GDP & Unemployment Rate “Looking at the Numbers that Count”


People have their strong opinions regarding who they consider a good or bad president. Some say that Obama was one of the best presidents in the history of the universe. Others consider him a total failure. George W. Bush seems to inspire a lot of hate back during his time serving as Commander and Chief. Others have nothing but good things to say about him.

         I have never had the privilege of meeting any president personally so I can’t judge their hearts, their goodness or evil intentions. What I can say is that a President is not a religious leader; he is a political leader and a commander… period! I am making an effort to focus on the numbers that count; that is, the size of the economy, job creation and an objective look at our budget as a nation (debt and surplus).Today, in our series dealing with the numbers that count, we are taking a look at the GDP and the unemployment rate.

         When we talk about unemployment we speak about the heart of America. To be unemployed and unproductive is bad for every human being. God designed us with the ability to make our own living and to work. The dignity of having a job is fundamental for our families and our society in general. So lets talk about jobs. Let me start by saying that, as you can see in the chart below, no other President has created more jobs, per month, than President Clinton.[1] Not much explanation is needed; these numbers are speaking loud and clear.

Job Growth

         Before we continue, lets also take a look at the best GDP (Gross Domestic Products) average. The GDP is essential when speaking about the economy and jobs; that is because the GDP is essentially the level of our ability to buy and sell; it is what moves the economy. According the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA):

“GDP is one of the most comprehensive and closely watched economic statistics: It is used by the White House and Congress to prepare the Federal budget, by the Federal Reserve to formulate monetary policy, by Wall Street as an indicator of economic activity, and by the business community to prepare forecasts of economic performance that provide the basis for production, investment, and employment planning.”[2]

            There is no way around these numbers; they are easy to find and they are a reflection of every presidency. Policies will affect the economy and the ability to create jobs. “Under President Trump the US GDP has grown by more than $300 billion in just two quarters”.[3]

Economy growth

       There are some interesting numbers to look at in terms of unemployment. President Johnson had the lowest average unemployment rate across his presidency since 1948 at 4.2 percent. So far President Ford saw the highest average unemployment rate at over 7.8 percent, followed closely by President Reagan at over 7.5 percent. President Obama’s presidency saw an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent. His last year in the White House was his best with an average unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. So far under Trump, from January to July of this year, the average unemployment rate is 4.4 percent.[4]

         So, in the mix of all the turmoil, the people resigning and getting fired, the attacks, the back and forth between the president and the press, the protest and the accusations, etc. as we glance at the numbers that count, Trump economy and job reports are heading in the right direction. Love or hate, this is not my opinion these are real numbers.

 

References:

[1] https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2015/10/28/which-presidents-have-been-best-for-the-economy

[2] http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/07/under-president-trump-the-us-gdp-surpasses-19-trillion-for-the-first-time-ever/

[3] http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/07/under-president-trump-the-us-gdp-surpasses-19-trillion-for-the-first-time-ever/

[4] http://historyinpieces.com/research/us-unemployment-rates-president

 

Supporters of Hate


stop-using-the-word-hate-1

A Republican or a Democrat is not necessarily filled with hate because of their political affiliation. A disagreement is not hate. We are using and abusing the word hate as much as we are using and abusing the word racist.

            On the other side of each ideologies is where hate is found; why? Because all ideologies are manmade; all ideologies are the product of the god of this world; the devil himself (2 Corinthians 4:4). That is why we need to keep our eyes on Christ and not on anything the world has to offer.

            The problem is that a democrat easily recognizes the hate on the extreme right and a republican easily recognizes the hate on the extreme left, but both are unable to denounce the hate on their own extremes. They serve an agenda; a selfish agenda! But I have news for you: the street of Chicago are filled with hate, when a brother kills another brother that is hate; gangs are filled with hate, terrorism is hate, any religion that promotes killing and violence is hate, when a father refuses to discipline their children that is hate (Proverbs 13:24), domestic violence is hate, abortion is hate, Black Lives Matters promoting the killing of police officers is hate, police officers harassing and killing minorities just because the color of their skin is hate, talking about killing our president is hate, not praying for our government, but promoting resistance and rebelliousness is hate, calling our own men the “N” word and our own women the “B” word is hate; making music that promotes killing and violence is hate. Should I keep going?

            So HATE has to be denounced everywhere with zero compromises. When you are willing to denounce hate everywhere you are courageous; when you don’t, you are a coward. When we only denounce hate on the other side of the fence, but refuse to do the same on our own side, we are filled with hypocrisy and supporters of the same hate we are denouncing.

The Dark Side of Alaska “Four Years Later”


AK_StateIcon

On August 10th of this year, just a couple of days from the moment I write these words, I celebrated four years since I arrived in Fairbanks, AK. I drove ten days from Gates County, North Carolina. Without knowing much about Alaska, other that it was cold and, without knowing anybody, my wife, my six children and I decided to make Alaska our new home.

         I love the beauty of the State, I love the summers here; they are absolutely amazing! I love my home, landscaping, cutting trees for firewood, splitting, stacking and the whole process of preparing for the winter. However, there is an obvious dark side to Alaska that I am unable to ignore.

         According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence “Alaska has the highest homicide rate for female victims killed by a male perpetrator in the nation. 59% of adult women in Alaska experience sexual abuse in their lifetime.”

         On September 29 of last year The Alaska Dispatch News reported that, “The statistics are sickening. One in every four women in Alaska  will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The Alaska     rape rate is 2-1/2 times the national average, and the child       sexual assault rate in Alaska is close to six times the national        average. For the Native Alaska population, the numbers are even rougher. One out of every three American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped during her life, and three out of every four American Indian and Alaska Native women will be physically assaulted.”[1] The Statewide Suicide Prevention Council reported the following:

  • Alaska has one of the highest rates of suicide per capita in the country.
  • The rate of suicide in the United States was 12.57 suicides per 100,000 people in 2013 (the most recent year available from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control). In 2015, Alaska’s rate was 27.1 suicides per 100,000 people.
  • At least one suicide occurred in 186 Alaskan communities between 2006 and 2015.
  • In 2015, the rate of Alaska Native males that died by suicide was 79.7 suicides per 100,000, more than six times the national average.
  • Youth who are exposed to suicide or suicidal behaviors are more at-risk for attempting suicide, according to the American Association of Suicidology.
  • Suicide deaths consistently outnumber homicide deaths by a margin of three to two, according to the American Association of Suicidology.
  • More than 90% of people who die by suicide have depression or another diagnosable, treatable mental or substance abuse disorder, according to American Association of Suicidology.[2]

         There are many other awful statistics in Alaska and, I suppose, many have taken the time to present possible causes. I heard that the long, cold and dark winters in Alaska are the reasons for such awful statistics. However, the cause, more than physical, is spiritual. There is an obvious spiritual darkness and coldness in Alaska. In September of 2008, in an article entitle, “Survey Finds Alaskans Less Religious Than Other Americans” the Pew Research Center found “that, compared with the nation as a whole, Alaska is home to a higher-than-average number of people who are unaffiliated with any particular religion. More than one-in-four Alaskans (27%) describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular, compared with 16% among the adult population of the continental U.S.”[3]

         If you take away the light you are left with darkness. In doing research for this article I am finding, over and over, that Alaska is commonly recognized as, not only one of the least religious states in the United States, but in fact, one of the least Christian states in the United States. This makes perfect sense to me judging by my own personal experiences in churches in Alaska.

         In my 20 years as a born again believer I have been a part of mostly Pentecostal churches. When I arrived to Fairbanks I quickly became a part of a Church. There, for the most part, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word was weak. I heard outrageous things such as “God is a God of two truths who follows us alone the way as we navigate in life.” What? Are we not called to follow HIM? Is it not HE the Truth, the Way…? When invited to a leadership meeting, in that same church, I reminded the Bishop that the Bible encourages us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; he proceeded to point at the denomination’s constitution. Is the Church’s constitution above God’s Word? Well, things did not end well there!

         On my second church I heard more outrageous things also, such as an elder testifying that he got saved, but repented later. When I confronted him with this doctrinal atrocity he challenged me to show him in Scripture where the Bible tell us to repent. Well, from the Old Testament, to John the Baptist, to Jesus, the Apostles… repentance is all over the place! Needless to say that with no biblical justification I was kicked out of this church. Thirdly, I applied for a senior pastor position in a local Baptist Church. These folks did not even give me the opportunity of an interview; they rejected me even when I told them that I was available to do the job for free. For free! I am sorry guys, but I have to LOL on this one!

         Experiences like these forced me to gather my family, take a look at the enormous house God has provided for us and, open up my own ministry. My main focus is my family! However, even as I am open to minister to all; I can’t deny my passion for the Native American community in this region and, that is precisely where the Lord is beginning to open doors for me. There is no other way to say it and, I know that I may run the risk of offending some folks; but strong Bible preaching and teaching are painfully lacking in Alaska.

         After four years, it seems like I have nothing to show for. By far, I have minister very little in Alaska compare to Florida and North Carolina. I have to say that my ministry, for the most part, has been rejected here! That is the truth, I can’t make stuff up and give you guys the wrong idea of what is going on here in terms of ministry. My wife and I have never seen the degree of disloyalty we have seen here. We know folks, some have become closer than others, but do we have true friends as we did in our previous communities? No, not even close!

         However, the last four years have been also years of intense training; of truly paying attention to what we believe, to study theology and doctrine, those concepts that are not too popular amongst the Pentecostal/charismatic denominations, to not accept anything as truth that is not clearly confirmed in Scripture; to openly reject traditions of men that again, have nothing to do with God’s Word, to study like never before, go back to school (Liberty University) and dig deep into the things of God. I don’t know how much longer I will be residing here; I am leaving that in God’s hands. What I do know is that all these training is with a purpose and that either more doors for ministry will open or, perhaps, the time will come for me to shake the dust off my feet.

 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.adn.com/commentary/article/why-alaska-rape-capital-us-because-we-allow-it/2013/04/08/

[2] Information is from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics unless otherwise specified.

 

[3] http://www.pewforum.org/2008/09/04/survey-finds-alaskans-less-religious-than-other-americans/

 

¿Obligados a Diezmar?


diezmo

Debido a los abusos en lo que a los diezmos se refiere, algunos han tomado opiniones drásticas y han cancelado totalmente el tan siquiera hablar de este tema. El punto no es eliminar esto o aquello, simplemente porque se ha utilizado de forma incorrecta. Nuestra obligación como cristianos es el retornar a la Biblia y aprender lo que Dios tiene que decir sobre el tema. Claro que existen temas muy difíciles de entender, otros no están muy claros y hay temas en donde la Biblia parece guardar silencio. Mas sin embargo, cuando se trata de este tema de los diezmos, la Biblia es bastante clara.

         Para comenzar a desarrollar este tema creo que 2 Corintios 9:5-13 nos da toda la información necesaria para establecer una buena y sólida doctrina. El Apóstol Pablo, quien es el Apóstol de nosotros los Gentiles, le dice a la Iglesia de Corintios,

“Por tanto, tuve por necesario exhortar a los hermanos que fuesen primero a vosotros y preparasen primero vuestra generosidad antes prometida, para que esté lista como de generosidad, y no como de exigencia nuestra. Pero esto digo: El que siembra escasamente, también segará escasamente; y el que siembra generosamente, generosamente también segará. Cada uno dé como propuso en su corazón: no con tristeza, ni por necesidad, porque Dios ama al dador alegre. Y poderoso es Dios para hacer que abunde en vosotros toda gracia, a fin de que, teniendo siempre en todas las cosas todo lo suficiente, abundéis para toda buena obra; como está escrito: Repartió, dio a los pobres; Su justicia permanece para siempre. Y el que da semilla al que siembra, y pan al que come, proveerá y multiplicará vuestra sementera, y aumentará los frutos de vuestra justicia, para que estéis enriquecidos en todo para toda liberalidad, la cual produce por medio de nosotros acción de gracias a Dios. Porque la ministración de este servicio no solamente suple lo que a los santos falta, sino que también abunda en muchas acciones de gracias a Dios; pues por la experiencia de esta ministración glorifican a Dios por la obediencia que profesáis al evangelio de Cristo, y por la liberalidad de vuestra contribución para ellos y para todos;” 2 Corintios 9:5-13 RVR1960

         Podemos argumentar la validez del diezmo en el Nuevo Testamento. Podemos decir que ya no estamos bajo la ley establecida en El Viejo Testamento. La realidad es que es difícil encontrar evidencia bíblica que apoye el diezmo como una obligación. Mas, no podemos argumentar que, como Cristianos, estamos llamados a ser bondadosos. Como Cristianos, el dar es un reflejo directo de la condición de nuestro corazón. Estamos llamados a dar según nos propongamos en nuestros corazones y según lo que ganemos. Claramente no por obligación, mas con corazón alegre. Pablo también nos da una ley y es que el que siembra escasamente también segará escasamente.

         Entonces, ¿para qué damos en el Nuevo Testamento? Esto es controversial. Si estamos en una iglesia en donde las finanzas se utilizan solo para mantener al pastor y para mantener un edificio, estamos fuera de orden. Me acuerdo ser parte de una Iglesia en donde era motivo de testimonio el poder pagar el pago mensual al banco por dicho edificio. Luego no había dinero para nada más. No estoy en desacuerdo en que el que el pastor reciba salario; pero estoy en total desacuerdo con pastores ganando millones y con dos y tres casa, carros nuevos y aún hasta aviones, todo pagado por la Iglesia. Eso es un abuso y una vergüenza.

         De acuerdo a los verso bíblicos que acabamos de leer, podemos ver tres propósitos fundamentales para nuestra bondad: 1) Para suplir a los santos lo que le falte. ¿Sabía usted que en las iglesias descritas en el libro de Hechos nadie tenía necesidad de nada? (Hechos 4:34) Imagínense la magnitud de la bendición de esa Iglesia. 2) Para los pobres. Tanto el Viejo como el Nuevo Testamento nos da el mandato de cuidar de los pobres. El ignorar a los pobres no es de Dios. 3) Porque el dar glorifica a Dios. Una vez más digo, que aunque este tema de los diezmos y las ofrendas ha sido abusado vergonzosamente, en algunos sectores de la Iglesia, no podemos descartar nuestro llamado a la generosidad.

         Entonces concluyo que no se trata de eliminar asuntos controversiales y encerrarnos en nuestras propias opiniones, mas estamos llamados a ir a la Escritura y ser obedientes a lo que la Escritura nos dice que hagamos. Digo “no”, a la enseñanza de la obligación del diezmo, más digo “sí” a nuestro mandato, como Cristianos, a ser generosos de corazón y con actitud alegre.  Entonces puede que un hermano no sienta en su corazón el dar absolutamente nada. Ese hermano, como todo cristiano, tiene que ser discipulado y aprender las formas de Dios y no de los hombres. Puede que haya otro hermano el cual su bondad se limita a un 2% de lo que gana, quizás 5%, 10% y algunos hasta más. Tal y como crecemos en otros aspectos de nuestras vidas, también crecemos en la bondad.

         Nosotros como Cristianos estamos llamados a ser las personas más bondadosas del mundo. Estamos llamados a dar, a perdonar, a ayudar y aún a estar dispuestos a sacrificar nuestras propias vidas por el bienestar de otros. ¿Obligados a diezmar? No; pero el Cristiano maduro reconoce su obligación a la bondad.