Is The United States On The Same Path As Rome?

Edward Gibbon ( 1737-1794) wrote on this topic a couple hundred years ago in his book, The Five Marks of the Roman Decaying CultureIn it he breaks down the fall of Ancient Rome to five basic areas that are concerning (or should be) to us today as we look at our country and current status.  These five basic areas of decline were:

 

(1). Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth.   How does that compare to America today?  Let me just say, “car payment.”

(2). Obsession with sex and perversions of sex.  Sad to say that many advertising companies use sex to sell a product that has nothing to do with sex, from soft drinks to automobiles.

(3). Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original.  I have been to Europe a few times and see a massive difference between “art” and well what we have today.  Keep in mind that Gibbon lived in 1700s so “freakishness” was different then.   He would likely had a heart attack seeing a crucifix in a jar of urine being called art, even though he wasn’t Christian.

(4). Widening disparity between very rich and very poor.  This is getting worse each decade and it doesn’t matter which president is in office. My mentor, New York Times bestselling author and  Inc. Magazine Top 50 Leadership Expert Orrin Woodward wrote a great blogpost on this topic called the middle class squeeze.

(5). Increased demand to live off the state.  There are 11 states right now that have more people living off welfare than working.  Welfare pays more than $15 per hour in 13 states.

Gibbon argued that since Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, it fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire.  He also believed that Christianity’s comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious dark age.  It was not until his own age of reason and rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress.
It is laughable that Gibbon would write this!  Obviously he was not familiar with scripture ( he was not Christian) because if he did read the scriptures he would find that God not only instructs but demands that Christians work hard here on earth, but would also be forbidden to worship Rome.

I was obviously not there during Roman times (though my kids think I’m old enough) so I can’t say if the “Christians” were pacifists and stopped working and started waiting for the after life, but if they did, that type of attitude is not based on scripture.  I’m aware of about 70 verses in the old and new testament on working and work ethic; never does God tell us to “not work” except on one day a week.  So if Gibbon wanted to argue Christians contributed to the fall of Rome the fact that they only worship one God (God of the Bible) should have been the direction he went.
However, if Christianity was part of the problem, one has a hard time explaining how the United States of America became larger than Rome and more wealthy being based largely on Judeo-Christian principles and work ethic.
I don’t think Gibbon gets it all wrong; as a matter of fact, he gets more right than wrong. One major point that many historians either disagree on or won’t talk about is the ever expanding military and how Romes army was busy out “expanding the Empire.” Today we call it “spreading Democracy” even though we are a Republic (or used to be.)

The fall of Rome started somewhere around AD 190. The Roman Empire was attacked by tribes such as the Goths and the Vandals (I guess they also suffered from holes in border security?!)  Civil wars in parts of Rome also weakened the rule of Rome and respect for Roman law declined as a result.

Tribes such as the Goths wanted to move south to obtain better farmland. At about AD 190, Rome also experienced a succession of emperors that were not capable of leading the Empire (sounds familiar.)  As Dr Ben Carsen says,  “If we commit ourselves to reading, thus increasing our knowledge, only God limits how far we can go in this world.”  Unfortunately today most of our politicians are trained with one-track “conveyor belt education” type thinking and don’t read anything that doesn’t support their idea of truth there with missing it all together.

I believe LIFE Leadership teaches principles based on the ultimate truths that can turn this great nation around and get us back on track to leave a legacy not a liability to our kids.

Check out this video and you decide.
God Bless, Tim

To The Republic For Which It Stands

In some schools today, our kids are not even aware of what the pledge is or why we should know it.  As a Christian, (and not affiliated with any political party) ultimately I pledge my allegiance to God.  However, I think it’s indisputable that God has blessed this nation and given the men who founded it some simple ideals to stay true to that which made the United States great.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. “Republic” is the proper description of our government, not “democracy.” I hear both Republican and Democrats say things like, “We need to spread democracy around the world.”  Why does it matter if we spread “democracy”? Or does it matter?

I am grateful that LIFE Leadership continues to produce world-class products, such as Orrin Woodward’s new book And Justice For All, to share information that helps us understand the true nature of liberty.

Watch this short video that explains the difference between a democracy and a republic and why it matters.

Facts on the Fourth of July

July 4th is a remarkable day for Americans and for the cause of freedom.  It is a day of great celebration for the birth of our nation, filled with parades, fireworks, speeches, and of course, readings of a great document.  As many Americans will tell you, the members of Congress famously signed the Declaration of Independence on this date in history.

Or did they?

In fact, they did not!  Many of the widely accepted “facts” surrounding the birth of our nation are errors that have been handed down from one generation to the next.  I thought it might be fun to share some of the interesting tidbits of history with you today.

In truth, historians now agree the Declaration was actually signed on August 2nd, 1776, not July 4th.

Leading up to the signing, on June 7th, 1776, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for their independence from Britain.   Many American’s wanted to break away from British rule at the time.  It was suggested that Congress break for several weeks to draft a formal declaration, and a five-man team was appointed.  It fell upon Thomas Jefferson to draft the document.  Congress reconvened on July 1st, and motion was passed on July 2nd to break away from British rule.  The delegates voted almost unanimously to declare independence.  However, the actual Declaration of Independence was still being written!  Thomas Jefferson was hard at work on the document, revising it through July 3rd with edits and corrections being submitted by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.  Even as late as the next morning of July 4th, Congress was deleting and revising large sections of the text.  Finally, on July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was complete and adopted by Congress.

So American’s celebrated Independence on July 4th, correct?  Nope!  In fact, it wasn’t until July 8th that Philadelphia organized the first celebration, complete with cannon fire and a parade.  George Washington got the news on July 9th and only then began celebrating with his troops, camped outside of New York, at that point.  Celebrations began as late into the summer as August 10th when the state of Georgia got the news (no Twitter announcements back then.)  In 1777, with the war raging, Philadelphia held the first (of what would become an) annual celebration of independence on July 4th.  Other states took notice and followed suit.  In 1781, Massachusetts made July 4th an official state holiday, and in 1870 Congress made July 4th an official Federal holiday for all Americans to celebrate.

Of interesting note: three American presidents have passed away on July 4th.  Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams passed away within hours of one another on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.  Additionally, James Munroe, the fifth president, passed away on July 4th, 1831.  And just to further commemorate the significance of the day, the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge was born on none other than July 4th, 1872.

Enjoy your Fourth of July!

It Would Only Happen in Poland, Not Here… RIGHT?!

Back in the early 1990′s I went to Warsaw, the capital city of    Poland (spelled Warszawa in Polish and pronounced VARS SHAVA)to design and open a manufacturing plant for the company I was working for here in the US.  The mother company here in the US went under a few years later but the plant we opened in Poland is still open today.  I can only assume the doors are still open because  some bankruptcy laws that we have  that don’t apply there, but I think the real reason is because the entrepreneur who was running the plant was and is hungry to keep it going at all costs.

 
You see when I went over there, communism was just recently on its way out and, for the first time in years, the people of Poland started to have hope that they could actually work and succeed.  Their success would be based on their efforts and the amount of time and money they invested in a business ( and really in the case of a former communist country, a job also.)  They were hopeful that this new success would allow them to put some money away in the bank or a retirement fund just like we do in the United States. I would guess that about half of the workers I talked to (via translator) seemed excited, while the other half just had a defeated look in their eyes that I will never forget, expressing the feeling of “there is no hope,  so why even try”?

 
It’s sad to say that the Polish people, who didn’t want to get their hopes up, may have been right all along because some of them did save and believed that could retire at some point just like we Americans do!

 

photoWell, in 2013 the plan started to change and the Polish government decided to “move some things around” to keep the doors open and once again the fine people of Poland, including those in Warzawa, are worried about the security of their retirement that they worked so hard for.

Please read the article below from Reuters and draw your own conclusions on weather or not a country with 17 trillion in debt may ” have to ” do the same?

Most Americans would say, “Oh, don’t worry – it could never happen here!”  Well, if we don’t want it to happen here, we can each do our part to take action and educate our countries, starting with using books like the upcoming book And Justice for All by LIFE Co-Founder Orrin Woodward.

God Bless,
Tim

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WARSAW, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Poland said on Wednesday it will transfer to the state many of the assets held by private pension funds, slashing public debt but putting in doubt the future of the multi-billion-euro funds, many of them foreign-owned.

The changes went deeper than many in the market expected and could fuel investor concerns that the government is ditching some business-friendly policies to try to improve its flagging popularity with voters.

The Polish pension funds’ organisation said the changes may be unconstitutional because the government is taking private assets away from them without offering any compensation.

Announcing the long-awaited overhaul of state-guaranteed pensions, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings.

He said that what remained in citizens’ pension pots in the private funds will be gradually transferred into the state vehicle over the last 10 years before savers hit retirement age.

The reform is “a decimation of the …(private pension fund) system to open up fiscal space for an easier life now for the government,” said Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura. “The government has an odd definition of private property given it claims this is not nationalisation.”

Tusk said people joining the pension system in the future would not be obliged to pay into the private part of the system. Depending on the finer points, this could mean still fewer assets in the private funds.

“The (current) system has turned out to be built in part on rising public debt and turned out to be a very costly system,” Tusk told a news conference.

“We believe that, apart from the positive consequence of this decision for public debt, pensions will also be safer.”

 

MARKET FEARS

By shifting some assets from the private funds into ZUS, the government can book those assets on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving it more scope to borrow and spend.

Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said the changes will reduce public debt by about eight percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

This in turn, he said, would allow the lowering of two thresholds that deter the government from allowing debt to raise over 50 percent, and then 55 percent, of GDP. Public debt last year stood at 52.7 percent of GDP, according to the government’s own calculations.

The private funds hold assets worth about one fifth of Polish economic output and are among the biggest investors on the Warsaw bourse. Players in the pension market include international firms such as ING, Aviva, Axa , Generali and Allianz.

Bonds make up roughly half the private funds’ portfolios, with the rest company stocks.

Soon after Tusk unveiled his plans, the benchmark index on the Warsaw stock exchange was down 2.6 percent on the day.

“This is worse than many on the markets had feared,” a manager at one of the leading pension funds, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

“The devil is in the detail and we don’t yet know a lot about the mechanism of these changes, what benchmarks will be use to evaluate our performance… (It) looks like pension funds will lose a lot of flexibility in what they can invest.”

Polish officials have tried to reassure investors, saying the overhaul avoids the more radical options of taking both bond and equity assets away from the private funds outright.

They say the old system effectively made Polish public debt appear higher than it really is.

 

UNCERTAIN FUTURE FOR FUNDS

Poland has a hybrid pension system at the moment; mandatory contributions are made into both the state pension vehicle, known as ZUS, and the private funds, which are collectively known by the Polish acronym OFE.

The funds would effectively be left with only the equities portions of their assets, even this would be depleted, and there will be uncertainty about the number of new savers joining.

“This may lead to the private pension systems shutting down,” said Rafal Benecki of ING Bank Slaski.

Policy in Poland is still much more prudent than in many of its European peers. However, the reform could erode Poland’s reputation under Tusk for steady financial stewardship.

In the past few months, the opinion poll rating of Tusk’s Civic Platform party has, for the first time in years, slipped below that of the main opposition, the conservative Law and Justice Party.

Though the next election is not until 2015, some analysts believe electoral concerns are already influencing economic policy and pushing the government to find scope for spending.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/04/poland-pensions-idUSL6N0H02UV20130904

 

Orrin Woodward going for a Guinness World Record!

Hey gang!

Our Summer Leadership Convention is fast approaching.  Not only will we have huge numbers with all teams attending from across North America, from the north east to the south west, but this event is special because it marks the launch of Orrin Woodward’s latest book, And Justice For All, available through LIFE Leadership.

However, not only is Orrin launching his new book – he is going to attempt to set a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the most books signed in a single setting!  Officials for Guinness World Records™ will be on hand to watch the proceedings and track the results.  Orrin will attempt to sign at least 5,000 books (or even 6,000 if his hand holds out!)  We are going to make history!

Orrin And Justice For All

 

 

 

 

 

The current record holder for most books signed in a single sitting is an author named Sammy Lee.  On January 19, 2013, in Shenyang, Liaoning, China, Sammy Lee signed 4,649 copies of his book, Autopilot Leadership Mode, in 11 hr 48 min 58 sec.  I am totally confident that Orrin Woodward can and will shatter that record!

Gang, let’s do everything we can to support Orrin as he becomes a Guinness World Record Holder!

Guiness World Record

SHOCKING Video: Petition to Increase Inflation 100%?!

Hey gang, I’ve included a video below that shocked me.   I was stunned as I watched how average Americans just signed this phony petition that proposes we INCREASE inflation and print more money to deliberately DE-VALUE our dollar!!

It’s so sad that the average person on the street doesn’t have basic financial wisdom.  We need to get the Financial Fitness Pack from LIFE Leadership in the hands of every American and fast!!!

God bless,

Tim

A Memorial Day Message

Hey gang!  Hope everyone has been enjoying this wonderful Memorial Day with family and friends.  I wanted to share a quick reminder of what today is really about.  While we are barbequing or enjoying a leisurely day off of work, let’s remember and salute the brave men and women in uniform who have served our country, risking their lives and sometimes giving their lives, so that we can enjoy our freedom.

However you celebrate this day, please remember how we have achieved our freedom and the people who helped make it possible.  And for those who fell in battle, let’s also remember to pray for the loved ones they left behind.  Here is a video to commemorate the day that I thought you’d enjoy.

God bless, Tim

 

Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady: Inc. Magazine Top 50 Leadership Experts!

Hey gang!  I want to extend a huge congratulations to both Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady for being recognized by Inc. Magazine in this months article titled The Top 50 Leadership and Management experts!  Orrin has reached #20 on the list, and Chris reached #39.

The list was compiled by tracking various statistics including Google references, GoodReads rankings, Wikipedia page references, blog content, number of Twitter followers, etc.  The results were averaged and the list was born.

It is gratifying, though not surprising, that yet another outside source with the pedigree of Inc. Magazine has recognized the leadership wisdom and impact made by both Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady.  As co-founders of LIFE Leadership and co-authors of the New York Times, Business Week, and USA Today best-seller, Launching a Leadership Revolution, Orrin and Chris have made a career of leading people towards the life they’ve always wanted.  The rest of the world is learning more and more every day what we’ve always known!

It seems that with every accolade comes a corresponding criticism.  Whenever someone reaches a level of success at anything, there are bound to be nay-sayers, tomato-throwers, and fault-finders at all stages.   Both Orrin and Chris have endured their fare share of criticism over the years.  As I wrote in an earlier blog post about Orrin: “It’s almost a principle of success: when you take a stand to make the world a better place, you are bound to attract a bunch of negative gossip and criticism. If someone isn’t attracting criticism, they may not yet be making big enough waves to change the world for the better. After a few rounds of success, your skin had better be thick, because it’s certainly going to be splattered with tomatoes!

What’s a tomato? In this context, it is negative, unfounded and irrational criticism thrown by non-achievers at people of excellence and high achievement. These proverbial tomatoes are a little bit like mushrooms: they grow in the dark (they are anonymous) and require a lot of “doo-doo” (irrational cynicism and victim-thinking) to help them get really big a juicy before they get thrown! “Tomatoes” are the weapons of choice for do-nothing cowards.”

It is gratifying to be both a business partner and friend of both Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady.  This is one more arrow of credibility in our quiver to share with pride the Life Leadership business opportunity and world-class content with our friends, family and fans.

Below is the article from Inc. Magazine in it’s entirety.  Enjoy!

God Bless, Tim

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Ultimately, people are a product of their influences.

Even truly groundbreaking business thinkers use the ideas, the perspectives, and the advice of others as the basis for their own thoughts and actions.

So, who are the most popular leadership and management experts in the world?

That’s a great question, one Jurgen Appelo, a creative networker, speaker, and author, set out to answer. His team factored in rankings, ratings, links, search ratios, and Twitter followers in an attempt to quantify popularity.

(I’ve included Appelo’s detailed description of the methodology at the bottom of this post. Though truly quantifying popularity is impossible, the approach Appelo’s team used makes sense–especially when you check out the people who made the list.)

If you see people in the list below you don’t recognize or aren’t following, check them out. We’re all a product of our influences, so it only makes sense to improve both the quantity and the quality of the people we listen to.

  1. John C. Maxwell
  2. Seth Godin
  3. Jack Welch
  4. Guy Kawasaki
  5. Tim Ferriss
  6. Daniel Goleman
  7. Dale Carnegie
  8. Kenneth H. Blanchard
  9. Richard Branson
  10. Michael E. Porter
  11. Marshall Goldsmith
  12. Tom Peters
  13. Stephen R. Covey
  14. Robin Sharma
  15. Simon Sinek
  16. Patrick Lencioni
  17. Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  18. Tony Hsieh
  19. Thomas L. Friedman
  20. Orrin Woodward
  21. Steve Farber
  22. Don Tapscott
  23. Clayton M. Christensen
  24. David Allen
  25. Brian Tracy
  26. Bob Sutton
  27. Michael Hyatt
  28. John P. Kotter
  29. Peter F. Drucker
  30. Eric Ries
  31. Anthony Robbins
  32. Gary Hamel
  33. Mike Myatt
  34. Jason Fried
  35. Charles Duhigg
  36. Daniel H. Pink
  37. Dan Rockwell
  38. Marcus Buckingham
  39. Chris Brady
  40. Jurgen Appelo
  41. Robert B. Cialdini
  42. John Baldoni
  43. Jeffrey Gitomer
  44. Gretchen Rubin
  45. Malcolm Gladwell
  46. Susan Cain
  47. Dan Ariely
  48. Jim Collins
  49. Liz Strauss
  50. Chris Brogan

If you want to dig deeper, here are 51-100:

Charles H. Green, Mark Sanborn, Michael D. Watkins, Dave Ramsey, Steven D. Levitt, Peter M. Senge, Tim Sanders, Harvey Mackay, Tim O’Reilly, Vineet Nayar, Lolly Daskal, John Piper, Nassim N. Taleb, Ben Horowitz, Niall Ferguson, Warren Bennis, Terry (Starbucker) St. Marie, Kevin Eikenberry, Nancy Duarte, Scott Eblin, Derek Sivers, Mary Jo Asmus, Robert S. Kaplan, Jon Gordon, Sheryl Sandberg, Barry Posner, Wally Bock, Bill George, Bill Hybels, Lynda Gratton, Andy Stanley, Wayne W. Dyer, Bob Burg, Michael E. Gerber, Richard Florida, Bill Gates, Tanveer Naseer, Joel Spolsky, Gordon Tredgold, Michael McKinney, Vijay Govindarajan, Mike Figliuolo, Penelope Trunk, Ted Coiné, Steve Roesler, Walter Isaacson, Umair Haque, Subir Chowdhury, Kerry Patterson.

And here’s the methodology:

The purpose of our work was to find out which people are globally the most popular management and leadership writers, in the English language. In other words, we did not focus on local countries or languages; we did not focus on teachers, professors, or CEOs; and we did not measure any other topics besides management and leadership.

Step 1: Top lists

With Google, we performed a lot of searches for “most popular management gurus,” “best leadership books,” “top management blogs,” “top leadership experts,” etc. This resulted in a collection of 36 different lists, containing gurus, books, and blogs. We aggregated the authors’ names into one big list of almost 800 people.

Step 2: Author profiles

Owing to time constraints, we limited ourselves to all authors who were mentioned more than once on the 36 lists (about 270 people), though we added a few dozen additional people that we really wanted to include in our exploration. For all 330 authors, we tried to find their personal websites, blogs, Twitter accounts, Wikipedia pages, Goodreads profiles, and Amazon author pages.

Step 3: Goodreads ratings

With the Goodreads profiles, we checked the total number of ratings the authors received for their books. We assumed that the more ratings an author has received, the more popular are his or her books. Some authors do not have books (only blogs). Those didn’t get a score in this category. The result was a ranking of management and leadership writers on Goodreads.

Step 4: Twitter followers

We assumed that the number of followers on the social networks is another indicator of popularity. We decided to only use Twitter, because its use appears to be the most widespread. LinkedIn doesn’t offer insight into number of connections, and Facebook, Google+, and Klout are not used widely enough to use in our calculations. The result was a popularity ranking of authors on Twitter.

Step 5: Blog reputation

This was a difficult category, because some authors have blogs on their company website, some authors publish blogs on large media networks, and some authors separate their blogs from their personal sites. The best metric we could think of was the number of unique websites linking to the author’s blog as a measure of his or her reputation. We assumed that the more domains linking to a blog, the more popular the author must be. This resulted in a ranking of blogs.

Step 6: Wikipedia

Many authors have a page on Wikipedia, but the existence of a page doesn’t mean that much. Again, we checked how many unique websites link to the author’s Wikipedia page, which resulted in a ranking of authors on Wikipedia. Plenty of authors are not on Wikipedia, which means they didn’t score in this category.

Adjustments

Some authors rank highly in many metrics, but they have little to say about management and leadership. For example, Colin Powell is very famous, but not because he is a management guru (though he did write a book). Likewise, Mary Jo Asmus is not as famous, but almost everything she writes is about management and leadership. Therefore, we had to find a way to compensate for people’s real affinity with the topics of management and leadership.

Step 7: Google search ratios

For all authors, we did a search for “author name” blog AND book and also “author name” management AND leadership. By comparing the number of hits on Google search, we determined which authors are often associated with the terms management or leadership. This resulted in yet another ranking, but this time of authors and their affinity with these specific topics.

Step 8: Number of lists

Last, but not least, we used the 36 original sources mentioned earlier. We counted how often each author’s name was mentioned on those 36 lists. For example, Bill Gates is very well known, but he was mentioned only once on a management and leadership list. Fewer people know Mike Myatt, but his name popped up no less than 13 times across the 36 lists. This resulted in a ranking of authors most often mentioned in “top lists” on the Internet.

Step 9: Average

The last step was simple. We had six rankings from six different sources. We simply calculated the average across all of them and sorted the results again. That created our final ranking of Top 200 Management and Leadership Authors.

Disclaimer

We know there is no way to accurately measure popularity. The best we can do is use different imperfect measures from different imperfect sources. Scientists know that measuring multiple times with imperfect tools doesn’t remove all bias and inaccuracy. But it does reduce the error margins and gives at least a decent enough picture that can be considered useful.

We believe this is the best we could do within the time we had available. Of course, we welcome any suggestions for improvement.

 

Government Dependence has Reached Epidemic Levels

My mentor and two time New York Times best selling author Orrin Woodward has written another book which is volume one of three titled And Justice For All.  Having only read the first so far, I can already tell it will be a classic.
Not only does Orrin define the problem but he helps us understand how we got here and he will teach us what we can do to help indidually  and collectively  to help change the current destructive path we are on.
I love what LIFE Leadership stands for and what we teach, I truly believe we are part of the “solution” and not the problem. We can only make a positive change if we study and understand history ( including  the Bible) and learn from it and work to implement the lessons in our own lives and teach them to others.
See the interesting image below from the Heritage Foundation and an excerpt of the article from End of the American Dream website that illustrates what most Americans feel every day, regardless of what the news channel says!
God Bless, Tim
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18 Stats That Prove Government Dependence has Reached Epidemic Levels
Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million?  In other words, the number of people that are taking money out of the system is far greater than the number of people that are putting money into the system.  And did you know that nearly 70 percent of all of the money that the federal government spends goes toward entitlement and welfare programs?  When it comes to the transfer of wealth, nobody does it on a grander scale than the U.S. government.  Most of what the government does involves taking money from some people and giving it to other people.  In fact, at this point that is the primary function of the federal government.Just check out the chart below.  It comes from the Heritage Foundation, and it shows that 69 percent of all federal money is spent either on entitlements or on welfare programs…Heritage Foundation

So when people tell you that the main reason why we are being taxed into oblivion is so that we can “build roads” and provide “public services”, they are lying to you.  The main reason why the government taxes you so much is so that they can take your money and give it to someone else.

We have become a nation that is completely and totally addicted to government money.  The following are 18 stats that prove that government dependence has reached epidemic levels…

#1 According to an analysis of U.S. government numbers conducted by Terrence P. Jeffrey, there are 86 million full-time private sector workers in the United States paying taxes to support the government, and nearly 148 million Americans that are receiving benefits from the government each month.  How long can such a lopsided system possibly continue?

#2 Ten years ago, the number of women in the U.S. that had jobs outnumbered the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps by more than a 2 to 1 margin.  But now the number of women in the U.S. on food stamps actually exceeds the number of women that have jobs.

#3 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

#4 Today, the federal government runs about 80 different “means-tested welfare programs”, and almost all of those programs have experienced substantial growth in recent years.

#5 Back in 1960, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 10 percent.  In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent.  Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.

#6 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the total number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to nearly 47 million.

#7 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#8 It sounds crazy, but the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.

#9 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps is now greater than the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

#10 According to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies, 43 percent of all immigrants that have been in the United States for at least 20 years are still on welfare.

#11 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid.  Today, more than 70 million Americans are on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

 

Remember Your Mama this Mother’s Day

I love this video of a boy (now a man) who didn’t forget his mama when he made it.
If you have read my book Voyage of a Viking you know my mom was very special to me and made many sacrifices so my brother and I could have a chance to make it in this world.  Please, honor all mothers this Sunday on Mother’s Day for all they do and have done for all of us.
Thanks  for all you did for us, Dra!  (my moms nickname)
God bless, Tim

You Don’t Need a Degree To Become Wildly Successful

In their article, These 19 Insanely Successful College Dropouts Prove You Don’t Need a Degree, www.businessinsider.com shows that the traditional form of “conveyor belt education” is not the only way to make your way in this world.  Getting a degree not only doesn’t guarantee you a job – it doesn’t even guarantee you an interview.

There are so many examples of success without formal credentials that a new wave of entrepreneurship is being born on college campuses as students opt to strike out on their own in order to strike it rich.  One of the reasons I love LIFE Leadership is because anyone, regardless of their success in school, can create the life they’ve always wanted by building their own business.

For the full article, click here.

Here is an excerpt from the article to enjoy!

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As the school year starts up again, the class of 2017 is heading off to college for the first time, and a whole crop of high-school seniors is beginning to consider where they’ll go next year — or whether they should go at all.

College still pays off in the long run, but as tuition prices continue to climb, debt loads are higher than ever. And the first years out of school are extremely tough.

Some, like PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel, claim that college just isn’t worth it in the age of startups. He’s giving 20 bright young people $100,000 each to start a company instead.

Despite the fact that Thiel himself is a Stanford graduate, people who choose to follow his advice and drop out find themselves in pretty good company. Beyond Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, some of today’s most successful businesspeople didn’t graduate from college. Here are a few that prove a college degree isn’t the only path to success.

 

Ben Milne took his payment platform from a $1,200 investment to a multi-million-dollar company by the age of 22.

A decade ago, 28-year-old Ben Milne dropped out of the University of Northern Iowa to start his first company, Elemental Designs. In 2008, he moved on to Dwolla, an online payment system that allows you to eliminate credit cards completely.

“I started college because I thought that’s where I was supposed to go,” Milne told Business Insider.  “I applied to one college, I got in, went, and realized it wasn’t for me. I had customers, so I stopped going to class.”

Four years after starting Dwolla, the company is moving more than $350 million.

 

Matt Mullenweg started WordPress, which now powers 16% of the web.

Mullenweg dropped out of the University of Houston in 2004. Even then, he was so precocious that he didn’t bother with their computer classes. At 20, he had already developed the beginnings of WordPress and was fielding job offers from tech companies. He dropped out to work for CNET in San Francisco, with a promise that he could continue developing his side project 15% of the time.

He left to found Automattic, the company behind WordPress. WordPress alone gets 140 million visits a year with a staff of just 140, and all of Automattic’s sites see nearly half a billion visitors.

 

Arash Ferdowsi is a co-founder of DropBox, which is now worth an estimated $4 billion.

Ferdowsi dropped out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007 after three years at the school. He left to found DropBox, which quickly grew from a tiny startup to a service used by hundreds of millions of people.

He’s currently the company’s Chief Technology Officer and became a multi-millionaire at the age of 27.

 

David Karp created Tumblr, now the 9th-most visited site in the United States, despite never graduating high school.

Nevermind college, Karp didn’t even graduate high school. He was already a product manager at UrbanBaby, an internet forum for parents, at the age of 16. He had droped out of Bronx Science high school a year earlier in 2001 to be home schooled, and never obtained a high school diploma.

From there, he started Davidville, where he built the beginnings of Tumblr. That quickly became his full-time focus, and the company’s now the United States’ 9th most visited web site.   Karp himself is worth an estimated $200 million.

 

JetBlue Airways founder David Neeleman dropped out of college with a year left until graduation.

Neeleman discovered his knack for business when he was a child working at his grandpa’s grocery store, but he never excelled quite the same way in school due to a learning disability.

After three years at the University of Utah, Neeleman dropped out of college. He went on to found the commercial airlines Morris Air, JetBlue Airways, and Azul Brazilian Airlines.

 

Whole Foods Founder John Mackey dropped out of the University of Texas several times, never graduated, and never took a business course.

Mackey dropped out of several different Texas colleges   in the mid ’70s. At the age of 25, he was a religion and philosophy major at the University of Texas. He joined a vegan co-op, met a girl, dropped out for the final time, and borrowed money to open his first storeTwenty-five years later, Whole Foods has gone international and does more than $12 billion in sales.

Checking for Spiritual Blind Spots

I have recently been doing some reading on discovering blind spots and how to fix my own when I was reminded of a major blind spot I had years ago.

With Easter just around the corner, many people are focused mainly on bunnies that lay candy eggs and maybe getting some time off of work or school, rather than being focused on the true spiritual nature of this special time of the year.  For years I went to church and I also got excited about bunnies and chocolate.  I believed that, “I am all set with God,” because in my mind I thought I was a good guy; I didn’t cheat on my wife or on my taxes.  I thought, “Surely, that’s good enough?”

Well, after living with this incorrect belief for years, God finally opened my eyes and showed me that I wasn’t “all set with Him.”  If you want my entire testimony, it’s available on our AGO series of products through the LIFE Leadership site.  The point I want to make is that I had a severe blind spot.  We all do from time to time, in many different areas, not just spiritually.

One of the most powerful examples of having a spiritual blind spot is the testimony of Pastor Vernon Higham of Cardiff, Whales.  I have been blessed enough to hear Vernon preach, to have a few meals with him and most memorably, my son Cameron and I actually stayed in his home in Cardiff years ago. As I remember, Vernon told me he was there when the great Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones went to be with the Lord and Vernon spoke at his funeral.  (How’s that for name dropping?!!)

The point being, here is a man that at one time in his life thought he had everything figured out in his field of study.  He thought he was a Christian because he was in seminary and had been sharing the gospel to others when….

See below, then watch the message he preached as a very wise and, dare I say, more mature preacher.  After you read the text, I encourage you to take the time and also watch the video.

God Bless, Tim

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Rev W. Vernon Higham
I was born in Caernarfon, in North Wales, my mother being a native of that town, whereas my father hailed from the North of England. The language of the town and of my friends was Welsh. My home was bilingual, although my brother and I spoke Welsh to each other.
During the depression of the 1930s life was hard for everyone. In one sense as a family we were comfortably established as compared with most. Our family owned and ran a grocery and also a small farm two miles out of the town. Nevertheless we lived in a time of great poverty and no business could really succeed. Added to this was my father’s failing health.
Eventually the family moved to Lancashire, my father’s home county, and for the next stage of my life Bolton was to be my home. It was a great wrench to move from a market town to a large industrial town, from a place where everyone knew one another to a place, which seemed so big and so full of strangers.
There was the task of settling into a new school and also the change of language to cope with. Perhaps loneliness was the main problem I encountered and, because of this, my brother and I became companions as well as brothers, despite the five-year gap between our ages.
Spiritually I had known nothing other than every family who attended the means of grace. The majority of any congregation in my home town in Wales were people who experienced the great Revival of 1904. I really believed that all grown-up people were godly folk. The Sabbath day was special and I must say that I truly loved the house of God, although I was often in trouble because of my mischievous nature.
Whilst in Caernarfon I went with my grandmother to her chapel on Sunday evenings, having been with my parents to another in the morning and afternoon. I remember very little of what was said bit I had my favourite preachers. Two qualities I particularly admired at that time were illustrations and brevity!
In all this, however, the influence of my grandmother was very strong in my life. Despite the fact that I was but 7 when she died, her words remained. She would often take me with her as she visited her friends. Her conversation was always about the Lord and the marvellous works and transformation of lives she had seen during the Revival.
I found it both thrilling and fascinating and to this day I have such a clear impression of her that the memory of her words seems but a few years ago. In addition I cannot omit mentioning my parents and their devotion to the things of God who, in His mercy, in later life visited them with saving grace.
After moving house several times, which for me also meant changing schools, we eventually found our spiritual home in the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel in Bolton, which was part of the Welsh Presbytery of Manchester. Although there were many other Welsh denominations in the area, which offered love and friendship generally, we remained in our own, and the chapel in Bolton soon became the very centre of my life.
We had left Caernarfon in 1939 when I was 12 and before long a great war broke out that was to change our lives. Times of fear occurred during air raids, times of sorrow came with untimely deaths. We experienced times of great fellow feeling, and long dark winters when all stayed at home in the evenings.
I believe that in those days family life became particularly important. It was our custom to walk together to chapel on Sunday morning, as there was no bus service. We walked there again for Sunday School, followed by an early evening service.
There was also a weekly prayer-meeting followed by a meeting called ‘Y Seiat’  (The Fellowship Meeting) and one of my clearest memories regarding spiritual things was being asked by the Elders to write an essay on the 1859 Revival and read it to the members. I was 14 at the time!
I can recall searching through the bound copies of Welsh magazines of the nineteenth century and reading the weekly accounts of that Revival. My heart was won, and though I remember nothing of the meeting apart from the dread I felt as I sat in the front row waiting to be called to speak, from that time onwards Revival became my greatest desire.
Towards the end of the war I served in the coalmines, as most conscripts did at that late stage. Then afterwards I applied to train as a schoolteacher in the college at Carmarthen in South Wales. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I loved the place and the company of men from all parts of South Wales. I applied myself to my work and enjoyed the times in schools during teaching practice.
Following this I taught Welsh in a school in Cardiff, where I made many friends. One, in particular, was a young man like myself from North Wales. We were both faithful to our respective chapels and, whenever we met, we would talk about the things of God. The outcome of this was that we both resolved to serve God in some capacity. They were precious days for me.
I returned home to teach at a school a few miles from Bolton, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my work, especially teaching Art. I well remember standing on my own in the classroom one day and recalling to mind my promise to serve God. By that time I was the superintendent of the Sunday School in the Welsh Chapel and had even been appointed an elder in my early twenties!
Nevertheless, as I stood alone in that room I asked myself if I would be satisfied still to be in that position in 40 years time. In my heart I knew there was only one answer. The next step was to break the news to my parents. They were so happy that we were together again at home and they advised me to wait for three years in order to test the call. This I agreed to do.
Then began the process of appearing before Presbytery, and later the Candidates’ Board; but in the meantime a kind friend who was a Greek scholar gave me free lessons in classical Greek for two years.
Eventually I was faced with the entrance examination in Biblical knowledge and in Greek and when I appeared before the Board, I believe they had a sense of apprehension as my description of the call fell short of that which was expected. However, I came from a solid Welsh Calvinistic Methodist background and I was accepted. My home church was saddened rather than glad, possibly because of my increasing zeal.
The theological college was situated in a beautiful seaside town in West Wales. The buildings were imposing and the discipline required was acceptable to me. I wonder how many young men on entering theological college go through a kind of culture shock?
The first revelations of higher criticism almost drove me to despair. Was there no more to the Christian faith than all these unreliable facts and uncertain truths? Amongst the students there was a group of fine men, about four in all, who stood out as different. They would meet frequently for prayer, and whenever I found myself in the company of one of them, although I felt a kind of kinship with them, there was a barrier between us. I had no idea what that barrier was until one of them challenged me about my faith. In my reply I listed all the good and commendable activities I was involved in, and when I had finished he very gently pointed out to me that I was not a Christian and it came as a terrible shock to me.
The first term came to an end and I talked to my parents about not returning to college. They responded by saying that the honourable thing to do was to return and complete the course, quoting the Biblical principle of perseverance. I loved my parents and felt greatly indebted to them. I would never consider going against their will, and so I returned. It is difficult to describe the deep chasm of conviction, a yearning for something that you could not explain.  I felt as if there was a lost chord in my life that ruined every melody.
Then, one Saturday in January 1953, I experienced an upsetting incident. I had to leave for a village on the last bus to preach there the next day. When I alighted from the bus I met an elderly lady who kept what was called the chapel-house where I was to stay overnight. In conversation we began to talk about the Revival of 1904, which she remembered well and, to my astonishment, she informed me that it had meant nothing to her!
I was deeply shocked that a person could be so near God’s work and yet be untouched by it. As I spent the rest of that long evening alone, I knelt to pray and I was aware of a Presence that I had not known before. In this glorious approach of God, I knew that I had become the Lord’s and I praised and thanked Him for His mercy towards me. His truth became alive, and from then on there was no turning back.
The news that the Saviour was real had to be made known, and on returning to college I immediately and constantly challenged both staff and students. The good news of the Gospel was too glorious to be hidden and I honestly believed at that time that if you explained the way of salvation clearly to a person he or she would eagerly believe.
My college days came to an end and my first pastorate was in a mining town near Swansea. I had a branch church and also worked with the main church to which it was attached.
Imagine having in your congregation the sister of Evan Roberts, the young man used of God in 1904. Her name was Mary Roberts and it was an inspiration to be in her company. Her husband was Sidney Evans who had been closely associated with Evan Roberts in those early days. As well as this, a lady called Miss Rachel Rees, who helped Evan Roberts spiritually before the Revival, attended the chapel. These and others soon became known to me and they often shared the vivid recollections that they had of better days.
My second pastorate was in the beautiful green hills of West Wales, in a village called Llanddewi-brefi, where my family spent four happy years. My wife, Morwen, whom I had met during my college days, knew far more of those very special people who had also been greatly blessed in 1904. We were partners together in the quest of seeking God in Revival power.
My third church was in Cardiff and is the one of which I am presently the minister. When I first came here in 1962 I had only preached in English six times and I was more familiar with the Welsh Bible and hymns. Even so, there was no doubt in my mind that I was in God’s will, and we both worked hard as we gave our all.
After about two years I had a serious illness, which was to remain with me for fifteen years. The first onset came with alarming suddenness and it was at that time, as I began to come to myself, that these words and phrases were formed in my mind. I cannot describe how near I felt to my Lord. Eventually I ventured to write them down:
“I saw a new vision of Jesus,
A view I’d not seen here before,
Beholding in glory so wondrous
With beauty I had to adore.
I stood on the shores of my weakness,
And gazed at the brink of such fear;
‘Twas then that I saw Him in newness,
Regarding Him fair and so dear.”
As I continued I realised that the lines had become a hymn. On my return home to my wife and three children I felt so glad to be with them, yet I was reluctant to relinquish that living presence which I was then experiencing.
The hymns remained silent for seven years, and then I found a few more coming to me both in English and Welsh. Sometimes it would happen suddenly at night, and at such times I honestly felt as if I was a secretary writing them down. Not all came with such rapidity but many did, and my heart rejoiced in Him.
There is one hymn, however, that is perhaps the closest to my heart, and may be one that is more suitable for private meditation than public singing. It came at a time of great personal frailty and longing for God:
“Deep in my heart there is a sigh,
A longing, Lord, for Thee;
To know the depths that in Thee lie,
The grace of Calvary.
 
O grant that I might understand
Thy glorious mystery,
More of Thyself, and by Thy hand
Obedience stir in me.”
Many others came in times of great joy and out of love that floods the heart. There have also been periods of none, and then followed a few more.
My hope is that this testimony and these spiritual poems may in some small way help other travellers as we continue our journey home, fellow citizens of a great kingdom, the kingdom of God. We shall see the Lord Jesus Christ in all His majesty and be with God forever. For He is the end of the journey and the ultimate destination for us as Christians… “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12 Verse 2).

Leadership thoughts and perspective