Showing posts from January, 2007

Amazing latitude

It seems to me that when you factor in the things that you cannot compromise on (doctrine, attitude, humility, thankfulness, etc.) there is an amazing amount of latitude in how I minister. Obviously I need to be results oriented (i.e. more and better disciples), and "results" can be a funny thing in and of itself. For example, I think it is not a stretch that I can define a result of ministry (especially to children) as getting them excited about ministry. Someone who is excited about the prospect of ministry is a better disciple than someone who is not. I can also define a good result of ministry to be that a child has memorized more Bible verses this year than last. That is a better disciple too. How about a child that has acknowledged Christ as their Lord and Savior? Yup, more disciples. I find conflict when these results are out of balance. When I am always (or even greatly) on the side of evangelism, bible-memorization, or excitement-generation I am losing it and not min

Slept, then made it work

I continue to learn about myself even in these days. Last week I had an awful time trying to get a script I had written to do automated backup to work. I would get the tarball made just fine, but there was no connecting to the FTP server I had set up. In frustration I just gave up and didn't even think about it this weekend. Well, it took me all of 20 minutes to get it resolved this morning. It is amazing what time does for clarity. This seems to be a pattern for me. It may be a function of my personality as there are some people that would hate to have things unresolved like that before packing it in. Me...not a problem. Now, translating this into future action. Well, I didn't say I was wise now did I?

More fun with Ubuntu

OK, not quite esoteric geekery, but pretty cool: I wanted to find a way to back up my data on my Linux laptop so I did some pokin around and found a script that would do that. It actually wrote the data to CD which was neat. I do have an on-board CD burner so I thought I would give it a whack. Well...I gave up on it after a bit. Then I had the bright idea of backing up my data to an FTP server. Well, I didn't have one so I downloaded and installed FileZilla Server on a Windows box that I have and re-wrote the script to FTP the tarball I make to that server. Pretty cool. Not that I expect Ubuntu to crash and burn, but I can screw up the most stable systems just as good as the rest of them. I would still like to get the CD backup working, because I think that is cooler and I do not have a network at home that I can set up servers on and FTP stuff around. Godliness with contentment is great gain. But then again I just like to tinker I guess.

Self concept

I don't think it is a stretch to buy into the notion that I am who the most important person in my life thinks I am. I think that our self concept (different, much different, than self esteem) lies outside of us. In fact, it is in the hands of that person (or the people) that are most important to us. Thank God that the Christian has it wrapped up in His assessment of us. Even though I was a child of wrath He pursued me and bought me.

What about me?

One of the most freeing things about the New Life is that the consideration of myself is thrust into the background and illustrated as "dying" to myself. What about me is replaced by what about you and my "self" is swallowed up in others. True service is found in spending myself on others to such and extent that I am losing myself in others. One of the interesting things about Christ is that He saved individuals and prized the individual as He taught, healed, and met needs. He also lost His will in His Father's. He focused on the individual to give me what I need so that I can focus on the individual. Not turning His gift into selfishness but selflessness. Sacrifice begets sacrifice and love begets love.

Not sanguine enough, perhaps

I am not as pure a "sanguine" personality type as people make me out to be. Yesterday, after a busy weekend, I was driving into work feeling a bit useless, wondering what had happened over the weekend and why. There wasn't anything in particular that I was ruminating on, there was just a feeling of dread and my self-concept was not as clearly in view as it normally is. I don't even remember what song was on the CD player as I drove in, but I do remember that it focused my mind on things above and the cloudiness of the moment lifted. It was strange but it was so real; so palpable. Is this the peace of God? Is this something of why He died? To set us free from these darknesses? This darkness? On a related note, today I am of the opinion that what God did in my life when He saved me cannot be overemphasized or over-magnified. My mind is so different from what it was. My thoughts are higher (most of the time) and focussed on Him. I can't explain it, but I know that He

Deliver us from the elements

I shoveled snow for the second time this week and it seems like Winter has arisen from his stupor and realized that the stage had already been set by Autumn for his entrance. It has been cold and snowy the past week (with one day of relief) and it looks like it will be that way for a while. In my high school days I listened to a lot of new wave and punk (mostly British) and was exposed to quite a few different bands. There was a band called XTC that penned these words: We can plant a seed And watch it grow Food enough to fill a table Running water down an overflow Eat as much as we are able But would the fruit turn ripe If the rains had never been? Oh Lord deliver us from the elements We at your mercy and your reverence Oh Lord deliver us from the elements We've no defense we are impotent You can travel far to distant lands Some so hot no man could bear You can conquer peaks with winds of sand Where Mother Nature didn't care Would not our world turn cold If the sun refused to

If this post makes sense it will be a miracle...

I am fond of saying, "If this works it will be a miracle." Too fond I admit. With the advent of cable/satellite TV there is a proliferation of channels that are particularly suited to individual tastes like history, science fiction, cartoons, game shows...anyone who has a modicum of consciousness knows this already. As an individual, if I want to watch TV, I am not beholden to whatever the "Big 4" broadcasters shovel out to me. Well, I am since we don't have cable. But it doesn't have to be that way. I can construct my own reality and experience something very narrow if I want to. I can only watch a network that is liberal, conservative, Lutheran...whatever I want. This spills over into the electronic distribution of music as well. I can download one song here from this group, one there from that artist, and combine it all into a Favorites play list. I am not beholden to the experience of listening to an album from beginning to end. I can construct my own r

My journey

I have been married for over 11 years but I have not arrived at the place where I can say that I know everything about my wife. I still discover more and more about her and I want so desperately to find these discoveries impacting my life in a meaningful way. I want my actions to move to the rhythm of who she is rather than who I think she is or, more selfishly, who I want her to be. Thank God for the grace she shows to me every day. I have been saved from the consequences of my sin for 19 years but I have not arrived at the place where I can say that I know even a glimmer of who He is. As I see Him through this darkened glass I want so desperately to find these glimpses impacting my life in a meaningful way. I want my actions to move to the rhythm of who He is rather than who I think He is or, more selfishly, who I want Him to be. Thank You for the grace You show me every day. And thank You for the work that You are doing in me. If it was up to me, I fear I would have been dead by no

Sometimes doing church gets in the way of ministry

My brother pulled a good one yesterday (Sunday). On his way to be with the church he stopped to help a motorist who had found herself with a flat tire and up over and onto a curb where it was apparent that she was not going anywhere. Well, I was in the middle of the church's service when one of the ushers tapped me on the shoulder and said that my brother needed some help. My sister in law continued on and dropped the kids off where they needed to be and asked if there was anyone who the usher could get to help. I was it - it was my brother after all. Well, I grabbed the cell phone (my sister in law was not painting a calm picture of the situation) and we headed out. It seemed as though she had just gotten out of the hospital after having received some sort of knee operation. She was acting as if she was still under the influence of some pain killer, but my sister in law was not sure if this was the case or not. By the time we got to the scene my brother had changed the tire and an

Gotta love the web - December 11, 1987

Back in my high school days I was experimenting with all kinds of music. Punk, new wave, jazz, new age, classical...if it was not played on a radio station the majority of the people at school listened to it was fair game for me. That is where I developed a taste for Handel, Vivaldi, Vangelis, Philip Glass, Ray Lynch, The Pogues, and even the Clash (before Combat Rock that is). Well, on December 11, 1987 I was apparently watching Late Night with David Letterman and there was an arrangement of We Three Kings that was played by Miles Davis. It floored me and it has always been in the back of my mind to try to get the recording. Turns out it is on the Scrooged soundtrack (an apparently to-be-forgotten movie with Bill Murray in it) with a bunch of other stuff I couldn't care less about. Also interesting is the fact that the score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo "fame". Oh well, I need to see if I can score a cheap version of the CD sometime as I wo

An amazing quote

My wife gets sick of me quoting Bishop Desmond Tutu when he declared that "the Christian is the prisoner of hope" so I offer another one I just read: "Love interrupts...the consequences of your actions..." Spoken by none other than Bono of U2 fame. BTW - great interview as recorded by Christianity Today .

Total eclipse in 2024, iTunes, and assorted vagueness

Got a link from a workmate today about the path of the total solar eclipse that will present itself in the year 2024: Total solar eclipse It is smack-dab over Rochester. In other words, we could not be better positioned for it. Quite cool. I remember the experience of the 1994 Annular Eclipse when I was in graduate school in Albany, NY and that was quite a cool experience. It looks like there are some other eclipses that are accessible in the US - I may want to see if I can travel to check those out. I received a gift card for iTunes and I have purchased 15 songs off of the site. In no particular order they are: I Believe - ZOEgirl I Know You Now - 4Him Entertaining Angels - Newsboys Vertigo - U2 New Year's Day - U2 Beautiful Day - U2 Facades - Philip Glass Opening - Philip Glass Floe - Philip Glass Islands - Philip Glass Rubric - Philip Glass

Ubuntu and the iPod

I received an iPod Nano (second generation) from my wife for Christmas. It is a nice machine and I have about 1.4 gigabytes left on it out of the 4 that it came with. I haven't signed up for any podcasts yet but I am slowly zeroing in on some that I would like to subscribe to. I had a difficult time getting the thing to work in Ubuntu Linux (Edgy Eft) until I came across a post in a forum that laid out what I needed to do: How I got an IPod Nano to work under Linux Rather than use amaroK I have decided to use GTKpod but everything else was the same. I have even gotten GTKpod to mount and unmount the device after I plug it into the USB 2.0 port. I have not had success ripping a CD and getting it to transfer to the iPod yet, but I have been able to modify the iPod playlists and write other files to it. One step at a time I guess.


We had a friend over the other day who is, shall I say, one of the best singers I have ever heard. He is well on his way to a professional career in music and is already being courted for professorships and other engagements. He is an artist. He lamented the fact that the church in general does not pursue excellence in music. Now I do enjoy the music at our church but that is not what he was talking about. He was talking about pouring the same energy into our worship through music that we pour into other pursuits like preaching, children's ministries, etc. That has much less to do with how much people enjoy the ministry and much more to do with the pursuit of service to a much higher standard and caliber. God rightfully deserves all of me and I ought to give all of me to Him. If I am giving Him less than that I am in sin. Plain and simple. There is no excuse for it and He will not accept it. Now, what is excellence in music, preaching, nursery work, and the like? Well, isn't th

What I like

File this in the kind of interesting department: ultimately no one really cares about what I like. That leads me to believe that my tastes are mine and no one else's. It also leads me to believe that, in the grand scheme of things, my preferences mean squat. My comfort can get pitched too as this is largely born out of me being gratified through my preferences. When my preferences are realized that is wonderful. But, if they aren't I have a choice: to curse the One Who Blesses or to bless Him. I will choose the latter. Lord, please help me to choose the latter in ever-increasing measure.

Shuffle on the Ipod Nano

My wife gave me an Ipod Nano for Christmas and I have loaded it up a little over half-way with music (about 2 gigabytes worth). I have it on shuffle right now and here the order of artists/composers it has played: Dvorák (New World Symphony - two movements), Stryper, Steven Curtis Chapman (thrice), 77's (twice), Chris Rice (twice), Jet Circus (twice), XALT, Tourniquet (twice), Susan Ashton, Kronos Quartet (two compositions from Pieces of Africa), Casting Crowns, Beethoven (7th Symphony - just one movement), The Prayer Chain, Don Dorsey... Kind of interesting. Or at least I thought it was.

Not yet anyway

No, no I haven't fallen off of the face of the earth...not yet anyway. Between Christmas vacation and all of the new stuff going on here at work I have not been logged in since December 19, 2006. I am excited about this new year though and hopeful that I can be a better, more Christ-like person this year than I was last year. I do have a long way to go, but it is not as if I am trying to do this on my own. The impossible is possible with God. I do have to meditate and organize what I need to do to make this progress. Where are the areas that I should concentrate on? I will ask my wife where my weak areas are. She is the one that is closest to me and she is honest with me. She is courageous enough to be honest with me.