Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stewards of the Earth (Earth Day)

Some say this is what the future of Earth will look like.  What do you think?
This Friday's topic will be about how we can be stewards of the Earth.  Stewards means caretaker or protector.  The Earth is our home.  Even though we think of our house or apartment as our home, the truth is, the entire Earth is ours, and it benefits all of us collectively (together) to take good care of it.

Many of us have stated that we love nature, yet every year, humans pollute the Earth more and more.  The products that we use all contribute to the problem.  For example, plastic bottles and containers are disposed of and oftentimes end up in the ocean or in huge landfills.

What you can do:
  • Think about what you buy. Is it mostly packaging?  Buy in bulk instead of foods and items in containers.  
  • Do not litter.  Always find a trash can when you have to discard something that is not biodegradable.
  • Walk more instead of driving.  Driving causes a lot of pollution.
  • Do not waste items such as paper.  Forests are cut down in order to produce many paper products.
  • Reuse things, such as bags and containers.  
  • Try to limit water use.  Do not run the shower for a long time.  Turn off the sink when you brush your teeth.  You will save money and help the environment.
  • Think about what you buy (again).  Do you really need it?  Maybe you can put the money in a savings account for later instead?
What about the animals?

A righteous man regards the life of his animals: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10).
"Few realize as they should the sinfulness of abusing animals or leaving them to suffer from neglect.  He who created man made the lower animals also, and 'His tender mercies are all over his works.'  (Psalm 145:9).  The animals were created to serve man, but he has no right to cause them pain by harsh treatment or cruel exaction.   
"It is because of man's sin that 'the whole creation groans and travails in pain together.' (Romans 8:22).  Suffering and death were thus entailed, not only upon the human race, but upon the animals.  Surely, then, it becomes man to seek to lighten, instead of increasing, the weight of suffering which his transgression has brought upon God's creatures.  He who will abuse animals because he has them in his power is both a coward and a tyrant."  Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets.
It benefits all of us to treat animals well.  They add much to our world and are a beautiful part of nature.  Without animal life it would be hard for human life to exist.  Many animals benefit the environment in ways which we are not aware of.  They are part of the "balance of Earth."  The consumption and mass breeding of animals for death is also a problem that causes much damage to the Earth.  For example, cattle farming causes more pollution than anything else, even cars, and there are billions of cars in the world.  Cutting back on meat consumption, and not eating meat for even one day each week helps both the body as well as the Earth.

Below are some pictures that you can think about:  

Our garbage is sometimes sent to other countries, such as these computers that ended up in Africa.
Plastics end up inside of animals and end up killing them.
Forests are cut down for paper other products.
Oilfield in California, United States.
Surfing in Indonesia, one of the most populated places on Earth.
Waste and pollution.
Plastic containers end up in the ocean.

"The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land." Psalm 95:5 (ESV)

"The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Genesis 2:15 (ESV)
"What is the price of two sparrows--one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it." Matthew 10:29 (NLT)


English Journal Questions and Questions for Class:

The above pictures are quite powerful.  They show the result of pollution in the modern era.  
  • Do you think that the Earth is doomed, or is there something we can do to stop this type of pollution? 
  • What do you already do that you think is good for the Earth?  
  • What else can you think of doing? 
There are many ways to help "save the Earth." 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Different needs, from basic to highest

People have basic needs in life. Some needs are more basic or important than other needs. As our lives progress and as some of these needs are met, new wants and desires emerge. One theory that talks about this is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

In Maslow's theory (theory means a belief or idea), he says that there are five basic needs that people crave. As the lower needs on the pyramid are met, we move up towards the next need. The lower needs are needs that are more important for survival. The top needs are not required to stay alive, but many people begin to desire them as their health and safety are met.

We will begin by talking about each need one at a time:

Physiological Needs

It is safe to assume that, if you are reading this, or if you will be going to Friday Night Club, that your physiological needs are met.  Physiological needs are those needs in which, without, we would not survive.  For example, some of these needs are air, water, food, a place to sleep that is warm enough so we do not freeze.  If your physiological needs were not met, chances are, you would not be reading about this theory on the internet, but instead trying to acquire (get) food, air, water, and any means for survival.


Once we have the basic needs for bodily survival (life), or the physiological needs met, we move onto the next level of survival (up the pyramid).  This includes things that help us feel secure and safe.  A home, a job (or some way to earn money), extra food for the future, safety from war or dangerous situations, and medicine are examples of this type of need.

Love and belonging: for most people, being a part of a group comes after survival and basic needs are met.
Love and Belonging

This is a powerful need that comes around the same time as safety, most often right after.  Love and belonging includes friends, family, spouse, and people who we feel comfortable around.  People want to feel that they are loved, and once the bodily needs of survival are met, we crave love and belonging.  Love and belonging can also give us more safety and, as part of a group, we can have our lower needs taken care of much easier.


People have a desire to feel respected and appreciated. This need is not as strong as the others and is not as important for survival. However, once we have friends and feel that we belong to a group, we crave respect. We want to show that we are valuable to a group and that we are worthy of being esteemed.

There are two types of esteem. Esteem from others and esteem from self. Esteem from others includes a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. Esteem from self includes a need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom. The esteem from self is said to be more important, or a higher need, as it is more important for survival, and as a result, we crave it more.

Self Actualization
"What a man can be, he must be," Maslow said. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Self actualization is, sadly, not found in the lives of many people in the world. In fact, very few people in the world get to the point that they feel that they have reached their highest potential in life. Think of some people who you consider to have reached this point. Have you? What would you need to get to this point?

"What a man can be, he must be" -Abraham Maslow
Where are you?

Think about your needs. What needs have been met in your life? Chances are, if you are reading this website on a computer/phone, or if you are able to go to Friday Night Club, Physiological Needs have been met. Safety needs have likely been met as well.

The next three needs (love and relationship, esteem, and self actualization), and lack thereof, I believe, are the cause of much depression in life. I have found that people who struggle for survival and safety have little time to think about what they do not have. As we get further on the needs pyramid, we start to see that we want more. Do you find that you want more friends, love, a better job, more money, more respect, and to accomplish something great in your life? Do you feel like you are missing out on something? Most people do, sadly. I have met only a few people who are truly content with their life, and yet they still sometimes want more. Even I find myself wanting more than I have. It is natural. And we rarely live long enough to truly accomplish all that we could accomplish in life.

Achieving Needs

What are some ways that we can achieve these needs?  It seems that many people have many of their needs met without thinking much about it.  Basic needs are often met by a combination of work, society, and the result of which family and place were born into.  Safety needs require a combination of society and money.  When people do not feel safe they oftentimes turn to God and prayer.

In a previous talk, we discussed about how we think and what we focus on.  Many people have faith that their needs will be met.  They believe that God meets the needs of His children.  Looking back on my life, I believe that God has met our needs and strengthened us and led us throughout life.  I also believe that following God's law (10 commandments) is a way in which our needs are met.  By treating others with respect and showing love to both man and God, our lives are better off as a result.

The theory as through the lives of others and in other cultures

What do you think of this theory? Does it hold true for you? There is some criticism of it, and not all cultures follow this pattern. For example, looking at the life of Jesus, we see that he has met the highest point on the pyramid; self-actualization. He is the most influential person to have ever lived. His name has been told and retold to the entire world. He has done things that no man has ever come close to doing. One can not truly study the life of Jesus and not feel awe and wonder. Why did so many people follow him? How did he feed the multitude with only a small amount of fish and bread? How did he walk on water? How did he rise from the dead? Many wonder if these stories are true. Yet, one can not look at the amount of prophecy in the old testament of the Bible, all written by different authors over thousands of years, and say that it was merely a coincidence. How did one man do so much good in the world?

Jesus is one person who has met the highest level need, Self Actualization.
Yet, looking at the life of Jesus, we ask ourselves: How were all his needs met? He was a homeless man who lived wherever he went. He was not a rich man nor did he earn money. Yet, he was always fed and nourished (he had faith that he would be taken care of wherever he went). He was hung on the cross and did not demand that the people bow down to him or give him respect.  In fact, when he was crucified, he was mocked and made fun of.  His message throughout his ministry was based on scripture and the worship and esteem towards God. "It is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"


There is a lot to say about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory and, sadly, not everything can be said in a small amount of time.  This is a huge theory that has been discussed in many textbooks and literature.  Maslow's theory can be applied to your life to see where you are as a person.  Have your basic needs been met?  Perhaps we are better off than we think we are?  That is something to think about as you prepare for Friday Night Club.

--- English Journal Questions ---

If you are keeping an English Journal, consider writing answers to these questions to think about the topic in more detail.

1.  Where are you in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid?
2.  Have you ever been lower or higher on the pyramid?  Why?
3.  What do you think you would need to accomplish to feel "Self Actualization" or "to become the most you can be?"
4.  Name someone or some people who have reached the highest point on the pyramid.
5.  How have your most basic needs been met?
6.  Do you think prayer and faith (combined with action) are good ways to move up the pyramid.
7.  Is there anything you would add to the pyramid?



Recommended Reading:
The Desire of Ages (free to read online - also translated into Ukrainian, Russian, and many other languages) - A book about the life of Jesus Christ.


The most fundamental and basic four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called "deficiency needs" or "d-needs": esteem, friendship and love, security, and physical needs. If these "deficiency needs" are not met – with the exception of the most fundamental (physiological) need – there may not be a physical indication, but the individual will feel anxious and tense. Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. (source: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Traditions and the Last Days of Jesus' Life

Because Sunday is Easter, we wanted to talk about Easter traditions and the meaning of Easter.

There are two types of traditions for many holidays.  The words we use are below:

Secular:  Deals with non-religious aspects of a holiday.  Things such as the Easter bunny and Easter eggs may fall into this category.

Religious:  These deal with the traditions that are based on the Bible or religious teachings.  For example, palm branches symbolize when Jesus entered into Jerusalem and is religious in nature.

Easter Traditions the United States

Easter in the United States was on Sunday, April 5th.  For Easter in the U.S. many people go to church and spend time with friends and family.  A large meal is usually enjoyed together.  Some people do games, such as Easter egg hunts with children.  Some people tell children that the "Easter bunny" delivers presents and chocolate.

Does your culture have similar practices when it comes to Easter?  If so, what are they?  

What is different?

Easter is also based on the belief that Jesus was resurrected (brought back to life) after dying on the cross.  It is believed by many that the day that Jesus rose from the dead was on "17th day of the Jewish month, Nisan, which begins with the first new moon following the spring solstice" (source).

What are the religious aspects of Easter?

Easter is now celebrated as a religious holiday.  With that in mind, we want to focus on the religious aspects of the holiday.

For our class, we are going to focus on what happened on the events behind the symbols of Easter. These include:

  • Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and Palm branches
  • Communion and "The Lord's Supper"
  • The resurrection and what that means

We will be talking about this topic in much more detail on our Friday night meeting.  Notes on this topic will also be posted after the meeting.

If you are keeping an "English Journal," write about the following: 

1. Do you have Easter traditions (special things that you do for Easter)?
2. If yes, what do these traditions mean to you?
3. If no, what do you think of other traditions?
4. What are some new traditions that you learned about in class?

Extra Ideas for writing: What is your favorite springtime activity? What are you looking forward to this year?


Extra Resources: Read about the Easter story: 

Story from the book: "The Desire of Ages" 

Bible References: (Just hit "next" on each page to continue)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Transcript for Friday April 3rd's Class "Philippians 4:8"

This is the class transcript for our meeting on Friday, April 3rd.  The transcript talks about the points that we made and the order in which we talked about them.  The questions that were asked of the class are also here.  This class is based on the entry called "Thinking About What We Focus On."

This class is based on one of my favorite verses in the Bible.  It is a powerful verse that has improved my life greatly.  

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

Does anyone know what the verse means?

  • The verse means to think about things that are good
  • Thinking about things that make you feel good keep you happy.  
  • Thinking about things that are bad make you feel bad.

What are some examples of things that make you feel bad?

Ideas:  Death, sickness, fights with people you have known, a bad job you had, bad financial situation, future events (possible loss of job; possible divorce; things that we are not quite sure about), past events (job lost, person who made you angry, ex boyfriend or girlfriend).

It is best to not dwell on these things.  To
dwell in this way means to focus on something for a very long time.  They are either in the past and done with, and can not be changed, or they could happen in the future but may not happen.  It is best to not worry about them today.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

What then should you think about?

Good things

What are some things that you think about that make you feel good?

Ideas:  Nature, hobbies, friends, pets, family, God, health, blessings, food, some possible future events, or plans and goals.

Do you notice a difference in how you feel when you think of bad things and when you think of good things?

What we watch and listen to also influences how we feel.  Influence means tells us to do something or make our mind feel something.  This could also be said as the things we watch, the things we listen to, the things we see, they all can make our minds feel a certain way.

There are a lot of things that may make a person feel bad.  Watching certain movies may affect how you feel.  Everyone is different, and some people react differently to different types of media.  For example, I do not like horror movies. 

Are there any things that make you feel bad that you sometimes feel that you should have not paid attention to?

There is another saying that I think of often, and it is “by beholding we become changed.”

Does anyone know what this means?  

To behold means to hold something or to be a part of something.  It can mean to watch something, to do something, to spend time with something, to hold it in your hand.  To hold it in your mind, even.  When we hold something in our mind in this way we become like the thing we hold.  

For example, when we spend a lot of time thinking about something or doing something, we begin to integrate that into ourselves.  Integrate means to make it a part of us.  So, we make our actions and passions a part of us.

I have found throughout my own life that it is important to try to keep a mind that is healthy and in order to keep a healthy mind I must be careful what I think about, what I do, and how I spend my time. 

For example, there are many places on the internet where people are negative and hateful.  I have found that when I read such things I start thinking about what they said.  I sometimes rethink about what they say and I dwell on it, or think about it, for a very long time.  It becomes a part of me when I think of that.

Another example is spending time with certain people.  I found that some of the people I spent time with had bad habits.  Maybe they ate a certain way or thought a certain way.  Maybe they always talked about other people in a bad way.  I would start to think like them after a while.  I would start to talk like them, eat like them, and even live like them in some respects.  I found that I had to start guarding myself from that.  I found that it was best to avoid some people if I did not want to become like them.

Sometimes a certain person has a weakness that you may have.  For example, if you are trying to not drink alcohol because you have had a problem with it in the past and you start hanging out with a person who drinks alcohol and always wants to party, get drunk, or drink, chances are you are going to become like them.  This is not always the case, but it happens quite often and presents a type of danger to us.  The more time you spend in such company, the higher the odds are that you will do the actions that they do.

So, we want to focus on that which is pure. That which is good.  That which is just.  They are all words that mean good.  In the Biblical context, they mean the kind of things that God likes. 

The better our minds are, the better our lives are.  When we do things that make us feel good, things that are healthy, things that are truly good, we become better people.  We think clearer, are stronger both mentally and physically, and live more vibrant lives.  The cost of focusing on bad things is very high.  

How can we ignore the bad things when they hurt us so much?  Here are some things that work for us and have helped us a lot in life:

(These are things that you can do when you are upset to get bad thoughts and feelings out of your mind.  Replace the bad thoughts and feelings with good thoughts and feelings).

  •  Tell ourselves they are in the past or that they will not last forever.
  • Tell ourselves that they are not powerful enough to control our lives.
  • We can pray about it and give the problems to God to solve.
  • We can make goals and begin to change our lives day by day.
  • We can focus on the present.  One thing we can tell ourselves is that “right now everything is alright.”
  • When we think of something negative we can say “no, I will not dwell on that.”  Instead, think of something that is positive.
  • If really angry or upset, do something you love.  Exercise, read, study, go for a walk, hold your pet, hold your child, think about the good things that you have in your life.  “Count your blessings.”  Take as cold as a shower as you can stand.  You will probably stop thinking about the bad things if you focus on this task. 
  • Talk about your thoughts with a friend or family member.  But try not to dwell on the bad.  Focus on how you can get rid of the thoughts and change how you think.
  • Think about the past and the good things we have done.  Things that make us happy.  Look at old pictures of places we have been, time with family, our daughter when she was young.
  • Listen to your favorite music. 
  • Make fun plans for a future weekend or day (some time not too far in the future).