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Dinner at the White House

Once upon a time, I was invited to the White House for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics. There was some talk that my industry was being scrutinized by the administration, but I paid it no mind. I live in a free country. There’s nothing that the government can do to me if I’ve broken no laws. My wealth was earned honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor.

 I checked my coat, was greeted by the Chief of Staff, and joined the President in a yellow dining room. We sat across from each other at a table draped in white linen. The Great Seal was embossed on the china. Uniformed staff served our dinner.

The meal was served, and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate, and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen.

“Sorry about that,” said the President. “Andrew is very hungry.”

“I don’t appreciate…” I began, but as I looked into the calm brown eyes across from me, I felt immediately guilty and petty. It was just a dinner roll. “Of course,” I concluded, and reached for my glass. Before I could, however, another waiter reached forward, took the glass away and swallowed the wine in a single gulp.

“And his brother Eric is very thirsty.” said the President.

I didn’t say anything. The President is testing my compassion, I thought. I will play along. I don’t want to seem unkind.

My plate was whisked away before I had tasted a bite.

“Eric’s children are also quite hungry.”

With a lurch, I crashed to the floor. My chair had been pulled out from under me. I stood, brushing myself off angrily, and watched as it was carried from the room.

“And their grandmother can’t stand for long.”

I excused myself, smiling outwardly, but inside feeling like a fool. Obviously I had been invited to the White House to be sport for some game. I reached for my coat, to find that it had been taken. I turned back to the President.

 “Their grandfather doesn’t like the cold.”

I wanted to shout- that was my coat! But again, I looked at the placid smiling face of my host and decided I was being a poor sport. I spread my hands helplessly and chuckled. Then I felt my hip pocket and realized my wallet was gone. I excused myself and walked to a phone on an elegant side table. I learned shortly that my credit cards had been maxed out, my bank accounts emptied, my retirement and equity portfolios had vanished, and my wife had been thrown out of our home. Apparently, the waiters and their families were moving in. The President hadn’t moved or spoken as I learned all this, but finally I lowered the phone into its cradle and turned to face him.

 “Andrew’s whole family has made bad financial decisions. They haven’t planned for retirement, and they need a house. They recently defaulted on a sub-prime mortgage. I told them they could have your home. They need it more than you do.”

My hands were shaking. I felt faint. I stumbled back to the table and knelt on the floor. The President cheerfully cut his meat, ate his steak and drank his wine. I lowered my eyes and stared at the small gray circles on the tablecloth that were water drops.

“By the way,” He added, “I have just signed an Executive Order nationalizing your factories. I’m firing you as head of your business. I’ll be operating the firm now for the benefit of all mankind. There’s a whole bunch of Eric’ s and Andrews out there and they can’t come to you for jobs groveling like beggars.”

 I looked up. The President dropped his spoon into the empty ramekin which had been his crème Brule. He drained the last drops of his wine. As the table was cleared, he lit a cigarette and leaned back in his chair. He stared at me. I clung to the edge of the table as if were a ledge and I were a man hanging over an abyss. I thought of the years behind me, of the life I had lived.. The life I had earned with a lifetime of work, risk and struggle. Why was I punished? How had I allowed it to be taken? What game had I played and lost? I looked across the table and noticed with some surprise that there was no game board between us.

What had I done wrong?

As if answering the unspoken thought, the President suddenly cocked his head, locked his empty eyes to mine, and bared a million teeth, chuckling wryly as he folded his hands.

 “You should have stopped me at the dinner roll,” he said.

Wake up America

 

A parable posted on SGP.

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Where have all the leaders gone?

Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes?  He’s now 82 years old and has a new book, ‘Where Have All The Leaders Gone?’.

Lee Iacocca Says:

‘Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, ‘Stay the course..’

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America , not the damned, ‘Titanic’. I’ll give you a sound bite: ‘Throw all the bums out!’


You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore..


The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs.. While we’re fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving ‘pom-poms’ instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of the ‘ America ‘ my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?


I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have. The Biggest ‘C’ is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C’s of leadership, with crisis being the first.)


Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.


On September 11, 2001, we needed a  strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here’s where we stand.


We’re immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.


We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.


We’re losing the manufacturing edge to Asia , while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.


Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble.


Our borders are like sieves.


The middle class is being squeezed every which way.


These are times that cry out for leadership.


But when you look around, you’ve got to ask: ‘Where have all the leaders gone?’ Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the  point.


Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?


We’ve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.


Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.


Everyone’s hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn’t happen again. Now, that’s just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you’re going to do the next time.


Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when ‘The Big Three’ referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?


Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.


I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on NBC news or CNN news will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?


Had Enough? Hey, I’m not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here.  I’m trying to light a fire I’m speaking out because I have hope – I believe in America . In my lifetime, I’ve had the privilege of living through some of   America ‘s greatest moments. I’ve also experienced some of our worst crises: The ‘Great Depression,’ ‘World War  II,’ the ‘Korean War,’ the ‘Kennedy Assassination,’ the ‘Vietnam War,’ the 1970’s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.


If I’ve learned one thing, it’s this: ‘You don’t get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it’s building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That’s the challenge I’m raising in this book. It’s a “Call to Action” for people who, like me, believe in America ‘. It’s not too late, but it’s getting pretty close. So let’s shake off the crap and go to work. Let’s tell ’em all we’ve had ‘enough.’


Make your own contribution by sending this to everyone you know and care about. It’s our country, folks, and it’s our future. Our future is at stake!!

How clean are we really?

A friend posted something on her blog that has made me start to think…….

She talks this week about Jesus, a toaster, and a magic eraser. Check it out…FreetoDance  What is the magic eraser Jesus is using in your life? I’m thinking when he uses it …it has to hurt. I hate pain. Does he know that about me?

She found me awhile ago and I have been watching her blog ever since. What caught my attention is she reveals she is a domestic violence survivor. It has been something I have been thinking a lot about since I met Amy. I have emailed “freetodance” and discussed abuse. What does it look like? How does it happen? She has been a big help.

You and I have talked about my friend Amy and some think she may be abused. I don’t see how because her husband is a Christian. He prays and everything. He has even started volunteering at the church. What I do know is that I need to gather more information before I talk to her.

But, here is what I don’t understand… How could someone live through something like that and still love God? How could you think there even was a God?

Where are the keys?

It was the craziest week-end. Let me explain. I had a closing on a house. The sellers were going to stay in the home an extra day to get moved into their new home. They had until midnight Sat. to get moved out. They were pretty much completed by lunch time because I stopped by to check on the progress. The other agent said he would call and let me know the time. About 9 p.m. I called to see if they were out. He replied, they were out, but we could not have keys until midnight. WHAT! I called Sylvia and off we went to search for keys. We searched all the usual hiding places, under rocks, mats, electrical boxes, the obvious lock box…nothing. We waited…..and waited for him to call. It was as if we were on a police stakeout; sitting in the car with the lights out, hiding just out of sight. Waiting for the “perp” to show. One slight difference, we had Starbucks instead of Dunkin Donut’s.

While on the stakeout, I told Sylvia about my experience with God. The night I jumped on the bed and all. She replied with a weird comment. She said she doesn’t have to do anything to be a Christian because she was born a Catholic. What does that mean? What’s the difference? I thought the Bible says, believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord. I didn’t know some got in just by being born.

Midnight rolls around and the agent did call and explain the keys were hidden in the front yard…..someplace. It was up to me to figure out where…click. What a jerk! So here we were in the middle of the night with flash lights in the front yard of a vacant home, searching for keys. We were crawling around on hands and knees looking for recently overturned soil. Just like on Law & Order. I should save this story for the happy hour crowd….you remember the game…CCC (Crazy client competition). We did find the keys after several hours of searching. They were tossed in the shrubs along the road.

Important to Remember: Never to drink coffee on a stakeout.

P.S. I would like to take the time to apologize to a friend Rosie and the Butcher who I might have offended. I do not consider you a religious person, nor was it my intent to upset you. If you are upset please accept my apology.

Ten Steps to pure joy. Continued.

Step Two.  Pray. If you are a Christian and are missing the joy of the Lord in your life go to God who is the source of joy. “l go to the altar of God, to God — the source of all my joy” (Ps 43:4 NLT).  Pray as David prayed in the Psalms “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul” (Ps 86:3-4 NIV).  Ask God to fill you with His joy to show you how to have joy…to teach you.  Ask him, “Lord, help me to get to know You better.  Help me to believe You are the source of my joy and that only You can fill my soul with the inexpressible joy I yearn for”.  Then believe that God will answer your prayer.  Watch as he fills your life with the joy.  David knew the joy from the Lord was far greater than that of the world.  “You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine” (Ps 4:7 NLT).  He turned to God for his joy.  He asked him for it in his time of trouble.  In your time of trouble turn to God.

 

Step Three. Celebrate the Lord.   Start with celebrating the gift of salvation.  Don’t just think about these things but celebrate them…rejoice in God.  God takes pleasure in His children and wants them to rejoice in Him. God wants us to be joyful. To sing for joy in His honor. I love Psalms 98…

Sing to the LORD a new song,

for he has done marvelous things;

his right hand and his holy arm

have worked salvation for him.

2 The LORD has made his salvation known

and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

3 He has remembered his love

and his faithfulness to the house of Israel;

all the ends of the earth have seen

the salvation of our God.

 

4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,

burst into jubilant song with music;

5 make music to the LORD with the harp,

with the harp and the sound of singing,

6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn —

shout for joy before the LORD, the King.

 

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it.

8 Let the rivers clap their hands,

let the mountains sing together for joy;

9 let them sing before the LORD,

for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

and the peoples with equity. NIV

Pure joy comes from the celebration knowing who our Lord is and all he has done for us.  It comes from knowing that your salvation and eternal life has been won by Jesus; knowing that he is a faithful loving Lord.

He is the creator of the universe and He has good plans for us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29:11NLT).  Knowing that just makes me want to jump up and down for joy.  Think about it, God takes pleasure in us and wants us to be joyful.  “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation. Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds” (Psalms 149:4-5 NIV). They sing for joy on their beds!  I can just picture the saints jumping up and down for joy to the Lord on their beds and God smiling at their joy.  Actually He is probably doing a belly laugh with them. 

We should be joyful and celebrate our Lord and all he has done for us….but we can’t know who He is and all He has done for us until we study the bible and pray to get to know Him.  Ask and the door will open.   He is a good patient father.  Celebrate that He is your father and that you can know Him and experience His love.  He wants to share it with you.

P.S. Can’t take credit for all of this material.  Mary helped a ton.  Love ya Mary.

Running on God’s fuel. Is is cheaper?

Copy (2) of IMG_1436

 

Since the fall of man, humans have been searching for joy in all the pleasures the serpent provides.  In Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis(love the book), he explains that God created us to run on the fuel that He provides.  We were designed to run on Him.  God can’t give us joy apart of him.  People have tried.  They think they know more about what gives joy than the creator of the universe.  The one who created them.  Wacked isn’t it!

Satan knows humans are searching for pure joy.  He also knows only God has the ability to give us pure joy.  The kind of joy that leaves you full, not empty and wanting more.  Satan knows pure joy, from the Lord, is not found in people, money, stuff, drugs or alcohol.  The joy found in the world does not create true happiness; it is only a temporary fix.  It leaves less of you and a craving for more joy.  The joy found in the world does not last, it is temporary. The more of “it” a person has (whatever “it” is, money, drugs, alcohol…etc.) the less of them there is and they become  less of the person Gods wants them to be.  They become more like the world.  So how do I get the joy of the Lord and when do I experience it? 

Step One:  Believe God created you and loves you.  Believe Jesus came to earth to die on the cross for your sins; whatever they might be.  Believe God wants to forgive you and wants you to have pure joy and that only he has the ability to give it to you.  Receive Jesus into your life.  Receive His forgiveness and the gift of His Spirit into your life.  “And all who believe in God’s Son have eternal life.” (John 3:36 NLT)  Bow your head and whisper this prayer:

 “ Dear God, I am sorry for my sins.  I believe your son, Jesus, died on the cross for my sins, so I might be forgiven.  I want to live the rest of my life your way.  Please come into my life to guide and direct me.” 

 

If you have prayed this pray for the first time, Congratulations!   I encourage you to get into a bible based church, read the bible and pray everyday, and find other Christians and spend time with them on a regular basis.  Find a Mary. 

God made us with the desire to be joyful and to look to him for the joy.  You have to believe that the pure joy you are looking for comes from him. “Peter talks about Jesus, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8 NIV).  The pure joy people are looking for comes from Him….believing in Him.  The first step is to believe in Jesus and to surrender your life to Him.  Allow His will to be done not your will.  Trust the plans He has for you are good.  Ask Him to guide you and lead you in all decisions. 

I’m going to tell Syliva about this joy.

 Additional steps to follow.

More Jesus…Less Religion

My friend, Angie, said something in her post that really made me think. She reported that people say, they are “losing their religion” , as if in a desperate plea to hang on to it. I thought religion was man made? Shouldn’t we want to get rid of it or “lose our religion” and just follow Jesus? I have seen “religious” people hurt God’s children, all done in the name of Jesus. For example, the way my friends Jenn and Mary have been treated by “religious” people. I have seen, so called religious people, wearing robes, parade around on Sunday as some sort of holy movie stars yet on Monday act no different than the worst of us. It appears to me, as only a spiritual walker, that religion pushes people away from Jesus. It’s as if church people build walls around Jesus and make it difficult for the world to see his love.

How many of them leave their sterile environment go out into the world to harvest crops for Jesus?

Religion doesn’t look anything like the love of Christ or grace. It’s almost like religious people …..church people….. are in love with the religion and what that symbolizes to the world rather than following Jesus. If they were following Jesus, shouldn’t we see more joy? More of the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Oh,….I think I understand. As I’m writing this to you my thoughts are becoming clearer and I’m sitting here broken hearted. I just realized they are using their position, title, and place in the religious environment to fill a void in their life. Just like I did, but the only thing that can fill that void is following Jesus. Not following man made religious businesses. It makes me sad. I know what they are going through. I feel their pain. It is so hard to learn that lesson.

I will pray for them. We should all pray for the religious people we know to have more Jesus and less religion in their lives.

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion—several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. –Mark Twain

What has God showed you this week?