Sunday, September 30, 2007

God's Not Mad At You!

God is not mad at you.

What thoughts come into your mind when you hear these words? You may say, "I know that He is not mad at me". But do you really believe that?

Do you truly believe that God is not angry with you?Do you believe that God loves you no matter what you do or what you say?

If we were to be brutally honest with ourselves, many Christians and even unbelievers think that God is mad at them.Why?Because the Church has made them believe this. How has it happened? It has happened by the way the Church presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let me explain. Some time back there was a young man by the name of Matthew Shepherd. This young man was murdered simply because he was gay. At the trial of the two murders, there was a so-called "preacher" there carrying signs that stated, "God hates fags." The news media was drawn to this man and interviewed him several times. When the so-called preacher spoke, he was angry and stated that God hates the homosexual.

I know what the Bible says about sexual sin, but this does not mean that God hates or is mad at anyone!

Does God judge sin -YES! Is he mad at or does he hate you - NO!

God does not hate you, nor is He mad at you any more than you hate your children because you have to discipline them. God is not some old man in heaven who is "ticked off" at you, waiting for you to mess up so He can hit you in the head with His Louisville Slugger baseball bat.
St. Paul states in II Corinthians 5 that God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself not counting men's sins against them but giving them the word of reconciliation.What does all this mean?It means Good News.

This is the Gospel.

When Jesus came into this world and began to preach, He was telling us that God wanted to have a relationship with us. He even called God "Father," something which was not done during that time. In fact, the Jewish people would not even mention the name of God because it was so holy. But Jesus says He wants reconciliation. For this to happen Jesus had to shed his own blood and become the perfect and last sacrifice for the sins of man. In so doing, Jesus provided a way that man and God could be reconciled.

Let me ask you a question.Do you believe that Jesus would go through all he did during the events that led up to the crucifixion, the crucifixion itself, and His death to be mad at you?
The purpose of these events was to bring man and God back together. If He went through all the pain and suffering only to be mad at us, it would be craziness.

So, hear the Good News today. God is not mad at you. He loves you and has made the way that you can be brought back into right relationship with Him.

Simply ask for His forgiveness and He will forgive you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Real "F" Word - Forgiveness

During the dark days of World War II, there was a family who rose up and tried to make a difference. This family was the Ten Booms.

As the Nazis invaded Holland, bringing terror with them, the Ten Booms began to help the Jewish people. During this time of great persecution, the family began to hide Jews in their home and shuttle them out of the country.Finally, the dreaded day came for the Ten Booms. Nazi officials entered their home and arrested the entire family. As a result of their resistance to this foreign persecution, they were imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp.

Two of the daughters of the family were placed in the same death camp. Despite the death, pain, persecution and torture they witnessed, these two sisters never lost their faith and love for God. Their belief in God was so strong they even began to minister to others in this camp.

But the day finally came that the German officials killed Corrie Ten Boom's sister.

Many years later, Corrie was speaking at a church in Europe. When the service had concluded, a young man began to walk toward the lectern. As Corrie saw this man, a flood of emotions washed over her. All the pain and loss resurfaced. For he was the German soldier who helped to kill Corrie's sister.

As the young man reached the lectern, he asked for Corrie's forgiveness for his actions during the war. This was one of the hardest requests that she had ever had. As she looked at him, she prayed for God's help. This experience could have been her stepping stone or her tombstone.

As we travel on this pilgrimage called life, we are faced with many offenses and wrongs. At some point in your life, you will experience a time to become a stepping stone or a tombstone.

Even today everyone will have a chance to become offended or to forgive. Your husband or wife may have offended you. The simple truth is, offenses will come! How you deal with them becomes our stepping stone to overcoming or our tombstone on the grave of unforgiveness.

As Jesus was teaching on the mount, he gave his disciples instruction on what to do with an offense. Forgive! (Matthew 6:9-15)

But you may say to yourself, "I was offended." Jesus still says to forgive. Jesus' words here are very strong. He stated, "I will forgive you if you forgive others. If you do not forgive others, I will not forgive you."

"How do I forgive?" is the question that now arises. It is simply by the grace of God. God is the only one who can give you the power to forgive. So ask him for His strength.

There are also some practical things that we can do. First, do not curse the offense. Thank God that even in the midst of the offense He will use it for your good.

Second, do not nurse it. Many times when the offense comes our way, we have a pity party. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

Thirdly, do not rehearse it. Usually when we are offended, we will rehearse the events to everyone who listen to us. Yes, you may need to talk to someone about what you have experienced, but do not continue to rehearse it with everyone.

Fourth, disperse it. How? Every day, ask God to take the offense. Ask God for the grace to forgive the one who has offended you. Then pronounce your forgiveness and pray for God's blessings upon the offender.

Fifth, God will reverse it! What was meant for evil against you can be turned around for your good. Jesus simply said to forgive. Call someone or write a letter today and release your forgiveness. Today, you can have a stepping stone or a tombstone. The choice is yours!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Last night I had my introduction to Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries. What a treat. After work on Friday the family loaded up and went to the new Five Guys. The food is great. I had a cheeseburger. I have to say it was probably the best cheeseburger I have had in a restaurant. It was so fresh and moist. The whole experience was great. As we walked into the place we were greeted by friendly associates. Everyone seems happy to be there. Not like some places you go. The place was clean. Man, the fries. They are fresh cut and they taste amazing. On a white marker board it told you where the potatoes were grown that the fries were made from today. We ordered a large fry for the four of us to share. If you've never been there, everything is served in a brown paper bag. So we poured the fries into the bag, tore it open and everyone dug in. There were enough fries for 2 adults and 2 kids with lots left over.

I talked to the owner Chris Calloway and the General Manger (can't remember his name) after we ate. I have to hand it to theses guys (all five - and then some!). They and their staff made my first experience at Five Guys a great one and not the last one.

Keep it up Five Guys!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thinking About This War

I read this today from Seth Godin blog.

This is the first war that's a marketing war.

The New York Police Department just released a report on Jihad and terrorism. [It seems as though the NYPD has taken the document down. Not sure why....Here it is.] It's controversial, particularly among people who haven't read it. I'm going to skip over some of the ethnic generalizations and focus on other parts of the document... I think there are some fascinating implications for marketing in this document, so here's my riff (those who wish I would just write about selling soap should skip to my next post).

How come there are no longer any famous bank robbers?
During the heyday of bank robbery (from Butch Cassidy to John Dillinger), banks were a great option for criminals. After all, that's where the money is.

The FBI realized that they didn't just have a crime problem. They had a marketing problem. Bad guys knew that robbing banks paid. In response, the FBI did a few things. First, they focused on catching every single bank robber. And second, and more important, they built Alcatraz and promoted it like crazy.

Alcatraz marketed a concept. "Bank robbery is a really bad idea." Combine that with some big arrests, marked bills, silent alarms, video cameras and some movies and TV shows and the act of robbing a bank shifted from easy to dumb. There's no doubt that Dick Tracy and the FBI TV series did more to stop bank heists than bullets ever did. The money might have been in the banks, but smart crooks looked elsewhere to commit their crimes.

No ads were purchased, but marketing was done nonetheless. Stop for a minute and think about that. The FBI did this on purpose. They marketed to criminals. They spread an ideavirus.
Some people saw the post 9/11 world as an enforcement problem. With enough guns and wiretaps (along with a modern Alcatraz), the idea was that a similar sort of anti-crime marketing could be effective. Catch every single terrorist and put them in a high profile jail. I don't agree with this perspective. There's still a marketing problem, but it's a different one.
As the NYPD report points out, fundamentalist terrorism is an ideavirus. It spreads (via mass media) but unlike bank robbers, Jihadists and others are far more immune to the idea of law enforcement. In fact, unlike the bank robbery meme, the ideavirus that leads to this behavior is actually enhanced and further spread by traditional enforcement tactics and martyrdom.
The NYPD report frequently mentions the Internet as an enabler and connector, but monitoring and regulating the internet isn't going to be effective in stopping the problem. If the RIAA can't stop file sharing, imagine how difficult it will be to hinder the spread of text online. The medium is far too permeable. If we shut down all media, including the Internet, we could slow the virus, but even that wouldn't stop it--and no one is willing to pay that price.

The best way to counter an ideavirus, any ideavirus, is not by challenging the medium in which it spreads. It didn't stop pirate radio or salacious TV shows or online porn. What has always worked the best is countering one ideavirus with another one. To use the same medium to spread a different, better, more powerful ideavirus. You don't counter racism by making the act of uttering racist statements against the law. You do it by spreading an idea (racism is hateful, wrong and stupid) that keeps the racist from expressing his ideas because all his friends will shun him if he doesn't.

If you want moderate ideas to spread in a community, promote the people who are spreading those ideas. Make them heroes. Amplify their message and help it spread.

Hamas leverages and extends its power in Palestine by providing health care in neighborhoods. That's the message that gets through to the people on the ground. Every action a group (any group) takes tells a story. What's that story? Does it spread? When it spreads, how does that story affect the conversations that people have with each other? If the NYPD is right (and I think their analysis of how this meme spreads is right) then the most important thing our government can do is discuss what sort of ideavirus they are working to spread. And then take action. And spread the right story in the right way.

What's the story? What is the TSA 'saying' in their work at LAX? What is the brave soldier saying as she does her stint in Takrit? What does the NYPD or the school district or the local hospital say as they interact with immigrants in their daily lives?

I guarantee you I don't know the answer. I don't know where we should send troops and how long we should stay there. I don't know who to arrest and what to look for. But I do know this: it's a marketing problem, the most important one we face. By and large, the marketing is being done by people who don't see that we have a marketing problem. Understanding the words and concepts behind the ideavirus is the critical next step in spreading the right message to the people who need to hear it.

I sat in my office six years ago, looking south along the Hudson and watching our world change. I don't think anyone could have predicted then where we'd be now. I'm hopeful that by looking forward, we can market our way to better place. Thousands of brave people have sacrificed for our safety and peace of mind. I'm grateful to them. The next step is to get smart about strategy and marketing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007


New Podcast

Here are the links to 2 new messages from Christ the Deliverer by Fr. Joe Butler.

From the Grandstands

Salty Light

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Walking On Water

There was Jesus, then Peter, and now this this poor guy.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Servant Evangelism Video

Check out the link and watch the video by Steve Sjogren on Servant Evangelism.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Gator Football

Gator Football: Need I say anymore?