How to Create Smarter Goals

We set goals to make things happen in our lives however, not all goals  are created equal.  High achievers, people with a passion to succeed and who do succeed have found a method to create smarter goals.  Here is a simple formula for setting smarter goals:

S – Specific – A clear thing to be accomplished

M – Measurable – Actionable identifiable items

A – Agreed – Announced and accountable

R – Realistic – Can be done  

T- Time framed – Scheduled with a start and stop

E – Evaluate – Redo, reload, succeed

R – Rewrite – Adjust the goal to meet the new need

 Your success is just setting the right goal away.  Boost your productivity by setting SMARTER goals.

 

© 2015 Marben Bland

 

5 Easy Ways To Make Your LinkedIn Profile Standout

If you are looking for a job, trying to make a better professional impression or closing a sale, having a standout LinkedIn profile is important.

Here are 5 easy ways to make your LinkedIn profile standout:

  1. Have a Standout Picture

LinkedIn research indicates that your profile is 14 times more likely to be open when it contains a picture.

Recommendations for a Standout Picture:

  • Professional Photo: No Selfies
  • Headshots Only
  • Be Friendly and Approachable: Smile look at the camera
  1. Turn Your Headline Into Your Mission Statement

Your name and headline follows on LinkedIn. So, make it easy for people to know what you want or are about by using it to make that statement.

I am currently conducting a job search so my headline reflects that by simply stating:

Human Resource Executive Looking For A Job

3.Use the Summary Statement to Confirm Your Headline

 So your mission as indicated in your headline is telling everyone that you are looking for a job. Great! Now, confirm and tell your readers more about your efforts in your summary statement.

Don’t forget to include contact information; including links to webpages and phone numbers in your summary.

4. Likening and Sharing

In the world of LinkedIn, content is the name of the game. Your profile will standout with more views when you “Like” or “Share” the content of others.   It is really easy to do. The next time you are standing in line, for example, at the coffee shop or lunch counter, go to LinkedIn, using your smartphone and read an article. If you like it, click that you did, and that update will be visible to all of your contacts on their home page. Hint: Get started now by liking this post!!

 5, Extra, Extra Write All About It!

As a professional, we know the importance of staying up-to-speed on industry trends and business news. Now, LinkedIn is in the content business in a big way with LinkedIn Publisher.   Publisher provides commentary from big names like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Barrack Obama along with letting you become part of the discussion by posting your own writings.

Publisher is a wonderful tool to make your profile standout by drawing people via your writings. I consistently get a 20-30% bump in profile views when I post.

Here are LinkedIn’s recommends to boost your blog views:

  • Pay attention to the headline

Great headlines carry a lot of weight. They draw in readers who might otherwise skim and move on; help keep your writing focused and give search engines valuable information. One rule to remember: Use puns or jokes sparingly.

  • Write about what you know

Get inspiration from your professional life. Use LinkedIn as a sounding board – share your ideas, then get feedback to refine your topic or just have a friendly debate.

Your Profile Can Standout

It’s clear with a little work you can easily create a Standout LinkedIn profile that will meet your goals and expectations. With over 200 million members worldwide someone is looking for you and you are just a standout profile away from that connection.

 

©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland

My Temple Will Be Called A House of Prayer

The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar.  Jesus the prophet from Nazareth had come to town.

However this man was no ordinary profit.  Everywhere he went miracles happened.  The sick were healed, the lamed walked and even the dead were risen.

He preached the Gospel as no had before reveling truths and fulfilling prophecy.  This man Jesus proclaimed and was to all who saw him the Son of God sent to the earth from the Father to save mankind.

It was in this backdrop that soon after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus made His way to the Temple.  He was appalled by the site of a thriving business operation more efficient than Walmart.

In those days forgiveness of sin was granted through the sacrificing of an animal.  The sacrifice was to show atonement; first via the pain, blood and death of an innocent for the guilty persons sin, and secondly the sacrifice of losing a valuable animal that could have been used for labor, clothing or food.

However, the clever folks of your friendly Jerusalem temple had a solution. Instead of losing a valuable member of your own flock buy your sacrifice from us!!!

Imagine this sales pitch from the clever folks in the Temple: “Committed a sin?  Need to make a sacrifice but you don’t want to lose that prized calf?  No worries we got a deal for you.  Just arrived and especially for your atonement is a new shipment of sacrificial lambs!  Sin is on the rise so get your lamb today because supplies are limited – and when these lambs are gone…they really are gone!

Seeing this vile, shameful and disrespectful act inside His Father’s house Jesus reacted by knocking over the tables of the money changers, he toppled the chairs of the dove sellers and then He declared: ‘“The Scriptures declare, My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!  Matthew 21:13 (NLT)

The sacrifice of Jesus, the limb of God on the cross made it unnecessary for us to submit animals to death.  It also make it unnecessary for the selling of livestock in the Temple.  However, in 2015 at the start of Holy Week we should ask ourselves are we using “God’s Temple” more for economic purposes instead of for prayer?  Let’s examine how we are using God’s Temple:

  • The television preacher who delivers an inspiring, heartfelt and scripturally sound message, followed up with appeals to buy his new book or to join him on a cruise to Alaska.
  • The connectional church trapped in a never ending cycle of money raising to support an enormous structure of elders, church leaders, and officials. While the local church that is required to raise the money lacks the funds to reach the lost or to serve an aging dwindling, and increasingly cash strapped congregation.
  • The mega church with revenue streams so vast that even Warren Buffett is impressed. However, not even those funds are not enough for a Senior Pastor who needs more dollars so that the church can supply him with a new jet.

Without question the modern church needs money to carry out the commands of the Great Commission: Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19 NLT    With the downturn in the economy the tithes and free will offerings of members are still not enough to meet even the basic needs of the church.

As I start a ministry that I hope will be pleasing to God. I struggle with thoughts of what is the proper balance of economic activity necessary to support my efforts.  Versus becoming as Jesus saw in the Temple a “money changer”.  Purveying my “faith based products” to a spiritually starving and desperate flock who may believe that buying my “stuff” will bring them salvation.

With prayer, faith and reading of God Word, I have come to these conclusions:

  1. God Will Provide: Jesus said in Matthew 21:22, “If you pray for anything and if you have faith you will receive it.”

Therefore instead of selling my books and other materials for money, I will as God to make the funds available to publish and produce high quality content that will be given away freely to all.

  1. Prayer About Everything: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7 (NLT)

God has commanded me use my faith to become more resourceful rather than depending on money.  With technology I can write blogs that reaches hundreds, produce podcasts that touches thousands, and shoot video’s that can reach millions.  All of these medians can use for God’s glory at little or no cost.

  1. God Is In Control: Paul explains to us God’s plan in Ephesians 1:9-11 God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

Therefore, with God in control He will bring the people, the ideas and yes the money needed to execute God’s plan not my plan.

A House of Prayer

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In a time where bundles of cash can be just a click away in exchange for our new “Six-Part CD Series on Salivation”.   We church leaders, must resist the real and present temptation to use the power and prestige of the church to align ourselves with the “faith industrial complex” that could with ease turn God’s Temple “into a den of thieves” instead a “house of prayer”.

God Wants to Give You A Flashlight

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.

4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.[a] The night is coming, and then no one can work.

5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

In John 9:1-5, Jesus heals a man born blind from birth.  Examining this passage provides us with three important elements about our relationship with the Lord, and the light of His power, His glory and His grace.

  1. God’s Power Will Be Seen  

The disciples asked “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sin or his parents’ sin?”

Jesus responded that while his condition was not caused by sin it occurred “… so the power of God could be seen in him.”  We face so many “conditions” in our lives; some are of our own making and some are not.  Often when those “conditions” do not turn out in our favor, we wonder why.

Was it a punishment from God; because of our sins?  Are we paying for the sins of our parents or other family members? Did our county commit some sin that has caused our problems?

It was a bright spring day in Boston, Sydney Corcoran was at the finish line standing next to her parents, Celeste and Kevin cheering her aunt Carmen Acabbo, who was running her first Boston marathon.

Then, a pressure cooker bomb packed with nails allegedly planted by the brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev exploded producing smoke and sending deadly projectiles flying.  Knocked backward, Sydney tried to get up and run.  However, she could not get up; because her femoral artery had been cut by those flying nails. Sydney’s blood was flowing heavily; and her life was escaping quickly.  If the course of events were not altered soon Sydney Corcoran would die.

Boston Marathon Bombings

Then, in Sydney’s darkest moment God sent a flashlight.  Matt Smith, a 36-year-old computer salesman appeared.  Instead of running away from the clear and present danger of the blast, Matt did the uncommon thing and ran toward it.

Though, Smith did not have any first responder training, he did have the presence of mind to make tourniquets from shirts obtained from a nearby sporting goods store.  Matt’s quick thinking saved Sydney’s life, without question.

Sydney’s injury and those suffered by nearly 250 more that day, were not because of their sins or the sins of their parents.  God gives us free will and sadly, the Tsarnaev brothers used their free will to commit an act of terror that dark day.

Matt Smith’s heroics and those of countless more illustrates that even in the face of the evil conditions of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings it:  “happened so the power of God could be seen”.  Matt was there to show the world that all is not evil.  Matt coming to the aid of Sydney was God using him just as Jesus used the condition of the man so that “…the power of God could be seen”. 

  1. God Has Urgent Tasks For Us

In verse four, Jesus commands us that “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.”   “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Job 14:1    That is clear and that is true.  What is also clear and true is “The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

Gilda Radner In 'Hanky Panky'Gilda Radner had it all; professional fame as one of the headline performers on Saturday Night Live, and personal fulfillment as the wife of the brilliant actor Gene Wilder.

In October 1986 Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  During the days and months of chemotherapy and treatment that followed, God gave Gilda the flashlight; the urgency of using her talents now.  Instead of brooding about her condition and her prospects for a long life Gilda used her talents to write the bestselling autobiography, “It’s Always Something”

“The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens… the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived.” Gilda Radner

Gilda’s funny, interesting and moving story inspired many to seize the moments of their lives to use their talents in the here and now.

Jesus is telling us that God has given us talents and He wants us to use those talents, now; because our days and talents are fleeing.  Perhaps, you agree; but, you don’t know what are your talents or your spiritual gifts.

spiritual-giftsAlthough opinions differ on the actual number of spiritual gifts, God’s Word clearly indicates that we have been given a variety of gifts. Ministry Tools Resource Center an online site designed to assist Christian leaders has a wonderful page on spiritual gifts.  Visit Ministry Tools today and discover your spiritual gift so that we can live in God’s commandment to “… quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.” 

  1. God Commands That We Work in The Light

Also in verse four Jesus tells us something that seems very obvious “The night is coming, and then no one can work.” 

On August 5, 2010, the main ramp into the San Jose mine collapsed, trapping 33 Chilean Miners 2,300 feet underground in the dark.  For the next 69 days these men lived in the crammed, dink and dark recesses of a coal mind.

Chilean Miners

Recapping those early days, shift foreman Luis Alberto Urzua Iribarren recalls that everything they attempted was comprised; because they were operating in the dark.  Then, God working through the rescuers gave the miners a flashlight as they were able to rig up lighting and according to Luis, everything changed.

With the light, the men were able to exercise.  One man, Florencio Antonio Avalos Silva Was in such great shape that he was able to run in a 5K race just days after being rescued.

With the light, the men were able to write.  One of the miners, Carlos Mamani Solis virtually wrote his autobiography while trapped underground.

With the light, the men were able to read.  Another miner, Daniel Esteban Herrera Campos found the Lord; because he was able to read the Word.

Jesus knows that it is a true waste of our talents and our lives when we are working in the dark.  However, God has a solution for the night, which is the light of Jesus Christ.  As he tells us “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

An Everlasting Flashlight

“The night is coming, and then no one can work.”   Without question the world we live in is a dark place, with wars, killings and inhumanity everywhere.  “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Now, reading this verse, it seems that the light that Jesus provides is only available while He was in this world.   However, look at what Jesus told us in Matthew 28:20 after His crucifixion as the risen Savior was about to ascend into Heaven.  ”…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

  • God wants to give us a flashlight: So, even in our worst condition it will all shine for God’s glory.
  • God wants to give us a flashlight: So, we can discover our spiritual gifts and use them now with God’s people for His honor.
  • God wants to give us a flashlight: So, we don’t spend years doing unproductive work in the dark. But instead, doing God’s work in His glorious light.

Fighting KidsGod has a flashlight for us with a bulb that will never run out, batteries that never need recharging and a beam of light so bright that for centuries it has and forever will be the light of the world.

If you are reading this post today and you are not guided by God’s flashlight, seize this moment and take hold of the everlasting light of God, offered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   Pray with me:

Almighty Father, I come to you humbly and earnestly asking for your forgiveness.  I am a sinner and I need your guidance, protection and light to be the type of person you want me to be. 

Guide my path into a church starting this Sunday with the people, resources and will to help me in following you; and that I pledge to use my talents within that church to advance your kingdom.  

Father, I ask that you put in me a sense of urgency to do this now; as I know the life that you have given me is of few days and could end at any time. 

I thank you for your love, mercy and grace; and it is in Jesus name I pray.  Amen

 

© Marben Bland 2015

Holy Matrimony

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31 ESV

Let me be clear I believe that Holy Matrimony was created by God and was intended to be only between a man and a woman. I also believe that Holy Matrimony is the only marriage possible. All other “marriages” are not of God and to consider any “marriage” that is not Holy Matrimony a “marriage” is to give a sacrament of God away to the secular world.

Last week in the blog God’s Echo From That Alabama Bridge I expressed my support for what I called “legal same sex marriage.” Many of you expressed concern that I would be supportive of a “marriage” that was not in line with God’s command that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman.

This week, I would like to use this space to explain my interpretation; along with my suggestions for the way forward as we anticipate the Supreme Court ruling which many expect will overturn all current state bands on same sex legal marriage.

Thank you for your prayers, support and love. I hope you will read the entire blog and I look forward to your comments.

Marriage Is a Holy Sacrament

Marriage is a holy sacrament created by God. In fact God himself performed the first marriage when He joined Adam and Eve together.

Genesis 2:18, 21-24

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’…and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)

Marriage is mentioned some 500 times throughout the Bible; and in all of its references the union is between a man and a woman.

Biblical Illustrations of Marriage

God makes a man and a woman one through marriage:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31 ESV

God commands that we honor marriage:

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4 ESV

God set the conditions for divorce:

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:32 (NIV)

“Marriage” As A Legal Contract

English common law which is the basis for our laws in the United States establishes marriage as a voluntary private agreement between a man and a woman to become husband and wife.

Under our governmental system of Federalism each state, not the federal government has the responsibility to regulate marriage. The states prescribe who is legally allowed to marry and how marriage in the eyes of the law can be dissolved.

While the states exclusively regulate marriage, both the federal and state government provide benefits to the man and the woman who enter into the legal contract recognized by the government as marriage.

Tax Benefits

  • Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
  • Creating a “family partnership” under federal tax laws; which allows you to divide business income among family members.

Estate Planning Benefits

  • Inheriting a share of your spouse’s estate.
  • Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
  • Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples; including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
  • Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse; that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

Government Benefits

  • Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
  • Receiving veterans’ and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
  • Receiving public assistance benefits.
  • Employment Benefits
  • Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse’s employer.
  • Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
  • Receiving wages, workers’ compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
  • Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.
  • Medical Benefits
  • Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
  • Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
  • Death Benefits
  • Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
  • Making burial or other final arrangements.
  • Family Benefits
  • Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
  • Applying for joint foster care rights.
  • Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
  • Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
  • Housing Benefits
  • Living in neighborhoods zoned for “families only.”
  • Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
  • Consumer Benefits
  • Receiving family rates for health, homeowners’, auto, and other types of insurance.
  • Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
  • Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
  • Other Legal Benefits and Protections
  • Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
  • Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
  • Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
  • Receiving crime victims’ recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
  • Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
  • Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

Entering into the legal contract of marriage changes the legal status of the man and woman giving the now married couple new rights and obligations.

Legal Challenges To “Marriage”

Citizens using the federal and state courts have challenged the regulation of legal marriage. The common element in these landmark cases is the notion of equality of the laws and rules that govern the eligibility for marriage and equality of the treatment of the man and the woman involved in the marriage.

Loving v. Virginia 1967 – Virginia’s statutory scheme to prevent marriages between persons solely on the basis of racial classifications held by the Supreme Court to violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Frontiero v. Richardson 1973 – A married, female, Air Force officer sought increased benefits for her husband as a “dependent”. At the time of the court proceedings Air Force regulations required that these dependent benefits were available for only married male Air Force officers.   The Supreme Court ruled that the married male benefits only policy was a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

United States v. Windsor 2013

The Supreme Court held that the federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” is restricted to only heterosexual unions as required in the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Post Windsor – Where do the states stand on Marriage?

The Windsor decision set off a wave of challenges to state laws restricting marriage to only heterosexual unions. This is where various states stand legally as of the publishing of this post:

A total of 37 states including the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages:

  • 26 states have had their heterosexual only laws struck down; making same sex marriages legal within their borders.
  • 8 states have enacted laws permitting same sex marriages.
  • 3 states have enacted same sex marriage laws by popular vote.
  • Bands on same sex marriages are still in place in 13 states:
  • Same sex marriages are bared by state constitutional amendments and state law in 12 states. (Note: These amendments and state laws have not been challenged in court.)
  • 1 state where same sex marriages are bared by state law only. (Note: The law in this state has not been challenged in court.)
  • 8 states where gay marriage bans have been overturned, but where appeals are in progress.

View Source Material

The Supreme Court & Same Sex Marriage

In January, the Supreme Court announced it will decide a historic question about whether the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live; or whether, states are free to limit wedlock to its traditional definition as a union only between a man and a woman.

The court accepted cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, where restrictions about same-sex marriage were upheld by an appeals court

The high court will hold 2 1/2 hours of oral arguments in April and decide the issue by the time the current term ends in June.

The justices ordered that the parties to the cases address two questions in their legal briefs: whether the Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where they are legal.

Personal Thoughts

These thoughts are informed by faith, history and the law.

  1. God clearly established marriage and intended it to be a holy union between a man and a woman. I agree, affirm and will obey this commandment.
  2. Governments established marriage as a legal contract between a man and a woman.
  3. The Church has allowed the government to take over the holy institution of marriage. For example:
  4. The church has allowed the government to define divorce in violation of God’s  standards.

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9 ESV

The marriage happens in the church but the divorce happens in the courthouse. In many cases the church never grants its own divorce; but recognizes the government issued decree as fact and final regarding the marriage.

Just as states regulate legal marriage, it also regulates divorce. Therefore, the grounds for granting a divorce are not uniformed. However, a survey of grounds for divorce in various states reveals that divorces can be obtained for additional grounds than God specified. Take North Carolina for example, this is its language regarding the termination of a legal marriage.

”A marriage is a contract in the eyes of the law, and in North Carolina, marriages only end upon absolute divorce, annulment (which is a judge’s order that says the marriage was never legally valid), or the death of one of the spouses.”

“When you divorce in North Carolina, you are ending the marriage contract before it would naturally expire—when a spouse dies. To end a contract prematurely, you need a good reason. “Grounds” for divorce are the legal reason that allows a court to file a written divorce order ending a marriage.”

Grounds for divorce in North Carolina:

  • Marital Misconduct
  • Incurably Insane
  • A Spouse Abandons the Family
  • A spouse commits “cruel or barbarous treatment”
  • A spouse treats the other spouse so badly and causes such indignities that the other spouse’s life becomes intolerable
  • A spouse becomes an excessive user of alcohol or drugs to the point that the other spouse’s life becomes burdensome, or
  • A spouse commits adultery.

5..The church will allow divorce persons to enter into another marriage on the bases of the government issued divorce decree which ends the legal marriage; but, does necessarily end God’s Holy marriage.

But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:32 ESV

  • Church is a co-sponsor of the government sponsored legal marriage contract with at least two actions: One by allowing the minister to use the phrase, “By the power given to me by the state of…., and second, by the requirement in many states that the minister sign the government issued marriage license. There by approving the state sponsored marriage.
  • All indication seem that the Supreme Court will rule that the states have exclusive regulation of the legal marriage contract. They cannot under the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution exclude its citizens of the same sex from entering into that contact.

6. Marriage the government sponsored legal contact and marriage and the holy union created, and ordained by God to be exclusively between a man and a woman are not the same.

As a Christian, we should understand and know the difference between the two types of marriages.“

The conflation of the two “marriages” largely aided and abetted in great part by the church is at the heart of what some view at an “attack” on marriage.

I am against legal discrimination in any form; therefore, I am supportive of marriage equality in the case of the legal contract marriage.

However, I do not support the same sex union within God’s holy marriage.

Same Sex Marriage Is Coming – What Should The Church Do?

  1. Take Marriage Back

The church should get out of the business of co-sponsoring legal contract marriage. The church should perform marriages and grant divorces based on Biblical standards; and should only recognize marriages and divorces which it has performed.

  1. Advocate A Constitutional Amendment

The church should lead a push for an amendment to U.S. Constitution defining legal contract marriage to be exclusively between a man and a woman.

  1. Welcome and Not Condemn

So, as faith leaders, the question is what should we do if a “legally” married same sex couple want to worship at the churches that we lead and worship in? Or, what if they wish to join? Well, let us turn to the scripture for that answer. In Mark 10:46-52, Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus is not only blind; but, he is an outcast. The lowest of the low; considered not worthy to even call out to Jesus. When he did, the crowd told him to stop. However, above the noise, Jesus was listening and the Son of God called out to the blind man and said, “Don’t be afraid! Come on!”

In the Christian community, there is a lot of noise about same sex marriages. We spend a lot of time judging and condemning. We single out the “sin” of homosexuality, as if is the worst of all sins; while saying little or nothing about all the other sins that are happening in the church.

As I prepare for a life of ministry I understand that I am first and foremost a sinner, saved by the grace of God. My task is to bring people to Jesus and not to judge them; for as scripture commands us in Matthew 7:2 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

So with the “legally” married same sex couple that will visit or want to join God’s church, I will do as Jesus did with Blind Bartimaeus; I will extend my hand to them, knowing that via the power of Jesus, they all will see.

About These Blogs

Writing and presenting these blogs have been a journey of faith, discovery and love for me. I take writing these posts seriously. I research what I write and the information is often reviewed by learned faith leaders at my seminary and others that I trust.

The blogs are distributed to nearly 3,700 subscribers via email and countless more worldwide with social media. I have been told that the blogs have been used in churches, Sunday Schools, and Bible Studies. I am honored, humbled and accept the accountable for accurately spreading the Gospel with the hope that the words and my witness will bring people to know the God that we all love.

 

Blessings, Peace and Love

Marben

I look forward to your comments

©2015 Marben Bland

 

God’s Echo From An Alabama Bridge

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22: 39

Fifty years ago on an Alabama bridge named in honor of Edmund Pettus, a Confederate general, state senator and Klux Klan leder. The black descendants of the slaves that General Pettus tried to keep enslaved, first by war and later by a system of disenfranchisement called Jim Crow. Gathered to march across that bridge in a peaceful demonstration to ask for the voting rights that the constitution mandated, but the nation had not yet delivered.

As they tried to cross the bridge the demonstrators were met by “neighbors” namely the Alabama State Patrol. The “demonstrating unarmed neighbors” were beaten with clubs, hit with whips, and blinded with tear gas.

The troopers “neighborly” actions resulted in the hospitalizations of nearly one hundred of their fellow “neighbors”. Suffering from injuries that included broken arms, fractured skulks and gunshot wounds.

Those “neighborly” actions on that Alabama Bridge that day were witnessed live on television by millions of our fellow Americans neighbors. Seeing our fellow “neighbors” being beating, whipped and gassed disrupted the normal tranquilly of a Sunday afternoon in America. The conscious of a nation was shaken so much so that March 7, 1965, would be forever called “Bloody Sunday”.

God commands us “to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Sadly on that day like we have on many others; we did not love our neighbor. However, what made March 7, 1965 different was perhaps for the first time we American neighbors saw for ourselves how we treated our fellow American neighbors not just on that Alabama bridge. But in all aspects of life under Jim Crow. The nation saw for its self that we were not loving our neighbors as ourselves and realized that something had to change.

In the half century since that day progress has been made. Civil, voting and educational rights have been won. African-Americans neighbors are now more than just the enslaved labor that built American.   African-Americans are becoming more and more of a full partner helping to shape a better more inclusive destiny for the country that we all love.

Some in this country view the United States as an “exceptional nation”. Therefore, if we are exceptional where did that exceptionalism come from? Did it come to us by luck? Did it come to us by birth? Did it come to us by God?

If our so called “exceptionalism” came to us from God.   God’s echo from that Alabama Bridge is calling us to be exceptional in keeping His command of loving our neighbor as ourselves.

So God’s echo from that Alabama Bridge is calling us to:

  • Love the millions of undocumented neighbors in our country like we love ourselves and to give them a descent and possible pathway to the citizenship we all enjoy.

God’s echo from that Alabama Bridge is calling us to:

  • Love our Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender neighbors like we love ourselves, and to stop judging or condemning them. Scripture commands us: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2 . Therefore we should love our Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender neighbors by supporting equal access to all the rights and privileges this nation has to offer. Including the legal right to marry.

God’s echo from that Alabama Bridge is calling us to:

  • Love our most perilous neighbors our Children. By doing all we can to ease poverty, provide opportunity, and to promote the equality that we all want for ourselves.

God’s echo from that Alabama Bridge is calling America to be exceptional and to truly live the words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

Love the Lord and Love your Neighbor is the great lesson of what did not happen on that Alabama Bridge on March 7, 1965.

But on this day and in the days to come, we can best honor the memory of what happened on that “Bloody Sunday” by obeying God’s command that is still echoing fifty years later from that Alabama Bridge: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

 

® 2015 Marben Bland

The 10 Traits of Fantastic Leaders

 

 

 

Fantastic and leader; perhaps, these two concepts together are foreign to most of us. However, fantastic leadership is possible, probable and potential in our lives.

Are fantastic leader born or made? Regardless of where the ability comes from there are traits that have made them fantastic.   Here are 10 of them:

1. Honesty – A commitment to go beyond just telling the truth. The burning desire to make your word golden in the world.

2. Humble – An understanding that it is never all about you.

3. Humor – The ability to always find something to laugh about in almost any situation.

4. Persistence – A relentless focus on the possibilities; instead of what can’t be done. Resisting the “we tried that before” syndrome that keeps us form innovating a better solution.

5. Vision – Looking beyond the day to day; while still being grounded in the necessity of the now.

6. Resiliency – The capability to take a punch and get back up again…and again.

7. Listening – The wellness to block out distractions, perceptions and the noise. A personal commitment to be fully present for and to the person who is communicating with you.

8. Self-Awareness – An unswerving desire to understand your capabilities and how you affect others.

9. Self-Development – Acknowledging the need to never stop learning.

10. Servant Leader – The wiliness to place the desires, well-being, and success of those that you lead over your own.

We can all be fantastic leaders, and these traits are the road map to get us there.

Enjoy the leadership.

© 2015 Marben Bland