The Fundamental Flaw Of America

The fundamental problem in America is the system is setup to protect property owners rather than people.

It inevitably results in outcomes such as in the tragic case of Tyre Nichols. (May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon him and his family, and may we be its agents and a comfort to those he left behind.)

Policing is different for different profiles. For the affluent, it’s protect and serve. For the poor, it’s search and destroy, as seen in the application of Broken Window policing theory that is designed to proactively protect the affluent and prevent the encroachment of crime from poorer areas where it is prevalent due largely to their marginalization (think gentrification) and neglect.

Whether you resist or don’t resist, the truth remains that property owners don’t get treated the way Tyre Nichols and countless others who fit his profile have been treated.

The brutality is not against blacks per se but against the poor who historical discrimination and unreconciled, unjust government policies (see FHA and racially restrictive covenants) has all but ensured blacks will be categorized as.

There has been a perpetual, pernicious and well documented history of discrimination against blacks that result in the deep disparities in property ownership and property values that we see today.

The system in America is shaped by and deeply rooted in that racist (might I also add sexist) history which results in what is indisputable and rightfully called systemic racism.

The police are not the problem.

Police are regular heroes in our communities when the system allows them to be. I see their hearts, I see their service, I see their sacrifice everyday. I would not want a community without healthy, effective and equitable policing.

The police are not the problem.

The problem is the unjust and unequitable system they are made to submit to and operate within.

The problem is the proxy war against the poor.

I would argue, that’s why no matter how different the police are (black police officers in this case), the outcomes are often the same.

Police are arguably a victim of this system as well –the underpaid poor weaponized against the poor. Part of the solution is empowering them to stand against harmful policies without retribution, to educate them to lead and manage people, to give them a voice in how to police their own communities and to pay them what is commensurate with having such a vital job and important skill set.

What repeatedly happens to people who fit the profile of Tyre Nichols is simply the fruit of the poison tree –the inevitable outcome of unrequited injustice and a system with a bad setup that lends to bad incentives.

The fundamental problem in America is the system is setup to protect property owners rather than people.

Another vital part of the solution is for blacks, who I understand are not a monolith yet we need to think collectively on key issues such as wages and property ownership.

To be clear, there is a vast difference between being a property owner and being a black who happens to own property. When are we going to learn that individual success is not sufficient?

For blacks to become property owners in the eyes of the system, we must do so en masse. Enough of us have to do it to change the profile, so it matches that which the system is designed to protect.

I am not one to jump on the bandwagon of what’s trendy to be outraged about today. But, since people are somewhat paying attention, I thought I’d attempt to leverage the opportunity to try to inject something into the conversation that might move us in a more helpful direction:

America needs to right its wrongs such as instituting an unsecured, without qualification, near zero interest FHA loan program for black Americans just as the whites were allowed during FDRs New Deal but that blacks were unjustly excluded from.

But regardless of what others do or don’t, Blacks need to concentrate on Capacity (property ownership, voting power), Consolidation (capacity at scale), and above all Community (togetherness on key issues) so rather than make a lot of noise only to end right back here again, we can speak softly and carry a big stick.

My two cents.

#tyre #TyreNichols #police #race #black #systemicracismexists

The Futility Of Trying To Make It All Fit

You know what’s funny?

But, don’t laugh.

I’m a grown man that still gets frustrated about not being able to fit everything that needs to be done in one day.

We learn very early on that each day has twenty-four hours. And as an adult we understand that finite resources must be managed through budgeting –most importantly that is, in order to say “yes” to one thing requires saying “no” to another.

The frustration often comes when I’ve not taken the time to be deliberate about what I’m saying no to and am somehow caught by surprise by what hasn’t gotten done and disappointed by violated expectations (mine and others I’ve made promises to).

In those moments I have to grow up, to:
1. remember that it’s unfeasible to get everything done at once, therefore,
2. to take an account,
3. to choose based on my priorities what I’m saying yes to today,
4. to understand what I’m saying no to for today,
5. to evaluate if or when the “nos” may get a “yes” in the future and
6. communicate accordingly to stakeholders so that the appropriate expectations are set.

I shouldn’t just barge into the day hoping to please everyone.

I can’t.

So, I need a plan and to make sure I’m letting the right people down.

The goal is to express my life in a manner that is true to who I am and consistent with my values like how a fruit tree expresses fruit after its own kind, providing sustenance and shelter to other living things.

So, the goal is being authentic and fruitful, not being liked.

I often overcome dissatisfaction with how my day has gone by beginning it with a realistic understanding of the limitations of the time available to me, resulting in being deliberate about how I’m budgeting my time so at the end of the day I know I’ve spent my time in ways that are consistent with who I am and what my priorities are.

I am Christ’s.

And, my priorities are enjoying life in Christ and imparting it to others, all for the glory of God.

So, everyday, how I’ve spent my time should reflect that and then, assuming I have actually identified my authentic who and why, I can enjoy the satisfaction of having expressed and invested toward that.

It’s almost embarrassing how often as an adult I have to be reminded of how to function within constraints. But, I’m human and sometimes circumstances and emotions overwhelm my critical thinking, so I put this here as a reminder and in case it can help anyone else!

#Thriveday #planningday #adulting #timemanagement #productivity #fruitfulness #purpose

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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The Ministry Of Work

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com The Ministry Of Work

NOTE: This is a stub. It’s a raw outpouring of what came to me in a moment. There were points that were deeply helpful to me and I felt compelled to share it at this time, so I’m posting it before it is finished and will fill it out as more about “The Ministry Of Work” comes to me.

Ugh, another work day.

I found myself in a place where I was completely disenchanted with my work. I didn’t have any motivation. I didn’t want to do anything. I simply didn’t have the energy.

I felt bad for feeling bad. Am I being lazy? Am I depressed? Am I burned out?

This feels familiar. I’ve been here before. Experience teaches me to execute James 1:5.

So, I share my struggle with a fellow believer. I seek wise counsel. I pray.

My petition is singular, “I’m completely unmotivated. I don’t want to do anything. I’m not sure if I’m being lazy or if I’m depressed. What am I supposed to do?”

Then, I rest, not just rest from my tasks but I rest in the Lord, waiting, listening for His guidance.

The answer comes to me in that quiet place.

“Not what [you should do], who.”

Whatever matter we’re seeking the will of God for, we can know with certainty that the Father wants us to be like Him, to have His heart.

Everything good is in Him and His perspective on everything is perfect, so who is our Father and what is His heart as it relates to to work?

God is a giver.

God gives abundantly.

God gives so there is more than enough for everyone.

God in His wisdom creates means and mechanisms for the provision of all living things.

The means are His creation –natural resources and the mechanisms are the systems He’s ordained for the extraction and conversion of natural resources into provision for the care of His creatures.

And, one such mechanism God has given us to care for His creation and provide His abundance is work.

Lack, insufficiency, hunger and poverty are all a result of man’s corruption, exploitation and mismanagement of God’s creation.

When we fail to work for the benefit of others we steal, we rob the world of God’s loving provision through us.

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” -Ephesians 4:28

Lies block love.

Show me suffering of a man’s soul and I’ll show you a lie.

In the light of the truth of who God is and who I should emulate, I can see the lies that I allowed to creep into my heart and cause my dis-ease:

1. Work is just about getting rather than giving. (Salaries, titles, status)

2. We get our fulfillment or value from our work.

3. If I can’t do what I want to do, I’m not doing anything.

Work is more than just a means of feeding ourselves, it is also a means for expressing Christ (the heart of the Father), it’s an opportunity to minister His character to others, it’s a means of communicating who He is.

I don’t typically enjoy physical labor but there’s a work I do with delight –washing my wife’s car. I do the work with diligence, excellence and attention to detail. I love conveying the truth of God that she’s cared for and it gives me pleasure to think of her constantly riding around in a tangible reminder.

We should also look for the ways others are seeking to convey His person through their work and be co-laborers with them, especially when we’re unclear about or do not yet have any of our own.

We should be driven to make ourselves useful and be productive as God is productive.

“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.'” -John 5:17

Sometimes, lethargy is due to causes less sinister than lies and disobedience, sometimes it’s due to being overwhelmed with complexity and decision fatigue, not quite knowing which thing to do or choosing which task would be the most profitable. But, what we know for sure is that some labor, any labor is more profitable than none. So choose something and get moving because it’s in the process of walking in faith that God provides for the next step.

Though I’ve hinted to it, I would be remiss in not emphasizing that a part of who the Father is and what His heart is as it relates to work is rest.

When we fail to properly rest, we fail to properly express who God is.

We should either be working or resting in preparation for work (which includes enjoying the fruit of our work). When we do it properly, we glorify God, we are revealed as sons of God and become vessels God uses to pour out His abundant and manifold grace in the world.

This newfound perspective of work not just as a task (what) but as a means to express God’s character (who), to be a giver as He is a giver and to be His vessel for His provision and care of His creation deeply encourages and revitalizes me. It places a high and challenging calling on all that we do.

Therefore,

“whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” -Colossians 3:23

Work.

Posted by Paul Luckett.

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Maintaining Focus

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Maintaining Focus

I am grieved by the brokenness of the world and the suffering it causes.
I am often tempted to try to “save” or change the world.
But, that is not my charge.

The world will remain broken and grow worse as long as there is evil in it, that is, any way of thinking besides God’s.

I have one focus: to attend to my Lord’s house,
to see to the provision for those who are in it,
to maintain it as a safe place
and to seek His beloved, declaring everywhere the good news of His salvation from sin whose infection has caused a broken and dying world.

And, as we who are being saved enter His house, we wash each other’s feet so not to bring the filth that is outside inside.

My goal therefore is not to save the world but to lift up Christ and see people saved out of it:

To invite everyone to the courtyard of the knowledge of Christ,
To minister them into the sanctuary of relationship with Christ,
To lead them into the Holy of Holies of the Love of Christ,
To serve the House of God as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

Practically, that means to make the Love of God known not only in word but also in deed and truth (alḗtheia -sincerity): in how I serve, how I work, how I relate to everything –in how I live (1 John 3:18).

May I be found so doing until my Lord returns,
when “all enemies have been put under His feet” and evil is defeated completely (I Corinthians 15:25).
Then, by His power, there will be no more destruction, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9

I have decided to make all that I do in service to this: my Lord’s house. As Paul said, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.

If it doesn’t further this, I have no part in it. #kingdomfocus #focus

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Honoring Lavontraon “Trey” Smith

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Honoring Lavontraon Trey Smith #DueHonor

I don’t know what the deal was but I was in Popeyes in Starkville on a Tuesday and the line was wrapped around the door.

So, I couldn’t help but notice this young man named Trey who served each and every last guest with patience & a smile.

They were hopping and Trey rolled with it. This guy is a diamond under pressure.

Hat tip. I thought someone should know. #duehonor

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Goats Cannot Be Convinced

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Goats Cannot Be Convinced
Photo Courtesy: Guru Thodime on Flickr

After 20+ years of studying, teaching and preaching, I am almost embarrassed to admit what I’m just now learning:

Goats cannot be convinced.

Sheep hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him. So, my sole focus should be to speak with His voice as I follow Him.

Not only should I speak His words but with the Spirit in which they were spoken. Love.

“He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break…”
Isaiah 42:2-4

In short, I’ve got to stop yelling at goats. It’s futile.

And, I also should not be surprised nor discouraged that there few sheep and many many more goats.

But, my desire should be (and is) to get connected with every sheep that I can.

References:
Isaiah 42:2-4
John 10:26-27
Matthew 7:13-14
Acts 26:28
1 Corinthians 11:1
Romans 8:7

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Honoring Elsie Short

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Honoring Elsie Short #DueHonor

It’s a Sunday and all the florist shops are closed. I needed a custom item the same day and visited Kroger’s floral section hoping I could find a suitable substitute.

I asked someone working in the section if they had any and she responded they could make one if ordered at least 24 hours in advance. A lady who normally works in that section, happened to be in the store doing her own grocery shopping and overheard our conversation.

She asked me what I was looking for and WHILE OFF THE CLOCK, put her own grocery shopping on hold, begin pulling flowers together and made it on the spot.

She handed me the item with a smile. I told her how deeply grateful I was for her kindness. And, as quickly as she appeared, she left.

Her name is Elsie Short.

She has no idea about the impact she made today (the item was not for me). But as for me, I wouldn’t care if Kroger were more expensive than every other grocery store. What Elsie Short did today was more than enough to make me a Kroger customer for life!

I thought someone should know.
#duehonor

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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We Must Always Fight

I believed this just a few days ago, but I grew up.

I felt that I shouldn’t have to fight for what belongs to me, like love from my wife for example. But the Spirit revealed that would be true were it not for the enemy.

Because of our enemy, Satan, who lives to divide, steal, kill and destroy, we must ALWAYS fight for EVERYTHING.

In fact, to have ANYTHING good, EVEN FREE things such as the Love of God, I MUST FIGHT to receive it and fight to keep it because Satan opposes me and raises all kinds of Hell to get between me and good.

That is why it is written, “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.” -Matthew 11:12

Have I then made grace works? Certainly not!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

Faith is the key but even belief does not come without opposition.

“Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
Luke 8:12

In short, a reality of this life is that I MUST ALWAYS FIGHT.

That is one of the things that makes the promise of heaven so sweet. There will be no enemy and I will have to war no more.

But until then, I MUST FIGHT for all the good God offers.

And this is the fight, to stand in the light, to keep all that I am and bring all that I have into the light where darkness cannot dwell. Jesus is the Light. (John 8:12)

“Jesus answered, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.'”
John 6:28-29

Plot twist:

God allows Satan’s interference.

Why?

There are reasons unknown to me but I believe two are:

1. It makes me stronger and molds me to the image of His Son, Jesus.

2. We’re not as quick to hand over what we’ve fought for unlike what Adam did with a kingdom that was just given.

God uses the fight to perfect us to rule with Him.

Therefore, I will FIGHT with joy!

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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52 Weeks of Gratefulness #20 – John “J” Jefferson

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #20 – John "J" Jefferson
Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com 52 Weeks of Gratefulness #20 – John "J" Jefferson

In Week 20 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for John Jefferson aka “J”.

Ok. I’m breaking rules by taking pictures of people in the gym but this is for a good cause and I wanted you to see him in the context where I usually encounter him.

My wife sent me this little quip a couple of weeks ago about how we can either be thermometers or thermostats. We can either take on the temperature of the room (thermometer) or we can change the climate of the room (thermostat). “J” is definitely a thermostat.

Years ago, I’m in the gym and this dude walks up to me out of the blue with one of his fists extended and simply says, “You aight, bro?” We bump fists, exchange greetings and then get on with the next set. That simple exchange changed the entire atmosphere of the gym. He didn’t just do that with me, he does it with everybody. And now, all the guys greet each other. We’ve become more mindful of each other, more courteous about how we use stations and put up equipment. We spot each other and encourage each other. I have made real friends like Daniel Russell all because one guy was intentional and consistent about saying, “Hi” which encouraged me to follow suit.

But, there’s even more about “J” that I’m thankful for beyond this powerful act of leadership. J’s entire attitude is culture shifting. You’ll often find him in the gym early, at 5 AM, fully alive. He’s going all out, often looking like Bane using some apparatus of tortue (elevation training mask, vertical jump training belt, weight vest, etc.), all while singing or dancing or both! He exudes joy.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him a little and I know he’s faced some serious and difficult challenges in the last couple of years. But, it appears he takes the same approach to that as he does his workouts, even in the midst of adversity he seems determined to enjoy every minute of life and to take others with him.

He’s also a soldier, serving our country at the highest level (to put one’s life on the line). I see him leading in so many ways that I want to follow. He inspires me to step out of my comfort zone and to live with joy for the benefit of others.

I’m grateful. #52WoG

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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Satan’s Sword

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com Satan's Sword
Art: Hell Sword by FirebatFX

Satan is a counterfeiter.

I see now that he also has a sword with two edges meant to both draw and drive: the lie. (John 8:44, Hebrews 4:12)

The lie draws, appealing to the desire of the deceived, drawing them away from the Light, causing them to miss God. (John 3:19, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, James 1:14-15)

The lie drives, infuriating its opponents, driving them in anger to focus on the lie, causing them to miss God. (James 1:19-20)

Sin is missing the mark -God. The two edges of Satan’s sword, whether on offense or defense, are designed to cut off its victim from God -killing it. (Genesis 2:17, 3:4, Luke 9:59-60, Romans 6:23)

What a hellishly devious and dangerous device! (2 Corinthians 2:11, 10:4)

It is possible to so rail against the darkness, to focus so intensely on what’s wrong with something, that I give no attention to the Light; to what’s true, just, pure, lovely, praiseworthy and of good report. (Philippians 4:8)

It’s like walking into a dark room, complaining about the perils of walking in the dark but never turning on the light.

The result being that those that were in darkness are still in darkness, now plus me.

I repent!

The way we parry this devilish device is by not being moved by it! It is designed to get me to break rank, to peel me away from the battalion and away from the Commander In Chief, who the enemy knows he has no hope of defeating, while by myself I have no hope of defeating the enemy! (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Therefore, I must not focus on the lie but I must focus on the Light. Proclaim Truth. When the enemy comes against it, proclaim more Truth as our Lord demonstrated in the wilderness of temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Light by its very nature will drive back darkness. (John 1:5, 8:12)

I must not focus on the lie but on the Truth and stand firm in the Light! (Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 6:13-14)

To do that I must have my feet shod in the preparation of the “Gospel of peace”. (Ephesians 6:15)

I must eat, drink and breathe every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4), as revealed by the Holy Spirit in Scripture (1 John 4:1, 1 Corinthians 14:32) and expressed in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14, Hebrews 1:1-4).

And, then I must stand! Stand in the Light so that the Light shines through me. Then and only then can I be a vessel for those who sitt in darkness to see a great Light. (Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:12-17, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6)

The solution is to ALWAYS stand in the Light! (John 12:35-36, Philippians 4:8, 1 John 1:5-7)

Originally posted by Paul Luckett to Facebook here.

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