Tuesday, October 23, 2007

OK, I'm sorry....

But this is absolutely....

Brilliant. So...much...fun. I'm going to have to make me one. And then buy it.

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NaNoWriMo, Deux

T-8 (9? I never know how to count these things down...) days. At any rate, it's coming up quickly.

Soooo, I'm sure the question on everyone's mind is, "why would you want to put yourself through the pain of writing 50,000 words in 30 days?"

I...don't know. Truth be known (Wife believes I use that phrase way too much), I'm *not* a creative person. I'm a science/math guy. Typically, we're not creative. We leave that to the English/History/artsy freaks :) On the other hand, though, I *do* enjoy writing. I started this (well, a) blog in 2004 because I enjoyed the thought of being able to write my thoughts. And I think that I do a pretty decent job at it. I don't know, though, I'm obviously biased.

So, for that reason, the idea of writing 50,000 words in 30 days is pretty cool to me. Even if I have no clue what to write, I like the idea of writing. Another reason -- I like to try different things. I really try to find things that I'm afraid of doing, or don't think I can do, and will try them. While being a youth worker, I volunteered for solos. I'm not the most talented singer, but I was afraid to do it. So, I did. At work, I've led meetings and taught, just because I didn't want to be afraid to do something. 50,000 words in 30 days is daunting. And I've tried it twice before. And failed. I want to be able to say I tried it, and came out victorious!

So, that's it. I actually do have an idea for my story. It's nothing ground breaking. Actually the same story I wanted to write 2 years previously. I've got the characters in mind (their full names, no doubt!) and something of a plot (influenced by my love of Encyclopedia Brown, Psych, Monk, Remington Steele as well as a strong interest in video games, technology, Medieval Times, and mythology). I'm honestly not sure how it's all going to come together. But I'm going to enjoy trying to make it happen :)

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Spiritual High....

Spiritual High....I wonder if there's a group of people that phrase irritates more than Youth workers....and the ones in my audience know exactly of which I speak.

It's a term they're all too familiar with -- they take a group of teenagers to camp, a mission trip, ski trip, etc. And, during that time there are tears shed, lives given completely to Christ, lives rededicated....for a week, they have this incredible spiritual awakening. No, no, this time it's real, they reassure. But then comes Monday. Parents are dogging them, there's mounds of undone homework, the latest drama in their group of friends breaks out....life happens, and all of a sudden everything from the week before is all but forgotten. Like chemical highs, there's a spike, and then there's a fall.

I've been on both sides....that teenager going down time and time again to the alter after a powerful worship session at camp, and, admittedly, the adult in the seats watching below and rolling his eyes as "thousands and thousands" go down to really and truly I mean it this time surrender to Christ. I'm being honest -- they tell me that's a good thing.

So, why the out-of-the-blue, seemingly cynical, unrelated lead in to my most recent blog post? I mean, after all, I haven't worked with youth in (/me counting on my fingers....) 7 months!

Because, as I reflect on the last couple of weeks, that's what came to my mind. Lemme explain -- a few months ago I was asked to be a Messenger to our yearly Associational meeting. I'd been to the State Baptist Convention, but hadn't been to an Associational meeting before. And, admittedly, when Pastor called me last Monday to remind me of my commitment, I was less than thrilled. I mean, it was bad enough when I thought I had to meet the church van leaving at 5:30....it was far worse finding out that no, the van was leaving at 3! So, needless to say, I didn't go with a great attitude. But I went.

All I can say is I'm glad God didn't leave me with that sour attitude. During the 2 days, I heard some incredible messages. They spoke of faith and hope. They were testaments to God's work in people's lives and His provision to those who are faithful to Him.

And the only thing I could think of was, I don't want to miss out on that! I thought of "Shine" by Newsboys:


make em wonder whatcha got

make em wish that they were not

on the outside looking bored

let it shine before all men

let em see good works and then

let em glorify the lord
For the last several months, since I stepped down from my leadership roles at our church, I haven't been involved in any ministry. There are several reasons for that, none of them good. But I've been "on the outside looking bored". I've been missing out!

I really think last week served as a wake up call....since then I feel like I'm earnestly working to deal with things that need to be dealt with. Starting with myself. So, why the lead-in about "Spiritual Highs"?

Because I want this to be more than that....

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Thursday, October 18, 2007


Yes, it does seem to be that time of year again. November 1 is almost upon us. And that means National Novel Writers Month.

30 days...50,000 words.

It doesn't seem too hard...til you start. And, aparently, like thousands others, come Nov 1, I'll be starting as well. More to come.


Well, as hard as it is to believe, I am alive. Appreciation to my reader who was faithful in checking regularly and emailing to let me know he was still reading. Thank you YFCRD!

So, where was I? Truth be known, during the summer I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to do much writing. OK, much of anything, really. It's hard to keep up a blog primarily on thoughts about Scripture when you haven't been reading it, and when you do, you didn't have much desire to think about it. And that's where I've been.

This week, though, has been renewing and refreshing, aand I look forward to sharing about it soon. I look forward to writing more in the days ahead!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New toys

So I got a new toy this week. Actually, that's not true. I got TWO new
toys this week! One of which I'm using for this post. It's the Nokia
770 Internet Tablet. And yes, it had eveerything to do with the iCrack
being released last Friday and my being too poor to own one. By far
one of the best investments I've made. The other toy is th LG VX9900
phone. I'll write more when I have a real keyboard but wanted to try
posting with my Nokia. Here goes nothing!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So, after using the Google(tm) search engine....

I've discovered why I'm getting the "&nbsp" in the posts I make using "Scribefire".

Apparently, it goes back to my English instructions in school. Back then, it was taught that two spaces come after a period, exclamation point, and colon when typing. According to the websites I just looked out, that's common convention now. However, what's going on is, my blogging software interprets the first space fine, but then puts in the code for a space for the second. That's a little irritating. I *like* the double-space rule (though I've been informed that with computers and fonts and all sorts of other things I didn't necessarily understand (or care about), the double-space is no longer needed at the end of a sentence. But, to me, having that there makes the page easier to read.

I've learned typing in the seventh grade, back in '87/'88. That's ~20 years of unlearning I'd have to do to go to a single-space convention. I like Scribefire a lot, but to me, not being able to properly interpret double-spaces takes a lot away from it. Maybe I can find a solution to it.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yeah, on another posting spree

Yes, occasionally I get the bug to just post random things. I guess today happens to be one of those. Anyway, something I've thought of that is completely out of thin air (well, ok, maybe not completely...it did stem from my watching all my The X-Files DVDs) is that I've figured out why The X-Files went off the air when it did....

Two words: Camera Phones. Around the time the show ended, camera phones were introduced.

Think about it: Fox Mulder has spent his life searching for "the truth". Time and time again he's come in contact with it, but has had no evidence to support his claims. He finds a warehouse where experimentation on human/alien hybrids was going on, brings the FBI there the next morning to expose the conspiracy, and voila, it's all been packed up and moved.

Now, forgetting for a moment that, as a man desperate to find "the truth", he should've had a camera of some sort on him, let's look at what would've happened if he had a cell phone (which he most definitely would've) with a camera.

Mulder would go to the warehouse where the experimentation was going on, and from the window he's peering in, would be able to take pictures of the men involved and the E.B.E (extra-terrestrial biological entity) they're working with. He'd be able to document everything he'd need to go back and show that yes, there is a vast government conspiracy to bring alien colonization to Earth and protect themselves by inducing alien DNA into the human populace.

So, you see, if the show'd continued, it wouldn't have for long. Because then Mulder would have no excuse for not having a camera for documentation, he could show his superiors at the FBI his proof, they would move in on the conspirators, who would rather swallow cyanide pills and die than share their knowledge of the "project", and the should wouldn't have lasted past the 3rd part of the 3 part season-ending cliffhanger bridging seasons 10 and 11.

I think it's the Diet Mountain Dew that's talking. However, along similar lines, apparently the CIA has opened their dirty laundry to the public. Check it out here. It's definitely an interesting read....

Late-Night Ruminations

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Edit: Sigh....I really wish Google Docs would do the right thing and use the name of your document as the title of your post.....

It's really strange....I can walk around for hours and hours and think about all the things I want to write about. But, when it comes time to putting thoughts to pap, er, keyboard, they seem to escape me.

This evening, after work, I went with a co-worker to dinner. It's odd that when I think about it, getting out for the evening seems out of the ordinary. But, then as I think on it more, I don't spend much time at home. Tuesdays I'm doing things at the house, Wednesday is church night, Fridays I'm doing things at the house. Saturdays, I guess, are spent at home. Sundays are up at the church. Every other Thursday I spend in Raleigh, and when I'm not in Raleigh, I'm theoretically at small group Bible study. Though, admittedly, since the end of February I've been once. I don't necessarily feel good about that.

But anyway, tonight I went to Ruby Tuesday with my co-worker tonight. While he and I do quite a bit of hanging out, tonight was not so much pleasure as the fact that we'd decided to stay at work after....work and work on code that has to be ready to go by the end of July. We'd decided that we'd grab something around 5 and come back and work on the code. Which we did.

We ended up leaving the office around nine. Since, in theory, I'd sat and looked at code for the better part of 3 hours (and therefore been held captive by my laptop during that time), you'd think I'd be done with it. But after we parted ways, I decided that I didn't want to go straight home. Instead, I wanted to go to the library at University.

Why the library at University? While walking from my car to the library, it dawned on me. University is familiar. My mother worked at University for 30 years. During that time, I've spent countless hours going to appointments, going to her office, so much time here. In high school, when we didn't have the money to do anything else, we'd often just come over here and hang out.

Walking around tonight reminded me of those times. It also reminded me of my first days in college. I remember going to my school at the end of August. It was still warm (even for the mountains of TN). I remember the evenings being warm and humid.

Heh. Not only is it familiar, but it's comforting as well. Because, walking on this campus, it reminds me of much simpler days.

I've done so much thinking this week (and yes, it is only Wednesday....a couple of hours shy of Thursday, granted, but still Wednesday). I honestly feel like I should be starring in some channel-formerly-known-as-the-WB drama (a la Dawson's Creek), where the main character is walking along and has all these revelations about himself. Sad to say, 1) none of them are great and 2) none of them are new to me, as I've had several tell me the same things. The difference is, I guess I've come to accept them.

Walking around tonight, I remembered something that Wife said to me recently. She told me that I've never had to take care of myself. I went from being taken care of my Mom and Dad to being taken care of by her. And sadly, she's right. While I've not necessarily gotten everything I've wanted, I've gotten a lot, and certainly everything I've needed. I had a car when I was 16, my parents covered my 4 years in college (I was responsible for one summer session), had braces as a kid, clothes, books, corrective lenses, even rent my first year married while I was in college, was covered by my parents. And after school, sadly, I let Wife take care of me. Without giving her the same in return.

Ugh. Should I really post this? I would actually consider deleting it all, except I have a feeling that, what I'm just coming to terms with, others have probably noticed for some time now. So there's no point to hide it.

Yes. University is familiar and comforting. Sadly, I'm not called to stay where it's familiar and comfortable....

Enjoying the outdoors

For some time now I've been wanting to bring one of those nice, cloth, fold out chairs that you see people at the beach with. We had some at the house, but for some reason I'm unable to find any. So, this morning I, um, borrowed one from my parents and brought it with me to work. I've gotten the chance to sit in the shade of the water cooler, down by the river, and write. So relaxing.

And sadly, so short. The indoors call....

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The proper response to tragedy

15 After Nathan returned to his home, the Lord sent a deadly illness to the child of David and Uriah’s wife. 16 David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. 17 The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.

 18 Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?”

 19 When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked.

   “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”

 20 Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions,[b] and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the Lord. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate.

 21 His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.”

 22 David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the Lord will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.”  (2 Samuel 12:15-23, NLT)

During our spring revival services, our guest speaker shared a story of someone he'd been counseling.  The man was about to be divorced, and our speaker told him he should fast and pray over his situation.  At their next session, our speaker asked the man if he had heeded his advice.  The man answered, "No.  I guess I just don't want it bad enough."

It's been a little while since I last read this account in 2 Samuel -- I'm currently working through 1 Chronicles now.  But, since re-reading it, it's been....haunting me.  It's Scripture that I seem to continually find my thoughts going back to.

I know why.

Because it's in this Scripture that I believe we see what our proper response to tragedy should be.  In King David we see complete brokenness, manifested through prayer and fasting.

The Scripture above references what happened after David's sin with Bathsheba.  He had committed adultery with the wife of one of his officers.  When he found out she was pregnant with his child, he tried to get Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) to sleep with her so he would believe the child was his.  However, Uriah did not want to have such luxury while his men were on the battlefield fighting.  And so David had him killed.  Nathan the prophet then came and confronted the king with his sin and told him  that because of his sin, the child of David and Bathsheba would die.

The key to this is recognizing that David is dealing with the consequence of his actions.  His child fell ill because of what he'd done.  But, instead of moping around, feeling sorry for himself, verse 16 tells us that he "begged God to spare the child" and "[h]e went without food".  He would continue to do this until 1) God decided to spare the child's life or 2) God carried out His plan.  As we see in the following verses, God did not spare the child, and on the seventh day of its illness, the child died.

What happened next amazed his advisors.  They figured he was acting unreasonably while the child was alive, he would act even more so after finding out the child was dead.  However, upon the grim news, David got up, bathed, WORSHIPED THE LORD, and essentially went back to business as usual.

In the time of a great tragedy in his life, David worshiped the Lord.  What a response.  When he may have found it easy to be angry and bitter and turn from God, he did the opposite.  He worshiped Him.  There's something to chew on!

As mentioned, when David's child died, he went back to business as usual.  When asked by his advisors about his 180, he told him that he fasted and wept when there was a chance that God may have mercy on him and let the child live.  But, now that the child was dead, there was nothing more that he could do.  There was no point in continuing to mourn or dwell in self-pity.  God had done what He said He would.  Nothing would change that.

I guess there's not much more I can add to that....

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gaming like the old days....

For as long as I can remember, I've enjoyed playing video games.  It started back in the early 80's with computer games and my "Intellivision II".  Since those days, I've (or my family, rather) has had a Nintendo, Super Nintendo, GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 64, and finally, a Game Cube.

I am a Nintendo loyalist -- no Playstation or XBox for me, pure Nintendo.  Just an aside.

Anyway, over the last 20+ years, I've owned several game systems made by Nintendo.  I bought my Super Nintendo in High School and have gotten more than my money's worth out of it.  It had a great library of games, and the controls were simple enough that I could actually play the game, but still offered more game play than what the original Nintendo offered.  I don't know how to explain it, other than the fact that I'm old.

I don't know how much time happened between the release of the Super Nintendo and the next gen, Nintendo 64.  However, I do know that it wasn't until I was well-married that I got a 64 for Christmas from my parents.  I wanted it because, in my opinion, there are 2 "must have" video game franchises for me -- Zelda, and Castelvania.  The 64 offered new experiences in both of these franchises -- "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" and "Castlevania 64".  To me, those made having the 64 a "must have"....or so I thought.

I got the 64, and got Ocarina's sequel, "Majora's Mask" with it.  I also got Castlevania.  Immediately took to and enjoyed playing Castlevania (though I believe the critics panned it), but never got into "Majora".  My complaint with Castlevania was, it was now 3D, which wasn't what I was used to.  The controller was more complex, there were angles I wasn't familiar with, and it was harder for me coming from the "old school" games where Mario was in 2 dimensions, and his options for movement were "forward" and "backward".  Zelda: Majora's Mask suffered from these as well, plus one more thing -- the puzzles it offered were way harder than previous.  While the previous Zelda games had their share of puzzles, they added to the game without being so difficult/time consuming as to...well, tick off the players.  I felt like I had to do too much thinking for Majora's Mask.  While thinking, in general, is a good thing, and I do enjoy puzzles in my games, spending too much time/effort on side-puzzles can detract from a game.

Time is especially a factor.  My time was stretched, so if I got to play, I wanted to make sure I felt some sense of accomplishment in the time I spent playing, versus spending 3 hours just trying to get a special flower from one side of Hyrule to the other, so that I could get the next piece of the trade game in order to get a 4th of a piece of a heart container, that, in the end, didn't really add much.  In fairness to the makers, it wasn't a necessity to go off on the side quests/missions, but heart containers = life, so the more you have of them, the more life you have, which, in the end, helps you defeat Ganon.  If we don't defeat Ganon, he shrouds the world in darkness and rules with is Triforce of Power and an iron fist.  And we can't have THAT.

The purpose of this post actually wasn't to offer a history of my love affair with video games.  It seems to have turned into that, though....so, continuing, after not doing much with my 64, I begged for a GameCube shortly after it came out (I remember that there seemed to be a shortage of them at the time, so I assume it wasn't long after they came out).  It ended up being a Christmas present and came with a disk of past Zelda games (The original, the second, Ocarina, and Majora's mask.  I don't understand why they didn't include "Link to the Past", which, in my very humble and limited opinion, is the best of the series). I was very excited about this and began playing Ocarina, but didn't get very far because of, ironically, time (get it...."Ocarina of Time", and it was time that preven...oh, ne'ermind....).  And so, long story short, it sat there, not getting much use....

Until recently.  I've dusted off the GameCube, bought a 27" TV from an "everything must go" sale at the University Surplus store, and discovered 2 games that remind me of the things that I used to love about video games in the beginning....

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Resident Evil 4

And on that note, I have to say...."to be continued"

The one where I start out with some verses and don't say much about them :)

 17 Then Solomon said, “My father, David, wanted to build this Temple to honor the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord told him, ‘You wanted to build the Temple to honor my name. Your intention is good, 19 but you are not the one to do it. One of your own sons will build the Temple to honor me.' (1 Kings 8:17-19, NLT)

I've probably written on the above verses before.  I love going back and reading 1,2 Samuel, 1,2 Kings, and 1,2 Chronicles, and I find myself enjoying them more and more each time I read them.

Oddly enough, I love reading of the accounts of the kings of Isreal (and later Judah).  I've never been much of a history buff, but I really do enjoy reading Biblical history.  Part of it is, I really do feel that to truly understand and enjoy the New Testament, one should be well-versed in the Old.  Obviously, we are sinners saved by Grace, and the New Testament plays such an important role in understanding what it means to be a Christian, part of the Church, and how to grow in our faith.  However, I feel that the Old Testament is quickly dismissed as nothing more than "stories" that make up the "Children's Bibles" you see in many waiting rooms (pet peeve:  People who call them "stories" instead of "accounts".  Stories make them sound like myths or fables, or just plain made up.  They're historical accounts and records, true in every way, inspired by the Holy Spirit.  And yes, I do realize I'm preaching to the choir :) Still, it irks me when people refer to anything in the Bible as a "story".  Unless, of course, it's a Parable that Jesus taught.  And I'm sure calling those stories irk me as well.  Now I'm just rambling).


At any rate, I love the accounts written in the Old Testament, especially the ones recorded in those 6 Books.  More specifically, I enjoy the accounts of David and Solomon.  David, because he made some major blunders in his life, yet God still called him a man after His own Heart.  Despite his seemingly large failures, he loved God and God loved him.  He had a real passion for God and a zeal that was unmatched by any other king in those days (any of the good kings of Judah that followed would often be described as "walking in the way of David their father").  To read about David is always a pleasure, from the time he put on the king's armor to battle Goliath to passing the kingdom to his son Solomon.

I also love to read the accounts of Solomon.  He did many noble things in his life.  His two greatest accomplishments were praying for wisdom when God offered anything he wanted and building the Temple for God.  Sadly, while Solomon started out strong, he became entangled in pagan worship and allowed himself to be swayed by his many heathen wives.  Towards the end of his life, however, he wrote my favorite book of the Bible, Ecclesiastes, and came to realize that there is truly nothing worth living for outside complete and total devotion to God.  Ecclesiastes 12:13 doesn't get any plainer: 
Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 

And so, not addressing the Scripture at the top, that is why I love reading about David and Solomon!

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Friday, June 08, 2007

The world's gone mad!

OK, when going through my news feeds this morning, I'm greeted with:

Teen Drowns In Cellphone Fetch

and, shortly afterward, this:

Fond du Lac Reporter - Sheboygan man drowns after getting stuck in storm sewer

...trying to get his cell phone!

Two SEPARATE incidents.....ON THE SAME DAY!




Thursday, May 24, 2007

you know what sucks?

Having a lengthy post ready to go, complete with video from The Twilight Zone and my stupid browser freezes up on me....


Friday, May 18, 2007

The REAL inconvenient truth....

That abortion in this country has nothing to do with a mother's safety, or rape, or incest.  At the heart of it is a desire for money by seeing that as man abortions happen in this country that can.

"Figure out a birth date that works"  This is the advice of a Planned Parenthood worker to a "15 year old" impregnated by her "23 year old" boyfriend (the pair were actually undercover students from UCLA's The Advocate. By Figuring out a "birth date that works", this does two things:  1) allows the underage girl to get an abortion without her parents consent and 2) means they don't have to follow the law that says they must report the statutory rape of a 23 year old man with a 15 year old girl.  I mean, why stand in the way of future potential business, huh?

These people and the people who spill innocent blood under the guise of "choice" sicken me.  It makes me want to throw up that they do it pretending they care anything about the women that come to their clinics.

The folks at The Advocate should be applauded.  In addition to this, they reported on the fact that counselors at UCLA, a state supported school, were quick to refer pregnant women for abortions instead of alternatives available to them.

The Advocate wants to continue to bring to light the hideousness of abortion and the hypocrisy of those who endorse it.  Check them out at their website here .

Oh, and here's the video:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

C.H. Spurgeon

I love listening to C.H. Spurgeon's sermons read. www.sermonaudio.com makes many of his sermons available. My particular favorites are done by cloudaudio. If you've never heard his sermon read, I invite you to do so now:

How awesome is this????

Now you too can hear all of the mp3s I love to share!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I love languages

It's been rumored that the reason that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" is because he was a fanatic linguaphile and wanted to have an outlet for his love of languages. He also desired to create a mythology. And so he did. I actually have a book that explained the lingual work Tolkien did, call "The Languages of Tolkien's Middle Earth". I bought it when I was highschool and the binding's just about to fall off from so much reading.

As for languages, I know...1. And some change. I took 4 years of German between High School and college, but don't remember much of it. I wish I did. I've subscribed to Google(tm) News, German to try to improve my reading comprehension. But, unfortunately, I don't have the time to sit down and read it. Likewise, with Biblegateway.com, I've got a copy (or 3) of the Bible, auf Deutsch, right there at my finger tips. I would like to take some time each day to try to read from that and use it to study. Something like that would help me to not only better read German, but it would help to slow down and study God's Word. Dual benefit!

There's something mysterious about different languages, especially those (like the above), that have a different alphabet. It's like a code. I remember in the 7th grade, over Easter break in 1988, when I bought Ultima V. I remember pulling out the beautiful cloth map that came with it (see below)
The image “http://members.aol.com/UltimaWrld/inline/ultima_5_map.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
And seeing the Runic font on the map. I was so much fun taking the map and the key to the Runic alphabet included in the player's guide and figuring out the names of the places on the map. Given that, at that time, I didn't actually own a computer, I couldn't do much with it while I wasn't at the computer lab. And so that's what I did -- entertained myself with the player's guide (and there was much to keep me entertained!). I learned the Runic alphabet, which made playing the game that much more fun.

Ultima 5 was, by far, the best game of the series. Before games focused on graphical spectacularness, U5 had good story and was so much fun to play.

I started out talking about languages and ended up talking about Ultima. Which, actually, ties into the original subject. Ultima used its own alphabet (though the language was still English), but it had a pretty cool history behind it. Which added to the enjoyment. I just downloaded Ultima IV to my laptop. I know I don't have time to play, but how I wish I could just go back to the 7th grade....with the Apple ][e computers, green and black graphics....

And journey back to Britannia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Astrotrain, I hardly knew ye....

RIP Astrotrain 200? - 2007


I did hardly know it. It had been sitting on my desk for quite some time. We had it around to test stuff for Mac OS X. One day we went to power it up to try something, and for whatever reason, it would never power up. My manager told me to surplus it, but I....I had other plans.

I was going to pay to get it fixed and do some playing with OS X. I'd had Mac-lust for some time, and I figured that this would be the chance to do something about it. I'd take it and use it for a bit and see how it went. Well, it sat there for months and months, with nothing ever being done with it. Until a couple of weeks ago. I saw it sitting there, and just for giggles, thought I'd try to power it up. So I did, and, much to my surprise, it came up. So I took it, put a clean copy of OS X on it, and brought it home.

Sadly, the version of OS X I put on it was more than it could bear. It was rather sluggish trying to do anything with it. And, in spite of all the bells and whistles on it, I got bored with it rather quickly. So my new play thing lost its shine pretty quickly.....

Until last week when I was waiting on a co-worker. I had nothing to do while he finished some stuff up, so I grabbed the aforementioned laptop and tried to see how Ubuntu Linux would install. It installed beautfully! And, I was in love. It's something I'd wanted to do for sometime....Linux running on Apple hardware. And so, I decided that that would be my "play" machine; the one that I would bring home and experiment with.

And play we did. I got to do some cool things. Honestly, there were some things I didn't like -- the lack of functionality in the trackpad (I wanted to "tap" it to emulate left-clicks, and, more than that, I wanted to use it for scrolling purposes. I also did NOT like the one-button mouse layout, which meant I had to use F11 and F12 for middle- and right-click capability, respectively). There was also the lack fo java and flash for it. But, it was still cool, and hey! I could watch DVDs on it. So, having not problems for a few days, I made the brilliant move to bring it do DC with me. You know, instead of bringing the one that hadn't sat on my desk for several months in an assumed dead state.

The train is where the problem began. I was in the dining car blogging, and had to get up to go to the restroom. When I came back, the whole thing was frozen. I assume it was from the bumps and shocks from the train. So I powered it down, then tried to bring it back up. I could hear stuff happening, but saw nothing. Tried a couple more times to no avail. Gave up and put it away. Got to the hotel, powered it up, it came up fine. Was able to do quite a bit on it till I watched my X-Files. Then it froze again. After that, I could sometimes get it to power up and could do a little bit on it, but inevitably, it would freeze and go a long period where I would try to boot it up and see nothing. Today, however, even after letting it sit untouched for a while, there were no visible signs of life. Audible, granted, but nothing visible. It may just be a matter of getting a new display, but they ain't cheap. I imagine that's especially true for a mac.

And so, it is with great sadness that I declare Astrotrain, my play laptop of ~3 weeks, dead. I'm not sure what to do with it. It will travel back to work with me, where it will probably sit on my desk for a while. I don't know....

So, um, why exactly?

I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. (John 52:54)

Well, it's John 52:54 if you believe the writers of the X-Files. In reality, it's John 6:51. American Standard Version for anyone keeping score. (Update....the Scripture quoted the episode is actually John 6:54 -- I thought I had checked that, but apparently not. I believe he quotes is correctly from the KJV).

OK, so this is a bit odd to be blogging about. Some background information. The Scripture and quoted "reference" are from a second season episode of the X-Files called "3". The basic premise of it is, there are a group of supposed "vampires" in LA (big surprise there, crazy Californians), and, taking Christ's words completely and illogically out of context, they believe that, by going around drinking the blood of other people, they will gain immortality. After one such attack (the first in 3 years, if I recall correctly), Mulder comes to the house to investigate. There, written in blood on the wall, is "John 52:54". Mulder then goes on to quote (paraphrase is the better word, as it's not exact. Or not exact to any of the translations I'm aware of) the "referenced" Scripture, followed by the line (or close facsimile thereof), "they have the same feeble literal grasp of the Bible that all those big-haired preachers do".

So, I recognize that the episode originally aired ~12 years ago, but I'm just now watching the X-Files in its entirety on DVD. As I was watching it, the image at the top of the page interested me. At first I didn't know quite what to make of it. There are only 21 chapters in John, so it jumped out at me as odd. Was that supposed to be a Scripture reference? As mentioned, Mulder went on to "quote" the Scripture, which led me to know that yes, this was supposed to be a Scripture reference.

So my next question is....why? The X-Files, like so many other shows have been known to use fake telephone numbers (the '555' prefix has become somewhat of a joke to many nowadays it's become so cliche`). They've also been known to use fake cities/locations in their episodes. Neither of those things I can fault them. But, I really don't understand why they would use something like "John 52:54" as the reference for a very existent verse. If you're going to quote the Scripture, you should at least get the book, chapter, and verse correct. I don't know why 1) they would falsify it and 2) they would falsify it so blatantly. If you're looking for a non-existent chapter of John, why not John 22? Why choose 52? That seems a little extreme. But, I still question the reason behind choosing a fake chapter at all.

I don't know. I've got a copy of the most excellent book "Nitpicker's Guide for X-Philes" at home and hope to look into it as soon as I get a chance. It just seems really odd to me.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. (from Teachers Drop the Holocaust to Avoid Offending Muslims)

The referenced article talks about schools in the U.K. who have stopped teaching the Holocaust because it might offend Muslims who deny the Holocaust happened.

I....I can't even BEGIN to describe how this makes me feel! I just can't understand what...why this is a good idea. Do we rewrite history to avoid offending people.

I just can't believe this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A metaphor for life....

I'll leave off the cynical commentary and let it be what it is....He's cute, and he got to live his dream.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yes, I have to make mention....

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One of the few bright spots that have occurred in my life in the last several weeks happened yesterday.

UNC fell to Georgetown in the NCAA tournament.

So many people tell me I need to be "loyal" to the ACC....sorry, I just can't bring myself to ever enjoy a Tarheel victory. And my big fear was seeing UNC take the whole thing.

I know, I have a lot bigger things to worry about than this....but it did make my day yesterday. That, and IHOP after church :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I guess I'm in a blogging mood tonight

Occasionally I'll get into these moods where I just want to blog.

I love blogging. I really wish I did a better job of keeping up with mine. I think after this week my lunches will be freed up and I can start blogging like I used to.

Speaking of this week, I'm ready for it to be over. This Friday we go to Acquire the Fire in Winston-Salem. Back in November, I agreed that we would purchase 40 tickets for the event. I think my church has 25 of them spoken for, so I'm looking for homes for 15 of them. I don't think I'll have problems finding a home for them, but with the event looming near, I'd feel better if I had definite takers. Admittedly, in the course of the last month, I haven't focused on it the way I should've.

I've just eaten about 11 peanut butter cookies. I was proud of myself -- I had thought about making them earlier today, but Wife mentioned she wasn't going to eat much as she wanted to drop a little weight for her dance showcase this coming weekend, so I spared her by not making them. Well, later tonight she ended up making them. So I've had a bunch of cookies and 3 glasses of milk on top of that. I need to go back to starving myself.

Today I worked all day on the house. Well, not all day. Earlier this morning I had to do some things on the computer. I worked on the house till 2, then decided I wanted to go to the dump and then to Wal-Mart(tm). For ages I've had an icemaker that we haven't used, because when I turn on the water, it goes shooting all over the place. So, I thought I would buy plumber's putty for it. Found some threading tape or something and thought that would do the trick. Long story short, I spent an hour on it tonight and realized that the water wasn't coming out where I thought it was, and there was nothing I could do about it. Not only that, but realized that not only was water coming out of the wall, but it was also leaking at the refrigerator as well. So, after learning that, I decided to give up and pay for my frozen water. Or dig out the ice trays.

After I gave up on that, I worked on the house some more. Given that I did so much today, you'd think the house would be spotless. Sadly, no.

OK, so that's pretty much it for me. I discovered a new Google(tm) product -- Google(tm) Base(tm). It allows you to advertise stuff you want to get rid of. I put the ATF tickets up there. I wish I'd discovered it a week ago. We'll find someone to take them, I'm sure of it.

OK, that's really it. I need to go to bed. It's been a long day.

Til then.

Well, here I am....

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, "Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.
31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!
And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day. (Genesis 1:28-31, NLT)

It's a Saturday night, and I'm sitting at home, not doing much of anything. I just got done posting a rash of articles regarding the Global Warming debate. I guess, since I have nothing else too in depth to talk about at the moment, I could address that.

Truth be known, I'm tired of hearing about it. I remember hearing all about it when I was in school. I was younger and more apt to give into the hype; I remember telling my friend that we shouldn't use cans that have CFC's....then proceeded to tell him that "chloroflorocarbons" were harmful to the atmosphere and would destroy the ozone! I believe hairspray was the biggest user of CFCs....and, back in the 80's, many women were distraught over the choice -- save the planet, or have GREAT looking Cyndi Lauper hair?

I digress. I'm not a climatologist....I don't know all the facts, either for or against the idea of man-made global warming. What I DO know, however, is that God has placed us on the earth, which He created, and we share it with a lot of other things: trees, plants, mosquitoes, bunnies, deer, mountain lions, and of course, penguins. That's just a few. But we're here on the earth, and there's only one. While I used to want to believe that there were other earth-like planets out there, I don't anymore. We're the only ones.

So, that being said, like everything else God has given us, we should be good stewards of our planet. I don't believe that we should be out there actively destroying the planet. I don't think we should strip mine just for fun, or dump our garbage in the ocean (heck, it really makes me mad when someone flicks a cigarette butt out the window of their car -- I HATE litterers!), or dump oil over otters in Alaska because we have nothing else to do on a Saturday night. But the fact of the matter is, we have as much of a right to the earth as any other creature does, and, just like they have to build homes and such, we do to. But, we must do it in responsible ways. So, I have no problems recycling, if the recycling actually does less damage than just throwing things away, or driving a hybrid (although there is this "inconvenient truth"...) (and, when I went looking for a new car in May of 2005, I did try to get an Escape Hybrid....).

The problem is, man-made Global Warming is a religion, and Algore is its high priest. The same folks who denounce Christianity, Judaism, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (I've always wanted to say that!) are the same ones going around pushing the "facts" of man-made Global Warming, while shutting up their opponents.

It just amuses me.

The schools ARE teaching something!


Global warming on trial

Sixth-graders decide that humans aren’t to blame

I enjoyed this article immensely....not just because it shows that 6th graders are smarter than Al Gore, but it also shows that there is still free, creative thinking in our schools and that not all the teachers are swallowing the global warming tripe that Al's trying to push down everyone's throat....

Some other tasty articles on the subject:

Conclusion: Links between Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Severe Climate Impacts Are Tenuous

Al Gore Challenged to International Global Warming Debate

And then my favorites:

Gore's home uses 20 times the national average, yet Gore refuses to take energy pledge.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I find the hyposcrisy from the priests of the religion of Human-caused Global Warming.....

...simply asounding!

March 21, 2007

MATT DEMPSEY 202-224-9797
WASHINGTON, DC Former Vice President Al Gore refused to take a “Personal Energy Ethics Pledge” today to consume no more energy than the average American household. The pledge was presented to Gore by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, during today’s global warming hearing.
Senator Inhofe showed Gore a film frame from “An Inconvenient Truth” where it asks viewers: “Are you ready to change the way you live?”
Gore has been criticized for excessive home energy usage at his residence in Tennessee. His electricity usage is reportedly 20 times higher than the average American household.
It has been reported that many of these so-called carbon offset projects would have been done anyway. Also, carbon offset projects such as planting trees can take decades or even a century to sequester the carbon emitted today. So energy usage today results in greenhouse gases remaining in the atmosphere for decades, even with the purchase of so-called carbon offsets.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who adore you and would follow your example by reducing their energy usage if you did. Don’t give us the run-around on carbon offsets or the gimmicks the wealthy do,” Senator Inhofe told Gore.
“Are you willing to make a commitment here today by taking this pledge to consume no more energy for use in your residence than the average American household by one year from today?” Senator Inhofe asked.
Senator Inhofe then presented Vice President Gore with the following "Personal Energy Ethics Pledge:
As a believer:
· that human-caused global warming is a moral, ethical, and spiritual issue affecting our survival;
· that home energy use is a key component of overall energy use;
· that reducing my fossil fuel-based home energy usage will lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions; and
· that leaders on moral issues should lead by example;
I pledge to consume no more energy for use in my residence than the average American household by March 21, 2008.”
Gore refused to take the pledge.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

It's 11:15....I'm sitting in front of the TV, XM Satellite radio through DirecTV is being played on the TV. Wife isn't home. The warm, white glow of the laptop monitor before me.

I went to church tonight. Not surprising; it's a Wednesday. But, tonight was business meeting night. Since Wed. nights that we didn't have worship, I was in Youth On Mission, I'd never been to a business meeting. Tonight I went, as I need to really step back from the youth and let the interim leaders do their thing, which I, and others, don't think will happen if I'm there.

Business meetings aren't fun. I guess they're necessary, but....they aren't fun. I guess it's a good thing they only happen once a month :)

After the meeting, I met with some of the youth to discuss Acquire the Fire. We're going to the Winston-Salem event next weekend (March 30-31). I'm excited, but, admittedly, haven't focused on it like I should've. With recent events, both personal and with the youth, it's been difficult to do what I need to do. But, it's coming together, and next weekend we should be taking about 20 people from our church and selling the other 20 tickets to someone else. We'll be staying at a church in the general area, which'll be fun. I had a good time doing that last year in Charlotte.

After Acquire the Fire, though, that's it for me....I've got to give everything I have to my home life.

After the business meeting, I met up with Children's_Minister. He and I had a good talk. He was asking how I was doing, and I told him. When we went to the NC Baptist State Convention, he and I shared a hotel room. I shared a lot of stuff with him, and he asked me if my present circumstances was because of what we discussed at the BSC. I told him no, and proceeded to tell him the WHOLE story. I had wanted to for some time (Pastor told me I should share with the whole staff, and at the time he was at the beach), but it was difficult finding a good time to do it. So, when he asked, I felt like that was my opening. We had a good discussion afterward.

So that's church. Things are continuing. Last Wednesday was a disaster, but I think this Wednesday was MUCH better. Children's_Minister took the guys this afternoon, while the regular female leaders took the girls.

Work is going OK -- I'm very excited that Co-Worker has a great shot at another job on campus. I've really enjoyed working with him for 8 years, and I'm going to miss him so much. He gave me a hug yesterday. It took me by surprise. He denied it ever happened today, though :)

Spent a good deal of time working on my laptop yesterday. Got it working, fortunately. Not necessarily where I want it to be, but I can use it. Today, though, I struggled greatly with the wireless card. That seems to be working again with an older kernel. I hope it stays that way. I was about to throw the stinking thing at the wall today.

Somebody mentioned they wanted a burger earlier today. I'm just thinking, a burger would be swell.....I need a Waffle House out my way!

39 When Moses reported the Lord’s words to all the Israelites, the people were filled with grief. 40 Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. “Let’s go,” they said. “We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the Lord has promised us.” (Numbers 14:39-40, NLT)

Have you ever read the Bible, and when reading a particular verse, recognized yourself in it? Well, this is one of those times for me.

I'm continuing in the book of Numbers, and I'm at the point where the Israelites have reached the Promised Land. God commands them to send the leaders from each tribe of Israel into Canaan and scout out the land. They're told to bring back fruit and tell what they've seen. And so, the 12 leaders set out for the land that God had promised them.

I know my readership knows how it ended....the "spies" came back and told what they saw. Ten of them came back and talked about how large its inhabitants were, how the Israelites were grasshoppers in comparison, and how they didn't stand a chance. Only Joshua, the leader of Ephraim, and Caleb, the leader of Judah, came back with the right response....the Lord would lead them to victory. Unfortunately, the report of the other ten persuaded the Israelites not to obey God. They decided they didn't stand a chance. In response, God was angry at their disobedience and killed the ten leaders who gave a negative report.

That's where we find the verses above. After seeing God's anger and what He did to the ten leaders, they then decide, "hey, we should obey God....we'll go take that land that He promised us now!" The problem is, they were too late. I'm sure it's been said many times by many church staffers, but "delayed obedience is disobedience". This is what the Israelites learned. They had the opportunity to do the right thing and obey God. God had promised them the land, and He had been faithful to His promises in the past. And they didn't trust Him! They continued to doubt Him. So God kills the ten leaders and tells the Israelites that they would wander in the desert until everyone 20 and older died out, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. And it was then they realized they'd realized they'd goofed in a major way.....

Wow, can I see myself in them! I know times when I've disobeyed, and when I got "caught" and reprimanded, that was when I decided to be obedient. The problem was, it was too late; the damage had been done. I wonder how much pain and time I could've saved myself if I was obedient from the beginning. God promises us blessings when we obey! And yet, so often, I'm disobedient.

So, I definitely think I'm in the wilderness now....it's not fun! The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness, Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of a giant fish (*cough*not whale*cough*). It stinks, but it's the price of disobedience. The good news is, after the wilderness and the fish, God did great things! The Israelites did make it to the Promised Land; Jonah preached and saw 100,000+ people turn to God! I know that after my "wilderness experience", God has something awesome in store....

I just pray it doesn't take 40 years.

Friday, March 16, 2007

As a commercial for the nationally acclaimed Boston College web soap "The BC", this video shows 5 real jesuit priests at boston college in a music video of the popular Bon Jovi hit.

Those crazy Catholics!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Still love it to this day....

I remember growing up, Dad would sing this and "The Gambler" to me at bed time. This was my favorite, and I would still list it as one of my favorites to this day (though nothing can beat Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer").

I also remember it from my "Urban Chipmunk" record. They edited it, though, and talked about Tommy's best friend instead of the horror that befell Becky. I don't know what Dad sang, if it was edited, or if I was too young to understand the song, but it's a powerful song. A song that reminds us that "sometimes you have to fight, when you're a man"....

I spend a lot of time bemoaning the fact that Spring has come. I spend a lot of time complaining about Daylight Savings Time and the extension of daylight in the evening. But, if the truth must be known....I've kind of liked the last few days.

I think Tuesday and Wednesday it got into the 80's, and I think the same is supposed to happen today. I decided that I was going to get away from my desk and actually enjoy the nice weather. So, I grabbed my laptop, and cup of grits for lunch, and came outside.

Man, does it feel nice. I'm under the water tower here at work, down by the water. I love the sound of the water. As a child, there was a subdivision that had been started but never got finished (it actually did after I went away to college). I would go down to that area, and, off in the woods, there was a creek. I would sit at the creek in a spot where the water went over rocks and read, or just sit and enjoy the peace.

Just to my left is a bike. It reminds me that I'd like to get mine in good working order and bring it with me (or keep it here), so that during my lunch breaks I can get it out and take it around Durham. I need to start doing more exercise, and I really enjoy bike riding.

While I was outside, I read my Scripture for today:

18 “If you want to live securely in the land, follow my decrees and obey my regulations. 19 Then the land will yield large crops, and you will eat your fill and live securely in it. 20 But you might ask, ‘What will we eat during the seventh year, since we are not allowed to plant or harvest crops that year?’ 21 Be assured that I will send my blessing for you in the sixth year, so the land will produce a crop large enough for three years. 22 When you plant your fields in the eighth year, you will still be eating from the large crop of the sixth year. In fact, you will still be eating from that large crop when the new crop is harvested in the ninth year. Leviticus 25:18-22, NLT
Still working through Leviticus (well, actually finished it today), but this is where God is telling His people about the Sabbath. Not only were they supposed to recognize the 7th day of the week, but they were to give the land rest every 7 years. In the Scripture above, He tells the Israelites that, if they follow His decrees and instructions, during the 7th year, when the ground is resting, God will provide for them. We see this when God provided the manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. They would go out and get food for the first 6 days, but on the 7th, they would rest. So, to provide for them, God told them to get double portions on the 6th day, keep half for the 7th, and they would have food to eat. It was about trusting God to provide for their needs.

What's different, however, is during the time of the manna, God would only allow the Israelites enough food for the 7th day; when the 1st came around, they were to go back to collecting their food again. In this case, though, God tells them that the crops that are yielded in the 6th year are not only enough to take them through the 7th, but all the way through the 9th! What a loving God we serve. This Scripture shows us that God loves us so much, that not only does he want to MEET our needs, but He wants to EXCEED them! He wants us to rest in Him and be secure in Him. Verse 18 even says, "If you want to live SECURELY...." I want God to be my security!

So, continuing.....

A couple of notes from yesterday:
  1. Google Talk "Gadget" over to the right hand side (/me points ----->), you'll see a new "gadget". That's an interface for "Google Talk", Google's instant messaging service. If you have a Google Account (which you should have if you use BloggerTM to keep a blog), then you can use your Google Account username and password to log in, and you can chat to me! (I believe it will automatically add me as a Buddy....). It's really quite cool, and I'm trying to encourage others to use it. Go to Google Talk to find out more!
  2. Group Launches Post-Abortion E-Cards I'll be honest....I really don't know what to say about this. I HATE abortion! And this just sickens and saddens me to read this. But, I love people. We're all sinners and we all make poor choices. I don't really understand the logic behind this. I just....don't.

Well, it looks like my lunchtime is just about over. I'm going to snap another low-quality picture with my phone and head in and post. I will probably write more later.

1As the deer longs for streams of water,so I long for you, O God. Psalm 42:1, NLT
One day I'm going to start using a real digital camera. However, I imagine if I'd gone and gotten my real camera, by the time I got it, loaded it with batteries, and gotten ready to take the picture, the opportunity would've been missed. Add on top of that the fact that I'm NOTORIOUS for leaving pictures on my memory card forever, so if I'd done that, it probably would've never made it this far.

This is a picture from the window in my living room. One of the reasons I was excited about moving out to the country was because I envisioned looking out my window and seeing deer in the yard. I've been in the house for 9 years this July. Apart from a brief glimpse of a deer running through our back yard once, this is the only time I've seen deer in our yard.

As I looked out, I thought about the oft-quoted verse above, spoken a long time ago by King David. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible has this to say on Psalm 42:
The title does not tell us who was the penman of this psalm, but most probably it was David, and
we may conjecture that it was penned by him at a time when, either by Saul's persecution or
Absalom's rebellion, he was driven from the sanctuary and cut off from the privilege of waiting
upon God in public ordinances.

Whether during persecution from Saul during his son Absalom's rebellion, David was going through a rough time. Matthew Henry says he was "cut off from the privilege of waiting upon God in public ordinance".

The image of a deer "panting" for the water gives the image of need....dire need. I was watching "SurvivorMan" last night (great show, by the way), where he tried to spend a week in the canyons of Southern Utah. He talked about the 5 W's that someone can judge their odds of survival -- Weather, Widowmakers, Wigglies, Wood, and....Water. There was not a steady supply of water for him to drink, and you could tell his desperate need for it, and his fear that he wouldn't last.

That's how I want my desire for God.....to be so desperate for Him that, when I'm away, I can't survive.

Maybe that's why I'm where I am now.....
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew 6:34, NLT
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took time to talk about worry. And, when he talked about it, he made it pretty clear that we are not to worry. It's not a suggestion, but a command (it comes across like that in the English; I'm sure the Hebrew scholars out there on the internets could say more on it....I've got a great collection of books that YFCRED gave me that are up at Church, which does me no good....). Obviously, to do what we've been told not to do, ie, worry, is a sin.

Although, it does say in the last part of the verse, "Today's trouble is enough for today". And today did see its share of troubles.

I actually thought today was a good day. I felt like Pastor, Wife, and I had a pretty productive discussion last night over ribs and fries. While nothing miraculous occurred, we did talk and I felt like we got to some things that I have to deal with. So this morning I was actually feeling pretty good.

Later in the day, I had a good talk with YFCRED. He called to ask about some stuff that happened Sunday night. We had a good talk. But I knew that this "stuff" that we were talking about was one more thing on his already full plate of things going on. That saddened me. It also saddened me that, for my part in it, I could've handled it a lot differently, which would've put less strain on him. Praise God, at least half of it's taken care of, and possibly the rest of it as of this publishing, as I didn't stay for the worship service so I don't know what happened after I left.

Which brings me to the worship service. Well, Church supper. WONDERFUL supper. I'm mad that I didn't buy any for home. I digress. About half-way through supper, I get a call from Wife who won't be in nursery because she's not doing well. Long story short, I finish my supper and come home.

Being at home was as much fun as it has been in the last 3 weeks....it's pretty much the reason I'm up at 1:20am putting together a blog entry. Get a call at 10:30 from Pastor wondering where I was. He mentioned that the youth didn't go to the worship service tonight, and, while he and another member were standing outside after worship, one of my^H^H the youth were doing stupid things in the parking lot with a multi-ton rubber-and-metal death machine, and when he made mention to them to stop acting the fool (my words), they got out and screamed at him.

So, this is where I revisit what I told YFCRED earlier this afternoon. I love the youth. God has given me a heart for teenagers. I want to see their lives transformed and I want them to grab hold of Christ and never let go. I want to be a mentor to them and help them grow. I think that's where my strength lies. I think back to Minion_1 and Minion_3. I think about how blessed I was to work with teenagers who actually care. They're not perfect, but they do care, and I feel like that's where my true ministry is. Although, at this point, I don't know if I'll be able to continue even that....

However, I'm not going to miss being a Youth Pastor. I HATE saying that, but honestly, I'm not. Wife originally said, and Pastor, I think, ultimately came to agree (and perhaps YFCRED as well) that more likely than not, it wasn't God calling me to youth work, but it was my wanting to stay a youth and not grow up. I think to be an effective leader, it takes a lot of qualities that, quite frankly, I'm lacking. This is honest reflection and NOT self-deprecation....I'm OK with that, but it would've been a lot better for the youth and the church if I'd admitted that 2 years ago.

That does remind me, however, that I've been thinking more and more about the role I'll be playing in the church going forward. My primary ministry is being a husband to a hurting Wife. But I do NOT want to just go back to being a Sunday morning pew warmer. I don't want to do that. I want to be active in some way, in some ministry. I do want to continue to work with the youth, but I'm trying to think of other things. I want to start a Bible Study/Prayer Time in our department at work. I've talked to another member of our church that works on my floor, and he's talked to 2 others. I know of 2 others who might be interested. I would like to see us do that. Someone else was talking about prison ministry. While I'd actually be very interested in that, I don't know if I have the personality for that. I'm seriously considering being involved in a church plant. I guess, though, in the short term, 1) I have to focus on being a husband first and 2) I have enough "loose ends", such as the basement renovation and Acquire the Fire at the end of the month, plus trying to make as smooth a transition as possible with the youth, to keep me busy for a while.

And I think I've rambled on for a good while....

Friday, March 09, 2007

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21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass. 22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 20:21-22, NLT)
Even before becoming a Christian, I was fascinated by the Book of Revelation. I believe it's the first book of the Bible I read all the way through. I read a good post by "He Lives" regarding Revelation; take a look at my "Shared Feeds" to the right to see it (titled "Doesn't Soon Mean Soon?"). He mentioned that teenage men tend to want to learn about Revelation.

Why do we find Revelation so fascinating? I think, for one, it's a mystery. I think, as far as my own fascination goes, this incredible mystery surrounding it. While there have been many people who've tried to understand and share exactly what John's vision means, you won't find much agreement on what the exact meaning behind the various symbolism and imagery in it. You have dragons and beasts and creatures with many horns and mouths, locusts that have the heads of men and tails of scorpions that are allowed to sting the people on earth. It's unlike any other book of the Bible, and I think that's why there's such a draw there. That, and it talks of future events. For me, that was another draw.

But for the Christian, Revelation is much greater than just an interesting study in future events. As I've read it through several times, I've come to realize that the images in Revelation will probably never be "decoded" -- no one will ever be able to say what the images mean. BUT, to focus on those things is not seeing the forest for the trees. That is, we shouldn't be so focused on the little details, but instead should focus on the larger picture. And, the larger picture is 1) there is a spiritual battle going on and 2) Christ has, is, and will always be the ultimate Victor! It doesn't matter what the Beasts are, what the mark means, or who the 144,000 are, what matters is, which side of the battle are you on? One day all the things of the world will burn and go away, but the things of Christ's Kingdom will last forever! It doesn't matter what happens, Christ and His followers will be victorious and we will share in His inheritance when He comes to claim His bride!

20He that testifieth these things saith, "Surely I come quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. THAT'S hope!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Liu Shuping, a farmer specializing in raising pigs, presents a newly-born piglet with one head, two mouths, two noses and three eyes, for photographers in Xi'an, northwest China on  March 6, 2007.

I've spent most of the morning trying to figure out how to post this picture. I thought I'd found the best way, but no, it's broken. So, I'm doing it the old fashioned way.

This picture makes me sad. I don't think it was the result of anything more than an abnormality in nature. At least I hope so. Poor piggy.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Again, not the best picture in the world taken with my camera, but, it hit home with me. It was after a particularly stormy night. The clouds that morning were thick and gray, seemingly impenetrable to any light....

But, just over the top of the clouds....you could catch a glimmer of the light that waits on the other side.

Now, it's just a matter of making it through the clouds.
13 “If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people don’t realize it, they are still guilty. 14 When they become aware of their sin, the people must bring a young bull as an offering for their sin and present it before the Tabernacle. (Leviticus 4:13-14, NLT)

I started in Leviticus this morning. I actually enjoy reading Leviticus, though sometimes it can be a little difficult to read. But, the sacrificial system and the Law intrigue me, and so I sincerely enjoy reading it.

As I started in Chapter 4, where it talks about the sin offerings, there was a phrase that was repeated at the beginning of each section...."but insert group here don't realize it, they are still guilty".

Unfortunately, I'm not the best at actually studying my Bible like I should....I'm a reader, and I enjoy reading. Taking the time to sit down and study, however, is difficult, and so I often overlook important details. But, I remember in a staff meeting not too long ago, when Pastor was going through Leviticus, he made mention of the fact that the sacrificial system was for unintentional sins, that there is no atonement for those done on purpose. This goes right along with Hebrews 10:26 where the author says, "Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins." The price that Christ paid on our behalf wasn't so we could continue in sin, but so we could deny our fleshly selves, turn away from our sins, and be forgiven of those that we do unintentionally.

This....is a scary thought. This is scary because, as I look back on the last 14 years, I recognize that a lot of the sin I committed was intentional. While some might argue that my problems stem from circumstances beyond my control, living a life of lying and deception and keeping stuff from Wife was intentional.

I don't like that that's the life I've led for so long. I don't like that I've hurt someone I love and care so much about. I don't like that things can't be fixed with "I'm sorry, give me another chance". I know that time is over.

Truthfully, I don't know what can be done that could fix it. I know lots of prayer is necessary. I know that I need to let go and let God be God. I know that, no matter what, if everything else falls apart, I have God's grace, and that should be enough for me.

I don't like uncertainty.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The post where I whine....a lot

so·ci·o·path Pronunciation (ss--pth, -sh-)

One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior.

From www.thefreedictionary.com

Truth be known, I don't know why I'm blogging. I know I want to. I haven't for a while. But, I have a whole mess of other things I need to be doing.

I posted the definition of "sociopath" because I half-jokingly told Pastor I thought I was one. I don't really think that's the right definition of one, though. I think it goes deeper than that. I think it basically means someone who can't have healthy relationships with others.

As I look back on my life, I've figured out that I really don't have any healthy relationships. My parents, my sister, Wife...all of them are dysfunctional to some degree (and, truth be known, to a severe degree in those cases). So, then I look at my friends....Pastor, YFCRED, Minion_1, Minion_3. I love these people. But....how close do I get to them? And how close do I let them get?

I'm scared. I really think I'm at a point where I will lose everything. This past weekend I "stepped down" from my ministries at church to focus on my marriage. But, since that time, I'm coming to realize that it doesn't matter, as I probably won't have my marriage that much longer.

I really do wonder why I'm so screwed up....and before anyone comments and tells me that I'm not that screwed up....I am. I KNOW I have good qualities. I'm not saying I'm completely messed up and there's nothing good about me....but honestly, I'm pretty messed up. And I know the psychological people out there want to say that it's cause my father's emotionally walled off or my parents didn't hug me or because my dog died in the seventh grade or because I was sexually molested by a babysitter. I hate that. To me, it sounds like excuses.

All my life I've neglected responsibility. I've joked about it. Somehow I've managed to coast through life and be OK without putting forth too much effort. Sure, there were scary times, like in High School, when I was scared to death I wouldn't graduate. But I made it. I made it through college and got a wonderful job. I got married and have a house and mortgage and 2 cars. Somehow I've managed to do all this without a whole lot of effort. But, as I've grown older, I've realized that that quality that I was once so proud of has ended up hurting a lot of people. Not only that, but it makes me a not-very trustworthy, dependable person.

I have no ambition.
I have no motivation.
I have no energy.

I just coast along. And have for all my life.

And while I was coasting along, I've managed to kill the wonderful spirit of a wonderful young lady that I took for granted for 14 years. While I was coasting along, I neglected to invest in and build relationships with a group of youth that I really do love and enjoyed being with. Although, that may just go back to the emotional distance I seem to have with other people. While I've coasted along, I've got a mother who outright told me that talking to me is like talking to a stranger, that I'm so guarded.

I just want to be fixed.

No....I want to be fixed, and I want to go back and undo this massive mess that I seem to have created for a lot of people I love. And I can't. And so all these people are now victims of the consequences of my sin.

Yes, I've whined a lot. Yes, I'm depressed and feeling sorry for myself.

This is where the rubber meets the road. If everything I hold so dear goes away, can I truly say that God's Grace is sufficient for me? Because honestly, that may really be what I'm left with.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Mel Brooks - To Be Or Not To Be (Audio Remastered)

This is so wrong....and SO funny!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Awwww, isn't he cute? I went by to drop off a Valentine's Day card for Mom and Dad (a first, but I found a card for both parents and thought it would be a nice surprise), and there was this fella floating above.

I have two wonderful parents. I appreciate the fact that Dad thinks of Mom on Valentine's Day. I'm not a huge fan of the holiday, but I've come to recognize that it means a lot to my wife, and so I try to do something for her. I imagine that my Mom really appreciates that Dad does something for her.

While working at "Mr. Barbecue and Stuff" at the mall, there was an older couple who would often walk around the mall together. The would always hold hands. We were right by the bathrooms, and he would wait patiently while his wife was in the ladies room. While I was working one Valentine's Day, I asked him what he and his wife were doing for the occasion. He told me that "Valentine's Day is for young people". It was obvious that he and his wife were very much in love.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I know there's a million other things I should be doing, but I thought I would take the chance to blog about things going on....

  • My Bible reading is going very well! As of 02/04/2007, I have read the Bible through twice!! I was hoping to have it read through in less than a year (I finished the first time through sometime in January, 2006), but I had some spells in there where I didn't read like I should've. It didn't take me much more than a year, though, which makes me happy, and ultimately, it's not a contest or a race. I'm currently reading in Genesis (just finished through Chapter 28 today) and Hebrews (finished through Chapter 12). I need to get back into blogging about the Scripture I'm reading, but that requires time that seems so fleeting nowadays. I used to do it at lunch daily (or try to), but lunch is (or at least should be) used for doing youth stuff that needs to get done. I may try to do it on Mondays, at least, as those don't seem to be taken up (yet).
  • Duke -- it's still there. I'm still there. Our basketball team is apparently giving everyone else in the conference a fighting chance, as they aren't doing much to stop them. I can't say much, as I haven't actually gotten to watch any games this season. Did catch parts of the Duke/UNC game last Wednesday as I drove youth home, and came home and started watching it. Started to fall asleep just as UNC was taking the lead. Woke up to the news where I got to hear that Duke had gone on to lose to UNC. Oh well, there's always next season.
  • Youth -- it's going well. Ultimately, we've decided that, as a church, our goal is to disciple people, and that all the ministries in the church (adults, youth, and children) need to be moving towards that goal. I've got some ideas for that, but haven't implemented them yet. I hope to in the near future. We've just had our annual ski trip, with our annual trip to the ER, and we have Acquire the Fire coming up at the end of March. But I don't want this group to just be about going from one big event to the other. I want to see these teenagers on fire for Christ. I want to see them develop this incredible passion for a relationship with Jesus. My prayer is, they'll stop depending on this world and start leaning on Christ and become true disciples. Oh, we're tearing up the basement this coming up Saturday!

Finished my taxes tonight. Yay. For the first time in several years, I owe. That has me saddened. And by saddened, I mean, that's the reason I'm still up. And not wanting to do anything I need to do. And why I ate a bunch of 'nilla wafers with cream cheese icing on them. Yup.

OK, that's enough. I'm feeling sleepy, and if I don't try to go to sleep, I won't be worth anything tomorrow. G'night.

Well, the picture isn't very clear....OK, so it's not at all clear. But, as I was driving home from work today, I drove by 4 deer out in the middle of the field. While deer are not an uncommon sight around my parts, it's not everyday you see them in the open like that in day time. It was refreshing to see them, and not just before darting in front of my car. My camera phone was the only camera I had, so I tried to take a picture.