Resolutions are difficult but here is one that can be transforming. Can we work together for this one?

We have a problem in America. Our view of God has slipped away from the God of the Scriptures. Christians are picking and choosing the parts of God they like. That’s not who GOD IS. We must regain an accurate view of God.

In 2016, let’s focus on teaching as many people as we can WHO GOD IS really.



“It’s not fair.”

It is the phrase that has become society’s personal crutch. Three simple words that hinder people from taking ownership and responsibility for their actions. The sentence used as justification for us to fall apart. Often, we examine our experiences and instantly resort to pointing out what’s “unfair.”

To a certain degree, “It’s not fair” is our comfort blanket.

Yes, in many situations, things are unfortunate and completely out of our control. Circumstances arise and life throws some pretty hard curve balls. However, do you know what is in our control? The way we approach our adversity.

Stop Wallowing

We need to stop wallowing in sorrow and making excuses. You lost your job? Does that mean you should have a pity party for yourself? No. Work on your resume and start hunting for a new one. You did not get accepted into a program. Should you give up on your dream of being in the field? No. Start exploring alternative ideas and mapping out potential paths.

If you want something, fight for it. Do not become paralyzed by fear or rejection. Success comes through repeated mistakes. What is the worst that could happen? You get denied? Well at least you tried it. Sure, it might take 10 attempts, maybe 100, but if it’s your life dream: go for it! Keep striving for it until you see results.

Instead of focusing on the problems, start discovering solutions. Every new day is an opportunity to transform our lives. Heartaches and disappointment should not control us. Personal pain should not break our spirits.

Avoid becoming lost in comparing journeys with the people around you. Instead of constantly over-analyzing personal flaws, embrace them. Instead of taking in the disappointment, take in the memories. Just because things did not work in your favor now does not mean it will never happen.

Look for Opportunities

It’s about having optimism and being content — understanding that the timing you have planned might just not be what is right for you at this time. Maybe grad school is not happening right now, because an even greater is opportunity is coming along.

Actions always have consequences, but stop allowing them dictate your life. Sure, there will be times where you wonder “why?” There will be times where you put in so much effort, but there is no return. However, be comforted in knowing that is natural.

Someday when you achieve your dream, the satisfaction of knowing you fought for it will be invaluable.

We evolve every single day. Whether or not you realize it, you’re probably not the same type of person you were five years ago. Not even five months ago. Stop beating yourself up for regrets you may have about the past. Supposed “mistakes” often open doors of opportunity. Life isn’t fair. It is a balancing act of highs and lows. Ironically, that is what makes it beautiful. The challenges we face allow us to appreciate our successes. Rough times make great ones even greater.

It is OK to acknowledge something is not fair, but avoid resting in that state of mind. Challenges present the deepest learning experiences and sometimes, the most cherished memories. We might not know what lies ahead, but at least we have the power to choose what we leave behind.

“Why do pastors always talk about money at church?” .

They Preach It

On top of that, pastors preach sermons about money from time to time, and some of those sermons also seem meant to motivate people to give more to the church.

Many people believe that pastors talk so much about money, and they ask their people to give so often, that it makes them feel uncomfortable about how they manage their own finances, and a little guilty about how much, or little, they give to the church.

So why do pastors and churches talk about money? Is it meant to make people feel uncomfortable or guilty? Do we do it too much?

Think on this


If you think pastors talk too much about money at church, you should see what they do at the grocery store. Every single time I go there and put something in my cart, they ask me for money. And when I go to the doctor, he asks me for money too. When I go to the gas station, they ask me for money. When I go to the movies or out to dinner, they ask me for money. Come to think of it, wherever I go, people are asking me for my money in exchange for some service that they provide for me.

My point is this: No business, organization, or ministry survives without money. Businesses charge their customers for the products and services they receive. Churches do not. Instead, churches invite people to give to meet their financial needs so they can accomplish the work God called them to do, and serve people who cannot repay.

The ultimate goal for pastors in asking people to give is not to make budget, save for a new building, fund programs, or employ staff. They are simply showing people how their tithes make a real – and eternal – difference in the lives of real people through the daily ministry of the church inside the four walls, across the street, across town, and across the world.

Jesus Talked Money


  • Jesus talked about money more than He talked about heaven and hell combined
  • Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.
  • 11 of 39 parables talk about money
  • One out of every seven verses in the Gospel of Luke talk about money
  • About 25 percent of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels relates to money, stewardship, and the resources God has given us

Money Talk is Everywhere

Think about it. Do you know a person who doesn’t talk about money in some way every day? There’s hardly a family in your church or community that doesn’t have a daily dialogue about money. People talk about it, argue about it, and try to make their plans around it.

What’s wrong with the church doing it? 

So Which Side Effect Do I Want?


The only thing more annoying than TV commercials is TV drug commercials. Nowadays the two have become virtually synonymous Whatever happened to commercials for Tide or the Ginzu knife? Now it’s one mind-numbing Cialis, Pristiq, or Lyrica commercial after another. There’s the commercial with the doctor standing in his white coat out in public next to a giant mirror, not saying a word as people walk up to him. That guy should be arrested. There is the glowing nocturnal butterfly, flying from house to house, presumably flying into the head through your ears while you sleep, to eat your brain. There are sad people who suddenly have drug-induced happiness. There are COPDers, accompanied by elephants. There’s the guy who doesn’t have to make the turn off to the Protime Clinic because he’s on Xarelto, and can go fishing instead. All the commercials have high production values, but many, like the doctor and the mirror, just seem weird.

Each commercial follows the same pattern:

Part I:

The cheerful narrator sets up the problem and then introduces the drug-based solution. No commercial gets to the point quicker than the Cialis commercial. The awkward, non sequitur intro goes something like this: “It’s the little things she does, you never get tired of. But your erectile dysfunction? That may be a matter of blood flow.”

Each goes like this.

Part II:

The same narrator reads the list of side-effects, in the same cheerful but somewhat more pressured tone of voice, having only 30 seconds to get them all in (“…stop taking Cialis and seek medical attention if you have an erection lasting more than four hours…” or “…in rare cases Happy Drug X may cause death, suicide, liver failure, kidney failure, and so forth and so on…”

….Wait, did he say after four hours call the doctor? I can’t call I also have blurred vision, now what do I do? 

A Bit of History

Direct to consumer prescription drug advertising was approved by the FDA in 1997 and is only legal in two countries in the world: the USA and New Zealand. Proponents of these ads argue that they should be permitted by First Amendment free speech and that they are useful to raise public awareness of diseases and their treatment. Opponents argue that this is wasteful spending, adding to the cost of these drugs, and that the ads create pressure on physicians to prescribe drugs they wouldn’t otherwise prescribe. The ads encourage the viewer to self-diagnose conditions like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or “Low-T”, leading to unnecessary drug treatment of naturally occurring conditions. And, as the commercials warn us in that cheerful, friendly voice, there are some risks associated with these drugs. Even though the $4.8 billion dollars the drug industry spent (in 2008) on direct to consumer advertising is considered trivial compared to the total cost of health care (and is much less than the money spent on direct to physician marketing), clearly these ads work for the industry, or they wouldn’t bother spending the money.


With Congress being the representative of industry rather than of the people, it is unlikely direct to consumer drug advertising will ever change. Maybe if US physicians united to protest these commercials, then… Whoa! What I am thinking. Physicians in this country actually uniting to accomplish something? What do you think?

Bad Parenting or Nosy Good Samaritan?
As I was reading through my bookmarks, as I do every day, I came across an article about a parent that got arrested and their children were taken away for something that shocked me. So, I found some articles from the Washington Post and will share some amazing reasons that parents were considered bad and on “bad behavior”.
The first case comes from South Carolina where a mother, Debra, allowed her daughter to play at the park near where she worked at McDonalds. She gave her a cellphone for emergencies and noticed that at any one given time, there were usually near 40 children playing in the park at a time. It was the second day when an adult asked her where her mom was. When the girl told her that her mom was working, the adults called the cops and was arrested for “abandonment” of a child.
Another story involves a mother named Kim that went to the store. As she left home, her four-year old child insisted on going with her for the quick errand. When they arrived the child refused to go into the store. Since it was a mild and overcast day of near 50 degrees, the mother allowed the child to stay in the vehicle. Another adult saw her leave the child and recorded it all on a cell phone and called the police and she was arrested.
We all know of stories that have turned out poorly and this appears to be on the mind of the “good Samaritans” that phone the police. But do they know the whole story? Did the parents do irresponsible things? Are they guilty of bad behavior as parents?
Bradley Balko of the Washington Post writes about:
“increasing criminalization of just about everything and the use of the criminal justice system to address problems that were once (and better) handled by families, friends, communities and other institutions.”
In the book called The Quest for Community by Robert Nisbet, he states that a society without private associations will find the state taking their place. He wrote:
“It is hard to overlook the fact that the State and politics have become suffused by qualities formerly inherent only in the family or the church.”
In this world, the term “nanny state” takes on a very literal meaning.
A father named Jeffrey from Ohio had the police show up at his front door and arrested him in front of this entire family because one of his sons skipped church. He now faces six months in jail.

Here is the story:
The local Woodville Baptist Church sends a van to his neighborhood twice a week to offer free transportation to those interested in attending services. Williamson’s children ride the van regularly on Wednesdays and Sundays. This morning was no different, as his eight-year-old son Justin and siblings said goodbye to their father and left their house to board the van. One problem: Justin skipped church and went to play instead. The young boy stayed in the neighborhood to play with friends and then later ended up at the local Family Dollar store down the road. After police officers were called to the store by a customer who recognized Justin, they took him back to his neighborhood where they proceeded to arrest his father for child endangerment.
We now see the breakdown in modern American community—without a sense of communal closeness or responsibility, we act as bystanders rather than as stewards. We warn kids of “stranger danger”, we put guidance system on them, and we lock our doors because the neighborhood is not as safe as it once was.
What is sad in this is that parents are no longer supported by their community. What ever happened to calling the parent first or walking to the McDonalds and checking out the story. Possibly, not sticking our nose into someone’s business with our cellphone video.

Society today wants to be police, judge and jury from their seat and not truly be the Good Samaritan of the olden days.
Remember the “it takes a village” cry? Now it seems to be “every man for himself”.

The opinions in this blog are those of Tom Knuppel


For thousands of years, sport has been a crucial part of most good education systems, for good reason. Whether sport is played as an individual or as a team, it has important lessons to teach us which carry over into the rest of life, and which apply to business, politics, teamwork and leadership.

Sport teaches us tenacity, focus, perseverance, patience, strength, concentration, timing, courage, adaptability and skill. Sport teaches both mental and physical agility. Sport teaches us to time our run and to tolerate and overcome physical pain and limitations. Sport is about thinking and strategising, and its about mental toughness and resilience. Ultimately, sport is more about the mental challenge than the physical one.

Sport teaches us sportsmanship, which is essentially how to handle ourselves with grace, dignity and humility in victory and defeat. And whether we are participants or spectators, to be good sports there can be no complaint, tantrums, weakness or bad grace, and the only tears we are allowed to shed are tears of joy.

Let’s take a look at them on an individual basis:

Social skills

  • The social aspect of sports might be what entices children to play in the first place. Youth sports participation enables children to spend time with friends in a safe environment and obtain social skills that are likely to last a lifetime. Aside from bonding with peers, youth learn to solve conflicts effectively, reach common goals and learn to be more assertive, all while getting physical fitness. A child’s communication skills also are enhanced after playing a sport, giving a child needed life skills.

Competitive skills

  • Although there is such a thing as being too competitive, it’s important for a child to understand the positive aspects of competition. Adults are surrounded by competition, from getting a job to moving up in the work force, and when children learn the basics of competition early, they have a better chance of succeeding. Sports participation helps children cope with competition in a friendly environment. Working to achieve a goal or being part of a team will help youth gain healthy competitive skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.



  • Sportsmanlike behavior is a lesson that children obtain from playing sports. Children learn to positively handle both the winning and losing aspect of playing a sport, and good sportsmanship is a trait that carries over from childhood to adulthood. Athletes who focus on mastering personal improvement have a good chance on later becoming good citizens and hard workers. Good sports tend to better cooperate with others and make moral decisions instead of being ego-oriented individuals who behave badly.

Leadership abilities

  • Achieving leadership skills is a life lesson learned when children participate in sports. Obtaining leadership qualities that range from being a good character, to respecting others, to being task oriented can be accomplished in both team and individual sports. A solid support system, such as a strong parental.

Building Character

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Not allowing your child to give up when he is afraid of failing or being rejected by friends, or is tired of working hard, builds character that can propel him or her into life as a successful, productive adult.


In work and the rest of life, sport reminds us to do better, last longer, be stronger and aim higher. And strive, individually and in teams.

Today is not a blog but a poem I found to share.

A smile cost nothing, but gives much.

It enriches those who receive,
without making poorer those who give.
It takes but a moment,
but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor but that he can be made rich by it.

A smile creates happiness in the home,
fosters good will in business,
and is the countersign of friendship.
It brings rest to the weary,
cheer to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad,
and is nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen,
for it is something that is of no value to anyone
until it is given away.

Some people are too tired to give you a smile.
Give them one of yours,
as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

Ok, I am not moving to a warm climate, although I have always had the desire. With that out of the way, I recently began to look into why it is good to re-locate to a warmer climate since my oldest son has done just that.


Benefits of Moving to a Warmer Climate

To begin with, moving to a warmer weather is good for your health. Whether you love more the snow or the beach, it is proven that warmer weather affects well the body.

Your body loves the sun! Sunshine causes the production of Vitamin D in your body, which, in its turn, makes you healthier and makes you feel more energetic. Not to mention that Vitamin D is good for your bones and can prevent cancer, it is also beneficial for your blood pressure, it stabilizes the heart, the immune system and activates the metabolism. This is a great news for those who love summer and being exposed to the sun’s rays. Even exposure to the sun for only 15 minutes is enough for your body to begin to synthesize Vitamin D! There are lots of other benefits of Vitamin D but here to name just a few to give you an idea. Your body will generally feel better in a warmer climate, because cold air affects the lungs. So, if you live in an area that is cold most of the year, you should consider relocating to one of the warm weather states in the United States or at least regularly going on a holiday somewhere sunny.

Benefits of warmer states

The warm weather has many benefits – one of them is you can enjoy the beautiful sun!
The sun is a natural stress-healer. When the sun rays reach the eyes, the brain begins to produce more serotonin, one of the hormones of happiness, which makes you feel better and improves your mood. The level of the hormone melatonin decreases when you’re exposed to the sun because this is the hormone, which makes us sleepy. The stress hormone also decreases in summer because of the sun. The sunlight that passes through the eyes helps connect and control many of the physiological and psychological functions in the human body, like for example it influences the self-esteem directly. In winter, people tend to be more depressed and melancholic because of the lack of sufficient sunshine. People in cold ares live less according to statistics, suicides are more and death rate in general is higher. Also, after living in a warmer climate, the so called “insulating” fat disappears and people tend to be slimmer.
You will like to be outdoors more. When it is warm and sunny, you will surely feel more like going out, exercising, taking walks, even jogging, rather than when it is snowy, rainy, foggy and cold, when people usually prefer to stay at home more than they feel like going out. And generally there are more things you could do outside when it’s nice and warm rather than inside. And, as we just said, going out in the sun has many prerogatives.

So, what would you rather do in your spare time? Spend it in front of the TV while the blizzard is whizzing outside or pull the curtains, let the sunshine in and go out for a drink with a friend? We shouldn’t also forget that in a warmer climate the heating bills are considerably lower than in cold states.

Summer activities

There are so much more things to do in the summer than when it’s cold outside!
Less things to move and less worries. When moving to a warmer weather, you don’t need to bring your winter boots with thick lining inside to keep your feet warm and an overcoat – generally, there will no longer be the need for many layers of thick clothes with which you can hardly walk. You can forget about blizzards, snow, and ice, throwing sand and salt on the road to make your car go, scraping ice from the car, getting out for work an hour or half an hour earlier to dig your car out of the snow, which means less night sleep as well. In summer weather there is no need to get shovels to clean the snow, no slush on your shoes to bring into the house in spring/ autumn when the snow is melting and life seems so much easier now, doesn’t it?


Warmer climates offer also more seasonal work which is good if you are a student or recently graduated. There are lots of cities and areas with theme parks, restaurants, hotels, golf clubs, etc. that open up only in summer for tourist. You will be able to live closer to the place you are working and enjoy the benefits of summer at the same time!

It is beautiful, isn’t it! The clear blue sky during the day, the clouds that occasionally overshadow the sun can be so pretty. Not to mention sunrises and sunsets that are so beautiful to watch. Winter can hardly provide so pretty sunrises and sunsets which are anyway often hidden by snow, rain, fog, clouds, etc.


Our Hearts are Like Opening Christmas Gifts


Some people just love Christmas season. I can’t say I am one of those.

They love the  sense of anticipation, time with family, hunting for the perfect gift for someone, cookie baking, decorating, and all the other rich family traditions that surround it. However, it isn’t that way for everyone.

As every adult knows, we begin to experience the realities of life, and we start to see things through a different lens than we did as a child. Joyful anticipation turns into panic to get everything done in time. Memories of time with family turns into reminders of lost or strained relationships. Hunting for the perfect gift becomes a dreaded trip to the crowded mall filled with impatient people. And the family traditions once loved are set aside due to the present realities of life.

The carefree days as a child – when our eyes were filled with excitement and innocence – seem long ago to those who are worn and weary from the burdens of life.

I have come to experience many of these changes myself as I’ve grown. So much of my perspective on Christmas (and life in general) has changed over the last several years. While I love seeing the joy in my grandchildren as they open a gift just as much as any other parent/grandparent, I’ve also become keenly aware of what will immediately follow. They will toss the gift aside almost as quickly as they tore it open and say, “Next one?!” All those gifts will be played with for a time and will eventually get pushed to the back of the closet.

Doesn’t this reflect our own hearts as well? So much of life is spent striving for the next thing. But not long after we receive it, our hearts begin to long for something more, something better. We see this clearly as the day of Christmas approaches. The excitement builds, the day comes and goes in a blink of an eye, and all the excitement and cheer is gone as quickly as it came.

Even as believers who know that Christmas is about the birth of our Savior, too often our time and priorities can end up reflecting very little of him. We stress and strive over gifts, parties, and decorations and sometimes get so burned out that we lose the true joy of the season: Christ was born sinless and died so that we could one day have eternal life free of sin!

Is our joy being based on that truth or are we exhausting ourselves over all the extra fluff that so easily distracts us? Are we first spending our time and energy in things that reflect that truth before running to our to-do lists? Let’s simplify this season and leave room for the joy of Christ’s birth to fill us first and foremost.

And oh I couldn’t understand it, for I felt I was rich
And I told them of the love my momma sewed in every stitch
And I told ’em all the story momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors was worth more than all their clothes


But they didn’t understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is only poor
Only if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money
But I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me
Made just for me

By Dolly Parton




People hate being poor. They frown upon being poor and certainly loathe it.

What we’ve lost sight of is that it’s… Okay to be poor, a good thing even.


Why? It’s a learning opportunity. A character building opportunity. For most of us, whether or not we’re poor is highly dependent upon our attitude.

If we believe that we can’t afford to live below our means, we probably won’t even try to find a way to make it happen. That’s a good way to make sure you never get ahead.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.   Philipians 4:12

Instead, why not take the view that you really do have enough? A simple change in your point of view can make all the difference. It allows you to look for ways to use your resources more efficiently, so that you can not only live within your budget, but under it. After all, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you don’t live beneath your means, you can’t save/invest for the future.

Here are some important things I think we need to learn from being poor.

  • Stewardship. If we aren’t wise stewards of few resources, why would we be given many?
  • Contentment. It’s clichè, by its true; if we’re not content with little, there’s not a chance that we’ll be content with much.
  • Humility. It’s oh, so easy to be conceited in our wealth. Being the person without a smart phone (or whatever), keeps ya humble. A trait which will hopefully be carried over into wealthier times.
  • Adaptability. Being able to adapt to your financial situation can be an invaluable skill that will carry over into other areas of life.

Money is not the be all, end all.