THE BUSINESS OF PREACHING
"When Jesus came he told his disciples that he "would utter things kept secret since the foundation of the world," (Matthew 13:35). He said, "many prophets and righteous men have longed to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul declares these truths have now been revealed to us through the Spirit, and he sums it all up in the arresting phrase, "the secret and hidden wisdom of God."
Since I preach in a university community, this has always meant to me that when I open the Book on a Sunday morning, I am offering to the physicists, the scientist, the high-tech engineers, the doctors, lawyers, bankers, and captains of industry present, as well as artisans, secretaries, plumbers, and many others, essential knowledge about themselves and about life, which they have never learned, nor could learn, in any secular college or graduate school! I am privileged to give them an understanding of reality unattainable from any other source.
It is the business of preaching to change the total world view of every member of the congregation; to dispel the secular illusions which are widely believed around, and to identify and underscore the concepts and practices that are right, and do this for each member. Perhaps the most amazing verse is that this hidden truth is “for our glorification!” The Westminster Confession properly states that the chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. But this verse declares that God plans and works “for our (that is our human) glorification.”…..
There is much more I could say, but perhaps this is enough to help us see the enormous consequences of true preaching, and the terrible blight that falls upon a congregation or community which is deprived of these “unsearchable riches of Christ.” My plea is, let preachers stop feeding people with moral platitudes and psychological pablum. Let us say once more, with Jeremiah,”Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” — Ray Stedman
America’s corporation-tax receipts falter even as company profits soar
THE pressure on tax-avoiders is mounting. In the latest episode Tim Cook, Apple’s boss, was called before a Senate subcommittee to explain why the tech giant had paid no tax on $74 billion of its profits over the past four years—though it has done nothing illegal. This comes at a time when America’s corporate profits are at a record high, thanks to the swift sacking of workers at the start of the recession, lower interest expenses, and the fact that cheap labour in emerging markets has eroded union power, allowing firms to move production offshore and defy demands for pay rises. Meanwhile corporation tax, which makes up 10% of the taxman’s total haul (down from about a third in the 1950s) has plummeted. An increase in businesses structuring themselves as partnerships and “S” corporations, which subject profits to individual rather than corporate income tax, is in part to blame. But tax havens are also culprits, as they lower their tax levels to lure in bigger firms.
From the Economist.
It turns out even the deepest recession in decades can’t kill off pet spending. A new report from the Labor Department shows that while Americans cut back in some types of disposable spending during the nation’s financial crisis, spending on pets held steady and has begun to pick up again.
The report shows that Americans spent over $61 billion on their pets in 2011, with the average household spending just over $500 on their pets during the year. That’s more than the average household spent on alcohol, men’s clothing, or landline telephones. The data show that pet spending hit a peak in 2008, at $571 per household, then dropped off sharply, eventually hitting $480 in 2010. However, spending on Fluffy and Spot as a share of households’ total spending picked up slightly during the recession, from 0.9 percent in 2007 to 1.1 percent during the heart of the downturn in 2008 and 2009.
The Labor Department data show that Americans remained selflessly devoted to their pets during the recession, holding their spending on pet food steady through the downturn while cutting back on the luxury of eating out.
A major economic downturn may not dramatically cut pet spending, but having kids does. Single people spent over $400 on average on their pets in 2011, while single-parent households spent two-thirds that. Likewise, husbands and wives with no children at home spent the most on their pets, at nearly $700, while those with the youngest children spent less than 60 percent of that, at just over $400.
The data may also signal fatter times ahead for America’s pets. Americans age 55 to 64 spent the most on their pets of any age group, at $636 per year, in 2011. In addition, homeowners spent $653 on average, compared to renters, at $221. With baby boomers entering retirement and a housing recovery in place, that may mean the population willing to spend big on their animals is about to grow.
From US News, full story HERE
In a battle of beer logos, brewer Magic Hat has filed a federal lawsuit against Lexington’s West Sixth Brewing Co., claiming trademark infringement.
A lawsuit filed May 16 in U.S. District Court charged that West Sixth began selling beer, ale and brewpub services in 2012 using color, trademarks and designs “that closely resemble and are confusingly similar” to the designs used by Magic Hat for several years.
On Tuesday, West Sixth co-owner Ben Self said the lawsuit was without merit. West Sixth officials launched a social media campaign, asking customers to sign a petition on its website to ask Magic Hat to drop the lawsuit and stop “corporate bullying.”
According to news reports, North American Breweries Inc. bought Vermont-based Magic Hat in 2010. North American’s website said it owns and operates five U.S. breweries and six retail locations in New York, Vermont, California, Oregon and Washington.
The petition had more than 5,100 signatures by 9 p.m.
"The public has really come to our defense as a craft beer producer and joined us demanding that Magic Hat withdraw their lawsuit," Self said.
What’s at issue is a logo used on a number of products, including beer bottles and cans.
The lawsuit said the appearance or trade dress of Magic Hat’s #9-branded products is characterized by its distinctive orange, the predominant color on its labels, the presence of the “dingbat” star and the circular motif of the #9 design.
West Sixth recently introduced its Amber Ale, which is offered in an orange label that includes the numeral 6. The lawsuit says West Sixth has used a “dingbat” star to “confuse consumers and trade on Magic Hat’s good will.”
Magic Hat has used the #9 mark for beer and ale since at least 1995 in the United States and since at least 2009 in Kentucky, according to the lawsuit.
West Sixth has sold beer, ale and brewpub services using the 6 in its logo in portions of Kentucky and Ohio since April 1, 2012, the lawsuit said.
Magic Hat is seeking an injunction to stop West Sixth from using the design and is asking the court to direct West Sixth to pay Magic Hat all profits made by West Sixth as a result of “its acts of unfair competition,” the lawsuit says. Additionally, Magic Hat is asking for a jury trial and damages including costs and attorneys’ fees.
The lawsuit says West Sixth’s use of “confusingly similar marks” is causing Magic Hat irreparable harm.
"West Sixth’s use of its confusingly similar marks … continues to cause, and is likely to cause confusion, … and deception in the minds of the consuming public," the lawsuit said.
West Sixth officials posted a statement at Nomoremagichat.com that said, in part:
"Before we go any further, we do want to let you know that none of this will affect in any way our ability to continue brewing the great beers that you all have come to love. So, don’t worry about that at all!
"They’re claiming that we intentionally copied their logo, and that has caused them "irreparable harm," enough that they’re asking for not only damages but also all our profits up until this point (little do they know that well, as a startup company, there wasn’t any, oops!)"
West Sixth logos were created by a professional design firm in Lexington called Cricket Press that has “a long history of fantastic and creative logo designs. … Our logo contains neither a ‘#’ nor a ‘9.’”
Read full story from the Herald Leader HERE.