Category Archives: Essays

Charley Brown’s Christmas turns 50

a-charlie-brown-christmasA “Charley Brown Christmas” the TV special that almost wasn’t. The TV executives didn’t like several things about the show. Bill Melendez the producer and director had second thoughts about the program as well.  If Charles Shultz had listened to their advice, it would have robbed the special of its impact.

  • They wanted to add a laugh track, so we knew what was funny.
  • They weren’t happy with the children’s voices. Adults could do better.
  • The background jazz music didn’t feel right for a kid’s program.
  • CBS executives thought the reading from Luke might be a turn off, using the King James Version to top it off.

Bill Melendez remembers it like this: Continue reading Charley Brown’s Christmas turns 50

What is Financial Freedom?

How do you escape from bondage? You need to be set free! I believe our culture has many of us ensnared in materialism. Most  of us are held captive in this ‘rat race‘ of life.

I’ve been trying to wedge myself free from this entanglement.  But I’ve been only modestly successful. The American world I live in doesn’t make it easy.

Honestly,  do you think our Christian holiday of Christmas shows
signs of infection? Has materialism impacted our celebration of
the birth of God’s son?

How did the Israelites get set free from Pharaoh? Did they learn
to make bricks more effectively? Did they learn to manage their
work day more efficiently so they could spend more time at homes
with their family and worshiping Jehovah?


Freedom requires more than managing your bondage. True financial
freedom doesn’t just require a budget and planning. It requires you to shift your thinking from pursuing every want with pursuing the intangibles – love and friendship. It requires you to shift from an attitude of minimal giving to joyful giving.

This isn’t easy in our culture today. We need to change our
attitudes about money. Financial Freedom doesn’t end with a healthy budget. If we were truly financially free, we would naturally
live within our means. The Lord would be our shepherd and we
would not want.

If you purchase or read Modern Parables for Financial Freedom,
don’t think it will teach you about finances, budgeting,
investing. The hope is it will help you to reconsider your
attitudes about money and break the bondage of materialism.

Food, Faith, Finances and Diets

Conceptual switchWhen speaking of diets most people think about their weight.  There is good reason we should care about our weight.  Obesity is associated with many health issues, to include cancer and heart disease. But to address weight issues we need to change our food intake and that’s not so easy.

Several years ago I lost over 40 pounds on a diet. While on this diet I could see parallels between improving my food intake and improving my spiritual intake.

How is your financial health?  Are you in debt?   It seems that the same steps that are necessary for weight loss can also be applied to faith and financial improvement as well.

Here are 7 concrete steps you can take on journey for weight loss, spiritual health or debt free living.

Continue reading Food, Faith, Finances and Diets

Seven FREE ways to Give

Hand writing Donate with marker, business conceptWould you like to bless others? Do you have a hard time paying your own bills and find it difficult? Here are a seven easy ways to be a blessing that won’t cost you!

You can actually accomplish the goals Jesus expressed in Matthew 25:36

 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

1 Give while you shop.

Do you shop at Amazon? Go to first! They give 90% of all affiliate dollars to charities. On a $100 purchase that could be a dollar or maybe as much as $9.  This month your spending at Amazon can help women and children who are being exploited.  Learn about other good causes!  They help a new charity every month.

Continue reading Seven FREE ways to Give

7 Reasons to Limit Kid’s TV

fERNSEHENIf you have kids and haven’t been regulating what goes on in your home with regards to the TV, I hope you really consider each item in the list below. If you don’t have children yet or if they’re still very young, I hope you soak up this information so you can stand firm and make informed decisions regarding your family’s TV watching.

1 Too much is Too much!

Most kids watch way too much television. Children 2-5 watch 32 hours a week. That’s a 4 day work week! 71% of 8-18 year olds have a TV in their bedrooms. It is doubtful if any real parental control is occurring in these situations. Over 66% have the television on during family meal time. So much for good family discussions around the table.

Continue reading 7 Reasons to Limit Kid’s TV

7 Steps to Create Margin

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Margin is the gap between what we’re fully capable of doing and what we are doing.  When we’re overloaded we’re operating without any margin, which will leave you depleted.  We need this open space in our lives. It is where we go to recharge our batteries, put up our feet and re-energize.

Most of us have very little margin. This produces stress, which leaves us haggard.  Make it a priority to reclaim some free space or margin in your life.

Here are 7 ideas on how to do it.

Continue reading 7 Steps to Create Margin

Is a Business Servant-like?


Maybe I’m simple minded but I value businesses and the economic system, I live in. It’s not perfect, but seems better than most alternatives.

Let me explain. On a day to day basis, I’m free to buy any number of products and services. In almost all cases there is lots of competition and products that provide real choice. I’m employed by a business that pays me an agreed upon salary.  When I chose to enter the line of work that I’m in, there was information available letting me know my potential income and demand for my skills in the workplace. Continue reading Is a Business Servant-like?

Stop and Smell the Roses

smell-roses-freedigitalphotos-stuart-miles Stuart Miles

When I was a young adult my mom would tell me, “Stop and smell the roses.” A cute saying but for a young man with goals, I didn’t stop to truly listen – to smell that rose of wisdom she had just shared… foolish me.

Today, ( I do literally mean today – in 90 minutes I’ll be there ) our pastor has organized a solitude retreat. Why?  Because, he is an awesome pastor and knows that we don’t stop and smell the roses. Jesus is a rose. I need to slow down and walk with Him and chat with Him, if I really hope to follow Him. My nature is to be running off on some side trail into the woods looking for the next big elusive thing. Jesus is waiting patiently on the path, for me to come to my senses and rejoin Him on the way.

Continue reading Stop and Smell the Roses

Is Greed Good?

Greed-is-GoodSome conservatives who believe in unrestrained capitalism might have difficulty with this question.

In the 1980 movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko gave a speech – a very interesting speech where he said,

I am not a destroyer of companies, I am a liberator of them! … The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed in all
of its forms. Greed for life, money, love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind, and greed mark my words (will save
this company).Continue reading Is Greed Good?