The Real War Against America

The Real War Against America

I have been working in the brand protection industry for almost 12-years now. Over that time, I have worked with multiple large, medium and small companies around the world to protect their intellectual-property rights (IPR). During the same time period I have seen an explosive of counterfeit goods being sold online – including on Amazon and other online marketplaces. Most people, however, don’t think twice about IPRs. Counterfeiting is a distance thought buried deep in the cobwebs of our minds. If the concept does pop up, folks usually dismiss the thought with a quick “it doesn’t matter” shrug. Nothing could be further from the truth. “Few crime problems are as wicked as product counterfeiting. Far from a victimless crime, virtually everyone is touched by it in some way. It affects consumer health and safety, reduces brand-owner profit and innovativeness, diminishes tax revenue while increasing prevention and enforcement costs, fuels organized crime and terrorism, undermines national security, and results in loss of jobs.” – Jeremy M. Wilson, Ph.D., Director, Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection, “Brand Protection 2020”  paper published by Michigan State University in September 2015 (emphasis added) “There is a long history of authorities only responding to calls for increased enforcement of IPRs if the products are dangerous. ‘You can’t die from buying a fake T-shirt or downloading an unauthorized album,’ they say. Well, yes, you can, actually—if the profits finance terrorism or organized crime like drugs, vice, and illegal arms.” – John Anderson, Chairman, Global Anti-Counterfeiting Network, IPR Enforcement Strategy and Communications Consultant, quoted by Jeremy M. Wilson in his “Brand Protection 2020” paper (emphasis added) Counterfeiting and...
Who Responds to Escort Ads?

Who Responds to Escort Ads?

The sexual exploitation awareness organization For The Silent recently placed two escort ads online for a medium sized city in Texas to see who would respond. During the two weeks that the ad ran, 950 men responded: “pastors, therapists, fire fighters, doctors, real estate agents—people’s fathers, husbands, and brothers.” Taking into account the demographics of the city, it means approximately 2 out of every 100 men in the city responded to that ad. For The Silent’s newsletter mentions that their study “broke apart friendships and caused uncomfortable exposure” hinting at the fact that some of their employees knew some of the folks who responded to the ad. Now to change things up, think about your town. What is happening there? I know we like to think that our communities are different and this type of thing only happens to “those” communities. The harsh reality is that sexual exploitation of women, children and even men is everywhere. We, the people of Jesus, need to stop hiding our heads in the sand and start speaking up against this issue. We also need to stop talking about simply getting ‘saved.’ While our eternal destination is important, it is only part of the Good News of Jesus. We humans are in desperate need of help and a Rescuer who not only will save our souls – but who will free us from the bondage of our own brokenness and show us a new way of living. Religion and knowledge about God will not help; rather we need a personal encounter with the Living God who will radically set us free – and note that this does...
A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday

O Lord, who hast mercy upon all, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of thy Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore Thee, a heart to delight in Thee, to follow and enjoy Thee, for Christ’s sake, Amen St. Ambrose of Milan (AD...
Peace From The Middle East

Peace From The Middle East

Carl Medearis is one of the foremost peacemakers of today as well as the author of two awesome books that greatly influenced my life (Speaking of Jesus: The Art of Not-Evangelism and Muslims, Christians, and Jesus: Gaining Understanding and Building Relationships). In the below video, Carl talks about what it means to bring peace to the Middle East by focusing on the Peacemaker Himself. Carl Medearis will be teaching alongside Rick Love at the online Modern Middle East Studies program through William Jessup University, starting in March. Carl Medearis will be teaching about Jesus in the Muslim Context, and Rick Love will be teaching a course on Muslim-Christian-Jewish Relations. The program is online and open to students anywhere in the...
Celebrating Christmas, the Invasion of History by the Creator God

Celebrating Christmas, the Invasion of History by the Creator God

Today we are celebrating Christmas, the invasion of human history by the Creator of Heaven and Earth. Over this last month we have celebrated the Advent – the time in which the church celebrated both the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.  It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.  That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. In this double focus on past and future, Advent symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and a community of Jesus followers. We affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again. This acknowledgment provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live “between the times” and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s in-breaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which “all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption,” it also confesses its own responsibility as a people commissioned to “love the Lord your God with all your heart” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It is like Franciscan Father Richard Rohr once said: “We [believe] that the Incarnation was already the Redemption, because in Jesus’ birth God was already saying that it was good to be human, and God was on...