Category: Millennials

Blood, Sweat and Tears: The forgotten formula for long-term peace and prosperity in America

17504623_1425582290846774_1723984855442417737_oDuring a segment on my morning drive talk show on News/Talk 102.3 KXYL, Woody Tasch  of the Slow Money Institute and I discussed the perils of the modern American economy which emphasize short-term profit over a long-term vision of growth and development.

While I haven’t learned enough about the Slow Money Institute to offer any kind of endorsement, the premise of his organization falls right in line with a problem I have with the modern way of doing business in America.

Tasch’s organization raises money to offer no-interest loans to small family farms that serve local communities. His vision seeks to move America away from centrally planned agriculture to local farming by sparking a revival through financial aid.

The road will be long, and will require substantial investments of money, time and effort before any return is realized, let alone the realization of his dream. But Tasch realizes that, and forges ahead anyway.

And, without knowing his political or religious views, I wish him well, because I know that if America is truly to become great again, it will need a generation of Taschs to rise up and plant trees beneath whose shade they may never sit.

America overcame all odds to win World War II and become a world superpower. We enjoyed unprecedented prosperity in the 1950s, survived an economic recession in the 1970s, enjoyed more unparalleled prosperity in the 1980s and 1990s, and, thanks to technology, enjoy a convenient, peaceful and prosperous lifestyle never before experienced in the history of man.

This way of life was not won in a single stock market rally. It wasn’t won in a lottery, and while World War II propelled us to superpower status, our success in the 1950s had as much to do with the ground that had been tilled in the progressive era as it did with Eisenhower’s leadership in the war and as President.

The proverb, previously referenced, that a society becomes great when old men plant trees under whose shade they know they’ll never sit, was the basis for American culture for more than 300 years. The colonists knew they would never enjoy the blessings of the nation they worked to build, yet they worked to build it anyway.

The revolutionary war soldiers knew that the nation of which they dreamed, where all men are regarded as equal in the sight of God and the law, would never mature in their lifetime, yet they took to the battlefields anyway, losing life and limb at the hands of the British army.

The founding fathers knew that their effort to shape a free and prosperous nation wouldn’t be completed in their lifetimes, yet they worked to create that nation anyway.

Men built farms, businesses, communities, towns and cities, dreaming of the greatness those things would become long after they passed. Fathers left legacies and inheritances to their children. Factories were built. Companies started. New inventions sent to market. Through this great society that arose on the premise of planting trees for the next generation, we saw the industrial and technology revolutions arise, which not only lifted America out of poverty, but much of the world as well.

Today, we enjoy the shade of those trees planted by our forefathers. We stand on the shoulders of giants. However, we have become so accustomed to enjoying prosperity, we’ve forgotten how to build it for the future.

You will rarely find a CEO of a publicly traded company that looks beyond the next quarter’s earnings report. After all, that’s the benchmark by which his performance is measured. The board of directors want to see an increasing stock price, strong earnings reports, and good coverage in the media.

A temporary drop in stock price, earnings, or public perception can be the end of a CEO’s career, even if that temporary downturn could lead to a brighter long-term future for the company. Therefore, few look farther than 3-6 months out. There’s no reward for planting trees for the next generation. In fact, it can be penalized.

It’s not just Wall Street CEO’s. Politicians rarely look past the next election, therefore long-term solutions are never offered. The Interstate Highway system, Civil Rights legislation, Social Security, and Women’s Suffrage would never pass in today’s political climate. In times past, politicians would risk their political careers if they thought it would better the country long-term.

Consumers rarely look beyond the next iPhone, smart screen or automobile. What legacy are we building and leaving for the next generation? Where are the trees we are planting?

We need a new generation to rise up, and we don’t necessarily have to wait for that generation to be born or come of age. The Baby Boomers, Gen-X, Y, or the Millennials can do this. We need a generation to rise up and plant trees for tomorrow, trees under whose shade they may never sit.

The opportunities are there. Wall Street has sucked up the big money in most industries, leaving a vacuum on Main Street that can be filled by the right breed of entrepreneurs. We can build America into a great country. We can do what generations of great Americans did before us.

The question is, are we willing? Are we willing to begin a project that will not be completed in our lifetime? Are we willing to make the sacrifices to benefit the generations to come?

I hope I am.

Castro, Cruz, and Texas Red vs. Blue

In the debut episode of the “Leland Acker Show” podcast, I examine Joaquin Castro’s decision to stay in the House and not challenge Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018, and what that means for Texas Democrats.

I also discuss what single event could turn Texas blue, the 10 reasons millennials are leaving Christianity, and Jeb Bush’s prospects in owning the Miami Marlins. Check it out, then tell me what you think.

The real reason Millennials are leaving Christianity

WP_20141002_003Rev. Darryl Bowdre has spent much of his adult life serving the community in north Tyler, Tex. He serves as pastor of the South Central Church of Christ, advocates for the community’s schools and students, mentors young men, and at one time had a radio show on the now-defunct KZEY 690 AM.

Once, Rev. Bowdre spent an entire episode of his show addressing the crisis with young people. Rev. Bowdre lamented that the younger generation was being seduced by violent music, drugs, peer pressure and sexual immorality. These temptations, according to Bowdre, were even overtaking what we would refer to as “the good kids.”

When Rev. Bowdre recorded that show, America was in a time of unparalleled prosperity. It was a prosperity that blinded many to their responsibilities to guide their children, and to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

“One day, when this party is over,” Rev. Bowdre stated, “We will stand before our Lord, and answer for what we didn’t do. We will answer for why we didn’t save the children.”

The day we stand before the Lord has not yet arrived. However, the party is over, and we are seeing the results of not having “saved our children.”

A recent article from Fox News offered 10 reasons why millennials are abandoning Christianity. Among those reasons were the breakdown of the family, lack of spiritual authenticity from adults, and the cultural abandonment of morality. These three reasons, along with the other seven, are symptomatic of the central disease diagnosed by Rev. Bowdre almost two decades ago. We didn’t teach our children. We didn’t intervene in their lives. We didn’t save them. Now, those children are young adults, and we are seeing the fruit of our inaction.

With the breakdown of the family, fathers have not been there to teach the children about their heavenly Father. Furthermore, with no functional family present, children have not been taught values, virtue and faith. They have been left to teach themselves.

The children have been teaching themselves using Hollywood, atheistic professors, and personal pleasure as their curriculum. This problem is compounded when they see the adults in their lives being hypocritical; being one person at church, and a completely different person at home. The lack of leadership and guidance from their parents has breed contempt for their parents’ generation, and all the traditions and values that go with it, including religion.

Meanwhile, millennials seek purpose apart from God. They want their lives to mean something, while turning away from the One who designed life itself.

As a result, there are riots at Berkeley, riots in Ferguson, Mo., skyrocketing STD rates, and a willingness by many western youth to join terrorist organizations like ISIS.

Most adults today are horrified at what the millennial generation has become. However, we only have ourselves to blame. In the party of the 1990s and the early 2000s, we abandoned our children, allowing them to raise themselves in society, opening the door for Satan to steal their hearts.

Rev. Bowdre warned us. One day, we will answer for the fact that we did not save our children.

The good news is, if you woke up above the grass today, there is still time to change.

Historically, Christians have been in the minority in the world. We have never really steered the world agenda, although we enjoyed a lot of influence in the founding of the United States of America.

Being the cultural minority leads to revival in the Christian community. Being culturally dominant often leads to complacency, which leads to surface-level faith and weak theology. Being in the cultural minority challenges our faith, which forces us to learn more about God, strengthen our faith, and stand on truth even when it’s not popular to do so.

And on that note, the millennial generation is ripe for a soul harvest. Millennials crave meaning, and desperately want their lives to have an impact. Once they take up a cause, they will follow it no matter the consequences. Which means, if you lead a millennial to Christ, you have not only led a soul to salvation, but you have created a super-evangelist, apologists, author, speaker, and disciple-maker.

When millennials accept Christ, and conform themselves to His image, and not a man-made Christ-like image, they totally sell out for the Lord. The result is more millennials being won for Christ.

It’s not easy. You will not win millennials to Christ by talking about the ABC plan of salvation, or by asking them to say the sinner’s prayer. You have to be the embodiment of Isaiah 1:18 (Come, let us reason together.) You have to be able to discuss your faith, what salvation is, and answer the hard questions. However, if you are sincere, the millennials will see it, respect it, and may even repent and believe.

That’s not to say that the majority will be reached. You may only reach one in a thousand.

However, before that happens, you have to settle your faith in your heart. Authenticity is the highest virtue to millennials. And to have authenticity, you have to be authentic.

Therefore, make your calling and election sure. Study your Bible, learn all you can about the Lord. Settle your faith in your heart. Then get busy reaching these young people for Christ.