Showing posts from August, 2006

Another trip to the dentist

I just got back from the dentist and all is well in my mouth...for now. I even got a red toothbrush when I was walking out the door. I like my dentist ( as I think he is very thorough and the work that he has done in my mouth has been great. I think he has filled a couple of cavities and I have been happy with him. All this to say that I "hate" going to the dentist. Now I have never been accused of having a movie-star smile and I have more than my share of fillings (less and less as the years have gone on) and that is probably why I have the angst I do at the thought of the visit to the dentist. I know this is my doing, but there it is. For me it always seemed like the day of reckoning. The judge looks into my mouth and declares the verdict on the previous six months of brushing and flossing, and I was always concerned that a cavity was going to be found. Was this really an issue? I had been through plenty of fillings and didn't even mind the novac

I prayed and it happened

I prayed and it happened. That is how I am supposed to think about things in the divine context. At least that is how C.S. Lewis encourages me to think. Because I live in a world where God is Sovereign I need not concern myself with the interplay between my prayers and the effect that those prayers (or lack of prayers) has on the events that were lifted up to God. I need only know that is was God’s sovereign plan that I should pray in the way that I did and that events were ordered in such and such a way because of God’s sovereign plan. The causality or the effect that my prayerlessness may or may not have had on the ordained situation is of no concern of mine – that is firmly in God’s realm and I may never know the totality of it. All this to say that I asked God for something and it looks like God has granted me my request. Thanks, Dad. May this situation vault me into a deeper prayer life with you.

Good for us...and him I pray.

We had one of my boy’s friends over last night for the last time this Summer and I am going to miss spending Monday nights with him. His dad has left the scene and is only marginally involved in the lives of his kids (four total). He has been encouraged to come back, been through church discipline and removed from membership, and pursued in a great many ways by numerous people but he refuses to repent. It is so sad. So my wife and I have made a point to have this boy over to our house for a couple of hours just to let him be around our boys and for me to interact with him for a bit. And it has been fun. Last night after dinner we went and got ice cream and then off to a nearby playground. He got quite a bruise on his shin after falling but he was all right. My two boys love it when he comes over too and they had a great time running around with him on the playground. It started to rain a bit so we “ran” back to the van and started the slow drive home. Well, the rain let up a bit and we


It has been said that time is the currency of the 21 st century and it is the thing I guard the most. It is an interesting statement about the state of our country that we have enough money and things, but that thing that is scarce, our time, is what we hold onto the tightest. My oldest will be starting school next week (kindergarten) and the time that we spend together from now until he graduates high school will be so important and so precious. Of course this is also a time in my career when I am in high demand and it looks like the travel will get to be more and more of a bother as I get involved with more customers. Thankfully they’re in New Jersey right now, but that will not always be the case I’m sure. Please help me negotiate this tightrope, Lord, I need your wisdom more than ever. Help me to make sure I am doing what I can to provide for my family financially, socially, emotionally, spiritually…I do not want to make a mess of this. I know you do not want me to either. Tha


The musical Godspell had a huge influence on me growing up. The high school I went to (Cardinal Mooney in Rochester NY) actually did the musical as part of their Spring production one year. I remember on my paper route the next morning after seeing the performance singing over and over “Long live God, Long live God, Long live God, Long live God” which is what was sung as they carried Christ’s dead body out of the auditorium before the image was shown of the resurrected Son. We also had the soundtrack on cassette that we wore out from playing it too much. The song below was one of my favorites. All Good Gifts by Stephen Schwartz We plow the fields and scatter The good seed on the land But it is fed and watered By God's almighty hand He sends the snow in winter The warmth to swell the grain The breezes and the sunshine And soft refreshing rain (Refrain) All good gifts around us Are sent from heaven above So thank the Lord Oh thank the Lord for all his love We thank thee then O Fat

All good gifts

I thought my wife was nuts. She wanted to take a 5 year-old, 3 year-old, and 3 year-old raspberry picking last night. She put the bug in my ear about it when I talked to her over the phone from work and I thought we will wait to see how we feel after dinner before making a decision. Well, she brought it up again with the qualification that if it was a big disaster it was a big disaster – no big deal. I agreed, but thought that the boys and their friend we were watching for the night could just run around in the field. What happened there completely blew my mind. Not only were the kids into picking raspberries but each one of them filled a pint of their own and worked to fill some more that my wife and I were picking with. My oldest kind of lost interest a bit after the pint he picked was full, but there was no problem with him wandering off for a bit after staying on task for so long. My youngest was quietly working away and would continue to announce his progress as he picked. We late

A late entry

Wow, trying to get back into the swing of things after a vacation day in the middle of the week seems to be a bit more challenging to me than it ought to. Had a great golf outing with my brother yesterday at Salmon Creek Country Club in Spencerport, NY. It is a very nice course and I had some good shots. My chipping was right on which was good because I did not hit a green from the fairway the whole day. I can’t expect that much as I basically golf once or twice a year. And it is not like riding a bike – not even close. I was so tired this morning and really had to force myself to exercise. There were so many voices from my head and body saying “No! No! Don’t do it!” that even 6 minutes into the treadmill routine that I do I considered cutting it short. I figured I would regret it if I did so I plowed ahead. The more I do that the less resistance I will feel in the future I am sure. At least I hope. That is a principle I have learned and it can be applied to a lot of different endeavor

Millions of offenses - a billion deaths

Millions of offenses. There has got to be millions of times that I have offended God and broken His law. From those that I have secured through commission to those that have been credited to my account through omission I have no doubt that His righteous standard has not been met by me for any length of time and in any place whatsoever. The second I reached the condition of accountability I became a dead man. A man whose inheritance was Hell and who had no hope of ever entering Heaven. How could I be so blind for son long to my own unrighteousness? How did I reconcile in my mind the thought that this holy God would wink at the sin that signaled my rebellion? Puny fists raised high in defiance of Him – how utterly bankrupt the sense of it all! Yet in His goodness His grace poured in like a flood. Illuminating my mind to see that His Son satisfied the righteous anger He had toward me for my sin. And the grace that moves outside of karma became my new song and my only hope. Please, t

In jail last night

Last night I had the opportunity to preach at the jail here in Monroe County. It was good to get back into the swing of things in this area. I had been there multiple times before, but not in the past year and a half or so due to the fact that I was involved in youth ministry that occurred on Sunday nights. I preached about the citizenry of heaven or the world and contrasted the two as it is outlined (primarily) in Ephesians 2:2-3, 12 and Philippians 3:17-19. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and am looking forward to going back. One thing happened that struck me. The chaplain said something to the effect of “Let’s thank God for North Baptist Church and their presence here with us.” and, naturally, I clapped as the inmates there did as well. Looking down the line of the people that were there with me from the church I noticed that none of them were clapping. Was I doing something wrong? I felt a little self-conscious about what I was doing (a topic in and of itself) and wondere

Is penultimate a word?

Your life is in danger. – Tourniquet Relationships are the key that unlock effective ministry. Even God Himself pursued me and wanted to establish a relationship with me. When grasping that it was almost as if I had no choice – His love captured me as His grace set me free from the fetters that would have dragged me into Hell. I have often wondered about the balance between relationships as a means to an end and relationship for relationship sake. Most damnable would be a relationship where there was no warning given that the beloved’s life was in danger. What kind of service is that? One wrought in Hell as the Devil himself was more than happy to befriend me only to blind me to my destruction. It seems to me that the true measure of love that I have for someone would be based on the fact of whether I shared the Gospel with them or not. In other words I would not even think of not sharing the Gospel with my boys. I have and will continue to do so. For them to accept the forgiveness and

I wasn't lazy...

OK, it wasn’t laziness that kept me from getting outside last night. There were a series of unfortunate events that all contributed to the fact that I could not get an observation report recorded today. Oh well, these things happen. There are clear skies called for on the news tonight so there may be another opportunity to get out. We’ll see what the clear sky clock says. My wife really wanted me to go because she knows how much I enjoy getting out. I was about to, but my Palm Pilot was acting up (because of a botched data restore) and I would have been semi-useless without my sky map close by. Here’s hoping the clouds stay away, the events line up, and I am able to skedaddle off to catch a glimpse of some more Caldwell objects.

The plane trip - August 12, 2006

From Williamson, NY to Dansville, NY in a Piper Cherokee. A great evening with my oldest son and Dad. Eric could not have been friendlier as our pilot and the views were close to perfect. We estimated that we could see about 75 miles and it was a touch hazy even. Well worth doing again. The plane in Williamson The headsets were a nice touch. Here we are in Dansville. Our friendly pilot, Eric.

Sort of makes you want to kick out the plug

I received multiple clear sky alarms for tonight so I may have an observation report tomorrow – we’ll see how lazy I am tonight. Driving into work I saw the result of a fender-bender. The police were on the scene and the affected parties were standing around waiting for the report to be filed. At least that is what it looked like. I was impressed with the amount of traffic that was flowing by and all of the people in all of those cars. We all saw the same thing (or at least most of us did) and we all had our lives, perceptions, schedules, etc. impacting how we interpreted it. All going to our individual workplaces and workspaces. All of us with our cares, desires, health issues, struggles, joys…it is really quite overwhelming the sea that we are as humans. Not united yet in concert. Friends of Him and enemies of Him. Believers and non-believers. Infinitely complex and irreducible. Self sufficient and wholly dependent. And everything in between.

From way up high

I see the world with no boundaries, no countries. I see black oceans, the rain a deep blue. From way up high, I’m gonna fly. – Cloud Merchants Last Saturday I went on a small plane ride with my son and my dad. The pilot is a good friend of the Christian school attached to our church (North Baptist) and we bid on and won the ride at last year’s school auction. I took a bunch of pictures that are still in the camera, but will be downloaded into the computer soon. We flew out of the Williamson Airport in Williamson NY (home of the Williamson Flying Club – ) and got to ride in a Piper Cherokee 235 which is also called a Pathfinder. It was a gorgeous evening and the ride was as smooth as anything I have experienced in a long time. It is funny but the sin that so easily entangles us as humans leads us to conflict so many times. Our very country was born out of conflict and the desire not to be exploited and dominated. As we flew (and as I fly) I just marvel not only

I know I am too prideful

I made up a joke yesterday. “What do you call a fruity pooch? A melon collie.” Not impressive and the boys didn’t get it but it made me laugh. It is probably a pride thing but I do not compliment people nearly enough. Last night I needed to tell someone how much my son appreciates the ministry that they have undertaken this summer to teach the kids truth on Sunday nights. I did that and he was thrilled with the feedback. I do not have the spiritual gift of encouragement (unlike Barnabas), but that does not excuse my lack of doing this. I am better than I used to be, but not nearly good enough as I need to be.

There's no hero quite like LarryBoy!

No update yesterday on much of anything. Things just got so wicked busy and then…well…time just gets away from me more often than I care to imagine. We just received the new VeggieTales video yesterday called LarryBoy and the Bad Apple. It is all about overcoming temptation and let me say in terms of it’s theology it is probably the most sophisticated VeggieTales video yet (rivaling Jonah). It makes excellent use of the Scriptures (in words and action) as even LarryBoy falls to the temptation to indulge in too much chocolate. What I particularly liked about the video is the emphasis it places on people helping each other out of situations where the one is tempted and the helper is not. A great picture of the church and the responsibility the Body of Christ has toward its members. Oh, and the boys loved it too. But for different reasons I am sure. Rock on, LarryBoy!

A lot like her I fear

It was everything I could do to get up this morning and exercise. I kind of ate a bit too much last night after we came home from gathering with the church so that was an extra dose of encouragement for me to get on with it. My legs were stiff from working on Saturday and Sunday which was strange because that has not happened in a while.  I had the opportunity to help out in Junior Church during the second service on Sunday morning and had an interesting interaction with one of the kids. This particular girl came over to one of the playground apparatus that some of the boys were sitting on while the story was being read. She tried to sit on it but ended up falling through it twice. I think it was semi on purpose, but I thought that I would give her the benefit of the doubt. After the third time I told her that she needed to either sit on the mat with the rest of the kids or on the slide which was still well within earshot of the story. She looked at me kind of funny and I wonder if she

So who this Steve Taylor guy?

It is incredible to me how personal the Psalms are. I am a couple of chapters behind in my year-long quest to read through the Bible in 2006 and I have hit the midway point of Psalms. The ones that I have read (and am reading) are such a window into David’s and other’s hearts and a clear indication of their delights and struggles. It really humanizes the Scriptures and gives me something to compare my own relationship with God to. Have I made it as deep as David’s relationship (read fellowship) with Him? David’s longing for God’s presence is so vivid and well-expressed. It is hard for me to imagine myself like that this side of heaven, but I know that God desires me to be like that and has equipped me to unite myself to Him in that manner. I have also been impressed with the amount of lyrics Steve Taylor has taken from the Psalms. He must spend a lot of time in there.

My stargazing rig

OK, not the most advanced setup in the world, but this is what I use to stargaze: Celestron Nexstar 114GT (4.5 inch Newtonian Reflector) – it has an upgraded hand control that is leaps and bounds better than the one it came with out of the box Palm M125 Planetarium Version 2.2.5 (I need to check for an updated version) RS232 cable to connect the Palm to the hand control 12 volt power supply an assortment of Plossl and SMA eyepieces - I use the 30mm Plossl and the 25mm SMA the most duct tape (no, really holds the power connection securely in the scope) I have a work-issued laptop that I would like to take out with the scope. I will at some point. I wonder if the RS232 cable I have works with the serial port on the laptop? I need to check this out.

Pure Physicality

IANAP (I am not a philosopher). It has always struck me as so strange when people insist on a purely physical origin of the universe. I am not overstating things when I say that I do not meditate on that premise often because it causes me great terror. Not fear, not discomfort, but terror. To think that the very meditation that I embark upon is nothing but the movement neurotransmitters through the neurons in my head. That is all it is. From its core to its height the pure physicality of our origins would lead us (not even lead us for that assumes personality and design) to nothing but that. Be amazed at that? What is amazement? The foundations of personality are shaken to their depths at the thought of such a beginning. No one can live with any amount of consistency with such a premise.

Let me learn what I need to learn

In the “I don’t know what God is trying to produce in me…” portion of the blog: I work across (not with) an incredibly loud person. We are in cubes and he refuses to use a handset when he is in a conference call…or headphones. Everything is done via speaker phone. Maybe his handset is broken? I don’t know and am too timid (read “interested in keeping the peace”) to ask him. Of course he shouts into his speaker phone as well when he talks. Now he even refuses to use a keyboard. He has a speech recognition program that allows him to speak to the computer rather than type. Good for him! Now we can all hear “Comma…open parenthesis…close parenthesis…tab……” Was it my sin or my parents sin that relegated me to this placement in the office. We all know the answer to that but man…it sure feels like I am getting punished for something.