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2012

Is Your Church a Crowd Pleaser?


Does God Care if I Drink Pepsi? Savvy Tipping Morality Ratings for Movies

A publication of On My Own Now Ministries, Inc.

GENUINE MOTIVATION Young Christian Man May 2012, Vol. 3 On My Own Now Ministries, Inc., Publisher Rob Beames, Editor Donna Lee Schillinger with Daniela Bermudez, Page Design Kimberly M. Schluterman Editorial Support Contributors Julie Ann, Jeffrey Bridgman, Will Dole, Thomas Mollohan, Donna Lee Schillinger Except where noted, content is copyright 2012 On My Own Now Ministries. Articles may be reprinted with credit to author, Genuine Motivation and www.OnMyOwnNow.com. On My Own Now Ministries, Inc. is a nonprofit organization with a 501 (c) (3) determination. Your donations aid in our mission to encourage faith, wise life choices and Christ-likeness in young adults during their transition to living on their own. We welcome submissions of original or repurposed articles that are contributed without expectation of compensation. May God repay you. Visit us at www.OnMyOwnNow.com.

in this issue...
Foremost
by

Does God Care if I Drink Pepsi?


Donna Lee SchiLLinger

z
.3 .6 .8 .10 .12 .14 .16

Press on

Is Church Losing Focus?

(Cover: Is Your Church a Crowd Pleaser?) by WiLL DoLe

Can you relate


Not Yet Taken Hold
by

ThomaS moLLohan

Separation of Church and State (The Delusion) Part I


by

an eleCtion year
Donna Lee SchiLLinger
and

Tipping Savvy
by

Faith

FinanCe

JuLie ann

Right Where we Need to Be


by

Cornered
rob beameS

by

GraCe

tool box

Morality Ratings for Movies

Foremost
by

Foremost
Donna Lee SchiLLinger

Does God Really Care if I Drink Pepsi?

hat could be wrong with Pepsi? Sugar, caffeine, caramel coloring? In case you havent come across it yet on Facebook or email, the conservative Christian community is intermittently flaming about the fact that Pepsi develops products with the aid of a company called Senomyx (thats pronounced, ironically, sin-o-mix), which is using a controversial human-derived cell in developing food flavorings and additives. It seems, though Snopes. com has only gone so far as to call it undetermined, that Senomyx uses human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cultured cells (meaning they are made in a lab) that came originally from the kidneys of an aborted fetus. If youre reading about this for the first time, youre probably thinking this is so absurd that it cant be true; at least, thats what I thought. After some digging, I have now concluded that its so absurd that it must be true. Even so, its just the next slip down on the slope of using embryonic stem cells for research of any kind. Last June, CBS News reported that HEK 293 cells are widely used in pharmaceutical research, and confirmed that the cells trace their origins to a single fetal kidney. However, these cells are not being used in food and beverage products if you drink Pepsi, youre not going to be ingesting aborted fetal kidney, like some of these inflammatory e-mails would have us believe. Instead, Senomyx uses the cells to mimic taste receptors, in a way understood only by lab geeks, to predict whether or not a given flavor will satisfy our human craving for sweet and salty. An upcoming Pepsi product may be the first to benefit from HEK 293 cell-based taste research results, and in turn, Senomyx will likely reap product royalties. Curious to try that new Pepsi product? Personally, knowing this much, Id order water over Pepsi anytime. Its the ewww factor, says Debi Vinnedge , executive director of Children of God for Life, self-proclaimed world leaders for ethical vaccines, medicines GM

Photo by Xurble

Foremost
and consumer products. here is to say Ewww, and in the next unconscioEwww. Yeah, Im feelin it, but I didnt need nable breath, order a Pepsi. I dont mean to say that slanderously hyped up headlines to make me feel the correct response is to give up Pepsi, but I do it the truth is enough. However much I appreciate mean to clearly say that this information should give the work of these prolife watchdogs, it aggravates us pause and cause to reflect and it is precisely this me to no end when conservative Christians (lets be reflection and discussion that seems distressingly real, they seem to be the only Christians doing this) missing from Facebook and the blogosphere. Stop to hype the truth (which, hmm, last time I checked consider that Pepsi, as well as Kraft, Coca-Cola and made it into a lie) in efforts to rally Christians to Nestle (also associated with Senomyx), may profit action. The press release Children of God for Life from research that would not be possible without issued on March 5, 2012, for a fine example, anthe remains of an aborted child. If you call yourself nounced, Obama agency rules PepsiCo cannibaliz- prolife, this should matter to you. If you consider ing aborted fetus is ordinary business. The Securi- yourself morally superior to a cannibal, this should ty Exchange Commission ruled that this matter was matter to you. not one in which shareholders should be involving So what reaction is Christ-like, if spreading hyperthemselves but why bole over the Internet is not take a sucker punch not? However disturbing, Clearly, using aborted fetal at Obama, after all, he all this is actually just remains to do anything is appointed the chair of more of the same conthe SEC, didnt he? tamination of body and despicable and a sign of our And cannibalizing is spirit that is part of living degenerate times, but it does simply inaccurate. in a sinful world, and Clearly, using aborted should simply strengthen not give Christians cause or fetal remains to do resolve justification to sensationalize the ourapart, asto live a life anything is despicable set the Bible and a sign of our detruth and report on par with the urges in II Cor. 7:1, Let generate times, but it us purify ourselves from National Inquirer. does not give Christians everything that concause or justification to taminates body and spirit, sensationalize the truth perfecting holiness out of and report on par with the National Inquirer. This reverence for God. rampant sensationalism in reporting and sharing If you are a follower of Christ, you should already news about politics, science and certain Christians be well on your way to coming out and being sepanot preaching the right brand of good news is hurtrate (II Cor. 6:17). This new information just ups the ing the cause of Christ as much as anything today. ante on a commitment you have already made. Are These loud and unreasonable voices garner the atyou in, or not? (If I may borrow a gambling analogy tention they are seeking, but is this the kind of atten- to talk about living holy.) tion Christ wants to bring to His bride? Where, oh There are a number of ways this purifying can Church of Christ, is your humility, meekness, mercy, live itself out, including the boycott of Pepsi prodpurity and peace-seeking? In our hunger and thirst ucts that Children of God for Life and other organifor righteousness, we are starving all of these other, zations are calling for. However, is it enough to boyequally important qualities, and even undermining cott Pepsi, when Kraft, Coca-Cola and Nestle also the righteousness we crave. do business with Senomyx? Arent we just drawing And yet the sin of overreacting is minor compared a line in the sand to single out Pepsi? Do I not bring to the sin of not reacting at all. The greater danger as much guilt on myself by eating Kraft mac and

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cheese as I do by drinking a Pepsi? Or am I misunderstanding this whole boycott strategy? Maybe its not about personal accountability and living according to our espoused principles. Maybe its just exercising market pressure to get the company to sever its ties with Senomyx. Would that make us all happy; so that then we can go back to guilt-free indulgence in a branded mixture of sugar, caffeine and caramel coloring? Regardless of the motive, I believe a boycott would be effective and that Christians should use their purchasing power to ethical ends. Campbells Soup Company was also associated with Senomyx and expediently severed ties with the company. Mmm, Mmm Good for them! Recently, as a result of consumer outrage, Starbucks announced that it will likely cease using beetle extract to give its Strawberry and Crme Frappuccino that pretty pink color. Really? Beetle extract? Who cares! Thats a gourmet meal in parts of Indonesia! May the general populations discombobulation over beetle extract in frappuccino not shame us! If they can get Starbucks to remove the beetle juice, surely Christian consumers can move Pepsi, Kraft, Coca-Cola and Nestle to adopt ethical research and development standards. So, yes, at a bare minimum, use your consumer power to make the world a better place. But dont limit yourself to this issue only! Feel free to bring your conscience to all your future purchasing decisions which, Ill just jump to the logical conclusion here may mean you never again purchase new jewelry and only shop the perimeter of the grocery store for organic, free-trade products. Uh oh, living this set apart life is starting to sound complicated, isnt it? It really isnt so much complicated as it is countercultural, and if youre not sure whether Christians have been called to a countercultural lifestyle search the scriptures for the answer. Pepsi/Senomyx is todays flashpoint, but recall, the cells in question were developed in the early 1970s, and have been in continuous, undisputed use in the development of pharmaceuticals ever since. Likely, groups like Children of God for Life were counting on a comestible product development to

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become something of a foothold on this slippery slope. However, their outrage campaign doesnt seem to be spreading past conservative Christian circles. Possibly the disdainful tactics are to blame, but 40 years of continuous HEK 293 cells supports the more likely conclusion: people just dont care enough certainly not enough to jump on a Boycott Pepsi bandwagon. Soylent Green, a 1973 sci-fi movie, depicted a time in the future when food was so scarce that everyone subsisted on Soylent Green, a high-energy plankton cracker made by Soylent Corporation. The movie ends with the protagonist Robert Thorn, a police detective, discovering that the oceans are actually barren of plankton and that Soylent Green is made from human corpses. As I reflect on how inconsequential the news of the Pepsi/Senomyx connection has been, I find myself wondering beyond the ending of that movie to what sort of a response there might have been to Thorns pronouncement that Soylent Green was made from human remains. If the month since the Pepsi/Senomyx headlines are any indication, I suspect there might have been a quite a stir at dinner that evening, but no one would have gone hungry.

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Press On
by

WiLL DoLe

is ChurCh losing FoCus?


f I were asked to succinctly describe our current American evangelical landscape, I might say something along the lines of consumer driven. Or perhaps seeker sensitive. One pastor I know describes it as the King thing. And dotting this landscape are the mega churches of the suburbs. But in all reality, even many small rural churches operate in such a way as to suggest that church is about the consumer. Of course, we dont use such worldly jargon name in board meetings and talks among leadership. Instead we refer to attendees or even members. This makes our dialogue far more impressive and Christian sounding. We talk about needing to meet peoples needs or to speak to them where theyre are. Perhaps we even try to help the believers gathered. But are these efforts the point of church? Is church where I go to get my weekly feeding from the pastor? Is it where I go to have my emotions moved by the music? Do I attend church because I like the people, or because the people make me feel comfortable? I have not even begun to touch the many reasons people attend church

or participate in a local body; neither have I hit on many of the reasons churches function in the way they do. These are just a few examples that most of can probably relate to in our church experience. We need to ask these questions again in earnest: Is church a place where I go to be entertained? Is it where I go to be built up or encouraged? Is it where I go for spiritual food? If you can answer yes to any of these, you may be a church consumer. And if so, I would like to ask you a simple question: Where does the Gospel figure into your views toward church? More specifically, how does your perception of Jesus life, work and words affect your thinking about church? Lets break this down it logically. First, for any of this to make sense you must be a believer in Jesus Christ. That is, not merely a believer that He existed and was a good guy. But rather, that He is who He said He was and is: the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Him (John 14:6). This is accomplished because Jesus, through His perfect life and divine

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being was the only sacrifice acceptable to God for the punishment of our sins. Jesus went to the cross and bore the wrath of God for us (1 Peter 2:24), and being raised to life on the third day, has given to those who believe the right to be reconciled to God and called children of God (John 1:12, Romans 5:10). So Jesus has reconciled us to God. Why has God, through Jesus, done this? According to Ephesians 1:12-14 it is, to the praise of His glory. God does this to bring Himself glory. We, who were enemies with God, have been saved by Him to bring Him glory! If were on the same page, how are we to live in light of this? We are to stop identifying with our sinful nature and instead we ought to present ourselves as slaves of Gods righteousness (Romans 6:12-13). We also are to walk in the good works that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). But perhaps our greatest callings are wrapped up in two things that we often refer to as great: the great commandment and the great commission. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind Matthew 22:37. Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5. This command, along with the command to love our neighbor as ourselves, sums up all of Gods law! How is this possible? Because if we are constantly giving our all to loving our God and treating others properly, then we will have given sin no foothold. Jesus giving of the great commission is but a few chapters later, and here Jesus says, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age Matthew 28:18b-20. So we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. Furthermore, we are to make disciples of all the nations teaching them to obey Jesus commands and baptizing them in the name of our Trinitarian God. You might call this our purpose and our mission. Our purpose is to love God, and our mission is to make disciples. Everything we do ought to be run through these filters. Does it help me love God? Does this demonstrate a love for God? Does this make disciples? Am I in a position to teach others about, or

point them to Jesus? Now lets put church through these filters. If I am to be loving God and others, and making discipleshow in the world can I follow this thought process and end up in a place where I am looking for a church to meet my needs or find a place where I am moved or uplifted? When did the focus shift to me? So God chooses to save me for His glory, gives me a mission, rooted in a love, to reach others; and somehow church is about me? How does that work? It doesnt. Why would you look for a church that makes you comfortable? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:26 that all things in relation to our dealings with the body of Christ, including its corporate meeting, are to be done for edification. Not the glory of me. Not the comfort of me. The good of others. Paul in this spot is coming off of three chapters of teaching the Corinthian church about spiritual gifts and reminding them that they are all part of one body, and that each of them has a responsibility and an obligation to use their spiritual gifts for others good and Gods glory. It is selfish robbery for me to walk into church week after week, get fed, and leave without doing anything to build up and edify the other parts of the body. If your right hand decided to call in sick to work one day it would be a very inconvenient day for you. If it quit working entirely you might be better off to have it amputated and have a prosthetic put on in its place, rather than continuing to nourish it by allowing it to still be attached. Are you a lively hand, or a dead one? Do I go to church in order to meet with others and praise God, with the intention of using my gifts to aid the body, or simply to get my weekly feeding or emotional high so that I can leave? All of this is said in realization that church is more than a weekly service. There are many places to exercise ones gifting outside the walls of the church. Not all search for comfort is evil; it might even be okay to have an espresso machine on the back wall. This article is merely meant to pose a question. Where is our focus? Do we come to church to be entertained, to feel comfortable, to be moved, to be fed? We shouldnt. We should be gathering to join with other believers in focusing on our God. To worship Him for who He is. In this our hope ought to be that He is glorified, and that others are edified. Church isnt a place where I go to get satisfied by God; being the church is something we do because we are satisfied in God!

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Can you relate?


by

Thom moLLohan

Not Yet Taken Hold


hristian believers in Jesus Christ are often referred to as pilgrims, not necessarily because we are physically embarking upon a literal journey to a distant land although we may bebut rather because we perceive the temporary qualities of this earthly life and see on the horizon a home with the Living God. We are just passing through this life. Speaking about some of the most faithful followers, the author of Hebrews says, All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better countrya heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16). In the moment that we are born again, we begin a hand-in-hand journey with God through His Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. It is a journey during which He reveals the power and sufficiency of His hand, the mercy and passion of His heart and the holiness of His divine countenance time and time again as we trust our lives to His promises. Of course, there is not a point on earth when one can ever say, Ive achieved spiritual perfection! There is no more growth for me because Ive reached the top of it all! On the contrary, we continue on as Paul advised us saying, Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and

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sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14). While still in my late teens, I frequently hiked with my two younger brothers to a crisscrossed area with trails that wound about a large hills face until they reached its zenith. On one occasion, I decided to forgo those sissy trails and press on up the steep slope. It isnt far, I reasoned. No more than a quarter of a mile. So I climbed for a while by grabbing tree limbs which would jut out from the ground. In this way, I was able to go a considerable distance, but in the end decided that it might be easierand quickerif I climbed up the track of a waterfall that had turned into little more than a trickle in the dry weather. Straining and stretching, I was able to go much more efficiently in the direction I wanted to go. I occasionally thought of abandoning my new direction, especially after disturbing a slimy orange salamander which blinked at me with as much surprise in its eyes as was in my own. When I finally neared the top, the grade dramatically leveled out and I was able to stand up straight on my feet. My brothers were waiting at the top when I turned and looked down the hill I had just climbed. Okay, maybe it wasnt easier or faster but it was more interesting, I told myself. I faced forward to take the last few steps to the top only to have a large flat stone under me shift sharply, throwing me backwards. I suddenly found myself flipping backwards out of control. I tried to yell, but I dont think it sounded very intelligible. A-i-e-e-umph!... Umph!... Umph!... Umph! I rolled steadily for a few yards, dropped five or six feet, rolled some more and then fell another couple of yards. The farther I went the more the slope decreased, but I still could not stop myself. Vaguely aware that I was quickly approaching a sheer plummet of 15 feet or so, I tried desperately to grab a tree or bush as I went spiraling by, but I wasnt able to grip anything. As it became clear to me that I was definitely going off the edge, I prayed, Lord, please dont let there be any jagged rocks or sharp sticks down there! Obviously, I didnt have time to be terribly eloquent or thorough in my prayer, but thats one of the wonderful things about prayer: it doesnt have to impress anybody because the only real audience is God. I abruptly felt myself launching out into the air and

then landing with a crunching sound in a large mound of leaves that had evidently piled up in the grotto shadowed under the lip of rock from which I had just jettisoned. I lay there for a long moment noting the sensation of not having any air in my lungs since I could not quite remember how to breathe. Finally, when the sweet air decided to return to my body, I was able to stiffly crawl out of the leaves. My brothers voices floated down to me asking me if I was all right. I still hadnt collected my senses quite enough to answer them but they were soon with me and could see that I wasnt really hurt. In hindsight, the experience taught me several things. First, we should never get too sure of ourselves until we completely reach our goal. Secondly, God can guide a trusting heart safely through a fall so that one may climb once again. Lastly, as we continue to press onward and upward in our walk with God, our circumstances could shift suddenly and our lives may seem as if they are rolling out of control. Sometimes this happens when we feel closest to God. But rather than becoming angry with God for pulling the rug out from under our feet, let us thank Him for His ongoing faithfulness, which is proven through hardship, not by the absence of it. Indeed, when our Father has opened to us His grace and mercy as well as His awesome power, we may find strange and unexpected turnings in our circumstances that will deepen the working of His grace in our lives if well allow Him to have His way with us. Its Gods path to humility we are to travel. As Paul put it, Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me. That is why, for Christs sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 16 years and is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables and Crimson Harvest. He is the pastor of Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at pastorthom@pathwaygallipolis.com.

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an eleCtion year

Separation of church and State


(The Delusion) Part I

by

Donna Lee SchiLLinger

ith Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich out of the Republican presidential primaries, Christian Republicans are in a very interesting positionone that might even be considered compromising. After the announcement that Gingrich would drop out, I exchanged emails with a politically and religiousminded friend, asking if he would now be supporting Ron Paul, since his other choice is a Mormon, a religion he considers false. His reply was predictable, and underscores a paradox that this two-man Republican primary is set to expose. My friend said he would probably support Romney because he is electable, indicating that the higher imperative here is to beat Obama. For the religious right, it may seem like the lesser of two evils to back a Mormon over a liberal, mainstream Christian (Obamas mother attended Baptist and Methodist churches and he was a member of United

Church of Christ). The continued efforts of Ron Paul, however, make this a three-choice scenario, one which conservative Christians would do well to think through carefully. Lets break down the choices: Support Obama: The greater of the two evils outcome for Christian Republicans is actually not evil at all for liberal Christians. So then, is it evil or not? Politics aside, Obama says his faith plays every role in his life, and yes, he is talking about mainstream Christian faith. Support Mitt Romney: The lesser of two evils outcome for Christian Republicans is electing an unapologetic Mormon to the highest office of our Christian nation. For liberal Christians, supporting Romney is an evil, but probably because of his politics, rather than his religion. So both right and left see this one as an evil.

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Support Ron Paul: For Christian Republicans, this choice is not particularly evil, but could result in the greater of the two evils (i.e. four more years of obamanation). For liberal Christians, electing Paul is the greater of two evils not because of his religion, but because of his politics. Liberal Christians have an easy choice at the polls this November: they agree with Barack Obamas politics and believe his profession of Christian faith. There is no perceived dissonance between his politics and his profession for liberals who generally share Obamas convictions on biblically controversial positions (pro choice, support for same-sex marriage, etc.). They have a candidate they can support in good conscience before God. Conservative Christians, however, are at a crossroads just nowespecially those in southern states that have yet to hold primaries. Both candidates have acceptable politics (didnt the debates establish that both are conservative enough for the GOP?), but only one candidate professes Christian faith as recognized by mainstream Christianity. Problematically, its not the one they believe can beat Obama. Whereas Ron Paul supporters have a candidate whose politics and religion they agree with, mainstream Christian supporters of Romney will only agree with his politics. So in order for conservative Christians to support the electable Romney, must they put their religious convictions in a box and tape them up until November 7? What becomes of all the allegations that Obama is unfit to lead the nation because of his sympathy for Islam and policy positions that seem contradictory to biblical teaching? In effect, conservative Christians would be admitting their fickleness at best; and at worst, exposing themselves as hypocrites who can dismiss Romneys false religion as immaterial, after having been critical and suspicious of Obamas Christian faith.

Despite this paradoxical treatment, there are many conservative Christians who will profess that politics and religion can be compartmentalized, apparently quite arbitrarily or when convenient, and will call this phenomenon separation of church and state. The concept that James Madison, among other founding fathers, fought so hard to include in our Bill of Rights is so different from todays application of that phrase, that conservative Christians can glibly cry separation of church and state and fool most of the people most of the time. God is not so easily convinced. First of all, it might be hard to explain to Him why He might not be our first priority in choosing which political candidate to support. Secondly, God might not understand why we think someone is not electable when He once made a shepherd boy king. But most of all, it might be near impossible to get Him voluntarily into that box which isolates His sovereignty and supremacy over matters of state. For the follower of Christ, liberal or conservative, church cannot be separated from anything. Separating church and state to keep the government out of regulating religion and keep religion from forcing itself on citizens is appropriate. But when we invoke the concept in an effort to reconcile incongruities in our politics and faith, it is dangerously misapplied. Donna Lee Schillinger is editor of the recent anthology Puritys Big Payoff/Premarital Sex is a Big Rip-off, winner of the 2012 Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year. In 2008 she founded On My Own Now Ministries to encourage faith, wise life choices and Christ-likeness in young adults. On My Own Now publishes the free, monthly online magazines, Single! Young Christian Woman and Genuine Motivation: Young Christian Man.

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Tipping Savvy
few days ago I was walking by a cookie shop in the mall and noticed a tip jar sitting by the register. These little tip jars seem to be popping up at more and more places. As I continued walking down the corridor smelling the aroma of chocolate chip cookies, I started thinking, Do I really need to tip someone just for reaching in a display case, grabbing a cookie, and ringing up my purchase? Oh tipping, its confusing, often controversial and only seems to be getting more so. How do I know who to tip? How much should I tip? Do I tip on the pre- or post-tax total? What about bad service? Ive scoured the opinions of etiquette and financial experts and have put together a few tipping scenarios and guidelines on how you should handle these situations. Cookie Counter Tip Jar Lets say, that cookie smell wafting through the mall had driven me bonkers and I had satisfied my craving with a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Am I obligated to tip the cookie lady? Typically workers at these cookie shops, coffee shops, do-ityourself-yogurt shops and the like are not working for tips so you shouldnt feel like you are under any obligation. However, if the circumstances warrant (the employee is particularly friendly or helpful, or is working quickly and efficiently to deal with a long line) then it may be polite to throw in your spare change or a buck into the tip jar. Gift Certificates, Coupons and Vouchers Now what if you are using a gift certificate, coupon or voucher for a service or meal? If you are using some sort of discount you should still tip on the amount before any deductions, discounts or taxes are applied. After all, just because you get half-off your services doesnt mean the worker put in half the work.

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Know Before You Go My editor recently used a gift certificate for a massage and was wondering about tipping the masseur and how much. The experts agree that a 10 to 20 percent tip should go to a massage therapist in a spa or hotel setting. However, if it is a medical massage within a clinical setting, tipping is not expected (you wouldnt tip your doctor for giving you a shot, would you?) One issue that Ive always struggled with (but never bothered to look up before now) was how much to tip my hair stylist. Ive typically just rounded up to give her a couple bucks extra. But I always wondered if this was enough. Tipping etiquette suggests that I give my stylist a tip of 15 to 20 percent. Ive been giving more along the lines of 10 percent, so next time I will know to throw in a few extra dollars. If you know youre going to be in a situation like these where you are unsure if you are to tip and how much, run an Internet search beforehand so you dont get caught wondering if you made a tipping faux pas. When traveling, it is especially helpful to know how much to tip bellhops, shuttle drivers, concierges or tour guides. If you are traveling internationally always check before you go, as tipping is illegal in some countries. Bad Service One of the most controversial subjects surrounding tipping is what to do when you get bad service. Lets say your waiter was slow, rude, didnt keep your drinks filled and never brought you ketchup when you asked. Do you stiff him or leave a significantly reduced tip to prove your dissatisfaction? If you ask 10 different people youll get 10 different answers on what you should do, so its really a matter of opinion and how you view the circumstances. But here are a few things to consider. First, be gracious. Perhaps your waiter just got bad news and his attitude and lack of focus werent intentional. Leave a full

tip, but perhaps mention it to the manager before leaving so that she will be aware of the problem and deal with it accordingly. Second, be aware of how service employees (wait staff) are paid. In some states wait staff are paid minimum wage, but in other states they are paid only a few dollars an hour and are expected to make up the difference in tips. Also be aware that they often split their tips with other employees like kitchen staff, hostesses or bussers. So if you refuse to tip you may truly be hurting your waitresss income and denying other employees of extra pay. Finally, if you do choose to tip a dime or leave no tip at all, you might not want to frequent that establishment for a while. If your stiff a waiter, he very well might remember you, and while I hope this wouldnt happen, you may just get some extra ingredients in your food if he is as big of a jerk as he seems. In my opinion, your best recourse for bad service is to tip the minimum amount (10 percent) and then speak to the manager or write a letter to the establishment. Beyond these generalities lies the real confusion which is why theres such thing as a tip calculator. You cant expect to carry all this info in your head, so familiarize yourself with some common tipping scenarios and then be proactive by using the links below to figure out how to tip the mail carrier when Christmas rolls around (no cash, since giving money to federal workers is illegal) or whether your barista should get a bit extra for your complicated coffee order. How Much To Tip Holiday Tipping Tips on Tipping 2012 Minimum Wage Tipped Workers per State
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Right Where We Need to Be G


ood is good, right? If we could choose to have more and more of anything, we would pick something good over something bad every time, wouldnt we? The answer should be obvious, but can we have too much of a good thing? Can we even receive too much good from God? Dont think its possible? The next time you see Moses, ask him. As the young Israelite nation approached their designated land which was already populated with fortified armies, they were terrified. Understandably, Moses was desperate for assurance that the presence of God would go with them. His state of extreme desperation prompted him to ask God to see His glory. And the LORD said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But, he said, you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live. Then the LORD said, There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen. (Exodus 33:19-22) Out of His grace, God placed Moses in a crevice of the mountain, where he was hemmed in from all sides in order to protect him. In one of the most amazing displays of Gods accommodation of man, God reached out His hand to prohibit Moses from being utterly destroyed by His glory. Moses sought to find favor with God, but doing as he intensely desired would have killed him. In His compassion for Moses,

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because He knew him by name, God cornered Feel like youve painted yourself in a corner? Moses in a rock covering him with His hand to Everyone feels this way at times. Even if weve keep him from devastation. arrived at our desperate location due to sin Not only did Gods glory pass by Moses, but our own or that of otherswe are still right also all of His goodness passed by him, as well. where we need to be at least for the moment. Take a moment to ponder how it is that Gods It doesnt mean we will stay in that place long, goodness could annihilate us. It must be unbut then again it might. Even so, He knew believably powerful; so much so, that we could where we were going and He prepared the way not withstand all of for us. We can it. As often as we ask trust in this: His for His kindness to love could have be shown to us, we stopped us from Even if we arrived at our might not fully unarriving at this desperate location due to derstand what we place. Yet, we also request. He constantknow that His sin - our own or that of ly shows us compaslove will never sion and we regularly leave us. His grace others - we are still right receive mercy when gently corners us where we need to be... at we deserve much until the approless, yet He decides priate time when least for the moment. It to whom He shows He nudges us to favor and when He move. does not mean we will will be good to us. At times like stay in that place long, That may sound these, we may feel cruel, but this interlike wed be betbut then again... action between God ter off on our own, and Moses provides but we are forced us with a glimpse to respond like the into Gods pure confused disciples forceas benevolent did when Jesus as it may be for us. Moses was protected by warned them of His imminent death. They the absolute power of God only by the equivareplied, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have lent strength of Gods love for him. That same the words of eternal life (John 6:68). power and love works for us too, although we Our wisdom peaks at those times we realize dont always understand, nor appreciate it. that God forces us to chose the only valid opGods power is defined by the love He has tion before us, which means we cling to His chosen to show us. Sometimes He must hold eternal promises, even when it looks like they back because all of His goodness would not may sting us terribly. It doesnt make God actually be good for us. As Paul reminds us, He harsh, even when we dont see the wisdom in always works for our good, And we know that it. It just makes Him God. No matter where we in all things God works for the good of those find ourselves today, He has us right where we who love Him, who have been called accordneed to be: in middle of His grace. We are coring to his purpose (Romans 8:28). Although it nered by His grace and by His love. (I believe may not always seem like it. He wanted me to remind you of this.)

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Tool Box
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o you already have plenty of great reading material (hint, youre reading it!), but when you want to take it down a philosophical notch and just be entertained on a Saturday night, you need a good movie. Careful though, that mindless entertainment can be deceptively dangerous. Its hard to find anything PG13 and beyond that doesnt have gratuitous sex thrown in. If its not sex, its violence or anti-Christ ideology, blatant or subtle. The International Movie Database (IMDB) is highly useful for learning what earns a movie its rating, as well as providing a star rating based on thousands of viewer votes, but IMBD cant tell you how the movie might affect your spirit.

Morality Ratings for Movies

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. In Galatians 5, we see a contrasting list to these qualities: The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Maybe youre wondering, though, how youre supposed to know if a movie is essentially Phil 4:8 or Gal 5:19 without watching it to find out. Here are three Web sites to add to bookmark and quickly check out while youre deciding on which movie to rent or go see: Crosswalk.com movie archives, MovieGuide.org and ChristianAnswers.net Spotlight. You can subscribe to movie reviews by e-mail through MovieGuide.org, but if you want to view their archives you have to pay a fee, which I dont recommend since you can view reviews of older movies on the other two sites for free. Crosswalk. MAY 12

coms format is straightforward with subheadings like The Good; The Not-so-Good; The Offensive and more to help you quickly find the info youre looking for. ChristianAnswers.net gives a morality rating to each movie, but you have to sort through differently formatted reviews to learn why they got the moral score they did. And sometimes, its not very clear, such as in the case of Avatar. The site gave Avatar a morality rating of offensive, the same as it gave Daybreakers, a vampire movie with strong, bloody violence. When I read the review to see what was so morally offensive about Avatar, nothing popped out at me. The reviewer mentioned the aliens religion worshipping a mother nature-type deity, but in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the deity is a lion and that got three notches higher on the moral scale. (Honestly, if you ignore the fact that a great Christian apologist wrote the latter, that movie would probably be much more offensive to Christians.) Furthermore, ChristianAnswers.net gave Avatar only three stars on movie-making quality, whereas Daybreakers got four stars. But the masses dont agree. On IMBD, more than 150,000 viewers gave Avatar an 8.7 average rating, but Daybreakers got only 7.1 from some 5,000 viewers. All this to say, be careful not to confuse cinematic critique with moral outcry, as the reviewers on these Christian sites seem to have done with Avatar. Sparing exceptions like this, these sites can surely be helpful in keeping you from stumbling upon soft porn sex scenes, which apparently the major motion picture rating association considers acceptable viewing for a 13-year-old. I will set before my eyes no vile thing (Psalm 101:3).

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