Interesting Stats on How Americans Spend
Last year, Americans spent $10.7 trillion shopping. With that much dough, you could buy over 2000 aircraft carriers, 300 private islands, and still have money left over for a latte. Here’s a taste of the things we bought—and how much we spent on them.
Beer: $96 billion—enough to make 199,937,239 barrels! (Brewers Association)
Pretzels: $550 million (Reuters)
St. Patrick’s Day: $4.14 billion (National Retail Federation)
Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners: $1.4 billion (MSNBC)
Sinus Treatments: $5.8 billion (Centers for Disease Control)
Pet Halloween Costumes: $310 million (The pet industry hauls in a total $50.96 billion!) (National Retail Federation/American Pet Product Association)
Easter: $16.8 billion (National Retail Association)
Romance Novels: $10 billion (Romance Writers of America)
Engagement and Wedding Rings: $11 billion (Knot Market Intelligence)
Valentine’s Day Flowers: $1.7 billion (National Retail Federation)
Chocolate: $16 billion dollars (we eat 2.8 billion pounds of it!) (IBIS)
Perfume: $4.2 billion (Research and Markets)
Gambling: $34.6 billion (American Gaming Association)
Coffee: $11 billion ($1.4 billion is organic!) (Franchise Direct/North American Organic Coffee Industry Report)
Tattoos: $2.3 billion (INC.)
Tattoo Removal: $66 million (IBIS)
Golf Balls: $500 million (Forbes)
Girl Scout Cookies: $800 million (Girl Scouts of America)
Taxidermy: $800 million (Breakthrough Magazine)
Video Games: $17 billion dollars (NPD Group)
Soft Drinks: $65 billion (National Soft Drinks Association)
Bottled Water: $11 billion (Beverage Marketing Corp.)
Groceries: $478 billion (USDA)
Fast Food: $117 billion (Fast Food Marketing)
Professional Sports: $25.4 billion (WR Hambrecht)
Dollar Store Purchases: $30 billion (Security and Exchange Commission)
Alternative Medicine: $33.9 Billion (Consumer Reports)
Toilet Paper: $2.6 billion (NY Times)
Ringtones: $5 billion worldwide (NY Times)
Baggage Fees: $3.36 billion (Bureau of Transportation)
Credit Card Late Fees: $18 billion (RK Hammer)
Lawn Care: $40 billion (Bloomberg)
Child Care: $47 billion (IBIS)
Twinkies: Approximately $500 million (WSJ)
Many of these categories are laughable however when I think we when see them as a whole they seem ridiculous I laugh at the twinkies and I am happy to see them back in the saddle but seriously how much of that but at the time they seemed like a good idea. There are definitely the important things here like TP but 18 billion in late fees is one I cringe at. Hope you have enjoyed.
Top 5 Regrets Regrets of the Dying
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice.
Excerpts from ” The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of Brownie Ware her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring book is available internationally through Hay House.
Statistics that need to be changed
From the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development
Here is research that we distilled from Barna, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary, all of which backed up our findings, and additional information from reviewing others’ research:
1500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches (18,000 per year).
80% of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
50% divorce rate among pastors.
40% polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
80% of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
70% said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons (this is Key).
60%-80% of those who enter the ministry will not still be in it 10 years later, and only a fraction will stay in it as a lifetime career.
Many pastors start off right with a true call and the enthusiasm and the endurance of faith to make it, but something happens to derail their train of passion and love for the call.
The irony is that while the model of Jesus is one of discipleship most of our churches are suffering for lack thereof. We have taken rugged individualism and applied it to the church so as a result we have a sea of island competitors and few teammates…but there is good news. Jesus will return for a church without spot or blemish. Love never fails!
Would you trade 99 for 1?
It is more enjoyable for a child to get a new toy than to fix and old one. Churches tend to be the same way and most do not have a plan for leaving the 99 for the 1. This is true of many marriages as well, when times get rough and we are not happy it is time to go. What if this is God’s plan to make us into his image rather than to make us happy. It is hard for us to see that God may be getting glory in our pain or how he can redeem it. How could a loving God put me with a person that was less than perfect? Ask Abraham whose wife laughed at him, or David whose wife mocked him for dancing. How is it God that you can save an unbelieving spouse through a believing spouse?
When Jesus looked at his rag tag band do you think he ever thought is this the best I could have done? I am stuck with these 12 guys and 3 years to change the world? What about manners, can I pick from the “A” list, where are the honor students? Could I have done better?
Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? … Matthew 17:17
As a follower of Jesus I am trying to reconnect with painful relationships. I see the disciples and know I would have long written off their bickering, fighting, prayer sleeping, ear slicing disciples, swearing allegiance in the morning and cursing and denying him that same night. Because, Jesus did not go looking for a new group of friends but stayed the course through the painful betrayal and abandonment that I know him today.
May patience have its work in us. Let us go after and maintain relationships as God’s wants to exhibit his grandeur through people that have devoted themselves to him regardless of the packaging and how we think they should be.
Church directories for longterm church growth
“Church growth researchers say that if a person visits your church three times in a row there is a far greater than average chance that they will stay–but don’t miss this–for up to six months. During those six months they must make at least seven significant relationships for them to stay at your church indefinitely. This is why it is critical to get them into a small group or a new member’s class, or the like. Because in the final analysis, your friendship or that of the pastor if that is not you, will never be enough to keep them there long-term.”*
Four things to give to create long term relationships.
1. Give them a call– We just worked with a church of 5,000 Sunday attendance and the pastor calls every single first time visitor on Saturday morning and every person that misses more than one month. He said it does not usually take longer than a couple hours on a Saturday and the impact is incredible.
2. Give a membership class- Make it strong. Discuss Christian world view. Go over why people believe what they believe it is your job of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry in a real world that does not believe what they believe. Cover the key points of the gospels.
3. Give them a role- Invite them to join you in the work of the ministry from helping the poor at the homeless shelter to utilizing their construction skills on the mission field get them engaged using their time and talent.
3. Give them a pictorial church directory- This is extremely helpful to putting names with faces, giving them a feeling of being connected to a larger group and helpful so they can contact leadership with questions. At church services they will feel more comfortable and connected because they know who people are and they have a helpful guide when they remember a face but forget the name.
hope this helps. -ng
*David Jackson, Blog
Connecting Your Church With Church Directories
These partnerships give access to services and products that will allow the congregation to connect with each other, to keep in touch and also to grow both spiritually and in number.
As a provider of pictorial church directories, we help churches integrate professional images into their church management software, create special marketing and communications materials designed for that church and style and also build up the community by easily matching names with faces.
By using pictorial church directories, the church will have a better impact the community, helping building better and stronger relationships between members and also telling others what God is doing in the church.
Discover The Advantages Of A Pictorial Church Directory
Any person who is a regular church-goer already knows how the church becomes much more than just a group of people who happen to worship together.
A church congregation truly becomes a family in many ways, and even in the largest of churches that feeling of family is extended to the newer members and older members alike.
No matter what the size of the church, a pictorial church directory is an essential part of helping that church family keep up with each other and identify each other.
When you look at a series of names, addresses, and phone numbers, that information may often seem to simply blur together even if you know the person you are looking for.
However, if you can thumb through the pictorial church directory and find the person you want at a mere glance, it makes it much simpler for you to connect with the person you are looking for.
A pictorial church directory is an excellent investment for any church to make since it is an investment in the church family!
Creating A Church Directory That Connects
Church directories are meant to connect people so why not include professional photographs? Professional photographs make a church directory stand out from the traditional members list. A directory filled with family photos connects attendees in a variety of ways: 1. Faces are usually remembered and names are easily forgotten. If a member is trying to locate someone using a church directory filled with photographs can improve new relationships. 2. Prayer chains prefer photography within the church directory. Praying teams can locate who they are praying for and easily be reminded to lift up the spouse and children as well. 3. Elderly members often need additional reminders of who is who. A photograph directory can quietly provide guidance to seniors without ever having to ask for help remembering a name. 4. Family photos are few and far between today. By hosting a professional photographer at an after church gathering you allow your congregation and affordable way to capture their family image for friends, family and holiday gifts.