REPOST: THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AND THE PAGAN ORIGINS OF EASTER EGGS

One of the things that I really enjoy about being involved with the great people in the LIFE Leadership business is that we ask questions; we challenge each other, and we seek to find the truth.  A few years ago, I was at Orrin Woodward’s house celebrating the Easter holiday as we usually do, (as our families get together on Easter), and Orrin and I got to talking about how many people think Easter is about the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs.  While we knew that was wrong, we didn’t know the origins of the Easter egg or the Easter bunny.  We started doing a little research and below, you will see an article that explains that the origins of the eggs are from Pagan holiday practices.

I recently returned home from a tour in my bus for a week, doing some meetings and seeing some family.  From time to time we would end up in a store somewhere and I would drop by the card aisle where they sell Hallmark cards, etc.  It’s always amazing to me right now how many of the cards are about the Easter bunny, talking about having a happy Easter, but not mentioning God or the resurrection of Jesus.  Some of the labels of the card sections actually say, “Religious: Easter”.  I shake my head at that, because… what else is there other that Religious: Easter?!?  Easter is about the resurrection of the risen Christ!  It’s about He who came to save the sinners of the world.  Many churchgoers only step foot inside a church twice a year: Christmas, and Easter.

Let me say this plainly: Easter is NOT about the Easter bunny or Easter eggs.  It is about the risen savior, Christ.

I would encourage you to read the following passage from the ESV Bible, John, chapter 20.

God Bless, Tim Marks

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The Resurrection

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’1 head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,2 “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, z‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,3 Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

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Enjoy the following article on the Pagan history behind the origin of Easter eggs and the Easter bunny, and God bless you and your loved ones on this Easter weekend.

Tim

 

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Easter : History and Traditions


Goddess Ostara
History of Easter Eggs

History of the Easter Bunny
Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection


Easter History : Christian and Pagan Traditions Interwoven

The history of Easter reveals rich associations between the Christian faith and the seemingly unrelated practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols, from the ancient goddess Ishtar to Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.

Easter, perhaps the most important of the Christian holidays, celebrates the Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. . . a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.


 

Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn (Oestre / Eastre)

Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east. Our words for the “female hormone” estrogen derives from her name.

Ostara was, of course, a fertility goddess. Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox, Ostara had a passion for new life. Her presence was felt in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The rabbit (well known for its propensity for rapid reproduction) was her sacred animal.

Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny both featured in the spring festivals of Ostara, which were initially held during the feasts of the goddess Ishtar | Inanna. Eggs are an obvious symbol of fertility, and the newborn chicks an adorable representation of new growth. Brightly colored eggs, chicks, and bunnies were all used at festival time to express appreciation for Ostara’s gift of abundance.


 

History of Easter Eggs and Easter Candy

The history of Easter Eggs as a symbol of new life should come as no surprise. The notion that the Earth itself was hatched from an egg was once widespread and appears in creation stories ranging from Asian to Ireland.

Eggs, in ancient times in Northern Europe, were a potent symbol of fertility and often used in rituals to guarantee a woman’s ability to bear children. To this day rural “grannywomen” (lay midwives/healers in the Appalachian mountains) still use eggs to predict, with uncanny accuracy, the sex of an unborn child by watching the rotation of an egg as it is suspended by a string over the abdomen of a pregnant woman.

Dyed eggs are given as gifts in many cultures. Decorated eggs bring with them a wish for the prosperity of the abundance during the coming year.

Folklore suggests that Easter egg hunts arose in Europe during “the Burning Times”, when the rise of Christianity led to the shunning (and persecution) of the followers of the “Old Religion”. Instead of giving the eggs as gifts the adults made a game of hiding them, gathering the children together and encouraging them to find the eggs.

Some believe that the authorities seeking to find the “heathens” would follow or bribe the children to reveal where they found the eggs so that the property owner could be brought to justice.

Green Eggs . . . and Ham???

The meat that is traditionally associated with Easter is ham. Though some might argue that ham is served at Easter since it is a “Christian” meat, (prohibited for others by the religious laws of Judaism and Islam) the origin probably lies in the early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe.

Having slaughtered and preserved the meat of their agricultural animals during the Blood Moon celebrations the previous autumn so they would have food throughout the winter months, they would celebrate the occasion by using up the last of the remaining cured meats.

In anticipation that the arrival of spring with its emerging plants and wildlife would provide them with fresh food in abundance, it was customary for many pagans to begin fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, clearing the “poisons” (and excess weight) produced by the heavier winter meals that had been stored in their bodies over the winter. Some have suggested that the purpose of this fasting may have been to create a sought-after state of “altered consciousness” in time for the spring festivals. One cannot but wonder if this practice of fasting might have been a forerunner of “giving up” foods during the Lenten season.

Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, marshmallow chicks in pastel colors, and candy of all sorts, most of which are given out as personalized gifts during Easter . . . these have pagan origins as well! To understand their association with religion we need to examine the meaning of food as a symbol.

The ancient belief that, by eating something we take on its characteristics formed the basis for the earliest “blessings” before meals (a way to honor the life that had been sacrificed so that we as humans could enjoy life) and, presumably, for the more recent Christian sacrament of communion as well.

Shaping candy Easter eggs and bunnies to celebrate the spring festival was, simply put, a way to celebrate the symbols of the goddess and the season, while laying claim to their strengths (vitality, growth, and fertility) for ourselves.


 

The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny

Feeling guilty about arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara saved the life of a poor bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow. She made him her pet or, as some versions have it, her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly (in some versions, it was because she wished to amuse a group of young children), Ostara turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of being able to run with incredible speed so he could protect himself from hunters.

In remembrance of his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but only on one day out of each year.

Eventually the hare managed to anger the goddess Ostara, and she cast him into the skies where he would remain as the constellation Lepus (The Hare) forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter). He was allowed to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring. The tradition of theEaster Bunny had begun.

The Hare was sacred in many ancient traditions and was associated with the moon goddesses and the various deities of the hunt. In ancient times eating the Hare was prohibited except at Beltane (Celts) and the festival of Ostara (Anglo-Saxons), when a ritual hare-hunt would take place.

In many cultures rabbits, like eggs, were considered to be potent remedies for fertility problems. The ancient philosopher-physician Pliny the Elder prescribed rabbit meat as a cure for female sterility, and in some cultures the genitals of a hare were carried to avert barrenness.

Medieval Christians considered the hare to bring bad fortune, saying witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.

Given their “mad” leaping and boxing displays during mating season as well as their ability to produce up to 42 offspring each spring, it is understandable that they came to represent lust, sexuality, and excess in general. Medieval Christians considered the hare to be an evil omen, believing that witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.

In later Christian tradition the white Hare, when depicted at the Virgin Mary’s feet, represents triumph over lust or the flesh. The rabbit’s vigilance and speed came to represent the need to flee from sin and temptation and a reminder of the swift passage of life.

And, finally, there is a sweet Christian legend about a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, not knowing what had become of him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favorite garden and was welcomed the little rabbit. That evening when the disciples came into the garden to pray, still unaware of the resurrection, they found a clump of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its center as a remembrance of the little creature’s hope and faith.


 Ishtar, Goddess of Love, and the First Resurrection (also known as Inanna)

Ishtar, goddess of romance, procreation, and war in ancient Babylon, was also worshipped as the Sumerian goddess Inanna. One of the great goddesses, or “mother goddesses”, the stories of her descent to the Underworld and the resurrection that follows are contained in the oldest writings that have ever been discovered. . . the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish and the story of Gilgamesh. Scholars believed that they were based on the oral mythology of the region and were recorded about 2,100 B.C.E.

The most famous of the myths of Ishtar tell of her descent into the realm of the dead to rescue her young lover, Tammuz, a Vegetation god forced to live half the year in the Underworld. Ishtar approached the gates of the Underworld, which was ruled by her twin sister Eresh-kigel, the goddess of death and infertility. She was refused admission.

Similar to the Greek myths of Demeter and Persephone that came later, during Ishtar’s absence the earth grew barren since all acts of procreation ceased while she was away. Ishtar screamed and ranted that she would break down the gates and release all of the dead to overwhelm the world and compete with the living for the remaining food unless she was allowed to enter and plead her case with her twin.

Needless to say, she won admission. But the guard, following standard protocol, refused to let her pass through the first gate unless she removed her crown. At the next gate, she had to remove her earrings, then her necklace at the next, removing her garments and proud finery until she stood humbled and naked after passing through the seventh (and last) gate.

In one version, she was held captive and died but was brought back to life when her servant sprinkled her with the “water of life”. In the more widely known version of the myth, Ishtar’s request was granted and she regained all of her attire and possessions as she slowly re-emerged through the gates of darkness.

Upon her return, Tammuz and the earth returned to life. Annual celebrations of this “Day of Joy”, were held each year around the time of the vernal equinox. These celebrations became the forerunners of the Ostara festivals that welcomed Oestre and the arrival of spring.

A section on the Goddess Inanna (the Sumerian version of the Goddess Ishtar), her myths and symbols, is included with the myths of the goddesses at this website.


Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny, the dawn that arrives with resurrection of life, and the celebration of spring all serve to remind us of the cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives. In the history of Easter, Christian and pagan traditions are gracefully interwoven

 

Come join us at Fun in the Sun!

It’s been such a blessing to be able to travel around the world literally with the LIFE Leadership founders Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward. I literally cannot count how many places we have been throughout the world together.  These men and their wives are like family to Amy and I, and we look forward to you qualifying for our 2015 Fun in the Sun event at the Casa Marina in Key West, Florida, and other trips that LIFE Leadership offers.

Here’s a quick video of myself, Chris, Orrin and other leaders in a boat in the Sir Francis Drake straits.  Come join us at Fun in the Sun!

God bless, Tim Marks

Pastoral Priorities

Here is a great article my pastor wrote on priorities.  Enjoy!

God Bless, Tim Marks

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Pastoral Priorities

Tom Ascol

One of the greatest challenges I face in my life as a pastor is maintaining a proper balance in my priorities. Every pastor has several roles which he must fulfill in order to remain faithful to his calling. He must be a student of God’s Word. He must be a man of prayer. He must give leadership to the church. He must work hard to preach and teach the Word so that the people under his care are continually being formed by it into the image of Christ. He must do the work of an evangelist and he must give himself to personal work with individual members. All of this and more goes with the territory of serving Christ as an undershepherd of souls.

But every pastor is more than a pastor. He is first and foremost a disciple. Typically he also is a husband. And he will most likely be a father. In addition to this he may take on other ministry-related duties. How are all of these important roles to be fulfilled without sacrificing the best on the altar of the good? It is a daunting challenge under the very best of circumstances.

A question which I often ask people I counsel is this: “What, in order of priority, has God called you to be?” It is a clarifying question because it forces an evaluation of life on the basis of what is most important. From time-to-time I put that question to myself and find that it helps me fight the battle for balance in my life.

A Christian

What has God called me to be? First, He calls me to be a sincere, devoted follower of Jesus Christ. This is so basic that it is easy to take for granted and to forget about it. One great danger of the ministry is professionalism. A pastor can become very adept at doing his job. Like any other vocation, certain skills can be developed and polished in the gospel ministry. A pastor can become so proficient in his public ministry that others will regard him as very successful.

But where “professionalism” as a mentality takes over a pastor’s outlook, his heart will inevitably begin to be neglected. And the heart is the primary tool of every pastor. If you are not loving God with all of your heart because you have neglected the basic responsibilities of discipleship, it does not matter how professionally “successful” you become. In reality, it is a sham.

Spurgeon tells of a pastor who “preached so well and lived so badly, that when he was in the pulpit everybody said that he ought never to come out again, and when he was out of it they all declared he never ought to enter it again.”[1] Such compartmentalization of life may be acceptable in other professions but it is hardly agreeable with vital Christianity and much less with faithful pastoral ministry.

Many good men have been tripped up at this basic level. So guard your heart. Go to God’s Word first and foremost as a believer. A pastor needs the very same things which he tells others that they need. He should follow the wisdom of Robert Murray M’Cheyne who noted, “It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”[2]

Paul told the Ephesian elders to “take heed to yourselves.” When he repeats the admonition to Timothy he adds that doing this is an essential ingredient to “saving both himself and his hearers (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 4:16). Pastors must make it a matter of disciplined priority to read, meditate on and memorize Scripture. They must also pray for the work of the Spirit in their own lives. Anything less is spiritual malpractice.

A Husband

After being a Christian, God has called me to be is a husband. Like many pastors, I am blessed with a faithful, godly wife. Donna and I take our covenant vows very seriously, which means that I am to have and to hold her above all others. Next to Jesus Christ, she is my top priority.

It is an awesome responsibility to be a husband. Jesus Christ in his relationship to the church is to be our model. Being the head of a household is a great challenge. A godly wife both needs and desires godly leadership from her husband. The call to be a godly husband includes providing such leadership. Christ calls a man to fight against the opposite and equally deadly errors of self-protecting passivity and self-serving authoritarianism in the way that he relates to his wife.

The pastor’s wife may have the most difficult role in the whole church. She sees all of her husband’s blemishes and shortcomings and yet must receive instruction in God’s Word from him week by week. She lives in a fishbowl. Unrealistic expectations from the congregation can often add great stress to her life. Thoughtless comments, which may or may not be designed to hurt, can wound her deeply. If, in addition to these and other pressures, she feels that her own husband is neglecting her, the pressure can become too great to bear. As a husband, it is my responsibility and privilege to reassure my wife that she is more important to me that any other human relationship or responsibility which I have. I am called to nurture and cherish her, to help her fulfill her own calling as a woman of God.

Donna needs to know that she is more important to me than my ministry as a pastor. When this message is clearly and regularly communicated then those inevitable seasons of unusually high demands from the church are more easily weathered.

A Father

The third thing which God has made me is a father. Donna and I have six children, so I get a lot of practice at fatherhood. If pastors’ wives have been singled out for special concern, pastors’ kids have become proverbially notorious. Too often they are sacrificed for “the sake of the ministry.” I remember sitting in my study as a young pastor listening to a retired pastor whose successful ministry was widely acclaimed. He spoke of many of the wonderful things he had experienced in the churches he had served. Then he added, “But I paid a high price for my success. My children did not get what they should have from their father and today have turned away from the Lord and the church.”

As he wept I pondered. At that time my only child was barely a toddler. The draw of never-ending needs and opportunities to minister was tempting me to neglect my family for the sake of “my ministry.” But, God reminded me that, in terms of priority, He calls me to be a father before He calls me to be a pastor. My children need to know that, next to their mother, they are the most important people in my life. My congregation also needs to know this.

A pastor can easily though unintentionally neglect his children out of a misguided notion that he must always be available to minister to other people. Under the best of circumstances there will be some disruptions in a pastor’s home life. He is on call 24 hours a day. If a death or tragic accident involving one of the members occurs just before a pastor heads out the door to take his son fishing, his plans must necessarily change. Such demands are to be expected.

Because of this two temptations face every pastor who is a father. The first is to simply expect his child to understand his change of plans the same way that he does. A pastor knows that it is sometimes necessary to interrupt plans in order to minister the gospel of God’s grace to hurting people. But, depending on his age, all his son knows is that he did not get to go fishing because somebody else needed and received his dad’s time and attention. When these occasions arise, a father needs to talk to his son, sympathize with him and seek to make it up to him in a reasonable and intentional way.

The other temptation is to become so overwhelmed with guilt because he had to change his plans that the pastor allows his child to manipulate him into actions or decisions which he would not otherwise intentionally pursue. Parenting by guilt has become all-too-common in our culture, and pastors are unfortunately not immune to it. Pastors should intentionally carve out time in their schedules for their children and then guard it scrupulously. When plans affecting our children have to be changed because of ministry emergencies, we must be diligent in making it up to them.

A Pastor

The fourth thing which God has made me is a pastor. This is my vocational calling. This is what occupies the bulk of my time. I am constantly amazed that God has given me the privilege to serve Him in this way. It is the highest vocational calling in the world. My responsibilities as a pastor take precedence over any recreational activities or avocations. All that is involved in shepherding the flock of God, which the Bible spells out in a fairly comprehensive way, comprises my duty. In this, my most important tasks are to labor faithfully in the ministry of the Word and in prayer. Again, these must not be carried out simply on a “professional” level. Rather, they must be taken up in the midst of my own pursuit of holiness.

There is an inevitable loneliness that goes with being a pastor. Much of the work which must be done can only be done when a man is alone with His God. Without this intimate time with God, time spent with people will not be of much value. There are a thousand “aids” available to pastors today to enable them to mskirt the hard work of study and prayer. “Powerful” sermons and “guaranteed” programs are regularly marketed to pastors with shameless bravado. A man with a little ingenuity, less integrity and ample finances can keep himself well-supplied with a constant stream of such resources. But he denies his calling by living off of the work of others rather than doing the work of the ministry himself.

A Helper

Beyond these four callings in my life, I also am involved in helping with other worthwhile endeavors. My work with Founders Ministries (editing the Founders Journal, publishing, etc.) and my involvement in my local pastors’ conference and association are all important. But in terms of priorities all of these rank below the four things which I have mentioned above. By keeping this in mind I can save myself much heartache and confusion.

Maintaining Balance

How do these priorities work? Well, those who know me best can easily testify that I do not always practice what I have written here. Though my desire and intention is never to deviate, I have repeatedly had to make mid-course corrections through the years. But that is the value of having clearly defined priorities. They provide a reliable map to make such adjustments.

Each priority builds on the ones that precede it. I want to be faithful in my work with Founders Ministries. But I cannot be–no matter how much good might be accomplished through my efforts–if I do that work at the expense of my pastoral responsibilities to Grace Baptist Church. Furthermore, I can be a faithful pastor without being involved in other ministries. But I cannot be a faithful pastor if I neglect the higher priorities of my wife and/or children. In fact, according to 1 Timothy 3:4-5, I am disqualified if such neglect characterizes my life. Nor can I be a faithful father if I fail my wife. On the contrary, one of the best things I can do for my children is to love their mother very well. And I cannot be a faithful husband if I neglect my relationship with Christ.

All of the priorities in my life can function with appropriate importance as long as I keep them in their proper place. But when a lower priority leaps above a higher, then I am setting myself up for a fall. It is spiritually disastrous to put my wife above my Lord, or my children above my wife, or my pastoral ministries above any of those three. It is no slight to the church that I serve that their place in my priorities comes after my devotion to Christ and family. On the contrary, the church gets more of what they need from me when I minister out of a conscious commitment to these priorities.

By remembering the priorities of these callings in my life, I am better able to establish and maintain balance in my obligations. Perhaps the most useful discipline to facilitate this balance is learning to say no. Spurgeon said that for a minister, learning to say no is of far greater value than learning Latin! He was right. No matter how much a pastor tries to do there will always be more to be done. Some good things which scream out for his attention should be left undone so that he can do what is better and best. When he has to make those hard choices, he should do so on the basis of the priority of his callings. Then he can take heart in knowing that he has acted in faith based on the claims which God has made on his life.


Notes:

1 Lectures to My Students, reprint edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954), 17.

2 Andrew Bonar, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray McCheyne, reprint edition, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978), 258.

 

LIFE Leadership Generates Millions For Q. C. Tourism

Gang, one more example of how LIFE Leadership is making an impact!

God Bless, Tim Marks

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Self-help convention helps Q.C. tourism generate millions

POSTED 3:17 PM, FEBRUARY 20, 2015, BY JOHN DAVID, UPDATED AT 04:15PM, FEBRUARY 20, 2015

A self-help convention is helping to generate a $4.5 million economic impact for the Quad Cities economy this weekend.

Some 8,500 participants with Life Leadership are selling out hotels and booking up restaurants.

As hundreds of folks stream into the Waterfront Convention Center on Friday, it demonstrates the success and popularity of the group.

The faith-based Michigan enterprise started just four years ago.

It now has more than 400,000 members.

Participants pay a membership fee to sell the motivational materials.

“It’s the message that we have information that can help people live the lives they always wanted to live,” said CEO Chris Brady.

Speakers are showing how they improve families with its research.

Subjects of DVD’s, CD’s and other sources deal with topics like faith, families and fitness.

This weekend session will focus on financial leadership.

“It helps them build a great defense, and get out of debt,” Brady continued.  “It helps them build a great offense, and make other streams of income.”

Life Leadership picked the Quad Cities for its safety and convenience.

After nearly a year of planning, the three-day session is underway.  The winter conference is proving to be a big boost to local tourism.

“It’s evolved into something huge,” said Joan Kranovich, Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau.  “Even our hotels were a little bit skeptical at first when they started calling and renting the whole hotel instead of 20 rooms at a time.”

With messages filled with values and principles, it’s also good for local businesses.

“We have information that helps people solve the problems that conflict them in their everyday life,” Brady concluded.

Events continue at the iWireless Center through Sunday.

 

 

 

Paul Harvey’s 1965 Speech

Paul Harvey delivered this speech three years before I was born. Considering how things have turned out, you would think he had a crystal ball.  I don’t know specifically who put this video together.   I don’t agree with all the imagery in the video, as we actually don’t know what the devil looks like etc.  However, what Paul Harvey says is chilling and every single thing is coming true or has come to pass in some way.  People often ask me “why do you still do what you do if it works so well?”  My answer is in the video that follows.  We have a greater cause at stake than merely taking care of ourselves; there is a world in need of leadership, and I believe LIFE Leadership is uniquely positioned to help people find truth.

God Bless, Tim Marks

PRWeb.com Announces Orrin Woodward Makes Inc. Magazine Top 100 Speakers List!

Gang, here is the PRWeb.com press release regarding Orrin Woodward making the Inc. Magazine 100 Great Leadership Speakers List.  Fired up!

God Bless, Tim Marks

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Speaker, Author, and Entrepreneur Orrin Woodward Makes ‘Inc.’ Magazine’s 100 Great Leadership Speakers List

‘New York Times’ Bestselling Author and Chairman of the Board of LIFE Leadership Orrin Woodward was recently recognized by ‘Inc.’ magazine for his exceptional ability as a leadership speaker and trainer.

Cary, NC (PRWEB) February 05, 2015

‘New York Times’ Bestselling Author and Chairman of the Board of LIFE Leadership Orrin Woodward was recently named on ‘Inc.’ magazine’s list of “100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference.”

Jeff Haden, the contributing writer for the ‘Inc.’ magazine piece, set out to come up with a list of excellent business and leadership speakers because, as someone who does a number of speaking events every year, he is often asked to make recommendations. But he didn’t feel he had seen enough speakers to sufficiently handle the task himself. So in order to provide a comprehensive list of outstanding business speakers (and thinkers), he turned to keynote speaker, bestselling author, and entrepreneur Kevin Kruse, who has seen tons of speakers at his own events as well as numerous others, to compile a list of his favorite leadership speakers and trainers. For those looking for the best leadership speakers for an event, Haden recommends checking out the people, such as Orrin Woodward, on Kruse’s list. And for those considering going to a certain event, he recommends dropping everything to attend if one of these people is on the program.

Woodward is a recognized leader in team leadership, success coaching, and executive management training. Formerly an engineer, who still holds four US patents, he has cofounded two multimillion-dollar companies as well as a nonprofit organization, All Grace Outreach. He has sold over a million copies of his books and has been attracting large crowds for his speaking events for years, regularly speaking at conventions that his own companies have hosted as well as various other business, leadership, and network marketing events across the globe, such as the Mastermind Event.

Woodward says he had to work to overcome his fears and limiting beliefs to get where he is as a speaker today. In fact, experiences with public speaking in high school and college left him feeling like a failure. But he knew that his dream of running a leadership company and his limiting beliefs about speaking could not coexist. So he spent years developing his speaking ability and vowed never to give a speech again but, rather, to learn his subject so well that he could simply “speak extemporaneously for hours at a time.” He says, “To this day, I don’t give speeches; I merely share what is in my heart with others.”

The full list of recommended business and leadership speakers is available at inc.com.

About Orrin Woodward:
Orrin Woodward is a ‘New York Times’ bestselling author with over a million books sold. Some of his most popular works include ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution’ (coauthored with Chris Brady), ‘LeaderShift’ (coauthored with Oliver DeMille), ‘The Leadership Train,’ ‘And Justice for All,’ and ‘RESOLVED’ (which was named as an All-Time Top 100 Leadership Book). Woodward is a cofounder and Chairman of the Board of LIFE Leadership and Obstaclés Press as well as a cofounder and President of the philanthropic foundation All Grace Outreach. He was listed as #20 on ‘Inc.’ magazine’s Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts list. His blog (orrinwoodwardblog.com) has been selected as one of HR’s Top 100 Blogs for Management and Leadership and as a Universities Online Top 100 Leadership Blog. Woodward is also the recipient of a National Technical Benchmarking Award and holds four US patents.

Understanding the Fish Symbol IXOYE

What a blessed life we live.

This is a video of our tour guide when my family and I were on a three week long cruise in the Mediterranean.  We had just finished spending a couple hours in the city of Ephesus seen all of the sites where the apostle Paul and others had walked.
Our tour guide Emery, who is now my buddy, can be seen explaining the fish symbol that is on the back of so many peoples cars and they don’t really even understand what it is. He tells us that Christians were trying to protect their identity so they would not be persecuted and when they would meet each other in town one would make a sweeping arc motion in the sand with their foot and the other would make a sweeping arc motion with their foot in the sand the opposite direction to make the fish symbol letting each other know it safe to talk.

Let’s pray that in the United States we don’t get back to where we have to sweep our foot in the sand to identify ourselves as Christians.  One of the reasons I love LIFE Leadership is we lead people to the truth and we stand for those who do.

Enjoy the video!

God Bless, Tim Marks

Warren Buffet’s Smart Money Tips for 2015

Hey gang!  Hot off the heels from Orrin Woodwards blog on escaping the Financial Matrix, here’s another great article from Inc. Magazine on common-sense strategies to get out of debt from one of the world’s top investors, Warren Buffet.  Luckily, LIFE Leadership has the answer for people with our Financial Fitness Pack!

Here is the blog post below in it’s entirety.

God Bless, Tim Marks

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The Smartest Money Tips for 2015 From Warren Buffett and Other Experts
Reduce debt, set financial goals, but be sure to invest in yourself.
By Minda Zetlin

Want more wealth in 2015? Most of us do, but we’re not sure how to get there. To help us figure it out, the finance site GOBankingRates compiled one piece of advice from 11 top financial wizards for the coming year, and invited readers to vote for the best. If there’s a consensus among the experts, it seems to be this: Invest in yourself and your own smarts; be conservative everywhere else.

That makes a lot of sense. This is the age of the entrepreneur, but with continuing economic uncertainty this isn’t really the time to splurge. You can see the full list of expert tips (and vote for your own favorite) here. Meantime, here’s a look at the high-profile experts’ advice:

Keep it simple.

The best places to invest are in the things you know best, according to legendary investor Warren Buffett. “If you don’t invest in things you know, you’re just gambling,” he told CNBC. It’s one reason he’s never invested in the tech sector, for example.

In his 2014 shareholders letter, he explained more fully: “You don’t need to be an expert in order to achieve satisfactory investment returns. But if you aren’t, you must recognize your limitations and follow a course certain to work reasonably well. Keep things simple and don’t swing for the fences.”

And don’t be misled by lofty promises, he added. “When promised quick profits, respond with a quick ‘no.'”

Get back to basics.

Many people want to improve their financial outlook but aren’t sure how to go about it, according to Jeanette Pavini, two-time Emmy-winning consumer reporter. Many of her viewers write and tell her that they’re overwhelmed by the numerous options and resources out there. “They feel as if they are never going to dig out of the hole, so they become discouraged and simply give up.”

Don’t let this happen to you. Improving your finances isn’t rocket science, Pavini says. It begins with understanding exactly where your money is going, writing it down, keeping track, and looking for opportunities to cut costs. “Learn what areas in your budget you actually have control over,” she says. “Have a plan and keep it simple.” And don’t be fooled into thinking only major changes make a difference, she adds. “No savings is too small. They all add up.”

Make a plan.

 

“If you’re going to win with money, you have to be intentional,” says Rachel Cruze, co-author with her father, Dave Ramsey, of Smart Money Smart Kids. That means having a budget so you can stay out of debt (or pay off existing debt), as well as an idea of how your money will work for you.

Get a buddy.

Like a weight-loss or exercise regimen, you’ll likely do better at managing money if you have an accountability partner to support you and keep you honest. That advice comes from Tiffany Aliche, “The Budgetnista,” and author of The One Week Budget. “Money management is a team sport,” she says.

Get out of debt.

That one-sentence tip is author Ramsey’s best tip for 2015–and for every year, he says. Though this can be tough advice for someone starting a company to follow, it’s wise to keep your debt as low as you can without crippling your business. And keep your personal debt nonexistent if possible.

Pay off those credit cards.

You don’t need a financial expert to tell you that carrying credit card debt over time is never a great idea, especially if it’s personal debt as opposed to debt from your business. But if you’ve been carrying balances for a while, making them go away should be high on your list of resolutions for the coming year–and the sooner the better.

That’s because the Federal Reserve has signaled its intention to raise the prime lending rate this year, and credit card interest rates will rise at the same time, according to author and TV host Suze Orman. Although eliminating credit card debt should always be a primary financial objective, she warns, “now it is urgent, as anyone with credit card debt in 2015 is likely to see their borrowing costs go up.”

Put money in a Roth IRA.

Your smartest strategy is to save for the future by putting as much money as you can into an IRA, according CNBC’s Sharon Epperson. “One of the best things you can do in 2015 to set yourself up for financial success in the future is to be strategic with your savings,” she advises. “Save as much as you can in a Roth IRA.”

Most employees can contribute to a traditional IRA, and if you’re self-employed, you also have a SEP IRA as an option. Those can be very tempting because the contributions you make are tax-deductible when you make them. On the other hand, you will pay taxes on that money when you withdraw it from the IRA. With a Roth, the contributions you make are not tax deductible–but when you withdraw that money it will be tax free. You’ll be glad you chose a Roth if your business takes off and you find yourself with more income (and thus a higher tax bracket) in your 60s than you had in your younger years.

Set specific goals.

You’ll have a harder time meeting your financial objectives if you don’t know exactly what they are. So spend some time determining your goals, such as having money set aside for emergencies, putting your kids through college, or having enough saved to retire at 65, advises Kiplinger contributing editor Cameron Huddleston. “Your needs will take precedence over your wants, with short-term needs being the top priority,” she notes. “Then you can set goals to meet those needs–and fulfill your wants.”

Most Americans fail to set specific financial goals, she adds. They might have a vague notion of what they want. “But they haven’t set actual goals and figured out the steps needed to achieve them.”

Give yourself a raise.

If you’re like many people, the first step toward financial health is increasing your income. So do what you need to make that happen, advises Emma Johnson, who writes the Wealthy Single Mommy blog.

“This might mean mustering up the nerve to ask your boss for a pay increase, starting a side business, or increasing your billing if you already have your own company,” she says. Once you’ve increased your income, make sure you’re saving at least 5 percent of it, she adds.

Invest in your own development.

“Make 2015 the year that you choose to invest in your personal self-development and hop out of your comfort zone,” says personal finance author and TV personality Farnoosh Torabi. “Learn something new, travel, take risks, and practice your negotiating skills.”

Investing in your own development is a solid idea at a time when the income gap between those with education and marketable skills and those without is growing greater. “Rather than react to the changing times, plant some seeds now so that you can be proactive and stay in control of your career and remain competitive,” she says.

Don’t act like a victim.

After years of economic upheaval, uncertainty over the recovery, confusion about Obamacare, and growing inequality, many Americans have started feeling like victims of the economy rather than participants in it. It’s time for that attitude to stop, according to Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. “A shift in mindset (from ‘victim’ to ‘champ’) and a decision to put your talents, your intelligence, and your strengths to work will set you up to take control of your life and your financial future,” he says.

“Make 2015 the year you champion your life and take control,” he adds. “Can’t find a job? Challenge yourself to create one for yourself. Want to start generating passive income and building assets? Do it! Find a mentor. Start a blog or podcast. Write an e-book. License your killer salsa recipe.”

Our financial futures are up to us, he adds. “Will you keep letting yourself fall victim to life’s curve balls? Or will you hit it out of the park by putting the power of financial education behind every swing you take?”

 

LIFE Leadership now in U.S. Virgin Islands!

Gang, this is exciting news.  As of January 1st, 2015, LIFE Leadership is now open for business in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The U.S. Virgin Islands are a U.S. territory, so operations will be conducted just as in a state of the United States, using all the same standard enrollment documents and forms, including the Policies and Procedures and U.S. Compensation Plan.  Fired Up!  On our way to a million!

God Bless, Tim Marks

USVIBlast

Seven Reasons the Roman Empire Fell, and What the US Can Learn

Here is a blog I came across that, as it’s title describes, shares seven reason the Roman Empire fell.  I have added my own thoughts and comments to each point.  Fortunately, LIFE Leadership teaches truth through many of our books and cds, including the Freedom series frequently presented by Orrin Woodward, Inc Magazine Top 20 Leadership Expert.  The best way to change things is to educate ourselves and those around us!

God bless, Tim Marks

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Seven Reasons Why the Roman Empire Fell: What the USA can Learn.

“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.” -Joseph Stalin

There are seven reasons (among others) why the Roman Empire fell. The most important of the seven have to do with the break down of religion, morality and the family. Everything else rippled from these three factors.

1. Family disintegration: Bachelors became more highly esteemed than husbands and fathers in society. In the second and third century of the Christian era, it had become a stigma for men to be “tied down” to families. Sexual liberation, especially among men, was lauded.

Tims’ thoughts: “Not only is the traditional family mocked but actually redefined by many in un-natural ways. See Romans 1:26.”

2. Low birth rate: During the centuries that followed Christ’s ascension into heaven, the Roman Empire had already experienced a precipitous drop in the birth rate. This trend started when Augustus, the Roman emperor, reigned. Even he tried to promulgate incentives for families to have more children; but it was too late. Before Augustus, it wasn’t unusual for couples to have up to twelve children. In the decades that followed, couples, much like today, only had one or two children at the most. Over the centuries, the city of Rome went from a million inhabitants to less than fifty thousand. Depopulation had a devastating affect on both the Roman empire and ancient Greece.

Tim’s thoughts:  “According to Live Science The U.S. birth rate reached an all-time low in 2013, as the number of babies born in the country declined for the sixth straight year since the peak in 2007, a new report finds. The country’s birth rate dipped to 62.5 births per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 44, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That is 10 percent lower than the birth rate in 2007, which was 69.3 per 1,000 women, and a record low since the government started tracking birth rates in 1909, when birth rate was 126.8.”

3. Fragmentation of religion: There were so many gods for so many special causes and towns- especially because the Roman religion imported gods from the Hellenistic culture (Greek culture spread throughout the Roman Empire) -that the ancient pagans despaired of having any uniformity. And over the years, they increasingly found it difficult to find meaning in the rituals or even to believe the veracity of their own creeds.

Tim’s thoughts: “I can only say that Christianity was fairly new in Rome when it fell, but Rome didn’t fall because of it. Additionaly Rome did not grow “because of” its pagan religions but “in spite of”. We know this because the greatest nations on earth have had Christian values and laws based on these values.”

4. Language, literature and art had fallen into disrepair. Like modern art today, Roman art was of poor quality because it was an escape from reality. Latin was badly used and literature became vulgar.

Tim’s Thoughts: “So much of what we see pass as “art” today is hardly beautiful or took the touch of a masters hand to create it. The most vulgar piece I have ever read about is this:”
Piss Christ is a 1987 photograph by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano. It depicts a small plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of the artist’s urine. The piece was a winner of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art‘s “Awards in the Visual Arts” competition,[1] which was sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a United States Government agency that offers support and funding for artistic projects, without controlling content.

5. Centralization and expansion of government: Take for instance the third century A.D.(200’s) Ralph Martin Novak, author of “Christianity and the Roman Empire”, provides a sobering statistic of 3rd century Rome which serves as a warning to our U.S. government.

He said, “It is estimated that whereas at the start of the third century A.D. the Roman emperors employed only about 300 to 350 full-time individuals in administering the Empire, by 300 A.D. this number had grown to some 30,000 or 35,000 people. The expense of this vastly increased administrative and military structure was an enormous burden on the people of the Empire, and the burden only grew more oppressive over the course of the fourth century A.D….Rome’s efforts to collect the taxes necessary to pay for defense and administration exacerbated the already deep social and economic divisions within the Roman empire.”

Because the Roman government so starved agricultural incentives, miles and miles of farmland was left uncultivated and therefore unused.

Tim’s Thoughts: The government is everywhere! Dta from 2008. Its worse now but I can’t find consistent numbers

  • Number of Full-Time Federal Employees – 2,518,101
  • Part-Time – 250,785
  • Full-Time State – 3,818,577, Part-Time – 1,451,002
  • Full-Time Local – 11,039,250, Part-Time – 3,383,976
  • TOTAL – 22,461,691
  • 2008 US Population (est) – 304,059,724
  • % of Gov’t employees – 7.38%
  • Inverse – 13.536
So this means that there’s a government employee for every 13.5 people in the country.”

6. Citizenship became cheap and immigration easy. Barbarians from outside of the Roman Empire had easy access to Roman institutions and they further began to infiltrate the Roman army. Hence, the loyalties among Roman soldiers became divided. Military campaigns had faltered as a result. What is more, Roman culture became vulnerable to fragmentation.

Tim’s Thoughts: “I am all for immigration! Come on in –  LEGALLY!!!!   See borders.”

 

7. The culture of death was alive and well. Consider the following practices which had political, legal and social sanction:

a. Baby exposure: This practice of infanticide, back then called “baby exposure”, couples would simply throw unwanted babies away. They would either kill them outright or take them out to the garbage. This was widely practiced. Seneca, a Roman philosopher, said this about killing babies: “We drown even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal. Yet it is not anger, but reason that separates the harmful from the sound.”

Tim’s Thoughts: “Romans would toss unwanted babies in the trash and most of us would think that is barbaric. I can only ask, ‘why is it  less barbaric just because we do it in a doctors office?’    There are approximately 1.21 million abortions in America each year.”

b. Gladiator games: Gladiators, slaves and prisoners would be killed in these blood sports for the purpose of entertaining the unemployed mob. Seneca, the same Roman philosopher who approved of infanticide and who was later forced to commit suicide by the Emperor Nero, said this about a gladiator game he saw:

“I come home more greedy, more cruel and inhuman, because I have been among human beings. By chance I attended a midday exhibition, expecting some fun, wit, and relaxation…But it was quite the contrary…These noon fighters are sent out with no armor of any kind; they are exposed to blows at all points, and no one ever strikes in vain…In the morning they throw men to the lions; at noon they throw them to the spectators.”

c. Slavery was prominent and the social subordination of women and children to that of men was protected by law. Not much more needs to be said about that.

These seven factors made the Roman Empire vulnerable to outside foreign forces starting in 410 A.D. St. Augustine witnessed the beginning of its collapse. And for several hundred years the Catholic Church had to pick up the pieces from what was left of pagan Rome and build a new Christian civilization. But it took blood, sweat and tears to do it.

Dr. Phil Jenkins, author of “The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia- and How it Died,” once wrote the following: “Dechristianization is one of the least studied aspects of Christian history. Partly, the lack of interest in vanishing churches is a matter of practicality, in that dying organizations tend not to produce records of their own extinction.” The fact is…if the Church goes down, the nation goes with it. This has been a recurring reality throughout world history.

Perhaps this is why out of 45 goals Communists set out to achieve in 1958, #27 and #28 took direct aim at Christianity. According to Cleon Skousen’s book, “The Naked Communist,” these two goals read as follows:

#27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a “religious crutch.”

#28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”

And finally, let us not forget the infamous words of Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Soviet Union:
“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”

Unfortunately, the Communists, including Stalin, knew their history well. They knew why Rome fell. If America falls, it will be for the same reasons every other nation, civilization or empire fell; and that reason has everything to do with religion, morality and the family.

REPOST: The Theology of Christmas

During this season, we often hear people say, “This is a magical time of year.”  The fact is, it’s not magical; it’s downright concerning in some cases.

Christmas day is recognized globally as the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ (although to be completely candid, historians admit that we don’t know the actual day of the year upon which Christ was born.  However, we still choose to celebrate it on December 25th, despite the fact there is some controversy surrounding why that particular day was selected.)

For many people, Christmas is mostly about time with family, putting lights on your house, decorating a tree with ornaments, giving and receiving gifts, and enjoying a great meal of ham or turkey and pumpkin pie. All those things are fine, but they are not even close to being the main thing. One thing I know for sure, this season of celebration is about Christ- CHRISTmas.  I was upset, but not surprised, to discover there is even an entire movement today to have Christ removed from Christmas!  How could something so crazy even be suggested?!  Because too many of us spend more time shopping for gifts and planning Christmas parties than we do reading our Bibles!

Please watch this video by John MaCarthur as he clears it all up

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

God Bless, Tim Marks

Orrin Woodward, Inc Mag. Top 100 Leadership Speakers!

The title says it all!  Check out the link directly:

http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/100-great-leadership-speakers-for-your-next-conference.html

A number of top leadership speakers stick out immediately who’ve made the list: Mike Abrashoff, Ken Blanchard, Bob Burg, Marshall Goldsmith, Tony Hsieh, Jim Kouzes, John Maxwell, Tom Peters, Mark Sanborn, Robin Sharma, Bobby Umar, Jack Welsh, and Chris Widener, to name only a few of the 100 names listed.

Congrats to Orrin Woodward, Founder of LIFE Leadership, two-times NY Times Bestselling co-author of Launching a Leadership Revolution, Guinness Book of World Records Holder, Inc. Magazine Top 20 Leadership Expert, and so much more… this is one more feather in the cap.  Kudos to you Orrin for doing us proud!

God Bless, Tim Marks

 

 

 

Leadership thoughts and perspective