Friday, August 21, 2015

The Gospel According to the Chicken and the Egg

The age old question of "which came first; the chicken or the egg?" has baffled people for ages.  I find this question a bit of a no brainer if you believe in a world created by God, which I do.  The chicken came first.  Duh.  On the day God created the animals, chickens were first.  He didn't create an egg that hatched one day and "poof" - chicken.  

Now that you can sleep better at night because you know the answer to that question, I'll pose one that is similar to the chicken and egg debate.  "Which came first; faith or works?"  In a recent time of personal study, I re-read the passage in James 2 that discusses this very topic.  Let's look at verses 14-26:

?What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him?If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it?  In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?  Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.  So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.  You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route?  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
So, is it faith that saves you or your works?  This question separates the wheat from the tares, and one denomination from another.  The Bible teaches here that faith does come first, but faith alone without works (or evidence, we might call fruit) is dead.  Some religions believe that you can do enough good 'works' and earn your way to eternal life with God.  But the Bible teaches that works are merely the evidence of your faith.  We don't do works, and then have faith.  We have faith that produces works.  The theological Chicken and the Egg.  
The verse that always causes me to pay attention is verse 19 "The demons also believe—and they shudder."  Just believing is a dead faith.  It requires works to show your faith is real and active.  I'm not better than a demon if I say I believe in God, but I have no evidence in my life to reveal that belief.
You may think you are on a journey to earn yourself a ticket to Heaven.  But, dear readers, this passage very simply shows what faith looks like in those who know Jesus personally and will spend eternity with Him.  Faith first, works second.  Knowing I possess a living faith, also helps me sleep at night.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My Post-MBA Bucket List

It's been a month and a half since I finished my MBA.  My friend, Amy, told me, "when you finish, you are going to be so bored, you'll need to find things to fill that time."  Um, that's a negative.  I'm never bored, and finishing my MBA didn't change that fact.  Quite frankly, I don't understand people who get bored.  That is beyond my ability to understand.  I surmise it is because I'm an only child and we types grow up learning how to entertain ourselves.  That translates to adulthood and we're quite content because we can find a myriad of things to keep us busy.

About one-month away from my MBA completion, I decided to put a lot of things on hold to accomplish post-MBA.  This might have been tasks around my house to promised lunch engagements with friends.  In any case, it got me thinking that it would be good to think bigger picture and outline a "Post-MBA Bucket List."  Those things I want to accomplish now that the last two years of intense study are over.  In no particular order, here it is...

1.  Read more - Ironically, I read a lot during the last two years, but more about business, strategy, organizational theory and the like.  When I say I want to read more, I mean for pleasure.  Fiction.  Novels.  Escapes.  I've already begun to accomplish that by starting the increase through audiobooks in my car.  I'm listening to my first one from the Public Library post MBA and almost done.  I'm seriously considering joining since the Public Library selection is limited, or the wait is a bit redonculous.  Reading from the written page, or listening as it is read to me, I'm sure to increase my reading, and hence my knowledge.

2.  Journal - There have been many seasons in my life when I journaled.  But I haven't done so in probably five or six years.  I recently posted a Table Topic on Journaling on this blog because I was surprised at the number of men who journal.  I've purchased my first notebook and now just need to start the exercise.  I've stopped in the past because I was very regimented to do it every day.  I'm not going to put that requirement on myself so that I'll be more consistent in my journaling.

3.  Vacation in Hawaii - Most of my vacations entail visiting friends, which I adore.  But, one of my friends, Ashley, has wanted me to go to Hawaii with her for a while.  I figured what better time than post MBA!  I've never been to the islands and I'd love to go and experience it.  I hope to plan this for sometime next year with the help of my Hawaii veteran, Ashley.

4.  Craft - I love to craft.  Love it.  It's so soothing and therapeutic.  I've done a bit of it while in school, but I really want to spend more time doing it.  I love to crochet and I started an afghan during my holiday break last year, but obviously haven't gotten far.  I'd like to pick up the pace on that, and sign up to take craft classes to learn other crafting techniques.  I took one craft class during my MBA stint and loved it.  But, when you work full-time and are in school full-time, the involvement in doing something like that is limited.

5.  Get Published - For as long as this blog has been alive, I've wanted to write a book.  The problem is two-fold: (1) What type of book? (2) When do i find time to write it?  I'm currently writing curriculum for our preschool ministry at church, which I'm really enjoying, so these types of projects come up, deterring me in a Mr Holland's Opus fashion.  I've also wanted to start smaller and just get articles published.  I think some experience in publishing consumable content, I'll have a better foundation for a full book.  In either case, getting published is on the list.

6.  Personal Retreat - I realized that I need some time away from the distractions of life to rejuvenate, reflect and retreat. (See: only child)  Not to sound all new-agey, this would be a time where I could spend time communing with the Lord, and also just relaxing away from the hub bub of life.  I'm on the pursuit of a good location where I can not feel compelled to leave the place where I lay my head, yet not be too far from civilization that I can go to a coffee shop or restaurant.  Don't suggest camping.  My idea of roughing it is no cable in an air conditioned facility.  

Those are just the first things that come to mind, but I'm sure there will be more.  Though the official structured learning is complete, the lifelong learning and growing continues.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Top Five Things I Learned From Sales Summit 2015

Each year our Sales team comes together for our annual Sales Summit.  The last two years it has been held in the great city of Louisville which is always fun times for me.  It's great as a hometown girl to show off my city to people who are fascinated by our southern/midwestern town.  Our 2015 meeting occurred last week and while it's still fresh on my mind, I'd like to bring you the top five things I learned from this year's Summit.....

5.  Some Uber drivers are directionally challenged. - After the first day of meetings, the management team ate at the lovely restaurant, Corbett's.  It's located in an odd, but very obvious spot, right near the only Costco in town.  When we finished, my boss and I were heading home while the other four managers took an Uber to the hotel.  They ordered their ride, but somehow their Uber ended up at the nearby Kosair Hospital.  Then found himself circling the area like a scene from National Lampoon's European Vacation.  He finally got to the pick up spot after one of the managers basically waved him down in the middle of the road.  Let's just say he knows where Corbett's is now.  

4.  Event planning from a distance can be less than desirable - Our corporate office handles all the planning of this event every year.  Note to readers: Our corporate office is in Silicon Valley.  They do their best, but not being a native or living in the area, they lack in some of the knowledge to make sure things are in order.  One of those things was shuttles for the team when leaving for the airport.  The hotel was located on Hurstbourne Lane and all the departures were to happen during rush hour.  The time for pickup to get to the airport was only an hour and a half before the flight took off.  All you Louisvillians are going, "WHAT?!"  You know what rush hour is like on I-64 and I-264.  Non-residents don't.  A last minute change the day before departure saved many a flight from being missed.

3.  Presentations on a bus ride are challenging - This year's group activity was for teams to come up with a product using a Solo Cup that had nothing to do with drinking.  It was decided that we would present these ideas on the bus ride to Frankfort for our outing to Buffalo Trace Distillery.  Though the idea was great, the execution was a bit flawed.  The bus was loud, the driver was surely named Mr. Toad, and thus the humor and wit intertwined in these presentations was lost.  The coolest moment was when a team used a Star Wars theme and cut out the logo in their cup and then shined their iPhone flashlight through it to display the image on the roof of the bus.  No sound needed and that got my vote.  

2.  Not all food served is identifiable by foreigners - Our buffet dinner after our outing was absolutely delicious.  A veritable smorgasbord of Kentucky delights.  Mini Hot Browns for appetizers, BBQ Beef Brisket that melted in your mouth, and homemade pies, including Derby Pie.  Along with those delectables was a southern dish called corn pudding.  As I went thru the line, one of the California Sales Reps asked, "Rose, is this dessert?"  I said, "No child, that's how we eat vegetables in Kentucky."  (Ok, I didn't say "child" but wish I did)  It was a huge hit and people were going back for seconds and thirds of that stuff.  People live such a sheltered life outside of the Bluegrass.  

1.  You can meet some of the most amazing people in the most unique places - Our tour guide at Buffalo Trace was Freddie Johnson.  He is a third generation employee at the distillery.  And he was the most fascinating, interesting tour guide I've ever had for any tour.  After our event, my boss found an article telling more about Freddie and it made me love him even more.  Every time we'd move from place to place, he'd say "Life's a journey, let's go!"  Yes, sometimes that's a good reminder for more than just a distillery tour. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Table Topics: Journaling

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with my friend, Matthew, prior to his European Summer Extravaganza.  Somehow the topic of journaling came up and he indicated he journals, pretty regularly.  I was shocked.  A man journaling?  Get outta here!  He said, "How else will my grandchildren know about me?" which was a brilliant reason.  Given Matthew is somewhat of a unique soul, I challenged him to find two other men that journal...and we did.  Wow.  Revelation!  

This caused me to take this to the men that are my Facebook friends and survey the audience.  Again, I was surprised at the number of men that did journal regularly or had in the past and wanted to resume that practice.  Fascinating.  I found that more men have or do journal than I imagined, and I find that very endearing.  If you are a man who journals, Brava!!  

Now that I've fininshed my MBA, one of the items on my MBA Bucket List is to start journaling again.  I have done it during certain seasons in my past, but with school added to the mix of my busy life, journaling was far from my radar to continue.  I've ordered a nice composition notebook that should arrive Friday and I'll be on my way.  I may never have grandchildren, but someone might like to read them one day.  

That brings us to today's Table Topic.  

Do you journal?  If so, why?  

Get your pen and paper ready....or your fingers nimble...and discuss.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Love Wins

Last week the Supreme Court passed the decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states of the United States.  The decision passed by a slight 5-4 margin.  Unless you live under a rock, the information world has been all a buzz about this with both sides speaking loudly regarding their stand.  Rainbows are everywhere and even the White House was lit up like a rainbow.  

I've hesitated to respond at all to this discussion, but after much rumination, for which this blog is named, I think I finally have my thoughts together.  No matter which side you are on, I plead with you to read this entire blog post.  Some of it you may agree with, and some of it you may not.  But here in the land of the free, I'm glad I have the freedom to express it.

I do not believe in same-sex marriage.  Why?  Because I believe the Bible clearly indicates that marriage is between one man and one woman.  A wise person once said "you can't legalize morality" and for that, just because I believe the Bible in its entirety doesn't mean I can force my beliefs on you.  But men and women died for me to have the freedom to believe that.  And practice that.  Though I may not be a supporter of the Supreme Court decision, it doesn't mean I'm forlorn for this world.  God is still on His Throne, and one day all things will be made right.  And I can pray for my nation and my leaders for the days ahead.  

I would like to address the people on both sides because I feel there are things I want to say to everyone.  I have friends and acquaintances that are homosexual or support the gay lifestyle.  And I still love them.  

To those that support same-sex marriage:  For you this decision was a long time coming and many of you feel very vindicated for what has been withheld from you for so long.  The right to marry legally.  Though I don't agree with your lifestyle, I hope what has occurred will provide you fulfillment.  I don't believe any Supreme Court decision is the answer to life's questions, or will solve all your problems.  I do ask that you respect those who believe the opposite of you.  The freedom you have now to marry legally is the same freedom others deserve to practice what they believe to be truth from the Bible.  Denying those of that freedom is no different than the denial you've had (until last week) to be recognized as a legally-bound union.

To those that do not support same-sex marriage:  First off, God has not crawled off His Throne.  God loves the homosexual just like He loves you.  The response to this should not be hate, but love.  This can be discouraging to those who believe strongly in God's Word.  But if you do, the Bible warns of these times to come, and more than ever the Gospel needs to be the foundation of all we do.  I fear we Christians have not done a good job at honoring the marriage covenant and taking it so lightly with adultery and other fornication that it truly is no wonder the definition of marriage is skewed.  I pray that as Christians, we will stand more strongly for marriages to be God-centered and God-honoring and help repair what we've torn in two, allowing a non-biblical union to appear more solid.  

By now you may have decided to unfollow me, unfriend me or block me.  I hope not, but understand if you feel the need to do so.  There is not one friend or acquaintance I have that supports same-sex marriage that I don't respect and/or love.  And that's what I hope you leave with.  Love.  Not hate.  Not judgment.  But love.  

Jesus loves me this I know.  And that, folks, is how Love Wins.