As all of us were growing up, volunteering has always been a very altruistic thing. The feeling of giving back out of your blessed fortune to others who may not have as much, or have not been given the same hand in life is a very cool thing.
That can mean something as simple as doing down to your local soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and helping serve people, to actually going all-in and working for a non-profit, trying to help them make ends meet.
Today I’d like to go into more of an opinion piece that will possibly stir up some controversy within the Lutheran community. I’d like to talk about the idea of church-associated and run businesses, and why I believe they are where churches should be headed towards in the future.
Obviously there are many opinions out there regarding the ethics of this, and whether the church should be ‘in business’. I would like to address some of those, as well as some of the advantages of the church sponsoring and helping more of these types of organizations.
As a Christian, we are given the very unique circumstance of being on this world, but not of it. What that means is we are called to live Godly lives, and serve the one who saved us from our own depravity, all in a very un-Godly, and broken world. We were born of this world, and of sin, but won’t need to be here for long.
But before we go to heaven to be with Jesus, how are we supposed to act and live our day-to-day lives here? How are we supposed to teach our kids that? The earth is just a small proving grounds for the eternal, so how do we show the same love that Jesus showed us to the world around who haven’t discovered Him yet?
We’ll try to cover a few helpful areas and things to consider when looking at the idea of living a Godly life in a very un-Godly place. It is a difficult thing to do, but in the long run, it will be completely worth it. We will have our rewards waiting in heaven, and not on this earth.
Don’t Compromise Character
The first main point to consider when trying to live in this world, and not of it is to never compromise your character. You have strong moral beliefs, and it is very easy to be swayed by the ways of this world to be a certain way. Satan is very good at deceiving us to give in on those little slips of character, that really don’t seem to be much in the moment, but add up huge over time.
The easiest way to get someone to do what you want isn’t to try and impose a belief that is completely opposite of what they think, and attack them with it. That is an easy enemy to know and to fight against. The easiest way to do it is to continually make little tiny offshoots of the beliefs they already have, and just gradually work that needle farther and farther away from where it should be. “This way is really bad, but what about this? It’s pretty much the same as what you are already doing! Why not?”. As Christians, we need to resist this gradual moral degradation, and stay strong to the morals we were taught as kids, and should be living with today. The world needs more backbones.
Know What is Most Important
In a world where many things are throw in front of us, and viewed as ‘important’, we really need to keep our true north and realize what is truly important in life. It’s not what everyone else is doing, or what is popular at the time. Television is great at showing us what we should be paying attention to, and what we should be doing. This is just wrong, and we are acting on and building our lives around the whims of the corporate powers that be.
Why would we want to get so wrapped up in aesthetic fame and celebrity status? Is there any actual worth in that? Absolutely not.
We need to know that as Christians, we live for something much more important.
The Things of This World are Fleeting
In the fame and glitzy culture that we live in, things like wealth, bling and status are prized. But how many of those people have turned around and found themselves bankrupt after living that life of luxury? Wealth and glamour are things that are given by the Lord, but really aren’t worth anything. He may bless you in your life with great wealth, or great poverty. But in the end, neither of those matter. They are both gifts from Him, and He can take them away at any moment.
We all need to continually realize what things are going to last, and disregard the things that are fleeting.
In the past few decades, church membership has been gradually shrinking, and has been going on all over the Western world. Some say that young people today just don’t relate to the old and antiquated church, while others just say the world has changed. Whatever the reason, it’s starting to change.
If you are like me, then the long, cold and dark winters up here in Canada will really start dragging on you about January, and you still have at least half of them left!
The perfect cure for the winter blues is a tropical getaway to a new location. Just imagine the sound of the waves lapping against the shore, with a nice warm sea breeze coming in and rustling your hair. Add a nice cold drink in the sand and it seems like nothing more could go wrong in the world.
So if you are looking for that next tropical getaway, it’s time to start booking! But where should you decide to go? There are many beaches around the world, but which ones are the absolute best for a vacation? We’ll go over our top 4 picks for a tropical beach getaway:
The number one destination on our list is the just a little while south of us, down in Mexico. This country that borders the United States to the South can be the perfect place to vacation and get away from winter.
It offers a very diverse variety of landscapes, including jungles, rainforests, beaches, and deserts. But the one you want to go for is definitely the beaches! Often times, you’ll find perfect white sand beaches just a little ways out of the main cities, just waiting to be explored. The Mexican culture will also add a very nice twist on your vacation. I highly recommend trying out the street tacos – they’re delicious! That is if you are not trying to eat healthy.
The next getaway on our list is all the way ‘down under’ on the other side of the world. From North America all the way to the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is truly a place of wonder. With great friendly people, white sand beaches, and a huge country to explore, it’s no wonder that Australia has one of the most popular beach cities in Sydney in the world. Just don’t eat too much Vegemite when you are down there!
The next spot on our list is the beautiful nation of Greece, and the only one on the list in Europe. A quick jump over the Atlantic will leave you in this incredibly beautiful and historic country. In recent years, the economy has been in turmoil and ruin, but this means that your money will go even further in an economy that desperately needs your tourism dollars.
Old world beauty and pristine beaches are the names of the game in this southern European country.
The last place on our list is a beautiful little island nation in the Caribbean. The Caymans are a very quirky and unique place, with their own share of tourist areas as well as native island culture. Life just seems to move a little slower down there, and for good reason. Some islands in the Caymans are only a few square miles, so there isn’t really too many places to go and rush off to. So sit back, grab a coconut, and relax! You are in a beautiful tropical paradise!
I think just about everyone has a few pounds to lose somewhere on their body. With the holiday season coming up, we could all use a little help preparing for those trays of christmas cookies and roast hams. Or you may want to get into shape for a beach vacation.
Here are the 5 tips that we received from fitness expert Tony Calhoun, who is a personal trainer in downtown Toronto. Without taking any exercise into account, Tony has compiled a list of simple eating changes you can make to your diet that can dramatically affect weight loss for you.
So let’s just straight into it! Take it away Tony:
1. Use small plates
The first rule of weight loss eating is to control portion size using small plates. I’m talking about plates that are no larger than your hand. Feel free to pile them with as much food as you would like, but just know that that plate size is your meal portion, and all your body really needs to sustain itself.
Too often we tend to just finish whatever is put in front of us, just out of physiological habit, and not even hunger. By using smaller plates, we’re tricking our brains into saying that we are full, and that it just finished one helping.
2. No white carbs
The next easy eating habit that you can change today is to stay away from all “white” carbs. Generally this will mean breads, rice, pastas, starches, and anything else that can be deemed a starch or grain. These just convert into sugar so fast that our bodies really don’t have a good way of processing them, so we store them as fat around our bodies.
3. Don’t drink your calories
Along side simple eating habits, an important area to look out for is the calories that you drink, and not just eat. Beverages such as soda, sweetened tea, beer, wine and many more things have a significant caloric load that can really add up quickly on you. These beverages are usually of very low nutritional value as well, so the calories really are ‘empty’. Use simple alternatives such as unsweetened tea or water to quench that thirst, but not consume nearly the amount of calories.
4. Eat within 30 mins of Awakening, and Not After 7pm
Another simple rule of thumb to go with throughout your day is make sure and eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, and not anymore after 7pm at night.
By eating an early breakfast, especially with tons of good protein, we make sure that our metabolism gets a big jump start in the morning, and will be at a higher level for the rest of the day. We also say not to eat after 7pm because that is when most of the binging in our day really happens. We often eat out of habit and not hunger, so can pack in quite a few calories without even realizing it.
5. Cook for Yourself and Eat Slowly
The last weight loss and eating tip is to take more time to enjoy cooking and eating! When you take more time with your food, not only are you putting more care into the things you put into your body, but you are also able to really make things that you like to eat, but are still healthy for you.
Eating slowly will serve two purposes – feeling full faster, and enjoying the food more. They say our stomachs take 20 minutes to tell our brains that they are full, and we can keep eating and keep eating without feeling it, then suddenly feel over full. Eating slowly also helps us enjoy our food more, and get more pleasure from eating.