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Author Archives: andyfalleur

About andyfalleur

I'm an American, pastoring a church in Ottawa, Canada, married to a beautiful French Canadian girl named Gen that sings like an angel, and I have 4 great kids...

Today, I would tell you about J.C. Breazeale…

Today,  I would tell you about J.C. Breazeale…

J.C. was my maternal grandfather. He died on Friday, June 11, 2021 at his home in Millbrook, Alabama. He was almost 90 years old. His wife, my maternal grandmother died a couple of months before. She was 88.

Let me describe to you what kind of person he was. His name was J.C. and that didn’t stand for anything. It wasn’t his initials. It was his name. He was from Louisiana. He had to stop school after the 8th grade and start working full-time. His father and his brother had debilitating problems with alcohol. I recall someone telling me that his dad was the town drunk. My grandfather never touched alcohol, he hated it all of his life.

He married my grandmother two weeks after meeting her at a bowling alley. Incredible. Those were different times. After they married, he purchased her the first article of clothing that wasn’t a hand-me-down. They both worked, but she earned more money than he did in the early days of their marriage.

A few years ago, he sent me a copy of his testimony, how and when he became a Christian, and his experience of it. Here’s what he wrote:

“I really don’t know why I am writing this, except that one day, my grandchildren might want to know why I take the stand I do on some issues. Dr. Walter Martin said, “A man who will not take a stand for something is likely to fall for almost anything.” The Apostle Paul writes, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). I became fully persuaded on some issues many years ago….and, I still stand on them.

I suppose a good way to begin this would be to give a word of testimony of my salvation….how and when I came to know the Lord.

I was saved Tuesday night, June 25th, 1963, at the altar of Centennial Baptist Church, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I lacked 3 months being 33 years old.

I had been brought up in church, in my early years. Mr. paternal Grandfather was a “lay preacher” who was well known and respected in our area. I was too young to know about doctrine, but from what I can find out, he preached sound Baptist doctrine. After his death, my family drifted into a “Pentecostal” type church, due to influences from relatives on my mother’s side of the family. I attended their church, though I never became a part of it. I knew that I could never live good enough to keep my salvation, and I refused to make a mockery of salvation, as I had seen many do.

The night I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, I had been to a union meeting. We had a member whose name was Oliver Jordan, who had a habit of coming to the meeting under the influence of alcohol and wanting to argue about everything that came up for discussion. I detest beverage alcohol, and I had made up my mind (or I thought it was me that had made up mind) that the next time Oliver came to the meeting drinking, I was going home. That night Oliver came and he had been drinking, so I went home. That night happened to be the visitation night of Centennial Baptist Church.

I hadn’t been at home but a few minutes, when there was a knock on our door. When I opened the door, there was Bro. Jesse Whitley, the pastor of Centennial Baptist Church, and Bro. H.B. Hall, one of the Deacons. I invited them to come in. And though Bro. Whitley had visited before, there was something different about that night. Times before, I had been able to change the subject, off salvation, and talk about sports or other things. But that night, I could not seem to come up with anything. I really could not tell you one word Bro. Whitley spoke, until he said, “We can kneel right here by your couch and you can call upon the Lord to forgive you and save you,” I remember the first word that came from my lips: “No.” But that “no” was followed by, “I always said that when I got saved, it would be at a church altar.” With that, Bro. Whitley replied, “Then let’s go down to the church.” And that is what we did. Bro. Whitley, Bro.Hall, Ann, and myself went down to Centennial Baptist Church, and knelt at the altar.

When my knees touch the floor, I remember starting to cry. My heart was broken as I came to that moment in my life. Bro. Whitley prayed, and then said to me, “Bro. J.C., will you pray and ask the Lord to come into your heart and save you?” I couldn’t answer. All I could do was weep. Finally, I uttered 8 words which I will never forget. Through my tears I prayed, “Lord, save me. I’ve been wrong so long!”

I couldn’t tell you what happened at that moment, but there was a change in my very being. There seemed to be a great weight lifted from me. There was a peace that I had never known before. What I later come to know from 2 Corinthians 5:17 suddenly became a reality. Life took on a new meaning. After almost 14 years of marriage, Ann had a new husband, my children had a new Daddy….not perfect, but new.

I Had lived a life of being under conviction from the time I was about 17 until that Tuesday night. I would take my family to church and go get them after church. I knew it was good for my family to be in church, but “it wasn’t for me.” I would go to church occasionally, but when the invitation was given, I would suddenly need to go to the restroom or get a drink of water. Whatever excuse I could come up with was all I needed to get away from the Holy Spirit’s drawing. I had run from the Lord ever since I could remember. But that night, I lost the race!

Several other things changed that night. I had an extremely foul mouth (though I never cursed at home). I asked God to help me quit my profanity, and it stopped as though you had flipped a light switch. That night, He gave me a desire to read and study His word. I have tried to do this daily since that time. It was a few months later that I dedicated my life to be used of the Lord with whatever abilities He gave me. Though I have failed Him many times, He has always remained faithful. AMEN!!!”

(J.C. Breazeale testimony from an email he sent me.)

My grandfather loved to sing about what the Lord had done for him. He had a small P.A. system that he would load up from time to time and travel to small churches all around Arkansas. He would set it up and lead the singing and do special music for Sunday night services and hymn sings, and gospel quartets and bluegrass. Some of my fondest memories are being at some of those events and being around his friends.

He also edited and published a newsletter for many years from his church. He would collect the articles from various people, edit and copy and paste all by hand (way before computers) and then take them down to a printer to be copied. I remember watching him prepare the newsletter with his exacto knife and paper cutter and bits of glue. Once the printer was finished, he would stamp and send hundreds of these to people all over the South. I wish I had a copy to show you.

Grandpa (Paw-Paw when I was small), did read and study the Bible everyday. He loved to do word studies. Where he would systematically work through a book of the Bible by looking up the definition of each word in the original language. It was tedious work. He also made copious notes in his Bible with a .3mm mechanical pencil on very small hand drawn lines. It’s an understatement to say that he treasured the Scriptures. He was completely committed to the King James Version.

I remember him ending every day, by getting on his knees by the couch and praying for each one of his children and grandchildren. Every time we visited or called, he would remind us, sometimes individually how much he loved us, that he was praying for us, and to try and “help your mamma.”

As a child, I remember him telling me: “Andy, you can do whatever you put your mind to.” Man, did that go down deep. And, it gave me a lot of hope, when hope was scarce.

I got to spend the summer with my grandparents in my early teens. I left Florida and spent several weeks in Opello, Arkansas. I cut grass, weeded the garden, played basketball, went fishing, shot a .22, and helped him build an addition on to the back of his house. Grandma gave me Coke-a-Cola and a candy bar almost everyday. It was the best summer I had as a kid.

He bought me my first real Bible that summer. It was a KJV, from Oxford Press, with a Genuine Leather cover. It was very expensive. That was the Bible I read and studied when as a young adult. I still have it.

One more story, and maybe the one that really inspires and challenges me. It’s a good one to leave you with.

One Saturday during that summer with them, we went into town to get a haircut. While we were waiting for our turn, one of the men there began to use foul language. My grandpa piped right up and said: “I’ll thank you to not use that language in front of my grandson.” The man excused himself.

I’m very, very grateful for his example in life.

And, I know very well, how my life has been privileged because of that Tuesday night at Centennial Baptist Church.

Grandpa reading the Christmas Story to my nieces and nephews.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Review: “Dealing With Difficult People” – Harvard Business Review

Book Review: “Dealing With Difficult People” – Harvard Business Review

A friend at Calvary loaned me this book. He had read it, found it helpful and was seeing if I would like it.

I found it helpful.

The book is a compilation of essays that they have previously published in a periodical. They put similar topics together for this little book. It’s part of their “Emotional Intelligence” series.

Here’s the titles of the essays:

1. To Resolve a Conflict, First Decide: Is it Hot or Cold – Aim for warmth by Mark Gerzon

2. Taking the Stress Out of Stressful Conversations – How to talk when you’re emotionally entangled by Holly Weeks

3. The Secret to Dealing with Difficult People: It’s About You – Three new lenses to try on by Tony Schwartz

4. How to Deal with a Mean Colleague – Stand up for yourself by Amy Gallo

5. How to Deal with a Passive-Aggressive Colleague – Don’t accuse them by Amy Gallo

6. How to Work with Someone Who’s Always Stressed Out – Celebrate their victories by Rebecca Knight

7. How to Manage Someone Who Thinks Everything is Urgent – Help them see consequences by Liz Kislik

8. Do You Hate Your Boss? – Managing up when your personalities clash by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries

It’s obviously not a Christian book, but it was a helpful book, as it is dealing in the area of wisdom, specifically how to be wise in these various situations. Is it gospel? Nope… but some good suggestions, and some new approaches to what are often confounding problems.

In my case, a couple of the chapters were answers to prayer. I needed help in a couple of relationships, I had been praying about them, and felt like the Lord had answered that prayer by providing some counsel from others who had some success in similar situations.

So… helpful book!

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2021 in Book Review

 

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Spiritual Gifts Series

I did a series several years ago on the gifts of the Spirit. It’s still relevant today, and I wanted to share it here.

This came up recently, because at http://calvaryottawa.ca we took a Sunday to look at the baptism of the Holy Spirit that John proclaims in John 1:33. I had a follow up conversation with a couple of people, and the gifts of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit was a new topic for them.

That particular message is available by video or audio.

It was a fun conversation because one of them confessed: “I didn’t think you were one of those guys!”

I suggested listening to this series.

The backstory is that several years ago I taught through “Jude” and it left some people confused about what the Bible had to say about the gifts of the Spirit. So, we took a break from going through the Bible and went back to 1 Corinthians 12-14, and I did a series on the gifts of the Spirit.

In the first message, we looked at how the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit is very much for today, and then examined the common passage that “cessationists” use to argue that the ministry of the Holy Spirit has changed from the time of the apostles.

In the succeeding messages, we took a closer look at each one of the gifts of the Spirit that Paul lists there in 1 Corinthians 12 and how they were manifested in the Old Testament, the life of Jesus, the New Testament, and then we crowd-sourced some current examples.

The final message is a study in 1 Corinthians 14 and how Paul describes how the gifts of the Spirit are to be used in the church meetings.

Here’s the links to the audio files for those messages:

God Speaks! 1/6

Message 2/6

Message 3/6

Message 4/6

Message 5/6

Last one: Message 6/6

I’d love to hear from you, especially if these recordings helped you, or if you have any follow up questions.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2021 in Bible Studies

 

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Some Thoughts on Church Boards, especially for church planters and young pastors

Some Thoughts on Church Boards, especially for church planters and young pastors

Today, I’m drinking Peru Huabal from Equator Coffee. The beans are processed completely different. It’s called “honey process.” You can read more about it here.

So, there I was, about a year into church planting… and I was attending a Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Conference in NY. They had a Q&A session, and I asked: “what should I look for in Board Members?”

Bil Gallatin spoke up, and it felt like it was pretty quick and bold. “Look for men that are filled with the Holy Spirit.” He went on to say how often we look for people that are successful in life, or appear to be successful in the world, but neglect to look for the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.

It was a great answer, because I wasn’t expecting it, but immediately felt… “duh! Of course!” And, then it did send me on a journey of meditating on what evidences show being filled with the Spirit. Often times, we automatically think of someone that’s “on fire for God.” But, experience has shown that sometimes, those folks aren’t consistent over time, and don’t have lives that demonstrate wisdom.

We can talk about that more if you want.

But, elders and Board members (and anyone on the platform) is a crucial decision. It’s easy to put people in those positions. It’s almost impossible to get them out if there’s problems. It’s better to be really, really slow, especially with the Board.

Because, if there’s drama at the Board level, there will be chaos in the congregation. I have a friend that just survived a coup.

I have another friend and the Board of his church is intimidated by the pastor. It’s a real problem, because it doesn’t seem like anyone is willing to share the truth in love. And, the pastor has some blind spots. In fact, he’s firmly in that place described in the phrase the emperor has no clothes.

Gen and I talked about it a bit last evening. The heartache that gets spread all around when the Board doesn’t have mature, wise, courageous people. People that are full of the Holy Spirit.

A lot of that heartache is born by the Pastor’s wife and children.

I’m very, very grateful for each of the people that serve on the Board at Calvary. We have navigated some very difficult situations in the last 3 years.

I’m also very grateful for Brett Robinson, Chuck Smith, Brian Brodersen and yes… Bil Gallatin.

What do you do if you don’t like the people in your Board, or don’t like the culture of your Board? First, it would be to pray. We have to remember that the church belongs to Jesus Christ. He purchased it (and you) with His blood. He’s the Head of the church, the brains of the operations, and as such, He has the privilege of making the decisions.

Ask Him what He wants you to do. It may be to wait. I have a friend whose church had all kinds of problems. As he prayed, the Lord caused one of the Board Members to be caught in his sin. When that happened, and the person resigned, peace came into that leadership team.

It may be that the Lord wants you to confront someone, and speak the truth in love.

It may be that you need to leave. I know of a church that seems to churn through pastors. That isn’t the pastor’s fault. There’s a problem on the Board.

I often reflect on Paul in Troas. Here’s what he wrote: “When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though the Lord opened a door for me, I had no rest in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. Instead, I said good-bye to them and left for Macedonia.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:12-13‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Because the Board really has to operate as a team, and because the nature of church is spiritual, and in the context of spiritual warfare, it’s important to trust and have a good relationship with everyone on the Board. If there’s no brother like Titus, even if there’s an open door. It’s okay to say good-bye and move on.

This conversation might stretch into a refill!

What are your thoughts? What’s been your experience?

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Review – “Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen

Book Review – “Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen

“Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen
“Maranatha” is my one word reaction to this book.
This was a very illuminating yet troubling book.
Professor Deneen explains why there’s so much distrust by the right and anger among the left of our liberal democracies. It’s actually the fruit of the liberal democracy ideology, 500 years in the making. And there’s no fix.
It’s true, it’s been a more long lasting model than fascism and monarchy. But, it, and therefore we, are in trouble. The natural next steps are undoubtedly brutal.
Barack Obama wrote that this book “offers cogent insights into the loss of leaning and community that many in the West feel.”
Ross Douthat commented with one word: “bracing.”
I’d LOVE to talk with someone else in #Ottawa that has read this and would be willing to discuss it.
In the meantime, the road ahead is to continue to share the hope we as Christians have in the good news that sets people free. It’s also to invest in local culture making activities with households and families, encouraging self-control, industry and thick community ties and relationships.
Character always makes the biggest difference no matter the situation. We have to give that gift to the next generation, especially our children.
Mr. Deneen, if you happen to read this, thank you. It’s my first political science book. And I’m indebted to you for expanding my thinking.

(Originally posted a while ago on my recently deleted profile on an undesirable platform.)

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2021 in Book Review

 

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Three Thoughts and Suggestions for Prayer that have come up in conversation recently

Three Thoughts and Suggestions for Prayer that have come up in conversation recently

Yup… surprising, I know, that a pastor would have some thoughts and suggestions around prayer. But, interestingly, in the last few days this topic has come up three different times in conversation. And it is a perennial topic, and now seems to be a good time to talk about it.

First suggestion…

Pray on your knees. I really don’t believe that praying on your knees does anything special from God’s perspective. It’s not like He sees you on your knees, and says… “oh, NOW, I’ll listen to you!”

Praying on our knees does something really good inside of us. It puts our body in a posture of humility. It helps to focus the mind. It helps us to remember what we bring to the equation. It reminds us that He’s the authority, and He may give us something to do as a result.

I believe it’s a great way to start the day. Right after your morning constitution, getting down on your knees and “offering your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord.”

Second suggestion…

Think about what your thinking about. Someone asked me about their struggle when it came to prayer. They would start to pray, and then there mind would begin to wander in all kinds of directions, and it frustrated them, as they wanted to pray.

But, what if that’s the Holy Spirit, guiding your thoughts in that moment. There’s nothing wrong with letting your mind wander during that time of prayer, going to the end of it and then returning to the topic you started with. What if the Holy Spirit is wanting to show you something, or open up your understanding or insight, or share with you his perspective on a situation, or give you something to do in that regard.

Isn’t that what we want in prayer? To have a conversation? To hear God’s voice speaking to us? Often, for me, I end up writing down todo’s, reminders to contact people, or some novel idea while I’m praying.

Last suggestion…

Read these articles. Calvary Chapel had a post a few days ago about what they had learned in praying online over the last year. Check it out. It has some really helpful observations and insights and ideas for times of prayer via technology.

Spur Ottawa had a post about answers to prayer from our local community that was very inspiring.

What do you think? I’d expect if we were having coffee and having this conversation, that it would be a conversation. That you would have some thoughts and suggestions as well.

Like…

Praying through insomnia, instead of cruising the internet, or raiding the fridge…

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Coffee & EverWell Church Website/Insta

Coffee & EverWell Church Website/Insta

If we went for coffee today, here’s what I’d probably want to ask you.

1. What kind of coffee do you like? I’m out at home, need to buy some this evening at the grocery store. Which one should I try next? I like trying new brands, blends, roasts…

2. What do you think of EverWell Church’s website and Instagram look and feel? Here is their website: https://www.everwellchurch.com and their Insta: https://www.instagram.com/everwellchurch/

I like it.

What I like about it is that it looks honest. I think they are portraying who they are, and what to expect. I like that.

What JUMPED out to me was the pictures of the people. What do you think about that? Is it a good thing to do? Kids? Families? Identities? Doxxing?

We are in a new season of ministry at Calvary. Some things have changed. Some have remained the same. Many of us have changed and grown and matured (and even reproduced!). Lots hasn’t changed. We should communicate that honestly through our online presence.

I’m opening my mind to the idea of pictures of people in our online presence. We could do that in the courtyard at Fourth Ave. And, it could be fun! Especially if we did it a couple times a year with the season changes. It would turn into a Jesus-party for sure.

Bonus. Here’s the bonus question. How do we invite people, communicate what’s happening around Calvary, put ourselves out there a bit… without Google or Facebook or Instagram. That’s an interesting question. It’s because I’ve recently deleted WhatsApp, FB, Messenger and Instagram. Google will take a little longer.

What do you think?

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Grief Recovery Handbook, the Grief Recovery Method

Grief Recovery Handbook, the Grief Recovery Method

If we went for a coffee today, we would probably talk about the Grief Recovery Method and the Grief Recovery Handbook.

There are several of us at Calvary that are reading the book together and going through the exercises. My friend Tim has joined our sessions via Zoom to help walk us through and answer questions and so forth. He’s had lots of experience with it.

Last evening, we had an interesting question, because the Grief Recovery Method doesn’t come from a Christian basis, but a science basis, how are we as Christians to interact with it? How much “faith” should we put into the method?

The question was actually a bit more focused. One of the last exercises in the method is to write a letter, and does that even make sense? And, since we are Christians, does the Bible instruct us to do this with our grief?

It’s interesting, the Grief Recovery Method has you start out by examining all the ways that we deal with loss that don’t actually help us long term. And, then the exercises start, where you set aside an hour, and graph the losses you’ve experienced in life, along with how you felt at the time, and even how you feel about it currently. The next exercise is to choose a relationship in your life that has some unfinished communication in it, and graph that relationship, it’s major events, how you felt about them and even how you feel about them now. Next, taking that information, you sort it into categories that require action, like apologies, “forgives,” and significant emotional statements. And, then from that work, you write a letter to that person. The last step is to read that letter out loud to another person. And, it rarely is read to the actual person that it’s written to.

This is the outline of the Grief Recovery Method and it’s helped thousands of people over the last 40+ years who were suffering pain from loss and grief.

So, it’s a good question. As a Christian, with access to the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1), the help of the Holy Spirit, prayer, God’s Word, why would we write a letter?

As we were thinking about that, I realized that the Psalms were an example in many ways of this grief recovery method. Actually, the imprecatory Psalms really illustrate the Grief Recovery Method.

These are the famous psalms were the writer expresses: “Happy is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9) This is a letter that expresses feelings from an event where there was loss, addressed to the person that is responsible for the loss, read out loud to a different person. I’ll bet these words were never said or read to the person or entities that are responsible for the loss.

Jesus is also an example. Remember when he was standing on the Mount of Olives at the end of Palm Sunday, the day of the Triumphal Entry? He said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:37‬‬)‬

Here Jesus is expressing his feelings, about an event, where He’s experienced loss, and it’s addressed to the people that are responsible for the loss, yet, it’s the disciples that hear him say it.

So, for me, I realized, this is one of those situations where science has finally caught up with where Christians have been for centuries.

As you continue reading “The Grief Recovery Handbook,” they describe how life should be lived after using this method to complete grief. The illustration they use is like visiting the aquarium where it’s so big that every once in a while one of the sharks or whales or sea creatures comes into view at the window we are looking through. When that happens we describe what we are seeing as it’s happening including how we feel about it. “Whoa! A shark! Look at those teeth! I’m glad I’m behind the glass!” We do that as it happens. Rather than, later on, or years later, we express our feelings in healthy and productive ways in real time.

This reminds me of Ephesians 4, where Paul writes how we as Christians are to be: “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the Head…” It’s speaking the truth in and from love, in healthy and productive ways, in real time, processing life as it happens, which produces growth in wisdom and in love and in courage.

Again, from my perspective, science is finally catching up with where Christians have been for centuries.

I highly recommend the book.

And, I’m grateful that my friend Tim gave me a copy this past summer.

What do you think? What’s been your experience with processing loss and grief? How have you managed the pain of loss, disappointment, hurt?

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Compost Bins and CryptoAssets

Compost Bins and CryptoAssets

If we went for a coffee today, at some point we would talk about what happened to my compost bin yesterday.

I think it was so cold, -20, that when the men came around to empty it the plastic was so brittle it just shattered when it got knocked or banged. It’s thick plastic, so this is pretty awesome to see.

Compost Bin at -20

The other thing we could chat about is CryptoAssets and Cryptocurrency. I’m beginning to pay closer attention to what’s happening. I have a good friend that bough a Bitcoin back when it was $1500.00. He’s laughing today.

What makes it even more interesting is all that’s going on in the central banking system, quantitative easing and all the moves by Wall Street recently.

It struck me yesterday that the major news media may need to be interpreted as the opposite of what I should do. That was weird.

Have you read Mark Cubans essay on CryptoAssets as a SOV (Store of Value)? It’s here. https://blogmaverick.com/2021/01/31/the-store-of-value-generation-is-kicking-your-ass-and-you-dont-even-know-it/Mark Cubans Blog

What do you think about that? What’s your experience with compost bins and CryptoAssets? Do you have a helpful opinion?

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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