May 24

Today I wrote something to my Coaching group that I just had to put in the blog for you all to learn from so here it is:

Beware, because Religion can make people stupid! Now some of my Christian friends might say that’s not nice to say. Nice or not it’s true.

This morning I was reading the letter “from” the editor in a Christian magazine. Had it been a letter “to” the editor, I might not have been so appalled but this was the editor speaking. He was talking about how much our Christian ancestors suffered and how little we suffer today. Then he went on to promote suffering in order to get in touch with our Christian roots and become more spiritual ourselves. Blah, blah, I’ve heard all this before, but then came the stupid part.

He said that for lent he wanted to suffer for 40 days in order to become more spiritual so he decided to give up his diet coke and only drink water. WHAT !!!!!!!! This is now the height of suffering to drink water for 40 days instead of his beloved diet coke? Are we insane? Has he lost his ever-loving mind? I pray to God this magazine isn’t distributed in Africa or Haiti, can you imagine the confusion? By the editor’s logic they would be the most spiritual people on the planet because they have only water and sometimes not even that AND they suffer daily.

I can’t begin to imagine the ego, the stupidity, the “what world are you living in” mindset of someone who thinks that drinking water for 40 days instead of diet coke is first of all any kind of sacrifice at all and then the gall to think that it is going to make you more spiritual, well I’m at a loss for words.

You would think the Editor of the magazine would have stopped this from being printed–BUT WAIT, he is the Editor. Shame, shame, shame.

NOTHING you can do in your flesh is going to make you any more spiritual. Christ accomplished all there was to accomplish in the flesh. All we need to do is accept the Grace of God and move on.

I have to stop now and go calm down. Maybe I’ll go drink a diet coke just to thank God for His grace and mercy, but the truth is I like water better.

Have a great day,
Duke

Nov 13

The madness continues in the Christian World or at least from my perspective. Yesterday I heard about an alternative to Twitter called “Christian Chirp” you can find it at http://christianchirp.com/

Here is the way I see it. Christ “invaded” the world of unbelievers, sinners, and the so-called un-godly to give them an alternative. But what does the modern Christian World do? They mostly retreat into their own sub-cultures of Christian Facebooks, Christian Dating sites, and now Christian Chirps.

I understand their desire to have their own community, to be with likeminded people, to preserve some order or format that is more in line with their views and desires, and I see Christ reserving some time to be only with those he chose like very close disciples or Lazarus and his family. BUT what I see even more of today is this retreating into an illusionary safe world of “all nice people like me”. The more you retreat, the more the world will drive you away. We have something to say or at least we should. Why retreat?

Christ stood in the midst of corruption and darkness and said “I am the light, if you want an alternative to what you are living now, here I am”. You cannot shine as lights if you are hiding in our own private club-or at least that’s the way I see it. Any comments…

Have a great day,
Duke

Sep 23

In the middle of August I met with my Full-time
Coaching Group and told them that I had more
apprehension about the state of our economy this
Fall than I did last year at this time-and we all
know what happened last Fall.

I know everyone is telling us we are better off
and everything is turning around. Well, I don’t
buy it and I’m not alone. For the month of August
alone according to Google stats there were 90,500
searches for Disappointment, 368,000 for Rejection,
1,220,000 for Anger, 2,740,000 for Failure. At the
same time there were 7,480,000 searches for hope but
at the same time an amazing 13,000,000 searches for
losing hope. Now, how many of those searches were
for the song “Losing Hope” I don’t know, but the
fact that that title is even there has to say
something BIG.

Were you one of those 13 million who are losing hope?

You would think in a down economy most people would
be looking for ways to make a buck so I put the
appropriate terms in for that as well. The results
were 4,090,000 searches; now compare that to 7.48
million looking for hope and 13 million looking up
“losing hope”.

Well then people are probably looking for ways to
make it on the internet right? A mere 90,500 searches
showed up for those words.

This tells me people are more concerned about their
mental and emotion state right now than perhaps
anything else. When you lose hope, you lose life;
don’t let this happen to you.

Now I can’t produce a “Hope Package”, no one can
and if they do-walk away! But I can try to help
you think differently here in these emails and at
my blog at www.DukeClarke.com/blog . How does that
help? Because when you’ve lost hope you think
differently, which means you see things differently
AND you will act and respond differently.

If you have read my material you know up front that
I come from a position that God has answers and that
is where we start-not with any religion or denomination
just God.

This isn’t a “come on”, if you are like me there are
certain emails I don’t even open anymore because I know
that no matter what they “say” they are going to do,
it’s only going to offer partial info to get me to
pick up their newest whatever. Now they have a right
to make a living and I have a right not to open their
email.

So if you are one of the 13 million losing hope or if
you never want to reach that spot, check on my email
tomorrow because I’m going to do something about it.

Have a great day,
Duke Clarke

May 06

Here is something I wrote to my Membership Group at http://www.GodWantsYoutoProsperFamily.com that I thought you might enjoy:

Several weeks ago I talked about going to Credit Card companies and other businesses and asking for lower rates as a part of my job to be a good steward. When I did this, some companies were very understanding and did help. Other companies were indifferent or even indignant. So I’m sure you know I made mental notes of those I will not do business with as soon as I find someone to replace them.

Yesterday I had to call American Express over an issue. I had paid my bill using a resource that they set up, but someone on their end messed it up and my payment was late. So when I got my statement this month my interest rate jumped from 9% interest to 27% interest. Now according to their printed bylaws, they have the right to do that because the payment was late. But when I called and explained what happened, the American Express customer service rep listened to what I said and when I tried to give her the confirmation code so she could verify my story, she said, “That’s not necessary, I believe you. Hold on for a minute”.

When she returned not only had she readjusted the rate, she put in a credit for the current statement for the interest charged and then thanked me for being a customer for the past 10 years. So do you think I will continue to do business with them regardless of hard times? Yes!

Now in contrast take Bank of America who informed me by mail that my Credit Card was going from 10% to 28% as of May 10, not because I was late because I have never been late. Not because I did anything wrong, just because they can. My only option was to “refuse their offer” and the rate would stay the same and I would just pay the balance off but I could not use the card again for anything otherwise the 28% kicks in. So do you think I will do business with them again? No!

I don’t care how much trouble you might be in, you don’t take it out on your customers-that’s the quickest way to lose them. If you want people to stay with you when the times are good, stick with them when the times are bad.

So I’m starting to keep notes on the companies that treat me good now and the ones who are nickel and dimming me in these tight times. The good will be rewarded and the bad will be ignored. Maybe if we all did this, some of the abusive companies would wake up and if not maybe they will just go under.

The moral for today-regardless of what pressures you are under always try to be helpful, respectful and nice to others, it will come back to you in the end.

Have a great day,
Duke

Mar 12

I’m going to take a break from the “Man-Up” series today, because I wanted to share something with you that I sent to my Member Site group, so here it is…

I couldn’t sleep this morning, so I got up a little after 4 AM. I really don’t mind, in fact I love the early morning. It’s quiet and peaceful and maybe the anticipation of what a new day can bring starts to stir in the back of my mind and gets me excited.

After my coffee ritual, which I have told you about, I opened up a book. I’m not going to give the title yet because I’m only on page 10 but two statements woke me up even more than the coffee.

The first was a quote from Nelson Mandela which said “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” What an amazing statement from a man who spent most of his life locked away for his beliefs and for striving to live his life to its full potential.

Then I starting reading the first chapter, it is the real life story of a woman who is changing the world. Right out of college she was given a job with a major financial institution, and rightfully so, that put her in position to indeed change the world. After a few years and a brilliant start she tried to suggest some changes that would have impacted millions of people for good.

She was politely told to keep her ideas to herself and get in line with the corporate culture. In fact if she wanted to move ahead in this major institution she was going to have to “change”.  She was encouraged to “look the part and act the part of a major executive”. When she refused to back down, her boss told her directly “If you don’t change, in time, the culture will change you anyway. So make it easy on yourself and combine your work ethic with a more professional style.”

That statement chilled me to the bone!

The reason it hit home for me was that I was basically told the same thing 20 years ago. Like the young lady in this book, I walked away refusing to allow any culture I didn’t agree with to change me.

Today, the same thing is happening in the USA with a new cultural message of “Submit, get in line, the days of dreams and individual prosperity are over.” I don’t get on political soapboxes for two reasons, first the other side never listens to you anyway, so you’re just preaching to the choir and secondly, I’ve got better places to focus my energy.

But the point is regardless of the culture, regardless of the times, regardless of who “thinks” they are calling the shots-be true to yourself and your dreams.

One of the great things about America is that people from all over the world come here with dreams of a better life, but here is the interesting part, even if it didn’t happen in their lifetime, they passed that dream on to the next generation and the dreams are at some point finally realized. So, like Nelson Mandela said in that opening quote, “Never settle for a life that is less than your full potential”.

Have a great day,
Duke

Jan 25

You remember the old Robin Hood theme don’t you, “Steal for the Rich and give to the Poor”? So is that what God is doing with today’s economy?

 

Twenty-two years ago I stood in a music store that was going out of business. For forty years this family owned business had been running in that little town and now it was time to close the doors.

 

It was a mad house. This was an old fashion music store with vinyl records, sheet music, guitars, organs, pianos and piano lessons and even some accordions. The buzz in the store was almost giddy and I saw a few older women grabbing handfuls of Christian sheet music and albums then rushing to the register paying 10 or maybe 25 cents on the dollar while asking for even more discounts on volume.

 

“Isn’t God good!” one lady said cheerfully to the other. “We are a poor church you know and now look at the deal God has given, us—He really takes care of the righteous doesn’t He?” Her friend totally agreed. In fact it appeared that everyone in the store agreed. The frenzy was like that scene from the nature channel when some poor unsuspecting animal tries to cross a stream filled with Piranha and half way across the feeding madness begins. This 40 year old business was like that helpless animal being picked to the bone.

 

But, hey, it’s capitalism, right? Only the strong survive. I certainly would rather have heard that, then the comment that God was somehow now benefiting so many poor Christians with the sale of this business. But wait, doesn’t it say in the scriptures that God will take the riches from the unrighteous and give it to the righteous? That the ungodly may prosperous for awhile but in the end God will balance it out—right?

 

So was God acting like Robin Hood and taking from the rich and giving to the poor? That seems to be what people are saying today when they can buy what used to be a 500K home for 100K and then the prayers flow to God for all the blessings finally being poured out to the righteous.

 

The only problem is I knew the owners of that 40 year old Music Store. It was my wife’s parents, my father-in-law and my mother-in-law so I know they were not the ungodly or those nasty unrighteous wealthy business mongers that everyone hates so easily. The only mistake they made was staying too long in a Mall that no longer wanted Mom and Pop stores.

 

I’m glad that in todays hard hit economy some people are benefiting, that some homes and cars and other items out of reach to many are now in their grasp and I really don’t have a problem with them thanking God for their good fortune. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that God is Robin Hood and while those prayers and praises are heaven bound, perhaps some prayers could be offered for those who lost their dreams on the other end and are having to move on.

 

Yes, there are those that over-extended themselves, but like my In-laws, just maybe there are those who simply made a mistake. I know everyone wants a deal and most Christians are quick to point their stewardship responsibility to make the best deal. All of that is well and good; just remember that in the family of God all His children count so while it is right to thank God for our good fortune, let’s at least leave it at that or perhaps even better, pray for the good fortune of all.

 

Have a great day,

Duke Clarke

Jul 01

The temptation is overwhelming, you can feel it, you can see it, you can almost taste it. What is it?

It’s another sales letter promising instant riches with everything already done for you for only $29. Maybe this one will work, maybe this guy is honest, maybe this is God trying to help me for only $29, maybe…maybe…maybe…

People want it so badly they talk themselves into it. Then once again Pandora’s box is opened and you find that you either have to open up another money pit and pour in thousands or it was all just a lie.

So the real question to ask ourselves is why is this appealing? Why do people want instant riches? Why are people so willing to roll the dice, play the lottery and hope, hope, hope they will win? Are we afraid that God’s way is not quick enough or that it will not work? Are we focusing on the greed of having more than we could ever want or use? Are we trying to escape pressure of finances or satisfy some other pain? We need to ask and answer these questions.

God has a way to win. It may not be glamorous, exotic, and instantaneous, but it is guaranteed. “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and he adds no sorrow to it.” Proverbs 10:22

When your hunger has been satisfied, food is not a temptation. So rather than exhort you to “avoid temptation” I’m going to exhort you to find a godly solution to the hunger, pain or need that you have and then there will be no temptation.

Have a great day,
Duke  Clarke

Duke

Jun 07

Yes, it’s true. I just read yet another AMAZING offer.

Apparently for just under $500 I can buy a box, that will show me how to do EVERYTHING and produce a “Magic Button” that I can press and make internet millions!

Now, I’d have to be an idiot to pass this up right? But then I wonder how confident is the person who is selling this “Magic Button” that his product will work. If I don’t make millions on the internet will he sign over his home to me? If I don’t make an extra $5K to $20K a month like he says, will be he pay off my home?

I guess not because all I read is that I have 30 days to “see for myself” and then I can get a refund minus some 30 odd dollars it cost me in shipping and handling (Maybe I should go into the shipping and handling business, they seem to make money no matter what).

Anyway, another day, another “Magic Button” from the Hope-Mongers–so what else is new?

What needs to be new is that we as Hope-Seekers stop believing in instant riches and “magic buttons” and start taking control of our own lives in order to prosper. Say “NO” to the hype and start building your own dreams.

Be a Hope-Giver today,

Duke Clarke

May 30

Selling is part skill, part art, part learning and adapting as you go. Some people love to sell. Some people hate to sell. But if you are going to be in business, especially for yourself–you must sell.

Now the only question is how are you going to go about it.

I’ve heard a lot of people speak on the subject and the attitudes range from “the customer has MY MONEY and I’m going to get it” to “you can get anything you want in life as long as you help enough other people get what they want”.

One of the best trainers I’ve heard lately is Jeffery Gitomer, I would call him a Hope-Giver. One of the things he says is “No one likes to be sold, but everyone wants to buy.” He talks about building relationships and motivating your customer with value and service.

In today’s market Hope-Mongers would rather use manipulation than motivation. They’d rather insult their customer into buying, rather than earn their trust.

Have you ever received the canned email which opens with “Quite frankly I shocked (puzzled, troubled or some other adjective) that you haven’t ordered XYZ by now!”

What the h…! Am I in the second grade??? Do you think I care that you are shocked???

I got one of these email a few weeks ago because I hadn’t signed up for a $5K take-a-website-home-in-a-box seminar. Well, I was shocked that they were even trying to pitch such a thing, but Hope-Seekers keep buying so they keep pitching.

I love to motivate, inspire and add value to people’s lives so that’s the route I’m taking. If you are a manipulator, then you will not fine any helpful information here–this site is for Hope-Givers.

Duke Clarke

May 29

It happened again yesterday. I received an email about a program I was enrolled in. The title was “Update” it was a very long email that started out with boring update information about the program then at the bottom came the “Oh, by the way…” note.

Apparently I was being enrolled in a forced continuity  member site that he says I agreed to when I signed up. Of course I could opt out at anytime by jumping through a few hoops, but I wondered how many people got bored half way through the email and didn’t see the $97 pop they were about to get?

But you see that’s the point with Hope-Mongers, they want to slip this in under half-truth disclaimers so they can at least “whack” your card once. I actually heard this taught in a public seminar while the mindless  audience nods in agreement. But during that seminar, one person realized that they had been forced into a member site by the guy running the seminar and at least had the guts to get up and tell him how mad he was for being deceived and said in his country you could go to jail for that deception.

Of course the Hope-Monger’s only response was “Oh well, I guess in your country you’d better not do that”.

Instead of calling the email I got yesterday “Update” it would have been more honest to call it “Forced Continuity” then maybe every one would have read it. But then again maybe they would have all opted out like me and the Hope-Monger would not have been able to “Whack” a few…

The battle continues……

Duke