Archives For August 2006

Forgetting The Lost

August 30, 2006 — 4 Comments

Missions must ring within every believer – a cry for the dying souls must be found within the heart of every Christian. How can a he live his life each and every day without feeling some sense of fear for his fellow man? How can a Christian pass a stranger without warning him that he may be that very day heading to a place of eternal torment, of eternal suffering, and eternal punishment given to him from a holy, righteous, and just God?

As Christians we have received a mandate to go into all the world and share the glorious gospel that has been given to us. How can we be so prideful, so spiteful, so corrupt, and so heartless to keep this cure to a cancer with far greater consequences than death to ourselves? Could this neglect be something more than just fear that our friends, our neighbors, or our relatives will laugh at what we have to say? Or could it be something so simple, yet so profound, that we have overlooked it because it is the very thing which we lean on to avoid sharing the gospel?

It is obvious that the problem with many, if not most, Christians today is not fear. It is pride.

Christians value their reputations more than the fate of a brother or sister, a mother or father, a friend or a neighbor. They value their job more than the lives of the dying. That is sin – a deep, dark, abysmal sin that so many are trapped in today. And it’s doing even more damagae. The trap of pride is breaking apart churches across American, ripping through congregations holding on to their pride until the boat sinks beneath the waves of sin. This has to stop – this mustn’t continue.

No one is innocent of this. No one has not allowed pride to rule in their lives, giving into the lie that they will lose their reputation, their friends, or even their lives. Pride continues to force many to believe that the words they speak will not sound right, or will not “work.” What Christians decide to forget is that they are not the ones winning souls to Christ – it is the Holy Spirit.

Are we as a people ready to overcome our pride, or will we continue to stumble?

Humility isn’t something that comes naturally for anyone, although it certainly does seem to be easier for others to display. I am certainly not one of those lucky few. In fact as I sat down this morning to read Growing Up Christian I took at small test to see where I stood and ended up right where I thought I was – right in the middle, still growing in humility. Some might see themselves as hypocritical – I see it as still growing in humility.

One aspect of humility that I read about this morning came from the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 10, verse 4.

If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great errors to rest.

Many times I’m wronged, whether it be at work, at home, or on the playing field for soccer. I know that I particularly need to make sure that I remain calm and humble, both outwardly, and most importantly inwardly. How many of us are humble on the outside, yet are yelling, complaining, arguing, and angered within? Is this truly humility being displayed, or can we call it what it really is – hypocrisy, and not growing in humility.

I must be very, very careful not to do this, especially in my line of work where I deal with hundreds of people each day whose lives revolve around them – and I am treated as second class. I need to remember that those people can grow me in humility or can send me rolling down the rickety path of pride.

One other huge point that I gleaned this morning was that a great way to stay humble is to be around others who are more gifted than you – better at a sport, at acting, at writing, at piano, at art, or whatever it is. I’ve found that my pride has led me to quit what I had previously enjoyed when I met someone who was far more talented in an area. I have almost completely stopped art because I met so many people who were much better than I was – and that is quite clearly pride.

There are so many other ways to cultivate humility in our lives, and many of those can be found in great books, especially by C.J. Mahaney. I really would like to encourage you to begin cultivating humility in your life as I work to cultivate it in my own.

I didn’t know. I really didn’t know.

On a side note,
I’ve been gone because of work and beginning school – and doing planning and dealing with bad internet connection. I’m praying about the future of the blog right now, and I hope that you will do the same. You can begin ranting in the comments now…(after you click on the link).

McFitness

August 16, 2006 — 7 Comments

The ever popular McDonalds fast food restaurant is now joining up with Yourself Fitness in what appears to be a paradox effort. While most remember fast food restaurants as greasy, unhealthy places where people who don’t worry about their weight eat, that is quickly changing as fast-food restaurants pick up on the market of weight loss.

You can now join your own personal trainer Maya on DVD simply by buying the McDonalds Adult Kids meal, once again, another paradox. These 15-minute DVD’s include “Yoga,” “Cardio,” “Core,” and “Strength.” These DVD’s are also available in game format for Playstation 2, PC, and Xbox.

Digital-Lifestyles.info noted “”unlike a Body Combat session at the local gym, no two workouts will be the same. Each day Maya builds an individual routine based on the users progress and commitment level… Avoiding the smell of sweat and visions of sticks on treadmills users are able to workout on an island or in an Alpine Retreat.”

Raving reviews like this one have emerged from the The Sun to the Chicago Sun-Times to the Time Magazine to Wired Online.

1. She assesses your current level of fitness
2. She identifies areas where you need work and helps you set realistic fitness goals..
3. Then Maya builds a work out program customized just for you.. and leads you through your program on a schedule and at a pace that is right for you.
4. Over time, Maya will adapt your program to your increasing fitness level

The program also boasts these other features:

• over 500 exercises
• a complete fitness analysis
• personalized goal setting
• customized meal planner with over 4500 recipes
• a fitness commitment calendar
• six workout environments
• multiple music options
• over 200 health and fitness tips from Prevention Magazine
• a responsive trainer who adapts to how you feel on any given day and provides encouragement on those days where you are feeling unmotivated.
But the question remains for those of us who are looking at where this is coming from: McDonalds, the king of junk food. The paradox is really quite funny. But perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps people are buying more salads, which I wouldn’t ever try at McDonalds (who knows where they’ve been.) Maybe people are truly starting a war on obesity, which is wonderful. Perhaps the death of life hasn’t come yet.

But I doubt Maya at Mickey D’s is going to do much. But it was a nice thought.

Each time one visits a grocery store, they probably dread two things. One is not being able to find what you need, and the second is a bratty kid screaming at the top of their lungs while you try to peacefully select your groceries. Those days may be over.

The semi-popular Publix grocery store is now testing the TV Kart, a car-shaped shopping cart complete with a TV screen that plays popular children’s shows, including Barney, the Wiggles, and my personal favorite, Bob the Builder.* These carts aim to please kids, and give some peace to your normal visit your local grocery store. Of course, there is a catch. The peace and quiet is going to cost you $1, which, for most parents, is a small price to pay.

“‘They’ve been a big hit so far,’ said Publix store manager Jerry Meyer, watching a steady stream of tots making a beeline for the carts on a recent Friday morning. Kids were running so fast toward the carts that many parents didn’t see a fairly small ‘insert $1’ sign, though, spurring a few borderline Terrible Two moments when the wheels wouldn’t unlock.” (Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution )

According to recent News Reports, these carts are all the rage in New Zealand, and made their way into the States eight months ago. Both Walmart and Texas based H-E-B are also testing the TV Karts. According to the makers of the Kart, stores generate up to $100,000 in sales per year for a store due to the fact that research has shown parents shop an average of eight to nine minutes longer while using the TV Kart.

“We claim we can keep a child entertained for 48 minutes,” says Patrick Burke, Southern regional manager for Cabco USA, the makers of the TV Karts. “That’s long enough for a good, solid shop.”

But not everyone is sold on the TV Karts. Amusing ourselves to death may just be the theme song of the next generation. You can watch television at home, in the minivan, and now at the grocery store.

“Pretty soon we won’t have to interact with each other at all,” said local Christian radio announcer Tracey Tiernan, her words dripping with sarcasm. “Don’t you just love that?”

If ever the late Neil Postman’s** statement that we as Americans are allowing ourselves to be amused and entertained into mindlessness rang true, it’s now.

“Excellent design,” commented Jones Foyer on Gizmodo.com, “Your kid can continue to be hypnotizsed into a consumerist zombie by the television- that is if the TV is working, which I expect won’t be after being banged around a supermarket for a couple of weeks. The blow molded bucket seat is a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria left my previous dirty little kids as well. I’ve always thought the traditional welded wire carts were a great solution for carrying your kids with you because they are oriented facing you: how novel, eye contact and human interaction.”

This whole TV Kart episode is just flat out bad. And with the amount of kids glued to the television these days, I don’t see any reason why this idea will not explode. Eye contact and human interaction are becoming a novel idea. Our minds are truly beginning to melt, as parents avoid parenting, kids avoid learning and living, and companies just slurp up the money.

But we must not declare technology to be something completely evil.

“Technology is not bad,” notes Alex Harris in his article ‘Busy Signals: Our Wired Generation’. “We must look for the positive and innovative ways in which we can use and adapt to new technology. But we must never forget what it can’t do — and more importantly — what we can’t do while we’re using it.”

Such as actually living.


To Be Continued

* Just kidding.
** Neil Postman is the author of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

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