Showing posts from April, 2008

What makes me want this?

I was thumbing through the artist listing on my iPod when I came across The Prayer Chain and I immediately knew that I wanted to play their Mercury album in its entirety. I heard or read at one point that the album was recorded to be an example of music that would be produced by the earth itself and it is all of that and much more. My selection of the album got me to thinking why I selected it at all. It isn't that I like it more than anything else on my iPod, but, I guess, for this moment I do. I paused on Kim Hill for a bit, but then I continued down the alphabetical listing of artists until I came upon them. I guess if I knew myself better I would have more of a sense of why I chose the album over everything else I could have chosen. Is the reason too trivial to pursue? I am not convinced of that because I think that there is much to be gained when examining seemingly trivial decisions even to the extent that I plumb the depths of why I consider them trivial at all. So why this

There she is

It has been a while since I had seen her, but she is finally here. April has made her presence known to our little place and I couldn't be more delighted to see her. Yesterday seemed almost a gentle reminder that she had yet to arrive as there was a cool crisp to the air that was ushered in so violently on Saturday. I missed her and am so glad she is back.

What's coming up

I had ample opportunity to work in the garden this weekend mainly doing some weeding and cleaning. I must have dug up a bajillion and a half wild onions and violets, but I also got a chance to see what was emerging in the process. Our hosta are poking through in our front garden which has a lot of rock in it. Around one of the trees in the front the leaves have been visible for quite some time. Our pointed iris leaves have really taken off since I have been watering the lawn to grow grass. Our hydrangea (all but one in the front and back) are leaving nicely and it looks like our summersweet is leaving ahead of schedule this year as I did not expect to see any real life in it until the middle or end of May. I am sure there is more happening, but we will be in a period of cool wet weather for a while. I'll be excited to see what comes up when we see the sun in all its glory again.

I have no idea why I thought of this

I had a co-worker who was laid off a while ago and I remember talking with another co-worker about it. She mentioned that he was reading a passage in the Scriptures concerning Jesus' trial and took comfort in that during his time of uncertainty. What was interesting is that, as he read the passage, he came to the realization that there were things that we are called to deal with that are out of our control. I could only assume that he read the "out of our control" part into the passage he had read. If he did then I am glad that I do not serve the God he does. I couldn't do it for there is no service that could be rendered to a God that impotent. Last night I was catching up on my read through the Bible in a year program and read numerous chapters in the gospel of John. John's gospel is so interesting to me especially in the 6th through the 10th chapters. In John 10:17-18 Jesus makes the statement of all statements when he asserts that no one takes the life that he

And to think there may still be work to do

As much as I like to think I have it all together with the ministries that I am involved with I cannot presume to be above being taught. There have been times in my ministry when people have come along side me (with varying degrees of gentleness) and let me know how to improve. I tend to shoot first and ask questions later. Sometimes I get the outlaw and sometimes I shoot my deputy in the process. God always challenges me though and he brings feedback to me in ways that I, in my flesh, do not appreciate and from people that, perhaps, I needed to develop a stronger love and appreciation for. Criticism, even constructive criticism, is painful to me most of the time regardless of the delivery. But when I look back on the times that the criticism was leveled I can see clear progress in the areas that needed it. I am not there and more criticism will surely come, but I am different and, I pray, more effective in how I minister.

The company line

I think one of the positive things I took away from my New Wave/Punk listening days in the 80's and 90's was a rejection of the company line. This produced a couple of things in me. The first is that I was very comfortable when others espouse different viewpoints and even when they disagreed with mine. I was busy myself disagreeing with and digging deeper into answers and viewpoints that seemed too pat or accepted without rigorously examining why they were put forth in the first place. Secondly I think that questioning the company line has helped me break out of the mold a bit. I doubt that I am a typical Baptist. Maybe that is due to me being raised in a culture that is more liberal than conservative - I don't know. I also think that it has to do with the viewpoints that were constantly expressed in the music I listened to and the literature I read. They were largely anti-authoritarian and I internalized a lot of that. I can remember taking notes in college and, when a vie

Something I wonder about

God calls me to intimacy and community. As much as I dislike it at times I need to be around people and with people and they need to be around me (as much as they dislike that at times). Relationships are hard and take a lot of work. They open me up to hurt and struggle but to them I must flee for through them I reflect the nature of the Trinity in much larger measure than I do on my own. I firmly hold that the relationship I have with my wife, the most intimate relationship I have with another human being, is the most complete picture of God that this world can see save that found in the Scriptures. And what they can see in us that is not readily seen in the Scriptures is the emotional connection that we have with one another. They see both the smiles and the tears and see a picture of God that longs for relationship. Of course His relationship is self-contained within the members of Himself, but when he decided to create man in His own image we find that he created them "male an

Slowly starting to get it

Ever since someone (I think it was John MacArthur) clued me in on the difference between God's revealed will in the Scriptures and His sovereign will (which is a mystery) things have started falling into place for me. This morning I was thinking about strength in weakness and realized that the "when I'm weak He is strong" bit has to do with setting up my vain imaginations and devices against His revealed will in the Bible. That makes sense because it is when I admit that I'm never going to make it that is when I seek His face more diligently and there is no more clearer picture of God than in the Bible. I now, again, see that His strength is found in the faithful application of His revealed will to every aspect of my life. Now this leads me full circle to what I was thinking about last night as I prepared my teaching for the adult Bible class I will be teaching this Sunday. I was trying to make the connection between a certain aspect of peacemaking (giving glory t

And to think I would have missed it

I woke up this morning after a long visit into unconsciousness and had my daily struggle about whether I would get up and jog this morning or not. I seem to have recalled that it was getting a tad cool last night and was concerned that it would be a bit too brisk for my comfort. Curiously I wasn't that concerned about the temperature in February. At any rate I dragged my sorry buhumpkis out of bed and, on my way down the stairs, was convinced that I wouldn't be running. Soon enough after a bit more wrangling I donned my sweat pants, sneakers, got my iPod, and I opened the door. The second I walked out onto the porch I was hit with a beautiful Spring morning. I hadn't felt warmth that lovely and smelled scents that inviting in such a long time. It reminded me of the Summer mornings that I would hit the golf course with my brother. I, for an instant, forgot the task ahead of me and took a couple of deep think I would have missed that moment that is so firmly plan

The simplicity of it all

It was a moment that causes me to cringe waiting for the response that would come out of my child's mouth. Would his response survive the fires that, in His mercy, are meant to purge or would this be the peering into the house of Hell that I feared it could be? Who is he? I found out. And he humbles me. The boy had wounded him and, in humiliation, came seeking forgiveness and restoration. After the confession, apology, and acceptance came the question that would mark the offender and the offended: "What do I need to do to make this right?" My son, answer wisely, for this opportunity may never present itself again. You have already extended mercy - will you extend your grace? "Just be my friend." he responded desiring the one who had hurt him. They played, they danced, and they reveled in the simplicity of it all. I now know who you are, son, for you look just like my Dad.

A moment of retrospection

The message is perfectly simple the meaning is clear. Don't ever stray too far And don't disappear No don't disappear - Be Near Me, How to Be a...Zillionaire, ABC

A blessing or a curse

I was in an interesting situation last night that I found to be quite bizarre. As the night went on and the situation took on more and more interesting dimensions of the bizarre I found myself getting annoyed. I doubt that it leaked out, but it was getting my ire up a bit. I'm sure the perpetrators of the situation had no idea that they were acting in a way that was annoying me nor did they intend to inflict any discomfort on me but there I was with a choice. I could choose to bless God or to curse Him. I could choose to embrace the situation for what it was and honor Him by keeping my way pure or I could sully myself and His reputation by taking myself down a path that would betray my selfishness. I think I succeeded, to a degree, in keeping my attitude in check and, meager that it was, I think I blessed God through it all. Only time will tell - but isn't that the way the fruit of my actions is manifest? Only over time will the apple blossoms of Spring find their way into the


I find that listening to White Man Sleeps #2 by Kevin Volans (as played by the Kronos Quartet) to be as close to a rapturous experience that I can get. It is absolutely stunning.

Terms of endearment

For some reason I have been calling my oldest son "buddy" for quite some time. I guess it is what can be called a term of endearment, but I am not sure where it came from or where it will go from here. At any rate a couple of nights ago as I was leaving his room to go put his brother in bed he "slipped" and called me buddy. He laughed a little to himself and said "I called Daddy 'buddy'". My wife asked him if I was his buddy and, with a smile, he said "Yeah." I know the danger of him treating me as an equal, but that is not what this was about. I hope and pray that this is indicative of the relationship that I am in with him. I hope this means that his love for me goes from the top of his head all the way down to the tips of his toes. My love for him certainly does. He is my buddy and, from the looks of things, I am his as well.

Should I get high on this?

So many questions and so few answers - is this my lot? I am listening to the Beyond Measure album from Jeremy Camp and I love the song When You Are Near. I mean really love it. The words are real and heartfelt and the music is reminiscent of Spandau Ballet. I think the fact that it reminds me of them is a large part of my attraction to the song. So that leads me to wonder if the high I receive from the song is something that I should be receiving. Even though I have been bought by blood there still seems to be so much of who I am that is tied up in who I was. Music especially. I am a child of God, but I find the child of the 80's slipping through now and again. Are the Spandau Ballet songs rattling around in my head innocuous enough to be irrelevant or do they signal competition for my affections? Is the fact that I think Rick Rollin' is a super groovy idea a signal that I am more carnal that I should be? Are these questions just a distraction from the ones I ought to be askin

I should have recorded the location

Last week I began to teach a class using material from Peacemaker Ministries and, as I went through the steps for preparation, noticed some themes that ran through the presentation that reminded me of some passages from Ravi Zacharias' book Jesus Among Other Gods. Of course I knew exactly where to go in that book to get out the relevant passage because it happened to be in the Introduction. I am not as fortunate this week, however, in finding the exact passage I would like to read out of the book The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. I want to find the place in the book where he talks about focused, deliberate love as the most powerful force in the universe, but I can't for the life of me remember where it is in the book. There are some good passages that I can use further on in the book that actually tie nicely back to the point I wanted to make with the Zacharias book so I think these will have to do for now. I have been teaching children a lot lately (from 2 years old al

The contents of the purse

A while back I wrote about a purse that was stolen from one of the girls in the Champions club my wife and I are involved in on Wednesday nights. Well, one of the two perpetrators of the crime moved to Florida and the other has been missing in action as of late. Thankfully, they came back last night and brought some of the contents of the purse they had stolen, the garage door opener and the keys, and said that the sunglasses would be brought back next week. Thankfully my wife talked to the person that was involved and convinced her that apologizing to the girl she stole it from would be a good idea. Equally as impressive the girl who had the purse stolen from her showed the love of Christ by smiling and embracing her and saying that all was forgiven. All of this reminds me of the verse in Psalm 85 where the psalmist writes that in the salvation that we have in Him "Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness (sinlessness) and peace have kissed each other." It i

Dell Hyperthreading Update

OK, I need to modify my comments somewhat on the Dell GX280 hyperthreading issue. I now notice that turning hyperthreading on has quieted my desktop when running Microsoft Word and other applications at the same time. I usually have Outlook running along with Word, and a web browser (Firefox) when I am editing a document. This lead to my desktop making some unusually strong noises that emanated from the processor cooling fan. It got so annoying at times that I swore off MS Word in favor of running Open Office which ran on my desktop in a much quieter fashion. Since turning hyperthreading on I have noticed my desktop running much quieter when MS Word is open along with multiple other applications. Of course when I am running a processor-intensive program or application I still get the noisy-processor-cooling-fan thing going again, but I expect that and can live with it. I can also get used to this much quieter desktop and the ability to multi-task to a greater extent when I am running a