Thursday, April 29, 2010

It’s a Relationship, Not a Religion

Matthew 7:13-29 is perhaps the toughest passage of Scripture for a Christian to read. No matter your maturity or immaturity in Christ, you will be challenged as you read the words that declare you saved or unsaved. Even more challenging from the text you will see that God is speaking to those that call Him Lord…not the unbelieving atheists and worshippers of other gods…though He does address them in Scripture as well.

For me this passage describes a time when I was ignorant of the Salvation Message. It describes me before I not only accepted Christ into my heart with a prayer but took Him up on an invitation to “walk with Him.” Ever go on a walk with a person? What about a really long, daily walk? If you have you know that a relationship blooms from that. Perhaps you already had a relationship with this person but I’ll bet you it grows deeper as you walk with them. It comes natural to us as we walk to speak with one another, share intimate details of our lives, and have a growing respect, love, and admiration that this person is doing life with us.

If you have ever been convicted by The Holy Spirit through a powerful sermon, book, or personal revelation that prompted you to accept Christ into your life…that is wonderful. I am not here to begrudge that event or the power of that moment. But if you acted in that moment and have not gone on a walk with Him since…I want you to consider this piece of Scripture. It seems clear that there exist those in this world that will call Jesus their Lord but God will still declare that He did not know them. Take Him up on His invitation to have a personal, daily, real relationship. It will be the best experience you will ever have!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Big Belly


Last night’s dinner conversation went a little something like this:


At the conclusion of saying Grace…


My Son: Daddy why do we say God is Great?


Me: Because He is Great. He made everything including you and me. Isn’t that Great?

My Son: Yes, but why do we thank Him for our food. Mommy makes our food.

Me: Well, mommy cooks and prepares our food but God gives it to us to cook.


His inquisitive nature was satisfied for a while as we all enjoyed our chicken, rice, and green beans. As I proudly cleared my plate with barely a crumb left over he had one more question for me:

My Son: Dad?


Me: Yeah?


My Son: How did you get such a Big Belly?

In a flash of mere seconds several things ran through my mind that I intend on sharing with you. But rather immediately I laughed, pointed to my plate, and told him it was because I love mommy’s cooking a little too much sometimes. I then invited him and his sister to help me make my tummy smaller as I plan on starting a workout regimen again.

What ran through my mind?
My first instinct was denial. I thought to myself everything about me is bigger than my four year old son. My hands, fingers, legs, muscles, etc. So he must mean to point out my belly as just another thing I have that is bigger than his, right? Well maybe…but probably not.

As acceptance entered my realm I had a smirk begin to form as I realized the truth and innocence a child has when social rules of politeness have not yet been honed. My son held up a mirror for me to look in unapologetically but also with no malice or disdain. Had I become angry it would not have been with him but with the image in the mirror. But all too often we blame the person(s) holding the mirror, don’t we? That is SO much easier than taking accountability for our short-comings and formulating a plan for change, isn’t it?

Well I have decided to stare into that mirror a bit longer. I will take this opportunity to start reducing my calories, cutting out the late night snacking, and getting more active. However, I might as well take a good look at everything about me that needs attention. God will, like my son has proven, tell me the truth about what He sees. And He will do so without malice, without disdain…but in pure love and truth. It is my job to take accountability and then action toward fixing the problems.

Look in your mirror. What needs to change?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Broken

So what is the BIG DEAL about humility and brokenness in the Christian life? We hear about it all the time but what does it mean? I continue to find out as I am a work-in-progress. But previous to accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior this message offended me. Self help books taught me to take pride in my abilities, to pick myself up by the boot-straps, to overcome, and to be my own master. It was the weak, low self-esteem types that needed medications and psycho therapy to deal with life.

My first humility lesson came the day of my salvation. When I realized that I, like Peter had been fully aware and even following some of the teachings of this cool dude Jesus but never truly got Him or what He was all about. I, like Peter even got to a point where I denied Him because He wasn’t as politically correct as would keep me well liked and popular. As the reality of Jesus smacked me in the face and I realized how I had treated Him and His name…humility and disgrace took on new meaning for me. Thankfully the overwhelming Joy of Salvation immediately begins to remedy the self inflicted wounds of shame!

But I never truly understood being broken until I went through a year long bout with anxiety. Suddenly no amount of self esteem and pride could help me. No family member or friend. No doctor and no amount of suffering or anguish gave me healing from this inexplicable and uninvited guest into my life. My very identity changed. My newly wedded wife was probably wondering who she had married and what had happened to the Jim she once knew. I had to force myself to get out of bed in the morning and go to work after night terrors had kept me from a good nights rest. What did work even matter? I was being tortured physically, mentally, and spiritually and by what? Something called Anxiety?

It was only when I completely surrendered even unto the possibility of God taking my life that I was delivered from this suffering and able to get on my feet again. I don’t pretend to know why I went through this crazy episode but I cannot deny the lessons learned and the extreme humility it taught me. Perhaps one of the biggest lessons besides realizing many of the errors I had taken from the self help section of Barnes and Noble was that God is willing that we should learn His ways either through the easy process of humble obedience OR…the hard way of kicking and screaming. Much like raising children of my own my twins have a choice: They can obey the rules and allow harmony to ring through the household and keep all their privileges with little discipline OR they can rebel, scream, kick, and create disharmony only to find the rules intact and their rights to certain privileges taken away.

This morning God used an old pair of broken sunglasses to drive home what I have learned and continue to learn in my walk with Christ. Below is a video I made about what He showed me. I pray that it impacts you in the same way it did me!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Bit of HR Advice...

There are unlimited tips and tricks that an HR professional with any length to his/her career can give you but I am moved in this moment to share some that are fresh on my mind. I am recruiting for two new clients of mine. Two openings are warehouse positions and one is a Customer Service Coordinator. After posting some ads, I am literally sifting through hundreds of resumes. For every five I view, one might get called. For every ten I call, two might get through my phone screening. It’s a tedious process but that I why client companies hire us to do the prescreening evaluations.


As I have been calling qualified candidates over the past few days I have had a consistency of issues that you as a job seeker might want to consider. I assume that most of this is common sense and laughable…which is partly why I decided to go on a blog-rant about it. But for those of you that are guilty of any of these, please take note and do yourself a favor.

1. The music ringer – Do you have a cell phone that lets you select a song for your callers to hear instead of a traditional ring? If so, please carefully select what song you want potential employers to hear and therefore judge you by. Gangsta Rap with a slew of cuss words and racial slurs is NOT a good idea. Can’t tell you how many of these I’ve heard and hung up on.

2. Your email address – I know, I know…we all have one listed with google, hotmail, and yahoo. In addition we normally have one like joe@mcdonalds.com for our employer or previous employer. The temptation to get creative and to leave your personal name out of the content is understandable. But if you have a stellar resume, awesome credentials, and just as I decide to click on the email hotlink to inform you that I’ve selected you for a telephone interview I notice that you are crackdealerpimpboy666@yahoo.com...I’m probably going to pass.

3. The voicemail message – I just called a customer service candidate who sent her resume to indicate her interest in our ad. Upon calling her it went to voicemail. She had a pleasant, professional sounding, even soothing tone of voice. But here is what her message said:

YOU KNOW WHO YOU CALLED! LEAVE A MESSAGE AND I WILL GET BACK WITH YOU. IF YOU DON’T LEAVE A MESSAGE THEN YOU NEVER CALLED!!

What is impossible to show in text is the inflection of her voice as she delivered that last line. I am sure that was primarily meant for friends and family that frustrate her when they call and fail to leave messages but once again…we forget about the impression a potential employer might get. I know without even having spoken to this particular candidate that she is quite capable of copping a big attitude.

4. Salary Negotiations – One of the men I recently brought in was quite sharp and very qualified for the customer service role. In his interview with me the subject of pay came up and that is quite normal. I am used to candidates doing their best to get the top dollar available and even challenging whether or not the listed top dollar actually is or isn’t. I am used to a list of reasons why a person is worth a dollar more per hour or $5K more per year. But this guy decided to let me know that he deserved two more dollars per hour because he has court-ordered child support that takes half of his paycheck. The only way he can support himself is if employers pay him $13 per hour or more. I actually liked this guy and did not end the interview. But I did advise him that when he sits in front of my client and talks about money, that he really needs to come up with a better negotiation tactic.

5. Testing – This one is perhaps the most frustrating and the least funny. We ask over the phone about a persons criminal background, their typing speed, their willingness to take and pass drug tests. Without fail, people tell us what we want to hear.

“I don’t have a background.”

“I can pass a drug test.”

“I can type 40 words per minute.”

Guess what? We are asking, not because we are going to take your word for it. It is our job to actually confirm what you are reporting. We are asking so that you don’t waste our time or yours if indeed you have issues in any one area. Yet countless numbers of people claim they have skills or lack negative marks only for our investigation to prove otherwise. The most common phrase said to me upon confronting a person that claims to not have any criminal charges but does?

“Well…I didn’t think that would show up.”

Keep in mind we didn’t ask them if they had criminal history that would or would not show up. We asked if they had any at all.

Ahh…gotta love my job!

Share your interviewing/employment/do’s or don’ts with us in the comment section…

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Tomb IS Empty

I was pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the message this Sunday at church. Most times, Easter Sunday puts a cap on the buildup to the Christian remembrance of His sacrificial atonement of our sins and we move into our next study. Pastor Mike had a different idea and spoke beautifully as he presented a sermon called "What Now?".


As he spoke I became convicted. Convicted of concentrating on the cross and not paying much mind or weighing the true implications of the empty tomb. I mean…that part is VERY important…don’t get me wrong. Otherwise all we have is a story of an innocent Jew that was wrongly put to death. And while that is tragic, it would not be all that compelling or different from a multitude of people that have walked this earth only to one day meet their deaths. Yes…Jesus would still be interesting and the stuff of legend. Many a lesser man has been remembered throughout history and hailed a prophet or religious guru. But without the Resurrection…without an Empty tomb…this thing called Christianity is worthless.

All of our claims hinge on this fact. Only one has ever come and conquered death. Only one has done so and by His accomplishment invited us to also join Him in an eternity of life! As Paul writes:

17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

Did you get that? Without the empty tomb a Christian’s faith is not only useless but Paul admits that we should be pitied above all other men. Thanks be that:

He.


Is.


Risen.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

An Important Throw Away Post

Often a blogger or vlogger will take a time out to inform you of some changes that he or she is about to make. It may be a new direction, theme, and sometimes it’s just to let people know that they will be taking a break for a while. I call these "throw away posts" because they don’t really contribute to the body of work normally produced by said person.

But I must admit that these posts are often helpful and necessary…so here is mine:

Since 2006 when this page first came to be published I have tried a great many types of essays on a wide variety of topics. In 2007 I started a YouTube channel that all but killed my desire to write. I finally figured out a way to have balance and even let the two mirror or support one another. But now, even that has been rather infrequent. So as I have been thinking about what I should do, I have come to conclude that some changes will now be implemented.

1. Name Change – I started off as Poser Rantings. The term poser was coined in my generation to describe someone that was a “wanna be”. At that time I “wanted-to-be” a good writer but had no delusions of gradure. The name seemed appropriate. When I stopped being multi-topical and focused on the Christian Faith exclusively…being a poser/wanna-be suddenly made zero sense. So, even though I kept my URL…the blog’s name changed to Humble Offerings. If you haven’t already noticed I have my third and most likely final name – Living On The Edge. Why? Many of you already know that TheEdge, TheEdge12, and even TheEdge012 have been my “screen name” on the internet for years. And there is an explanation for why I came up with this but I will let you dig through my archives to find out if you are even that curious. Essentially here is the main reason I am sticking with it and finally applying it to this blog…even changing the URL once and for all:  If being a business owning, father of twins, married, Christian man doesn’t qualify as living on the edge…then what does? This leads me to the next change…or throwback, depending on how old or new you are to my essays.

2. Topics – Though I will still have a heavy emphasis on all things Christianity, I do miss some of my humorous posts, my current events critiques, and my updates on the twins. Expect to see more variety again. And by covering a variety of topics this might possibly help with…

3. Frequency – I tend to go through ups and downs with motivation and inspiration for contributions. If my friend Bob did not constantly remind me that he is in need of a new post…I might have let this part of my life die on the vine. So if you like my stuff…thank Bob for keeping me going. If you hate my stuff…blame Bob for keeping me going.

4. Email Notifications – There are 10 of you that I have added to my notifications list. You either already follow me and this is my way of informing you of the new url address and changes or you are related to me and should follow me (hint, hint). How’s that for expanding my audience? And I might include more than 10 but that is what my blog website limits me to.

5. Less Videos, More Writing – I will still repost my best Vlogs over here but will not use this as a secondary dumping ground for my YouTube Channel. I will actually be publishing essays again.

6. A Request – I am not sure how much traffic will get driven here from Facebook or YouTube but I am going to post my URL on both sites. If you are from Facebook you know personal things about me. My name, where I live, where I went to high school, where I work…etc. Most people from YouTube know me as TheEdge or just Jim. That is how I would like to keep it. If you want to truly understand why all you need to do is understand that I get some very hate-filled and nasty comments from those that oppose my world view. I doubt there are many critics out there truly looking for people on the internet to track down but lets just play it safe…shall we?

7. Lastly – Something I really like to encourage and even intentionally build up to with posts is a dialog. Please participate in the discussion by clicking on the comment button after each post and giving everyone your two cents.

Now print this page out and literally throw it away.  No really.  Do it!