The problem with Children’s Ministry

Children’s ministries have a glaring fundamental flaw that is rarely spoke of publicly in the church. If the pastors or elders did speak from the pulpit on this flaw it would seriously offend some people and money would walk out the door. We all know that we have to be hyper sensitive to people in today’s day in age where we get easily offended by the simplest words.

The first problem is that we have a multi-billion dollar children’s church industry. I am not a fan of separating children from parents in church. It creates subcultures in the body that breed discention, a lack of community and a disconnect between generations. Once a child graduates children’s church they are moved to youth group where they are separated still. They then move up to young adults and college & career where they are still living in a subculture that is separate from the rest of the church. Kids don’t get to witness their parents worshiping, they don’t get to see other adults worshiping, they don’t get to witness adults learning and taking notes. The family often has no idea what went on in children’s church and the answers from their kids when asked is often ” it was OK ” or ” it was fun “. When asking what the children’s pastor taught they shrug and mutter something about fun or a character in the Bible. There is nothing for the kids and parents to discuss. Is it any wonder why each subsequent generations church attendance gets smaller and smaller? They no longer feel that they have anything in common with the older generation that they were separated from. The sad fact is we are stuck with it for the forseeable future.

We are in an age where everything has to cater to the individual. The individual needs to be entertained. We can’t take responsibility for our kids in church, we need them out of our hair so we can relax. They need to be someone else’s problem. We can’t take responsibility to discipline them during the rest of the week so we can’t make them mind during a two-hour church service. We have trained them through T.V and video games to switch topics ( gears if you will ) about every minute or two. Now the pastor is too boring because he isn’t fast paced and loud so we feel the need to farm them out to the children’s ministry and expect them to make a huge and lasting impact on their behavior.

Now that that’s out-of-the-way. The problem is not the Children’s pastor or the volunteers. My wife and I were children’s pastors, led Royal Rangers and Missionettes ( Impact Girls ) volunteered in inner city outreaches to kids and with our churches children’s ministry in other areas. There are some really good volunteers and children’s pastors who try, care, pray for and cry over the kids they see each week. The problem is they only see the kids a couple of hours a week. They might have them two hours on Sunday morning and that’s it for most of them. They get to see a few more back on Sunday night and even fewer on Wednesday night. All in all they might see your kids a total of 4 hours max out of 168 hours. That leaves 164 hours where the kid is being influenced elsewhere.

The remaining time is split with roughly 45 hours a week at school for around 180 days a year. That leaves as few as 119 hours a week where the primary influence on the child is at home. That is a huge and insurmountable difference between time under the influence of a children’s pastor and influence of the parent. Those 4 hours your overworked children’s pastor has can not overcome the learned behavior of the other 164 hours a week. Sure, the children’s pastor can influence your child. Sure they can help instill a love for Christ and the knowledge of good and evil, but they are not the primary influence in the child’s life. Mom and dad  – you are.

How can you as a parent honestly say the children’s ministry at your church is ineffective when your actions and behavior at home counter what they are being taught at church? In church the kids are taught the importance of reading their Bible, yet your kids never see you reading yours. They may not even know you own one! They are taught not to gossip about people but over dinner you gossip about that coworker living with his girlfriend who can’t chew gum with her mouth shut, or you gossip about sister so-and-so who wore that hideous dress that made her already large behind look even larger. They are taught not to lie, but they watch you lie to get a discount or get out of a speeding ticket. They are taught to pray, but the only time they see you pray is when the car breaks or something goes wrong and you mutter “Jesus Christ!” They are taught to be kind to the poor and watch you badmouth the homeless guy on the corner. See where this is going?

Parents, you are the most influential person in their life and they learn what is important from you. They learn if church is important by your commitment. When you pull them out of church at 8:30 PM because it’s a school night, but you don’t bat an eye when they stay on the ball field until 10:00 PM on a school night you are showing that sports is more important than church. The same is true when you blow off numerous services in the name of sports throughout the year or every weekend at the beach during the off school months. When you casually blow off church you are telling your kids church just isn’t that important.

In short you are spending the week undoing what the children’s pastor and volunteers are trying to teach. Then you get angry with the pastor and volunteers when your kid doesn’t know even the simplest Bible stories or is frequently needing discipline during service for acting up. The problem is not the children’s pastor, it’s not the volunteers, it’s not the curriculum, it’s you!

No one ever said parenting was going to be easy. No one ever promised you a rose garden once you became pregnant with your first child. The responsibility to raise them and instruct them in the ways of the Lord is your responsibility, not anyone else’s. Children are a tremendous blessing that come with an incredible burden. In truth all great blessings come with a great burden of responsibility that can not by delegated to someone else. None of us will parent perfectly, but you will be amazed at the grace your kids will show you when they know God is your first priority, your spouse is your second than them. That grace comes from security in their position with you and later from their own relationship with the Lord.

Andy

 

Is it Global Warming, Global Cooling or Climate Change?

According to the American Museum of Natural History the earth is 4.5 billion years old, give or take 50 million years. Biblical historians say the earth is 6,000 years old.

We have been keeping track of temperature since 1880 and later in some parts of the world. We’ll just say 1880 for the whole world in regards to temperature recording. That’s 138 years of recordings. Now that is being extremely generous as in the early 1950’s there was no temperature recording in North Korea. They guessed the temperature at the Chosin Reservoir by the effects on weapons lubricants, wound clotting, etc.

If the world is only 6,000 years old then we only have data for about .03% of the earth’s life. If the earth is 4.5 billion years old then we have data for less than .0001% of the earth’s life.

With that little data how can we honestly say the earth is warming or cooling at alarming rates? How do we know what the normal temps should be? No other area of science would this little amount of data be considered enough to even come close to drawing any kind of hypothesis. So why then are we taking the theory of global warming as gospel? Why did we change it from global cooling in the 70’s to warming and now climate change?

We can see an undisputed pattern of climate change since man started keeping records. In these records we see a lot of change that indicates a cyclic pattern of nature.

To have any accurate data set to make climate change, cooling or warming trends alarming we would need at least another billion years worth of data if you adhere to the “old earth” philosophy.

Stop and think about what you are being told and ask yourself, why are they pushing this with so little evidence?
Why are they so hostile to those who question it?
Why do they actively try and suppress science and reports from the scientific community that challenge their assertions?
Why have they buried the leaked data that shows the data being used was false?
Why are we putting man made computer models, with such a miniscule data set, in such high regard as to cost the world economies trillions of dollars and exasperate the hunger problems?

If only people would abandon “group think” and think on their own.

Andy

If Jesus were here today He would….

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Recently several articles have been circulating around social media about a certain televangelist who was asking his “followers” to pony up $54 million for another private jet. This after a video of the same televangelist with another laughing about why they need their own private jets. A comment in the most recent video was “I really believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ was physically on earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey. He’d be in an airplane flying all over the world.” This brought to mind all the crazy claims people make saying “Jesus would” to justify it.

Lets start with the plane. I doubt Jesus would be flying all over the world in any plane, let alone a $54 million private plane. Why you ask? When Jesus walked the earth he used the most common mode of travel to the masses at the time. He walked, rode in a fishing boat and one notable occasion a donkey. He didn’t travel very far from his earthly home in Nazareth. He stayed within a close proximity of that area despite the “known world” by Roman standards being journeys of many month’s. The known world to God the Father would be years of walking, sailing and riding. Despite the knowledge of the whole world and the people in it He stayed in a relatively small area.

He would ask for money every time He ministered to carry on the ministry. There is not one recorded instance that I can find that even suggests that Jesus asked for money. We know He and the apostles had some or Judas would not have been the money handler. This suggests that people gave out of a holy conviction. There are those who travel to evangelize and never ask for any money or lodging accommodations. They foot the bill out of their own pockets and rely on God to provide through the people where they are ministering to. If the amount given does not cover expenses, all well.

Jesus would drive a Prius ( or insert your favorite eco-friendly car ). Jesus was a carpenter by trade. In his day carpenters not only worked with wood, but stone also. A Prius, Tesla, Civic Hybrid or whatever can not carry the tools and material. Jesus had a crew of 12 that went everywhere with Him. There is not one eco-friendly car on the market that can accommodate 13 men, food and clothes.

Jesus would never go into a bar. Really…..have you read the stories of the people He ministered to? They weren’t exactly presidents, congressmen and billionaires. They were the working class, the tax collectors, the prostitutes and such. The very people you would find in “that side of town”. He went to where they were and they in turn went to find Him.

Jesus would certainly be “this denomination”. That’s as deluded as it gets! Jesus taught of loving one another and being of one mind. The denominational structure of the church today is anything but loving one another and being of one accord. He never talked of wearing no makeup, covering all bare skin, not affiliating with people of the world, nor eating this or that, not drinking, not going to parties. He did all those things. His first known miracle was at a party and involved alcohol.

Jesus would certainly be King James only! Please……stop…..just stop. Jesus would have been about whatever translation gets the point across in a manner that is consistent with the word of God and is understandable and relatable to the masses. He spoke in the local languages of the day which would have been Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek ( Latin ). He related truths of Gods word in stories that the common man could understand and put into practice. If you really want to go down that rabbit hole, do you really think the man who taught on one wife, no divorce and sanctity of marriage would be thrilled with a bible commissioned by a man, for a new church, separate from the existing church so he could divorce one wife and marry another? Somehow I think Jesus might frown on that.

If Jesus were here he would live in a nice house. I doubt it. There is no record that He had a home of His own. He said the son of man has nowhere to lay His head. In the gospels He is traveling and staying in other people’s homes. If your justification for a big house is “Jesus would” you will probably find yourself a vagrant.

If Jesus were here He wouldn’t harp on sin. He wouldn’t want to make people feel bad about themself. Have you even read His teachings? He had no qualms about being challenging, in your face and brutally honest. He would call out sin in a minute and let the truth bring conviction. He also had an amazing amount of compassion at the same time which allowed people to sense His sincerity and love.

Jesus would never put people in charge of churches or ministries that didn’t have this degree or that degree. About that…..non of His followers, who all became early church leaders, had any formal doctrinal teaching. Most were not schooled at all. What they had was a firm and unshakable belief in His deity. They had the power of the Holy Spirit and an unquestioning desire to be totally obedient. They had dynamic prayer lives and were accountable to each other. When was the last time the church grew by 5,000 in a single day or the members voluntarily sold their stuff and pooled it all together to make sure everyone in the church was provided for?

If Jesus were here today He would be married. Not so fast, there is no record of him being married. Most likely He wasn’t given His knowledge of His future and the pain and hardships that would cause someone. It would also have been a distraction that He did not have time for. This is alluded to in Paul’s instructions on marriage in later years. Given Jesus’ schedule, travels and lodging a woman would have been a hinderance and a distraction He could not afford and still fulfill the Father’s plan.

If Jesus were here He wouldn’t have a problem watching this. I’m not convinced He would watch anything on any form of media today. When I look at His life I don’t see much spare time that He didn’t have devoted to His Father’s business. He was always traveling, preaching, teaching, healing, counseling, discipling, eating or sleeping. He was first and foremost about His Father’s business and didn’t seem to entertain anything that would be a distraction from that.

If Jesus were here He would find a way to get away and get work done. Not likely. The few times Jesus “got away” the crowds found Him and He had compassion on them. He then ministered to them, taught, cast out demons and healed people. He was never concerned about people bothering Him or there being to many “demons” around. Given this, He still found time to get alone and pray.

The next time you hear someone say “if Jesus”, stop and take a good look at the life Jesus lived while here on earth. I’m not saying that you doing any of the above is a sin. It’s not a sin unless it’s strictly forbidden in the Bible or His holy spirit brought conviction on you about it. Just because Jesus didn’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. The problem is when we try to justify what we are doing by invoking WWJD.

Andy

The reasons behind the anger over the firing of Roseanne.

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Roseanne Barr goes to Twitter and tweets a comparison between Valerie Jarrett to an ape. The left went apoplectic and she was fired about five hours after her tweet. Many of her fans and many conservative leaning individuals first condemned the tweet then blasted ABC for firing her. In response to the outrage against ABC many left leaning individuals, the press and the entertainment industry are trying to call conservative minded people hypocrites over applauding the NFL’s new rule, but condemning ABC. This shows they really don’t see the problem or don’t care, they just want the talking point and the division. I believe they just want to keep us divided and the best way to do that is to ignore the truth and stoke the flames.

We are angry with ABC, the media and the entertainment industry in general because of their blatant hypocrisy. The cry about a war on women yet it took them 30 years to fire Harvey Weinstein and they all knew about his behavior. It took them 5 hours to fire Roseanne for her tweet and they all knew how unstable she is.

They claim they are for free speech, but applaud and cover up social media’s persistent censoring of conservative and Christian speech. They fire the only real conservative sitcom, Tim Allen & Last Man Standing despite it being the highest rated show on ABC.

Jimmy Kimmell mocks Melania Trump for her accent and calls her stupid. The left laughs and says no big deal, yet they fire Roseanne.

Bill Maher calls blacks n!g@*rs, makes fun of blacks and calls them house slaves. He gets called out on it and issues a very insincere apology and the left calls him a great comedian. He goes on to compare Donald Trump to an ape, the same thing Roseanne did to Valerie Jarrett yet he keeps his job.

Wanda Sykes, one of the most vile comedians on TV and movies gets to call President Trump all manner of obscene names and compared him to an ape. She keeps her job and gets applauded, yet Roseanne gets fired.

Joy Reid gets investigated by the FBI for homophobic blog posts and mocks gays & lesbians, lies to investigators and tries to blame hackers and the left holds her up as a great example of a strong woman.

The comedian for the White House Correspondents Dinner jokes about abortion and delivers one insulting joke after another about Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the left applauds her as funny and entertaining.

Keith Olberman tweets “F$ck Trump Nazi Nazi f*ck Nazi Nazi racist Nazi BIGOT go f@ck yourself f%cking Nazi f*ck” and page after page of similar tweets. What’s his punishment…a promotion and a show on another Disney – ABC station, ESPN.

Whoopie wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Donald Trump blowing his brains out with a handgun with the caption “Make America Great Again”. Not only is the shirt obscene, but it depicts gun violence that the left rails against!

Hillary Clinton called young black males a kind of super predator that are a danger to society and something needs done about them. She gets praised by the left and nominated on the Democratic ticket for president! Yet, Roseanne gets fired.

Joy Behar calls Mike Pence and all Christians who “talk” and “hear” from God insane with a mental disorder. She continuously vilifies and lies about Christians & conservatives on The View. She is praised and applauded while Roseanne gets fired.

The left applauds and licks the feet of George Soros, an admitted Nazi who has been kicked out of several countries. He stated on a live interview that he enjoyed being a Nazi. The greatest time of his life was turning in Jews to the Nazi government and confiscating their property. He went on to say he had no regrets.

Obama called conservative Christians bitter clingers. He repeated the line that gun owning, Christian conservative males were a domestic terror threat.

The left automatically jumped to the conclusion that Roseanne was insinuating that Valerie Jarrett was black, therefore her ape comparison was racist. What is racist is the automatic assumption that this was Roseanne’s intent. In Staford’s 1977 year book Valerie Jarrett wrote that she was Iranian and wanted to use Islam to destroy America. She went on to be Obama’s primary policy adviser and moved in with them. The Iranians, and Islam in general, say that Jews are descendants of pigs and apes. Where’s the outrage?

The left also demands that school children are descendants of apes, just we managed to evolve faster than they have. Now they get upset when someone compares one of them to an ape, but it’s OK for one of them to compare a conservative to an ape.

The media, when reporting on Roseanne’s firing, reports that Roseanne Barr and Trump friend, supporter ( or a variable of this ) was fired for racist tweet, yet when Harvey Weinstein was perp walked this weekend the media didn’t once mention his party affiliation, the Democrats he donated to and were friends with or the causes he stood with Democrats on. The media continues to only report party affiliation when it’s against Republicans, conservatives, Christians or whites. They bring division into everything. White officer, black victim. Black officer, white victim and so on.

The funny thing about the left painting Roseanne as a conservative is that she isn’t by any stretch of the imagination. She thinks Bush planned 9/11 and Obama planned and organised Benghazi. She thinks the guillotine should be brought back and bankers should be beheaded. She supported the socialist/ communist candidate from the Peace and Freedom party for president and the left has been A-OK with her antics until she spoke out in favor of Trump.

I can go on and on for pages writing about the hypocrisy of the left in how left leaning voices get a pass for anything because they are on the “right side” while conservative leaning voices get censored, lied about and punished for the exact same thing that the left applauds one of their own for. That ladies & gentlemen is why the outrage over ABC’s firing of Roseanne comes from. The conservative, independent, moderate voice in America is tired of being lectured, scolded and talked down to by people who do exactly what they castigate others for. This is just beginning to boil over in other arenas. We see it with CNN’s & MSNBC’s ratings in the toilet. We see it in Target, Dick’s and Yeti taking huge profit hits. It shows in the NFL losing billions in a single season. The “forgotten man” is beginning to be heard and the left doesn’t know what’s happening.

Andy

1st Lt. Clint Lorance and the gross miscarriage of justice.

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There are times when our justice system works exactly as it was intended, then there are times it doesn’t. The military justice system is no different. Sometimes the UCMJ and the court martial process works like it is supposed to. In other times it does not as 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and his family learned.

In 2012 1st Lt. Lorance was placed in command of a platoon after its previous platoon commander was killed in action by military aged men on motorcycles. Other soldiers in the platoon were also killed in the same set of circumstances. In July 2012 three military aged males were speeding towards his platoon, exactly like in previous attacks. He had a decision to make, fire on the men to save the lives of his soldiers or not fire until fired upon as the Obama era Rules of Engagement dictated. 1st Lt. Lorance chose to order his platoon to fire on the men resulting in two of the riders being killed.

Now if you were in command of a squad or platoon and were in the exact same situation you would fire on the approaching party to preserve life and limb. 1st Lt. Clint Lorance knew that military age males on motorcycles were not only observing and following US troops in Afghanistan, but also attacking them. He did what any good officer would do and protected his men.

Subsequently 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was placed under investigation for murder then court martialed. In August 2013 he was found guilty of two counts of second degree murder. His sentence, 19 years in the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

What we have learned since then is the Army withheld information from the defense that would have exonerated the lieutenant. As Rep. Duncan Hunter ( USMC vet and congressman from California’s 50th District ) stated the Army found that the men killed by Lt. Lorance’s platoon were at locations, and involved in, planting IED’s that killed US & coalition soldiers. What’s the punishment for those in the Army who with held info, nothing. As Rep. Hunter explains the Army justice system is like the civilian justice system in that wins count. Compounding the problem for Lt. Lorance is that the military never, ever, admits it is wrong. They will go through great lengths to cover up mistakes. We have more examples of this then is comfortable from Agent Orange to contaminated drinking water and so on.

There is a Free Clint Lorance movement that has been around since his sentencing in 2013. Many have signed the petition and people like Rep. Hunter have sent letters to the president seeking a pardon for him. As Rep. Hunter explained on the Sean Hannity show the president has officers from the Department of Defense’s legal system telling him that he can not overturn the military’s justice system. Now Rep. Hunter announced on the show that he received information a week ago that tied a third insurgent who was killed that had intel on him placing him with the two killed by Lt. Lorance’s platoon.  This was known by the Army and withheld.

Some say he should stay locked up for violating the Rules of Engagement ( ROE ). There are many who were & are in combat arms MOS’s that say the ROE’s are nothing more than rules designed to allow the enemy to kill US & coalition troops easier. The validity of this argument is seen in the number of killed and wounded under President Obama’s term in office. There were more killed and wounded under him than under President Bush.

Many of believe that Lt. Lorance should receive a full pardon, reinstatement with promotion to the rank he would have attained if he were still on active duty and back pay. As the military does not admit mistake or wrong doing that is doubtful to happen. At the very least the lieutenant should receive a full pardon and allowed to resume his life. We call on you President Trump to right what the swamp has wronged.

Free Clint Lorance.

Andy

Trucking’s $89.6 Million Dollar Wake – Up Call.

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Recently a jury awarded $89.6 million dollars to the plaintiff in a civil case over an accident in which two people suffered brain injuries, one child a quadriplegic and one dead. The troopers at the accident declined to ticket the truck driver as they felt he was not at fault. The driver of the pick up truck lost control, crossed the median and was then struck by the Werner Enterprises truck going the opposite direction. Later a law suit was filed against Werner for unsafe practices. The lawyer representing the plaintiff argued that Werner demonstrated “systematic disregard for safety and training policies”.  So how did the jury come to the decision to levy such a judgement against Werner if the troopers on scene did not find the driver at fault?

To begin you have to understand the merits of the case were not argued solely on the incident cited. The law firm in question argued that Werner not only neglected safety in this instance, but had a culture of neglecting safety. The argument was that due to black ice conditions the Werner driver should not have been on the road at all according to the drivers manual in over 40 states. These states instruct drivers to slow down and find a safe place to park and wait for road conditions to improve. They showed the driver was traveling over 60 MPH in these conditions and was traveling over 50 MPH at the time of the incident. To make matters worse other Werner employees testified that the driver was not allowed to use a C.B radio or external temperature gauge. When the National Weather Service issued an update on the winter storm informing of freezing rain the company never relayed the message to the truck.

To make matters worse this was a student driver who had a trainer with him. Due to this being an expedited, just-in-time load the driver trainer was not in the front seat with the student driver, leaving him unsupervised. As any driver trainer can tell you many companies utilize the truck as a team truck forcing one to sleep while the other drives. The argument went on to claim if the student driver had parked the truck like the states drivers manuals instruct, or had slowed down significantly he would have not been where he was when the pick up lost control and crossed the median.

Now, this is not the first settlement Werner has had to pay out ( to be fair this one isn’t paid and likely will not be until the case is appealed. ). Other companies that hire and train a lot of student drivers are dubbed “driver mills” by many in the industry because they go through so many students. Not to mention the amount of property damage they cause, injury and death to others. These companies include names like Swift, PAM, CRST, CR England and many others. Everyone in the industry knows the student drivers they put on the road are severely under trained and a safety hazard to us all.

The FMCSA assembled a group to address training standards and what they came up with was an absolute joke and maintained the same level of unsafe behavior by these companies as before. It was so bad that some experienced drivers left the panel once they realized how absurd it had become. What the general public doesn’t realize is the FMCSA does very little to improve safety, despite safety being their primary oversight responsibility and these driver mill companies turn drivers loose with only three weeks training behind the wheel. Most of that time they were unsupervised as their trainer had to sleep due to the truck being utilized as a team truck.

These practices are grossly unsafe to everybody, but they persist favoring profit over safety to the motoring public. Other companies have had their share of multi-million dollar settlements over unsafe behavior. Celadon told their drivers to use cruise control as much as possible regardless of weather conditions to save on fuel. A driver lost control in a snow storm, hit a passenger vehicle causing death and permanent injury. The driver admitted to law enforcement that he was using cruise per company directive. That settlement was what it took for Celadon to change their practices. Prior to that they didn’t care about the dangers involved, only the few gallons of fuel they might save.

All through the industry companies and drivers struggle with image. Hollywood and the media have portrayed truckers as irresponsible and reckless unproffesionals. The more this image persists the harder it becomes to find people willing to get into trucking. Drivers want treated as a proffesional by the trucking companies, yet many try to avoid being proffesional. To change the image the industry has and to get the all around treatment a proffessional rates things must change in both camps. Drivers have to take responsiblity for the truck and make judgment calls on what is safe and not safe, refusing what is not. There are more jobs than drivers, if you are fired for refusing to be unsafe you will have a job by the end of the week.

The companies need to invest more in training. They need to be much more selective of who they elevate to driver trainer status and then train them to be trainers. Selecting someone who has 4 months experience trucking without wrecking is not a suitable candidate to be a trainer. The training standards for student drivers needs to be longer than three weeks and much more stringent than it is now.

Due to the FMCSA, Congress and these training companies failing to do what is prudent and responsible it is now sadly the courts influence that is needed to bring about change. Some say this award against Werner Enterprises is extreme and without merit. I say just the opposite. These companies know what they are doing and will not stop these unsafe practices until the monetary punishment is so severe that they have no choice but to change their behavior. Regardless of how the appeals process plays out we can only hope that these big box driver training companies are swayed into reforming their practices to avoid similar law suits.

Andy

Is the truck driver shortage a myth or reality?

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There’s much noise coming from some in the transportation industry about a driver shortage. There’s another camp that claims there is not a shortage, just a very unhealthy driver churn that’s called turn over. There is die hard adherents to both claims, but the truth is in the middle as it always is.

The claim of a driver shortage is perpetuated by the American Trucking Association          ( ATA ), its member companies, industry media outlets that survive on advertising from said companies and other trade groups representing the “mega carriers”. One thing we have to keep in mind is nothing is as the ATA claims it is. They are a lobby group for their member companies that are front and center in a lot of the problems plaguing the industry. As a result they use their wealth to lobby congress & the FMCSA to get regulations and rule making that favors them.

In an article in USA Today, titled “Truck Driver Shortage is raising prices, delaying deliveries” , the ATA claims that in 2018 we are short 51,000 truck drivers. They go onto claim that in four years, 2022, we will be short 106,245 truck drivers. The ATA has also stated they draw these numbers from statistics from their member companies and the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. The solutions the ATA is looking to include federal minimum age hiring standards for interstate drivers be lowered from 21 to 18. They claim that we allow 18 year old’s to operate heavy vehicles in the military so they should be able to do so on our highways. They are also eyeing autonomous trucks.

Lowering the age with the current guidelines the ATA is suggesting is a disaster waiting to happen. 18 year old’s in the military do not operate heavy vehicles in the military without supervision from older, more mature and higher ranked individuals. They are not tossed a set of keys with 3 weeks training and sent on their way. It’s much more controlled and supervised. Most 18 year old’s are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of handling a tractor-trailer. Just a month ago they were eating Tide pods and two months ago doing the cinnamon challenge. I don’t know about you, but given the current cultural dynamics I don’t want people who can’t use good judgement to discern that eating laundry soap is a bad idea operating a 70 foot long, 13’6 high, 8.5 feet wide and up to 80,000 LBS vehicle down the interstate.

Autonomous trucks are a more viable solution, but the public doesn’t seem to keen on them. Insurance companies are scarred to death due to no one has determined who’s going to be liable for claims. Will it be the company that manufactured the components that failed? Will it be the truck manufacturer who assembled the whole thing? Will it be the driver who was supposed to be monitoring the vehicle? Will it be the network provider who oversees and maintains the wireless network the truck is utilizing? With the number of deaths and accidents involving autonomous vehicles I don’t think we’ll be seeing widespread use of them soon.

The mega companies see a huge turnover that other industries find totally unacceptable, but trucking finds normal. Take Werner Enterprises for example. They employ nearly 8,000 people and hired 10,000 people last year. That’s over a 100% turn over rate. All the mega carriers experience the same thing. The smaller companies see a much lower turn over rates with the largest growth in the under 15 power unit companies. They have seen around 60% growth for a few years.

The other camp is led by OOIDA and claims there is not a driver shortage, but a driver churn problem. They say that with an industry average 100% turn over rate it’s a churn and training problem. This camp also states that with states issuing around 400,000 CDL’s a month there is not a shortage.

There’s a couple of problems with both lines of reasoning. In the strictest sense if the industry has a 100 % turn over that means every driver left one company for another over the course of the year. If a company has 250 trucks and 210 drivers and 100 % of the drivers change jobs, they still only have 210 drivers and 40 empty trucks. Yes, the churn is bad, but the mega companies have created the problem that they seemingly are unwilling to fix.

The claim that there is not a shortage because states issue 400,000 CDL’s is problematic too. Out of 400,000 CDL’s how many are renewals? How many are Class B CDL’s for dump truck drivers or cement truck drivers? How many are truly new Class A issues for people driving OTR and regional? How many are mechanics obtaining or renewing a CDL for the sole purpose of test driving and relocating equipment? How many are for people driving a school bus, activity bus or church bus? How many work for the state or a city fire department that requires their engineers to have a Class B? The questions can be endless.

What we do know is there are many people with CDL’s that have no intention of driving truck in a manner that will have them away from home over night. We also know that there are drivers who show up for orientation that have 20 jobs on their 10 year work history. We also know people obtain their CDL and drive truck as a last resort until their previous job has spots open back up. In a surging economy you will see people who were in construction, mining, etc. leave trucking in favor of their former jobs.

To claim there is not a shortage is shooting yourself in the foot. On one hand the shortage is causing rates to increase. To run around insisting there is not shortage gives the industry the excuse to lower rates again using your own argument against you.

I fall in the middle of both arguments. There is a shortage, but it is not as severe as the ATA and company claim. When you look at the number of loads being offered vs. the number of trucks and drivers on the road it’s obvious there is a shortage of drivers. The truth is the shortage needs to stay. There are commodities that do not have to ship right now. They can wait awhile before being shipped. If the industry makes a mad scramble to fill all the spots needed to not have a shortage, when all the shippers and receivers are caught up with demand and the economy cycles down again ( it always happens ) there will be too many trucks and drivers. Then rates go back down, miles fall off and drivers and companies make less money. We’ve seen companies offer all kinds of gimmicks to get trucks full only to encounter a seasonal slump and loose drivers because they can’t get the miles to make a paycheck that is worth being on the road.

The other claim by OOIDA and it’s adherents is training is lacking and contributing to the churn. In that they are absolutely correct, but that is another topic for another blog. In conclusion I believe we are in a good place for drivers and companies. We are finally seeing rates increasing like they have needed to for over 20 years. We are seeing trucking companies forced into making changes to better the quality of life for drivers. Warehousing is being forced to become more efficient and driver friendly to continue to attract trucks to move their freight. All in all this is a good thing.

Andy

Really, how bad is trucking?

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I admit, I’ve been pretty critical about trucking for sometime. There are things that I view are not progress, but detrimental to the industry overall. There are times when you have long wait times to load and unload. There are those unexpected breakdowns that simply can not be avoided. Sure, at times you end up having to park in less than desirable places for the night. There are the brokers that have no relationship with the truth. Fleet managers ( dispatchers ) that have no clue about whats going on out on the road. Some of these issues can be fixed by changing who you drive for while others will require pressure from numerous carriers. But really, how bad is trucking?

The stereotypical trucker is missing teeth, sounds like the tornado witness in the trailer park being interviewed on the Weather Channel. They may have most of their teeth and look a bit sketchy while they are throwing cigarette butts out the window flying down the highway. The truth is there are ex-lawyers, former law enforcement, those with engineering degrees that got tired of the cubical, former insurance agents, welders, teachers, nurses and a host of other professionals that got tired of their previous job and decided to try the open road.

You might say that truckers are unhealthy and overweight. That is true but it’s not due to the job. It’s due to the priorities that driver chooses. If health and wellness are your priorities you will watch what you eat and easily find time to do a 30 minute work out every day. It’s not hard to find the time. Showers are available 24/7 at almost all truck stops so washing away the sweat is not an issue. Being dirty is up to you. You also don’t have to be uneducated. I have had the chance to read and study a lot on my down time. The topics vary and there are a lot of interesting things to look up.

With technology the way it is today you are never out of touch with people unless you want to be. You have time to scroll through social media, video chat with people, watch movies or any TV show you want from the truck.

When I decided to try driving I had been a shop foreman, insurance agent and car salesman ( my least favorite ). My wife and I were simply not getting along at all and I decided to give it a try. Now I do not promote this strategy if you and your spouse are at odds. It’s likely not to work so well for you, but it did save our marriage. At the time she was going through postpartum depression, but we had no idea what was wrong nor how to recognize it. When I said I was going to a driving school she asked how long I would be gone. I told her three weeks and she simply said “bye”. Yea, it was that good.

Again I’ll ask, how bad is it really? Let us look at the upside to this career. I have met some of the friendliest and most interesting people you will ever find. The number of truly intelligent and down to earth people who chose to drive never ceases to amaze me. Keep in mind, to drive and stay out of trouble with the law you have to be familiar with the federal statutes in a 200 + page regulation manual plus the state and local laws where you will be traveling. You have to know how to adjust weights so you don’t have one axle overweight. You have to know where to tell the loader to set the load to be legal weight on all axles. You have to know how to figure travel time from point A to point B, factor in mandatory rest breaks and fuel consumption so you don’t run out. It’s not a job for dummies despite the stereotype.

I have met people from all over the world who came to America for a chance to live the American dream. Some were truck drivers in their home country, others came here and got trained. They bring a color to the industry and different ideas and values. Some good and others….well never mind. I’ve met people from India, Egypt, China, Korea, England, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Norway, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq and others that I can’t think of now. Each one brings stories that they are more than willing to tell if you will only listen.

Food, I have had some good, interesting and disgusting food all over the country. The best pizza I had was in a bar near Williamsport PA. I’ve had fresh gumbo and boudin in LA, TX style BBQ in several places in TX. I’ve ate BBQ in Kansas City and through the South East. Some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had was in Arizona from a roach coach. You want a killer sandwich hit up the little sandwich shop by the Philadelphia port. Where else will you be paid to travel to different cities and get to eat local cuisine?

I’ve seen the prairies, the rocky’s, the Guadalupe Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean in every state from Maine to Florida. I’ve seen the Pacific Ocean in two states and visited Canada on more than one occasion. I’ve seen the Gulf of Mexico from all the Gulf states and I’ve seen Mexico from across the Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California borders. I’ve seen the hot air balloon festival in NM heading south through the state. I’ve traveled across the Appalachians in every state they run through and seen all the great lakes.

I’ve left Texas while it was 100 and by the next day I was in Illinois where it was 10 degrees and snowing. I’ve been in snow storms where I could barely see the end of my hood and rain so hard my wiper couldn’t keep up. I’ve seen the sky so clear that you could see 30 miles in any direction. I’ve seen farm land and all the major city centers in America. I’ve witnessed some of the most amazing sun rises and sun sets ever and to top if off I’ve seen the Northern Lights.

I’ve hauled loads as simple as Roman Noodles and high dollar loads like cigarettes and computers. I’ve hauled sheets of ply wood and equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’ve been able to haul things from deep water ports, steel mills and military bases. I’ve been able to see how product gets from one place to another until you have the final product.

We have been blessed with the income this job has provided us. My wife has had the opportunity to stay at home and raise the kids, not having to worry about having a job outside the home. I have made enough that she could concentrate on being mom. Our family has been blessed for it. Sure, things have been tight at times, but not so tight that she has had to go to work.

My conclusion is, that despite the complaining and critical comments about trucking, it is not that bad. All in all it’s really not a bad way to go. Not every body is destined for college and not every body should. If trucking is something you have contemplated, jump in and give it a try. The worse thing is you’ll decide you don’t like while you get paid to see the country.

Andy

Chosen by birth or chosen by decision?

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The “by birth” or “your choice” argument over anything other than being heterosexual has been argued back and forth for a while. But, before I go any further with this I’ll tell you this will anger and offend people on both sides of the debate. To be honest I fully expect at least one social media platform to remove this post, if not this platform itself.

The LGBTQ…. community and it’s supporters make the claim that an individuals sexuality is determined by birth. They say the person did not choose to be “gay”, but they were just born that way. The same is said of all 70+ gender identifiers, they are born that way, it’s not a choice the person made. This argument doesn’t hold water when they come out later and say a person can, and will, change their mind about what they are. Even to the point that they may decide they are heterosexual after all, but it’s hateful and discriminatory to help them through counseling to fully embrace this new decision. That line of reasoning tells me it’s a choice. For whatever reason the individual decided to embrace that.

Now, on the other hand I do believe they are born into it. This is where I seriously anger and offend the orthodox Christian and the LGBTQ community all at the same time. I firmly believe you can be born into being “gay”, bisexual, etc… How can someone be born into this when the Bible clearly says other wise? It’s really a very easy explanation and not hard to grasp if you know scripture.

In the NLT of the Bible there are 14 references to a “sin nature” in Romans that is in all of us. This nature is a natural tendency to do things that are not of God. In evangelical language we call those actions sin. These can be anything that is against what is in scripture. Some examples are lying gossiping, gluttony, withholding tithes and offerings, theft, any sex outside of marriage between a man & a woman and the list is long. Each person has a tendency, or bent to, a particular sin. For some it’s anger, others it’s porn, it may be homosexuality, lust, placing idols before God, etc… We were born with these tendencies, we didn’t have to learn them, they came natural to us. For those in the LGBTQ ( etc.. ) life, they were chosen by birth due to a sin nature that we all share. It’s not in our physical DNA, but in our dead spiritual DNA.

Even though I say they were chosen by birth that doesn’t give permission to defy God’s law by willfully choosing to act on those desires. We all have the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil. It’s innate in us to sense when something is wrong. It’s that guilty feeling or feeling of shame when we are doing something we know flies in the face of our creator. Perhaps this is what is driving the push to force normalization on society.

Someone who has an addictive personality has the choice to either be an addict or live in holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit and refrain from giving into the flesh’s ( the body ) desires. The same with a lustful person. They have the choice to refrain from acting on those impulses through the power of the Holy Spirit or to use the ” that’s just the way I am ” crutch to justify the behavior.  The same for the individual who embraces one of the 70+ gender identifiers and the actions that go with that. They have the choice to embrace holiness through the power of the Holy Spirit or follow emotions and popular teaching of the day and give into the bodies desires.

This spiritual battle in the person that pulls them between a natural tendency of the flesh and the nature of Christ is lost on those who do not know Christ and those who are false teachers. You have one camp that says God loves you the way you are. They are right, but also wrong. He does love them. So much so that Jesus voluntarily came and died a violent, degrading, gruesome death to make another way for you, not so you can keep doing what you want to do.

The other camp says if your gay your burning in hell. The more extreme say you deserve it, you are getting what you deserve. To be truthful we all deserve it, not just the homosexual, not just the drunk, all of us. That’s the beauty in God’s grace. He made it possible for us to not suffer a deserving fate. That being said, constant harping on the “your going to hell and deserve it” platform is counter productive and shows no understanding of human nature. Any fool knows when you tell someone they can’t do it they will just to show you they can. Your anger and shouts are driving them further into the life that we want to see them leave. Chill out and read the book of John. Learn a little about grace and love. Jesus embraced the sinners, loved them, told them the truth and didn’t judge them. The judging a person comes later, we aren’t there yet.

Ostracising them is not the answer. Letting them serve openly in the church is not the answer either. The Bible is all about moderation and balance. There is a balance on how to deal with this issue. Paul gave us clear instruction on how to handle a member of the body who continues to knowingly live in sin, unrepentant and unwilling to change. There are clear steps to take before removing them. In order to do that we must be certain the person is a professed follower of Jesus.

What we have to keep in mind is when Paul said ” you were these things ” ( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), he was not saying the desire for these things would just disappear immediately. When he said “were” he meant that now you are a new creature in Christ, the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit covers that and empowers you to not give into that anymore. It also means God no longer sees those past sins. They are covered in a cloak of righteousness and cleansed by the blood of Jesus so you don’t have to pay the penalty.

How many people thought they were saved when they left church, struggled with sinful desires, someone told them to read this passage and said you aren’t that anymore, but because they still struggled with that desire they think they really aren’t saved. Maybe they think they are unworthy to come to church or approach the throne because they struggle with these desires. Remember that the desire is a temptation. That is not a sin. Jesus was tempted, but used scripture to rebuke Satan. In not giving into temptation and taking part in the sin He remained without sin. It’s the action of taking part in the thing you were tempted with that is sin.

What’s interesting is the bible speaks far more on sins like false gods, idols, gluttony and adultery than it does homosexuality. He didn’t elevate that sin above the others. The consequences are more sever as sexual sin is a sin against your own body ( 1 Corinthians 6:18 ). Lets keep that in mind the next time we are inclined to rant about anything related to LGBTQ. The only sin that is elevated in severity is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit ( Mark 12:31 )

So there you have it. A person can be born into it by virtue of their sin nature and they made a conscious decision to embrace it and act on it. We don’t need to shun and ostracize them, but pray and show them mercy and grace. We are not the Holy Spirit. There is only one and He uses us, not to condemn and bring guilt, but to speak truth and be salt and light.

Andy

Content or discontent, which tent are you in?

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Content or discontent, which tent are you in? It’s a hard question to ask yourself. Several years ago my wife and I were talking about something and our daughter looked at me and asked “dad, which tent are you in content or discontent?”. This stopped us both in our tracks. Now, she didn’t come up with that question on her own. I think she was listening to Damon Thompson and heard him say this, I’m not sure. We can’t remember anything other than this question.

Discontent is seemingly the American way. Companies spend billions of dollars in marketing campaigns to keep us wanting the next greatest thing. The more they advertise the more we want it. The better they make it seem the more we think we deserve it. The desire to want everything new is driven by greed, jealousy and pride. All three lead to being discontent with what you currently have.

Being discontent leads to depression when you can’t afford to get what someone else has. The more advertising we see the more we want and the more we spend the less we can afford. I’ve heard people lament on how depressing it is that they can’t have what someone else does. I’ve heard others say they will not stop until they have earned enough to get whatever it is they think they deserve.

People become discontent with their families when they focus on what their coworkers family looks like or the families portrayed in magazines, T.V. and movies. They become discontent with their spouse after watching porn. They see what they don’t have and compare it to the reality of what they do have. They often don’t stop to consider that what they are seeing in media is not reality.

Men have said if their wife only looked like this they would be happy. If their kids only made these grades, had these stats in sports, had this kind of job, was built like so and so they would be happy. Wives have said the same thing. Both have said if only they did this I would be happy or if we lived here and drove this we would be happy.

The truth of the matter is none of these things will make you happy. No change in your situation to reflect your current desires will make you happy. You are not happy because you are not happy with yourself and you have not learned to be content. Until you learn to be content everything you get will eventually seem old and inadequate in favor of something new. The moment of satisfaction is fleeting.

Scripture tells us to in Philippians 4:11 ” not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned that whatever state I am, to be content.”

1 Timothy 6:6-9 states ” Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” 

Hebrews 13:5-6 states ” Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.What can mere people do to me?”

Where do we find this kind of contentment? It’s only found through a close relationship with Christ. When you are more concerned with doing His will then your desires you lose sight of all the foolish things that distract us creating useless wants and desires. When you are content with what the Lord has given you, you become a threat to the enemy. He wants you discontent chasing useless things and accumulating staggering debt that prevents you from having true freedom. There is an old proverb that says the borrower is a slave to the lender. If you don’t borrow you can’t be a slave to Visa, Master Card, Discover, Amazon, GMAC, etc…

Discontentment is from the devil. It makes you complain about what the Lord has given you, not appreciating it. It causes division and discord in churches, work places and families. To get the devil to leave you, you must draw near to the Lord for him to leave you as taught in James 4:7. The devil won’t flee, won’t leave you alone if you just say no. It only works if you draw near to God. Drawing near to Him and being thankful for what you have, what he gave you is where you will draw contentment and happiness.

I ask you again, which tent are you in? Content or discontent?

Andy