Faith vs. Intellect

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There is a tug of war in people between faith and intellect. The two are often at odds with our intellect defining the limits of our faith if we allow it. For this reason we find it easy to explain away what we can’t understand.

Intellect is the ability of the mind to come to a correct  conclusion about what is real or true. In terms of faith our intellect rely’s on what it sees and experiences. If we haven’t experienced or witnessed it we try to reason it out intellectually instead of relying on faith to justify it. This is a bad and dangerous place to be in your faith.

Faith is a strong, unshakable belief in something, specifically belief without proof or evidence. As explained in Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. This puts faith in direct odds with intellect unless you are increasing your faith and bring your intellect in submission to your faith. With intellect being the works of the mind and faith being strong through the Spirit you can say that faith will override intellect when you bring your soul into submission to your spirit.

Some examples are our faith says healing is real and relevant for today, but some believers, churches and science say that healing and healing gifts were for the first century church, not today. Those that say it’s for today say so relying completely on faith because the Bible says so or they have witnessed it. Those who say it isn’t do so through reasoning out in their minds what they haven’t witnessed.

The creation vs. evolution argument is a classic faith vs. intellect argument. Without faith in God and His word it’s hard to believe that something out there just created all this. In an attempt to wrap your brain around what you see you try to reason out a scientific explanation. Considering how much of the Bible has proven true and accurate I would certainly bet on the creation account in scripture.

There is the discussion of one or more baptisms. Some believe there is only water baptism, often referred to as John’s baptism or baptism unto repentance. Then there is the belief in a second baptism, that of the Holy Spirit. Those who never experienced the second baptism try to explain it as the same baptism as water baptism. Those who have experienced it believe wholeheartedly that the second baptism, that of baptism in the Holy Spirit is real. Others believe it because their faith is firm enough to rely on the gospel account of this baptism. Those who try to explain it away intellectually are at odds with Mathew 3:11; Mark 1:8,;John 14:6 & 15:6; Acts 1 & 2, 4:31, 8:15, 9:17, 10:44, 11:15-16 and 19:6.

When we try to explain something intellectually we must be sure not to ignore scripture that is contrary to our thoughts and theories. When we look at something we must never think with our eyes because Satan will show us something we  shouldn’t be looking at. That “something” will always be the thing to make you doubt God’s word due to the limitations of your own intellect. After all, God did say in 1 Corinthians 1 that He would use the foolish things of this world to shame the wise.

Your heart, in subjection to the Spirit, has no limitations on faith. Having no limitations allows Gods Spirit to do incredible things. Entertaining the limitations of human intellect, regardless of what caused it, will hinder the Spirit to being almost ineffective. This lack of faith is disobedience to our Lord who equates faith with obedience. As we grow in knowledge and intelligence we must grow our faith in larger proportions.

If you attend a church that tries to explain away any portion of scripture as not relevant, not for today or ignores it to justify another belief it’s time to find another church. For this reason it’s vital to know what’s in the Bible, not just relying on a person to tell you what’s in it. People can be wrong and will make mistakes.

Andy

 

Are you the church or the Ecclesia?

IMG_20160123_170700083Someone will say I’m repeating myself, that they are the same thing. In truth they are two different things and knowing the difference changes the identity of the body of believers. It’s a well established fact that people become what they are called. You call someone stupid enough times they will believe it and act like it. You tell them they are smart and capable, over time they will become what you are telling them they are. They take on the identity of what they are told they are. The same with the “church” as a collection of individuals, created with a unique calling and plan, has taken on the identity of what they are called.

In Mathew 16:13-20 Jesus is asking the disciples who they and others think He is. Peter ( Simon Bar-Johah until this point ) says “you are the Christ”. Then in v.18 Jesus says ” And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it “. He then goes on to tell them that He will give them the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the gates of Hell will not prevail against them.

A couple of things happen in the passage. The first is Jesus gave Peter his new name and that name carries an identity, rock. He would come to live up to this identity.

The second thing that happens is Jesus tells His disciples who they are and what He plans for His followers to do. When He told them He will give the keys and the gates of Hell will not prevail, He was telling them to actively go on the offensive. The gates of a city were not designed to keep an army in, it was a defensive tool to keep an invading army out. HE was telling His disciples that they would invade the territories held by Hades and there was nothing that could be done to stop them, not even the gates would be effective. He is saying not to be reactionary and holding a defensive posture, but to be active and on the offensive. When an army is on the offensive it forces the enemy to be reactionary in its defense of its territory. If the invading army is strong and organized all the enemy can do is manage a costly retreat.

The third thing revealed here is the biggest revelation of this passage. When we read the English translation we get the word “church”. The problem is that word did not exist in Jesus’ day. If he would have said that the disciples would have been more confused then normal. The word “church” came from the old English word “cirice” which is related to the German word “Kirche” that was derived from the Greek words “kyriakon doma” ( sorry I can’t add all the Greek symbols that go with the letters for pronunciation ) which means ” Lords House “. So here we have our identity derived from a word that didn’t come around in the Greek until a few hundred years after the death of Jesus and it wasn’t used to label Christians, but the house they would gather in. The truest form of this word means Lord’s House. Nothing more, no identity but that of a building where people meet.

The word Jesus used was Ecclesia. That’s a word that the disciples would have instantly known the meaning and the implications. Ecclesia means “gathering of those summoned” or another popular translation means “called out”. Both are appropriate and give the same picture. The Ecclesia was a governing body in Athens that continued through the Roman era. They met every few years to preside over governmental affairs. In short, the Ecclesia was a governing body.

Speculation is that when the group of scholars, who were assembled by King James to publish the King James English Bible for the newly formed Anglican Church, came across this passage they made the decision that there could be no higher power on earth than that of the throne so they inserted “church” in place of “ecclesia”. Another thought is that they didn’t have an English equivalent to “ecclesia” and refused to use the Scottish word “Kirk” so we got church. Either way, the word used and the word inserted are two very different words in meaning and identity.

Christians have taken on the identity of a group of believers that gather in a building to fellowship and worship. They have come to be comfortable in not rocking the boat and in their defensive posture have become notorious for saying “No” to anything they don’t believe or understand.

If the followers of Jesus would shake this identity and learn what it is to be Christ’s governing body on earth, things would look drastically different. For that’s what Jesus said we are when He told Peter ” on this truth I will build my Ecclesia “. The governing body has a responsibility to not only protect what is theirs to preside over, but to also destroy any enemy that threatens what they are responsible for. You don’t destroy an enemy and take territory for the Kingdom by gathering behind a locked gate. That’s how you get defeated.

If you want to return to the days where healing, salvation and true change in new Christians is occurring at the rate we are seeing in Africa and the Middle East then we need to start operating on the offensive and take the enemy’s territory. We need to start behaving like what Jesus said we are.

Andy

 

 

 

College is not for everybody and not everybody needs college.

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Sometime ago the idea was sold to us that you had to have a college degree to make something of yourself or to have a good job. That’s simply not true and has led us right into a critical shortage of people in the trades. This bill of goods has convinced people to go to college, accumulate student load debt rivaling a mortgage with little to no jobs in the chosen field of study. The urgency on going to college right after high school has led a large number of students to enroll that are not financially, emotionally nor mature enough to be sent off.

There is not an insignificant number of people, who after obtaining employment in their field of study, after a couple of years actually doing the job find that they really don’t like what they are doing. Now they feel stuck with student load debt and other bills due. They don’t feel they can make a move. This stress builds on them until they’ve reached the breaking point and make a change whether they are prepared or not.

According to the BLS and Glassdoor.com studies, most people will change jobs and/or careers four times by the time they are 32. By the age of 40 they will have changed 10.5 times. Now they do admit that they aren’t certain as to how many of these moves are one employer to another or one career to another, regardless this is a lot of changing pointing to an unfilled work life.

Parents are often to blame for their children going to college, accumulating a significant amount of debt and being in a job they don’t like as a result. They try to push their child into what they feel is best for them, not supporting what the child wants to pursue. The child, in an effort to please and not disappoint their parents, begrudgingly go along with it. Parents, there is no shame in a person taking a trade or public service job. One, we desperately need people in these fields and they will build a better reputation and live a happier more fulfilled life in a job they enjoy.

Consider the following from the BLS, Glassdoor.com and Payscale.com:

  • A welders pay ranges from $12.88 / hr up to a little over $300,000 a year for underwater welding. The lowest I’ve personally seen in all my trips in and out of fabrication shops & plants is $17.00 / hr to start. As with any trade, the more experience and the more certifications you have the higher the pay. The same is true with specialty skills such as underwater welding.
  • The median pay for an auto mechanic is $18.50 / hr, body repair $40,370 / year, diesel mechanic $45,170 / year and heavy vehicle mechanic $47,690 / year.
  • Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics median pay is $60,270 / year.
  • A lineman / electrical power line installer – repairers range from $47,600 – $71,189 averaging out at $57,555 annually.
  • A plumber ranges from $14.27 / hr – $43.13 / hr with a median annual of $55,100.
  • An electrician pay ranges from $31,800 – $90,420 annually with a median annual wage of $52,750.
  • A truck driver, tractor-trailer median pay is $41,340 annually. From intimate knowledge of the trucking industry this is low unless one decides to drive local. If one decides to drive over the road this number is pretty low.
  •  Heavy equipment operator has a median pay of $43,810. Salary.com puts the annual pay between $53,465 – $72,341 with a median annual of $61,470.

These are just some trades, there are many more I haven’t listed. As with anything, where you live, how skilled you are, your work ethic and the certifications you have help in obtaining the higher end pay.

There are some other careers that are not in the trade category that pay well and don’t require a mountain of debt with a 4 or 6 year degree.

  • An insurance agents median annual salary is $48,200. Payscale.com puts it at $37,205. This also depends greatly on how hard you work and who you work for. Working for an independent agency may see your salary with commission and bonuses higher than a licensed agent working a call center for a major nationwide insurer.
  • An account managers pay ranges from $35,000 – $82,000 / year. This title covers a vast array of account types and responsibilities. Some larger companies like C.H. Robinson or W.W. Grainger  may want you to have a degree or at least a few years of experience. Other places like will not.
  • A realtor has a median annual salary of $53,529. There are realtors making much more and some that are starving. This is also a very unstable career field as your income relies on the market as much, if not more than, your skill. There will be times of feast and times of famine so you have to be able to manage and budget your money.
  • The railroad has many good paying jobs and they will train you.
  • The public service sector ( Fire, EMS & law enforcement ) has varying pay scales depending on where you work, union vs. non-union, government vs. private. The longer you are in it the better the pay not to mention the retirement benefits. To be honest on the retirement front, all the government sector jobs that are offering pensions and healthcare for life are seeing these benefits in great jeopardy as these benefits are unfunded and a huge financial burden on the budgets that are only supported by incoming tax revenue. It’s very conceivable that these benefits will no longer be available in the future as cities, counties and states try to bridge the budget shortfalls they are facing.

Some of these jobs may require you to relocate. Almost all of these jobs will require some kind of schooling, examines and licensing with continuing education requirements or additional certifications. All of these can be obtained with a three day class and state exam up to a two year tech school.

Compare the relatively low cost, and often reimbursed by your employer, to the cost of a college education that does not guarantee you a job. According to Collegeboard.com a 2 year degree is $11,580 per year. A 4  year degree is $20,090 per year. These are figures for instate public schools. Private and non-profit 4 year school prices come in around $45,370 / year. Compare the debt of the degree with the income the chosen field will generate over the course of the student loans. Now ask, are you positive this is a career you really like, a truly passionate about?

So many pursue higher education with out truly knowing who they are and what they really like. This is most likely the driving force behind the number of job & career changes being seen. I’m a big fan of allowing the student to spend two years after high school in the military, Merchant Marines, Peace Corps or some other avenue that provides a public service before entering college and pursuing a degree. In that time they will mature and have a better grasp of who they are and what they are passionate about. It’s much better to learn this by the time your 20 or 21 then at 40.

Before you make the college leap do your research. Don’t blindly take on debt and find yourself unemployable with no marketable skills with nothing other than a piece of paper saying you earned a degree. Millions of other people a year are graduating with the same qualifications seeking jobs in a limited market.

Don’t take the plunge just because you feel it’s expected of you. That could turn out to be a very costly mistake. After all, you have to live with your decisions, not them.

Parents reading this, help your kids learn who they are and their passions. Ask yourself, are you pushing them into college because society says that’s what you’re supposed to do? Are you doing it because you didn’t and think it will turn out better for them if they do? What’s the true motivation?

Supporting them does much more towards a healthy relationship than forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.

Andy

 

 

 

 

Where have all the good men gone?

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How many times have you heard a woman ask “where have all the good men gone?” or lament that there are no more good men? I’ve heard it many times and the short answer is you ran them all away.

Here’s where I’ll lose people. The Bible has a simple truth revealed when it instructs women to respect their husbands. For whatever reason men were created with the need for respect being stronger than the need for love. That need is there from the toddler years until death. In all our “modern” and “enlightened” cultural nonsense and psychology we have scrapped centuries old wisdom as archaic and obsolete in favor of treating boys and girls the same. The result has been the death of masculinity and the crushing of the male spirit.

If you watch boys play and interact with each other you’ll notice they like to play the role of hero. They imagine they are the provider, the protector, super hero, vanquishing evil and strong man. Enter the unwise council of out of control feminism and you a woman ( could be mom, grandma, teacher, aunt, etc… ) tells the boy that that kind of behavior is unacceptable, it’s offensive, women don’t need a protector and they can provide for themself thank you very much. Watch the light start to dim.

We put boys in schools that the environment is geared more to the learning attributes of the girls. We then punish the boys for being, well boys. When verbal punishment doesn’t work and denying privileges or singling out fails we demand the boy be drugged with mind altering chemicals.

As the boy gets older he is told that girls are no different, they can do anything a boy can do and do it better. The girls become women indoctrinated into this nonsense and the boys are continually told that the girls have power and you just need to stand aside. A guy holds a door for a woman he gets scolded for the effort. He tries to help her carry a load he is angrily told she doesn’t need a mans help. Our schools and culture are telling boys and young men that they are violent, rapists, a danger because he is male and insensitive in his masculine microaggressions. This line of thinking has gotten so out of hand that the “ivy league” schools are starting to hire people to help educate, warn and rid the campus of men who are too masculine.

When you crush the heart and soul of a boy you get a broken man. Those broken men now make up a generation of males who are seemingly unable to assert themselves. They simply will not take the lead leaving this up to the women. After all, his whole life he has been told she can do it and probably better. These men are making less than their female counterparts and are pursuing higher education in lesser numbers. They are more likely than women to drop out of college. More and more have no drive and ambition and are content living off of mom & dad with no real plan to move on with their life. They seemingly do not have the drive or self-confidence to better their self.  This is leaving women scratching their collective heads wondering where the good men went.

Congratulations to the feminist movement who have literally run the good men away and made sure the young boys never grow into good men. You have created the problem you now lament and the repercussions have negatively impacted millions of families.

Women, if you want to find good men, start encouraging the ones around you to be good men. Start encouraging them to help, hold doors, say yes ma’am & no ma’am. Thank them when they do. Encourage them to hold the woman in their lives at a different level of respect than their beer drinking buddies. Let them pay for things, pursue you and set plans in place. Let them know you appreciate the effort with our nagging and scolding them for doing it wrong.

Every time he treats you like one of his buddies, remember he has been told for as long as he can remember that males and females are not different, they are the same. Being the same they should be treated the same. When he treats you the same you have no ground to be angry, it’s what you wanted.

Brought to you by a unapalagetic man who still opens doors for women, walks on the traffic side, is kind to children, provides for his family, strong in his faith with belief in absolute truth, believes in the science of two genders and encourages his son to stand apart from his generation and be a masculine man.

Andy

Getting back to Holiness.

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Holiness has a lot of negative connotations due to its misinterpretation by good intentioned men trying to achieve what is hard to comprehend through our human intellect. It’s not surprising that when you look this up on Merriam – Webster you find that is in the bottom 40% of popular words. That’s easily understandable with the misconceptions and our my way right now because I deserve it culture.

I pulled from two different sources, the dictionary and the King James Bible, to get the following definition: The state of being holy, a life of holiness and total devotion to God; purity or integrity of moral character; purity of heart; sanctified affections; piety and moral goodness; consecrated to God and His worship.

In an effort to obtain holiness a movement started in the Methodist church that became known as the Wesleyan Methodist’s. The Pentecostal church had their own movement known as the Pentecostal Holiness Church or the Holiness Church. The emphasis on this movement has been on what you have to do and abstain from to be “holy”. Some of the things are the wearing of long sleeves to show the minimum amount of skin, no make up, no T.V. or movies whether on the computer or in the theater, no dancing, women always have to wear a dress or skirt, no secular music, can’t eat or drink certain foods etc. Depending on the denomination or affiliation there may be more or less to this list. What is seen is the emphasis is that it is on what you do that determines your holiness.

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.

Also read Ephesians 1:3-13, Colossians 1:19-23 and 1 Peter 1:13-21. Read all the verses so you get the full context of what is being said. These passages tell us exactly what being holy is. You are holy because of what Christ did, not what you do. Through the blood of Christ, His birth, death, resurrection and ascension, you are made holy. He did all the work, all you have to do is accept that He is your Lord and Savior. There are no special or hidden strings attached. If a person is telling you that you have to do something that God’s word doesn’t, and that person can’t point to scripture and show you then it’s heresy.

There are commands that Jesus has given His followers. Along with those commands are signs to look for in people who follow Him. One is you will devote yourself to daily prayer and reading of the word. Another is prayer in the form of listening to Him, not you talking to Him. A relationship is talking and listening. Then we have obedience, the one that is seemingly the hardest for everyone. Another is love for your fellow man, regardless of their spiritual condition. Pick up your cross and follow me sound familiar? Jesus said that along with saying those that love their families more than Me are not worthy of Me.

The first step to holiness is being adopted into the family as a child of God through the blood of Jesus. That’s it, your holy, clothed in righteousness. I know, I just said that but it seems like people have a hard time wrapping their brains around the idea that there is nothing you can do to earn it. The second part is growing and living a life of holiness. It doesn’t mean shunning everything of this world, it means not being transformed by it. Being transformed by it indicates that you will begin to look and act like it. By shunning the world you risk being so out of touch that you are of little Kingdom use on earth. You’ve heard the term ” so heavenly minded that they are of little earthly use “. We should avoid that.

T.V., internet, magazines and movies are not all bad. Secular inventions such as the T.V. and internet are useful to your growth as a Christian and are only as evil as the user. If the spirit of the user is corrupt then the thing being used will be used for spiritually corrupting things. If the spirit of the user is strong and devoted to God the thing being used will be used for things of that nature.

There are things in our culture that are accepted as OK that if we participate in we will have willfully strayed from consecrating oursleves to the Lord. This is part of holiness. Participating in gossip, gleoutuny, pornography, drinking to the point of being drunk, lieing, abortion, not respecting authority ( Romans 13 ), not living with your wife in an understanding way, divorce, adultry and on the list can go. This is conforming to the world and you can abstain from these things and still be earthly good to the Kingdom. People will know you are set apart and devoted to God.

You see, holiness is a heart issue or more accurately a spiritual issue. The Bible tells us the heart is exceedingly wicked. Having a body, soul ( heart, emotions and mind ) and spirit ( the part that is dead to God until salvation then His spirit comes alive in you ) your spirit is only as strong as you feed and exercise it. If you neglect the nourishment of your spirit the soul will be stronger. True holiness will focus on the spiritual well-being to the point that the soul is so week that it is under complete subjection to the spirit.

Now I’m not saying that you should discount everything the holiness doctrine teaches. If in your time talking to our Lord, He directs you to give up the T.V. or stop wearing makeup, or whatever it is that’s counter to modern culture, by all means do it. He has a reason and a plan. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. The directive is not to be restrictive because He can, but to perfect things in you. If he doesn’t bring you under conviction to follow the holiness doctrine then don’t burden yourself needlessly making your walk more difficult than it needs to be.

Obedience is key to holiness. Not obedience to look pious like the pharisees, but obedience out of love and devotion for Jesus. Don’t take on a conviction because a person told you a true Christian seeking to be holy will do these things. That’s false conviction or false guilt and you should run very far away.  Remember we are all created as unique individuals with unique callings. There are people you can reach that the next person can’t. There are people you are predestined by God to share the good news with that you will lose the opportunity if you take a road not meant for you because you followed false guilt not His voice. The convictions are for you to be an earthly influence for the Kingdom. We need to come back to embracing holiness as a staple of the Christian life before the church truly looks so much like the culture that there is no difference.

Andy

Obesity and low income

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While sitting in a Denny’s this morning in a rural, low-income, mid-western town I noticed that the obesity rate here is very high. What struck me is what I’ve known, but not paid a lot of attention to, that the lower the income the heavier the people. This is a unique first world problem that makes the rest of the world have a very hard time feeling any kind of compassion for those in our lower-income brackets.

The issue is wider than just this town. I see it all over America. The lower the average income of an area the heavier the people. This got me to thinking why. What is it about being in the lower-income brackets that produces obesity. Is it a lack of hope with no clear cut future, nothing to work for that encourages this? Is it the food that’s affordable and approved for subsidies that’s so bad for you that it causes it? Is it a lack of education on health and dietary choices? Is it a lack of employment or good employment that gives a sense of purpose?

The exception to this, that stood out in stark contrast today, ware the ranchers. They are lean and weathered. They carried themselves with a sense of purpose and a quite pride. They were polite and their food orders were not the largest portions available. These men are accustomed to hard work in the elements. You can see it in weathered faces, the lean frames, the rough hands and the look in their eyes. They don’t have a lazy bone in their bodies. They weren’t loud and boisterous but content and happy. They know they have purpose and something and someone is counting on them. They know the value of a hard days work and a good nights rest.

Is it possible that the distinction between these two groups has less to do with income and more to do with a mindset and sense of purpose? One group appears to have little sense of purpose with no clear direction. They are merely existing, wearing the defeat like a well-worn jacket. The other group has purpose and pride comes from that purpose. They aren’t just existing, they are planning for the future. They talked about breeding, buying feed and planting hay. They discussed cattle futures and livestock sales. They had something that they were planning, something to give them direction besides a $10 hour job.

I believe that even a low-income person can avoid obesity, barring health issues that make weight loss next to impossible, if they have the right mindset. A mindset of purpose and worth with the right information to make good dietary choices that they can afford. The chart above reflects a very clear correlation between poverty and obesity. The CDC and the FDA have made numerous announcement and press releases on the issue, but they center more around being active and eating right than the emotional and mental well being of the individual. Hopeless and discouraged people do not tend to give great concern to their long-term health, but to their short-term satisfaction.

I know that being overweight is as American as Apple pie and baseball. As long as times are relatively good and comfortable that will not change. What can change is how we view those in the lower income brackets and those who are obese. Instead of viewing them as worthless and treating them as such, maybe we can actively treat them as someone who has something to contribute giving them a sense of pride. Maybe the kids should be taught they have value and something to offer before they become worn down adults. It’s easier to redirect a child then to fix a broke adult, but if the child can be reached the parent can also. This is where the great success of Gospel For Asia has come from. They impact the child and the child’s behavior impacts the parents. What if we adopted that attitude?

Just a thought on this scorching hot Sunday in the mid-west.

Andy

 

How the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made trucking & our roads less safe.

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The FMCSA ( Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ) was started on January 1, 2000. They are under the USDOT as a regulatory bureaucracy tasked with reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities with large trucks and buses. As a part of the USDOT they function without Congressional oversight. Congress can enact legislation that falls under FMCSA’s purview to enforce, but that seldom acts. As such all the rules handed down from the FMCSA are called just that, rules that are enforced as law.  Prior to the inception of the FMCSA we had what was called the ICC or Interstate Commerce Commission that had a much more common sense approach to safety.

Hours Of Service

I’ll start with Hours of Service ( HOS ) rules. Truck drivers had to “log” their time every day in a log book and keep the prior 7 days logs with them. Their time was regulated to 10 hours driving and 11 hours on duty. They had to get all the days activities done in this 11 hour block of time. They also had limitations on how many hours they could work in a week. If they ran an 8 day log they were allowed 70 hours in 8 days. There was not a regulation that stated you could take a certain number of hours off and “reset” your time. To do that you had to take 7 days off. The upside to these HOS rules was you could stop the 11 hour clock anytime you logged “off duty” or in the “sleeper berth”. That was advantageous to everybody. If you spent 3 hours at a warehouse getting loaded you could log in the sleeper and take a nap with no worries because your clock was stopped until you started driving again. If the weather was bad or you arrived at a city during rush hour you could park the truck, log in the sleeper and take a nap without being penalized on your time. Once rush hour was over you would go again and be rested. Even if you just felt drowsy for no apparent reason you could park the truck and take a nap with no time penalty. A rested driver is a safe driver. As drivers are predominantly paid by the mile, they have to drive a lot of miles to make a decent pay check. Under these rules a driver didn’t have to worry about running out of time or driving tired. He could stop when needed, stop the clock and be rested without the stress of loosing money.

The FMCSA felt that these were archaic rules and they found something better. They claimed that since the above rules were in place for over 50 years, they didn’t have the science we do today about the human body and circadian rhythms. They, with some scientists, claimed that if you put the body on a routine 24 hour cycle it will be better rested and therefore safer.

The first problem is trucking is not a 24 hour cycle and scheduled job. There is pick up and delivery times all around the clock. Second problem is by their reasoning, if you take the mandatory break everyday you won’t get drowsy and need a nap. How many of you feel the need for a nap at least once a day. Now imagine driving a 70,000 LBS and over, 65 + foot long truck through traffic drowsy.

This study led to the 14 hours on duty with an available 11 hours of drive time and a mandatory  30 min break after 8 hours and a mandatory 10 hour break after the 14 hours is over. Once the driver starts their clock they have 14 hours to get everything done. The only way to stop this clock now is to take an 8 hour break all in the sleeper. Now if a driver spends 3 hours loading and hits a city at rush hour he has to keep driving. The clock will not stop. If he stops he looses miles and possibly the next load. Due to the clock not stopping and the popular pay by the mile pay scale, truckers are feeling immense pressure to squeeze every last mile they can out of the day. They know they can’t stop and take a nap when tired because their time will run out and mess up the next days schedule. The up side is when a driver takes 34 hours off duty consecutively their clock is reset and they have a full 70 hours to work in 8 days.

There is another option for HOS that is the 60 hours in 7 days. This rule functions like the 70 in 8 but depends on the type of operation the company performs that determines which HOS rules they fall under.

Due to the FMCSA we have a nation of truck drivers who are pressured into driving during bad weather, driving tired and succumbing to the pressures of driving in a reckless manner to try to get that last mile. It’s not right for the drivers to give in to this pressure, but when the average trucker makes a little under $50,000 year it’s understandable.

EOBR’s / E-Logs – Electronic Logging

Truckers used to use paper logs to keep track of their hours of service. The FMCSA decided it would be safer to force everyone to use an approved EOBR ( Electronic On Board Recorder ), also termed E-Logs ( electronic logs ). With these logs there is no flexibility to get to a safe place to park if held up at a shipping company or a receiving company. What’s recorded on the computer is it, your stuck with it. So imagine you sat hours at the shipper and still had to drive 500 miles to a delivery in the morning. Now everything you do is electronically documented for all to see.

A common problem is a driver arrives at a shipper for a 09:00  load appointment for a load that is 500 miles away that delivers at 08:00 the next day. The shipper takes until 14:00 to get the truck loaded. That driver just sat for 5 hours out of his 14. That leaves 9 hours to drive, fuel the truck, get through rush hour traffic, eat, take the mandatory 30 minute break after 8 consecutive hours on duty and still make the delivery on time. Most likely the driver will have to take a mandatory 10 hour break due to the clock not stopping so now he will have to spend time looking for a safe & legal place to park. If he misses the delivery appointment it will have to be rescheduled taking more time which in turn translates to miles which equals pay. Having to reschedule means that driver could lose up to 600 miles due to missing the next load because of a slow shipper. If he makes $.43 per mile that equates to $258 lost on that paycheck. This is really a compounded problem. The rigid HOS rules coupled with the EOBR allows zero flexibility.

This also happens at receivers. It’s not uncommon for a driver to sit 7, 8 and even 12 or more hours at a receiver or shipper. This wrecks the whole weeks plans. With the EOBR, the driver can’t fudge the log book and make the run work. They are stuck with the incompetently slow shippers and receivers. Yes, fudging is falsifying your log, but the industry on the shipping and receiving end has no oversight or penalty for holding a truck.

Now with the EOBR, when the driver is done loading or unloading, many companies refuse to allow the truck to park on the property to get the mandatory break. This forces the driver to drive out of hours on the public roadways. If they are involved in an accident and it’s seen that they are operating the vehicle while over the allowed hours they are facing some stiff penalties to include homicide if the other party dies as result, regardless of fault. A case was tried in GA under these circumstance and the driver was sent to prison. Witnesses say he was well under the speed limit going through a green light when a car ran the red light resulting in the death of that driver. The prosecutor argued that if the driver was not driving out of hours he wouldn’t have been there and the accident would not have occurred. They didn’t accept the fact that the receiver had refused to allow him to park after holding him for hours. A paper log would have allowed the driver to make it look legal to find a safe place. Until there is oversight on shippers and receivers this is the reality we live in.

Another issue is cost. A large company with thousands of trucks can absorb the cost. Prior to the Dec. 17, 2017 mandate these machines, computers really, were about 70% less up front on initial cost and monthly fees. The big company gets a volume discount while the small company and single truck operation have to shell out thousands. A number of small companies and single tuck owner operators are actively seeking a way out of the industry as a result. This will take a lot of safe experienced drivers off the roads and be replaced with inadequately trained drivers with big companies like Swift, U.S Express, P.A.M, etc.

Training standards

Currently the training standards for training inexperienced truck drivers, those that need to go to a driving school, are non-existent. The insurance industry has done more to raise the standards for training new drivers then the government has. It’s so bad that companies have drivers with less than 6 months experience training someone fresh out of driving school. Some companies have exemptions from the FMCSA to allow student drivers that have a CDL permit to driver while the trainer is asleep in the sleeperberth. How on earth is this promoting safety! It takes several years to know enough about driving a tractor-trailer to be able to effectively and safely teach someone else.

As of now there is not a set number of hours one has to have in a training school nor behind the wheel with a trainer. There is not an apprenticeship or journeymen’s program. A new driver gets our of a 2 to 3 week school, some community colleges and private schools have up to 6 weeks of schooling, then put on the truck with a trainer for about 3 weeks. At that point they are assigned a truck with no oversight and turned loose. IF the FMCSA were really about safety they would certainly address this. Currently they are dragging their feet on making any suggestions.

Where we stand now.

Currently congress has as bill that’s been introduced to extend the mandatory EOBR mandate. Hopefully it gets passed and eventually the mandate gets permanently scrapped. If company A wants to use them, great, but don’t force company B to follow suit with your model.

As I mentioned the FMCSA is looking at training standards, but the last standards mentioned were wholly inadequate and unacceptable.

There are no plans to bring pressure on shippers and receivers. Money talks and GE, P&G, GM, Good Year, etc. have more money and lobbyist to shut that down than trucking companies do.

What we have seen is the ATA ( American Trucking Association ) has member companies such as J.B Hunt, Schneider, Maverick, Werner, U.S Express, Covenant and others that they lobby the FMCSA to get things like the EOBR mandate in place and to stay away from more stringent training standards. This forces the more flexible small company into the more rigid mold of the big company. This doesn’t work and forces the smaller, safer company out of business.

IF the FMCSA were truly about safety they would honestly address and correct the issues they created. As they are not they have made it very clear that they care little about SAFETY and more about being part of a overburdensome bureaucracy that likes to make rules with no oversight for any reason they see fit to justify their existence. As of now they have created an infinitely more unsafe environment on our roads.

Andy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sin is sin regardless of your preference.

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It’s become accepted that certain sins are more damning than others. The list of the worst sins seems to vary depending on where you are and what denomination you’re at. The only sin that I can find in the Bible that is set apart as unforgivable is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. All other sins fall in line as equal and forgivable in the eyes of God.

Someone will say, but it says that drunks, liars, etc.. will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Yes, it does say that, but it goes on to say that you were once these things. Once born again you are cleansed and clothed in righteousness. All things are new, the old is put away.

That being said, once born again all sin and addictions don’t always just disappear. Some linger others are gone immediately. Keep in mind that the spirit is willing but the flesh is stronger at first. If you continue on the Christian walk and grow more Christ like, which is the goal, the flesh gets weaker and the spirit gets stronger. This makes the strong holds of various sins and addictions weaker. As we begin the walk with Christ some of our struggles we have to abstain from out of holiness, not in an effort to get into heaven on works. Some people never grow and mature and the strong holds and favorite sins always remain strong.

Being human, we have our preferred sins that we like to protect and justify. We like to hold on to it and compare it to others claiming that at least it’s not as bad as so and so. We’ve just judged that person in an attempt to make ourselves seem more acceptable. That’s casting stones, throwing rocks in glass houses, what ever you want to call it. When we stand on our high horse and condemn a person for their faults all the while hiding or explaining away our own you are doing exactly what Jesus  asked of the pharisees in John 8:7. The difference is they recognized that they had sin and weren’t worthy of casting the first stone. Now let’s examine what I’m talking about.

If you are glutenous, overweight not from a medical condition but because you have no self-control over what you put in your mouth, who are you to condemn the homosexual?

If you watch porn in private how do you justify condemning R rated movies?

If you’re carrying on an affair how do you justify condemning the unmarried couple living together?

If you’re stealing from God in your tithes how do you stand in judgement of the one who smokes?

If you lie on your tax returns how do you stand in judgement of the one who cusses?

If you lust for someone you are not married to how do you stand and condemn the one who is lazy?

If you are addicted to any drug how do you condemn the one who indulges in gluttony?

How can the one who lies stand in judgement over the gossip?

How many people do you know that when confronted with their sin try to justify it as not being so bad? So and so does it or God’s grace covers it.

Sin is sin is sin. Until you are crowned Messiah or King of kings you can’t judge anybody for their actions. You can judge the action as sin, but the person is to be free of condemnation by you. That is reserved for the Great I Am.

We should strive to have compassion for those who are trapped in sin. We should be so reflective of Christ that they want to change and get away from the old things. We are to strive to become so Christ like that people know just from being close to us that we have the power of His Spirit. We are to extend the same grace to others that God has extended to us lest we suffer the fate of the servant in Mathew 18:21-35. The angry condemnation being heaped and shouted at the “immoral” and lost is not doing anything but causing them to dig down and shove it in your face more. Remember that a gentle answer turns away wrath. Our response is the image of the Father that they will see. Is it a good reflection? Before we go and gossip about another’s sin, what sin are you codling?

Andy

 

 

The willful misrepresentation of Christianity.

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There are teachings that have become popular that are complete misrepresentations of Christianity and scripture. They create a false hope in people at best, at worst it makes spiritual manipulation much easier. It’s also a turn off for non believers.

It’s inexcusable for any person to teach and misrepresent scripture. It’s equally inexcusable for a believer to perpetuate these lies. It’s incumbent on you to know and study the word for yourself. Our biblical illiteracy has made the continuation of these lies easy. Some will say a misrepresentation is not a lie, but I would argue that it is. Let’s look at some of the things we repeat that just are not true or contextual.

First, to read verses in context you have to read the verses before and after to get the whole thought and truth. When the letters were written that make up the 66 books of the Bible they were not written in chapter and verse. That didn’t come about until the Geneva Bible was first published in 1516 by the Puritans ( who we call the Pilgrims ) in Geneva. They did this as a study and reference aid, not a way to cherry pick single verses for a message or to establish doctrine.

“Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you”. This has become a popular teaching to help people overcome Satan’s temptations. If you don’t read the rest of the passage you wont know that James 4:7-8 states “Therefore submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. Simply telling the Devil to go doesn’t work. What works, and gives you the authority to make him flee, is the presence of God in your life. The Devil can’t stand to be near anything reflecting the I Am. The believer has to do their part and draw near to God for this passage to be true. Countless Christians hear this from the pulpit and wonder why Satan won’t leave them alone. Now you know.

“When you give, God will give more”, “God will return it to you pressed down, shaken together and overflowing” or something along those lines indicating a financial and/or material blessing for giving. Luke 6:38 paints a different picture. It says “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that  you use, it will be measured back to you. Now if you read the preceding verses and this in that context you will see that what is being indicated is not monetary but spiritual.  If they ignore the last sentence it’s easier to justify getting you in an emotional state to give money with the false promise of abundance, otherwise they would talk about the part you play in the promise.

“All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed”. While that is true, what’s equally important, and often neglected, is what you need to do to have this faith. In Mathew 17:20-21 Jesus said “Because of your unbelief, for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However this kind does not go except by prayer and fasting”. How cruel is it to tell people all they need is a tiny bit of faith for God to answer their prayer then not tell them what they need to do to get it! Is it any wonder that so many grow weary and lose faith!

“God will heal you if you just ask” or something along those lines. If only it was that cut and dry! How many people hear some preacher or believer say that and expect healing and when it doesn’t happen they get discouraged and their faith gets weaker? I never hear the rest of that passage in context with the claim. James 5:16 says “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective prayers of a righteous man avails much”. A key ingredient is confession and the righteous. Also look at Paul talking about a messenger coming from Satan and giving him a thorn in his side that he pleaded with the Lord for healing, but God had a different plan. I’ll get into that one next.

“God will not give you more than you can handle” is a huge lie. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to buffet me, lest I become exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me ‘ My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”. Jesus couldn’t face crucifixion and resurrection without God’s strength. Moses couldn’t have faced Pharaoh and led the Israelites away from Egypt without God’s strength. Paul wouldn’t have survived being stoned and shipwrecked without God’s strength. John could not have withstood being boiled in oil then exiled to an island to pound rock as an old man. God will allow things to come that will force you to rely on Him. It’s this reliance that enables you to persevere to the end and accomplish His will. It’s part of the growing process.

“God doesn’t want anyone to lack” or something along the lines of if you just give and are obedient you wont lack. Current events show us that this simply not true or every Christian in the third and developing world would be on easy street. They wouldn’t have a care in the world. They wouldn’t miss a meal, never be without shelter and so on. Even Paul wrote that he fasted not by choice but by circumstance. If the Apostle Paul, the man who wrote a third of the New Testament, went without food why do we think we are different? Just because you are a follower of Christ does not mean all your needs will be met. Keep in mind the according to His riches and GLORY line? His glory is rarely shown by His followers who have it easy. It’s when things are hard and they are totally reliant on Him that His glory and their testimony of Him is revealed.

I could write a thousand more words on this topic, but I’ll refrain. I will say that is of utmost importance to read and know scripture yourself. There is no other way that you will know the truth. It’s also incumbent on you as a believer to hold the pastors and elders accountable for their teaching. Doubly so when they are teaching things contrary and out of context with scripture. A person who teaches to your emotions and not the truth is a dangerous person.

Andy

When God’s trying to save you will you let Him?

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I heard a story, more along the lines of a joke, of a man who cried out to God to save him. The flood waters were rising and the man was in an upstairs window when a boat came by. The rescuers in the boat told him that they were there to save him, to get in. He said no, God said He will save me. A little later the flood waters are up to the roof and another boat of rescuers comes along. The same thing, God said He’ll rescue me, I’m good. The waters rise some more and he’s perched on the top of the chimney when a rescue helicopter stops over head and lowers a basket. He states again, no thanks, God will rescue me. A bit late he dies in the flood and gets to heaven. When he sees God he asks why He didn’t save him. God said I tried by sending to boats and a helicopter.

We laugh at this and ask “didn’t he know better”, “you would think common sense would have kicked in”, “I would never be that dumb” or would you? What we fail to see is that the man in the story didn’t recognize the thing God was trying to save him with because it didn’t look like what he thought it should. There are many times in scripture that God used circumstances to save His people in ways that didn’t look like salvation at the time.

Do you think Daniel thought that God was saving him by allowing him to be thrown in the lion’s den? I bet he thought things looked pretty bleak, but he kept the faith. Not only was he saved, but the events caused the king to change his heart and a nation was changed.

Do you think the three dudes who refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar thought being thrown in the furnace was God saving them? Despite the desperate appearance they kept the faith. That faith was a testimony to the king and resulted in him making a decree that protected the Jews in his kingdom.

Do you think the Israelites could have fathomed God literally dropping food on their heads? I think not, but this act of compassion to save them from the mundane diet they had was certainly noteworthy and sparked a feast to this day in Jewish culture.

Do you think Peter & John thought God would save them from prison? I don’t know, but they praised anyhow and were supernaturally set free, saved from more abuse and likely execution.

Later in life John was boiled alive, well they tried but it didn’t work. This resulted in him being exiled to an island hammering rock in old age. Things weren’t looking up for the old man at this point. Even though God saving him from being boiled in a vat of oil encouraged numerous saints facing death, things weren’t to cozy where he was. Many believers were praying for God to free him, but he had to be given a vision to write what we know as the book of Revelations. If he had been saved from his troubles earlier we wouldn’t have that book today.

In our lives today there are countless times that we ask God to save us from something, but do we accept His response? Do we not notice it because it doesn’t look like we think it should? Do we have a preconceived notion of how the salvation should look or feel entitled to something better than what is offered us?

How many of you pray for a better marriage only to have it get worse. The worse it gets the more you plead for it to get better, but you don’t think to pray with your spouse and do the hard work of making it better. After all, things continuing to go downhill is not what you prayed for, that can’t possibly be the answer. What if God allowed the attitudes and actions to occur to get things to a point so you would take action. If you don’t have skin in it will hold little value to you. Things of little value are taken for granted.

How many have been laid off or the business you worked for closed it’s doors. You have all that training and experience, all those bills and no job. You cry out to God to save you, send provision. In the next couple weeks you get offers to manage a convenience store, manage at a restaurant, a part-time job at Wal-Mart and another with a temp agency. Any of the opportunities will pay the bills, but it’s not what you trained for so you’re not going to take it. It doesn’t look like what you want so you would rather keep talking AT God instead of taking the thing He sent to save you.

How about those who suddenly found themselves needing to move from their home, a nice house. They cry out to God to save them from being homeless or moving in with family and the next three things that come open are single wide mobile homes on “that side of town”. You turn them all down saying that your not moving there, God will provide something better. All the while this is exactly what He has in mind.

What if God allowed, or put, you in any number of situations to grow you or impact others, but in your arrogance and ignorance of God’s larger plan you refuse the thing meant to save you? What if your current situation is because you denied God the opportunity to save you because it didn’t look like what you thought it should?

We aren’t privy to the larger plans of God. Often times we don’t even have a clear picture of the next step beyond the one we are getting ready to take. There are times that we need to take the things He sends us for our own good and our families good. Your kids are watching how you handle the tough situations and that will set a baseline for how the react as adults.

Live on the edge a little. Live with a bit of abandon and take the unlikely looking things. Before you know your family will look back at those times with fondness, with good memories not really dwelling on the bad times. Those will be overshadowed.

Andy