Monday, February 28, 2011


In my ministry with youth I tried to place a priority on recognizing, attracting and developing leadership types. I was grateful for the compliant kids we had but wanted to invest in future leaders.

To find my leaders I had to study my kids. And I did.

One of my first tests in finding latent young leaders was "THE 31 FLAVORS TEST." A rather unique test. I would take my teens to the local 31 FLAVORS store and treat them to an Ice Cream ... then study each kid as they went about getting their Ice Cream. It seemed that the leaders were first to step up, quickly scan the flavors available, and select their flavor, they knew what flavor they wanted. Most of the other kids were indecisive and slow in finding their choice. Several, I noticed, asked the leaders what flavor they chose. (Being boys, I realize that there is a hunger factor here.)

How did I select leadership potential? What did I look for? Well, one who was decisive, one who tended to cut corners on a winding path ... a kid who didn't necessarily follow the trail but made his own. Often I found it was the leader who was first to do the dumb and daring. (Judgment comes later.)

I was always on the lookout for the mavericks; kids who showed the following six qualities: energized, articulate, decisive, competitive, determined and creative.

Of course there's a risk in developing leaders. A grouping of young leaders creates a rather tumultuous environment, however a necessary environment in which leaders could grow. Unfortunately, this environment seems to be a threat to many Youth Men. Also all leaders are not leaders for the good.

Leaders are leaders for whatever cause they take. May it be the cause of Christ.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Martin Luther King, the black trinity.

Of these three, in my opinion, only one stands out as an honest champion of the blacks, and that was the martyred Martin Luther King. King was one who was for the blacks lifting themselves from their accepted status, and seeing themselves as having as much potential as any other American. Head held high!

Jackson and Sharpton, quickly attached themselves to King's legacy and are proving themselves to be cheap fakes; making their fortunes off the backs of their own poor people.

When you have an agenda to keep poor people poor, so you can control, manipulate and exploit them for your own cause ... this is sick!

Two cheap political Reverends, content with their stature, and competing for power through controlling their black communities. Two self-appointed political spokesmen for the thousands of blacks under them; which they keep chained to their color, history and status.

Bullhorn message to their blacks: "Never you forget that you're black and your forefathers were slaves!" "The whites owe you!!"

These two spokesmen find it quite profitable keeping blacks segregated, discontent and enslaved to their past. You will never hear Jackson or Sharpton encourage their people to climb above their slavery and history, and become the people they could be. Enter another loud perverted Reverend; Rev. Wright ... he and his cohorts make a mockery of the gentle Savior and His call to freedom.

A loud blowhard with one microphone and one agenda ... stirring up hatred and strife against the whites. Fomenting black anger!

Quite a successful strategy!

Quite lucrative too.

Keeping blacks diverted from a successful track upward is the goal of these pundits; their blacks are only to hear what they can't be and will never be. At all cost, keep them down and controllable.

Become their savior! (It pays big bucks! Look how these three live!)

Isn't it interesting to put this in a true perspective. Look throughout our history, follow different ethnic groups like The Polish, Italians, and Irish that came to America to make a new life and how they made it. They were treated bad, It was tough, each group took a lot of heat. Were they persecuted? Of course! Oh, and what about the Chinese? The Chinese were humbled, humiliated and persecuted ... even tortured, yet they didn't bitch, grumble and complain; they quietly climbed above their cultural handicap and made it to the top. Ethnic group after group came here, went to school, and climbed above their perceived handicap.

None of them with the "help" of a Jackson or Sharpton

However ... the blacks and Hispanics continue to bitch about their persecution and treatment.

I, along with millions of others, am tired of the constant complaining of blacks and browns ... It's getting old!! ... and I'm tired of being blamed for being born white! I'm tired of being blamed for persecuting blacks when my father and great grandfather were in Germany and never involved in the slavery that existed in early America. He, nor I were even here. Yet, I'm somehow at fault.

Surprise! Have you ever heard anything about the Blacks in Africa that betrayed their own people for money? Blacks in Africa that rounded up and sold their own brothers by the thousands into slavery. For some reason blacks never speak about that. Black's selling their own, to other blacks seems perfectly OK ... what's wrong with blacks selling blacks? Apparently nothing.

It's the big bad whites that bought them from the innocent blacks and brought them here to work as slaves, they were the problem! Never, never the blacks that sold them to us! (Are history books allowed to carry this part of he history?)

Ah, I smell the stench of good old hypocrisy!

Will the moaning and groaning ever cease?

Solution? A black I was working with, and he was a good worker and friend, summed it up rather simply. "If the blacks would get off their fat asses and get to work, they'd make it too."

Carlton made it despite Sharpten, Wright and Jackson!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Consciously or unconsciously we all read people and it's true, one can't make a second first impression!

That makes the first impression very important!

My take on reading people at an initial meeting is not so much by their physical appearance but rather by their handshake and their eye-to-eye contact.

Even which one of the two initiates the handshake is telling, indicating the initial positioning of the two.

We might say ... briefly 'sizing a person up.'

Even though the handshake isn't used in every culture, it's a hidden indicator of many things. Simple, yet complex.

The handshake is a quick first read on a person's strength and self-esteem; the 'who' you are meeting. An equal or inferior? Leader or follower? A person of strength or a person that's weak? Someone with high self-esteem or a person who has little self-esteem? All told in a quick handshake.

A petite lady was brought into a rather large male dominated institution in which I was ministering. She was there temporarily to do a hatchet job; she was sent there to find and cut problem men. (Which she did!)

Indeed they had the right person.

I remember being called in to meet her ... it was her handshake that impressed me! This petite little woman had a remarkable handshake, a strong handshake ... as we shook hands she looked up at me, her eyes penetrating mine. In less than a minute we both knew who we were and the basic relationship we were to have. Fortunately we were both on the same side.

I've found the eyes to be, perhaps the most telling part of the body. Indeed windows to the very soul. (When I'm around police, security or guards, I take my dark glasses off!)

Eye to eye contact while shaking hands says a lot too. Eye to eye seems to indicate "direct and honest" and one who is also sizing you up ... while the person who switches his eyes from yours or who avoids eye to eye contact, looking at your face but not into your eyes ... something just isn't right in the relationship between you.

Something says caution.

As most tribal people, Yanamamo Indians of Venezuela don't have the custom of shaking hands but in the case of man to man they may test you in several other ways ... always while watching your eyes.

Eye to eye is very important in Indian culture; it's important in any culture.

The Yanamamo may draw their six-foot arrow, aiming it straight at your heart, while watching your eyes; they may even let it go while catching it at the last second ... watching your eyes to see if you show fear.

The handshake and the eyes combine for a quick read of the person on the other side.

Evaluate your handshake ... how have people been reading you?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


A few month's back, I was to preach at a local Church and my niece was to drive me. My shoulder had been injured in a fall and was giving me some pain, so my niece gave me some pain pills in case I needed them, but I was taking my pain like a man; that was until Sunday morning when I took another spill and my shoulder was really hurting. When I was about to leave the house I quickly grabbed a couple of my niece's pain pills and slowly and carefully walked down my stairs to get into her car so she could drive me to the Church. As we drove I got to feeling better. No pain. In fact the longer we drove the better I felt. When we arrived at church I was feeling better than I had ever felt.

Yep! I was pleasantly stoned. Legally stoned.

Pumped on two white pills!

Now I am dependable and was ready to go; I'm also an honest sort, so when I got behind the pulpit I smiled and told the people I was stoned and mentioned that if no one liked my message I really didn't care.

I felt good about it!

Let's say I had real liberty.

Probably one of my better messages!

Yep! I was invited back ... at that point I was tempted to give them a three pill message they would never forget.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Years ago Pastor Juan and I were working in the Tijuana Children's jail. This was an institution holding over 160 teens and some preteens; kids as young as eleven. They were in there for anything from graffiti to rape and murder, their sentences ranging from one year to three years. (At that time a kid killing someone got three years.)

We noticed the smell from the kids feet; these young inmates wouldn't take off their shoes, they would sleep with them on or someone would steal them. 24/7 what a smell! A lot of the kids had bad cases of athletes feet or foot fungus.

We decided to cut down the athletes feet fungus by washing their feet with Hydrogen Peroxide and massage anti-fungal cream in their feet. We sprayed their shoes with anti-fungal powder.

The two of us would walk into the large smelly toilet area with a line of boys following us for medical attention ... sometimes just attention.

Boy, I've seen my share of dirty smelly feet, and filthy bathrooms!

I remember, as we were working on feet one day, an older teen asking me "Why are you guys doing this? Why do you care about us?

I replied "We're Christians and this is what Christians do..."

How would you answer this one?

These occasions, following our teaching time, were opportunities to make an impact through example.

Others were asking the same question. "What's your motive?" "Why?"

Indeed we were teaching, but what was more important is that our "foot washing ministry" gave credibility to our messages.

Biblical? I remember Jesus starting at Peter's feet to reach his heart.

It worked for him, it worked for us!

... and we're still washing dirty feet.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Almost every morning I eat my hot oatmeal, I toss a few raisons in for fruit. I wonder why I eat oatmeal. I don't particularly like it yet I know it's healthy.

Maybe it's because we always ate it for breakfast as kids. Mother said it stuck to our ribs. Oatmeal.

Or earlier still, I'm sure she ate oatmeal while I was in her womb, I could have acquired the taste there?

Or possibly ...

in kindergarten; I remember us having a band, a sort of percussion band. Now, kids like to bang on things and our teacher caught the vision we could learn the art of banging in unison.

So our teacher got us kids together and told us of her plans. We were to become her little percussion band.

Some of us were, shall we say, musically challenged; the Johnnie-one-notes got to bang the nail; a big nail you couldn't miss.

I remember we had quality kids, mostly girls who hit the triangle, and the less talented that simply swished the sand-paper blocks.

Apparently I was musically gifted, so I was allowed to play the oatmeal-box drum.

Maybe that's where my thing for oatmeal comes from.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


On the radio today I was listening to an old hymn. "Make me a Blessing" I knew that one by heart, just a musical reminder of my calling today. I started humming along thinking of the many old songs I've been missing these many "contemporary" years of music.

I well remember the hymns of faith from our Baptist "Broadman Hymnal"

I remember Trust and obey, and it's lesson; there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!

Then there are other impacting hymns: "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty!," "Praise God from whom all blessings flow".

And "How Great Thou Art!"

Somehow today's contemporary effort toward majesty and power in musical worship just doesn't seem to match up.

As I observe it, contemporary music has energy ... but lacks meaningful power!

These old hymns don't need a pipe organ, guitar or drums ... just a bunch of excited Believers!

I remember way back in my early childhood; every Sunday we closed our morning service, by standing, holding hands and singing an old hymn ... "God be with us 'Till we meet again!"

That seemed to make sense, as well as a great send off.

One college chapel I was attending, waiting to speak; I was surprised when everyone started to sing hymns ... it seemed as if I were in a huge choir. The church congregation was one gigantic choir. Everyone sang in parts, complete with the contralto high soprano who was there doing her thing. I said to myself," this has got to impress any visitor".

Somehow, yesteryears stuff leaves a good taste in my mouth ... and I'm hungry for more.