Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Attitude and Life

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatrz

Chapter 8 – Make Your Attitudes Your Allies


The author starts this chapter by suggesting you can read everyone’s mind simply by observing their behavior and learning their attitude. Further, “we read attitudes through expressions and voice tones and inflections.” (pg 133) These have long term implications, “for millions of years, men communicated with other men by body and facial expressions and sounds, not words.

Attitudes do make a difference.” (pg 133) He explains a whole lot of different people in different situations succeeding just by having a good attitude. He then suggests on page 134 three attitudes to grow:

  1. I’m activated
  2. You are important
  3. Service first


The author tells a story about a history class he had that was so boring because the professor was boring. He sums up by saying that the professor was not excited about history. He was not enjoying the subject. He concludes with, “To activate others, to get them to be enthusiastic, you must first be enthusiastic yourself.” (pg 134) He then makes a rather black and white statement that people who are enthusiastic never have unenthusiastic people in their midst. Results come in proportion to enthusiasm applied.” (pg 135) The author lists three steps to gain enthusiasm:

  1. “Dig into it deeper” – If you are not enthusiastic about something, it is probable because you don’t know much about it. Learn more and enthusiasm will occur.
  2. “In everything you do in life, Life it up.” (pg 137) – Work hard to put effort into being enthusiastic in everything. He mentions specifically your handshake, your smile, your ‘thank you’s’, and your talk.
  3. “Broadcast good news.” (pg 138) – It is pointless to pass on the bad, so you should only pass on the good.

You are important

The author starts this point by suggesting that every person wants to feel important. Successful advertisers know people crave prestige, distinction, recognition.” (pg 140), then the author makes the statement, “Satisfy the craving, the hunger to be important carries you forward to success. The author goes into detail to tell how if a person were in an accident or lost, no one would ask if the person is important enough to go find because everyone is important.

Of course the author then moves on to why you should make people feel important: “First, people do more for you when you make them feel important.” (pg 141) The second reason is “when you help others feel important, you help yourself feel important, too.” (pg 142) He explains that people do not naturally have a sense of importance and are thus average, as opposed to successful. He gives his three ways to develop this:

  1. “Practice appreciation” (pg 143) – Give praise liberally to all people for all things.
  2. “Practice calling people by their names.” (pg 144) – This increases sales, makes people feel important, etc.
  3. “Don’t hog glory, invest it instead.” (pg 144) – Always pass the praise for a job well done to the people below you who made it happen.

Service First

This section starts with a quote: “It’s perfectly natural – in fact it’s highly desirable – to want to make money and accumulate wealth.” (pg 146) Further, he says, “money is one of the means to living life fully.” (pg 147) The author quotes Russell Conwell about money printing the bibles, sending the missionaries, paying the pastors, etc.

The author explains that the problem why people don’t have money is the ‘money first’ attitude. The problem, according to the author, is “People with a money-first attitude become so money-conscious that they forget money can’t be harvested unless they plant the seeds that grow the money.” (pg 147) The solution placed forward is “the seed of money is service. That’s why ‘put-service-first’ is an attitude which creates wealth. The thing to do to put service first is to “always give people more than they expect to get.” (pg 150)

Christian Refutation

I first must cite him on his “millions of years” comment…prove it, buddy. The only thing constant in the theory of evolution has been evolution itself; it started with Darwinian evolution and for those not familiar with the field, has been through a series of over five different theories to attempt to explain details that fail miserably to fit any model well. Evolution is not even a theory because a theory in science is defined as a hypothesis which has been tested through a series of reproducible experiments without yielding any evidence of a contradiction (i.e. gravity, thermodynamics, substrate-enzyme reactions, etc.) On a recent creation evolution debate, the evolution people pulled out Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 as contradicting each other due to a difference in creation order. This is not a contradiction, Chapter 1 is the order, and chapter 2 is the focus on the creation and responsibilities of God’s greatest creation: Mankind.

The author is correct to a degree that attitude is important, he is incorrect in as much as it is the most important. I teach Sunday school to 3rd graders; no matter how excited and enthusiastic I am, some kids will simply not pay attention the whole time just because I am excited…if you want to argue that with “they are kids”, my college students in freshman chemistry were not any different. My enthusiasm did not spread like the plague through the class causing everyone to get good grades and success. Some that had great attitudes couldn’t get it. In organic chemistry in college, most of us had great attitudes about the subject. Some of the class worked for hours to get a C, I barely worked at all and got a B. Some people have natural gifts and talents and no amount of attitude will help the situation.

As for trying to instill enthusiasm into every part of your life, I would like to defer to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
2A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

There is a time for being enthusiastic, and there is a time for not being so. The culmination of this book has undoubtedly led people to try to be over enthusiastic in every situation. This is lying because you are denying true feelings that you have. We are commanded to cast off ALL of this behavior, even if the intent is to do good.

This same above argument goes for bad news. Let us discern a few things here:

Gossip – This is spreading rumors, inappropriate, or uncalled for things about other people. This is forbidden by scripture: Leviticus 19:16, Proverbs 20:19, 1 Timothy 3:11, Titus 2:3)

Persecutions, bad day at work, etc. – These things should be shared with a spouse, good friend, etc because they will wear you down if they are bottled up. In my opinion from studies in psychology, what this author suggests could lead to neurotic behavior if people take it at face value. If you read through the book of Psalms, most of them are expressing these very things to God. Even the apostle Paul experienced such things; he did not keep them secret: Colossians 2:1-3, Colossians 4:7-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) In Hebrews3:13, we read:

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

The body of Christ is there to support you. The reason we are to share so much love with one another is because if you are living life with a consistent walk with God, you will not be liked by the world. The body is there is comfort you knowing what you are going through. I must also say that such things should be done cautiously. Find a small group of people within that context that become friends of encouragement. They can take this information and help you be encouraged.

Under the topic of ‘You Are Important’, I just want to say that you are because you are created in the image of God. When the author moves on to show people they are important for your gain, that is a problem. Proverbs 23:6-8 tells us:

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, "Eat and drink!"
But his heart is not with you.
8You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.

To be such a person that makes people feel all warm and gooey inside for your own gain is viewed in this text as an undesirable person, why in the world would you want to be one? This is no different than using someone, it is God that judges the heart.

The topic of Service First is an exposition on why our focus should be money. Let me repeat the famous verse 1 Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

This is exactly the context the author is approaching from. While it is true that money does print the bibles, send the missionaries, the complete accuracy is not there. God is in control, people, not money. I do not get paid for this site, but I have received many testimonies about how it has helped people. God is bigger than money. Our focus should be on God and his righteousness. He will supply all your needs. When you follow the authors advice to put service first for the purpose of money, you are focusing on money, not God. My focus is not on money, it wasn’t before I was in BWW, it was during the duration I was in BWW, and now it is not again. You know what? I am a lot better financially now. I am not poor, nor am I scraping to get by, but I don’t focus on money because God supplies me with what I need.

Our purpose is not the attainment of wealth. If you need to understand what our purpose is, check out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

It Wasn’t Totally Truthful, but I Got Him In!

Tape: Radical Freedom

Speakers: Doug & Amie Weir

Stock Number: JM42 (2 message CD)

Recording Type: ‘Basic Mix’

Brief Review:

This message was recorded at ‘Family Reunion’, now billed as Summer Conference. Doug fires up the crowd with stories of freedoms and how our freedoms are being taken away as we have our nose to the grindstone at a job, but first, Amie gives us a parallel between going Diamond and the Israelites fleeing from Egypt.

Motivational Aspects:

“One of the things I am most excited about being diamonds is that we’re able every single day and do what we want to do.”

Both started single and worked in corporate America, met in the business, and are diamonds now.

“Diamond is our promised land”

Cult-like aspects:

Doug talks about the name for the conference being family reunion and tells about how he was adopted by his family. He uses this to explain that the people at the ‘front tables’ (higher pins) want to see everyone succeed even if they are not related. [Shows that you ‘belong’ to this family of people; targets those that are seeking belonging to a group.]

“God heard your cry because you are here this weekend” [The best thing the people can do is get involved in the system and attend the meetings.]

Amie gives a list of things that were better when they had a job, but assures the audience that it is all worth it. She lists things that they did (or the average IBO will do) to get to Diamond. Among the list of things mentioned: Doing the business instead of other sociable things, the protein bars every day, get less sleep. “If you just do these [9 core steps], you will be blessed, it will work for you” She also mentions that if you do the 9 core steps on commitment to the next function, that will keep you going until you make it. [Classifies as Behavior Control on Steven Hassans model].

“If you ever wondered why some people grow faster than others, that’s probably it right there: they are actually listening to their upline and are doing the things that they recommend.” [Behavior control]

“What separates the people that are brand new from the veterans who have moved on to Emerald and Diamond is just the way that they think. That was the think that I had to change.” [Though Control; what you grew up believing is not accurate, you need to change your thoughts through our program.]

“If you build this business, you will earn the respect of the leaders, period.”

“I found my first platinum leg as a co-worker at IBM. He went to a plan and said ‘Doug, I can’t get started, I’m getting married, I have a lot of things going on in my life, I can’t get started’, so I said ‘I’ll tell you what, I’m going to sponsor a bunch of other people and I might not be able to sponsor you if you don’t get in now.’, and he did. It wasn’t totally truthful, but I got him in.” [Correct me if I am wrong, but he lied to his friend to get him in, and then admitted he lied to get him in.]

“One of my college buddies, I asked him to go to a plan and he checked with his parents and they said ‘no.’ I finally put him on a line and said, ‘Hey, are we best friends or what?’ He said ‘We’re best friends’, and I said ‘Well, then, you need to go to a meeting with me or else I will be insulted as your friend.’”

Catalog of covetousness for those materialistic people:

Decorate nursery anyway they want to without regard to price.

Custom made all the nursery furnishing.

Property on the lake

Planning on a 7,000 sq ft house

Wonderful Faulty Theology:

Amie gives a story about Moses and the Israelites leaving Egypt and contrasts this with people on a trip to Diamond. She talks about securities that they had in Egypt and the job, the Manna given to the Israelites vs. the protein bars that people eat while on the way to STP. She also uses this time to tell how the ‘oppressive’ corporate America does not want people to succeed. [The contrast here is that God called the nation of Israel as a chosen people to fulfill a promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This story teaches of the fulfillment of a promise of God. Here, Amie uses it to tell the people that they need to build the business and get wealthy. Read 1 John 2:15 to see that this is hardly the plan that God has in mind for believers.]

Amie tells that if you just follow the steps, you will be blessed just like the Israelites were blessed. [This is rooted in Word-Faith movement which I covered in a previous post. My answer there was:

[This is another common verse for Word-Faith proponents. This is an Old Testament covenant between God and the nation of Israel. In that day, a blessing from God was viewed as a prosperous nation as a whole, in no way did it apply to the individual. The obedience spoken of here was to hold the entirety of the law as defined in the book of Deuteronomy. The nation did eventually turn away and the curse happened in the form of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles.]]

Doug goes into detail about rebelling against the society norms and laws. He seems to be against rules and regulations that the authority over the land places on him. He even says here “If you tell me I can’t do it, I’m going to go do it now.” [This seems to be common in this business and other cults as people believe they have an edge on knowledge over other people. The bible says that we are to obey those in authority over us as far as those laws do not violate God (1 Peter 2:13-15). Remember that disobedience to the Word of God is the essence of sin. We have rules so we do not hurt ourselves or others. With regard to Doug’s quote: Read Genesis Chapter 3. It was doing what the authority said not to do that lead the race to trouble. The example Doug gave is not against the law of God, but it overshadows the mindset and the attitude.]

“I just love going to a restaurant and [praying] real loud, and being really bold.” [Please read the parable about the Pharisee and the Tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Environmental Management 101

This is a short one, I didn't feel many words were needed to talk about it.


Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatz
Chapter 7: Manage Your Environment: Go First Class


Just like your body, your mind is a culmination of it is fed. Mind food is your environment – all the countless things that influence your conscious and subconscious thought.” (pg 117)

Since you are a product of your environment, your lack of success is because you were raised in an environment that was not conducive to success.

To overcome failure, the author suggests some steps starting on page 118 (This chapter seems very unorganized, I will summarize the best I can):

  1. “Recondition yourself for success.” – The author claims that as children, we all had the purity to realize our dreams, but then ‘suppressive forces’ took over and dragged us down. He says that once people received the suppressive influences, they fell into three categories:
    1. “Those who surrendered completely” (pg 119) – These people rationalize to the world why they are happy.
    2. “Those who surrender partially” (pg 119) – These people go so far and then start to rationalize.
    3. “Those who never surrender” (pg 120) – These people “live and breath success”
  1. Watch your environment. There are negative people, termed “negators” that are everywhere and they “seem to delight in sabotaging the positive progress of others.” (pg 121) Under this topic, he suggests to study them and find out why they are failures. I particularly liked the quote: “I turned my negator friend into a personal experiment.”(pg 122) Gossip is a poison to the mind, so it should be avoided.
  2. “Go first class: that is an excellent rule to follow in everything you do, including the goods and services you buy.” (pg 130) – The author claims that the only way to go is by doing and buying everything at the highest possible quality. This saves time and money in the end, thus the extra initial cost is worth it.

Christian Refutation

This chapter is again based on a sound biblical basis. Look at Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The problem lays with conflict with another verse, the classical beat to death 1 John 2:15:

Do not love the world nor the things in the world; If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The book approaches a sound biblical point for an unholy purpose: to get material success, to impress people, to get ahead in this world.

I would like to comment in brief on the last point: Going only first class seems to conflict with our call to stewardship. As a good steward of the resources God has given to us, we must recognize that first class is not always better; in fact, it just tends to drain resources, especially if it is used to the degree talked about here. There is nothing ignoble about using dollar general brand items or things picked up at discount racks.

For As He Thinketh in His Heart, so is He!

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatz

Chapter 6 – You Are What You Think You Are


The basic premise here is that whatever you think you are, that will determine how you act. On page 102, the author states “For thinking regulates actions.” He boils it down to a formula on page 103:

“How you think determines how you act. How you act in turn determines: How others react to you.”

He explains “to gain respect of others, you must first think you deserve respect.” (pg 103) To gain such self respect, the author suggests:

  1. “Look important – it helps you think important” – the author goes to great length to suggest that the better you dress, the more respect you will have for yourself, and in turn, the more respect you will have for other people. On page 105, he makes an analogy to the packaging of an item for sale and then he concludes with “Think about the grape example next time you’re selling yourself. Properly ‘packaged’, you have a better chance to make the sale – and at a higher price. I would like to add that on the bottom of page 105, he explains that people who are well dressed ‘say’ positive things while those dressed poorly ‘say’ negative things. He concludes this whole point with a how to looking better: Buy more expensive clothing, but buy less of it.
  2. “Think your work is important” (pg 106) – He starts this point with a story about three bricklayers, the first two do not have a good attitude on the job, the third does. He then postulates that the third person is going to make it big, but the other two will not. One quote the author makes on page 108 is “But think instead, I am important. I do have what it takes. I am a first-class performer. My work is very important. Think this way and you are headed straight to success.”
  3. “Give yourself a pep talk several times a day” (pg 111) – Before you do anything important, give yourself a pep talk to motivate you and lift your spirits. He also says that often give ourselves “a terrible mental beating”, which he explains as a chief problem we face in life. He concludes this point with steps to make a ‘commercial’ to sell yourself to you as a means to do a pep talk.
  4. “Think like important people think” (pg 115) – The author gives a list of situations and then a list of questions to ask yourself. The questions are all comparison questions comparing yourself to a ‘successful’ person.

Christian Refutation

I don’t know if it is my mood this evening or if something in this chapter triggered it, but I would like to draw a distinction between how a person does act in reality and how a person living in true faith in Jesus Christ will act. This chapter looks into a host of problems and promotes human solutions to them. Such solutions will work for a season, but those fade out as quickly as they come. For example, buying the more expensive clothes to look better; in time, you will see yourself as the same you, the ‘good feeling’ you get with better clothes will only last a few days. A good example of this can be observed by watching any child: What did that child want more than anything else for his last birthday or Christmas? How long did the time of play last? Chances are, he was sick of that toy inside a week. The same happens to us when we are trying to fulfill our needs in these things. In short, all that particular solution will do is to develop covetousness for the latest fad and expensive suit; thanks for reading that rant, I had to get it out.

It would be worth pointing out that this chapter is based Proverbs 23:7:

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

In keeping with these genera of material, it is heavily out of context. This chapter is based on the Word-Faith movement misinterpretation of this proverb. To understand the whole of it, you must read the surrounding context (Proverbs 23:6-8):

6Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, "Eat and drink!"
But his heart is not with you.
8You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.

This proverb is speaking about the deceit that a manipulator has. Although this person is feigning generosity, he is truly a wicked person seeking to exploit this person for gain…so fitting for material of this nature!

This chapter of course approaches it from the business end: If you just think you will succeed than you will. The reality is not quite that real.

Look important

I think I hit that one pretty good above with respect to getting better clothes. There does appear to be one point that I would like to address. Look at James 2:1-13:

1My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.
2For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,
3and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,"
4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?
5Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
6But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?
7Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
8If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well.
9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
11For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

This verse is about showing favoritism for personal (or corporate) gain. The book does not tell you to SHOW such favoritism, but it does promote an equal sin, to PLAY such favoritism. Does this mean we dress poorly? No, but it does mean that we do NOT get caught up in our appearance, it is fleeting and useless to dwell on such things.

Think your work is important

Under this heading, I would like to suggest that work is a pre-fall condition (Genesis 2:15). Work is to be viewed as important as part of the social order that God ordained, but if you only view it as important to get success, I suggest again to read 1 John 2:15. Although you can fool men, God knows the condition of your heart. And the previous goes for the rest of us who think we know the motives behind people (sometimes, we truly do know the motives, sometimes we don’t).

Give yourself a pep talk every day

I would suggest that a pep talk is not important for two reasons. 1. We need to know our value in Christ; once that is known, a pep talk is not necessary. 2. We need to embrace the fact that we are not nice little people who do good most of the time and enjoy it. We are fallen and are bent toward evil! We are not a great product that needs a commercial, we are a fallen race that needs a Savior! (If you want to know about that Savior, click here!) The above two statements are not contradictory, though they are paradoxical. We are not deserving of life because we have all sinned, but we are still loved by God.)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Critical Thinking Skills

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatz

Chapter 5 – How to Think and Dream Creatively


The author starts with defining creative thinking by examples (pg 83):

  1. A low-income family devises a way to send their son to a leading university
  2. A family turns the street’s most undesirable lot into the neighborhood beauty spot
  3. A minister develops a plan to double his Sunday evening attendance

The definition is given on page 84: “Creative thinking is simply finding new, improved ways to do anything."

The author now defines how to develop creative thinking (starts on page 84):

  1. Believe it can be done – He states that “believing something can be done sets the mind in motion to find a way to do it.” On the next page, he goes as far as to say that “believing something can not be done is destructive thinking.” There are two steps in believing leading to creative power (pg 87):
    1. “Eliminate the word impossible from your thinking and speaking. Impossible is a failure word.”
    2. “Think of something special you’ve been wanting to do, but felt you couldn’t. Now, make a list of why you can do it.”
  2. Don’t be paralyzed by tradition – “The traditional thinker’s mind is paralyzed.” (pg87) He talks about the dangers of doing things how they have always been done, even picking up a quote from Crawford Greenewalt of DuPont “there are many ways a job can be done – as many ways in fact, as there are men to whom the task is given” (pg 88). There are dangers in tradition as he states that “new ideas can not sprout”. The author gives a small list of things that are traditional in USA and says to ask people at random about changing them. If those people laugh, they suffer from “Tradition Paralysis”. There are three steps to overcome this (pg 89):
    1. “Become receptive to ideas. Welcome new ideas.”
    2. “Be an experimental person. Break up fixed routines.”
    3. “Be progressive, not regressive.”
  3. Ask “How can I do it better?” (pg 89) – “The successful person knows that it can be done better.” (pg 90). Be constantly thinking of ways to improve things all around you. This is closely tied in with the next point:
  4. Ask “How can I do more?” – “Capacity is a state of mind” (pg 92). There is a two step process for the latter two points (pg 94):
    1. “Eagerly accept the opportunity to do more.”
    2. When you ask yourself how to do something better, the answers will come.
  5. “Big people monopolize on listening. Little people monopolize on talking.” (pg 95) – “The raw materials [of creative decisions] are the ideas and suggestions of others.” There are three steps to learning to listen (pg 96-7):
    1. “Encourage others to talk.”
    2. "Test your own views in the form of questions."
    3. “Concentrate on what the other person says.”
  6. Stimulate your mind – The author suggests that you join two groups: one in your field of work and one in a different field. We are told a story that oak trees produce many acorns (analogous to our ideas) and that the squirrels eat most of them. He then tells us that “if we’re not on guard, the squirrels (negative-thinking people) will destroy most of them.” (pg 99) There are three steps to harness the power of your ideas (pg 99):
    1. “Don’t let ideas escape. Write them down.”
    2. “Review your ideas. File these ideas in an active file.”
    3. “Cultivate and fertilize your idea. Now make your idea grow.”

Christian Refutation

This chapter is full of half truths; that is things that are true on the surface, but have a dangerous root. Creative thinking is good, however, when you are using creative thinking in light of this book, you are looking for ways to get things, i.e., love for the world, so let me restate the already beat to death verse: 1 John 2:15. But we are going to take this a step further. Look at James 4:13-16:

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit."

14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

15Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."

16But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.

I would like to quote John MacArthur’s comment on these verses in the ‘MacArthur Study Bible. “James does not condemn wise business planning, but rather planning that leaves out God.” How many people have worked real hard to plan something just to get to the last day and it was all in vain. I actually had a classmate in college that after four hard years taking every Chemistry class the university had to offer said, “Just watch, after all this, we will graduate only to die in some kind of accident the last day.” Praise God that did not happen! But it could have. I say that to point out that boasting outside the will of God is dangerous. This chapter on creative thinking is similar to that; it has all these steps on how you can get what you want, and God is apparently left out of the loop.

Believe and Achieve

I think I already tackled the concept of belief in a previous post, let me know if more material is needed.


The Roman Catholic readers are bound to enjoy this point! The Roman Catholics say "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . ." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97). I can not affirm this. I believe in the Bible as the sole authority for doctrinal truth. What does the bible say about tradition? There are three verses for it, and three verses against it. In all this, there is, indeed, a firm analysis (in other words, God was not confused about the use of tradition, WE ARE!)

For tradition:

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6 - Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”
  • 1 Corinthians 11:2“Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.”

Against Tradition:

  • Matthew 15:3-6 - And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4"For God said, 'HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,' and, 'HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.' 5"But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God," 6he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
  • Mark 7:8-9 - "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." 9He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
  • Colossians 2:8“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

Let us now explore how to make sense of all this. First, note where the tradition is stated in the former: Tradition that is in honoring with the scriptures, that is, that which is clearly in or may be deduced directly from scripture, is a tradition that can be honored. Such things include the positions in a church such as elders, deacons, pastors. It includes such things as adult baptism as an external profession of faith (though it is not required for salvation), it does not include such things as the Papacy or Pope, infant baptism as a means of purity, etc.

Look now at the latter list: In these cases, people are appealing to the tradition of the world over the command of God. The first two of those is Jesus talking to the Pharisees. These people created a religious tradition that they followed so tightly, they abandoned following the commands of God for sake of those traditions. As for the last verse, the context of that tradition is not specifically clear, though I would guess (being a Greek city; Greeks were notorious for their philosophy) it was a tradition of following a philosophy. In either case, it had nothing to do with God, or following God.

Now, the position that Magic of Thinking Big takes is that of the trend towards rebellion against societal norms. Remember this book was first written in 1959, near the peek of the rebellion against society. These people took the tradition debate way to far and cast off all tradition in the quest for truth (the modernist movement) and then settled (more recently) onto the views of Greenewalt (as expressed in his quote above) that there are as many ways to do something as there are creative minds doing it (this is the root of post-modernism). When this view of pluralism is applied to various areas of life, it can be very good, but I will warn that it does not apply to salvation and eternity. For Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father but through me (John 14:6).

This being said, there is a place to question tradition, so long as that tradition is not laid down in scripture. Let me explain: I served as head usher at my church for about three years. I took on the job and after a few years I was sick of it because our ushers traditionally had one head usher (me) who was on every single week and then there were several others who rotated around. I decided to create a co-ordinating usher position (still me), but I appointed three other head ushers so that each head (including me) only worked one Sunday. That is how to battle tradition.

For the critics of my approach, I affirm that this method of creative thinking is fine, so long as you are not using it to question the solid authority of the Bible, and you are including the will of God in your planning. When things don't go right, don't blame God, he is sovereign.

In conclusion to this part, anything which places a high priority on gaining material things is bound to lead to problems. Not because material things are bad, but because the love of them produces in you a desire to get them, make them a pursuit, and before you know it, they have replaced God for your top priority.

My thanks to C.A.R.M. for the analysis of Tradition

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cult Leader Britt

Greetings all, it was a hard one getting this one down. I wanted to take this time and remind any new readers about the index, which is also on the side bar. I will be adding a few other items to the bar in a few weeks. I am currently working on the spiritual effects that BWW had on my life as well as a descriptions and definitions section on cults to add. I don't know when these will be up, but I am working on them. I also want to stress that if you were part of these motivational organizations and think that you have failed yourself, you have not. This is a dangerous system that has hurt a lot of people, you are not alone. Best of luck, let me know if i can do anything.


Tape: The Preservation of Freedom

Speakers: Bill & Peggy Britt

Stock Number: FED15

Recording Type: ‘Basic Mix’

Brief Review:

This tape is a Saturday night at FED 2002. Bill gets up and impresses the crowd with his money, material things, and then launches into a ‘sermon’ on the biblical view of poverty and power of the tongue. The problem is that Bill has twisted the scriptures to make it appealing to the audience. The tape is full of attacks on poor people, educated people, and anyone else who is not a diamond. The ending is typical for Bill Britt; he speaks phrases and has the audience repeat them back to him. This occurs many times from the ‘Hello’ to entire blocks of time.

Motivational Aspects:

Bill says at the beginning that there were not any functions, no “proof of the business”.

“They will pay you minimum wage, or maybe a little better if you are a doctor or a lawyer”

Bill defends the charge against being materialistic by saying that when you are broke, you are materialistic.

“How many gals would like to be married to a guy who hauls off and does nothing? ‘Here dad, here’s my weenie’”

“I had my wife working for 16 years because I wasn’t making enough money…most guys that is why they have their wives working, because they are not making enough money.”

“Success is how many people are better off because you are alive?”

Cult-like aspects:

“We were it’s a pyramid…then we were told it’s a cult...and you’re the cult leader Britt. You know what we have in America? A lot of poor people…and I love ‘em all. You know why? It takes about 500 people to serve one rich guy.” [This is an ad hominem attack – attacking a trait of the critic in stead of engaging the point of discussion]

The almost scary chant-like ‘Hello’ where Bill says ‘Hello’ and the crowd echoes it back without prompting is in this tape.

“One way [of creating wealth] is to take advantage of other people, like the big corporations in this country have done recently (referring to Enron)….One way is to love money and use people. Another is to love people and use money. In this business, everything’s turned up side down. It’s your downline first and you second. What you help other people get, you are qualified to have.” [Suggests that if you only follow us, you will make it. There are no other ways to attain wealth]

“I just not to [a poor person], how about you?” [Suggests that if you just follow me, I will make you wealthy because I am wealthy.]

“Most of you in here that don’t make it are going to let a nimrod steal your dream because you don’t have it set in your heart good enough” [If you don’t make it, it is your fault and the world is against you.]

“This is the easiest, simplest business on earth to be free with. All you got to do is help other people be free.” [The system always works if you work enough.]

There is a lot of clear cut rich verses poor. The poor can be poor and that is OK because the rich need them to be workers. [Us verses Them indoctrination.]

“We just worked hard for a while so we can play hard the rest of our lives.” [You can play hard the rest of your life if you work hard for us now.]

“Some people do anything to stay broke. You have to admire them…I love poor people, they are the nicest little things you ever saw. They clean your house, take care of your property, wash your cars, keep everything up to date.”

“We are about making the individual stronger” [you are weak and need our help.]

“Today in the business, it has to be easier because there are more proven facts, there are more proven techniques of building the business, there is more laid out for you to grow by with the meetings and the suggested tools you can use. When we started, it was like a trial and error method that had to be tested a little bit all along the way and fine tuned. [This suggests that they have already paved the way and you should listen to what the leaders have to say. This is thought control as it suggests that you should not do your own thing, but instead, follow the already beaten path.]

“You can never determine success by the dollar bill” [This is conflicting with the entirety of the message that is being given. The poor people are seen as unsuccessful while the rich people are successful. This is often used in cults to confuse the mind to become susceptible to indoctrination.]

Bill explains success because we are not taught it. He explains that the only way to learn something is from someone who has been there and done it. [The point is that you should listen to all the diamonds because they have been there and done it.]

Bill explains that we need success principles, but you can not learn those principles anywhere because they are not taught in schools. He explains that this business teaches them and they can because they have “thousands, and thousands, and hundreds of thousands of people that are learning it”. [You can get saved here because no one else teaches these principles.]

“We find that people who have a foundational basic belief seem to do better than people who have no belief what so ever.”

“Work is all it is, its getting out every night and looking for the winners and separating them from the losers.” [Who is Bill Britt to discern a winner from a loser?]

“We based our business on all power is in submission, not in rebellion. And when you use the words in the proper way, that these words are seeds and when planted, God grows them, and you reap them… [Every person] is right now living the life of the words they have sown in the past.” [This is thought control; teaching a person to think a certain way for the advancement of the leaders agenda.]

“God’s got it so that no vision you can gather up is undeniable to you if you will do the work, and have the belief and have the faith to make it become a reality.” [Fear of leaving the cult system indoctrination; makes you question your own faith in God if you leave.]

Bill goes through another long period of time of downing people who are doctors, lawyers, dentists, educated people, and everyone who is not a diamond. He continues on and on and on repeating the words are seeds, poverty is ‘them’, etc, etc, etc. You must remember that this tape was recorded at about 11:00 PM or later on a Saturday night after a whole day of listening to these people.

Next, he goes on about the uselessness of college and that the only way to learn how to do anything is by doing it. He then makes teaches what it takes to build the business: “If you work 5 nights a week and do the 9 [core steps], you will be a multi-millionaire, that’s it. Period!” [System over person doctrine.]

“Who could ask for anything better? Here’s a business that follows God’s principles, here’s a business that’s absolutely free, absolutely clear, the teaching is absolutely phenomenal, our system is all over the world, it absolutely works, no matter what your language is, no matter what your age it.” [I think that a few of these points are debatable.]

“If I make more money by sleeping to 12:00 one day than you make all year, one of us is stupid and you need to figure out which one it is.” [The scary part is how everyone in the arena cheered at this point, presumably because they all believe that is going to be them.]

“Are you a man or a mouse? If you are a man, you are going to do the best you can for your family.”

“Whoever you are, you are welcome in this organization. You are not to be judged, you will not be judged, you will be accepted full face value as one of our family, Amen, and we’re proud of every single one of you, and glad you have a dream too, and glad you want to make a difference in the world, too.”

Catalog of covetousness for those materialistic people:

“I got in the business for 5 reasons: Money, money, money, money, and more money”

“We have no debt, we have hundreds of millions in the bank, Hello (hello)”

“These diamonds are real. These are stage diamonds. We don’t wear them every day, just here to impress you. If they sparkle, I hope they hurt your eyes.”

“This ring I had to get special permission from Elvis Presley’s people…to get one made like it, so I made cuff links like it too.”

7 houses

33 cars

6.5 Million in a house…wrote one check for it.

2 Roles Royce

2 Ferraris

2 Excalibur’s

Can’t count the Mercedes

5 Limousines


“I got everything. If I see it and want it, I buy it”

“We started buying homes, buying cars, buying everything we wanted, very materialistic” [I just loved that quote].

Tapespeak for those wishing to brush up on BWW lingo:

Hello [expressed at the end of a sentence similar to how one would here the word ‘Amen’ in a southern Baptist congregation]

Every rich person needs a lot of broke people.

Wonderful Faulty Theology:

“I am the most hated person in this business by choice…I don’t want any person who does not like what we do to like me.” [Take a look at Matthew 5:23-24. This is a very simple verse the Bill is in direct violation of. ‘If your brother has something against you’ indicates that you have done something that you need to go and make right (whether or not the other person has acted one way or another; this is business between that person and God). The command directly to Bill is to go and make all this wrong into a right before he presents any worship to God.]

Bill complains a lot about his lack of money before he was in the business, however, I would like to argue that he was not using his money as the steward that we are called to be with our resources (which money is included). Other tapes include details about his having a small private jet on a bank loan, about 20 dogs, and Peggy on one tape even states “We just liked the nicer lifestyle). This is covetousness; the last commandment is against it. The biblical model is to love the things of God, not the things of the world. The pursuit of money is dangerous and leads to ruin.

“Unless you own something, you really don’t care about life much. When you have nothing, you usually care for nothing.” [It does not take ownership of something to care about life, it takes an understanding of God and our position in God. It takes and understanding of grace, mercy, and the fact that we all have sinned and are deserving of death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.]

To summarize a long story, Bill held a meeting so many years ago when at the end, a prospect challenged him with quoting Matthew 19:24. Bill did not have an answer for this, he threatened the man and the man left the room. Since this verse is so often quoted out of context by Word-Faith people, an exegetical explanation is in order. [The charge often replied by Word-Faith proponents is that this verse indicates the ‘needle gate’, which they suggest is a small hole in the wall for a traveler to get through at night after the main gates are closed. There is no biblical or extra-biblical account for this. Further, if you read the next verse (Matthew 19:25), you have to wonder, if this was a well known ‘needle gate’, why were the disciples so astonished at the answer and question ‘who can get in?’. The text is literal. Jesus is talking about a needle. We must read one more verse (Matthew 19:26) to get the explanation and answer. Without God, no one can get in, with God, people can get in. This discussion was prompted by the question of the Rich Young Ruler, when Jesus told him to sell all his belongings and follow Him. This does NOT mean that we need to get rid of everything we have, it was a test because Jesus knew that the rich man placed love for his belongings over love for God (thus a violation of the first commandment). Point stands, money does not grant you acceptance to heaven, in fact, it just makes things a little harder because you are tempted to place faith and security in money instead of God.]

Bill goes into Deuteronomy 28 and claims that poverty is a curse. [This is another common verse for Word-Faith proponents. This is an Old Testament covenant between God and the nation of Israel. In that day, a blessing from God was viewed as a prosperous nation as a whole, in no way did it apply to the individual. The obedience spoken of here was to hold the entirety of the law as defined in the book of Deuteronomy. The nation did eventually turn away and the curse happened in the form of the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles.]

Proverbs 6:2 and 18:21 are quoted out of context. [These verses are taken by Bill to mean that we have the creative power that God has; this means that anything we speak will come true if we have faith. This is not correct. If you read Proverbs 6:1-5, the context is clearly about making a foolish vow, which the solution is to humble yourself in apology and hope for mercy from the person you vowed to. Proverbs 18:21 is about self-control as it relates to sin. A parallel New Testament passage is James 3:1-12.]

Bill states that this business is your ministry and you will bring more people to that religion by setting up a board and easel than all the people in the churches and synagogues. [This is very similar, though a distinction can be made, to the basic aspect of all religious cults that the true church has left the earth and this system is the true restored system. See C.A.R.M. for more info on religious cults.]

Bill says that more people will come to Christ here than in any church with all the people including the pastor. [The boasting of the organization about this makes it clear that it is proud of the fact. Further, coming forward in such a place by a person who is seeped in Word-Faith theology is not coming to Christ at all. I will suggest that Bill Britt is leading millions of people astray every year. Are people genuinely saved there? Yes, because God is so sovereign that He can act through our own foolish actions to bring one of His elect to saving faith. Even if that happens, God, not BWW, is to be praised.]

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Are You a Petty Thinker, or a Big Thinker?

Magic of Thinking Big
David J, Schwartz

Chapter 4 – How to Think Big

The author states that “where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches, or pounds, or college degrees, or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking.” (pg 66) Further, “How big do we think determines the size of our accomplishments.”

The greatest weakness we all have is self-deprecation; thinking less of ourselves than we really are; the author gives many examples of how people don’t act on something because they have rationalized why they should not do it.

The author takes the phrase “Know thyself” and alters it to what he calls most people interpretation as “Know thy negative self”, indicating that “most self-evaluation consists of making long mental lists of one’s faults, shortcomings, inadequacies.” (pg 66)

Here is how to help measure your true size (pg 66; quoted exactly):

  1. Determine your five chief assets. Invite some objective friend to help – possibly your wife, your superior, a professor – some intelligent person who will give you an honest opinion.
  2. Next, under each asset, write the names of three persons you know who have achieved large success but who do not have this asset to as great a degree as you.

After doing this, the author suggests that the only conclusion to this is that you are bigger than you think because you will have out ranked many successful people.

He makes yet another hit against education:

People who use difficult, high-sounding words and phrases which most folks have to strain themselves to understand are inclined to be overbearing, and stuffed shirts. And stuffed shirts are usually small thinkers. (pg 67)

He goes on to explain that the only bearing that words have is how they effect our own attitudes and the attitudes of others. His basis for this is that we only think in images, not words, so we should use words that promote positive images for ourselves and our listeners. He concludes on this point:

Big thinkers are specialists in creating positive, forward-looking, optimistic pictures in their own minds and in the minds of others. To think big, we must use words and phrases which produce big, positive mental images. (pg 68).

He lists a table of small, negative image phrases verses big, positive image phrases. Here is the first 6 out of 11 listed. (pg 68-9):

  1. It’s no use, we’re whipped vs. Let’s keep trying. Here is a new angle
  2. I was in that business once and failed, never again vs. I went broke, but it was my own fault. I’m going to try again.
  3. I’ve tried but the product won’t sell. People don’t want it vs. So far I’ve not been able to sell the product. But I know it is good and I’m going to find the formula that will put it over.
  4. The market is saturated. Imagine, 75% of the potential has already been sold. Better get out vs. Imagine, 25% of the market is still not sold. Count me in. This looks big!
  5. Their orders have been small. Cut them off. vs. Their orders have been small. Let’s map out a plan for selling them more of their needs.
  6. Five years is too long a time to spend before I’ll get into the top ranks of your company. Count me out. vs. Five years is not really a long time. Just think, that leaves me 30 more years to serve at a high level.

The author then gives us four ways to develop the vocabulary of a big thinker (pg 69):

  1. Use big, positive, cheerful words and phrases to describe how you feel. “Say you feel wonderful at every possible opportunity and you will begin to feel wonderful – and bigger, too! Become known as a person who always feels great. It wins friends.”
  2. Use bright, cheerful, favorable words and phrases to describe other people. What you say will eventually get back to the person you said it about. Be sure that your words are good.
  3. Use positive language to encourage others. Compliment people about anything and everything.
  4. Use positive words to outline plans to others. “Promise victory and win support. Build castles, don’t dig graves.

The author then suggests through a series of examples that we should see things as they could be, not how they are. On page 75, he lists steps to see things as they could be:

  1. Practice adding value to things.
  2. Practice adding value to people.
  3. Practice adding value to yourself.

The chapter ends with a table of 11 common situations (S) and the ‘petty thinker’ way (P) vs. the ‘big thinker’ way (B) of seeing it. Here are paraphrases of the first five (pg 81):

  1. S=Expense accounts – P=seeks to decrease costs – B=seeks to increase income
  2. S=Conversation – P=emphasis on negative qualities – B=emphasis on positive qualities
  3. S=Progress – P=retrenchment or status quo – B=expansion
  4. S=future – P=limited – B=promising
  5. Work – P=looks for ways to avoid – B=Looks for more, especially helping others

Christian refutation


As I mentioned earlier, there is a connection between words and actions, however, in this type of material, that connection is twisted to the ends of the author. The ends of the author is to produce a book which is appealing to you so that you can fulfill your earthly desires. Take another look yet again at 1 John 2:15.

With that being said, consider James 3:1-12:

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
2For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.
3Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
4Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.
5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!
6And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.
7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.
8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God;
10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
11Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?
12Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

Truly, our words are important, however, this is used here is a diagnosis for your own condition. If your words are good, you are in line with God. If your words are not good, you are not. Changing your words, but not your heart will only lead to stress. It will cause you to have a point in your life where you will crack under that pressure of trying to conform, especially when you are doing it only to satisfy your own desires.


The most commonly quoted verse by people of this movement (Word-Faith; mind you this is a secular book, but it is influenced by this movement) is Proverbs 23:7b:

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

The thing that I find very ironic considering this movement is when we observe the context (Proverbs 23:6-8):

Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, "Eat and drink!"
But his heart is not with you.
8You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.

The context is a person who is engaging in discourse with a greedy person who is simply looking to exploit the situation. The statement is true, however, however you are in your heart is who you are. Again, however, the above applies: You can not speak into existence your positive heart. Such a radical change only comes by a renewing of your mind. To do this, you do not need ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, you need the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Comparing ourselves to others

When the author is talking about assets and comparing your assets to that of someone else, I was reminded of a passage of scripture. This is from the Book of John, 21:20-22

Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
22Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"

In this passage, Peter is questioning Jesus about the life of John. You can read the response to that question above. We must remember that each person has his own gifts from God; we don’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else for anything at all.

Positive confessions

Ephesians 4:25 makes a good point:

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

This means truth in absolutely everything, no exception. The author fails to make a concession for genuine problems. He is teaching that no matter what, speak wonderfully and you will become wonderful. What if you are actually sick? What about the recent passing of a person? To say you are wonderful in such cases will build up inside of you stress and emotional strain. This does NOT mean you run through the streets screaming your problems, but truly, if you go in to work and are ill, someone asks you how you are, and you say that you are sick (I am assuming that you are capable of working. I used to push myself with the material of this book into going to work when it was more appropriate to stay home and rest), the example of your work is a testimony in itself.