Reflections on war and hope

Six years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Ukraine with Children's Hunger Fund, the nonprofit organization I have worked at for the past eleven years. There has been an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine for many years. In 2014 there was turmoil in Ukraine over the President who wanted to have closer contact with Russia while the people wanted to join the European Union. Instead of signing an agreement with the European Union, the President sided with Russia. In response, there were protests called the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv at Maidan square. The outcome of that event was that the President fled to Russia for asylum, and a new president was installed. I remember visiting Maidan square and seeing the memorial of the many people who had lost their lives during the protests. Later in 2014, Russia annexed the Peninsula of Crimea away from Ukraine. They also invaded Eastern...
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Reflecting on Vegas

Reflecting on Vegas

Last month I attended an accounting conference in Las Vegas. Hundreds of Accountants with their calculators gathered together at the Venetian hotel. All sarcasm aside, this trip made me think a lot about why Vegas attracts so many people. There is an aspect of Las Vegas that fascinates me. There is an appeal to our desires, drawing in people seeking different things. One might argue that the main draw of Vegas is gambling, and close behind that is entertainment. However, I think there is something more profound than a desire to become rich or be entertained. There is a way in which Vegas appeals to the different natural desires that we were created with, which so quickly become disoriented. God gave us desires, and there are many things in life to enjoy, yet we want the good things too much, sometimes we want wrong things, and we even at times do not want the right thing. I think there is one...
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What’s your favorite podcast?

What’s your favorite podcast?

One of the best things about podcasts is that there are so many great ones out there, and one of the worst things about podcasts is that there is not enough time to listen to them all! I enjoy listening to podcasts on a variety of different topics, and I want to share the ones that I subscribe to along with a brief description. Maybe you will find something new to listen to. News The Briefing with Albert Mohler - Dr. Mohler reports on current news and culture events from a biblical perspective. He does a great job of helping listeners understand the importance of events with a biblical worldview.The Journal - The Wall Street Journal produces this daily podcast with Kate Linebuagh and Ryan Knutson. They cover current events on money, business, and power. Sometimes they do special mini-series (see below). The Daily - This podcast is from the New York Times featuring Michael Barbaro. I disagree with most of...
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Helpful Complaining

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about why I complain so much. Most of the time I complain because there is someone or something in which I am dissatisfied. I think most people associate complaining with negativity, but I believe that there is a positive side to complaining. There are times when we can take complaining and make it helpful. When the pandemic lockdowns began in Los Angeles the freeways were empty. I remember the eerie feeling of driving on a freeway with only a handful of drivers when there were normally hundreds of them. Not only were there few cars but people were driving fast. I remember thinking that at the end of the lockdown people will need to slow down. Humans are slow to change though, and now people drive faster and more erratic than ever. I recently noticed a problem in my neighborhood at a two-way intersection. Over the last year I started to notice...
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A Pandemic and a Podcast

The idea of starting a podcast was an idea that came up a few years ago among some of us at my church. There was always a lot going and starting a podcast seemed too much. Then the pandemic struck last year, and the idea of a podcast came back to our minds. My friend Rev. Dr. Jason Matossian (he does not like titles, hence the reason I use them) decided it was time to give it a try. Jason chose the name, I chose the tech. We chose a simple setup using Zoom to record and a couple of cheap mics. We published our first episode on June 15, 2020. It has been a little over a year and we have recorded over 50 episodes. There are many things I have learned; one is I realized how self-conscious talking into a mic makes me feel. I have done a fair amount of public speaking and do not have a fear...
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Do you have an iPhone, or does your iPhone have you?

I came across a news article this morning that talked about a Digital Detox Challenge. I am reminded about how much technology is part of everyday life. I am not against technology by any means, I was part of the generation that grew up when the internet was gaining popularity. I am in the age group that can be part of Gen X or Gen Y (Millennials), depending on whom you ask. Wikipedia is the authority on all truth, right? The article I read this morning talked about a contest where they choose people to take a 24-hour period without any technology. They will pay $2,400 and even supply a safe to lock up your devices! There is a lot to say about how gamification, financial incentives, and preventing access can be tools for temporary behavior modification. Long-lasting change comes by aiming at the heart, which I will cover in future blog posts. All that to say, this sounds like a...
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The Age of Skepticism

Do you have a favorite conspiracy theory? There are so many to choose from over the last year: the pandemic, stolen elections, Pizzagate, and vaccines. It seems that conspiracy theories are more common today and they come out much more quickly after a major event. We live in a unique time in history where there is a combination of misinformation and untrustworthy leadership. This is not new for humanity, but the speed of news spreading is new. Social media has allowed us the ability to create an online presence to share information with a community of people we may never meet in person. Along with that is the ability to say anything without anyone verifying the facts. Over the last year, I have listened to stories of those who have believed in conspiracy theories, those who regretted what they believed, and others who held to their beliefs even when proven false. (By this I mean that there were theories of events...
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Why this blog?

Blogs, blogs, and blogs. I read blogs daily on a variety of different topics: news, technology, investing, frugality, counseling, and Christian theology. There is no shortage of blogs out there and I debated in my mind whether I should start one.   Why am I starting a blog? I enjoy reading but I find that writing is difficult. My brain hurts as I try to find the right words to express my thoughts clearly. I also find that writing is enjoyable as I see words coming alive and my thoughts make more sense (you can be the judge of that). I also want to become a better writer and I know that only comes by writing.  Why now? A colleague of mine Lisa LaGeorge encouraged me to start a blog after I finished a doctoral program in biblical counseling. I hope that writing will help continue the momentum of always learning, growing, and changing. I also want to be a good steward of...
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