The Gospel and the Statue of Liberty

Long ago, seemingly in… no, not seemingly… IN another age (before everyone walked about with a connection to the whole world in their pocket; before we had a World-Wide Web; before 95% of the nation knew who Bill & Hillary were…), I used to hear a song regularly on a local Christian radio station. The song was about the Statue of Liberty.

I was young then and didn’t focus too much on learning all the words. I just knew it was a beautiful, patriotic song — like “God Bless America” is. What stuck in my mind was the opening line about New York Harbor and the phrase “and all who see her”. Every now and then, an old memory is triggered in my mind; usually this involves some scent or some song. Today, the memory was of these two snippets from a song and I did the obvious: I looked to see if it was available on Youtube.

I posted the result of my search below. My brief research revealed that the song’s full title is “The Cross is My Statue of Liberty” and it’s by Neal Enloe of The Couriers.

I posted the different performances below in the order that I found them. When I looked at the Youtube notes below the first video, I saw that the one who posted it was considerate enough to include the lyrics and his personal thoughts on the song.

As I read the lyrics, I was reminded of The Star-Spangled Banner. By that, I’m referring to the fact that most of us only think about the first verse of our national anthem. I never paid any attention to what was being said in the second verse “The Cross is My Statue of Liberty”. Now I’m aware: the first verse speaks to how fortunate we are to live in the USA; the second speaks to how blessed we are to be counted among those of God’s Kingdom.



“The World Would Love His Own”

Jesus told us that the world will hate us...
Jesus told us that the world will hate us…

Now, what do you suppose it was that spurred this attack? Do you think I was bashing this ‘author’ over the head with pronouncements that he’d better repent? Was I picketing the funeral of his loved one who happened to be a sinner (like the rest of humanity)? Did I put up a replica of The Ten Commandments or a nativity scene where he would have to look at it? Did I threaten to remove his head for his stubborn refusal to bow before His Creator?

I could go on with these questions seemingly forever. While I do feel sorry for the person who typed that message, I wonder what has gone on in his life to poison his soul so. I didn’t reply because I saw that he was so settled in his thinking that reaching out to him would have potentially made him dangerous. Perhaps it was his alcoholism speaking. Who knows?

The ‘spark’ that (I imagine) connected with the fumes from his drink was an appeal to generosity. Huh? What? You ‘heard’ me correctly — GENEROSITY! We live in a selfish society. I am SO glad that Jesus freed me from that way of thinking. Below, I’m reproducing the exact message I sent out. His reaction, though unexpected, gives me a ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling all over because of what Jesus said about hate. If sharing Biblical principles makes me a target for the hate of worldly folk, I have been paid the highest honor they can give!

From: Brother Tony O
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2015 10:46 AM
Subject: A Personal Appeal to Start a Conversation

Good morning,

I pray that all is well with you and yours.

I’ve developed a unique, Bible-based approach to business and I invite you to discuss it with me. The core is to be Rich Toward God (from the lesson of the rich fool in Luke 12). Whatever I earn that’s beyond my personal operational budget is to be invested in others.

I’d like to know what you think about the topic. Consider joining the ‘Rich Toward GOD’ LinkedIn group: http://bit.ly/b_RichTowardGOD

Either way, thanks for taking the time to read this message.

To Your Health and For His Glory!
Brother Tony O
THE Christian Internet Marketing Consultant

Beware! The Spirit of Rebellion is a Killer!

Embedded below is an appeal for unity made by Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, as the church prepares for their General Conference Session (that takes place every five years). There is a major dispute taking place over the church’s refusal to ordain women as pastors. Just like so many other issues that divide the United States between “right wing” and “left wing”, this spirit of deep division has infected the church.



I just watched the video and it’s past midnight as I’m typing this. It could be that I didn’t hear every word spoken but I was struck by this message of love, passion, unity, and spirit/spirituality — not for what WAS said. Rather, it was what WASN’T.

Specifically, I speak of obedience. Since I was in diapers, I was made to understand that without obedience to The Will of God as revealed to us in His Word, all talk of “love” is just noise. There is balance in Scripture. When one chooses to only focus on certain statements from The Holy Bible and reject or simply ignore others that don’t fit comfortably into his/her agenda, he/she will fail to understand the “narrow path”. Worse, an opening is created for that first cunning ploy of the serpent — to make us question what God really said and, then, whether He really meant what He said.

There are too many examples of God’s children wandering off course trying to be like the world or doing what they think is right (like Uzzah) — even if God explicitly told them something contrary.

I don’t know Jackson well enough (yet) to have an opinion of him. I do, however, have an opinion of what he said in this video. I do not enjoy being lied to. He stated, “We are committed to our world church. We, as a division, that is, all of us, have demonstrated this faithful commitment to our church from the very beginning. By God’s Grace, we will remain faithful… The [NAD] has always demonstrated a spirit of cooperation with our world church. By God’s Grace, we will continue to cooperate.”

I watched this presentation (106 minutes long) last night that clearly shows the deadly spirit of rebellion, not “cooperation”, that is alive and possessing the NAD. President Jackson is either in denial or intentionally being “less than truthful” (as a politician might spin it).

  • Like Cain, who decided that God should accept whatever sacrifice he was willing to make and then was enraged to the point of murder when his way was rejected, we have those who are ready to fight anyone who dares to challenge their will.
  • Like the fools who built the Tower of Babel, we have those who’ve become too “smart” to be restrained by God’s Word.
  • Like the children of Israel who demanded a king, they’re too focused on the ways that “seemeth right” to people — but those ways lead to death.
  • Like Saul, who chose to disobey God and then wanted to offer the fruits of his disobedience to The One Whom he disobeyed, we have those who act as though their service to God is a favor they’re doing for Him (or as some of them say, “Her”).
  • And, like Lucifer, the father of discontentment himself, they cry “unfair!”

[Tweet “Let’s be frank about what’s REALLY #unfair: Jesus, Our Creator, had to die for our #sins.”]

It is our choice to focus on self rather than God, on our will rather than God’s Will that made His sacrifice necessary.

Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace from wikimedia (MO edited)

Whatever happens next month, this church is ALREADY split and events like this aren’t new (please note the point of “equality” raised by Korah’s gang in Numbers 16 — and the result). I didn’t intend to type so much but this appeal from my heart only scratches the surface. I conclude by pointing to, as is my custom, Hananiah; Mishael, and Azariah.

Like we see with Noah’s family, and Lot’s family (most of it anyway), it is only a tiny fraction that remain loyal to God when the situation gets hot (or wet). The majority reveal that they were never really God’s. Of all the Hebrews taken to Babylon, only three would not bow to the symbol of man’s power to be defiant.

The same deadly, defiant spirit that had the Israelites build the golden calf — right after witnessing the awesome Power of God in Egypt and being shaken by His Voice at Sinai — that same rebellious spirit is working more aggressively than ever, right now, among God’s people.

Crisis? There is no crisis that can touch those who cling to The Master’s Hand. The crisis is just a storm that swirls around them. I say “them” rather than “us” because I look at what happened to Peter (when he denied Christ thrice) and, as much as I insist, as sure as I believe I am, I just can’t know what I’ll do until the heat is applied.

To Your Health and For His Glory!
Brother Tony O
Connect with me now on LinkedIn if you believe in being “rich toward God”!

Building “Credit” on LinkedIn: Connect Your First Level Connections

What?

Your first level connections on LinkedIn are often not connected. You can introduce them.

Why?

By reviewing your first level connections carefully, you can uncover common interests and complimentary skills… in other words, you can identify people who might benefit from knowing each other. If new friendships are created among your close contacts, your bond with them will be strengthened.

More than that, you’re influence among those closest to you will increase as being helpful naturally triggers reciprocity.

How?

Contact both parties and let them know you want to introduce each to another close contact of yours. When they both reply positively, choose which one will receive the introduction and go to the profile of the other contact and…

  1. Select the “Share Profile” option from the down arrow next to the buttons in the header box.
  2. Enter both recipients’ names in the top box of the compose message page,
  3. Modify the message to explain how they could benefit from knowing each other, and
  4. Click “Send Message”.

The message will go to both and include contact information so the two members can connect to one another.

Further reading:
LinkedIn Help: Introducing Two Connections

Embrace “Trite Fright” in Your Social Media Profiles

What does “trite fright” mean? It’s just a goofy little rhyme for you to remember that you don’t want your profile to look, sound, and feel like all of the other profiles.
terror by pagedooley on flickr
For the past few years, LinkedIn has shared a top ten list of the most common words, “buzzwords”, to avoid. Why should you avoid them? Because they’re fluff; they don’t reveal anything about you. So, the next time you feel tempted to type that you’re “creative”, be very afraid because you’re about to sound like anything but creative.

What should you do? Show & Tell. Show us, let us know how much creativity is within you by illustrating your creative experiences. Tell us stories (we LOVE stories!) that will make you memorable. A quick example for you: Instead of saying that I was “responsible for Web site development” in my profile summary, I might say “After hand coding Web sites for over a decade, I found and fell in love with what was still a relatively new tool called ‘WordPress’. From that moment about a dozen years ago forward, I’ve had the ability to quickly build robust sites like http://brothertonyo.com/ that can easily change appearance similar to the way you put on a new outfit every morning. Plus, I can add new features like blogs and shopping carts (or remove them) about as quickly as you can accessorize your outfit.”

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account yet or if you do but your page hasn’t been optimally set up, use my contact form to ask for my help. For right now, consider the following lists of trite words (and phrases) that ought to stir up the fright in you:
[table id=1 /]

The Cost of a Foul Mouth

…be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
from 1 Timothy 4:12

There are a lot of gurus out there teaching the latest and greatest Internet marketing strategies and many (most?) of them wear profanity like some kind of badge of honor. They claim that if you don’t like hearing “real language” then you’re weak and they want to weed you out.

That’s just pure nonsense and I put up with it so that you don’t have to. That’s one of the main reasons that I make it clear up-front that I’m THE Christian Internet Marketing Consultant. That’s also why I rarely direct traffic to them. If I tell people to listen to them and they refuse to act professionally and respect their audience, their bad behavior reflects on me. It’s guilt by recommendation.

Soap in Mouth adapted from photo by https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/A very large portion of our population claims to be Christian and most Christians appreciate the Biblical principle of taming your tongue. For you (Christians that want to do business intelligently online), I’m here to help. I readily teach you what I learn from the foul-mouthed gurus.

If you can’t be interesting without profanity then let’s face it, you’re not that interesting.
says Michael Hyatt

This morning, I woke up to an email from one clean and upright Internet marketer that had the subject “How Much Business is Your Profanity Costing You?” His email caused me to type this post at this time. I could have or should have done it long ago because this topic has been eating at me, for years.

He argued that 1) profanity alienates people, 2) profanity hurts your brand, and 3) profanity doesn’t work. He points out that using profanity can pack a punch when it’s reserved for extreme situations but when it’s routinely used it desensitizes the audience.

He quoted Joel Comm as saying, “If you are disrespectful of your audience, the impact of your message is going to be diminished.” I totally agree. Don’t disrespect me like that, bro… or your mother (surely she taught you better).

And, I ask you, why would a marketer want to intentionally shrink his/her audience over something so easily controllable? Is opportunity cost forgotten?

If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
from James 3:2

Speaking Bluntly: Stupid People Shouldn’t Vote, Mr. Obama!

Although the pro-Obama crowd loves to tag any criticism of his ideas and actions as “racist”, I’m not going to allow their obsession with hate to silence me. I recognize that most African Americans aren’t going to like to hear my opinion on responsible voting because the United States has an ugly history of using absurd, arbitrary tests to deny citizens their right to vote but we’ve allowed that abuse to push us to the opposite extreme. We use guilt trips to urge disinterested individuals to insert themselves into the nation’s business decisions. Rich or poor, male or female, whatever your race, you should not be voting if you don’t understand the options.

Sidenote: Our elections are no longer about solutions. In place of substance, we’re given a show… as Agassi used to say in commercials “image is everything”. So, is it any surprise that Washington is dysfunctional? The most capable leaders don’t get elected because they actually have an interest in working for the people. This can’t happen when your sole focus is on keeping your job. All the way up to the President of the United States, we don’t have leadership or service. We have self-serving leeches who run never-ending campaigns!

How did we get here? I’ve complained for years that no corporation would allow people who were not stakeholders to participate in their decision-making by voting. It’s undeniable that we have millions who vote in our national elections who pay no attention to what our government is up to and it’s stupid to encourage uninformed people to vote. Isn’t it bad enough that our Congress votes on bills that they clearly don’t read (as they are thousands of pages long)? I’ll dig deeper into this point on legislation when I have more time but this blog post was prompted by the latest Obama scheme…

Obama pointing at YOU and MEMr. Obama, still emotionally wounded by the butt-kicking he took in November 2014 and recognizing the advantage Democrats have in numbers plus the fact that emotional, uninformed voters are more likely to be wooed by the Hollywood-slick marketing of his creative team, is now prepping us for mandatory voting!

So, now that those who voted for him have wearied of his moves, he wants to force stupid and/or uninformed citizens to vote or be fined (taxed)! Again I say, this is pushing us to the opposite extreme and it’s not good. Is this the only way progressive liberals can keep us on their schedule for re-structuring our government?

In Maryland, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1. The Democrats’ candidate for governor, Anthony Brown, was not only a man of color like Obama, he was running in the shadow of the White House and he was one of the few candidates who wanted to be seen with the PotUS. Heavily-favored Brown was handily defeated 51% to 47% by the Republican Larry Hogan. Now, Hogan has to work with a bitter, battered and bruised Democrat-controlled legislature to deliver the corrective measures he campaigned on (no hope of that happening) and will surely only serve one term because the Democrats are going to drag their members to the polls (by the gonads, if necessary) in the next election.

The spectacular rebuke of Obama in Maryland could not have happened with his mandatory voting scheme in place. What people (who think like he) don’t want to accept is that NOT VOTING is a choice. If you don’t like your options (frequently the case) or don’t even care what the options are, what sense does it make to force your involvement? Only a poor leader whose group has superior numbers would float such an idea.

Change Just for Change’s Sake is Stupid

…and so is voting just to vote. Activity is being masqueraded as productivity. Like the horrible deal Mr. Obama is going to make with our enemy Iran, where he won’t accept the obvious wisdom that no deal is better than a bad deal, there are times when one just needs to step back, turn away, and “let it go”. If I don’t like my options or I don’t study the issues, not only should I be able to choose not to vote, I should be advised to stay home — without having to pay another Obama tax.

Have You Found Your Purpose?

It’s my belief that one must have a goal before intelligent action can be undertaken but it’s even more important to have a firm reason why. I’ve believed this since I was in the fourth grade. Most of us are living out our lives in ways often described as “a rat race”, “a rut”, or merely “going with the flow” that require conformity not intelligence.

What happened to cause me to question the path that all Americans are expected to take? You know, go to school, get good grades, graduate, get a good job, be a loyal employee for at least four decades, retire (hoping you have enough money saved to live comfortably), and then die…

What happened to make me ask, at that early stage of life, the question so many ask at some point — “is this all there is… is there nothing more?”

Boredom happened.

I was able to grasp the material being taught in class the first time it was presented. Unfortunately, for me, most of class time was spent doing all that could be done to help the slowest learner catch up. I spent 90% (or more) of class time revving my mental engine, eagerly waiting for some new data to devour. Having all of that free time allowed me to critique the process and I never stopped.

I’ve found that a lack of direction is a problem but a lack of purpose is an even bigger problem. Leading a horse to water (direction/a specific goal/the “what”) is the element that most of our energy is expended on. But, we can’t make it drink because the horse hasn’t been convinced that he ought to do so. It is my contention that one has an obligation to fulfill one’s purpose and that can’t be done if one’s purpose remains unidentified. Most of us never identify it because we’re not looking… or should I say, we’ve stopped looking.

Children tend to go through an annoying “why” phase. This search for meaning, the inquisitive nature, seems to fade rather quickly. I’m guessing that it happens not long after the indoctrination begins in our schools.

Do you agree that fewer people fail because of a lack of focus on a specific goal than fail because of a lack of understanding the reason why they’re pursuing said goal?

Why have New Year’s resolutions like “I’m going to lose weight” become a running joke? Again, I say the lack of “stickiness” is due to the absence in the heart of a solid, cornerstone purpose.

Doing anything just because it’s expected of you or it sounds like a good idea is not a foundation for excellence. If you haven’t figured out your purpose, what are you waiting for? Your community, beginning in your home, is waiting for you to get on with it!

To emphasize the need for identifying one’s purpose, I created my real-world newsletter, B: on Purpose!. The first issue will be hitting mailboxes across the land very soon.

Word of the Day: nosophobia

From Dictionary.com, today’s word is “nosophobia” which refers to an abnormal fear of disease.

When I hear that definition, I think of Howard Hughes, an extremely rich man who shut himself off from the world because of his fear of germs.

I must confess that there’s some of that spirit in me. I hold dearly the “ounce of prevention” rule and this has me do whatever I know I can to keep from getting sick. I believe the main thing that keeps me from developing an unhealthy obsession is the fact that I’m aware of the danger.

On another note, I wonder who gets to define what “abnormal” is?

Irrational, Paralyzing Fear

What are you afraid of? Anything that others might consider irrational? Like clowns? closets? or the dark?First Time Sewing

I love machines. I marvel at the advances humans have made in the last century due to the creation and improvement of machinery. Computers, in particular, have had a hold of my fascination ever since I first watched a Star Trek rerun. Those blinking colorful lights had a hypnotic effect, I suppose.

But, as much as I love machines, there has been one machine that I’ve been afraid to touch and I didn’t give it much thought until yesterday — I’m paralyzed by a fear of sewing machines.

I’m not afraid to touch them (so you can stop laughing at me). I am afraid of using them. I think a part of it may be uneasiness about working with needles but, more than that, I’m afraid of messing up the stitching of fabric. Yes, I know that the stitches can be pulled out and the work done over but I’m a bit of a perfectionist — I stress over efficiency, namely, doing the job right the first time. The thought of pulling out a bunch of stitches to redo sloppy work grates my nerves.

Further, I don’t have a clear picture in my head of the mechanics. How does a needle pumping away on only one side of the fabric stitch multiple layers together? I don’t get it and we tend to fear what we don’t understand.

As a result of signing up for a quilting class with my daughter, I was just struck by the intensity of my fear yesterday. I thought this would just be an opportunity to learn a new skill while completing a fun project. The whole process of putting a quilt together appeals to me because I’m a “puzzle person” who is attracted by the shapes, patterns, and the exercise of designing new art.

When the time to sew arrived, though, I backed off and let my daughter have at it. It’s funny how satisfying it can be to watch your child attack challenges that paralyze you… and her first lines were so straight! (Big, toothy, eye-twinkling smile!)

I’m going to conquer my irrational fear by studying how these marvelous machines work. I will master sewing, period.

Do tell, what “silly” fear stops you in your tracks and how do you plan to overcome it?