"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bites from Buffet

Warren Buffet is arguably the world’s greatest stock investor. But did you know that he is also a bit of a philosopher? He illustrates his investment ideas into simple, yet meaningful sound bites. For example:

Rule #1: “Never Lose Money.”
Rule #2: “Never Forget Rule #1

Now, I appreciate his “humor”, but his rules don’t really govern his personal life. Even though he is a trained “specialist” of the Stock Market, Buffet lost $23 billion in the 2008 financial crisis. Possibly he should go back to the drawing board and reevaluate his top two rules!

But, there is one more rule that he has devised which is “genius.”

It’s far better to buy a Wonderful Company at a Fair Price, than a Fair Company at a Wonderful Price.”

This rule from the “world’s greatest stock investor” points to one basic principle of business: “To make money, you must spend money.” Sure, you might be purchasing a company at an unbelievably low price, but what potential for profit are you purchasing? Stocks carry the same criteria! The price you pay for a stock isn’t necessarily the same value that you are getting, and successful investors know the difference!

How does this business chatter filter into the Christian arena? Well, to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, the “buy-in” price isn’t cheap. Jesus gives HIS price. He said, “…deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) That price carries a significant cost! But remember, that cost will never compare to the value you will receive! After all, Jesus promises his customers that if they pay HIS price, they will receive a “…crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is Your Accelerator "Sticking?"

If you have been watching the news lately, you have probably noticed that the automobile industry is facing another challenge. This time, Toyota, which is arguably the world’s most profitable automobile franchise, is under rapid fire. Due to mechanical malfunctions, the corporation has lost millions. It seems like every dollar which Toyota has made is replaced by costly law suits.

I’m sure the details are much more complicated than the media is making them out to be, but it appears that most of the mechanical malfunctions occur with the accelerators. The accelerators (gas pedals) on some Toyota models “stick”, which prevents the models from stopping. Pictures of Toyotas crashing into buildings, trees, and other cars on the road, illustrate the problem adequately. What a mess!

But have you checked your accelerator lately? No, I’m not talking about the gas pedal in your car! I’m talking about the accelerator between your eyes and chin! Some like to call it the “tongue.” If you aren’t very careful, the “tongue” will stick, and before you know it, it will cause wrecks all over the place!

So let’s follow the advice from the Apostle Paul when he says, “Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4: 6)

Toyota has some serious problems to solve with their accelerators. But if you don’t watch your “accelerator” closely, the problems you create in the church might be unsolvable!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Are You "Nearsighted?"

Recently, a new study conducted by the National Eye Institute showed that the rate of nearsightedness in Americans has increased from 25% in the 1970’s, to 41% in 2009. Expert optometrists told Good Morning America that it could be a result from genetics or poor lighting. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say it is due to America’s obsession to search the Internet and text on cell phones!

But spiritually speaking, nearsightedness is a disease that strangles our society. We focus so intently on the “here and now.” We stare into the stigma of success, which we believe promises luxury, glamour, and wealth. We forget that “Beyond this Land of Parting” pictures an image which far exceeds the images of this world. If we will just look past our fingertips, we will stare into the majesty of our Creator, our Father, our Savior, and our Friend! Did the Hebrew writer suffer from nearsightedness? No, I think he got it right, when he wrote, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:2).

Are you fixing your eyes on Jesus, or are you focusing on the depictions before you? Fix the lighting, logout of the internet, and put down the cell phone! He is waiting for your attention! And I assure you, he will be “A sight for sore eyes!”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Articulate Adversaries

A tough and trying economy challenges many aspects of life. But, there is one heartbreaking factor that always accompanies a bad economy, high unemployment. America is presently witnessing the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. With capable men and women suffering from a lack of income, it’s difficult to know what we should say.

If you are an employer, or if you are a friend of the unemployed, here are five things you should never say, according to BusinessWeek.com:

1) “You have no one to blame but yourself. You just didn’t try hard enough.” (Hold your employees accountable, but don’t slash their integrity and self confidence!)

2) “This is just as hard for me as it is you.” (Without a doubt, it’s always harder to be fired than to fire. Don’t ask an employee who is looking at unemployment to feel your pain)

3) “This is not the right job for you. When you get the right job, you will thank me”. (How will they thank you?)

4) “I know how you feel.” (Unless you have been fired recently, you DON’T know how they feel. And if you have been fired recently, now is NOT the time to share that experience)

5) “You will always be a part of the corporate family.” (This will make the employee think, “Oh, good. Will I still get the newsletter?”)

But even when we look beyond Business America and into the family of God, there are many people who are hurting. As Christians, we have the responsibility to lift them up with words of encouragement. But even though we have great intentions filled with love, we don’t always give the most comforting words. We try to relate to the afflicted in ways which we can’t, and when we can’t, we shouldn’t try. Sometimes, our words can do more harm than good.

So, what should we say to comfort friends and family when we find ourselves at loss for words? I have always found these words effective: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

When we can’t understand, Jesus always can!