I Miss Robin Williams

WOW…I’m gonna tell you I will miss Robin Williams. I grew up with him. Not literally, but I remember watching him for the first time on “Happy Days” and laughing my head off. From there was his own sitcom, “Mork and Mindy”. It was a stupid plot line, but Robin made the show a hit. I think I’ve seen every movie he ever made. One of my favorites was “Dead Poets Society” and the list goes on.

However, through all the joy and laughter he brought me, my heart is saddened by his death as it is when any person takes their own life. Suicide is final. No more “I’m Sorry” or “Thank You”. There are no “take backs” with death. I’ll agree that we all have our “demons” we have to deal with on a daily basis, some a lot worse than others, but I’m here to tell you, there is a different way out.

It goes beyond medication and counseling. God is ALWAYS there with outstretched arms, welcoming you out of the rage and despair you might be going through. There are those that scoff at the idea that God can overcome ANY circumstance. I tell you now He can and does every day. Whatever led Robin Williams to do what he did, I know our God is greater. As I watch every news show talk about him and praise him for his works and read every tweet and post idolizing him, it almost makes me cringe to think that others going through the same issues may see his suicide as romanticized. As I see our president take more time praising him than he has for those that have sacrificed their lives defending our country or our patriots that were murdered in Benghazi makes me realize we have our priorities out of whack.

Robin Williams was a talented and educated man that brought joy and laughter into a lot of lives and we will all miss him, but he was just a man. I was asked yesterday by a good friend if I thought Robin Williams is in heaven. Mr. Williams was a giving and good man for his humanitarian efforts, but the real question is, did he know Jesus? I don’t know, but I do know one thing, he is in eternity now. He, like the rest of us, will stand before God and answer for our lives on earth. Once we take our last breath on this earth, there are no “Take Backs”.

Are you supporting a terrorist cell?

There’s an old saying that says “We are what we eat”.  Well, there’s another saying…  ”We support those with whom we spend”.    People ususally don’t think twice about what happens to their money after they spend it. Most will look for the best value, closest to home, or whatever your current need is.  BUT WAIT….Are you supporting a terrorist organization?  Let me explain.

I think everyone probably remembers what they were doing the morning of 9/11/2001.  My dad had just had heart surgery the day before and we had driven up from the Dallas area to be there for him. That Tuesday, we were getting ready to head back up to the hospital when all of a sudden chaos swept the nation and panic struck as we were attacked.  I remember going to get gas that day as gas rose over 3 dollars a gallon in fear we were going to lose our oil source.  Fortunately, calmer minds presided and after a few grueling months we were back to a semi normal way of life.  One thing that didn’t leave was the fear….fear of flying, fear of any suspicious person, fear of travel.  However, as precautions were set into place we sat a little easier in our homes.

Because of that fear it seemed that no one was without suspicion.  I remember one morning shortly after the attack, I was watching the morning news. It showed a computer firm in the Dallas area being raided by the FBI.  Apparently, this store was a front for supporting terrorists.  As the FBI were taking our computers, files, and any other evidence, the news team was interviewing different people that had done business with the company.  One person that stuck with me was a lady who was crying uncontrollably because she had realized that the money she had spent with that company had possibly gone to finance terrorists attacks, maybe even the ones on 9/11.  It then struck me that where we spend our money and with whom we spend our money DOES make a difference.

Have you ever thought about what happens to those hard earned dollars once you spend them?  Are you supporting a drug habit, a lifestyle that goes against everything you believe, or even like with the woman above, a terrorist organization.  Who knows?  One thing I DO know is that if I spend my money with a business that is “Christ Based” and “biblically founded”  I know that part of that money is going back to serve the Lord,  whether through tithes, offerings, missions, Christian values, supporting Christian families…etc, etc. On the flip side to that is if you spend money with a non Christian business you never know what you are supporting?  Just like the old saying “You are what you eat”?  Well…..”We support those with whom we spend”.  So next time you buy a product or service, take the time to find a Brother or Sister in Christ to do business with.  Whether you find them in the Christian Business Phone Book or in your local church, support those business that are supported by Christ.

Galatians 6:10 tells us “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

There are no atheists in foxholes….or are there?

There’s an old saying that goes “There are no atheists in foxholes”.  The origin is unsure but many over the last 60-70 years have used it, even President Eisenhower in a broadcast in 1954.  It is most often used to express the belief of the speaker that all people seek a divine power when they are facing an extreme threat.   I don’t know if I agree with the saying or not but I do believe that even the most staunch non-believer can cry out to God when he faces tragedy.  I have always been blessed to have been brought up in a God fearing/loving home.   Jesus was always a part of my life from early on and I have never considered myself an atheist, however, I do know that there are many that don’t know Jesus like you and I know Him.   One in particular comes to mind that had his own foxhole to deal with:

When I was a young man in the Navy over 35 years ago, I was stationed on the Island of Guam, assigned to a special unit that would travel all over Micronesia with the Admiral, more as a Good Will tour than anything else.  We would always fly in old C-130 cargo planes.  We would sit in red nylon pull down rows of seats attached to the inside of the plane while cargo bins full of supplies were bolted to the center aisles.  Most of the trips were long and monotonous so you would usually sit in the same place next to the same person to play cards or just nap (no ipads or iphones back then LOL).  Just before my last trip that we were going to take to the island of Truk (one of my favorite islands) I was unexpectedly reassigned to San Diego and had to leave early and miss this trip.  When I got to San Diego I found out that the plane the band was on had to ditch at sea in the middle of the Marianna’s Trench (deepest ocean depth in the world) in shark infested waters.  Most got out alive, however, 3 did not.  Those 3 were pinned underneath one of the cargo bins that had come unbolted due to the jolt of the plane crashing.  One of those three was the individual I use to sit next to every trip.  Unfortunately he was a professing atheist and proud of it.

To this day, I wonder about that young man who claimed to be an atheist and whom I spent hours witnessing to.  I wonder if any of what I used to share with him stuck and if he ever cried out to God the minutes before the plane sunk; if he made his peace with God before they met.  I can’t imagine the horror he must have been feeling as he realized he was not going to make it as the water began surging around him as the plane began to sink.  By normal circumstance I too should have gone down with the plane because I would have been sitting right next to him but I thank God for miraculously having me reassigned at the last minute allowing me to continue my life.

So, are there atheists in foxholes?  Well only God knows that answer, but I can tell you this….Jesus is ALWAYS there to welcome you into His kingdom and I like to believe that what I had shared with that young man came out just before his life on this earth ended.   You see, sometimes it takes foxholes to open our eyes to see Him and reach out to Him.

As a Christian I know that whatever circumstance or foxhole I encounter that I am not alone, Jesus said in Matthew 28:20  ….I am with you always, even to the end of the age”

Political Correctness vs. Scriptural Correctness

Last week my wife and I went out to dinner and as usual our discussion turned to the many blessings God has given us.  As we continued to share testimonies using “God” throughout the conversation, the other tables around us kept to themselves along with their own conversations and meals.  HOWEVER, the minute our talk turned to JESUS heads started to turn.  You know the old saying “If looks could kill”, well they definitely bore a hole through us.  And they weren’t “Hallelujah” looks either, they were “How dare you” looks. It made me realize how a lot of Christians today have quit using the name of “Jesus” and started to use the word “God” as a generic substitute so as not to offend anyone.  It’s making the word “God” mean just about anything you want thus making it less offensive in many eyes but at the same time lacking substance or meaning.  It’s making God a generic God.  And when you mention the name of Jesus in public, you are suddenly out of order, you are politically incorrect or you are a right wing fanatic.  GIVE ME A BREAK!!  It’s time we all stand up for Jesus and declare our love and faith in Him.  It’s time we get proud and excited to announce the name of Jesus and shout it from the rooftops.  Have we as a Christian nation become so ashamed or afraid to use the name of “Jesus” in public?  Have we become more concerned with Political Correctness than Scriptural Correctness?  Have we become more attuned with what others may think or feel when we use the name of “Jesus” than what Jesus actually feels.

Jesus said, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.   Luke 9:26   NKJV

I don’t know about you, but I am not ashamed of Jesus and will continue to profess His name wherever I am.  So for those of you I might have offended at dinner last week, heed this warning in advance:  Next time I’m out to dinner and I offend you by using the name of Jesus, well, get used to it.  He is my King and Deliverer and I am NOT Ashamed!!

Allowing Jesus to compose your life

There’s a story of a little boy whose mother took him to a piano concert given by the renowned pianist, Paderewski.  As the mother was getting her seat situated, the little boy scurried away from her and made his way up to the grand piano on stage.  As no one was watching he began to play the only song he knew, Chopsticks.  As some of the crowd grew angry at the little boy, some were amused by what he was doing.  When Paderewski saw what was happening, he quickly went up to the piano on stage and started playing along with him.  As the two began to create a beautiful sonata together, the crowd began to applaud at the awe inspiring music they both were making.    Paderewski quietly whispered to the little boy “Keep going.  Don’t quit, son.  Keep playing.  Don’t stop.  Don’t quit.”  As the little boy and Paderewski continued, the music grew into something so amazing that no one at the concert hall would ever forget.

You see, our lives are a lot like that little boy.  Sometimes all we know how to play is Chopsticks, but then Jesus sits down beside us and starts playing along, filling in the notes that we don’t know.  He tells us to “keep going.  Don’t quit, my son.  Keep playing.  Don’t stop. Don’t quit.”  And as long as we keep playing, He’ll be there composing our lives for His glory.  There are times when the only song we may know is Chopsticks, all we have to do is to begin playing and allow Jesus to create symphonies.

Supporting Christian Business

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, ESPECIALLY, to those who belong to the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

We’ve all seen the outpouring of support for Chik-fil-a when they were under attack for their biblical beliefs and now the same is happening to Hobby Lobby. Now I’ll admit I like Chik-fil-a chicken sandwiches but the main reason I go out of my way to eat there is to support a Christian business that practices Christian values and integrity. Shouldn’t we be supporting all Christian businesses the same way? Not just because they get national attention, but because when we spend dollars with any Christian business that money is going back to serving the Lord through tithes, offerings, missions, etc. It’s also going to support Christian families with Christian values that might be raising Christian children.

In today’s economy, Christian consumers are looking to do business with a company that they know is willing to stand up and declare that they run their business with Christian ethics and integrity. We at Integrity Publishing Solutions believe that together we can change the world through our faith in Jesus Christ. To do this effectively we must be willing to step forward, publicly declare our belief in our Lord and demonstrate our faith in our daily life. We are dedicated to bringing Christians and Christian Businesses together in an effective and professional manner that honors God. God calls every Christian to be a witness to His Glory and also expects each of us to be good stewards in the business environment as well as examples of His son’s teachings in our daily interactions.

So next time you need a plumber, a roofer, a dentist, an attorney (yes, there are Christian attorneys, lol), or whatever product or service you might need, take the time to find a Brother or Sister in Christ to do business with. Whether you find them in the Christian Business Phone Book or in your local church, support those who are supported by Christ!

Responding to Challenges

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

That quote is one of my favorites and has significant meaning especially regarding this last year, 2012. In March of this year, two days before the 3rd edition of the Christian Business Phone Book was to go to print, I accidentally fell off an eight foot retaining wall shattering my Tibial Plateau (left leg). After almost three weeks in the hospital and two surgeries I was allowed to come home. With my leg in a cast, I was bed and chair ridden, could not walk more than about 10 feet (only with a walker), and my attitude was out the window.

It’s times like these that my mind thinks of what Rev. King was talking about. I had a choice. I could choose to muddle in my pity or I could get up and make the best of my ordeal and learn from this tragedy. I chose to keep my eyes on Christ and His plan for me and not the circumstances. I chose to get back to what God had in store for us.

Albeit a few weeks late, we published the 3rd edition of the Christian Business Phone Book and are now working on our 4th edition. Every year our ministry continues to grow. Not only has our Northwest Arkansas directory flourished, but we also have plans for two more directories, including one in Southwest Missouri, and soon, one in Wichita Kansas. God has blessed us beyond what we could’ve imagined.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our physical circumstances we forget that God is always in control. So as we go into 2013, remember that we’ll all have times of challenge and controversy, it’s how we react and respond to them that matters.

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” Proverbs 16:3