Pandora’s Box Of Automation

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I am afraid that automation is going to put too many churches out of business.  Historically, technology has always created entirely new occupations and opportunities while destroying old industries and jobs. There is little doubt that the auto industry is a good example to exemplify the former cases, as horse carriages phased out when the technology became widely available to produce the automobile. There is enough economic precedence to support these former statements which may explain why so many people today naively think that millions of jobs will still be created in the near future due to the advent of information technology. The reality is that we don’t know what will happen in the future. Only the Lord knows for sure, not you or I. I feel, however, that our society has chosen to ignore an important piece of biblical scripture — Proverbs 16:1-4, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD.” We are not in control of anything. Who are we to dictate what will happen in the future with certainty anyways? We are not God! In the Bible, the Lord is pretty clear about this “business of tomorrow.” He teaches us in Matthew 6:34 that anxiety about the future is meaningless and that “Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Which position are we in to make certain claims about the economical future of our great country? I say we aren’t in any position to predict anything with certainty. We don’t have that luxury. All that we can do is to speculate! This is my speculation — I do think that the new age of information technology will fall short of creating enough jobs to replace the ones it will destroy in our society.  I can see many of you thinking, “Yeah right.”

Let me ask you a question: How many people do you think were employed at YouTube when the company was sold to Google back in 2005? The number, brothers and sisters in Christ, was 65! General Motors at its peak hired 840,000 employees. Today, GM hires 36,000 hard working employees. That is a drastic loss of employment between the years of 1979 and 2016. Have you heard about the newly developed app “Instagram?” Who hasn’t, right? How many people do you think worked at Instagram when the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012? The answers ladies and gentleman was 13! The irony of the former is that Instagram was sold for a billion dollars. The per-employee evaluation at Instagram at the time of its purchase was 77 million!

Aren’t these new companies supposed to generate millions of jobs because of technological advancements in order to replace the ones that they destroy? Many pentecostals are making life plans and setting business strategies based on this logic. I personally like the position taken by the author, Martin Ford of the book Rise of the Robots. In his book he talks about how information technology is now a utility that comes with machine intelligence. I think he is absolutely correct about his assertions, as information technology today is as necessary as electricity, as he puts it. Can you imagine banking without technology? How about education? Are cars free of technology? Which industry is free of this new utility? Won’t you agree that all new technological businesses created will take advantage of this powerful new utility? Of course they will! It is where we are headed. Let’s assume for a moment that we are going to take advantage of information technology in the creation of new industries. Then, millions of jobs are likely to be lost and be replaced by a few, if any jobs from these emerging tech enterprises as contemporary technology systems already exist. We have seen evidence of that already in the cases of the creation of YouTube, Instagram, and even the app, “What’sUp.” Why would these technology based industries create many more jobs in the future when they already possess so many cases of automation in society? I don’t think they will. In fact, I am concerned about the position of the church and the long term sustainability of our denomination. As unemployment increases due to automation, less support in Sunday and Wednesday donations we receive. Due to severe societal automation, we grow weaker as a body due to advances in technology.    

Uncontrolled information technology adoption will lead to tiny workforces where only a few will benefit from its advancements which could in effect drastically change the way our economy operates and how we live in the United States and abroad. Automation is here to stay. Sooner or later, simply based on the concept of Moore’s law, these new information technology systems will get better increasing their capacities of self learning leading to more automation in the near future. We are going to need the Lord more than ever.

I hope I am being disturbingly persuasive. As technologies continue to accelerate, I find no reason to believe that new jobs will be created to replace the ones they destroy. In fact, I think that the millions of white-collar jobs we enjoy having today will turn into maybe thousands causing a severe shift in the quality of living experienced by tens of millions of Americans. The former has a direct impact in many of our congregations.

I hope my speculations are wrong and unfounded but from what I see, I don’t think so. I guess that only time will tell. So you maybe asking, “What should Christians do to prepare for the rise of automation?” There are a few things you must do in order to protect yourself against this inevitable trend. First and foremost, be closer to the Lord and believe that He is in control of your life. Learn how to recite Philippians 4:13 to yourself, “I can do all things through Christ which strengths me.” Second, prepare yourself to careers that involve a large degree of creativity and unpredictability. The machine is predictable and logic. Be equipped to be unpredictable and illogical sometimes! Lastly, learn how to manage chaos and talk effectively with a human being rather than primarily positioning yourself as a machine button pusher.

Pentecostals, open your eyes to what is right in front of you! I am concerned about the position of the church and the long term sustainability of our denomination. The dangers of automation will affect us in the years to come. It is inevitable. I honestly don’t think that advances in information technology will help us with sustaining ourselves in the future as many believe. Only the Lord knows to what degree will automation affect us, that’s for sure. Our hope is that God is with us. We are going to need Him more than ever.

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Can Technology Take Over Churches?

Social media will never fully replace brick and mortar churches in Cleveland or any other small city in America. The reason why I am so convinced about this is because God isn’t always about technology. The Lord is all about people and His kingdom. The idea that on-line communities will destroy the church establishment will prove to be false as long as we focus on the message of God and the development of people instead of the financial desires of man. By the way, I am not saying that technology initiatives shouldn’t be taken seriously or should be totally ignored. When push comes to shove, supporting “real-life” church establishments is better than having a “virtual” church.

A church is meant to be a community. God didn’t make Adam and a smartphone. He made Adam and Eve to coexist together and live and speak with each other for a reason. As part of the body of God, they both were made to exchange ideas and live in harmony with the real world. When we go to a “real church,” we do a lot of that. We speak with friends and other believers, we laugh and cry together, we celebrate God and coexist in the same environment, testifying the love of God with many others in church. Overtime, we tend to start caring for each other and serving in projects for the Lord in our real communities. I am not sure if the former is able to be done in a “virtual church.” 

We are church goers because we believe in the principles of our church denomination, the weekly activities of our congregation, and the message that is delivered by our pastor every Sunday morning. I don’t foresee our family compromising on our core religious beliefs, what our social activities should be and in ignoring the teachings of our pastor because of technology. I am not saying that technology can’t be a part of what we call “the church experience” in the near future but to assume that perishable “machinery” will replace an important and necessary establishment, the brick and mortar church, is overrated.

With things being fair — The advent of cyber live streams have helped tons of believers and unbelievers to hear the word of God which advances the idea that parts of the church could be done on-line. I totally agree that social media posts on twitter are here to stay and will continue to have an impact on how we share the gospel in our communities and beyond. I just don’t think that an internet church is ever going to replace the essence of what we belief, the way we engage in play and how leaders of the church use their gifts to influence others in a godly way. The former has to be done in a brick and mortar church.

Maybe some principles can be taught using video sharing technology but do you really think that we can explain salvation to unbelievers without the many non-verbal communication codes that we know about? How about explaining the gift of charisma to someone over a smartphone?

When I was a kid, I used to go to soccer games in my former country of Brazil. The feeling you experience when going to the stadium can’t be replicated by watching an on-line feed. When 150 thousand people are simultaneously jumping in a soccer stadium, especially after a goal, the feeling? You never forget. Things shake, you sweat in happiness, scream and smile! When we “attend” church over the internet, the music doesn’t touch us the same way, we can’t experience what others are experiencing, and the atmosphere of worship is never the same. The church experience simply isn’t there.

I would argue that believing that technology can always replicate reality can have disastrous consequences in the lives of many, especially troubled people. Belonging to a real church is part of what “living a good life” is all about.  Social media may be a great tool for sharing photos and keeping in contact with old friends and family but when it comes to developing good morals and raising a family, a brick and mortar church is a necessity.

Advice: Stick With Your Talent

Advice: Stick With Your Talent

The Lord has given you a gift for a very good reason — to glorify Him with it. We all are good in something and brothers and sisters… we need to make sure that we stick with the talent (or talents) that God has given us. The actual gifts given by God to us are many. So the question is… What is your gift? Seek to find what you are good at and use it! Keep in mind though that the gift that you have received came from the creator of the universe. 


God be glorified, always. Be blessed, 🙂

Re-Create Yourself Once In A While.

Re-Create Yourself Once In A While.

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There is a lot of value in recreating yourself once in a while. IBM in 1984 was a much different company than it is today. Steve Martin became a dad when he was 67 years old. Betty White wasn’t a well known person by the public until she was fifty one years of age. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a body builder, then he became a widely known actor, served as a politician and is now a philanthropist. You need to champion the need to innovate and control your destiny by not allowing others to define who you are. This doesn’t mean that you should be mean, treat others with disrespect, turn yourself blue when common sense calls you to be yellow or dreaming of becoming a rockstar without having any talent for music and how to act and react in the entertainment industry. Don’t get me wrong — engaging in creative and continuous self-analysis and advancement isn’t an easy task but is one that is of paramount importance. In 2o17, we all need to be able to maneuver in order to gain or shift terrain and advance our own careers and life campaigns. In many instances, the former requires that we recreate ourselves. Every seven years, our body cells change allowing us to recreate ourselves in the literal sense. Perhaps, the good God has created us that way biologically so that we eventually learn to think about ourselves in terms of re-creation. In reality, there are a number of ways in which you can re-create yourself.  In this article, I will share with you three ways in which you can re-create yourself and advance or change your career or life focus as an outcome.

  1. Be a source of pleasure. No matter which career you are in or want to pursue, don’t be grumpy, melancholic, egoistic or egocentric, self-centered, or arrogant. Be the type of person you and your friends want to be around with. You don’t need to force your new image on others, either. Be a source of pleasure and celebrate creating harmony by making others to celebrate themselves.  Eventually, others will invite you in their circles and will legitimately enjoy being around you for the right reasons not because of  your position or authority. I see too many people today failing to re-create themselves into someone better because of a false belief that they need to stick to their century long traditions. Their stagnation is eminent; Loss of talent is predictable; lack of self-innovation and brand depreciation is likely.
  2. Question your assumptions once in a while. Be careful when making lifetime assumptions because when you assume, you make an… you know how the saying goes. Things change, life evolves, and people learn lessons. Not always but you know what I mean. In the spirit of wanting to recreate your image and questioning some of your lifelong goals and objectives, you have to be open minded to the possibilities that might head your way. One of the ways to accomplish the former is by questioning what you may think is untouchable to you. If I was so defensive about ever changing my upbringing instilled ideologies from childhood, I would have never turned into a college professor of any kind. In the country club culture in which I was born and raised in, becoming a college professor was seen as the ultimate sign of failure only after lacking a formal college education. I knew then and certainly know now, however, that the truth is far from what I was once told when growing up among the ultra wealthy elite society  but it took me “questioning my assumptions” in order to be able to see life as it is. Many today live their lives in a world of fantasy and make believe because of their inability to question their own circumstances, values and inherited biases. There is tremendous power in re-evaluating what you believe, feel, and care about. This doesn’t mean that you should be mean, treat others with disrespect, turn yourself blue when common sense calls you to be yellow, or totally ignore your history for the sake of change and advancement. Common sense plays a variable in the transition, of course.
  3.  Seek, investigate and council once in a while.  The bible teaches us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Just don’t forget that investigating and seeking counseling with the right people for each occasion is also a variable if you are seeking to re-create yourself for the better. When becoming your new you or re-creating your old self, eventually you will need to find your “future you” which quite often isn’t found by you because we are creatures of habit. Plans are established by council as it is written in Proverbs 20:18. Don’t forget that.  Question — Are you doing God’s will? Let me ask you differently, “Are you working with your godly gift so you can glorify Him and help others?” Most folks aren’t… at least it has been my observations. GOOD! It may be time for you to recreate yourself! We all have received a gift from God. Every single one of us we did regardless of color, creed, nationality… The gift of exhortation calls believers to become great counselors/advisers maybe teachers. Are you in the construction business when you should be in counseling?  Are you disorganized yet you wish to manage operations but possess the gift of piety? Maybe you belong somewhere in the devotional business. Some have the gift of love or prophecy yet they choose to ignore their calling because of family tradition and fear of change or shall we say boldly, “to recreate themselves” using the gifts that the good God has given to them.

It is impossible to control anybody’s destiny or image despite the many attempts made by many in our society. People can be temporarily conquered but long-term control is only achieved if the mind or shall we say people’s hearts allow it to happen. Re-creating yourself once in a while is perhaps the only mechanism you can use to keep yourself and others in line when living this arduous journey we call life. There is a lot of value in recreating yourself once in a while. The act of recreation gives you hope, can energize your persona and give you life strength. No wonder why retirees tend to live longer when they re-create themselves and keep a steady line of work after officially declaring,  “I am a retiree.” You need to champion the need to innovate and control your destiny by not allowing others to define who you are always seeking ways to do God’s will. Be a source of pleasure, question your assumptions once in a while, seek, investigate and council with a wide variety of people and constituents. Life evolves and we need to be fully aware of that. We have to re-create ourselves one in a while. It is a must. It is good for you and it is good for me. It is good for us all.

You Are To Do God’s Will Not Yours.

You Are To Do God’s Will Not Yours.

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God is in control not you or me — regardless of what many may think. When the good God takes you places, it is His wishes that shall be done because glory is to be given to Him not you or me. In Jeremiah 29:11 we learn, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord… plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Stop thinking that life revolves around you because it doesn’t. Life is about honoring God and using your god given gifts to advance his kingdom. If you are trying to write your legacy on anything, be aware! This world isn’t about you or me. It is about honoring God with all you have. Writing any legacy is an overrated statement. Isn’t more important to engage in the great commission than to work your whole life and claim that you are wonderful because you left a great legacy?  I believe it is… I could write about this topic forever but for the sake of space and discourse, I will be brief and present to you three ways I’ve seen the wrath of God put in action when someone puts him or herself in the center of their universe rather than putting God.

  1. You struggle and eventually will get destroyed.  I wish I could share with you empirical data supporting this statement. Unfortunately, what I am about to say, can only be understood and accepted through faith and faith alone. Every time someone chooses to make themselves look bigger than God, or think that life is about their accomplishments first and foremost, severe consequences often occur resulting in self destruction. Attempting to place yourself in the place of God will get you destroyed. Struggle will go your way and defeat will then be eminent. Learn to respect God and give Him glory all the days of your lives.
  2.  People get confused and experience great defeats. Sorry to give you bad news… My advise? Take yourself out of the spotlight and begin to serve Christ with your godly’s gifts. Nothing can be more important in life than this, literally. If you are thinking too much about what others are thinking about you, it is time to engage in deep thinking and critical self-reflection exercises and to go back to basics. Nobody should let his/her pride take over their own personas under any circunstances and always glorify God. What others think about you is up to them. What you do you do for God. Life should revolve around God not you or me. Why experience defeat if you can celebrate victories? Don’t confuse temporary success with God’s will.
  3. Decision making becomes myopic and stress is experienced.  The bible is quite clear about the importance of seeking counseling in life. In Proverbs 11-14 we read, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Prior to making any important decision, pray and realize that God — not you or your buddies — control the universe. Failing to realize this Christian reality is like enjoying living life with constant stress and fear. God should be at the center of your thinking. Seek God’s counsel. As soon as this principle is put in motion,  you often experience true happiness never seen before. Don’t limit yourself to what you know or think you know.  If you choose to seek for solutions for your daily challenges without God, I bet that your life will be full of stress and disappointments. It is only by making God the center of your universe that success will head your way, if it is God’s wish. After all, you are not in control of your future necessarily. It isn’t what you think is best for you to do but the realization that only God knows what is best for you. Pray often, forgive daily, seek the counsel of God.

God is in control not you or me — regardless of what many may think. The sooner you realize this important reality, your life will change and your stress levels will decrease exponentially. Fortunate are those who understand this and put into practice the teachings of the bible. In the end, my friends… it was never about you or me but God above all. Don’t be selfish and seek to please God. Never and I mean never forget that.