Jobs Ministry Southwest

Yesterday, 2/3, JMS had a record day. We saw 24 new visitors. The senior manager “SEGUE” was a powerful session and our speaker, Gary Selman, brought a powerful message about living life God’s way.

From the responses that Jorge and I received, I truly believe God is making an impact in the hearts and minds of people who may otherwise be fearful of these times. Job security is no more. Financial security is no more. Clearly there is a need to search for deeper meaning and purpose above and beyond the perqs and spiffs of corporate reward and growing a bank account.

At JMS, we are encouraging people to reassess their effort towards building VALUE. Value in their personal life, value in their family life, value in their community life. America has lost its ability as a country to demonstrate true value. Cars, houses, boats, clothes, HDTVs, and the latest i-phone do not represent core VALUE. These are the bling that mean very little and the things that surely “moth and thief can destroy”.

Join me in praying for a spirit of renewal that centers on the ability to create value in our lives. God’s Word is clear that we were all uniquely and wonderfully made. God started with Value. Let’s take that promise and be faithful stewards of the charge.

Countdown to History

Ok -I admit it. I am excited about the President elect. Without going into a whole lot of pror rhetoric, I was a pre-election contrarian. I am man enough to admit it. And, I am man enoiugh to admit my pleasant surprise as I have watched Mr. Obama manuever his way thru the pre-inauguration maze. I like what I see. Or maybe I am merely one of those millions of Americans Mr. Bush keeps referring to as ones with “resolve”.  Face it, not only do we have just “one President” [sic -at a time], but we have one country.

More importantly, we have one God. He is who will prevail. If He is for us, who can be against us? I like that. Thus my quiet expectation for the new administration.  And no, I don’t believe we have nowhere to go but up. We are AMERICANS by golly. Let’s reclaim the pride, energy, and motivation that has served us so well for two centuries.

Jobs Ministry Southwest

Today, Mr. Gary Selman, MA, spoke at JMS. Through his presentation, he challenged us to consider searching for God’s perfect will while undergoing a job transition. This includes living your passion and going boldly.

In today’s uncertain economy, there is one school of thought that might say this approach is foolishness. But, as Gary explained, anyone who professes a faith in God must take a serious look at ALL of the promises He makes us in the Bible.

It is my prayer that anyone who is struggling with a job change, look first to God. Believe in His promises, know His love, hold on to His hope. Most of all, try to genuinely experience God. Don’t just rely on something you think you know about Him, but truly experience Him.

The Day After the Day Before

Yesterday was staged to be a historic moment for the U.S. Regardless of the outcome, election day 2008, America would select a leadership team that represented significant change. As it has turned out, Barack Obama has been elected the first African American President.

Regardless of your personal persuasion, now is the time to put aside the political differences and return to a unified America. Time and time again, the people of America have demonstrated a resolve to face our challenges, both foreign and domestic. We find solutions, we decide a course, and we move forward.

It is my hope that we the people, can once again rekindle our collective spirit to overcome the financial, security, and cultural challenges that face the United States. May we return to an all-inclusive faith in a Holy God, that is a supreme being, the creator of the universe, the One who ordains our leaders, and the One who is in ultimate control regardless of the person sitting in the White House.

Vision Building

Small businesses need to think about creating or maintaining their vision. Many new companies start with a fairly well written vision statement. In the beginning, it is easy to harness the energy of the creation process and jot down the key points that are front-of-mind while the building is happening. But as time marches on, the original vision can become hazy. Perhaps through market change, economic slippage, employee turnover, or brutal competition, the original vision need some adjustment.

It is very important that the stakeholders review and reassess the vision. Make strategic or tactical adjustments as you must, but just do it.

Fannie and Freddie; Not Just Distant Relatives

All of the market hype and shock that ran its course last week first suggested these two behemoths may be headed for extinction. Not so fast. The Treasury Secretary ran to the rescue opening the Fed window and relieving the steam from the pressure cooker. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are so-called “government sponsored entities” (GSE). The trouble is that the concept was to build faith and trust behind these operating companies so that capital markets would accept the transactions they were chartered to originate. Of course, the overarching charter was to establish a vehicle for “affordable housing”. Instead, it seems that the years of unbridled operation have created a true monolith of financial prosperity. The catch is that both entities are highly, highly leveraged. For them, it truly takes money to make money. More begets more in a seemingly never ending frenzy of growth. As soon as the cash spigot turns even slightly “off”, the model grinds to a slow stop.

In the case of this past month, stock prices became the immediate barometer of the viability of these GSEs. Their underlying market capitalization dropped roughly 75 to 80 percent compared to the prices last year (when the mortgage meltdown began).

Fortunately, for all of us hardworking tax payers, the market is correcting a bit and the stock prices have already doubled since last week. Clearly there is a long way to go. Many regulators and members of Congress are saying the road ahead will be long and rocky.

For now, the bullet seems to have been dodged. Whew!

Cash may be King for a while….hmmmmmm

Tough Day in Paradise

The US financial landscape saw some large new litter today. IndyMac Bank became the second largest bank seizure in US history. The OTS moved to exercise its power and take control of the bank. In short order, control was handed off to the FDIC. A large portion of the deposit accounts were declared uninsured under the FDIC $100,000 limit per account.

This event, coupled with another decline in stock prices for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac spells trouble on Monday. Could we see another Black Monday around the corner? I doubt it. Congress moved quickly to prop up Fannie and Freddie, opening the discount window midday today.

Clearly it IS time for bank management at all levels to take heed. Stress test any and all loan portfolios with mortgage product. I do NOT advocate exiting the mortgage business. Quite the contrary. I propose that community and regional banks expand mortgage operations. Go back to pre-1960 banking in respect to home loan finance.

I Can Control Gas Prices !!!

Ok, not really. I just think it’s odd that no sooner than I started my blog with a mention of record high gas prices, PRICES STARTED TO DROP. Yippeee. I’ll keep going if you all don’t mind. $9 per barrel drop in 10 days. Pretty sweet.

BTW did you know the proverbial barrel of oil is only 42 gallons? So at $140 per barrel, we have $3.33 per gallon cost of raw materials. $4.10 at the pump sounds like a bargain. Just Kidding.

Summertime Blues?

Is there a cure for the Summertime blues? An old pop song once claimed there was NOT. Ah, but these times they are a changing…. (Dylan I believe). Gas reached an all time high of $4.11 per gallon, national average. Depending on the press you read, we are seeing prices climb for building materials, consumer goods, loaves of bread, and even movie tickets (I understand Hancock kicked you know what at the box office this weekend). Is there no end in sight?

Well, as naive as it may sound…what can you do about it? Yes, we can get out to work for and vote for the party and the candidate(s) we think can influence things. And that is a good start. But what about making our own individual contributions by way of good old fashioned hard work. Yes, I mean get up each day, get to work on time, clock a full day’s work, then go home and do it all over again. I am writing this at 7:00 p.m. Sunday night. That is my personal time, at least on the clock I live by for the moment. What I mean is, I am not doing this on company time or while a client’s meter is running. I am burning my own time to lay this down. Tomorrow, when I resume my daily chores I will be focusing time and energy with my clients. No web surfing, no junk email day dreaming, etc. No texting. Wow, you must be reeaallllyyy old Dude. No Dude, not reeaalllly. Just practical. Think about it.

Have a great week. Do something new and wild this week. 



July 4th

OK today IS the day. July 4th, 2008. Great day of celebration, family, food, fireworks, and fun.  Most of my gang was here today including new in-laws who joined our family by virtue of a beautiful wedding held May 31. One of our sons married a sweet and wonderful soul mate of a bride. This was our first 4th as the new clan. Great times.

As the kids have grown (I have 5), they of course have conflicting events they must block on their calenders. My wife and I get that. So we miss them, but do not brood over it. Quite the contrary. We celebrate with them their newly expanding lives. We actually enjoy our empty nest a bit too much perhaps some would say. But it works for us.

Today though was a great day of super food, fine fellowship, and all around fun.