Saturday, March 24, 2012

Need vs Want


I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength - Philippians 4:11-13

Once an American company built a plant in Central America because of the plentiful and inexpensive labor. Everything went well. They built the plant and hired excellent employees at a cheap rate. Then, they had their first payday and everyone was very happy.

A strange thing happened the rest of that week - nobody showed up for work! Management was bewildered and went to the village leader for an explanation. The leader explained, "Well, now we've got all we need. Why should we come back to work?"

So, management devised a powerful game plan. They sent each employee a four-color mail order catalog, and all the workers immediately showed back up for work.

We can certainly understand this mindset in American culture. According to statistics, "Banks and retailers know that putting a credit card in a potential user's hand will lead that person to spend 34 per cent more than if they paid cash."

It certainly says a lot about learning to live within our means. The key to learning this is to be happy with what we have and not purchasing what you can't afford! America has been learning this the hard way and looking at countries like India where we never knew about credit cards.

Let's reach out to Jesus to enlighten us about our needs versus wants. He certainly knows what we need and what we want.

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Countdown: 15 days till Easter
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Coining buzz words

While consulting for various companies, I have to be in numerous meetings with scores of people and as a lead consultant, I get pulled into certain meetings I don't even have a clue about.  They will explain their problems and look at me for solutions. Most of the time, it's a common sense issue and the solution pretty straight forward. All I have to do is present the solution to the team in a complex fashion, during the meeting.

Meetings are fun, and any given meeting will have people who love to hear their own voice. The decision makers chant industry buzzword and I've noticed these poor workers having no clue of what their boss is saying.  Now, as a consultant, I always observe the poor worker who's supposed to be doing the actual work  in total disagreement with his/her senior management simply because he/she knows the reality. The chances are, this poor worker has tried numerous times to convince his/her boss about the situation and the management is not impressed.  That's when they bring in the consultants in the first place.

Now, here's how I go about taking care of the situation. At first I try to get the true picture (we call it problem assessment) from those 'worker bees' and assess the situation.  Then, while in the meeting room - usually hour long meetings, I keep quiet for the first 40 minutes giving chance to the senior management folks to narrate their version (who in most cases are nowhere near the reality) using their vocabulary and buzz words. I prolong it by asking simple questions and it's fun to see how these managers explain it without giving a chance to the person who's doing the actual work. By the 30th minute, I'll start preparing what I am supposed to say and check my notes for the next 10 minutes. By the 40th minute, everyone who has authority would have made their voice heard, and I would get a chance (finally).

From the 40th till the 45th minute, I'll say, "this is my understanding of the situation" - basically echoing back what I heard.  No disagreement there, since it's the same thing what they just told me.

From the 46th till 50th minute, is the interesting part. I have this matrix below and I pick appropriate buzz words from the table and use it at least 3 times. For instance, if the meeting is about hardware, I start with the last column and pick 'hardware' as the last word. Based on the situation, I also pick a suitable word from column 2. In this case, if they are using old hardware, 'third generation.' And finally assessing the situation, either 'integrated', 'synchronized' or 'compatible'. Using these, I'll coin a new buzz word - 'Integrated third generation hardware' and say that it'll solve the problem. When it's presented with a knowledgeable authority, they'll listen to it.   

123
integratedmanagementoptions
heuristicorganisationalflexibility
systematizedmonitoredcapability
parallelreciprocalmobility
functionaldigitalprogramming
responsivelogisticalscenarios
optionaltransitionaltime-phase
synchronizedincrementalprojection
compatiblethird-generationhardware
futuristicpolicycontingency

The management folks sitting in the room will have no clue about this new buzzword and never will admit that they don't know about it. The poor 'worker bee' will be happy that the management is not talking much (for now). 

After the 50th minute, I'll open the floor for questions and that's when the management folks are getting ready to rush for their next meeting. So, during the Q&A session, it's the workers asking most of the questions with a true intention of solving the problem. The management folks after noticing that the workers are interested in solving the problem will usually say, "Ok, now that you know our problems, work closely with the 'worker bee' and make it happen. Let us know if we can be of help."

Dealing with the worker bees - that's lot easier.  They themselves will suggest the solution. 
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Friday, March 23, 2012

On confession


  OR 
I received a query about my opinion on confession, why I am not *for* confession and here's a mini write-up. You readers are welcome to criticize me, and I'll be more than happy to clarify my views - I encourage an open and healthy criticism. This write up could get me in trouble with church leaders - but again, this is my opinion & thought, based on my very experience.

Confession is a Holy sacrament practiced by our church. A sinner like me goes to a priest to confess my sins. In turn, the priest acting on behalf of Christ, will declare my sins are forgiven. I go home with the assurance my sins are forgiven and everything is alright.

I don't know about you - but again it could be just me and my evil, sinful thought. The first and foremost thought that came to my mind ever since I learned about confession was, "Hey - I could commit any sin I want and all I have to do is go confess it to any priest (prefereably a priest from another church who does not know me or in another city) and am all good." This is too easy.

Secondly, I am supposed to be praying to God, who knows my every our inner thoughts as opposed to praying to a priest/bishop. When I commit a sin, I can reach out to my very own God who knows all my intentions and the scale of repentance for a particular sin. If I have to admit my sins to a priest, why am I not praying to this very priest for all my daily needs? Why am I obliged to go to a priest only to get rid of my sins? Am I not supposed to have the trust that my repentance will reach God (if I try) and do I certainly need a mediator for this cause? While confessing to God, I am comfortable 'discussing' everything with my creator - even about the thoughts I have; versus in the past whenever I've gone for confession near a priest, I admit (now) that I've never confessed 100% openly - there were always few things I held back in my mind due to various reasons. To me, this is very hard.  

Another aspect of confession is reconciliation. If I have something against somebody, I go directly to that person and talk it out and get it off my chest. I found it to be lot soothing rather than admit it to a priest and hide it from that person.

In the past I used to believe in this sacrament, have treated it with reverence, and even encouraged my son to part-take in it once. Later, I had a sour experience the way this Holy sacrament was viewed, administered and communicated to parishioners. This could very well be an isolated incident (giving benefit of doubt), but certainly has shattered my very own faith the way church leaders treat and 'use' this sacrament.

Ultimately, it's upto you.  May your own faith guide you. If you think and believe confessing to a priest is a comforting and pleasant experience for you - good for you.  Please go right ahead and do it with a priest/bishop who values "the seal of confession."



The fear of the Lord


 


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding - Proverbs 9:10


The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise - Psalm 111:10

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom - James 3:13

Let's look at these biblical verses related to wisdom appearing in multiple places. “Fear of the Lord” is reverence for God. It is a willingness and acceptance to realize, “I don’t have all the answers. I need God’s help in making this journey of life.” Many of our friends around us do not agree to this - they simply trust in their own skills. By trusting God enough to obey, we begin to learn Godly wisdom.

The first character trait of Godly wisdom is good behavior. In other words, it is someone who is willing to obey the commands of God.

The second character trait mentioned in James 3:13 is gentleness of wisdom. Now, I know the world’s view of a person who is gentle is someone with no backbone. They just go wherever the flow is. They just agree to everything others say and seldom act/say anything in return that will offend others. Gentleness means strength under control. It’s more like describing a wild horse that is brought into submission so that horse can be useful and strong in its purposes. That’s very different from being spineless. Gentleness describes a person with a lot of strength and passion, but who is willing to submit to the way God wants them to live their life.

Here is the interesting part - the way God gives us wisdom may not be the way we want it to happen - similar to consuming a sour medication.. We may have to go through a lot of brokenness, a lot of difficulty, a lot of opposition, a lot of abuse, the loss of confidence, the depression, the fears of an unknown future, important people moving away from our lives, etc.. But sometimes, that’s the only way God can begin to shape us and begin to work in our lives to where we have Godly wisdom.

We all know that the perfect example of wisdom is Jesus Christ. If we choose to trust Jesus and follow Jesus and imitate Jesus in spirit and in character, then especially during trials, we will begin to experience wisdom. So, let's look to Jesus, the perfect embodiment of wisdom. It may not be easy, but Godly wisdom is worth it!

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Countdown: 16 days till Easter
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thank you - Charlotte

 
I am at the airport returning to Atlanta after wrapping up my project here in Charlotte, NC. It was a bumpy ride and at times pretty stressful. Many people prayed for me and wished me well - Thank You!

Next week I do not have any plans of travelling anywhere, but some paperwork to complete.  The following week is Holy Week and I plan to go to church everyday. Started planning those activities and already ordered palm leaves for our church and few other neighborhood churches in Atlanta. From Palm Sunday onward, I'll be dedicating my time at church cleaning up the flowers, removing the chairs, arranging the hymns books, Altar arrangements etc. This year again, God willing, I plan to spend few night over there - I have no fear spending time alone with my creator. That is the only time when I get to be in solitude - no computers or cell phones and my only chance to evaluate myself where I stand in my life.

My wife is gearing up for confession and talking me into it. In the past at our church, it used to be a mere 'act' to get one's name in the register. Thankfully, our priest made it extremely clear that nobody should approach confession with that intention. I am still not decided on whether to go for confession or not. I may accompany my wife by giving her company but am still undecided - mainly because I do not believe in any mediators between God and myself, even if the church teaches so. My thinking is, "I can reach out to my God for everything and why the intervention of a priest for this purpose?"

We have prayer gatherings everyday at somebody's house these day and at church on Saturdays. We may hold it one of these days next week at our home. If time permits, I'll try and be there at every house with those trying to pray - and my prayer will be, "God, please hear the prayers of these people and answer them. Let them see results, experience your blessings and strengthen their faith and belief in You."

In any case, I am looking forward to boarding my flight and joining my family for dinner. I made it a point to talk to every human being that I met and worked with, regardless of their role or profession.  I tried to view each one of them as God's creation and playing a role in my life. Apart from all the goodbyes and good lucks, the only remark that echos in my head is a comment one of the toughest guy on the client team (an ex-military guy) made - "Jacob, usually I am very happy when these expensive consultants leave. But in your case, I really wish you stayed with us some more time."

:-)


Safe harbor statement

I am neither qualified nor ordained to lead or guide any individual/reader with spiritual matters. My knowledge/expertise in that area is extremely limited.

Having said that, any views or opinions published on this blog is solely mine and I am not acting under anyone's influence. The content posted here is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual, or anyone or thing, especially those with the ability and desire to fight back.

Please give heed to your spiritual leader(s) and follow them for proper guidance and direction.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wisdom - more info


 

Dear Readers - I simply cannot explain what and how this is happening.  While reading proverbs, I learned that wisdom is referred to as she. Wisdom was God's very first creation and she was alongside God when He created heavens and the earth.  I also came across a painting of wisdom (for the first time). Of course, I want to learn as much as I can, about wisdom.

That's when I said, 'wait a minute.' I looked at Saraswati devi from Hindu mythology. To my surprise, I found Saraswati to be the goddess of wisdom. Saraswati was alongside Brahma when Brahma was creating the universe. People pray to Saraswati for knowledge and wisdom.  There are numerous correlations between what I read about wisdom in proverbs and Saraswati in Hindu mythology.

Just in the past couple of days, there are way too many things I learned and cannot quantify and share/write everything here (wish I could). I am wondering - where all these are leading to!



10 Phobias

 


Xanthophobia: Fear of the color yellow

Phobophobia: Fear of fear.

Ostraconophobia: Fear of shellfish.

Metrophobia: Fear of poetry.

Linonophobia: Fear of string.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: Fear of long words.

Genuphobia: Fear of knees.

Geliophobia: Fear of laughter.

Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

Aulophobia: Fear of flutes.


Credits: Readers Digest

Interpretation

 
A man was sitting on the edge of the bed watching his wife, who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her birthday.

"I would like to be eight again," she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her Birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Coco Pops, and then took her to the Adventure theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Roller Coaster, everything there was at the park.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake.

Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favourite candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure!

Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted. He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, "Well Dear, what was it like being eight again?"

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed. She sat up on her bed shook her head and said, "I meant my dress size, you silly!"

Moral: Even when a man is listening very well, the chances are, he is gonna get it wrong.

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List of Banished Words - 2012

 
Lake Superior State University’s 2012 List of Banished Words came out earlier this year.

Shared Sacrifice: “Usually used by a politician who wants other people to share in the sacrifice so he or she doesn’t have to.”

Ginormous: “No need to make a gigantic [idiot] out of yourself by trying to find an enormous word for big.”

Thank You in Advance: “A condescending and challenging way to say, ‘Since I already thanked you, you have to do this.’”

Cotisuelto (Caribbean Spanish): One who wears his shirttail outside his trousers.

Bakku-shan (Japanese): The experience of seeing a woman who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit): That feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if he’s there yet.

Kummerspeck (German): Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.

Tartle (Scottish): That moment of hesitation when you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t remember.

Pesamenteiro (Portuguese): Someone who joins a funeral party just for the refreshments.

Zeg (Georgian): The day after tomorrow.

Trickeration: A made-up word used by football analysts to describe a trick play. Sounds unintelligent. Perhaps they've had a few too many concussions in the football world to notice.

The New Normal:The phrase is often used to justify bad trends in society and to convince people that they are powerless to slow or to reverse those trends.

Man Cave: Overused by television home design and home buying shows, has trickled down to sitcoms, commercials, and now has to be endured during interactions with real estate people, neighbors and co-workers.

Blowback: Blowback is used by corporate (types) to mean 'reaction,' when the word 'reaction' would have been more than sufficient. Example: 'If we send out the press release, how should we handle the blowback from the community?'

Occupy: 'Occupy Wall Street' grew to become Occupy 'insert name of your city here' all over the country. It should be banished because of the media overuse and now people use it all the time, i.e. 'I guess we will occupy your office and have the meeting there.' 'We are headed to Grandma's house – Occupy Thanksgiving is under way.'

Baby Bump: It makes pregnancy sound like some fun and in-style thing to do, not a serious choice made by (at the very least) the woman carrying the child. Why can't we just use the old tried-and-true 'pregnant?' We've never heard anyone complain about that description.


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Gift from God


 
Once upon a time, a young king of Israel asked for and received the greatest gift from God. The young king could have instead asked several other things - for his enemies to be destroyed or for a long life, or for more power, or even great wealth. Instead, he asked for wisdom. King Solomon asked for the understanding in his heart to be able to know the right decisions for the best interests of the people. He wanted the wisdom on how to rule.

My dear readers - nothing in this world is more important to great leadership than wisdom.

Know this: Wisdom is not knowledge. A lot of brilliant and educated people have no wisdom at all. Wisdom is the ability to assimilate that knowledge to make decisions that are right, wise, and best for all concerned. God gives us the key to wisdom, which is being willing to listen to the word of God and obey it. Solomon "wished" for the right thing. We should follow his example whenever we find ourselves placed in a position of trust, responsibility, and authority.

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Countdown: 19 days till Easter (we're in the second half)
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Proverbs Chapter 8

 

Few tips I learned from Proverbs 8

Wisdom speaks out what is true, and none of that is crooked or perverse.
Wisdom dwells together with prudence and possesses knowledge and discretion.
Wisdom hates pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Wisdom loves those who love her and those who seek her will find her.
She walks in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice.

Our Lord created wisdom as His first creation - His firstborn :-)
She was constantly beside our Lord when He created the heaven and the earth.
She was filled with delight and rejoiced at his creations including mankind.

Those who find wisdom find life and recieve favor from Lord.

Read along.

In 1560, Tiziano Vecellio did an oil on canvas painting of widsom - below, and this art is currently at Libreria Marciana in Venice.

 

ST


 

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17

Once upon a time, there were two teenagers who were living in a small village. They made their living either as a shepherd or in some way dealing with sheep. One day, these two boys decided to steal a few sheep and sell them. It sounded liked a good plan to get rich, but they got caught! To make an example to others, the village elders branded their foreheads with the letters "ST." This visible reminder of their shame would also forever warn others they were in the presence of a "Sheep Thief."

One of the boys was aroused with bitter feelings due to this. His life spiraled progressively downward becoming an alcoholic until one day he fell to his death during a drunken rage.

The other young man confessed his sin, got right with the Lord, devoted his life to the Lord, built a life of integrity, a life of trust, compassion and public service that brought great respect for him throughout that little village.

Time passed by and one day, the now-elderly man passed a father and his son along the road. The little boy asked his dad why the old man had the letters "ST" on his forehead. The father thought for a moment and replied, "Somebody explained that to me a long time ago, but I just can't remember what exactly it was. But, me personally knowing this elderly man that he is today, I guess it just stands for Saint!"

My dear readers, that's exactly what the power of Jesus can do to an individual life - supernaturally transforming the life of a sinner into the life of a saint. No matter how ugly our past was, Jesus Christ can cleanse us and put us on a path of great value.

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Countdown: 20 days till Easter (we're halfway there!)
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No matter what

 
Let me share with you readers, something that I have experienced in my own personal life:

No matter what kind of setback we face, no matter what kind of suffering we have in this life, no matter what kind of rejection or disapproval by friends or society, no matter what kind of disappointment and hurt we endure, no matter how prolonged the grief of a deceased loved one lasts, no matter how our friends, family, cultural groups, religious, and society looks down upon us, God can bring good out of any situation, even out of any evil of our own or that is thrust upon us.

If we choose to trust God, if we have faith in God, He can bring good out of the darkest, most dismal situation. He can, and only He.