Today’s blog is the First of a 3 Part Series on Contagious Behavior – to help you understand what fuels epidemics. We’ve included an audio transcript of the blog below which is 40 minutes or if you want to read the blog it’s 11 minutes.
We begin this blog with a recap of a 2015 YouTube video of Bill Gates, then we will share some insights from the book Tipping Point and wrap it up with looking at how little things make a big difference.
Rolling a 200 litre barrel across the stage, Bill Gates tells of his father storing barrels of food in their basement in the event of a nuclear disaster. Flashing a slide with a graphic identical to the COVID19 virus, Bill said “The greatest risk of global catastrophe doesn’t look like a nuclear bomb. If anything kills over 10 million people in the next decade, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war.”
“We are not ready for the next epidemic”
The image $3T flashes representing the potential cost of three trillion dollars.
Bill said regarding EBOLA that we didn’t have a system at all.
- No epidemiologists ready to identify data
- No medical teams ready to prepare people
- No system for treatment
Bill said “Failure to prepare could allow the next epidemic to be dramatically more devastating than EBOLA where by March of 2015 a total of 10,194 died” and that the next virus will spread farther and faster because people might feel well, get on a plane or go to a market.
Bill’s List of Needs for the Next Epidemic –
- Strong systems in places where people are most vulnerable.
- Trained volunteers.
- Connecting volunteers with the organizational structures that know their people.
- Simulations so that we can see where we are failing if an emergency strikes.
- Research and development to identify where our bodies are weak and strong.
Bill said “He could not say exactly what it would cost to implement his strategy but that it would cost less than the potential harm if we don’t prepare. Trillions of dollars in decreased global wealth and millions of deaths would be the result of our non-action. He said “It’s not just the avoidance of an epidemic but a goal to make the world more safe and just”
Bill clicked his slide “THE NEXT EPIDEMIC” and said “We need to get going because time is not on our side and if we start now we can be ready for the next epidemic.”
So now let’s switch topics. Bill taught us that epidemics can kill.
But it’s also true that our sinful Contagious Behavior dishonors God and is deadly contagious.
HOWEVER, our point here is not the virus causing deaths across the world but we are talking about life giving – infectious agent that replicates inside living cells of the body of Christ.
Body of Christ Agents
Here’s what we mean.
When God truly works in our lives and rebirths us, it should make us infectious. This is easy to see when you meet someone excited about their faith, who then proceeds to tell everyone. Even uninterested people find it difficult to ignore this person. The dictionary describes an agent as a doer of an action, producing a result. In our NGO True Love Waits Philippines, our effectiveness as an organization is dependent upon our volunteers and so when we say replicate inside a living cells of a body this is the what we do at our Get Oriented Day and Wait Training for Volunteers. VOLUNTEER HERE
With 3 staff equipping volunteers, we reproduce ourselves within key leaders from hundreds of churches across the Philippines.
Earlier I wrote “When God Truly Works in our Lives”. My question for you is “How can you know that you have a new birth and a new life? Is there a test?”
Faith produces BEHAVIOR CHANGE that becomes CONTAGIOUS.
The bible says “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). We are designed for God’s purpose. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). We should know that our new behavior will not be controlled by the worldly influences and that our lives should be lived out as a poem that God authored.
The GOSPEL Testing Positive
True Love Waits Philippines purpose is to Pursue Purity In Christ or in one biblical idea THE GOSPEL. But maybe you’re wondering “What Is The Gospel?”
THE GOSPEL IS
- Trusting that what the bible teaches is true
- God created all things and He alone is Holy
- We are designed for his purpose
- Adam sinned
- All of humanity inherited Adam’s sin
- Sin causes eternal death
- For God’s glory, He loved us by sending Jesus to earth
- Jesus lived a perfect life
- Jesus died as a sacrifice for the sin we inherited
- Through Jesus’ resurrection we are made Holy
- We are saved from the penalty of sin
- God’s spirit changes us to live his will of Holy life
By believing this and repenting of your sin, confessing that Jesus is Lord, and believing that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved from the penalty of sin. Believing the gospel, you now test positive as a child of God. And now God can change your life and others through you.
In Bill’s talk, his challenge was to prepare.
HOW CAN WE GET READY at True Love Waits PH?
On my list below, I borrowed Bill’s points of why the Ebola epidemic spread and what is needed to prevent the next one. My list is about epidemic change because of the gospel. And we are not trying to stop and epidemic but we want to start one!
- Be an APOLOGIST through study of God’s word and make a defense for your faith
- Create discipleship teams at your church
- Develop a system for Community Evangelism
- Build strong systems in places where people are most vulnerable
- Train volunteers
- Connect volunteers with church organizations of small groups that know their people
- Simulate sharing your faith so that we can see where we are failing and succeeding
- Discover research and development to identify where our churches and small groups are weak and strong
Little Things Can Make A Big Difference is the subtitle of author Malcolm Gladwell’s #1 Best Seller The Tipping Point in which he explains that epidemics are not only medical ideas but also social. The culture around us and the social things that we pour ourselves into function like epidemics. An artist sings a song and everyone gets it. Someone tucks their shirt in and everyone catches it in their daily fashion.
In TIPPING POINT, Gladwell proposes three laws of tipping points: The law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the law of context. His first point the law of the few means that each one must affect a very small number of people.
Gladwell talks about several epidemics but we only have time for two. In 1994 the almost bankrupt Hush Puppies company had a few New York youth trying to be cool, influenced a few other kids and they influenced more and the sales increased by 5,000% in 24 months.
Six bars in Colorado Springs, in four small neighborhoods where 168 people caught gonorrehea while each had sex with 3-6 others. Literally “over-night” they had an epidemic of 768 cases of gonorrehea.
Both Hush Puppies and Gonorrehea were social epidemics started by the law of the few.
We challenge you to start an epidemic, by inviting seven people to sit and talk with you as you share the Gospel Story above. We have 16,945 likes on our https://www.facebook.com/TrueLoveWaitsPH/. If each of our followers shares with seven 7 x 16,945 reaches 118,615 youth. That’s Contagious Behavior which might lead to the tipping point.
Following the gospel change, there are also lifestyle choices and our contagious behavior that can be epidemic. Our Filipino culture has shifted and youth are more relaxed in their decision making, which has caused intimate relationships before marriage to become normal. This behavior is not Christ-like.
ASYMPTOMATIC CHRISTIANITY: Having or Showing no Symptoms
When the Holy Spirit comes into the life of a Christian, God infuses His divine character into that person. So, if a life is devoid of God’s character, which is the fruit of the Spirit, that is simply not a Christian life. John Hannah
Contagious social beahvior can also be good and God honoring. Like the practical ways that we can live pure lives in pursuit of Christ. Especially sharing the forgiveness of what Christ has done on the cross to make your life new. God’s spirit is a highly infectious life giving virus.
We are all going to die at some point. Remember Bill Gates said that 10,194 people died from Ebola in 2015? Well, 57 million people died altogether across the globe for a variety of causes including old age in that same year 2015. Eventually, you will also die. The average life expectancy for Filipinos is between 67 and 72 which means that if you’re reading this and you’re 20 then you might be dead by the year 2070.
Bill said “It’s not just the avoidance of an epidemic but a goal to make the world more safe and just”
We should be careful about saying that we want justice. Nobody can honestly say that they want God to be just. If God were to bring his absolute justice, then we would all die apart from Him. But God is merciful and He gives second chances.
Bill said we are not ready for the next epidemic because we have failed to prepare. There are many things that we have not prepared for because we aren’t thinking ahead.
With the Law Of The Few at work, Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Tipping Point there are three kinds of people that turn ideas into epidemics:
- Connectors – they have a massive social network, with many acquaintances and allow ideas to spread from one social group to the next.
- Salesmen – they boast about ideas they love and their incredibly positive energy is contagious.
- Mavens – they hoard information, in order to be a source of great tips to their network, the people of which they greatly influence with their advice.
We want you to look at your small group or faith community. Who meets the definitions above? Personally, I am a CONNECTOR for sure and probably a Maven in many ways. I have small ties to hundreds of people in various demographics. For 15 years I’ve know Chona & Paul in Smokey Mountain, I’m friends with the founders of a very famous women’s clothing line, for 6 years we have partners in GenSan, Roxas, Butuan, Iloilo, I known TV hosts at GMA, ABSCBN, TV5 and have been on Radio Veritas, and have participated with the CBCP HIV Forum. We personally know owners of hospitals, people who are squatters. Within our staff and volunteers we have people who fit the categories of Salesmen, Mavens & Connectors.
Think of the People that you Know
Here’s an example of our few staff and volunteers working pushing our culture toward a tipping point to cause an epidemic. At the end of 2019 in November and December, then January and February of 2020, our three staff and a few of our 150 volunteers shared in 10 public high schools with over 12,000 students. We don’t have to have great relationships with lots of people but only intimate enough to open doors to share with more people.
Someone might say regarding our NGO “What will it cost FINANCIALLY to share THE GOSPEL? Or like Bill, I could ask “What will it cost others if we don’t?” The obvious is eternity. But there is a practical price to pay for not reaching people with the gospel so that their lives can be transformed and the cost reduced.
But, time is not on our side and we need others to join us.
Watching a video on Philanthropy today. I learned the term “Perpetual Giving” and another “Spend Down”. Perpetual Giving is where a family or a foundation wants to have an impact beyond their lives. Spend Down has the goal of making a difference today or wanting to solve problems that we know exist now. Both are valuable. If your’e reading this and you can connect our NGO with generous donors, please contact us HERE. But that caused me to think “Our lives can be both spend down and perpetual when we use our lives for the purpose that Jesus lived his. We can impact lives today spreading contagious behavior where teen pregnancy, HIV, online sexual exploitation of children, abortion, suicide cutting and depression and pornography addiction all decrease across the Philippines. But we can simultaneously impact the eternity of others.
Our ministry includes equipping youth, youth leaders, church leaders and parents. In our True Love Waits Talk for Parents titled Revolutionary Parenting, a slide says “WHO’S JOB IS IT ANYWAY?” The truth is that parents are the ones that God has given the responsibility of discipling their children (law of the few). The work that we are doing is a partnership with church leaders, other NGOs, youth organizations and parents to cause a Love Revolution.
In our Love Revolution Talk for students shared in public schools annually with 50,000 students we say that a revolution is a sudden complete and marked change. Revolutions happens, when we reach a TIPPING POINT after which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.
This happens when the Law Of The Few includes YOU!
Add us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Go to the link in the blog that says VOLUNTEER HERE, fill out the information and become a volunteer.
If you’re in the province we have lots of great regional teams that we can connect you with in Roxas, Iloilo, Butuan City, General Santos Sarangani or visit our National Office in Ortigas just off Meralco/Shaw, walking distance from Mega Mall.
Catch this CONTAGIOUS BEHAVIOR, volunteer or support our NGO at the INVEST link on our site.
God Bless You!