A winner is

Why not give 100% in all that you do instead of 50%, 75%, or 99%? A true winner give a 100% regardless of the outcome win or lose in whatever they face in life. Pictured above are my winners and my heroes cause my kids give me 100% of their love to me and that is all I could ever ask for.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

By good works alone

We cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven by our good works alone. Many people think and believe that if they do good deeds alone they will go to heaven. People all across the world do good everyday but, lack the one thing that will allow you to enter into heaven. There a lot of good works that a person can do in their lifetime but, they are not enough to get one into heaven. Good works are only part of the formula to get into heaven.
What defines a good deed or good work? A good deed could be anything from shoveling a driveway, mowing the grass, giving to a local charity, and list could go on and on. None of these things mentioned are bad things to be doing for someone but, they simply are not enough to get into heaven. I can hear some people saying to me if a person does all this good surely they will be allowed into heaven. I would say back to them, “I hate to tell you this but; their good deeds alone will not get them into heaven.”
In the Bible there are many references about what one needs to do to be able to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Let’s look at a few of the verses that explain what a person must do to get into heaven. In Galatians 2:16 it states “know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” If you pay close attention to the beginning and end of that verse it clearly spells out what you must do. In the beginning it says we are not justified by following the law but, instead by faith in Jesus Christ. At the end it makes it clear again that just because you observe the law you will not be justified. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it reads “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” This verse spells it out very clear we are saved by grace through faith in God not by our good works. We can do all the good we want to but, if we only do the good we will unfortunately not make it into heaven. Titus 3:5-7 reads “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Once again if we read and listen carefully the beginning of this verse spells it out very clear that not because of the righteous things, but rather by his mercy. At the end it spells out what will get us into heaven that is being justified by God’s grace we will have the hope of eternal life. Clearly the Bible gives us many facts on what we must do to get into heaven. We have to be saved by God’s grace and have faith that what he tells us in the Bible is real and by doing this we shall one day enter into heaven not by good works but, by faith and grace.
I can understand the other side of the argument that surely a person who does good will get into heaven. I have heard those who believe a life like this to be the way to heaven say “surely the loving God would not let a good person go to hell.” I wish I could tell those people that God would not allow a good person to go to hell, but it is not God that allows them to do so it is the person. How can a good person let themselves go to hell? A question that is very easily answered by not believing in the almighty God and being saved by the grace he has given us through Jesus Christ. There are a lot of people that don’t believe in God and feel that if they do enough good during their lifetime they will get into heaven. The sad reality and truth is that the people that believe this are sadly mistaken because, no man will enter the gates of heaven by his works alone.
I used to believe that if I went to church and lived a good life that I would one day go to heaven. As time has gone by I have become to realize through reading the Bible, listening to sermons at church, and by asking for forgiveness that good alone will not cut it. The only way to heaven folks is through God nothing else or no one else will get you there. I lived the life trying to do good alone and it doesn’t work. If you just read throughout the Bible it clearly spells it out for you on what a person must do to inherit the kingdom of heaven. The famous verse John 3:16 reads “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I cannot say it any clearer than that verse does God loved me, you and the guy down the street and if we believe in him we will have eternal life in heaven plain and simple. I do not read anywhere in that verse or in the Bible where it states that good alone will get you into heaven. The verse keep saying the same thing that heaven in inherited by having faith and being saved by God’s grace not by doing good throughout your life.
People believe many different things and have many answers on how to get to heaven. Some are correct and others are not the one that I know for sure is incorrect is that by doing good alone a person can get into heaven. We have to be saved by God and have to believe in him to get into heaven period. We all know good people but, just because they are good does not mean they are going to heaven they must be saved by God’s grace and believe in him. We cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven on good merits alone, but rather by God’s grace, God’s love, and by our faith in him we can go to heaven.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why do people volunteer?

There is something to say about those that volunteer their time, money, and efforts to help the fellow man. Volunteering is something that has been around for as long as mankind has been on this earth. People from all walks of life help out in one way or another whether good or bad almost everyone volunteers in some form or another. Volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others without being motivated by monetary or material gain (Wikipedia). The act of volunteering helps promote the good in man and improves the quality of life for all. People volunteer for various different causes all have their reasons why they take part in the act of volunteering.
It can be said that volunteerism is based on religious beliefs especially those of the Christian faith base. That would be an accurate statement but, there are other forms of volunteering that are not faith based. You can be a volunteer firefighter, police officer, or EMT. One could volunteer at their child’s school to help read to students for example. There are various ways to volunteer and they are not always tied to a religious belief. Now most churches do ask that their followers volunteer their time, talents, and money to help promote the good of the church. Volunteering in a church setting is crucial it helps the church to achieve the overall goal of giving people a place to come that will allow them to get back the hope for the future that maybe was lost during the week. One can volunteer however he/she may like that is up to the person and it doesn’t have to be religious based to do so.
Those that volunteer are they the “do-gooders” as Ivan Illich called them in his speech “To Hell with Good Intentions” at a conference to the CIASP in Mexico. People who volunteer are sometimes looked down upon by others as a person who thinks they are better or more worthy because they volunteer. Some people may volunteer for that very reason to look good to those around them others may feel that they are obligated to do so. Others may feel that they want to volunteer to give back a little blessing that maybe was bestowed upon them in their lifetime. Does volunteering come from some feeling or moral obligation to volunteer as thought by Auguste Comte the French founder of Positivism and the creator of the word altruism. He believed “that an individual has a moral obligation to renounce self interest and live for others.” Comte’s word altruism means unselfish concern for the welfare of others (Wikipedia). Altruism comes from the Latin word alter which means other. Altruism is centered on the motivation to help others or doing well without expecting a reward. Volunteering is considered by some to be an altruistic action with the intention to promote good and improve the quality of life. Thomas Jay Oord an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene thought that altruism “might be one possible form of love” he defined it as “acting for the good of the other.” Volunteering in some ways does take on the form of love because man is putting the interest of something or someone ahead of his own in an attempt to improve the quality of life around them.
Why is it then if volunteering is the promotion of good does not everyone accept or agree with it? Some critics of the idea of volunteering feel that it is the Western cultures way of pushing its beliefs upon other people and nations. As did Mr. Illich he felt that Americans that came to Mexico came only to help did so to look good. He thought that Americans were only in Mexico to promote the “American way of living” and nothing more. He was totally against Americans volunteering in Mexico and worked very hard to help get them removed from the country. At the end of his speech he said the following few sentences in closing “I am here to entreat you to use your money, your status and your education to travel in Latin America. You can come to look, to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers, and to study. But do not come to help.” It strikes me as odd that one would not want help of any kind. If volunteering is the promotion of good why then would someone not want the help? From the research that I have done one thing that does come out over and over is the fact that some feel that it is a way for a religious belief to be forced upon others. I will use Christianity for an example basically it is the goal for Christians to promote good and love to others as Jesus tells them to through the bible. Here are those that believe that Christians use volunteering in an effort to promote their religion and get people to convert to Christianity. Some people may not believe like Christians and by accepting the kindness they might feel that they are going against what their core beliefs are. Whatever the reason is not everyone is open to volunteering and the acceptance of the good that it promotes.
I think about the impact that volunteering has on society and cannot imagine a world without it. I mean just a few months ago on April 22, 2009 our own President signed a law to boost volunteering called The Service America Act. Volunteering is a choice of some to put others ahead of themselves and offer help to promote the good in mankind. Some may volunteer to help church, business, or political organization. I asked the question on Facebook for my friends to tell me why they volunteer and got back some different answers. One person thought that we were born with it like a God given talent. Another person said that she did it because she loved to volunteer and it brought he joy in doing it. She said she wasn’t concerned with the credit that was given to her but, that she was using he talent to help others be successful at something. These were just a couple of the responses that I got back. Now the one about it being a God given talent I would tend to argue against cause if a family helps out then it doesn’t mean that the entire family will follow suit. Some of the family may feel that volunteering is against what they believe and do not see a need to do so. Either way it is an interesting way to look at volunteering.
In closing, it is my hope that you will see that volunteering or altruism is of the utmost importance for the overall success of mankind. One can volunteer in many different facets whether be in a church, school, business, or in a country. All mankind can look to volunteering as the way to promote peace and love in a world where a lot of hate exists. Whatever is your reason or reason not to volunteer I would ask you to rethink the idea and see what volunteering can do to help the world around you be a better place to live.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Weakest Link

The old saying is “you are only good as your weakest link” there is some truth to that statement for more than just a team, company, or organization it also applies to your life. With 2010 coming in a matter of a few hours why not make the resolution to make the weak links stronger or get rid of them all together. The weak links are those things that hold you back from being the great person that you could be, get in the way when you are trying to accomplish a task, or achieve a certain goal. Whatever it may be why not fix them it can only help make your life better and easier for yourself.
I coach a lot of youth sports and can tell that you get a lot of different links some stronger than others, some more aggressive, and some are just pure natural athletes with skills. The one thing that I try to is to help the weaker player get better by using the better players to do so. This not only helps the weaker player gain confidence but, allows the stronger player to use his God given ability for the good of the team. Some of us are just naturals and almost everything we do is easy. For others things take time, practice, and hard work. Would it be so bad in 2010 to have to work a little harder to fine tune your chain? I mean think about it if your weakest link is smoking bad example but, if you were to quit it would add years to life and thus create a stronger chain. Maybe the weakest link is not reading enough but, if you just maybe read one book a month that would be twelve in a year and think about the knowledge you would gain that would help make your chain stronger. The weak link for some could be that you’re on the Facebook or Twitter too much wasting time that could otherwise be sent refining and strengthening your chain. Let’s say you spend 30 minutes a day on either one that would be 10,950 minutes a year or 182.5 hours now that is a lot of time. I’m not saying that Facebook or Twitter are bad but, for some that maybe the weak link that gets in the way of having a better life.
How do fix the weak link well it has to identified that careful thought on the ways to make it stronger or get rid of it all together depending on what it is. Maybe you say I got more weak links and there isn’t enough time to fix them. That’s where you would be wrong maybe your life is riddled with bad decisions, broken promises, and failures how can those be fixed well it will take time and help from others. We can’t fix the weak links alone but, rather should look to those around us that are strong and talk with them and ask them to hold you accountable for fixing the chain. Your still saying I have nobody to turn to that will help me. Wrong again we all have someone to turn to and he is just a prayer away. That person my friends is Jesus Christ he can help you fix the chain and make it stronger. He will be that strong link that will help hold all the weak links together and help to make them stronger. With Jesus you can accomplish anything sometimes it won’t be easy but, he never said it would be. A devoted life to Jesus is something that will give you hope when there feels like no hope exists. He will be the ever constant the rock that will never waiver during the storms of life. If Jesus is part of your chain it will be strong enough to withstand the trials of life no matter what life throws your way. Please remember that doesn’t mean a life of cookies and milk. Life will still be hard and take work but, with him you will have the strong link to help you get through it.
I would say that with Christ my life is great never easy but, great and fulfilled with blessings that overflow. My question in closing for you is will you make the chain stronger in 2010 or let it get weaker? May God bless you in the New Year! 1st John 4:4