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Jesus is love! February 25, 2015

Posted by stewsutton in Humanity, Jesus, Love, Theology, Wisdom.
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When a merely moral man or woman comes in contact with baseness and immorality and treachery, the recoil is so desperately offensive to human goodness that the heart shuts up in despair.

God’s redemption is glorious in that the most horrible, offensive, and atrocious things can never get to the bottom of His love.

The God who loves you February 25, 2015

Posted by stewsutton in Humanity, Theology, Wisdom.
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Have you heard of the God who loves you?

With so much evidence of hatred on display around the world, many might conclude that religion is at the center of the worlds problems. And this conclusion is accurate if we properly define religion.

Religion is a man-made concept, yet the motivations extend beyond this physical world and into the dark recesses of the spiritual world.

In Genesis 3:1-5 we see Satan cleverly introduce deception into the world with a lie. A lie based on hatred toward God.
“Did God really say, ‘You must not…You will not surely die,… For God knows that… your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…”

Lies born of hatred, and hatred born of pride. This is an all-consuming hatred that seeks death of all that is good and loving, and kind. It is a hatred that deeply infuses the religion of Islam and this is why we see increasing terror around the world.
The Muslim and Christian views of God have some similarities. Christians believe in one eternal God Who created the universe, and Muslims apply these attributes to Allah. Both view God as all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present.

A vital difference between the Islamic and Christian views of God is the biblical concept of the Trinity. In the Bible, God has revealed Himself as one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. While each Person of the Trinity is fully God, God is not three gods but three in one.

God’s Son came in the form of man, a truth called the incarnation (Luke 1:30-35; John 1:14; Colossians 2:9; 1 John 4:1-3). The Lord Jesus Christ conquered the penalty and power of sin by dying on the cross (Romans 6:23). After rising from the dead, Jesus went back to heaven to be with His Father and sent the Holy Spirit to believers (Acts 1:8-11).

One day, Christ will return to judge and rule (Acts 10:42, 43). Those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus will live with Him, but those who refuse to follow Him must be separated in hell from the holy God. “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:35-36).

Either Jesus bears the wrath of God for your sin on the cross or you bear the wrath of God for your sin in hell (1 Peter 2:24).The Trinity is essential to the Christian faith. Without the Trinity, there would be no incarnation of God’s Son in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Without Jesus Christ, there would be no salvation from sin. Without salvation, sin would condemn all to an eternal hell.
So, do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

A better question is, “Do Christians and Muslims both have a correct understanding of who God is?” To this question, the answer is definitely no. Because of crucial differences between the Christian and Muslim concepts of God, the two faiths cannot both be true.

The biblical God alone addresses and solves the problem of sin by giving His Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).

In this broken world that incubates hatred, we are fortunate to have a God that loves.

The most loving act of eternity is described in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Anyone who ignores God’s love, who rejects Christ as Savior, who denies the Savior who bought him (2 Peter 2:1) will be subject to God’s wrath for eternity (Romans 1:18), not His love (Romans 6:23).

God loves everyone unconditionally in that He shows mercy to everyone by not destroying them immediately because of sin. At the same time, God only has “covenant love” for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:36). Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will experience God’s love for eternity.

Does God love everyone? Yes.
Does God love Christians more than He loves non-Christians? No.
Does God love Christians to a different extent than He loves non-Christians? Yes.
God loves everyone equally in that He is merciful to all.
God only loves Christians in that only Christians have His eternal grace and mercy and the promise of His forever love in heaven.
The unconditional love God has for everyone should bring us to faith in Him, receiving in thankfulness the great conditional love He grants all those who receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

Too much digital (pods, pad, phones…) bad for you? January 2, 2013

Posted by stewsutton in Collaboration, Communications, Education, Humanity, Information Technology, Learning, Social, Wisdom.
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The brain retains a certain amount of plasticity throughout life — more specifically, the way we think can be reshaped. Thus, if the brain is trained to respond (and enjoy) the faster pace of the digital world, it is reshaped to favor that approach to experiencing the world as a whole. Soon, it comes to crave that experience, as the body increasingly craves more of anything it’s trained to respond to favorably.

The problem it seems is in relationship to deep-thinking critical thought that accompanies the reading of a longer narrative. The slow contemplation of ideas, concepts, possibilities, and consequences derived from consumption of material composed within a longer narrative may be an endangered species if there is an an attractive, visually appealing, shallow construction of “similar” material competing for our limited attention.

So can the rush toward mobile digital content consumption be a threat to our ability to think properly? Clearly there are examples of where the digital mobile world is introducing positive benefits to education and the workplace. And while some would favorably represent the actions of content skimming and filtering made possible by mobile devices, favorite apps, and a nearly infinite Internet-based “library”, the very action of rapid movement through content is what serves to rewire our brain.

So maybe its better to lay off the “apps” on our mobile device and take the slow road of thoughtful consumption via eBooks and similarly formatted content.

APPLIED KNOWLEDGE August 17, 2010

Posted by stewsutton in Humanity, Knowledge Management, Theology, Wisdom.
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“He is not the best student who reads the most books, but he who meditates
the most upon them; he shall not learn most of divinity who hears the
greatest number of sermons, but he who meditates the most devoutly upon
what he does hear; nor shall he be so profound a scholar who takes down
ponderous volumes one after the other, as he who, reading little by
little, precept upon precept, and line upon line, digests what he
learns, and assimilates each sentiment to his heart by meditation.”

— Charles Spurgeon

Trust in the Virtual World February 27, 2010

Posted by stewsutton in Collaboration, Communications, Community, Humanity, Identity.
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I’ve been having some interesting conversations lately related to the level of trust that can be accepted from a virtual-only professional relationship.  Can you truly have a deep and enduring trust relationship with a person who you have only “met” online?  I think that the simple answer to that is no and let me offer a defense for that position.

  1. Most companies have recognized that deep trust between team members sometimes requires a “bonding” session of physical “person-to-person” interaction.  These activities can often take the form of different “social” engagements ranging from “horseback riding” to “downhill skiing time trials” to the more traditional “dinner with colleagues”.
  2. At most every MBA program that I am aware of, a key facet of the “bonding” and “trust” formulation for a newly entering class, there is the traditional “weekend” retreat.  This forces participants to “open up” to one another and through observations and exchange of personal information during the long weekend, the classmates have a baseline from which to conform useful and productive procedures for team-based coursework.
  3. Some of the most successful “high-performance” project teams have typically initiated “retreats” in advance of the collective team work in support of the project.  This very casual face-to-face (multi-day) adventure allows individual members of the team to become aware of the personal side of their colleagues by observations made during face-to-face activity.

Clearly all of these techniques are costly and yet that are commonly used where building trust relationships really matters.  So the big question hanging out there is Why?  Are these examples just illustrations of scenarios where the modern 2.0 technique has not been put into action?

I suspect that is not the case.  However, I also believe that once two or more people come to know each other through face-to-face social activity, they will be inclined to transact business activity through virtual (online) methods (web conf, instant message, email, blog, wiki, video chat, etc.) with a sufficient measure of trust.  However, the occational “booster shot” of a physical social gathering will properly charge the trust battery for scenarios where extended virtual collaboration has become the preferred transactional method.

Under what circumstances can we sufficently trust and and fully engage with others that we have only come to know in a virtual / online way?  Are these collaborative transactions left to activities that we value as simple commodities?  Or does a sort of “online reputation” play an increasing role in 2.0 trust between collaborators?  What does everybody think?

In Perspective at 4th of July Car Wash July 4, 2009

Posted by stewsutton in Community, Humanity, Wisdom.
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Now and then you may be given the opportunity to be a bit reflective on all that is going on around you in a local sense, a regional level, national, and perhaps at a world level.  It seems worthwhile to consider how everything connects.  To that end, let me offer a trivial and insignificant example – yet one that has several connections.  Connections based on decisions.

Our lives are filled with decisions each day.  Do we eat this, or eat that?  What time we wake up?  Do we take a bit longer reading that item, or do we set it down and proceed to the next item on our agenda?  Do we extend our conversation with who we are with, valuing their need for an important dialog, or do we end on time and proceed to the next conversation – assuring it is given appropriate time to mature into a dialog that may have a beneficial outcome.  How do we judge best how to allocate our time to the collective benefit of others?  Is that our primary motivation – the benefit of others – or do we seek personal benefit and gain ahead of that objective?

lexus_gs350There are simple decisions that we make every day.  The decision that begins with noticing that your car is dirty.  Does it need to be washed?  Does having a clean car signify something of value.  Is having a clean car an important life objective?  How clean must your car be?  Between the extreme of washing your car every day (or even multiple times per day) to remove every visible smudge, and going more than a year with an accumulated layer of dirt and grime – there must be an agreed on standard.  Or is there a standard.  If there was a “clean car standard” would that make the decision to wash your car any different?  Maybe if there was a “dirt index” then you could run a scanner over your car and it would register a “wash / no-wash” signal and you would have one less decision to make for that item in your life.

But choosing to wash your car or to not wash your car is an important decision.  All decisions are important decisions.  Choosing to wash your car gets you into the game.  Its an example of choosing “to do“, rather than choosing “not to do“.  If you can string together a series of decisions that seek “to do” and those decisions are largely directed at the benefit of others, then you are probably doing OK.

So I choose to wash my car.  Sometimes I wash it myself.  Other times I choose to bring it to a car wash.  Which of those choices today will have greater benefit for others?  If I wash it on my own, then I may have the option of dialog with my neighbors.  I also feel like I have more control over the outcome of the wash.  I use special soap that really cleans the surface, I use micro-fiber cloths that remove dirt without damaging the surface, and I make sure to dry the surface with special micro-fiber towels that don’t streak or damage the surface.

I feel good about washing the car myself, but sometimes I choose to have others wash it.  By making the choice to have others wash my car, I provide income to the local economy.  Somebody also gets a tip and that helps to meet the needs of those individuals.  Those that wash my car at the car wash always seem to appreciate the opportunity to offer a valuable service in return for a wage.  I feel good about participating in that cycle.  I generally believe that the quality of the car wash is not as good as my hand wash, but it is much faster and there appears to be a distributed economic benefit.  So which is better?  Neither one is better.  Each time we make that decision to wash our car, we are putting our self out there and the act of making that decision is what it’s all about.

So make a decision to decide several times today.  On the 4th of July, there are not quite as many decisions to be made as the rest of the year.  If there were decisions today, many of them were likely made weeks or months ago and they affect the way we move throughout this specific day. However, there are small decisions throughout the day.  To decide to get the tangled brush out of your daughter’s hair that is so embedded you imagine that scissors are your only recourse.  To decide to attend that BBQ event with a number of participants that you don’t really know but it’s a good opportunity for community dialog. To decide to cook dinner for your kids and their friends so that everybody involved has a comfortable location for shared dialog and companionship.  To decide that no matter how clean or dirty your car is, that you will decide how to wash or not wash it – the next time that topic pops into your head.