too good to mess with!

Here is this morning's verse and devotion by Charles H. Spurgeon:

"So to walk even as He walked." — 1 John 2:6

HY should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be in a healthy state of soul—if they would escape the sickness of sin, and enjoy the vigour of growing grace, let Jesus be their model. For their own happiness' sake, if they would drink wine on the lees, well refined; if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus; if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as He walked. There is nothing which can so assist you to walk towards heaven with good speed, as wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its motions.

It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in His very footsteps, that you are most happy, and most known to be the sons of God. Peter afar off is both unsafe and uneasy. Next, for religion's sake, strive to be like Jesus. Ah! poor religion, thou hast been sorely shot at by cruel foes, but thou hast not been wounded one-half so dangerously by thy foes as by thy friends. Who made those wounds in the fair hand of Godliness? The professor who used the dagger of hypocrisy. The man who with pretences, enters the fold, being nought but a wolf in sheep's clothing, worries the flock more than the lion outside. There is no weapon half so deadly as a Judas-kiss. Inconsistent professors injure the gospel more than the sneering critic or the infidel. But, especially for Christ's own sake, imitate His example. Christian, lovest thou thy Saviour?

Is His name precious to thee? Is His cause dear to thee? Wouldst thou see the kingdoms of the world become His? Is it thy desire that He should be glorified? Art thou longing that souls should be won to Him? If so, imitate Jesus; be an "epistle of Christ, known and read of all men."

_______________

Want to help support Alexander's media missions work? Simply click on to his articles at LA Church & State Examiner. Each individual click means a small contribution. There are no commitments, attachments, or spam associated with the link visits. Any questions can be sent to alexander(at)outreachnewmedia.com. Thank you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Dawn Communites video on Tangle




_______________

Want to help support Alexander's media missions work? Simply click on to his articles at LA Church & State Examiner. Each individual click means a small contribution. There are no commitments, attachments, or spam associated with the link visits. Any questions can be sent to alexander(at)outreachnewmedia.com. Thank you!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

President Washington went public with prayer




The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America's leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible. - National Day of Prayer Task Force

While President Barack Obama plans to commemorate the National Day of Prayer with private prayer and a public reading of the proclamation for the day, one president didn't mince words when it came to the need for prayer... - Washington went public with prayer

Posted using ShareThis

Note: In recognition of the choice for this year's theme, PRAYER...AMERICA'S HOPE, I want to thank the National Day of Prayer Task Force in strongly, yet subtly, showing how important it is to understand where HOPE should be placed. - Alexander

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Christian teen wins case against faith-bashing teacher


Before giving you a link to read about Chad Farnan (David) receiving an unprecedented ruling from the Court (Goliath), I want to say thanks for following me around even though I'm all over the place (speaking of the Web, not my mind! ;) )

Speaking of which you can follow me at Twitter at http://twitter.com/ScroogeReport.

Now to this breaking news, which I believe I broke first thanks to a reader!

The 'Jesus Glasses' Case


Orange County high school student, Chad Farnan, has won a lawsuit in which the court ruled Friday against a teacher who was shown to often use his classroom to attack Christian thought.

In the Farnan v. Capistrano Unified School District case, Farnan, a sophomore at Capistrano Valley High School at the time, stated that his Advanced Placement European History teacher, Dr. James Corbett spends a good portion of each lecture attacking Christianity and other religions.

Farnan, who said he often prayed for his teacher, taped a lecture by Corbett in which he stated that "when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth."

Please read the rest of the story, you guessed it, by clicking on here: OC student wins case against Christian-bashing teacher. By doing so, you are helping to rain down pennies from heaven!

Now, pardon me while I read John 11:45-48, verses a friend of mine said he was going to use for his youth Bible study as a result of reading the above story. Get back with you later on these verses!



ADD: Chad in his own words, and more of those Corbett-isms in this video.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Your invitation to live stream from Rock Church San Diego


You're invited! Miss USA runner-up to share today's Sunday message, live stream and archived - http://tinyurl.com/djrd7s



Pastor Miles from Rock Church talks a bit about the upcoming Sunday service with Carrie Prejean


Monday, April 20, 2009

LA Church & State Examiner: USA Beauty Pageant Officials, Media Intolerant of Traditional Marriage View


Even before openly gay blogger and Miss USA judge, Perez Hilton, confessed that beauty pageant contestant, Carrie Prejean, lost a chance at the crown because of "the way Miss California answered her question," on gay marriage, the sharks were circling.

Full story at LA Church & State Examiner

Posted using ShareThis

Desperately Seeking Susan (Boyle)


We are all desperately seeking a "Susan Boyle moment."


If you are not one of those at least 50 million people who have seen the original clip of Susan turning a Britain's Got Talent judges panel and crowd from smirking fools to joy-filled, sobbing Boyle believers, here's the link.

However, the point I'd like to make is seen in the second video... The Jimmy Fallon video. Unfortunately, there is no copying allowed either from YouTube or Fallon's blog. So, I've included the link. If you've seen the Susan Boyle moment already, then you'll be up to speed before watching Fallon's piece.

How desperate are we to find inspiration? Well, one indicator is the number of online views Susan is getting...it's one of those record-breaking viral things that I think is still going strong.

The whole phenomena is a case study in the human condition...desperate for a Susan Boyle moment. Not good or bad, just always wanting to fill a need. In this case, the need for inspiration.

Jimmy Fallon: Susan Boyle Makes Everything Better

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

LA Church & State Examiner: Christian college club exists on campus 'unofficially'


LONG BEACH – An on-campus Christian club at California State University Long Beach is vowing to continue its Bible-based ministry despite losing a federal lawsuit accusing campus officials of violating its constitutional rights by denying the group official status.

Full Story at LA Church & State Examiner

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Together in Prayer




Nearly filling the outfield grass, worshippers from several South Orange County Churches came to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at the second Easter Together at Richard T. Steed Memorial Park in San Clemente Sunday.

As the sun rose over the nearby hills as if on cue, the first of two services began with songs and a short testimony by Cornerstone Community Church member, Darryl McFann. He explained how at an Easter service 11 years ago, his life began to transform.

"I couldn’t tell you one word that the pastor had said that day," McFann said. "But, I could tell you that I immediately understood that there was a void and it was being filled. I had a heart transplant. That’s how I feel about it."

South Orange County pastors took turns giving the message of the love and healing power available in Jesus. Seven local Orange County churches hosted the event.

Photo (Jeff LaHatt): Pastors pray during Easter Together at Richard T. Steed Memorial Park in San Clemente. (L to R) Roger Gales of Heritage Christian Fellowship, SC; Ron Sukut of Cornerstone Community Church, SC; Kelly Fellows of South County Church, MV; Chris Gleason of Living Hope Christian Fellowship, SC; Boogie Rose of Branches, SJC.

_______________

Outreach New Media - Public, Media, & Social Network Relations
Email: alexander@outreachnewmedia.com

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Newsweek's Tweaking of America


"The End of Christian America?"



Writer Jon Meacham and Newsweek play a little premature smash-mouth with Christians, fueled by an erroneously interpreted survey. Be sure to catch The Scrooge Report story: Newsweek Misuses Poll, Flies ‘The End of Christian America’ Banner.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Outreach New Media and Easter


Must be spring! I'm launching a new business, Outreach New Media, and wanted to let you know that we will be providing public, media, and social network relations services.

I look forward to serving you in whatever type of business and/or ministry you are involved with.

In doing research for this project I ran across "Communicate Jesus - insights and inspirations to maximize your ministry."

The site's latest blog post, 108 Easter books for $1 each, is a good example of how timely and informative Communicate Jesus can be.



While we are on the subject of Easter, Outreach New Media has connected an event hosted by seven South Orange County churches to not only many traditional media outlets, but social networking sites as well. Easter Together can be found on its own website here and the following social network sites (click name):

Digg
StumbleUpon
Facebook

More to come...

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cry Out To Jesus


To all of the people with all the burdens and pains....

....there is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken hearts...

--Third Day

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

For Such a Time as This




CNN reports that the Baptist minister who was fatally shot Sunday as he led services at a church in suburban Saint Louis, Missouri, was carrying out work he believed in fervently, a church official said Monday.

"I believe that he would want us to know that he died doing exactly what he believed passionately about," Worship and Music Pastor Mark Jones told reporters outside First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, about Pastor Fred Winters, who was killed the day before...

Investigators have charged Terry J. Sedlacek, 27, with first-degree murder in the killing.

Sedlacek was further charged with two counts of aggravated battery related to the stabbing of parishioners Terry Bullard and Keith Melton. full story

Photo: A sign posted by a neighbor pressing for prayer in a subdivision where Terry J. Sedlacek lived is seen in Troy, Ill., Monday, March 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dear President, please listen as you promised!


Dear President Obama:

During your victory speech on that historic night of your election you said you "especially welcome" hearing opposing views. Well, now is the time to really listen!

We've been praying for you and will continue to pray for you. We pray for your strength, for your family, and for you to have Godly wisdom.

Please seek God's face and heart regarding abortion. It's one area where you simply have it wrong. You've got to please God, not man. Killing babies for convenience is wrong.

So, please don't rescind the "conscience rule" and make doctors & nurses choose between their jobs and abortion. It is morally wrong for the federal government to force a doctor, nurse or other health care professional to participate in abortion - which stops a heartbeat and kills an innocent human life. We urge you not to rescind the "conscience rule."

Thank you for your good efforts. We wish you success and will continue to pray for you and your family!

May the Lord bless you,
Alexander

_______________

Note: To send an email to President Obama go to the American Family Association's page which is set up to do so on this very issue!

American Family Association: Obama seeks to take away religious rights of doctors and health care providers who refuse to perform abortions. Urgent: send your e-mail to the White House today!
_______________

Read about The Red Envelope Project

The Red Envelope Project

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Better Education: It's Not About Government




I'm tired of hearing about it. The government saying we need better education in this country. We need to provide 21st century education to our kids in a changing world. We need to fund programs to make our schools high tech...all the buzz phrases and talking points...and yada yada yada!

No we don't. We have classrooms. We have teachers. But we need this kind of teacher...the one seen in the video above. One teacher at a time, one classroom at a time, we can rock this world. What makes this teacher so special? Her faith in Jesus Christ.

She has tapped into the transformational power of Jesus...and it has worked in her own life and now she is planting the seed in her students' lives.

This is must-see video!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Accountable To No One?


Economic Recovery, Step 2: 'We came to believe...'

Third in a series.

Sure we live in a great country! But is the U.S. itself our divine power? Can we believe so much in the good ol' US of A that by simply relying on our country for our happiness we can rest with contentment?

What about our patriotism? Our resolve? Our American "spirit"? All those things which some people point to in the time of our economic distress...not only point to, but name as our "solution." Can we rest in those things?

Well, here's a news flash: relying on ourselves can only get us so far. A bailout can only get us so far. A stimulus package can only get us so far. An inspirational "state of the economy" speech can only get us so far.

What can stop this season of insanity?

Let's continue our journey in the Life Recovery Bible.

Step Two:


We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


Using the Life Recovery Bible notes and the devotion titled, "Grandiose Thinking," let me substitute some of the words with economic terminology to stay on topic.

When we are caught up in our materialism, our greed, and wrong financial decisions, it's common for us to deny the truth about our economic situation with grandiose thinking.

We may believe that we, and the U.S., are above it all, a god unto ourselves, accountable to no one.


The devotion continues:

In his day, Nebuchadnezzar, king of ancient Babylon, was the most powerful ruler on earth. He believed he was a god and demanded to be worshiped. Through Daniel, God said to him, "This is...what the Most High has declared will happen to you. You will be driven from human society, and you will live in the fields with the wild animals...until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses" (Daniel 4:24-25)

This happened just as Daniel had predicted. At the end of the king's time in exile, he said, "I...looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever....When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom...with even greater honor than before.

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble those who are proud" (Daniel 4:34, 36-37).


Let me take some more literary license with the devotion's conclusion:

America is not God; we are accountable to God -- a higher power. This higher power can remedy our economic madness and restore our life to be even better than it was before our season of "insanity." God will do so if we entrust our lives to him...and that includes entrusting everything, including our finances.

I don't know God's plan in all of this. I don't know how long this season of economic insanity will last. However, I do know that He is in control and His will, not our will be done.

I believe it's time to believe in Him!

--Alexander
_______________
1) Economic Recovery, Step 1: ‘We admitted…’

2) Economic Recovery: Change Our Destiny

3) Accountable To No One? Economic Recovery, Step 2: 'We came to believe...'
_______________

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Economic Recovery: Change Our Destiny


In recovery terms it's known as "hitting bottom." That moment in life where you awaken to the fact that you've hit such a low point, such despair, that be it personal tragedy through addiction of any sorts, an emotional low like you've never felt before, or mistakes or errors in judgment that led you to bankruptcy, incarceration, or sickness, that you are ready to make a change.

Economic Recovery: Second in a series.


Hitting bottom just may mean it's time to climb out of that hole.

Looking back, I was helped out of that hole by none other than God. However, there were steps, and one of those included attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Then, four years later, accepting Jesus Christ as my savior.

Recently, I began to think about our economic crisis and recovery. Can we apply the principals of a Biblical recovery program to our financial hardships -- individually and as a nation?

I wrote about Step One here and I want to focus on the step a bit more.

We admitted that we were powerless over our dependencies–that our life had become unmanageable.

The Life Recovery Bible states in one of its Step One devotionals:

There are important moments in life that can change our destiny. These are often times when we are confronted with how powerless we are over the events of our life. These moments can either destroy us or forever set the course of our life in a much better direction.

The devotional continues:

Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul) had such a moment. After Jesus' ascension, Saul took it upon himself to rid the world of Christians. As he headed to Damascus on this mission, "a brilliant light from heaven suddenly beamed down upon him! He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?...I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.'...As Saul picked himself up off the ground, he found that he was blind. So his companions led him by the hand to Damascus. He remained blind for three days. And all that time he went without food and water" (Acts 9:3-6, 8-9).

Saul was suddenly confronted with the fact that his life wasn't perfect as he had thought. Self-righteousness had been his trademark. By letting go of his illusions of power, however, he became one of the most powerful men ever--the apostle Paul.

When we are confronted with the knowledge that our life isn't under our control, we have a choice. We can continue in denial and self-righteousness, or we can face the fact that we have been blind to some important issues. If we become willing to be led into recovery and into a whole new way of life, we will find true power.


Economically speaking -- aren't we confronted with the fact that the U.S. isn't perfect? Can the U.S. continue in denial and self-righteousness? Or should we face the fact that we have been blind to some important issues?

Yes, there are some important moments in life that can change our destiny -- individually and as a country. Some of us might believe we have not hit bottom. Others don't want to find out if we have or not. They want to change now.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God...
--Psalm 146:5

Economic recovery? My hope is in the Lord!
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Economic Recovery, Step 1: ‘We admitted…’


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Twelve-step devotions run along side many of the pages of the Life Recovery Bible, New Living Translation. When I was first reading this version of the Bible with its side notes, I had a total awakening. I view this Bible as the power of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous mulitplied by 1,000 times! You can get a copy here!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Top Five


I've featured Friday Top Five at "TheScroogeReport" twice so far and wanted to import my third list here today.

Through Peter P's "Rediscovering the Church" blog I found Kevin Martineau's "Friday Top Five - What where your favorite posts from last week?" This "Shooting the Breeze" feature is one you can join as well. You'll be able to link up your Friday Top Five in his.



In no particular order:

1. "The key thought for this series is going to be this: a lie believed as truth will affect you as if it were true." -- Shooting the Breeze: The Lies We Believe

2. "The presence of Christ in you makes all that He is available to others." -- Blackaby: devotional series, Experiencing God Day by Day, You Are Salt (Feb. 20, 2009)

3. "Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself." -- Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?

4. "The Bible is the oldest collection of wisdom...the church's stimulus package." -- Baptist Press: Financial turmoil can yield revival, Johnny Hunt says

5. "People involved in top-quality relationships do not seek happiness. Instead, they seek growth. Growth, in turn, creates happiness." -- Cloud-Townsend: The Relationships Channel

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Note To Self


I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. -- Philippians 3:13

Did you know that the first seven chapters of Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life can be found online for free? I went to the site today in order to bolster my comments at BlogCatalog regarding "religion" and happiness. I put religion in quotes because it's often such a point of contention in regards to its definition.

My point is that salvation is not about religion. And unless you are concerned about where you will spend eternity and what kind of life you are leading here on earth, you might just care less about how much more important establishing faith in Christ is than religion. One more reason to care...you might be in just enough pain to surrender.

Back to my "note to self." So, as I was browsing those first few chapters I found Philippians 3:13 within the text. What a blessing! I'm not in the best sorts right now. I'm physically and emotionally spent. However, my joy remains in Christ and this little verse was a definite pick-me-up.

Prune and focus...my "mantra" in the coming days. I want more of Him and less of me!

Amen?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What are your priorities?


A friend of mine who doesn't spam me at all and sends only must-read emails sent me one I've filed for about two weeks now...it's on time management.

Go figure. I haven't read it yet.

Shuffling priorities has become increasingly difficult in this multi-task world. I heard on the radio last night that talking on your cell phone, hands-free or not, while driving has the equivalent effect as driving intoxicated.

Blogging can add another layer of tasks that can get out of hand. Priorities can fall by the way side...simply by blogging for what was supposed to be 15 minutes and turning into an hour or so.

Although my focus in posting has been mainly in my WordPress blog, TheScroogeReport, I am still drawn here. And by here, I mean focused on God's word...learning, praying, meditating, on what brings hope, comfort, and strength.

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. -- Psalm 9:10

What are your priorities?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

To run or not to run?


The story goes that NBC initially accepted this ad for Super Bowl XLIII, then declined. This is powerful...stay tuned!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Surviving the Unemployment Storm


Many of us are looking for work now. The layoff numbers are staggering. These are tough times. Who knows how long the storm of unemployment will last?

Lately, a thought keeps popping up in my head, and that is to place a priority on seeking God's kingdom first and all else will fall into place. The thought is similar to what Matthew 6:33 reads: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

It's easy to put a priority on making that cup of coffee first, and sitting at the computer first, perusing job openings...first. However, I can't escape the fact that putting God first, praying first, reading the Bible first, just might help pave the way. Doing so has helped me before and will do so again.

It may take forcing myself to remember. It may be like forcing myself to exercise. I've been told that we should exercise our "spiritual muscle." That loving and following God isn't always easy. But, today I want to put God first. Today, I read the devotional by Blackaby below first. Let us commit to putting God first!

This from Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God Day by Day:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. -- John 8:32

God’s truth never restricts you; it always sets you free! Are you discouraged? Is there a sense of in a particular area of your life? A lack of victory over a certain sin? A harmful addiction? It is possible that you do not yet understand a truth about God that can release you.

If you feel powerless to meet the challenges before you, take encouragement from the promise of Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If you are defeated by circumstance, hold on to the truth of Romans 8:28 that God can work your most difficult situation into His good. If you are enslaved to a particular sin, work the truth of 1 John 1:9 into your life, which promises that if you confess your sin, God is faithful to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. All of these truths await the Holy Spirit’s implementation into your life.

It is one thing to know about the truth. It is yet another thing to experience the truth of God being worked out in your life. God’s truth will have no effect upon you unless you accept it and believe it. Perhaps you have already read and heard accounts of God working mightily in the lives of others. But have you allowed God to implement those truths into your life? What truth about God would you like to be experiencing in your life? Ask Him to implement that truth into your life today.

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"Experiencing God Day-By-Day" is based on Henry Blackaby’s multi-million selling "Experiencing God" book and Bible study. Find insight and grace in this 365-day devotional focused on the divine presence in each life and around us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

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