Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Giver of Rain

"Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men and plants of the field to everyone." -Zechariah 10:1

I really like this verse and the perspective it gives on who is in control of nature. In Biblical times, rain was a hugely important part of their agrarian society. When it didn't rain, that meant the crops weren't going to grow and with no crops you were in a tight spot.

The rain is something that isn't within our ability to control but definitely within God's. It doesn't do to worry about that which we can't control. By remembering that He is in control of the rain, we keep in mind the One who provides for us in all things whether physically, financially, emotionally, or in some other area. The peace that comes from this trust goes a far piece down the road.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Singing Christmas Tree

On Friday evening, I went to the Singing Christmas Tree at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. They had some really fun music and drama as well as more reflective types of music to focus on the Biblical aspects of Christmas. The evening was finished off with the audience invited to sing the Hallelujah chorus with the choir/tree.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Is the Government the Best Doctor for the Economy?

While I think there are some things that the government can do to assist the economy and companies through legislation, I am very much in support of a free market system. It is aggravating that financial companies, insurance companies, and now the auto industry have made business decisions which have led them to the brink of collapse and then ask for the US taxpayers to bail them out. These same companies charge high prices to the very taxpayers they are receiving a rescue package from.

By dilly dallying around and not significantly improving car quality compared to foreign cars, the big three have allowed foreign car makers to overtake them through better a better quality product. Consumers can not be expected to "buy American" if American made cars do not offer the same quality level. It is a matter of survival of the fittest. Yes, there are some good quality American made cars but in several cases the comparable foreign cars are simply better.

While I sincerely hope the American car companies can improve in quality and in their business practices, it is not right for the taxpayers to provide a rescue to them for a crisis they have brought much on themselves.

An area I do agree with the government on is the request for management changes if assistance is to be provided. A leader must take responsibility for where his or her organization is at and the current dire straits of the companies are largely the responsibility of the executives in charge.

If a parent always bails out a child whenever they get in a tough spot, it does not encourage the child to take responsibility for his or her actions. Similarly, I think that companies should be allowed to go through some tough times to encourage them to make wiser and more responsible business decisions. I sympathize with the individual employees who work for these companies that may suffer. My hope is that companies will turn things around, become competitive and prosper in the future.

One way the government can help is by working with countries that have trade embargoes and tariffs in place. By pursuing fairer market practices internationally, the worldwide economy will benefit.

From a government involvement perspective, I understand the desire to stimulate the economy but at times, it is better to let things run their course. If we compare the economy to the human body being sick, government interaction is like pumping drugs into the body to make it well again. Can it work? Sure.

At the same time, the government is not always the best doctor and does not always prescribe the right medicine. When these cash infusions, funded based on budget deficits and increasing debt loads, are pumped into the market, sometimes they help and sometimes they don't. There are also the ever present lobbyists pushing agendas and skimming precious dollars off the top that are intended to help the economy not line the pockets of lobbyists. The best medicine is a dose of thoughtful planning followed by a regimen of good business practices.

I believe the economy has the ability to heal itself if the government will stay out of the way and allow things to settle down. America's economy and business community is resilient and will bounce back in time.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kansas Basketball

Today, I went to the University of Kansas basketball game against Jackson State at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. For those who don't know, James Naismith, the father of basketball, invented basketball a few years before joining the University of Kansas as a physical education teacher and the first University of Kansas basketball coach in 1898. One of his players, Phog Allen also went on to coach the KU basketball team and became the 3rd winningest coach at the time of his retirement. While Allen was at KU, he coached legendary coaches Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp the number 1 and 2 winningest coaches prior to Bobby Knight passing Smith's record.

The Jayhawks won the game by a fairly large margin after Jackson State played them very close during the first half. When opposing players are shooting free throws, the students "wave the wheat" by holding their arms to one side then shifting them just as the player is about to shoot. They also roll the wheat. Each of these are intended to distract opposing players and I can definitely see how they would need to focus intently on the basket to keep it from distracting them.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what a Jayhawk is and what "Rock chalk, Jayhawk" means. I gather it's something to the effect of "we wish you well in your endeavors to obliterate the opposition."

What It's Like

Asking out girls is a lot like jumping off the diving board. There's the nervous anticipation where you build up the guts to do it. Then once the jump is made, the question asked, a few moments of heart pounding free fall. This followed by either sweet success or painful flop.

Brave is he who after counting the cost takes the the plunge no matter the result.
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