The ELD lie and how it impacts you.

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There is much anger and frustration in the trucking industry over the looming ELD mandate. The industry is facing a December 18, 2017 deadline to have all trucks manufactured after 1999 equipped with an electronic log ( ELD ), also know as an Electronic On Board Recorder ( EOBR ). This mandate has been pushed by the ATA ( American Trucking Association ) and its member companies. The FMCSA ( Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ) jumped at the idea of increasing it’s reach and power. There are several issues with this mandate that need addressed.

It will cost the industry, and all hard-working Americans, $2 billion to be compliant. You ask how it will affect all Americans, the answer is simple. Trucking companies typically struggle to make a few cents a mile profit. There are always exceptions, but the general rule is a few cents. They already pay $70,000 or more a year on fuel, $8,000 and more a year on insurance just on the trucks, IFTA taxes, repairs & maintenance and the list goes on. For them to recoup the cost of this mandate the price has to be added to the goods transported. That means you will pay more, $2,000,000,000 more. At a time when wages are stagnant and everything is increasing in prices, the last thing you need is for everything to increase more.

The ATA member companies do not represent drivers. When you hear that claim know it’s a lie. They represent the interest of their members which are mostly the largest trucking companies in America. Many of these are public companies with share holders that are interested in only profit. Most, if not all, of these companies already implemented ELOGS as a way of keeping track of a drivers time and lift the burden of having to review paper logs every day for hundreds of drivers. Being large companies they get volume discounts on everything that a smaller company can not get thus decreasing the cost of items like the electronic log and the monthly service fees that come with them. These companies also have an incredibly high turnover rate that typically hovers around 100% a year. They like to pay lower wages, or if they pay high wages they don’t give their drivers a lot of miles a week. Their drivers typically run less than an independent or small company driver. As a result of low miles, ( keep in mind most drivers are paid by the mile not hourly )micromanagement, and slow trucks drivers leave looking for a smaller company that will give them some freedom. This has led to the ELD push.

The ATA lobbied the FMCSA to mandate electronic logs for the whole industry. The FMCSA commissioned a study and claimed it will save approximately 500 some lives. So for 500 lives the whole industry, and the American consumer, will have to pay an $2 Billion. I’m not against saving lives, but this is a dubious claim at best. How can you have a study and get accurate numbers when less than 25% of the industry at the time of the study was currently using the device? What this is is a push by the ATA and the ELOG manufacturers to implement something that will cripple the competition. The ATA companies benefit because many small companies and owner operators will go out of business. The ELOG manufacturers will benefit because now every truck that travels interstate, and some intrastate, will be required to but their product. It’s a profit grab, folow the money.

They claim this will make the roads safer. Experience tells me it will not. Think of the companies you see speeding through work zones, speeding through city speed zones, not slowing down for inclimate weather, tailgating, cutting traffic off to pass a truck that is one mile per hour slower than them resulting in traffic backing up for miles, the trucks you see wrecked, under low bridges, etc.. are companies like Prime, PAM, Celadon, Crete, Werner, Stevens, Swift and the list goes on. If the claim were true the accident rates of these companies would be going down, not up. The truth is the elog has put tremendous stress on truck drivers. It encourages unsafe behavior of always rushing and not taking the time to operate that 80,000 LBS truck safely. They are always ” under the gun ” to go – go – go before the electronic box says your day is done. This brings up another problem I’ll address later.

They claim the electronic log will help keep accurate track of how much time drivers sit at a customer loading and unloading. Currently shippers and receivers can keep a truck for hours with no repercussions.  The claim is with the ELOGS we can now see the time and address the problem. The problem is this is a bogus claim. Before ELOGS the industry still had satellite technology like Qualcomm and PeopleNet ( cell service based ) that can pin point a truck with a high degree of accuracy. Once the driver arrives they send a message to their dispatcher and the GPS coordinates are logged. We even have apps that log where you are with a very high degree of accuracy that will tell when the truck arrives and departs. One is MacroPoint and another is Navisphere. There are others that I haven’t listed that are just as accurate. Using this invalid argument they are pushing a $2 Billion expense on the industry and you.

They claim the electronic log will eliminate the log violations that are common today. You have duty status violations such as logging in the sleeper when you are driving. You have form and manner violations that are simply the zip code not being entered on the log, a trailer number was left off, hours were added up wrong, etc… . The problem here is the driver still has to enter this information. The companies that are saying they are seeing a dramatic decrease in form and manner violations are seeing this due to the inspecting officer not looking at the logs. Currently a vast majority of CMV inspectors don’t bother to look through the digital info to see if everything is squared away. When they do these violations will start trending up again. The technology is not at the point where it can enter all the required info with out driver input. Even duty status changes require the driver to manually input the change of duty and why the change. The only exception is the driving duty status, most ELOGS will do this on its own.

The issue I alluded to above is the Hours of Service ( HOS ) that drivers are regulated with based on junk science. On the current HOS a driver is literally penalized for parking the truck if they get tired or the weather is too bad before their clock runs out. To explain this, a driver has 14 to get everything done with no regard to any delays or health issues such as the flue, migraine, etc… . At the end of the 14 hours they must not drive until they have had a 10 hour break. The science says that at the end of that 14 hours the driver should be tired enough to sleep for that 10 hours and be fully rested. It does not allow for being sitting at a warehouse for 6 hours loading, the driver taking a nap during that time, then when they have to park for the 10 hour break they aren’t tired and possibly will miss the delivery appointment the next day due to events beyond their control. For the ATA member company that has 1,000’s of trucks this isn’t an issue. They can send another truck to get the load. For the small company or the driver who owns one truck this is a huge problem. The ridiculous and restrictive HOS has been amplified by the ELOG mandate. Before the driver could drive to a safe place to park for the 10 hour break and make it “look” legal on paper. With the ELOG it tracks your movements without the luxury of editing the driving duty status. Now your going to ask why the driver is driving illegal, they due so because shippers and receivers don’t care if they take an hour to load / unload a truck or 8, 10, 12 even 30 hours. Many companies then tell the driver they can not park on the property for their federally mandated 10 hour break. Now the driver has to drive somewhere, at times over 2 hours to find a safe, legal place to park in hopes of not getting stopped and if they do the officer who stops them is  understanding of the situation. On paper you can make it look legal and not worry so much.

There are currently a lot of drivers who have been driving 20 or more years that have exemplary safety records with a tremendous amount of knowledge. A great many of these are retiring before December 18th to avoid the increased regulations and cost that might just put them out of business or their company out of business. This will leave a huge hole in the driver pool that the ATA member companies will fill with drivers they train. They will pay these new drivers substandard wages, teach them just enough to pass the CDL exam and train them just long enough to meet the few requirements the insurance company may want as a minimum. So you’ll get highly skilled, experienced and safe drivers off the road and replaced with low paid, stressed and poorly trained drivers with not experience driving around your family in an 18 wheeler. Sounds safe to me! I don’t know what could possibly go wrong.

The FMCSA is currently offering exemptions and accepting exemption requests for the ELD mandate. If this was all about safety they wouldn’t give any exemptions. This tells us it’s all about money.

All the industry experts have agreed that this mandate will ” tighten capacity “. This means there will not be enough trucks to haul the freight. The stuff you ordered today will take longer to get to you. Your local grocery store will have a harder time keeping shelves stocked. The manufacturers will have to pay more to ship their product to become a priority to the trucking companies. This will cause your stuff to get even more expensive as they pass the increase on to you the consumer.

There is current Twitter storm amongst drivers hash tagged ELD_or_me , ELDorme, RepealELD, ReformHOS , DelayELD are the top. The are addressing the president, Sec. Elain Chow, Sen. Ted Cruz and the Kansas Representatives that introduced H.B. 3282 to delay the ELD mandate by two years. So far there has been no, or lack luster response at best.

I encourage you to contact your representatives and senators to put a stop this mandate. OOIDA argued against the mandate on it violating a drivers 4th Amendment rights. They lost their case and the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments. Personally I think using the constitution as an argument was a bad idea as the Supreme Court years ago decided drivers didn’t have a constitutional right to deny law enforcement to see their logs as it is a public safety issue. Now the only way for it to be stopped is the FMCSA stopping it, the president issuing an executive order or congress passing a bill to stop it. The fate lies with you the consumer.

Andy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practical Men’s Fashion Tips.

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There are numerous articles about men’s fashion. They are full of recommendations, do’s & don’ts but they are geared to the “white-collar” crowd. Even the “blue-collar” , to some extent, who are city dwellers. Other recommendations or things shown in publications like GQ leave the average, blue collar – skilled trade, man thinking “WTH are they thinking?”. I sympathize with that thought. The styles and fads coming out are not at all practical let alone functional.

The typical working man has a wardrobe that’s centered around his life. Blue collar guys have little use for 15 pairs of shoes or sports coats & suits. They will rarely, if ever wear them. There clothes are often functional and designed to be worked in like the clothes in this vintage Lee add. The clothes he wears to work are often the same clothes he wears off work unless he has a uniform for work. The blue-collar man in “fly over” country often has hobbies and activities after work that render “modern fashion” useless and foolish.

We know many men who have livestock or they raise livestock for their kids 4-H or FFA projects and show circuits. He’s not putting on skinny jeans and loafers or slacks and loafers. He’s putting on jeans and boots or tennis shoes. We know others who are Volunteer Firemen who have no interest in wearing Chinos or Dockers after work. Going to one structure fire or car wreck, even with bunker gear, will ruin these clothes. Many will keep one or two “dress up” outfits for church, maybe job interviews, weddings and funerals. For a lot those dress up clothes are clean, new, pressed jeans with a nice button up shirt.

Given this here are some practical tips:

  1. Don’t dress to the stereo type. There are many stereo types for various jobs, where you live, your hobbies and income. Just because the stereo type exists does not mean you should dress to it. You can be a mechanic and still dress respectably. Save the torn & stained shirts and pants for work. Have some comfortable polo shirts or button ups to wear when off work with jeans ( or slacks if you prefer ) that are in good condition. Your appearance gives the biggest first impression to others.
  2. Wear clothes that fit. One of things I appreciate about the fashion of some older generations is the clothes fit. If your of an adult age no one should see your underwear. If your waist size is a 36 you should not be wearing a 44, it looks ridiculous. If your inseam is a 32 you shouldn’t be wearing a 40 and walking on the ends of your pants. That’s almost as ridiculous as showing off your underwear. Pants should be over the top of the shoe or to the top of the sole of a boot, not an inch above the shoe or two inches under the heel. If your shirt measurements are 15 1/2 – 33, that’s a medium not an XL. You look like you stool your daddy’s shirt.
  3. When the clothes are worn out get rid of them. When you have multiple holes in your pants and numerous stains that won’t come out, it’s time to relegate them to yard work or the trash. When the necks of your shirts are worn, frayed and stretched they are now rags or barn clothes, not go out to town clothes. Dress with a sense of pride in yourself. Have clothes and shoes / boots that are for work and a pair for home so you have clothes that aren’t torn and stained.
  4. You have to spend a little money. Buying the cheapest clothes at Wal-Mart is not always the best buy. Spend some money on your clothes. You can have better quality that lasts longer. There are some exceptions such as Dickies. They are relatively inexpensive, but last. Wrangler jeans, particularly the cowboy cut, last. Gildan shirts have a great fit and their collars last. They are cheaper than Fruit-of-the-loom, for example, and fit better, last longer. Same with footwear. My go to is a pair of Justin Boots that I paid $80 for 2 years ago. Cheap shoes will cost more as you have to buy more and often have poor arch support which will cause you literal pain down the road.
  5. Every man should have at least one suit if not two. As you get older you will have weddings, funerals, graduations, baptisms and other activities that a suit is appropriate. Make sure it fits, try it on periodically and have it altered as needed. This way you’re not scrambling the day before trying to get something together that fits. Spend a little money on it so it can withstand alterations and being on a hanger for months with no use. Don’t go for the most recent designer trends. Get the traditional suit that fits your body type.  The more conservative the colors and patterns the more versatile the suit. Add a pair of slacks or two with a couple of dress shirts for occasions where that’s more appropriate than jeans, but not as dressy an occasion as a suit. It’s OK to stand out in the crowd by being a little better dressed than the others. Who knows what kind of doors it might open for you or how it will positively impact the crowd.
  6. Graphic T’s are a hazard. Some graphic T’s are OK, others no man should wear. T-shirts with drug paraphernalia is not OK for an adult. Shirts glorifying dictators, mass murderers or communism is for ignorant college kids and high school students who do not yet know better. If you’re running around in a Che Guevara or Mao shirt it tells me your ignorant. If your ignorant enough to wear a shirt glorifying a person who killed gays, teachers, political opponents and people of other ethnicities it makes me doubt you have taken the time to educate yourself on whatever you’re trying to say. Yes, it is judgemental & I won’t take much stock in what you’re saying. Even though many people won’t say this to you, it’s the truth, ask around.
  7. Get rid of the wife beaters, tank tops and muscle shirts. If you want to wear those around the house, that’s fine. A man’s home is his castle, knock yourself out. When you go out respect yourself, the people you’re with and the people you will encounter. Those clothes are acceptable at the gym, but not the restaurants. Have some self-respect.
  8. Shorts are for kids. Many will disagree with this, but personally I have little use for shorts outside of swimming, running or at the gym. If you insist on wearing them, make sure they fit your waist and are not daisy dukes. NO SILKIES! We had to wear those for PT in the Marines and they are not appropriate anywhere else unless you are in the act of running to exercise or train for a marathon. Just wearing silkies to wear them is offensive to the eyeballs.

As a culture, men we have to raise the societal bar to something a little more respectable than the current slovenly dress that is pervasive in our culture today.  A little discipline in your dress will beget discipline in other areas of your life. The better dressed you are the more it impacts your behaviour for the better and more professional. The better you dress the more you raise the bar for what’s acceptable for the up coming generations. I have a great appreciation for men’s dress from the 50’s on back for this reason. They all didn’t wear suit and ties like Cary Grant in his movies or stock photos, but there was a bit of pride in oneself, family and occupation reflected in ones dress that we are sorely missing.

Challenge yourself and challenge others, be a trend setter.

Andy

Enduring the process.

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Everything in life is a process and the process must be endured to the end for the final product to be correct. This process often involves more time and sacrifice than we want to endure. We are accustomed to everything now with no wait. This mindset encourages us to short cut the process to get to the final outcome that we envision. Doing this produces illegitimate leaders, defective products and unhealthy organizations.

The photo above is of the Hudson assembly line ( American Motors ) in 1956. All vehicles on the assembly line have a process to ensure a final product that is designed to, hopefully, be defect free. Each step is critical to the process. You can’t speed the process up by skipping steps. Imagine if Hudson, Toyota, Buick decided to speed the process by cutting the number of bolts holding the doors on in half or only installing half the number of hangers for the hood insulation as previously used. Imagine only installing half the lug nuts or cutting the number of coats of paint to speed things up. The product would be highly defective and obvious. Some defects are hidden for a while. What if they only used half the number of bolts in the engine or skipped insulating wires. You wouldn’t know right away, but as you drove the vehicle the problems will come to light and the corrections become costly.

A woman whose pregnant endures the process for 9 months if all goes right. If the process is shortened the baby is born with complications. If the process goes too long the baby and mother suffer consequences. The process can be shortened so dramatically that the process and final product is aborted.

A business goes through growth processes. As the business grows it ads more employees and acquires more property to support their customers. Decisions are made on when to add and when to cut back and reorganize based on profit and losses. When a business adds too much too quickly the organization becomes unhealthy. People are overworked and over stressed. The company struggles to satisfy customer demands and profits ultimately suffer. Growth that happens quickly can overwhelm the company. Sometimes the process includes cutting back to better serve the core business with excellence before adding new business.

A marriage has to go through a process of growth that starts with dating. The dating game progresses to engagement than marriage. Each step brings different responsibilities, revelations and rights. When dating, if rights that are designed for marriage are taken and given, it short circuits the process and undermines the marriage. This leads to increased failure rates in marriages that we call divorce.

A person goes through stages of growing and pruning to grow more. Each stage of growth should lead to increase of some kind, not always monetary. A person called to ministry who gets impatient and ministry shops to find the one that will give them the position they think they deserve will typically struggle and many will fail. They robbed their self of the growth process that prepares them for the position they will ultimately obtain. Bypassing the necessary steps could actually cause the ultimate destination to be aborted due to your own reputation being ruined or becoming burned out and jaded.

An individual seeking advancement in the business world has to go through the process of learning the business they are in to effectively manage it. Job hunting to find the company that will elevate you to management before you are ready will produce mediocre results. These are also known to be poor leaders making decisions based of ignorance born of inexperience. A whole division can be ruined by one person elevated to a position that they talked a good game about being ready, but weren’t. This holds true in ministry. Many claim they are ready and have opinions of how things should be done, but they lack the maturity born of experience and undermine the ministry.

As painful and aggravating as the process can be, it’s critical that we go through it to be prepared for what’s on the other side. It’s no accident that scripture uses terms like “birthing”, “birth pangs” and “running the race” to describe the process. When we read about the Apostle Paul we read through his appearance in Acts like there is little to no time from his calling to his prominent position. The truth is he spent a couple of years in between God blinding him and his first missionary journey. He had to go through the process of changing from a pharisee to an Apostle of Christ. Imagine if Paul took off on his first missionary journey immediately after getting his sight back. Think of the religion that would be infused into the gospel as a result of his spiritual immaturity. The growth process was critical to the gospel.

George Washington had to go through a process before he was ready to lead the Continental Army and as our first president. It began while he was a boy, continued as an officer in the Virginia Militia fighting alongside the British in the French and Indian wars. These experiences and lessons prepared him for the trials and rigors demanded of him during the birth of the nation. If he never served with Gen. Braddock he would not be prepared to fight the British later. He would have failed due to ignorance. As it was, the lessons he learned in warfare from the Indians and the British shaped how he faced off with the British.

What stage of life are you in now? Where in the process are you? Determine that and take advantage of it so you will be prepared for the final product.

Andy

*photo curtesy of AutomotiveTimelines.com

The 1st Amendment, I don’t think it means what you think it does.

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I really don’t think most Americans understand the Constitution, let alone what’s in the 1st Amendment. Every time someone says or does something we like the first thing we here when a protest arises to that statement is “it’s their 1st Amendment right”. In an Annenberg Public Policy Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, survey they found that 37% of respondents couldn’t name one right in the First Amendment. Of the respondents that did know anything about the First Amendment, 48% got freedom of speech, 15% got freedom of religion, 14% freedom of the press, 10% right of assembly, 5% right to bear arms ( seriously ! ), 3% right to petition & 2% Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness ( again, seriously ! What is being taught in our schools? And you wonder why homeschooling is growing so fast. ).

To help you out, the First Amendment is as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Notice it starts with ” Congress shall make no law … “. This is critical to the role the Constitution plays in the free speech argument. To better understand this, the Constitution was drafted and ratified to limit the power of the federal government only. It was not a check on state governments, they drafted their own constitutions to limit their own power. The idea was to keep the federal government small with the power at the state level and with the people.

In 1891 Oliver Wendell Holmes summed things up nicely by saying ” A employee may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be employed “. In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled in Garcetti v. Ceballos that a government worker does not have free speech at work. In 1983 the Supreme Court ruled in Connick v. Meyers that the First Amendment did not protect free speech at work. These two rulings set the precedent for employer and employee actions and consequences.

Now when any employee wants to protest in the name of ” free speech ” they are subject to disciplinary action by their employer. Let us look at the NFL protests of taking a knee. NFL players do not have a platform on the field, or anywhere else in or on the stadium grounds. The owner of the team, the NFL and in some cases the city have ownership. The players are extremely high paid employees. When they protest on the field and an owner, or fans, bring pressure to bear to stop it including no longer watching the games, the players First Amendment right is not being violated as the consequences of their actions are not being administered by the federal government that the Constitution applies to. The consequences are being brought by the consumer and their employer. The Constitution does not apply to these two groups in a manner of limiting their power. It protects them from government overreach.

Now if they want to protest or address a grievance there is a way to go about it, but work is not it. If you or I behave in such a manner at work we would be reprimanded, suspended, denied raises and promotions and / or fired. Local and state governments have set up a framework to allow one to exercise their First Amendment rights and they have been upheld by the courts.

Now if the government comes along and says we are going to force the NFL to fire, fine or jails the next player that protests on the field then we would have a First Amendment violation. The federal government, this includes the president, can not punish them or intervene in an official capacity. Unofficially they can speak up for or against and not be infringing on the employees rights.

When the founders set up the three branches of governemnt they did not create them with seperate but equal power. They designed it with the Legislative being the most powerful, the Executive and the Judicial. The Supreme Court was regarding as having so little importance that they didn’t get out of the basement and into their own building until 1935.

On a side, what’s scary is according to Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the Unicersity of Pennsylvania found in a survey that only 26% of Americans could accurately name the three branches of the U.S. government. Again, what on earth is being taught in our schools? This survey and the one listed above has downright shocking and scary results for the future of this Republic.

Next time you want to run around screaming “First Amendment Rights!”, stop and think, is the federal government interfering, is it the state or local government that’s interfering or is the employer and / or the consumer interfering? Your ” rights ” do not protect you from consequences of your actions. That’s the beauty of individual liberty.

Andy

America the divided will not stand.

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Scripture tells a simple truth that a house divided will not stand. This is true for the church, a nation and a family. There has to be unity to survive and flourish. Currently we are seeing a church, nation and family that are greatly divided and the results are obvious.

The church has voluntarily divided itself along all sorts of lines. Denominations have split over whites not wanting to sit with blacks and blacks refusing to worship with whites. We have denominations that are so similar that you can not tell the difference but are split over their view on the Trinity. One says it is three in one, the other says it’s one. We have split ourselves over thoughts on which translation of the Bible is the “true” translation. We have split over music, dress and even carpet color.

How can the church seriously think they can bring healing to a nation with this much division? If the church can not work with each other how will they come together to bring healing to a nation? We have churches that claim it’s important to spread the gospel, to see people saved, believe Jesus is the only way to the Father, but will not come together because one is Methodist and the other Baptist, one is Assembly of God and the other is Catholic. How ridiculous is this! Is it any wonder we have so much division!

The family is divided between generations and split due to marriage. One family does not tolerate the other, children don’t tolerate parents and parents can’t wait to pawn their children off on the schools. Do you have any idea what kind of message that is sending your children when you talk about not being able to wait until school starts! Families are divided over the widespread acceptance of divorce and multiple marriages. This division is brought into the church bringing its own divisive spirit of rebelion.

The nation is divided between conservative and liberal, Democrat and republican, white vs. black, Hispanic vs. everyone, etc.. We have the media vs. the people, the government vs. the church and on the division goes. We are allowing politicians, the media and Hollywood divide us over certain statues, flags and anthems. The same people are dividing gay and straight, perceived rich and poor, educated and uneducated, inner city vs. suburbs. The division knows no end and we are foolishly eating it up.

Once we realize that this divisive behavior is not an accident, the sooner we wake up and stop allowing “them” to divide us the sooner this nation will heal, recover and flourish. As it is, this division is creating the perfect diversion for the government to do what it wants behind our backs. When the dust settles Americans will be wondering how “that got passed?”.  See, there is not a real divide between Democrats and Republicans in Washington, they are the same. They work towards the same goals, are friends with each other, despite the rhetoric, and are very adept at telling all matter of lies to maintain power. The more power they accumulate the more control they have over the people. They do this disguised as patriotism and “for the working man” or “for the poor”.

We need to pull our collective heads out of the sand, wake up and do what is right, necessary and good. It’s time we come together, not under the flag wrapped in patriotism, but in humility dressed in grace.

Andy

The NFL’s distraction from what really matters.

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This weekend we saw more protests in the “take a knee” movement in the NFL then we have seen since Kaepernick first took a knee. Everyone has had their say today. Social media, the news and the talk shows have been a buzz about Sunday’s protests. Now we are at the close of business Monday and I have to ask, is it out of your system now? Now can we get back to what really matters? Will these overpaid children not standing for the national anthem, as the NFL rule book requires, really impact your life or impact the nation for the worse? Can we now put this distraction to bed and focus on what is really happening that the media is not covering?

Puerto Rico took hits from back to back hurricanes. The devastation there is more severe than anything on American soil in our lifetimes. Whole towns are wiped out, people are missing and some say it will take months to restore power. The Florida Keys sustained major damage as well, but we aren’t seeing that.

Health care is in shambles. The ACA ( Obama Care ) is failing and congress can’t get together and pass a new health care bill nor a fix for the current. The Democrats are dead set against anything Trump puts forward just because he has an “R” after his name instead of a “D”. If something isn’t done very soon we will be in the new fiscal year and it will be too late. Then Colorado will see a 200% increase in premiums. 41% of counties in the U.S. will have only one provider. This will cause rates to jump as there is no competition nor anywhere to spread the risk around. Cigna Heath and Life Insurance Company of VA has proposed an increase of up to 179.9% with HealthNow New York at a 47.3% increase. Celtic Insurance Co. in Indiana has requested a 117.7% rate increase & HMO Nevada requested a 100.6% increase. This drastically affects all of us yet the media is keeping us focused on the NFL.

Trucking is facing a deadline that will cost the industry billions and will not make the roads safer. As a matter of fact it will encourage more drivers to drive in an unsafe manner. This mandate is the ELD ( Electronic Logging Device ), E-Log ( Electronic Log ) or EOBR ( Electronic On Board Recorder ), it depends on the article but they are all the same. The exorbitant cost will be passed on to you the consumer. If the trucking company can’t recoup the cost, more than a few will go out of business leaving countless without employment. The industry has reached a point where the only way to stop it is if congress acts and they show no signs of acting. This will affect you as more tired drivers being pushed to a deadline are driving 80,000 LBS trucks around your family. That’s OK, the shenanigans of our politicians, media and the NFL will make up for it.

The rhetoric with North Korea is heating up. This is nothing new as Clinton, Bush ’43, Obama and now Trump has talked a hard game against the dictatorship. The difference is now they have nukes and are threatening to use them on the U.S. and some of our allies. We don’t know exactly how many he has nor where they all are. The country believes the Kim family are descendants from God and obey their every word or get killed if they are lucky, if not lucky they get sent to a forced labor camp where they will suffer a cruel, agonizing, grueling death. If North Korea acts on their promises they could wipe out Seoul or NYC in minutes. While this is going on we are distracted by the NFL. Rest assured, if North Korea attacks we will be in a bloody and costly war that will effect us all.

Iran, the Persian Empire, is bragging that they have nukes and will wipe our us and Israel. Another country that two presidents assured us would not build nukes if we let them build nuclear power plants. Iran has been funding insurgents and terrorists for years. They adhere to a religion that believes if they die fighting the infidel they will automatically go to paradise. They welcome death, not fear it. They adhere to a sect of Islam that believes if enough infidels are killed the 12th Imam, also known as the Mahdi, will return and bring relief to the faithful. The Iranian president believes his return is soon and it’s his responsibility to prepare the nation for the Mahdi’s return. What he is saying is if we create enough bloodshed and chaos the Mahdi will come and bring relief to all faithful Muslims. That will certainly affect all of us. That’s OK, as long as we are entertained it will all be good.

We have a major, well-known, financial power house search engine that is protecting Backpage.com who knowingly facilities sex trafficking. The documentary “Jane Doe” goes through the hell parents went through trying to find their missing children only to find them in an ad on Backpage. This search engine (G) believes that websites are not responsible for what people do with what they allow to be posted, yet will censor anyone who disagrees with their world view ( this might just get this blog removed ). The University of KY released a study that showed 40% of underprivileged and homeless children are victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. Imagine the numbers on the national scale! Yet we care more about the NFL and the players antics.

The Justice Department is investigating the Trump – Russia collusion allegations. They put in place a special counsel headed by Robert Mueller. The U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested himself from the investigation leaving it to be overseen by a known  Clinton supporter. Mueller has not limited his scope of the investigation to the collusion allegation, but has expanded it back over 10 years and to current day in the White House. This is unprecedented in any investigation. They are not limited to the scope of the charges being investigated but to anything they can find to undo a sitting president. A special counsel is required by law to have no ties or affiliations to any party involved and be non – partisan, completely neutral. Mueller is also a Clinton backer and a long time friend of James Comey, another known Clinton backer, who lied under oath, obtained and released government documents to the press to force a special counsel investigation. The whole thing reeks of corruption and a witch hunt designed to remove a person who they don’t approve of. The media is studiously ignoring in the hopes that you won’t see the corruption. If they get away with this it will have serious negative consequences for the rule of law and certainly affect you. That’s OK, remain distracted by the NFL.

There are numerous other things going on that I can point to that are truly important and we need to pay attention to. Now is the time to ignore the NFL and pay attention to what our politicians, news media and fellow Americans are dealing with.

Andy

 

 

Healing our land starts with you.

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My last blog was about national forgiveness and reconciliation. In order to that, forgiving has to start with you. Without you, the individual coming to a place of forgiving those that have wronged you, we will never be able to forgive groups of people. Mathew 6:14-15 says ” For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”. That’s a pretty clear statement on the subject. It’s difficult to truly forgive some injuries or injustices without Jesus.

There are also well known medical issues that come from not forgiving. Not forgiving allows the anger and disappointment to fester. The longer it festers the more it impacts your overall health. John Hopkins published an article on the subject. In it they list health complications that come from not forgiving. They include increased risk for heart attack, higher cholesterol, loss of sleep, increased pain, higher blood pressure, higher levels of anxiety, more stress and depression, increased risk of diabetes and changes in your immune response. This isn’t even the comprehensive list of effects. With all this going on in your body, how can we get to forgiving others that we don’t know without first forgiving those we do know?

The first place to start is forgiving God. Yep, I can hear some theological feathers being ruffled over that, but it’s entirely true and appropriate. It’s not that God did wrong, He’s God and can’t do wrong, but our feelings of offense, disappointment and anger come from our perception of what happened. People can be mad at God for things that He didn’t allow come to pass. Maybe your mad because provision you had faith for didn’t come through. Perhaps something happened to you or a loved one that you feel God could have stopped or healed and didn’t. Maybe His people, Jesus’ followers, did or said something and your mad at Him for what His children did. Forgiveness starts there.

The second is forgive yourself. There are things you did or didn’t do that you’re angry or disappointed with yourself. There are things you said or didn’t say, opportunities that you declined or took and failed. Maybe a failed marriage, failed engagement, living with regret over not spending more time with a passed love one. What ever it is, you need to forgive yourself. That’s the past and you can’t change it. Carrying that burden keeps you in the past. The longer you live with that regret the more anger and disappointment in yourself you will hold. That will always cloud your actions and judgement.

Thirdly forgive your spouse. Those closest to us can disappoint and hurt us the most. There should be no one closer to you than your spouse. The things they could have done, not done, said or not said, expectations they didn’t live up to or whatever on the never-ending list of things they could have done to cause you offense. You need to forgive them so you can truly be one. A marriage can never be what it needs to be, you two can never truly be one if there is anger, resentment and disappointment hidden and forgiveness not given. That will always be a wall between you two in the spirit.

Fourth, forgive your kids, parents, siblings or any other family member that did you wrong in any perceived way. When family commits a perceived betrayal it’s much more hurtful than if a stranger did the same thing.

Fifth, forgive those in your church. People tend to have a much higher expectation of fellow Christians then they have of their self. Due to this expectation the perceived offense is higher. As the Ecclesia the need for us to be united in spirit as one is imperative! In Acts it tells us that the disciples were praying in one accord, one mind, when the Holy Spirit came on them. This one accord has to be so as to not have a hinderance in the spirit. If we aren’t of one accord, how do we expect the rest of the nation to take any of this serious?

Sixth, pray for guidance on who else to forgive. It may be a teacher that said something to you when you were in 5th grade that was hurtful. You’ve long since forgotten, but the effects are still hidden. It could be a coach, a doctor, a dentist ( we all need to forgive them ), a vet that put your pet to sleep. It can be someone you don’t know that said or did something seemingly insignificant that you haven’t forgotten.

Forgiving is a process and it requires you make the decision to do it. Some people you will have to continue to forgive many times until it truly takes hold. Some injuries are so deep that forgiveness is harder to come to. The concept of forgiving 7 times is not a literal suggestion. In Jewish culture the number 7 equals total completion. So to say 7 times 7 or 70 times 7 is saying to forgive until it has completely taken hold. You will know it has taken hold when you can think of the person and there is no longer any negative feelings about them.

Some people you can’t tell them that you have forgiven them. They won’t understand, they won’t accept it, they will ridicule you or tell you your feelings are wrong. Just forgive them and go on. IF they come to you asking for forgiveness give it to them, if not do it anyhow but keep it to yourself. Some people you will know in your spirit that you have to tell them you forgave them. Some of these may be so harmful or hateful that you shouldn’t do it face to face. A letter will suffice, especially if the person is in prison. Again, if you know through prayer that you have to see them to tell them God will help you arrange it.

We have to come to peace within ourselves to be able to come to peace and reconciliation with groups of people. If you are holding anger, bitterness and resentment against someone close to you, you will not be able to forgive a political group or hate group. That anger, bitterness and resentment will cloud your judgement and actions.

If not for the country, do it for yourself and family. You will be a much more enjoyable person.

Andy

The necessity of national forgiveness.

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Forgiving is something we point to the individual, or even the church, to do. What we tend to fail to do is looking to ourself to forgive and forgive as a nation. I can’t think of a time in my life when the nation has been admonished, challenged and called to forgive each other. There is much in this nation that we need to heal from but will not heal until we forgive and reconcile.

A shining example to the blessings that come on a nation when they forgive and reconcile with each other is Rwanda. In 1994 they went through a horrific genocide against the Tutsi. Millions died, whole families were slaughtered, whole villages were destroyed and many more were raped, dismembered and maimed for life. The U.N. and the U.S. sent troops there to try to keep the peace hoping to bring and end to the slaughter. At this point all hope was lost for Rwanda. How can a nation come back from that?

During a recent interview (which you can read excerpts of at http://www.newtimes.com article Reconciliation was a pre-condition of Rwanda’s recovery, say Kagame) the president Paul Kagame said the people realized they needed to forgive and reconcile and it had to come from within the nation. He went on to say “Forgiving and rebuilding were a necessity, we were a country that lost everything. We had to find a way to reconcile”. He went on to say “We looked each other in the eyes and asked; how do we reconcile and start building? So we had to make a choice. This was the thinking, forgiving is a process as well as a choice and we had to do the very thing required to start rebuilding. It was also about having a conversation with each other on what went wrong and why and how can we turn the tide”.

After this period Rwanda went into a very good transition as a people and a nation. They have become the most stable country in Africa. It has enjoyed the blessings of 6% – 8% GDP growth each year since 2003. Compare that to the U.S. which has struggled to see 3% per year during the same time period. The WEF ranks Rwanda as the 9th safest country in the world while the U.S. doesn’t make the top 20 safest countries. They now deliver medical supplies and medicines by drones, something we don’t do. They are revolutionizing their medical system.

The healing has been so complete that many are very good friends with people who killed most of their family. Here we incite blood feuds and make mortal enemies over a Facebook comment! There they are reaping a spiritual blessing that has brought blessings to the nation while we in the U.S. are doing and reaping the opposite.

Here we are reaping the consequences of years of hatred, anger and bitterness. We have allowed politicians, entertainers and the media to stoke the fires keeping us divided. We are allowing people to do this and are destroying the very fabric of our nation. Imagine the truly exceptional things that could be accomplished if we shunned those dividing us and came together like the Rwandan’s! If they could forgive and reconcile after the genocide, surely we can forgive for the ills we face.

Some scripture on forgiveness that paints a very telling picture and explains the state of our nation now are:

Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Mathew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” That’s huge! Jesus is telling us that we are to forgive and not forgiving is disobedience. We know that disobedience separates us from God. Blessings and protection are blocked by our actions. On a related topic read Deuteronomy 27 & 28.

Proverbs 28:13 “He who covers his sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them (sin) will have mercy.”

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Proverbs 28:13 and 2 Chronicles 7:14 is exactly what took place their and exactly what is not taking place here. Here we want to hide our sins and call them good while we call good sin.

Hebrew 12:14-17 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be a fornicator or profane person among you like Esau who sold his birthright for a morsel of food. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought diligently with tears.”

We know from psychology, and other medicine, that bitterness reeks havoc on the body, mind and spirit. It gives way to all manner of problems and ailments. In time it will alter the brain and the person’s behavior and even appearance will change. This is where we are as a nation. We must shun those tearing us apart, those who are dividing us. Forgive and reconcile before we are so torn apart that we become a tragic footnote in history.

The saying of the anger and unforgiveness gives me strength is a lie. That unforgiveness is a cancer that turns into bitterness and will control you to such a degree that you will eventually suffer from it. We are allowing anger to turn to bitterness and letting that bitterness manifest in actions & thoughts. This has brought great division and harm to the nation. As long as we continue down this road nothing will improve, but a cycle of increasing harm from one group to another will continue to grow. This has become a national cancer.

The importance of prayer and the deliberate decision to forgive, discuss and reconcile is of such great importance that I don’t know how to convey it in words here. It is necessary for the survival of our republic.

Andy

 

Why does a loving, all knowing God allow bad things to happen?

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This is a question that the simple answer is, I don’t know, only He knows for sure. All we can do is speculate with our own understanding and that’s the problem. Our understanding is severely limited. What we can do is look to scripture for some understanding and possibly some insight. Even then we won’t truly know the reasoning.

The first question that comes up is “Why does a loving, all-knowing God allow bad things happen to good people”. There are problems with this question. The first is its asked wrong. This wording puts the authority on us and not Him. It suggests that He is answerable to us when we are answerable to Him. God does not have to ask us, explain to us or justify to us what He does. The proper question would be, “How does an all knowing, righteous and just God not kill us all?”. After all He is righteous and just and the just thing to do is snuff us out for our sins, thoughts and actions that are not in line with His righteousness. The answer to that question is grace. His grace brought the sacrifice of Jesus to make those who follow the Son to be righteous. That grace has justified us and stayed His righteous judgement.

The second problem is who is good and by what measure is a person good? Jesus is the only perfect person to ever walk the earth and even He said “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God. (Luke 18:19) “. By that measure none of us are good, all of us are evil. That is a hard thing for people to swallow when looking at the evil in the world. Human nature wants to defend their “goodness” when there is no justification in comparison to God. Again we go back to our righteousness in Christ through His sacrifice for us.

Some say the reason bad things happen is it’s God’s punishment for hidden sin. If that were true then the person saying it would be suffering their self. None of us are sinless, but all sin. Even if externally you appear pious and faithful there is still the sin in the heart that people can’t see, but He can. The most arrogant thing a person can do is tell a person suffering a terminal illness that they are not healed because of hidden sin. The amount of pride it takes to think that and not see it in yourself is astounding. There may be cases where that’s true, but unless your name is Yahweh, Elohim, you won’t know if that’s the case. There are also cases where it simply is not His will to heal the person. There is a greater purpose in play that we can’t see at the time.

Some say if something bad happens to you, then you deserve it. It’s Karma, what goes around comes around. Before you put too much stock in that read up on Job. The man was righteous in the eyes of God. Even Satan knew this and lamented the fact the he couldn’t harm Job because of God’s hand of protection. There is no explanation of why God directed Satan’s eyes to Job or why He gave permission for Satan to torment Him. We can try to guess or try and get all theological and explain why, but the truth is His reasoning is not given. We can truthfully say that the testimony of Jobs latter days being greater than his former was a great testimony to the people of God’s faithfulness to those faithful to Him.

Karma is a nice new age concept of getting what you deserve. Be careful with this as we all have done things in which we deserve “bad karma”. If it wasn’t for God’s grace we all would have a miserable and tormented life. What does happen is reaping the consequences for your actions. When we disobey His word, He is not obligated to bail us out of the consequences for those actions. When we continually make bad financial decisions He is not obligated to bail you out, but allow you to suffer the consequences as a learning experience to square yourself away and grow. If you rob a store He is not obligated to bail you out but to allow you to suffer the consequences of your actions, which would be jail time. In this you would hopefully learn not to do it again. Poor dietary choices lead to health issues that He is not obligated to save you from, but to allow you to suffer to consequences of your actions. He can certainly save you of the consequences, but what would you learn? Consequences bring growth and maturity.

King Saul is a great example of reaping the consequences of ones sin. In 1 Samuel 15 & 16 it tells of Saul disobeying God’s commands. As a result he was stripped of his position as king and God’s spirit departed from him. Some translations say God afflicted him with an evil spirit, others say God’s spirit departed. Both would be accurate when you look at the description of his behavior and not having peace and being troubled. The first consequence he was told about, but it took years to come about. The second consequence came quickly. Sometimes the consequences of our actions are not seen right away, but years down the road.

Sometimes bad things happen so there is a testimony to others. When Paul was shipwrecked and bit by the viper. That wasn’t God’s punishment but His will to open the door to testify to the natives. That resulted in many salvations on the island. The same with us today. Sometimes our faithfulness to God through the hard times is a testimony that will open the door for others. It’s easy to be faithful in health and prosperity, but harder when things are falling apart and your body is failing you. There are countless stories of people suffering terminal illness, torture and gruesome death that represented the Father well and led to the gospel being shared and accepted. There are countless examples of suffering and persecution that brought millions to salvation that otherwise were comfortable in their previous life.

The Bible clearly tells us that evil is in the world and the closer we get to His return the worse things will be and the more prevalent evil will be. The groundwork for this was laid in the Garden of Eden when Adam & Eve ate from the forbidden tree. There, sin entered and corrupted mankind. Prior to this they had no concept of anything against God’s word except “don’t eat of that tree”. Their free will led them to choose sin and the knowledge of good and evil. Now we all suffer the curse and corruption. None of us are exempt, not Jesus, not Paul, not John, not us.

What it boils down to is what God’s plan is. What is His will? What is it that will bring Him glory? Remember that passage that says “according to His riches and glory “. Sometimes His glory has nothing to do with riches and health. Don’t lose heart, it will pass.

Andy

 

 

 

 

Why aren’t more men in church?

IMG_20170813_094707008.jpgThis is a question better suited for a man who struggles with “church culture” then for a career minister to answer. The book pictured does a great job of explaining the issue. It doesn’t cover all the reasons and I don’t speak for the author. None the less, I highly recommend reading the book. Yes, this is my copy that I’ve had for years now. It’s stained and creased, but a very enlightening read.

The numbers I’m going to give are from the book Why Men Hate Going To Church and Barna. This is not representative of every church, but reflective of the church as a whole. Your church may reflect these numbers or may be more balanced, but that does not negate the fact that men aren’t turning out in numbers like women.

The typical church has a 61% – 39% male vs. female gender gap. Based on the 2000 census that means there are 13 million more women in church on Sunday’s than men. Roughly 25% of married church going women will worship without their husbands. 90% of American men believe in God, 5 out of 6 identify as Christians while only 2 out of 6 attend church regularly. The average man accepts Jesus, but does not see the value in going to church.

Why aren’t these men coming to church? What has turned them off? To be honest it’s something I struggle with myself. The answer is not that they just don’t see a need to or are too prideful. The issue is bigger than that. It goes to the very nature of who man is created to be vs. what the church has told men they need to be. The two are at odds.

One of my favorite stories of Teddy Roosevelt goes to the heart of the matter. He was a mans man. A man who thoroughly believed the Bible. He said ” A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education “. The man led men in battle, exercised his way out of childhood ailments that almost killed him, was Secretary of the Navy, formed and led the Rough Riders, was a known and avid outdoors men and conservationist. There is a picture of him riding a moose. He also went to church regularly and taught a Sunday school class. One of the boys in his class showed up with bloody knuckles. Roosevelt asked him what happened. The boy explained that a bully was beating up on a weaker kid so he defended him against the bully. Teddy commended him for protecting the weak and gave him a silver dollar. When the church found out they were furious that Teddy gave the boy money. They said they couldn’t promote violence that the boy should not have fought. Because Roosevelt didn’t agree they banned him from teaching Sunday school again. This marked the beggining in Teddy’s declining involvement in the church until he eventually ended up not returning to that one.

This story sums up the conflict between what the “church” wants a man to be and what God created a man to be. He created men to be protectors, hunters, the pursuer, strong, courageous, leaders, people who take charge, risk takers and the church turns around and says you’re upsetting the apple cart, you have to behave. Men want, and long for, the freedom to be who they are created to be. If the church will try to subdue that then the men will find someplace that will embrace it. This is why so many men skip church for hunting, fishing, sports, the golf club or to simply work on the yard then watch the ballgame.

The church has an identity crises. It doesn’t know who or what it is therefore giving a conflicting message. To start they keep calling their self a “church”, which is nothing more than a gathering of people in a building, when Jesus called them His called out assembly to establish His kingdom here on earth. This leads to sermons on doing something radical then turning around and telling the men who dare to be men to behave. The identity crises is wearisome for men. I’m weary of it. Are we Christ’s governing body here to bring about His kingdom or are we merely a group of people who gather to listen to a sermon a couple of times a week? If you can’t figure out who you are, don’t expect masculine men to spend their time following you. It won’t happen.

The pastor tells men they are the leader of the home and yet he can hardly run his own home. He might even say that men are the ordained leader of the church, but they will let their wife make a production out of running over. The pastor will tell men that the home needs their leadership but turns around and lets his wife run the house. Talk about a mixed signal! One, masculine men can read the Bible and comprehend the requirements for leaders of the assembly. Two, men who are willing to battle will not follow a man who let’s his wife tell him where to go lead.

The “church” has worship services that men can’t hope to sing along with. We’ve been in churches where the worship team are the only people who know the song. By the time you figure it out they are on to something new. We’ve seen where the worship team is the professional worshipers who are tasked with “leading” the rest of the commoners in worship and into God’s presence. Others the songs are vocally complicated that only a few men can accomplish those vocal gymnastics. Others are so loud with so much smoke and lights that you can’t think straight through all the distraction. Others have all these combined. You are alienating the men. If they don’t feel welcome or as if they can’t measure up they will not be inclined to come back.

Pastors and other leaders will tell you how to dress, how you are supposed to worship, how you are expected to participate and if you don’t you are wrong and need to change. I heard a pastor at a very contemporary church recently say that if you weren’t going to worship with clapping, excitement and raised hands then this isn’t the place for you, you might as well not come back. This despite him not being as outwardly excited as he wanted others. I agree, if that’s your stand I won’t come back. Lead by example or don’t lead. Never ask others to do what you are not willing to do. You will lose men quickly.

God created men to have a cause bigger then themselves to fight for. A need for a leader to challenge them to be better and take bigger risks. A calling so much bigger then they that sacrifice is welcome. Modern Christianity is not giving that. The “church” for the last couple hundred years as increasingly catered to the need for safety and warmth for the women. They strive to provide an emotional and spiritual sanctuary where the women feel nurtured and can nurture. What they have done is pushed more and more men out the door.

The church design and decor is a non starter and often under inspiring for men. A great example is a pastor was telling how they had a prayer room in their church. They let the women decorate it. What they got was a room with flowers, doilies, tissue boxes, nice furniture like you would find in grandmas room for when guests come over. The whole set up was very feminine in nature. To no ones surprise the men would never venture in their for anything. The realization clicked with this pastor and he got a couple of men to redecorate the room. What they got was armor, swords & shields, pictures depicting spiritual warfare and masculine colors. The result was a welcome surprise. Not only did men start coming in much larger numbers then expected, but more women came then before. They too loved the changed. This simple change radically changed his church for the better.

Some of you will look around at the men next to you Sunday and initially think we have a lot of men. Look again. Are they excited to be there? Do they genuinely want to be there? Are they the ” wild at heart” and masculine type men that take risks and see results or are they tamed and broken like a lap dog that smiles and behaves not upsetting the women in his life? Are these men alive and spiritual giants or there out of a sense of  duty only? The difference is huge. Men are not afraid of “religion” or being “religious”, the popularity and outward religiousness of men in Islam is testament to that. Islam allows a man to be a man, that’s attractive to men who otherwise are told to be nice and quite. The author of the book Why Men Hate Going To Church admits at one time he looked at converting to Islam primarily because of this.

The “church” must shed the desire to be a nice quaint place to be comfortable and become the assembly that welcomes men who are bold like Paul, John & Peter. Men who followed a bold Christ with reckless abandon and obedience that transformed the world and brought about signs and wonders that brought us the book of Acts. We must embrace that our Lord has names like King of kings and Lord of lords, Conqueror, Lion of Judah & a warrior. They go hand in hand with names like healer and comforter.

Our move to Texas turned out to be a domestic missions assignment, which is not what we thought it would be when we went. In that time we had the joy of being in assemblies that embraced the masculine and let that drive worship and ministry. Since our return to North Carolina we have struggled to find a church that is anything more than a gathering of people who expect you to act like them. It’s a struggle for my both my wife and myself.

It’s frustrating knowing the importance of community within the body of Christ, but can’t find a place that you lets you or your son be the masculine men God created men to be. It’s frustrating in knowing that my daughter, although likes some of the people and music, lacks a respect for many of the men she encounters because she sees how they let their wives disrespect, take their authority and lead for them. It’s frustrating because I know if something doesn’t change the pool of men for her, when she’s of that age, that will be strong enough for her, will be extremely shallow in the “church” unless something changes. The consequences of men not being in or involved in church is far-reaching and costly.

Andy