Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just how much is a trillion dollars?

What's a trillion dollars?

A trillion dollars = $1,000,000,000,000.

That's 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point. A trillion is a million million dollars.

The U.S. government spends more than the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Australia, China and Spain combined. If you laid one dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times before you ran out of dollar bills! One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills.

What is frightening is that government will continue to grow in America unless citizens prevent it. If government stays on the course it's been on for the past forty years without a radical change, the federal government will have a $10 TRILLION BUDGET by the year 2010.

Foolish politicians make pronouncements about the strength of the economy. The total debt obligation of the United States now exceeds 46 TRILLION DOLLARS.

American workers now net almost 30 percent less in real wages than they did in 1973. After taxes, two paychecks in a family barely equal the purchasing power one had thirty years ago.

The population of the U.S. is 303,824,640 (2008). Of that population, 16.5% are gainfully employed in civilian employment = 50,131,065. If we gave each gainfully employed person a million dollars, it would cost us $50,131,065,600,000. That's $50 trillion. Our national debt of $46 trillion is almost there.

If you had started spending one million dollars per day when Jesus was born, and continued every day until now, you are still short of one trillion dollars.

Now, some are talking about a $2 trillion stimulus package. If we just gave the $2 trillion to the working Americans, each would receive approximately $40,000. That would fix most mortgages, and maybe even allow most families to trade cars as well. Everybody gets fixed.

That isn't going to happen. Which raises the question, where will most of the $2 trillion end up?

How Do You Treat People?

I try to treat everyone I meet like a V.I.P. I don’t always do it perfectly, but it really is my intention. It’s part of a commitment I made to God to avoid showing favoritism in accordance with James 2:1.

And maybe part of my reason for doing it is knowing what it feels like to be on the receiving end of an encounter with a person who doesn’t think you’re very important. I have a lot of memories of talking to people at, say, church growth conferences, and the whole time I was trying to get to know them their eyes were darting everywhere looking for someone more important to interact with. I found that demeaning, and I never want anyone to experience that because of me.

How much value could you add to the people in your life if you starting trying to treat each of them like the most important person in the world as you interacted with them?

[from "Pastor Steven Furtick" by Steven Furtick]

Leadership Styles

The Situational Leadership model uses a 4 box grid based on the amount of direction and support the situation needs. The four styles are:

1. Directing Leaders define the roles and tasks of the "follower," and supervise them closely. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so communication is largely one-way.

2. Coaching Leaders still define roles and tasks, but seeks ideas and suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader's prerogative, but communication is much more two-way.

3. Supporting Leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions, but control is with the follower.

4. Delegating Leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving, but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will be involved.

Another approach categorizes styles according to emotional intelligence competencies, some of which work better than others in specific situations. These styles are:

5. Coercive: This “Do what I say” style demands immediate compliance. It is especially useful in turnaround situations, in a crisis, and with problem people. However, using this style inhibits your organization’s flexibility and can dampen motivation.

6. Authoritative: This style mobilizes people toward a vision. Specifically, it provides an overarching goal, but gives others the freedom to choose their own way of reaching it. This approach is most effective when an organization is at sea and needs direction, or during an economic downturn. This style is less successful when the leader is working with a team of experts who may have more experience — and may disagree with his approach.

7. Affiliative: This “people-first” style engenders the creation of emotional bonds and team harmony. It is best used when team coherence is important or in times of low morale. But this approach’s focus on praise may permit poor performance to continue unchecked, and people may lack a sense of overall direction. This style builds consensus through participation. It is most appropriate when organizational flexibility and a sense of individual responsibility is needed. The downside of this style, however, is that it may result in indecision, and some people may be left feeling confused and leaderless.

8. Pacesetting: This style expects excellence and self-direction. It works best for highly skilled and motivated people who work well on their own. Other people, however, may feel overwhelmed by a pacesetting leader’s demands for excellence. Their self-esteem, trust, and, ultimately, their morale may drop under the regime of this type of leader.

9. Coaching: This style focuses on personal development. Coaching leaders help people identify their strengths and weaknesses, and tie them to their career aspirations. While this style is highly successful with people who want to change or improve professionally, it is largely unsuccessful with those who are resistant to learning or changing their ways.

While some styles may be more comfortable for you to adopt than others, the more you stretch yourself to learn a range of styles, the more effective you will be as a leader.

[from Great Leadership by Dan McCarthy]

Day 14 of a 21-Day Fast

Magnifying Your Worship

“If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

On your fourteenth day of fasting, remember:
- Drink water or juice
- Go to your prayer time and prayer place
- Listen to a few of your favorite worship CD’s
- Write in your prayer journal
- Focus on your meditation and listening
- Continue to speak regularly with an accountability partner from your group
- Chew sugar free gum and keep sugar free mints with you

Physical Effects:
- Weight loss continues
- Bad breath
- You become spiritually aware of the Lord’s presence all around you
- Cravings can be strong at times

Today’s Quote: “Fasting and praying will provide the perspective of God that can only be described as magnification as His perfect will, His presence and His power come into focus with greater clarity than ever thought possible.” (Jentezen Franklin)

Thoughts for your Journal:
- Praise God for bringing you this far and thank Him for His steadfast presence.

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

Today I want to ask for Your protection and blessing upon Christian leaders around the world. Please give wisdom and guidance, and surround them with guardian angels.

I pray for pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders; for Christian heads of governments; for teachers and parents; for social and relief workers; for every kind of leader that is out there doing Your work, Your will, Your ministry.

I lift them up to You, for their tasks are difficult. Block Satan's attempts to harm them or sidetrack them. Help them stay focused on the tasks and the missions to which You have called them.

Thank you, Lord.

In Jesus' name, amen.