Archive for the ‘Business and career’ Category


For the longest time I have wanted to write a book about the balance between “Christian dichotomies”, that is, Biblical principles that seem to be contradictory, like loving kids tenderly, vs. disciplining them, or doing things because you have to –out of obligation (which sounds legalistic), vs. out of love when you really feel like…. Or being spontaneous letting the Holy Spirit flow freely vs. planning and being prepared to be used by Him.

This came to mind because as I think of my life the last 40 years, I can’t help it but see awesome things happening in my life. My parents came to know Christ because some faithful small group leader kept on inviting them to church. Although they rejected the invitation several times, it wasn’t until I, as a ~6 month’s old baby, was dying in the hospital due to a respiratory illness, that my father saw no other option but to let these “Christians” pray for the baby, and a miracle happened. I was healed virtually immediately, started eating and here I am four decades later.

That was just the beginning. Since then, I have been privileged with having a fairly easy understanding of academics, especially music, math and languages. I have enjoyed pretty good friends, and even though growing up in a third world country, and in spite of living in poverty, I never knew we were poor -not that poor at least. Going into my teenage years I never had any major social problems and even when my dad walked away from the family, I always had some ‘father figure’ teaching me the basics of life such as driving, shooting, or camping. I have always enjoyed of very good jobs with very good companies and typically have gone up in the corporate ladder pretty quickly. I have traveled, enjoyed some of the finest restaurants, hotels and places. I have been privileged to meet and learn from Baptists, Presbyterians, Charismatics, and atheists, from various languages, cultures and walks in life. I had the opportunity to move to United States and today I have a house and a car and a job that the little 10-year old Luis would have never even imagined possible. I have a beautiful, hard working, godly woman as a wife, and kids that bring me joy and pride every single day.

When I was in my late teens I made a list of goals and how would I accomplish them, with dates and milestones. Not long ago I realized, I pretty much accomplished them all –or did even better.

Does it sound like I’m bragging? I kind of am. In fact, I have gotten used to friends telling me “you have a star” or “you are so lucky” and it is kind of true. My answer always is, “yes I have a ‘star’, His name is Jesus!”.

You see, anyone who has spent sometime around me knows that I am a very regular guy, not rich, not a genius, not even close to perfect in my walk at all. When I look back I can see how many times I have messed up, been lazy, dishonest and merely sinful, I have made mistakes and sometimes paid for them. Still, I see so many good things that my only explanation is: God loves me and gave me the life I live, the opportunities I find myself in, and the abilities I possess, for a reason. He, God, has been my provider, my helper, my protector and literally, the father to this fatherless. He has done it all, he deserves the glory, I am nothing but a story of God’s grace.

With that being said, coming back to the dichotomies, I would be doing a disservice to my kids if I didn’t teach them also that God, through my mother, other role figures, and experiences, has taught me that success happens when opportunity and preparation meet. Our job, no matter who we are, where we were born, and what we were born with, is to make the best of our resources and talents. Whether born in a third world country or in a country club in Manhattan, we all have limitations and abilities, that is the hand we were handed, and that’s that we have to play with, plan and use.

I’m pretty convinced that if you work hard, and seek to be best at whatever you do, success will come. Maybe not the success you thought, or success as defined by others, but success born out of knowing you did your best, and accomplished something. Choices have consequences and if I can instill this life principle in my kids, they will avoid so much pain and reap so much success.

It’s been a fun 40 years, but I still have lots of plans, dreams and goals. I don’t feel too old, this is just a springboard to greater success. Moses left his homeland at 40 and his real known actions were just starting. Joshua fought the battle of Jericho way beyond his 40’s, Saul of tarsus (Paul), also around his 40’s, went from a Christian’s killer to the influencer of the Gospel to the non-Jewish world for 2 millennia. Jean Eugene Atget, now considered one of the world’s greatest photographers, did not begin until he was 40. Renowned American folk artist Grandma Moses did not take up her craft until she was in her 70s and, Terri Tapper, at age 50, became the oldest female certified kiteboard instructor in the USA (and possibly the world). Harland Sanders was steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, farmer, and railroad fireman, but it wasn’t until his 40’s when he started cooking chicken, and becoming famous as the Kentucky Fried Chicken Mogul. Justinian’s codification of Roman Law, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Mother Teresa’s humanitarian legacy, and many many more great things have been accomplished after that ‘mid-life’ time.

So, maybe I’m not writing that dichotomies book yet, however if I was to write a book about my life today, and considering all the great things that have happened and the greatest things yet to be done, my book would be called “My First Forty years”.

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Business and career, Holidays, Leadership, Life

The time for new goals is TODAY!!

Thoughts with accent

Statistical data, common knowledge, personal experience and a bit of imagination tell us that in January, we have the biggest month for gym enrollment, the most salads ordered at restaurants, the most people reading Genesis, the best intentions in money spending, the most cigarettes thrown away, best desires to spend time with family, the most ‘clean-up’ operations in houses and offices etc etc.

However, these high averages steadily drop as the year goes by to the point of discovering that 97% of New Year’s resolutions are never fulfilled. Although some 40 to 45 % of people do use New Year’s Day to make resolutions and set goals.

Why is that? Why do we so poorly achieve our New Year’s goals?

It has occurred to me that sometime in some ways we set ourselves up for failure. Think about it. We resolve to train and achieve a goal…

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Prayer is perhaps the most powerful tool Christians have.

One of the beauties, and almost mysteries of the Christianity, is that God, the creator of the universe, would make a way so that we sinners can enter into His presence -with freedom and confidence, and have a personal communion and relationship with Him. We can talk to Him, if we ask Him, He will hear us (see Ephesians 3:9-12; Hebrews 10:18-22; Ephesians 2:18; Matthew 7:7; Matthew 18:19; Matthew 21:22; Romans 10:12 and 1 John 5:14-15)

Another astonishing fact -if being friends with God wasn’t enough, is that no matter what, we have the confidence that everything that happens is ultimately under His control, permission and sovereignty. Even things that don’t look so good, He can turn into blessings and glory to Him (see Romans 8:28; Psalm 33:10-11; Daniel 4:35 and Psalms 103:1)

However, in as much as God promises to provide for all of our needs (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:19), He also commands us to work hard, be responsible and make good decisions, send resumes, call prospects, and do whatever it takes to earn our living -including flipping burgers or carrying boxes in a warehouse. (Psalm 128:2; Proverbs 12:11; Proverbs 14:23; Colossians 3:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; Galatians 6:7 ).

In as much as God promises to heal us, we also ought to be responsible in living a healthy lifestyle, eating wisely and in decent measure, exercising, sleeping adequately and so on.

In conclusion, we are to show our faith with our actions (James 2:14-26)

And of course, it is no different when it comes to politics.

Indeed, God is in control, God is sovereign, God has appointed the authorities in place. Also, it is true that our responsibility is to pray, pray and pray for our leaders. However, it doesn’t stop there. In Paul’s days there wasn’t much they, ‘the people’ could do to influence the government. They had kings and emperors that were decided by family ties and conquering wars. Today, each and everyone -voting citizen in United States, has a part in making those decisions; it is the law of our land and the system that God in His sovereignty has allowed to take place. And it is our responsibility to be part of it, to participate and be good stewards of the gift God has given us.

Pray for provision -and also look for and accept a job.

Pray for healing -and also live a healthy lifestyle

Pray for the political leaders, and also participate wisely: be informed, ask questions, watch debates, be respectful (remember what our most important priority is: salvation for all), be aware of deception, and go to the voting poll.

In light of your Heavenly citizenship, be a good steward of your American citizenship

PS. If you are interested in a great pre-debate preparation, I would strongly recommend:

As Debate Season Arrives, Don’t Lose Your Mind

 


As I watch the Republican National Convention, and the back-and-forth of pundits, reporters (and nobodies like me ) trying to defend, attack or understand arguments. As I listen the lies and intellectual abuses that drawn the few good ideas and ideals that struggle to survive, I wondered:

“How is it so easy to manipulate and lie to 300 million people?”

Let’s put it in this way: I may not agree with 100% of the decisions made by judges in the courts of law. However, I personally tend to believe in the ‘fairness’ of such decisions. I, by and large,  believe on the justice system. Jurors and judges bring, analyze and decide on evidences. Little space seems to be given to rhetoric, exaggerations and lies. Please!, dont misunderstand me, I am sure lies and manipulation happen in trials. However, the whole jurors and evidence system; the cross examination and relevancies  seem to be a  pretty effective system. I could be wrong and a total ignorant on judicial matters (in fact I am ), however,  I wonder if people would be less disillusioned and more involved in the political process -that is killing this country, if the process was more trustworthy.

I see a solution….

Welcome to the All-media fully-collaborative debates system
of 
the candidates to the presidency of The United States of Utopia.

This is a a series of televised/radio/on-line fully collaborative series of debates where each major topic relevant to the presidency is discussed. As in regular debates, time is allotted to make some initial statements and present arguments. However, instead of  giving 30 seconds to answer with mere words, what could be the strategy that decides the destiny of millions of people and trillions of dollars,  I would have a structure to divide the topics (i.e. the economy) into smaller measurable arguments (i.e. unemployment). Each argument would be immediately and fully examined in real time. If the candidate is quoting a number, a poll or a report, the link to such report would be provided in the online portal for everyone to see and analyze. The relevancy, objectivity and trustworthiness of such numbers would be scrutinized and put on the table for everyone to understand and compare apples to apples (i.e. employables unemployed vs. employables searching). Every argument that pundits and critics make would be openly scrutinized and put to light -or death. Somehow, items not discussed and examined in these debates, would not be allowed in the campaign trail. No more, “I did this” or “he said that”, without the full evidences examined. Furthermore, promises would be tightly attached to performance measurements during and from the start of the term. In summary, like a profitable company is run.

It wouldn’t be perfect, it wouldn’t be easy, I wouldn’t be short -maybe 3-day debates!. But maybe wiser smarter decisions would be made by better informed voters. If we spend billions of taxpayer dollars, hours days and months trying in the court of law serial killers and rapists -many of whom we pretty much know are guilty, why not spending similar resources into our future?

oh, well! What do I know? Like the famous philosopher profoundly noted: “Snap back to reality” (Eminem)


Inspired by the Chick-fil-A Appreciation day, and the many interesting –and some very ridiculous comments I’ve read today, I state:

Preamble
Making publicly known upfront that:

  1. I like steak way more than chicken
  2. Although I don’t like biscuits, they had run out of burritos this morning and therefore, I had a chicken biscuit for breakfast.
  3. I firmly believe Starbucks coffee is much better than the Chick-fil-A counterpart (in spite of Starbucks -not just management philosophical expressions, but the company’s active participation in liberal agendas that I don’t agree with)
  4. I know personally many fine young men and women who have been given great opportunities by the Chicken food company at the center of this argument

The meat
I want to categorically and unequivocally state that:

  1. I am participating in the Chick-fil-A Appreciation day NOT because of religious reasons, as I believe that:
    • It is impossible to transform society, bring salvation, make people holy or change people’s behaviors by legislation, rules, prohibitions, law or chicken burritos (Although I will admit that not having a chicken burrito can change my behavior a bit)
    • Although I have personally chosen accept the Bible to be inspired by a superior extra-human mind we call God, and I have chosen to submit to what He gives me as directives of life and conduct for my own good, I understand many others have not chosen to accept such believe and therefore are both free to do what they want (within legal boundaries) and liable for their own choices before God (that is, if God and the Bible are legit)
    • I can affect and transform society more effectively by loving my wife and kids, respecting the laws of the land, showing love and mercy to others, giving my time and resources to service and ultimately telling others what I believe, why I believe it and how that belief has transformed -and daily affects my life.
    • If one person is persecuted for standing for and doing what God demands, There is not much I can help with –by eating a chicken sandwich. God will take care of protecting and blessing that person. –and that type of situation is inevitably going to be more and more prevalent and common our times
  1. Instead, I am choosing to go all-chicken today, because of political reasons, as I believe that:
  • We live in a free market society and as a consumer I can chose who I give my money to, and since I have to eat today anyway, I may as well give it to a company that is clean and neatly run and also gives lots to charity endeavors both nationally and regionally but also locally to the store level –of which I have been benefactor of.
  • The people of Chick-Fil-A have the right to believe whatever they want and since they have not broken any laws (i.e. unfair hiring, disrespect to employees or customers etc), they have been victims of an unfair attack agenda (from the political and democratic stand point). If I expressed what I believe –without breaking any law, and my business were attacked with lies and other maneuvers such the one we’ve seen against CFA, I would appreciate and welcome support as well.

I am me, and I approve this statement!


I remember when I graduated from High school. we said to each other: “Keep in touch!”, “we have to hang out!”, “we’ll be friends forever!” and many other never-fulfilled promises that inundated our hearts as we said “good bye” to the past and “bring it on!” to a future as uncertain as everything else at that age.

Looking back, twenty years later, I did not keep in touch with many –or anyone really. I barely hung out with some of my friends for just a few months. Truth is, only one of my early childhood friends remains even today as my best friend –after my wife of course.

The grades didn’t matter that much -but did help to open doors. The bad moments, pains and hurts didn’t mark me forever -though I learned from them. The break ups and heartbreaks were seemingly insignificant in the big scheme of things -but I would have rather avoided the wasted time and emotions. The dreams that never came to fruition, were only shadowed by better paths laid on my way.

Only one thing I remember that was true then, has been truth ever since and is even truer today.  The more I seek to be in good fellowship with God –that God that many in my high school class made fun of, the better things seem to go; the better I feel, the better I can face circumstances in life. Likewise, the more I ignore that subtle voice in my heart and discretely do things my way – or openly and willingly rebel against what I know God wants for me, the worse I feel in living life, in facing the downs and lows… and even when facing the good stuff, being out of that fellowship with God made it almost worthless.

Some will go to ivy league schools, some may not even go on to college. Some will make great grades and great salaries, some great grades and no salaries, some no grades and better salaries –there is not one specific rule –other than the one that, time and time again, I have seen fulfilled in my life. From experience I can tell you:

seek to do the things that please God, and every other thing will be alright.

From this point on, it is up to you, it is your choice and your call. You can do things God’s way -with or without some people’s approval, but knowing with certainty that the end will be the best possible, or do things your way -even pleasing others, and risk reaping the potentially and very likely painful fruit of your unwise choice. Like that famous philosopher said:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!!


Work is hard, otherwise it wouldn’t be called work, but sometimes you can enjoy it.

Very few people don’t have to work in the marketplace because they were given an inheritance or some other source of income. They can still choose to work in what they want. Count your blessings!

Some people don’t have to work in the marketplace because they made wise decisions and sacrifices. They can also choose to work in what they want. You reap what you sow.

Some people have to work in the marketplace because they didn’t make wise decisions and sacrifices and therefore have no choice. You don’t reap what you didn’t sow.

Most people have to work in the marketplace because they weren’t given an inheritance or some other source of income and therefore have no choice. That is life for most of us.

Few moms don’t have to work in the marketplace because they were given an inheritance or some other source of income (like a rich husband). They can still choose to work at home doing what they want. Good for them; count your blessings!

Some moms have to work in the marketplace because they were not given an inheritance or some other source of income and therefore have no choice. That is hard.

Many moms have to work in the marketplace because they –and/or their husbands, didn’t make wise decisions and sacrifices and therefore have no choice. That is hard too. You don’t reap what you didn’t sow.

Many moms don’t have to work in the marketplace because they –and their husbands, made wise decisions and sacrifices. They can also choose to work somewhere else or at home as stay home moms. That is hard work -but enjoyable. You reap what you sow.

So, instead of criticizing those who choose what we don’t want to choose, or can’t choose to do, we may be better off making the best of what we were given, making wise decisions and difficult sacrifices, and working hard, sowing to reap that which we think is most important in life and let others make their choices and work for what they want.