Thursday, December 25, 2014

Home Alone?

From the Hooked on Houses Blog

One of the Christmas Season's favorite movies is Home Alone. Why do we love it so much?

Do you remember the scene of his mother trying to get back to Chicago to see her boy? She was tired, angry, anxious, worried guilty and frustrated. Every mom can identify with those feelings even they never abandoned their 8 year old kid at a high holiday.

Is it hard to believe that a mother and father would forget their son during the High Holy Days? Can you think of anyone else that did something similar? Well, Mary and Joseph left Jesus behind for three days! Can you imagine how they felt? Embarrassed?mguilty? Ashamed? Angry? Afraid? In a Panic?

I wonder what her Mom said to her. "Don't tell me you list the Messiah!"

I wonder if that film reminds us unconsciously of The Holy Family.

The Bible is filled with stories about family dysfunction and human frailty. Every family recorded in the Holy Book was dysfunctional. The only thing that made the Holy a Family holy was God's grace on a them. The only way we have any righteousness and holiness is a the grace of a God and the presence of Jesus.

Mary and Joseph were obedient and wonderful role models but they were fallible. How about the boy left on his own at home?

If you want to read other dramatic stories of dysfunctional families, read the Bible. Start with King a David or one of his kids.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Frozen for Christmas

Ebenezer’s Dreams

MARLEY was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to.
Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, his sole mourner.

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name, however. There it yet stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door, -- Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge “Scrooge” and sometimes Marley. He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh ! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, was Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! External heat and cold had little influence on him. No warmth could warm, no cold could chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect, -- they often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!"

But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance. 

Just imagine for a while the cold, hard, penetrating eyes and the lack of compassion that covered his face like a steel mask. No knight in armor ever had a more forbidding visage than Scrooge.

**This description of Scrooge is the best illustration I have ever seen of a hardened, callous sinner whose heart and mind and spirit are so deadened to human life and nurture that he prefers loneliness and rejection to warm fellowship. However, when the Spirit comes to him and calls him to repentance his softens his heart. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Destruction of Russia

The Ruble is falling with every passing day!

Why is Russia falling apart economically?

1. The economy was based almost entirely on selling oil. Oil prices have fallen greatly because of the new oil and gas in America. Oil was about $80.00 a barrel but has fallen to about 60 Dollars. That is costing Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc to lose tons of money!

2. The banks are almost broke!

3. Prices are rising fast so people do not dare to save their money. So, they spend everything on appliances and other items they will need later.

4. The Ruble is not worth much so it costs more to buy the same things. For instance, before the crisis it might cost 10 Rubles to buy bread. Now it could cost 20 or 30 Rubles.

5. What do people say?

Putin said, "It is not my fault! It is the fault of America!

The people say, "Help! Help! Help! We can't pay rent, food or clothes.

I say, "Pray and support our Russian friends." Go to the web page to donate.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Minority Chuch Attendance

                   Famous men who loved God and church.

Research shows that 91% of blacks, 93% of Hispanics and 88% of whites report a religious affiliation. Even more startling is the number for regular attendance: 51% of blacks, 48% of Hispanics and 43% of whites attend services weekly or more often.

Sixty four percent (64%) of blacks in the national sample were members of religious communities (churches) with 59% of whites and 43% of Hispanics. Participation in religious activities outside weekend services is also high with 47% blacks, 41% whites and 31% Hispanics saying they are in church during the week as well as on Sunday. )

Want more great ways to be a peacemaker? Try this web.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Conflict and Communication With Whom are we Reactive?

Some Sources of Barriers in Harmony from My Life

People are marching, people on TV, radio and Facebook are upset and calling others bad names, 

One of my friends recently wrote a moving article about being taught to be a racist about people with an African heritage. I was not taught those things about race but I did learn to dislike and fear many other groups of people.  I have listed the various people groups who were prominent in my thinking as a child.  I list some of the categories of major differences with the ways Jesus includes. 

                                  Peace-Anger-Judge as Raca-Reject as a Fool

Peaceful Presence
Anger Discomfort
Judge as Raca Stupid
Contempt of Fool


Business People










Stupid People

Recreational Sports







Stop the B S!

Conflicts are Inevitable but Break-ups are Optional

Successful relationships only happen when people learn how to resolve Conflicts without Reacting and jumping ahead of a healthy Complaint.  Complaints  keep relationships clean and growing. A Complaint does not fall into B. S. (Blame and Shame).

However, when our frustration turns to Criticism (Blame) or Contempt (Shame) bad things happen.  BS stinks.

I presented these ideas at a conference in Asia. Before the talk, I received a note from a woman whose husband had divorced her for another person. She asked:

How do I deal with such an evil man now that we are divorced? Should I allow him to our their children? He is really a bad person and I think his presence will damage the children.

After my teaching she wrote another note.

I now know why my husband wanted to be with someone else. I never gave him a chance to tell his side of things and I attacked him about a lot of issues. Thanks for telling me this information. I am going to ask him for forgiveness and tell him that he can see the children.

This could have been a man, of course. Criticism and Contempt are not more likely from females than males. In fact, many think it is a more common fault of men. The point is not gender but gentler!

No one is ever accused of being too gentle in a divorce case. But many people tell me their former spouse was nasty and disrespectful to them. Sins of the mouth can be as damaging to intimate relationships as sex. “Death and life are in the tongue.”

More can be found at our web page to help you understand how to be gentle. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

How to Use Conflict to Get Nasty

Have you ever attempted to give someone advice? Afterwards did you think, "They would be in good shape if they only did what I said!" 

Have you ever tried to raise your parents? Do they take your advice or get REACTIVE!!!???

What the hecK?

Reactivity can take two forms.

We React to others attempting to Rescue us. 

And we tend to React to Rejection. 

Both arise from inner anxiety and a lack of peace.  When we are “Too close” to another person, it gives them too much influence and control over our emotions.  We feel "hurt" by them. 

Reactivity Scale

How much anxiety, anger, hurt or sympathy do we experience when rejected or embarrassed. President Bill Clinton is normally a calm man. However, when challenged about a failure in his political record he REACTS with fervor. We can scale how much fervor occurs.

On the Reactivity Scale, Zero means “Perfect Peace” and Ten means “High Anxiety/ Anger” Mr. Clinton was a Nine when Chris Wallace asked him about his failure to kill Ben Ladin. However, when he is in control, the smiles and warm gestures show low anxiety. 

Where do you fall when under pressure?

Perfect Peace-------Medium --------High Anxiety


At peace we can make decisions that are wise, clear and filled with love and truth. The list of Galatians 5 Spiritual Fruit lays out what a mature believer looks like on the inside. The heart and mind are filled with love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. They are the outgrowth of the God's presence in us. Inner peace leads to outer grace because "Death and life are in the power of the tongue". 

Harsh words can leave deep emotional wounds. St. James said The tongue is a restless evil setting the cycle of nature on fire.  The “cycle of nature” leads to pain and toxic conflicts. In fact, divorces commonly occur because of toxic conflicts brought about by harsh attacks with the tongue. Solomon also warned us about the tongue.

            Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21
The Cycle of Conflict indicates when we move from danger to severe harm in relationships.  Do you ever call people degrading names? Personal tacks move us close to hell on earth. 

Church and/or work conflicts can produce the same cycle of anger, resentment and revenge. Church groups are extended families with spiritual connections and have emotional and physical ramifications. 

It is hard to leave stress behind. But with prayer and meditation peace can reign in our hearts.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Want to Help Heal Racial Conflict?

                    Be a Peacemaker and Take the load off!

One of the most recent outbreaks of anxiety about racial problems in America came a few weeks ago. A young African American was shot dead by a police officer in St. Louis, MO. Riots and accusations followed.

Is there some way to stop such problems? I doubt it but we can have hope that we can improve the relationships among different racial groups.

One of the very best ways to improve the financial wealth, health and harmony of minorities is evangelism. Does that seem far fetched or grandiose? Maybe both but there are data that seem to support my conclusion.

In a nation obsessed with racial and cultural diversity the facts about minorities and religious faith have been strangely absent from the dialogue. There is one astounding statistic about African American longevity and church attendance that is rarely if ever mentioned in the debates about faith based organizations and health care. 

An article by Hummer et al in Demography Journal, 36:273-285 in 1999, Blacks who attend church live much longer than those who do not. In fact, regular church attendance leads Blacks to live just about as long as Whites!

White life expectancy
Black life expectancy
77 Years
67 = A huge,10 year difference
Less than weekly to weekly
80 Years
75 = A large, 5 year difference
Weekly or more
83 Years
80 = A small, 3 year difference

Those who want to improve the health and wealth of Blacks can do it through evangelism and developing caring, outreach ministries. I am shocked that so few Ministers focus on these data when they hold enormous promise for us a a nation. 

Why do so many programs say that religion, faith and spirituality may not be mentioned? Why do some government agencies that supposedly promote minority health and welfare close their eyes to these data?

More to the point, why do so many churches promote all kinds of programs for the poor minorities but leave evangelism and Christian fellowship out of the equation? Of course we need to feed the hungry a fish to help them for one meal, but faith in God and fellowships of love can feed them forever!

Secular humanism and psychological counseling are not enough. Statistics like these can hopefully shake us compassionate Christians out of our sleep.

See my books and videos

Monday, December 8, 2014

Conflict and Communication in Marriage, Politics and Religion 4

Attacking comes in a relationship when I am overly REACTIVE to others. It especially easy to get reactive with the people I love. Family members are usually more Reactive to others than to strangers because they mean so much to us. 

If a drunken stranger said nasty things to me I would overlook it. However, if my spouse or child utters a mean or uncaring remark I react with anger or deep pain.

Jesus said when we are angry we are in danger of being judged. Anger can cause damage to a relationship.  In the Cycle of Conflict mentioned in a former post, I correlated the teachings of Jesus with Gottman’s research to show what happens when we get reactive in a relationship.

Why are divorces so high among conservative Christians? Is it our faith? No, it is our tongue that kills because we have no healthy way of releasing anger. Disaster and divorce occur when a couple, business partnership or church fellowship cannot resolve differences without anger, name calling and character attacks . 

We can use a scale to quantify the depth of damage our reactions cause in a relationship. We get a better idea about the impact of our words. Instead of saying the elephant is big we need to describe exactly how big it is. One of the research projects that deeply influenced me to write on this topic for a dissertation was focused on whether or not the Bible was correct when it said things like, Death or life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21

Richard Walters  hooked volunteers up to an instrument that measured the size of their pupils. He then played actors saying different things on a recording and had the volunteers listen to see what happened to the pupils. To his shock, the size of the pupils varied in a way that mirrored what the actors were saying and how they said it. 

A harsh message brought about wider pupils and a caring statement relaxed pupils. These results tended to verify the passage in Proverbs.

This leads me to conclude that Jesus was exactly right. 

Contentment or Peace brings a relationship life.
Anger brings danger.
Attacking a person's intellect brings judgment!
Attacking a person's character brings hell!!

Peacemakers are not Reactive so they do not attack. They are calm and peaceful. They attend to each person's ideas and feelings. They have no open prejudices or hidden agendas.  Peacemakers are not emotionally reactive because of their own pain.

Attackers bring previous hurts into the relationship. Their attacks are actually about unresolved personal issues. For example, think about a woman whose grandfather was a violent alcoholic.  She marries a man who likes to drink beer with the buddies after work and she goes into a rage. She does not think and say, “When I see you drinking it reminds me of Grandpa Jones. He was a drunk that beat my mom. Please do not drink more than one beer.” 

More than likely that small even brings a big reaction. She might attack him for being a bad husband and father or for coming home late. It is emotional irrational but she may be blind to her own issues. 

I knew a man whose mom abandoned the family. He was paranoid about his wife's behavior. Anytime she went out he was very suspicious. Additionally, he insisted that his daughter dress like an old woman.  His past wounds were still in control of him daily. 

Until I am healed I cannot be a peacemaker. My lack of peace automatically brings reactivity into my relationships. 

Want to be at peace? Click for healing. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Want Wisdom?

You have heard it said, "Do not murder. I tell you this. Anyone who is angry is in danger..." Jesus

My peace I leave you... Jesus

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? 

Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 

Interested in growing in godly wisdom? It is hard work to change the inner life, but it is possible. See my free videos with Charlie McMahan and get the books on Power Christian Thinking. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Leaders: How Are They Doing in the Racial Crisis?

Contentment is the goal of life. Are we content or angry and dissatisfied? My memory of John Wimber says he was pretty content. That made him a great teacher. 

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 

We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Who is ready to teach? Let him prove it with Wisdom and Peace! Get some help with these books and videos.