Monthly Archives: August 2015

Does The Company Match The Story?

bezos-amazonAmazon is an amazing company. They can deliver almost any kind of product in practically any amount of time needed. They have incredible customer service and return policies, and they are at the forefront of technology. But Amazon is in hot water after a recent NY Times article. And Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, isn’t happy with complaints he is hearing about his company.

Now, frankly, some complaints have more merit than others. Several are only news because Amazon is a heavily regulated public company. Complaints about having to respond to midnight e-mails and undergoing daily performance reviews smack of a labor force that has grown accustomed to the benefits of collective bargaining. People in small, private businesses just call that “Tuesday.”

But some of the issues were serious. And Bezos was unforgiving toward his managers who deal out retribution against employees who had family tragedies or serious health issues. Bezos said he would not tolerate such “callous management practices.”

What got my attention, though, is that Bezos said that he doesn’t “recognize” the company in the article as the one he knows, loves, and runs. And he hoped that employees don’t either. He said that the company in the article would be a “soulless, dystopian workplace” that he hopes Amazon never actually becomes.

Sometimes people write negative things about the Church too. And when I hear complaints, I know that some have more merit than others. Sometimes, people just like to complain. But other times, people have been treated in a way that is not in line with the beliefs and practices of the church’s founder.

So what would Jesus do? What would He say if He read an article about what the church is doing today? How would He react? Well, in some ways, He already has.

In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus responded to issues in the church that had “made the news” of that day. His message was very similar to Bezos’ recent review of His company: that’s not the place I founded, and if anyone is acting like that, I’ll remove them from their position.

But Jesus’ criticism of the congregations had a bite: if you don’t shape up, I’ll personally remove your light. To put it in business jargon, it would be better to shut down the company than run it opposed to the founder’s vision. And Jesus means business.

Amazon is a neat company. But it isn’t eternal. The church is forever. And the true church, the one Jesus died for is a beautiful thing. I am thankful for the church and for all the good it does. But all must be done in the name of Christ.

Jesus envisioned His believers acting as one, in accordance with His will (John 17). So let’s take a note from Amazon’s woes, and make sure that we are acting in accordance with our Founder’s vision…and that He recognizes us as His (MT 25:21).

Is Your Light A Quick Flash Or A Life Bringing Light?

meteor showerLate Wednesday evening, particles of dust and ice from the Swift-Tuttle comet should put on a spectacular show in the night sky. These natural “fireworks” might have as many as 100 streaks/hr. And, with the new moon keeping the sky dark, astronomers say the Perseid Meteor shower should be a good show.

Meteor showers are fun to watch, but they aren’t much use for lighting our way. They are a momentary attraction in the night. And they can easily be missed. If you blink at the wrong moment or if you don’t know where to watch in the night sky, you might never even see a meteor shower.

On the contrary, an amazingly brilliant, practically all-encompassing event will take place on Thursday morning. The sun will “rise.” Unfortunately, because of the frequency of this event, it won’t make the news. Millions will hit the snooze button and won’t even notice it. But without the sun, life as we know it would be impossible.

What about you, friend? Is your life more like a meteor or more like the sun? Does your life burn brightly for a blink of the eye, a momentary attraction for onlookers? Or is your life a light that nourishes and shines for the benefit of all?

I have nothing against meteor showers. I love God’s creation and all the spectacular sights in it. I will probably even rise early to watch. But as I consider Matthew 5:14-16, I know that Jesus wanted His disciples to be candles, not sparklers. We are the light of the World, illuminating the path to God.

Consider Paul’s words: “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).

So enjoy the meteor shower. The best viewing will be about 4am. But since you’ll be up early, how about catching an amazing event Thursday morning too…a beautiful sun rise! Then give some thought to your life. What does your light say about your faith in Him? Are you a flash in the pan or a light on a hill, helping others to see goodness, truth, and righteousness?

Muppets Uncoupled…But Why?

kermit-piggyThey want to destroy your childhood memories! Well, maybe “destroy” is a little harsh, but that’s the way it feels sometimes. I suppose that the “conscious uncoupling” of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy is just another swipe at “traditional” things. But here is my question, “why?” What purpose does it serve?

Perhaps I’m taking this one personally since the Muppets were a staple for kids growing up in the 70’s & 80’s. I admit that the Muppets weren’t exactly “high brow” or morally driven. But at least there was one constant for 40+ years: Kermit & Piggy stayed together through it all.

In fact, in an interview with People Magazine last year, Miss Piggy said that she and Kermit had finally tied the knot! Piggy said that it is “a real shame you can only do this once, at least if you’re doing it right.” Amen, Piggy.

But a new Muppets show is coming to ABC. And, when the traditional, pure, or lovely no longer serves you, throw those ideas out with last week’s garbage.

The new show needs to boost ratings. And what gets attention better than taking something innocent from childhood and defiling it? Deviant minds find the idea to be, well…delicious. Soil anything that smells of purity!

Of course, Kermit and Piggy’s uncoupling simply reflects the effect that post-modern thinking has had on the writers and directors. After all, the new law of the jungle is: when coupling is convenient, fine…when inconvenient, destroy.

The things of this world have been dying since Eden. And one day, all the elements themselves will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). But, in the meantime, some things are meant to last. Marriage is one (Mark 10:9).

While there are reasons given in Scripture for separation (ie., Matthew 5:32), “conscious uncoupling” was never God’s plan. And whether we promote it for people or force it on puppets, it just shows how far we have gone in the wrong direction.

The world tramples the traditional, defiles the pure, and applauds “conscious uncoupling.” Are we better for it? Give it some consideration.