*Do You Really Believe What You Claim To Believe?

That headline above poses one of the most important questions anyone can ever ask themselves. Unfortunately, it’s too often one of the last questions all of us ask of ourselves.

Photo by John Jackson on Unsplash

The question has a particular relevance for people working on the Hill. At the surface level, everybody in Congress, working for Congress, reporting on Congress, seeking to influence Congress and trying to get to Congress has beliefs, or at least claims to believe certain things.

But whatever you profess to believe, can you have absolute certainty that what you say you believe is what you actually believe, as reflected in what you think, do and say? And how do you know the difference between the one and the other? Continue reading “*Do You Really Believe What You Claim To Believe?”

Are You Ready To Get Out Of Your Boat?

Matthew’s account of Jesus walking on the water is among the most well-known of His miracles, but there is another important aspect of this event that ought especially to capture the attention of anybody working on a congressional staff.

Screenshot from Facebook.

What’s your ambition? Move up to a better-paid, higher-challenge position with your current boss? Climb the ladder to work for the most influential and powerful senator or representative? Maybe it’s to make contacts and then join a lobbying firm or advocacy group. The Hill is a wonderful springboard in countless ways, but it can also be a tough, risky place to work.

Something I read on April 30 in a daily devotional app I read every morning has been very much on my mind. The title of the entry for that day in “The Word For You Today” was simple and to the point – “Getting Out Of Your Boat.” Continue reading “Are You Ready To Get Out Of Your Boat?”

Once I Was Blind, But Now I See. How About You?

You may recognize the heart of the headline above as being from the greatest hymn ever written, “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton, the former slave trader, and the English poet, William Cowper.

Only God knows how many men and women in the centuries since it was composed and published in 1779 have gladly sung that hymn because it so perfectly captured their unique stories. Continue reading “Once I Was Blind, But Now I See. How About You?”

PUEBLA 2020: A Well-Spent Week Comes To A Close With A Blessing

This year marked the fifth in the past six that I have joined a devoted and talented team of nearly two dozen men and women who are present and former members of Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) in Sykesville, Md., on a week-long mission to Puebla, Mexico.

Sunday breakfast in Puebla 2020.

At the outset, let me be clear that my saying this is not “virtue signaling” on my part. That God led me for the first time to go on this mission trip in 2015 was in itself a miracle and concrete evidence of how radically He has transformed a previously selfish, booze-addicted and politics-obsessed egotist with a new heart and desire to love and serve Him, my family, fellow believers, and my neighbors. I get zero credit here, it’s all to His credit and glory.

Led by Senior Pastor Mark Massey beginning in 2001, the FBC mission team has worked with the extraordinary pastors, members and friends of Hananeel Baptist Church in Puebla in building a facility that began as a small garage and is now a beautiful sanctuary, classroom building and courtyard. Continue reading “PUEBLA 2020: A Well-Spent Week Comes To A Close With A Blessing”

Have You Decided Your Life’s Core Convictions? You Will Go This Far But No Farther?

Being an aide or intern to a senator or representative in Congress is a lot like what it must have been for Daniel, the Old Testament prophet who at a young age found himself among a small group of conquered Judeans being groomed for the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Do you or don’t you violate your most cherished convictions? (Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash)

Part of the group’s three-year study and preparation for service to the King involved adherence to a royally prescribed nutritional course that conflicted in key respects with the dietary regimen of the Jewish faith of Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

“Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the King’s food or with the wine he drank,” Daniel 1:8 tell us. “So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself.” Continue reading “Have You Decided Your Life’s Core Convictions? You Will Go This Far But No Farther?”

‘Goodness Of God’ And Why I’m Counting My Blessings On This Lovely Fall Sunday

A great love song captures a moment of realization about the beloved and why they are. Such a song is Bethel Music’s “Goodness of God,” as sung by Jenn Johnson. Photos like the one below can, too, in a sense.

Fall leaves 2019.

I can hardly ever listen to this beautiful music without being overwhelmed by the realization that God has blessed me so far beyond anything I ever could deserve on my own. And the amazing thing is, He does it simply because that is His love for His children. See Psalm 139:15-16.

Along with “Goodness of God,” I am often reminded of these blessings looking out the window in my home office into the backyard. I’ve always loved Fall leaves, and, as you can see in the accompanying photo, they are here in abundance.

So enjoy the “Goodness of God” on this lovely Fall Sunday afternoon.

WORKING ON THE HILL: Not Happy In Your Job? Step One To Healthy Change — Count Your Blessings

This post came about today because early this morning as I was walking Twister, our exuberant Black Lab, I was somehow reminded by a magnificent oak of the fact I couldn’t see the trees for the forest on my first “bad” job on Capitol Hill.

My backyard, as seen from my home office. Lovely old Silver Maple on the left, Rose of Sharon and pines in the back, neighbor’s cherry tree on the right.

Here’s the background: My first job on the Hill was as press secretary for a Maryland congressman. It was a great experience, as I learned so much from Don Baker, a superb Washington Post reporter, about journalism and the news process, and I absorbed volumes about the ways of the Hill.

But then I got over-confident, talked my way into a job working for an older Texas congressman as his chief of staff, and promptly realized I had screwed up royally.

It truly was not a good fit. He was set in his ways, which, after all, had gotten him re-elected multiple times during an era when old-guard conservative Democrats still ruled the Lone Star State. Continue reading “WORKING ON THE HILL: Not Happy In Your Job? Step One To Healthy Change — Count Your Blessings”

THINK ABOUT THIS: Would You Give Up Everything For Your Boss?

If your boss called you into his or her office today and told you that, since nothing else matters as much as winning the allegiance of voters, you must sell all of your possessions, say goodbye to your friends and family, and focus your every ounce of strength and waking hour on the campaign until election day,  would you do it?

HillFaith founder and editor, Mark Tapscott

Think about it: If the boss doesn’t win another term, you are out of a job. If you are out of a job, how are you going to pay the rent, buy food and clothes, or take care of your family if you have one?

And will you ever be able to get your career back on track after such a setback? What does it mean for your plan someday to go back home and run for Congress yourself? Continue reading “THINK ABOUT THIS: Would You Give Up Everything For Your Boss?”

A SONG OF JOY: ‘Who You Say I Am’ By Hillsong Worship

It’s Sunday morning, June 16, 2019. No matter what you did last night or where you were, the problems, hopes, doubts, suspicions, dreams, fears, ambitions and worries you faced yesterday are likely all still here today.

No, that’s not a negative, that’s a statement of reality. I know how it feels to wake up and either know too well what I did the night before or wish that I didn’t know. That’s how a lot of us live for many years.

And then Jesus Christ on the morning of March 1, 1991, opened my eyes to myself, to Him, to the reality of my need for His saving grace. That was the moment my life changed forever.

Continue reading “A SONG OF JOY: ‘Who You Say I Am’ By Hillsong Worship”

HILL SURVIVAL TIP: Your Job Is What You Do, Not Who You Are

Eating, living and sleeping the next promotion, title, victory or conquest at the office eventually becomes the loneliest place

There may be more Type-A men and women working on Capitol Hill than anywhere else in the world, except perhaps in Silicon Valley in California and on Wall Street in Manhattan.

But the identification of self-worth with one’s job is especially common among those working for senators, representatives and congressional committees.

Cold-Case expert J. Warner Wallace.

For one thing, virtually all those senators and representatives are ego-driven Type-A’s, otherwise, how did they ever get elected in the first place and then keep getting re-elected?

Continue reading “HILL SURVIVAL TIP: Your Job Is What You Do, Not Who You Are”

What Is HillFaith and Why Should You Care?

This guy has been there, done that. And he just might have some useful insights to share about life on the Hill

By Mark Tapscott

If you work on Capitol Hill, you and I likely have a great deal in common. You, like me, love this country and want to make it better. You are passionate about politics, the campaign trail and the legislative process. You worry about the future, of America, and of you and your loved ones. You probably grew up somewhere else, most likely out there in “Flyover Country.”

Doesn’t matter which political party you identify with or where on Capitol Hill you spend your workdays. Your hours are long and odds are good you could be making more money working somewhere else (maybe a whole lot more if you’ve been here for a few years).

Yes, that’s me, a Hill press secretary in 1977. Can you believe the hair? This photo was taken in the Cannon House Office Building.

But you get to rub elbows with many of America’s most important and best-known leaders, and your work affords endless opportunities to meet and work with interesting and amazingly smart, skilled people. Money can’t buy the satisfaction that can come with that, right?

Fact is, for better or worse, the Hill is the center of your world. Maybe not tomorrow, but for now, most of your friends also work here, including people you socialize with, enter into (and out of!) romantic relationships, and compete with to grab that next rung up the success ladder. Continue reading “What Is HillFaith and Why Should You Care?”

Will You Help Me Double HillFaith’s Followers? It’s Easy, Just Ask One Person To Join You Here

Taking the Good News to the ends of the Earth includes sharing the Gospel with people working for Congress

God has already blessed HillFaith in countless ways that I never expected and one of most important of them is the number of readers like you who have chosen to follow this humble blog.

Clicking on the Follow link in the right-hand column of the homepage is all a person has to do in order to receive an alert whenever a new post appears on HillFaith. If you haven’t also followed HillFaith on its Facebook page, you can do so by going here.

Continue reading “Will You Help Me Double HillFaith’s Followers? It’s Easy, Just Ask One Person To Join You Here”

QUESTION: Do You Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist? Or How Is Your TOE?

Proponents of atheism like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and Sam Harris have become prominent public figures, thanks to their intelligence and debating skills, science knowledge and formidable public presences.

They are helping prompt the renewal of a much-needed public debate in the U.S. and Europe on the Theory of Everything (TOE) questions: Why is there something rather than nothing, why does the universe exist, why are human beings in it, and what happens to us after we die?

Continue reading “QUESTION: Do You Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist? Or How Is Your TOE?”

PUEBLA 2019: Our Mission Is Now Completed And We Are Heading Home Tomorrow

Hananeel’s new courtyard received its last paver early this morning as the Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) mission completed its work and then took off for the downtown Plaza.

We have to leave very early in the morning to catch our return flight to Houston, then back to Dulles where a church bus will be waiting to haul our very tired selves back to FBC and home.

Continue reading “PUEBLA 2019: Our Mission Is Now Completed And We Are Heading Home Tomorrow”

PUEBLA 2019: Three Amigos At The Well And Pavers Corner Reached

Thursdays in Puebla for the Friendship Baptist Church (FBC) mission team are always the last full day we have to complete our week’s work, so it typically becomes the busiest of our time here.

Today was no exception on either our construction work projects or our visitation and evangelism efforts. It was easily the most exciting and productive day of our week. Here’s why:

Continue reading “PUEBLA 2019: Three Amigos At The Well And Pavers Corner Reached”