December 18, 2004

not-so-harmless

TO: All of my Faith Students...

I hope that all of you enjoyed one last telling of the Captain Alfred Saga. It was a pleasure to participate one last time.

-- Mr. Harmless the great and powerful...

December 15, 2004

Blogger Idol

Blogger Idol is back, and better than ever! You could begin participating in week 2 right now! Originally hosted by the living room, there is now a blog completely dedicated to this blogging concept.

If you have never been a Blogger Idol participant, or if you have never even heard of Blogger Idol, then I would like to suggest that you take a spin on over there right now. Especially since this week's topic was suggested by such an influential blogger...

You can read all about Blogger Idol here.

And if you still aren't sure if you want to participate in such an event, then at least check out some of my better entries from the first round.

December 14, 2004

Stay the Course

"GOD, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me--
my whole life one long, obedient response.

Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!

Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.

Affirm your promises to me--
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics--
but what you say is always so good.

See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!"



--Psalm 119:33-40

This is a great Psalm to start the day with.

Notice that David doesn't just ask God to miraculously cause him to stay the course, instead he asks God to teach him the "life lessons" to stay the course. Then he asks for insight so that his life could be characterized by obedience.

Too many times today, Christians just want God to do everything for them. They claim that they want to live a righteous life, but when God begins to allow the trials and temptations in that He will use to bring about that righteous life they fail and flounder because they can't see that God is wanting them to live an obedient life.

God is not our righteousness genie. YES, He wants us to be righteous! Don't get me wrong. In fact, He puts a guarantee on our salvation in the book of Romans that says, whoever He justifies, He might, He will think about, HE WILL sanctify!

But this sanctification process can be tough!

In other places in the Bible it is called dying to self, taking up your cross, denying self, mortifying (killing) the flesh, etc. Or as David says here, "my whole life, one long obedient response."

But so many times we get diverted by the worthless things of this life, or as David puts it, "toys and trinkets."

Pray with me today that God will help us to stay the course. That He will invigorate us for the pilgrimage.

December 13, 2004

caffeine

OK, I changed my mind... This one is my favorite!


(by the way, that is the caffeine molecule)

t-shirts

My brother-in-law introduced me to this site the other day. There are several geeky things on the site, especially t-shirts that are designed for only the geekiest people to get. And as much as I hate to admit it, I found several of them quite funny.


Here is a picture of my personal favorite.


And here is a picture of the one that my wife picked out. (I like this one almost as much as I like the one that I picked.)


You will have to check out the rest of the t-shirts and evaluate your own geekiness. Here is a checklist you could use to determine whether or not you are a true geek.

  • if you find more than five of the t-shirts funny...
  • if you scrunch your shoulders up and laugh through your nose...
  • if you share them with all of your cubicle buddies...

...then you might be a geek.

The sure-fire way to tell if you are a geek is if you already knew about the think-geek site, or if you use the word combination -- "sure-fire."

December 9, 2004

Thanks

A special thanks to truegrit for letting me know that my site wasn't lookin' so good.

I didn't realize it, but my blog didn't look quite right in Mozilla Firefox, and since there are a lot of people out there who use this instead of Internet Explorer, she thought that she would let me know.

I told her that I felt like the guy that had his fly down, that somebody finally had the nerve to tell him.

She went the next step and also took the time to figure out what needed fixed to make things look better.

Much thanks, and hopefully this looks better.

December 7, 2004

Coffee

I know that lately there have been some who have done some coffee bashing. They have not understood the importance of this amazing beverage, and have likened it... no... have belittled it by comparing it to hot chocolate.

Now, I have tasted the before mentioned hot chocolate, and I will freely admit, that it was pretty good. But it was missing something. Something wonderful. Something amazing. Something that I just couldn't live without. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, what was the missing ingredient? Oh yeah, Coffee.

I would also like to direct you to this. I definitely don't think that they could say the same thing about hot chocolate. No Sir!

And besides, you could never get a good hot chocolate at any store, unless it was a coffee!

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

Thankyou Columbia for providing us with a good drug!

December 6, 2004

blogometry

Use the diagram to the right to answer the following questions.
  1. Are these triangles congruent?
  2. What postulate or theorem proves that they are congruent?
  3. If they are congruent, what is the proper congruence statement for these triangle?

Oh wait, this is the blog, not the geometry test I stayed up at the school until 9:30 typing. When it gets this late, the distinctions get a little fuzzy.

I am constantly telling my students, that to properly serve the God who created them, they should do their absolute best. That is what the Bible says to do.

And with things that we enjoy, it is easy to follow through on that request. Sometimes doing our best will result in some temporal reward which will also make it easy to "do all things heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men."

But when it really counts is when the task is something that you don't enjoy, or don't particularly understand the reason or purpose. Or if there is no immediate reward on the horizon.

Those are the times that your efforts are the most noticed by God Almighty.

This is my hope, as I stay up here and type this test for these kids. I could have easily given them one of those pre-made book tests. But those just aren't as good, and they don't really cover what I have taught in class.

I hope that the lazy fellow that I am can set an example for them. If I can be diligent in my work... trust me, anybody can. But I know that these little things might go unappreciated by those that they are done for, because they have so many times before. So I lean back and hit print, knowing that the work won't go completely unnoticed, because He sees all.

December 5, 2004

Psalm 19

God's glory is on tour in the skies,
God--craft on exhibit across the horizon.

Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.

Their words aren't heard,
their voices aren't recorded,

But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.

God makes a huge dome
for the sun--a superdome!

The morning sun's a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete racing to the tape.

That's how God's Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.

The revelation of GOD is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of GOD are clear
and point out the right road.

The life--maps of GOD are right,
showing the way to joy.
The directions of GOD are plain
and easy on the eyes.

GOD's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of GOD are accurate
down to the nth degree.

God's Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.

There's more: God's Word warns
us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.

Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?

Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
God, Priest-of-My-Altar.

This is another Psalm that I have always loved. It starts by talking about the earth and the sky and all nature, and how the teach of God. It then begins to speak of the written word, and it's purposes in our life, it's usefulness. It shows our full dependence on Him.

It is a prayer that I have prayed and I hope that you pray as well. And I hope that you can say of God's word, just like David said so long ago, "These are the words in my mouth; these are what I chew on and pray."

December 4, 2004

Text Twist

I believe that credit should go to whom credit it due.

4th period, every other day, I teach a computer class. The computer class is composed of 4 seniors. Most days they work pretty hard on their project, but every so often they just don't want to do anything. In fact, one of them never wants to do anything. Some days she even talks me into letting her play computer games for a significant portion of the class time.

Most of these kids go to the same website to find all of their games. It is called addictinggames.com, and it is packed with several, well... addicting games.

There is one game in particular that she really enjoys called Text Twist. At first I thought that it seemed a little boring, but now I am... you guessed it... addicted.

As an addict, I couldn't stop there, with just me and my computer class being addicted. I had to get others involved. So I started with the one closest to me: my wife.

She was only slightly interested at first, like I was, but the more we played, the more she wanted to play, and on several occasions you could have found us poised in front of the computer trying to get to the next level.

But it didn't stop there, I needed to get others involved, so last night I made my move. Before you knew it, I had my brother-in-law hooked in. And there we were at 1am trying to get to the next level. And we did, we made it through several levels, and made it to 56,990 points!

Probably not a record, but I would like to see any of you try to beat it!

crunk

I have been told that I am crunk.

I am guessing at the spelling, and I am not for sure if it is actually a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm crunk... I guess. In fact, just yesterday I was informed that my ride has been labelled the crunk-mobile by a few of my geometry students.

Now, even though I didn't know what bling-bling was until a few months ago, which caused much laughter and mocking on the part of several of my students, I still consider myself wit-it, if you know what I am saying. I am down with all of that bidness.

Let's hear it for all of those other crunkish middle-aged Christian school teachers!

December 2, 2004

it never fails

This morning I woke up with a splitting headache. I opened my eyes and for a moment I thought this week-long headache that I have been entertaining was gone, but as soon as I started to raise my head off of my pillow the pounding began.

It is one of those headaches that has set up its residence in the middle of the forehead and right behind the eyes, with some tendrils of pain that stretch over to the temples. Every light you look at sends a searing burn scorching through your retinas and into your brain. Every noise shakes at the foundations of your conscious thought. And you find yourself almost hoping that your head would just explode so you could be done with it.

It is one of those headaches.

Now, some people would succumb to the ever-enticing "sick day!" They would call-in. Then they would drug themselves into an unconscious stupor, and relax on the couch while they watched Dr. Phil. But not me.

I am not saying this to brag, but since I have started teaching I have only called in twice. Once, when I was puking my guts out and the other time when my grandmother had died. The only award that I ever received in high school was the attendance award, and I got it almost every year. After high school, I spent several years doing warehouse work, and other than the time that I was taking some classes at a community college and I ate some nearly raw squid in a zoology class, I don't think that I ever called in because I was sick. (Now I may have called in a couple of times for sick family members, but I don't think that I ever called in for myself.)

It isn't that I am super-tough or anything, but I just don't like to miss. For me there is almost nothing worse that trying to get caught-up. And as a teacher that is amplified because when you miss, not only do you have to get caught up, but you have to get all of your classes caught up. Sometimes you end up having to rewrite all of your lesson plans, and change test dates, etc.

So I would rather just tough it out and go to school.

But the same thing happens every time I do this. I begin the day by planning how I can simply teach the new stuff and give them something to work on during class time. I hate to admit it, but my whole goal is to arrange the class time in order to be able to sit down at my desk. But on these days, nothing ever seems to work out. I usually end up having a class that can't understand anything in math, they have suddenly forgotten everything! So instead of sitting down, I spend the entire time answering questions. I mean, you just can't not answer their questions. That is a bad, bad teacher!

So there I am, head pounding, nose running, eyes blood-shot, trying to explain to the same child what x equals.

Isn't God good?

The Count-Down

It is almost Christmas.

There is no snow in the air, and I haven't heard andy jingle bells, but I have checked my calendar and it is just around the corner. There are only 7 regular days of class left. Then there is Exam Week... all half-days! (Although I won't be going home at 11:30, I will be grading exams every day.)

Then it is Christmas.

November 29, 2004

Curious George Sinks the Titantic

I have always wondered where James Cameron received his inspiration for that scene in Titantic. You know the one I am talking about, the "flying" scene.

"Oh Jack! I'm flying!"

I always knew that I would find the inspiration for that scene one day. And tonight I did, while I was reading books to my boys.

Nothing like reading curious George James.

November 26, 2004

A Day After Thanksgiving Psalm

God, the one and only--
I'll wait as long as he says,
Everything I need comes from him,
so why not?

He's solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I'm set for life.

How long will you gang up on me?
How long will you run with the bullies?
There's nothing to you, any of you--
rotten floorboards, worm-eaten rafters,
Anthills plotting to bring down mountains,
far gone in make-believe.
You talk a good line,
but every "blessing" breathes a curse.

God, the one and only--
I'll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?

He's solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I'm set for life.

My help and glory are in
God-granite-strength and safe-harbor-God.
So trust him absolutely, people;
lay your lives on the line for him.
God is a safe place to be.

Man as such is smoke,
woman as such, a mirage.
Put them together, they're nothing;
two times nothing is nothing.

And a windfall, if it comes--don't make too much of it.
God said this once and for all;
how many times have I heard it repeated?
"Strength comes straight from God."

Love to you, Lord God!
You pay a fair wage for a good day's work!

This is Psalm 62. It has always been one of my favorite psalms. This was even the text in a sermon that I preached a few years ago. John Michael Talbot put it to music, and it was a source of comfort on many different occasions. It has meant different things at different times. Today I was inspired to see how it sounds in another translation. I like it, and I have posted it for you, my friends.

P.S. Don't do too much shopping today!


November 25, 2004

a laden table

It is Thanksgiving Morning, and I am already contemplating the Thanksgiving spread. I am beginning to envision this table spread out with the turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potato casserole, mom's homemade noodles, and the endless number of pies.

I can see it spread out before me. It is one of the best meals that I will eat all year. And I am planning on savoring every bite of it.

But as I contemplate this meal, I start thinking about those without. I am not talking about those without a thanksgiving meal. Though that is a great cause, and one that is much needed, that is not what I am thinking about right now.

I am thinking about those who have decided that their own way is better than God's. I have been there before. I have been down that path. And it only leads to despair, destruction and a fleeting happiness.

God knows this. And when people go down this path he beckons us back.
"He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food."
--Job 36:16

Do you see that? God's way is described as comfort at a table laden with choice food. That is one thing that I never understood when I was younger, when I was headed down that path. I always looked at the Christian life as something that was all about loss and the forfeit of a "good life." But that is simply not true. Paul says that,
"Godliness with contentment is Great Gain."
--I Timothy 6:6

The path that leads to life is one that is characterized by great gain, not loss. The world has it backwards. David joins with God in beckoning us to this life. He says,
"Taste and see that the LORD is good ... Fear the LORD , you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."
--Psalm 34:8-10

As you are eating your Thanksgiving Day Feast, consider the feast of life that has been laid out before you. Taste it and see that the Lord is good.

November 15, 2004

Sabbatical

I am going to take some time off.

If you are at all interested in when I start up again, just enter your e-mail address into my notify list and I will let you know when I get er goin'.

November 12, 2004

good story

A new friend of mine just posted a great story. I heard him tell this story in person, so I was happy to see him actually post it on his blog.

It is a worthwhile read, and drives home an excellent point.

Read it here.

November 11, 2004

pet peeve #2

pet peeve
n. Informal
Something about which one frequently complains; a particular personal vexation.

I can't tell you how many times I have gone to the grocery store with my wife, and we decided that it would be best if I just dropped her off at the door so she could just run in and get the stuff. We don't always do this, but when there are only a few items to get and the kids are in the van with us, it is just quicker to wait in the van for her. When I do this, I will usually circle the parking lot for awhile, then I will pull up along the curb and wait.

But just really bugs me when I see people come to the store by themselves and just park their car on the curb and walk inside.

It is one thing when there is someone in the car to keep it running, and to move it if it is in the way, but it is a totally different story when you just park there... in a no-parking zone!

Who are these people?

I know what they are thinking. "I am in a real hurry, and I will come right back out here as soon as I can." But HEY! So is everybody else! We are all in a hurry, and we will all be right back out! How do you get so self-consumed that you think you can just create your own rules for yourself anytime you want?

Man that bugs me!

November 10, 2004

chapel...

In case you were wondering, I think that the chapel service went well.

It seemed like all of the students were paying attention. There was laughter when there was supposed to be laughter, and there was silence when there was supposed to be silence. I couldn't have asked for much more.

November 9, 2004

pet peeve

pet peeve
n. Informal
Something about which one frequently complains; a particular personal vexation.

You know what I hate?

You know how some parking lots have the one-way lanes? It is usually pretty easy to tell the lane is one-way because of the giant white arrow painted on the ground!

The normal person will usually decide to go the same direction as the arrow. But every so often there will be this one driver, who obviously doesn't understand the giant white arrow painted on the ground, that will go the wrong direction down the one-way lane.

And to top it off, they will look at you with disgust, like you were doing something wrong, when in fact it is them!

I really hate that.

Chapel

Well, I get to talk in my very first Shannon Forest Christian School Chapel tomorrow.

I have always enjoyed talking in a "preaching" type of situation. My first experience preaching was at Edgewood Baptist Church in Danville, IL. I can still remember what I preached about. I can also remember which people dozed through my main points, and which people remained focused to the end.

In fact, my attention on the audience has always been one of my weaknesses. I really, really want the people that I am talking to, to be interested in what I am saying, and if they aren't, I either want to stop talking, or do something drastic to wake them up. I feed off of the audience. I call it a weakness because it shouldn't be my primary focus, but sometimes I think that it is a strength.

I have listened to too many preachers that were so boring, that I could hardly take it. And for the longest time, I have felt completely guilty for my own lack of attention. But is this right?

The listeners response to the word should be attentiveness. Nobody is going to argue that point. But some people try to ignore this whole topic by focusing solely on the listener, and never on the presentation itself.

I think that showing an enthusiasm for your topic is of not only beneficial, but in today's society, pracitcally essential. I think that this is especially true when one is presenting the Word to a group of teenagers. Even though there are some people who would frown on this thought, I believe that today's youth have begun to believe that being a real Christian is for fuddy-duddies. (And yes, I know that typing fuddy-duddy actually makes me a fuddy-duddy...)

A little humor can grab the attention. And a little sarcasm can be a great tool in the teaching of truth, especially when you are combatting so many wrong ideas about truth. For some good examples, read a little C.S. Lewis, and admire his subtle truth revealing skills.

Now, some go to the opposite extreme and focus entirely on trying to grab the attention of the audience. Then in the process, the Word is left in the dust. Solid Biblical truth has become forfeit to a good laugh and some quick wit.

With all of this said, I know that tomorrow I will face a tough crowd. Many of the faces that will be staring at me will be closed to the Word. And my hope is that God will use the talents that He has given me to reveal truth, even if I look a little ridiculous in the process.

November 5, 2004

my testimony

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I was attending children's church at Edgewood Baptist Church, and I told my teacher that I wanted to be saved.

I don't really remember this moment all that well, but I do remember that it happened. I remember going into a separate room, and praying "the prayer" with the teacher. I remember saying that I was a sinner and that I believed that Jesus died on the cross to save me.

But I wasn't saved.

I can also remember growing up and always having that moment to look back on. For the longest time it was my assurance, even though it was only that moment.

Through my junior high and highschool years I wasn't that bad of a kid. Oh sure, I was a trouble maker from time to time, but I wasn't all that bad. And when I felt that there was something wrong, that maybe I wasn't right with God, I thought that maybe I just needed to pray again. That maybe I hadn't really, really meant it the first time, that maybe I needed to pray with more sincerity or fervency. So I would pray again, and say again that I believed that Jesus had died on the cross to save me.

But I wasn't saved.

After highschool, fences came down and I got a chance to see who I really was. I think that this happens to a lot of kids that grow up in Christian homes. They evaluate their life by these outward things, the way they act when they are being watched. Then it isn't about right heart motives, it is about fear -- fear of consequences, fear of being caught, fear of punishment.

I like to say to my students, "You want to know who you are? You are who you are when nobody is watching... That is the real you. If you are sure that you are not going to get caught, what do you do?"

Well, I got a chance to see the real me, and it wasn't pretty. But in February of 1992, after being confronted on all sides, something happened... God saved me.

I can remember the first time that I read my Bible. I picked it up and read James 2:14 -- "What does it profit my brethren, if a man says that he has faith, but has not works? Can that faith save him?" -- And I was blown out of the water. I had never heard anything like that before. I thought that you could be saved, have faith, and still live any way you wanted.

I repented that February. My life was turned around. I was a new creature. True salvation is accompanied by the word all. If you are not willing to forsake all, then you are no disciple of Christ. You may be a disciple of yourself.

If you know me at all, or have read this blog for any significant amount of time, then you know that this is one of my platforms, and I want to encourage you to give up that one thing and turn to Christ.

Thankyou for reading.

November 4, 2004

200

It is official.

I have posted over 200 times, but have I really said anything? I'm not sure.

a lifetime of favor

"Sing to the Lord, you saints of his;

    praise his holy name.

For his anger lasts only a moment,

   but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may remain for a night,

   but rejoicing comes in the morning."

--David (the psalmist)

I have been reading through the Psalms again, and I love it when I find a verse that I have marked in my Bible. I usually float back to my past and wonder why I paused there; why I underlined that, or why I made that little star next to that phrase. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't.

I can't remember the exact reason why I marked this verse in my Bible. I can remember when I marked it. So I can imagine its significance at that time, but I will say to you now that it is so good to know that God's anger is momentary. If it wasn't, then there would be no hope. Praise God that his mercies are new every morning.

November 3, 2004

God and Math

Some might read that title and start imagining complex systems of equations and such, but that is not what I am going to talk about.

There is a little speech that I have prepared, and I give it to my students every chance I get. I know that some of them get sick of it, but I give it anyway. It is a lesson that I truly believe has great value if they can grasp ahold of what I am saying. And I know that it is my cue to begin my speech when I hear something like this, "... oh man, when are we ever gonna use this?!?"

And my response to this age-old question is, "You might never use this again."

I know, I know. Newton, Gauss, Euclid, Pythagoras, and several other historic mathematicians just rolled over in their graves.

But I don't stop there. What I am teaching goes beyond the math. The reality is that I am doing my best to help them be spiritual people.

Let me explain...

It is easy to say with your mouth that you are a Christian. Anyone can do that. Words are easy. I am sure that there are plenty of people at you friendly neighborhood insane asylum, that walk around everyday saying, "... I am a duck!" And they might even believe it. Really. Without a shred of doubt in their mind they believe and say that they are a type of water fowl. But saying it doesn't make it true, no matter how sincere you are.

James says, "What good does it do to say that you have faith, but have no works... can that faith save you?"

John says, "The man who says, 'I know him,' but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Matthew tells us that Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven."

They say with their mouth, especially in a Christian School, that they are "saved." They profess a Christianity, but is it real? You see, words are a dime a dozen. Anybody can walk around saying that they are a Christian, but there is always a reality test. And for many young people it comes in the form of school. (...or parents, or siblings, or teachers, etc.)

We know that the Bible says, "... whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men." And we know that the "whatever you do," would adequately cover anything that comes along in your life. Which, for a student, could be Geometry or Algebra with a crazy math teacher named Mr. Harmless.

So there is the test. The true test of Christianity comes, not when you are doing those things that you enjoy or are easy, but when you wholeheartedly do those things that are hard to do.

Geometry is just practice for real life. You see, throughout the course of your life, God will bring things along that you don't like to do, don't want to do, and quite frankly don't understand why you have to do them, but those things are the best things for you.

So, when are you gonna use this? Every day.

You tackle your geometry hard. Do it because it pleases your creator. Do it to the best of your ability because you are a Christian, a child of the King.

This is what I teach.

November 2, 2004

I Voted

That's right.

I would like to say that I cast my ballot today, but there was no ballot to cast. So instead I will say that I touched my touch screen. It is great to see technology increasing and making things easier.

I am just happy that they are still handing out the little stickers.

Election...

I know that today is election day, and I should probably pitch in my two cents somewhere, but I just haven't been able to think of anything to say. Besides, there are plenty of other blogs out there that can cover the election and the issues in a much more knowledgeable way than I can.

In fact, as I was surfing to find some good election coverage, I noticed that there are several major websites that have added blogging to their array of coverage. I knew that blogging was getting big, but now everyone is getting into the act! CNN even has some insight into the election blogosphere, and is running two election day blogs of their own.

Crazy stuff.

Here is my only rant about the election:

I have been totally surprised at how many "christian" blogs have supported Kerry. Call me naive, call me silly, but it doesn't change the fact that I am shocked by this. I know that not every christian is a conservative, that is not what I am saying. But it seems like there are certain issues that we would stand together on.

There are just some things that I believe are of great importance to God.

Life. Life is imortant to God. How can someone rant on and on about the "wrongs" of the war in Iraq, and not have anything to say about the countless lives that are slaughtered here in our own country on a daily basis. But to top it off, there are Christians that give this issue a backseat to topics like economics.

Marriage. Marriage is God given. It is important to him. There is no other institution amoung men that better portrays the relationship between Christ and his church. And this institution is under attack. But what is amazing to me it that there are "christians" that have no problem with gay marriage. I expect the world to go this route, but when people who profess to be christians go the same way, it always surprises me!

I hope that George W. Bush wins. If for no other reason, because I know from his track record that he will fight against the murder of children, and fight for the institution of marriage.

But regardless, God is in control.


October 29, 2004

I know, I know...

I know that I haven't posted in a week.

It isn't that I don't have anything to say... trust me! But to find the time to say it is the difficulty. As a teacher, every once in a while, you will just have one of those weeks.

As a blogger, I know that it is risky to take a week off, because you run the risk of losing any of those readers that are just barely loyal to your blog. They haven't really dedicated themselves to you yet, they might have you in their favorites, but to actually put you on their blog, just hasn't happened.

To all of those semi-loyal harmless thoughts readers -- don't give up yet. I got some stuff a-brewin'. And I will get to it eventually.

October 22, 2004

Blobber

...or blobbee?

Well, I made it into the "blob video" from the Windy Gap trip. I am the first "blobbee" in the video.

Check it out!

The Force

They are a force to be reckoned with.

That's right --- my wife, my sister, and my brother-in-law.

They are the Friday night couch dwellers. They are young, hip, and a totally outrageous group to hang out with... And I think that they are looking at old yearbooks and coupons.

Plus, I think that it is getting a little late, and that chili gave me indigestion... so I think that I am going to stop typing and go to bed.

blogging a novel

I have come to really enjoy writing. Not that I am any good at it. But I enjoy it.

Therefore, I have become motivated by this: Blogging Your Novel (Part 1)

I don't know if I will be successful or not, but I am pretty sure that I am going to give it the old harmless effort. Doesn't hurt to try, does it?

notify me!

Notify you?

yes. I know that I haven't posted almost all week, and you might be getting frustrated when you check my blog and there isn't anything there, so I decided to try a notify list. If it works, then you will be notified everytime I post something on this blog.

If it doesn't, then I guess... you... won't be notified...

Try it out for me and see if it works. Especially if you are constantly hanging on the edge waiting for the next harmless thought!

October 19, 2004

idiot

On the previous post, I misspelled intelligent. I wrote: "intellegent design" as the title of the post...

humorous, ironic, and a little sad.

Heaven

"Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every bush afire with God;

But only he who sees

takes off his shoes;

The rest sit around it

and pluck blackberries."

~~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Intelligent Design

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God;

And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Day to day pours forth speech,

And night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words;

Their voice is not heard."

Psalm 19:1-3



All creation shouts, "There is a God!" Without a doubt, there is design. We live in a world of irreducible complexity. And if you study this world with an open mind, following true scientific principles, you will see it. And there are those who have seen it.

Even Darwin, after contemplating the eye, admitted,

"To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have come about by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

--Charles R. Darwin, The Origin of Species..., first edition reprint (New York: Avenel Books, 1979), p. 217 - (Chapter 6, "Difficulties on Theory", First edition: 1859).

The movement is called Intelligent Design. Here is a link.

October 18, 2004

soooo good!

Dang, that boy is cute!




I mean, look at him! Where did he get those cute looks from?




--------- Oh yeah. :)


growing up

jodely bodelyBoys grow up to be men.

And as a father, I am a builder of men. I am a sculptor, an artist. And even though I know that it is God who is truly doing the work, I also know that I play a part. So much of what my boys will think of when they think of a man, will be pictured... fleshed out by me. So here I am with my men-in-the-making, finding myself being challenged to be a good father, to be a good husband, and to be a good man.

I see them watching me, following my every move, my every action. They long for my attention to be focused on them. They love that. And right now, even though I am their daddy, I am also their best buddy. I love that.

I have seen them mimick many of the things that I do on more than one occasion. Some of the good things, some of the not so good things. My actions teach.

meBut what I find the most intriguing is when I see myself in them. It is especially easy when there is a distinct family resemblance, but I think that we all see things a little deeper than that when we look at our offspring.

I know that my life could have taken many different directions. And when I look at my children, I see many different possibilities, many different potentials.

I mean, lets face it: It is only by the Grace of God that I am where I am. There are so many bad paths that I could have... and did turn down, that it is a true miracle of the miracle worker that there is any desire in me to please my creator.

There is a verse that gets often misinterpreted, that goes something like this, "bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." The part that says, "...the way he should go...", would be more properly interpreted, "...the way he is bent..." You see, we are all bent toward destruction, and it is only by turning from that bent, that there is life.

Now I know that those paths that were open for me, are going to be open and cleared out for my boys: my boys that I hope so much will grow up to be Men of God. And I hope, and pray that God will keep them from those paths... unless it is only by going down those paths that they will see their need for a Saviour.

October 17, 2004

questioning things

I like to read blogs.

I admit it, I really do. Most of the blogs that I read are somewhat "Christian" in nature. They discuss Christian topics and talk about issues from a Christian perspective. And for the most part I enjoy reading these blogs.

Sometimes I find myself taken back by some of the perspectives on certain issues. Issues that I didn't think needed another perspective. Issues that I believed were black and white issues -- right and wrong -- good and bad.

Now, most people that know me really well, know that I like to question things. Especially things that belong to the category of tradition. You know what I am talking about... those issues that the typical conservative Christian has has held dear for many years. I have almost enjoyed dismantling certain arguments from the ground up. Issues like clothes, music, facial hair (on men of course), and other trivial topics. I have also liked the occasional tackle of the more complex topic (and more important) like true salvation, repentance, faith, etc. Always asking, what do we really believe, and why do we believe it?

And I always came back to the Word of God. It was my foundation. It was my stronghold. It was the one thing that never wavered and nobody could combat against its living and powerful arguments.

But I have noticed something that I find quite alarming on the internet. Many of the blogs that I run across from time to time, blogs that at first glance, one might call Christian, have taken things a step farther.

At first I thought that I had found a kindred spirit in many of these blogs. They seemed to question the traditions as much as I had. But after further reading, I have found that many of them do not hold to the Bible. Now, they might say that they do, but I don't think that they mean the same thing when they claim this.

For example, one blog that I read would not even say that Jesus was the only way to God. And even though Jesus claimed that himself, it seems that many are abandoning this notion. Christianity has suddenly become personal preference, and we dare not tell a Buddhist, a Hindu, or God forbid, a Muslim, that he is wrong.

Now, like I said before, I am all for questioning things. But there must be an authority. There must be something, outside of humanity, outside of mortality, that contains the answers. I believe that thing is the Word of God. The Bible.

To all of you that like to question things: don't lay aside the answer.

October 16, 2004

My Church

I am currently attending North Hills Community Church.

It is a rare church. What I love about it is that, even though they are laid back and fairly casual, they have not strayed away from the truth of the Word of God. That is rare.

Most churches that tend to be on the more casual side, laying aside so many of the non-biblical traditions that had been imposed on them from a more legalistic church or school, also tend to start laying aside other things as well.

And the next thing you know there are these churches popping up all over the place that have taken the pendulum for a ride and have ended up at the total opposite end of the spectrum. I have even seen (and heard of) churches that would not even hold that Jesus is the only way to God. Church for these people has become an option... what is "best" for them.

But that is why I think that North Hills is so Rare. When I first visited I thought that it was going to be like so many other churches, because of their more casual stance on some issues. But instead I have found myself being hammered (so to speak) with the Words of God!

Last week I heard two of the most excellent sermons that I have heard in a long time. Very impactful, very convicting, and very encouraging.

So here I am on Saturday night, sitting at my brother-in-law's computer, already contemplating how I am going to be impacted tomorrow.

I thank God for placing me in an environment like this. He has shown me once again that He is good, and He is taking me to the places that I need to be.

Here is a link to the sermons page. I would like to suggest Oct. 10, 2004. (I think that you need to have Real Audio Player to listen to it, but I am not for sure.)

The many faces of Sam

Sam is a character. He loves to make people laugh. (I wonder where he got that?!?) One of his talents, as with most little boys, is to make faces. So I have decided to include some pictures of him on my blog.

Interesting face #1. Getting those mouth muscles warme up for the face making.




Interesting face #2. His Best Jack Nicholson look. Notice the raised eyebrows and the smile. I know that some of my students will recognize this look, because I know that I have given it from time to time.




Interesting face #3. Sometimes you just have to look at yourself on the computer screen while daddy is using the web cam.




Interesting face #4. They say the ability to curl the tongue is genetic. I guess he got it.




Interesting face #5. Goofy? Yup!




Interesting face #6. Nice close-up.




Interesting face #7. Next to the Jack Nicholson, this is my favorite.




Here is Sam with his good school buddy Noah. I get to hear alot of things about Noah. Mostly good.

October 15, 2004

Grandparents Day

Today was Grandparent's Day (or special friend's day) at school.

For Sam, this meant that a special friend had the honor of visiting him while he was at school. And that special friend that visited him was his Aunt Amanda, who was also accompanied by a little special friend, Sam's cousin Evelyn.

From what I hear, there was a little singing program with the kids from the kindergarten, followed by some snacks. Which, I heard that little Evelyn was a little piggie with the cookies.

For me, Grandparent's day took on a different meaning. There was no special friends visiting me at school. In fact, most of the people left the school because it was a half-day. This was in-and-of-itself quite special. It also provided me with a much needed opportunity to finish entering all of my grades.

After the half day of school was over, I ran and picked up Sam so I could take him home, thinking that I was going to have to feed him. But just as I was getting ready to get the grilled cheese materials out, Sam's Aunt Amanda called and invited us to go to Moe's southwest grill (which is probably one of my top 5 favorite places to eat). And I must say, it really hit the spot, plus I didn't have to cook!

Well, now I am here back at school, all of my grades are turned in, and I am ready to go home. And if you are wondering, I mostly posted this so that my mother and my mother-in-law could see a picture of the flowers that they didn't receive because they couldn't make it here for grandparent's day.

October 13, 2004

clean up

In an attempt to clean up my blog, I am going to be eliminating some things off of my sidebar.

To help with that, I have decided to create seperate pages for all of my extra links. I just finished my first page, the poetry archives page. I also found a fairly nice free web-hosting service until I decide to purchase my own domain name... (and considering that I am about as poor as dirt, that won't be happening anytime soon)

October 11, 2004

Columbus Day

Thank you Columbus!

You may have been completely lost and had no idea which continent you were on...

You may have inadvertantly caused the deaths of thousands of Native Americans...

But thanks to you I have a day out of school!

October 6, 2004

Windy Gap

I won't be blogging for a couple of days because I am going with my school to Windy Gap.

From the sounds of it, it is a really fun time, with a spiritual emphasis. All of the students have been talking about it since the beginning of the year, so I am really looking forward to it.

I will let you know what it was like when I return. In the mean time, read some of my archives located on the sidebar.

Blog Safari -- Week 2

I have noticed that there are literally thousands upon thousands of blogs out there. And surfing through them can be both fun and dangerous. Almost like a Blog Safari!

Now, I have been on a few blog hunts myself from time to time, and have found some interesting blogs, blogs that I would like to share with other people. Blogs that I feel are a unique find. But I never had a way to share those blogs with other bloggers... Until Now!

(First, go to this page to see what to do. )

This week it is a theme Safari. The Theme is OLD FAITHFUL. Share with us your favorite Blog. And tell us why you visit it on a regular basis.

Lord?

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord!'
if you do not do what I say?"
-- Luke 6:46


Did you know that there are some people out there that believe that you can claim Jesus as your Saviour, but not claim Him as your Lord?

Everyone likes the verse that says, "...whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved..." You see, this verse makes them feel good. They can remember a time that they had an "experience" when they called upon the name of the Lord. It may have even been associated with very strong emotions including sorrow and fear. It is quite possible that this "experience" was even followed by a time of good feelings. Feelings of safety and assurance because they had done it. They had gotten saved!

But then there will come at time. A time of testing. A time of trial. A time to see if Jesus is really their Lord. The choice will be an obvious one. Do things my way or God's way? Did they mean what they said? Are they going to follow their King, or not?

If you want to be a follower of Christ, it includes the word ALL. Jesus tells several people, "... if you are not willing to forsake all, you cannot be my disciple." Notice that He doesn't say, won't He says can't. It is almost as if He is saying, "... it just isn't possible that you are my disciple. If you are not willing to forsake all and do what I ask of you, that means that when you said, 'Lord, Lord' you didn't mean it."

Jesus says elsewhere, "... not all who call 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But him that doeth the will of my father who is in heaven." It is quite possible to say it and not mean it, and the real test of whether or not you meant it, is in how you live.

October 5, 2004

Bible Study

I have been thinking about hosting an on-line Bible/Book Study for quite awhile, and I think that I have decided to do it.

I have decided to use the book Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur, as the guide. If you are interested in participating in this On-Line study, I would like to urge you to pick up the book, and if you want, the workbook.
&

I have not decided exactly how I am going to work this. I will probably start next Monday with some instructions. I would be happy to accept any suggestions between now and Monday, October 11th.

e-mail me at: mattharmless@hotmail.com or just leave a comment under this post.

Thanks!

October 4, 2004

what is man?

"When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place;

what is man that you are mindful of him..."

(an excerpt from Psalm 8)


I read this passage this morning and was reminded once again of that question...
Why would you be mindful of me?

I have often wondered why looking at the night sky stimulates so many of us to thoughts of God. Some might say its the sky's sheer beauty. Others might say that it is the inumerable stars, the same ones that Abraham looked at so many years ago.

But I think that it might be different.

When you look at the stars, you know that you are looking at something amazingly far away, that is for sure. But have you ever really considered what that means?

Think about it.

If the earth was created 10,000 years ago, and a considerable number of those stars are more than 10,000 lightyears away: the light you see could be an original creation. Light that started the day God spoke it into existence, and it is just now arriving at this earth, to be seen by your eye. And God knew that when He created that particular lightwave, it would be your eye that would behold it. hmmm.

But now consider this:

What happens when you adjust your gaze off of the star and toward that black void that surrounds the star? You are staring into infinity.

I think that on some subconscious level we know that the night sky contains so much of who God is. And it shouts volumes.

"The heavens tell of the glory of God.
The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.

Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.

They speak without a sound or a word;
their voice is silent in the skies;

yet their message has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to all the world."

(An excerpt from Psalm 19)

What is man? Why should you care for me?

But He does.

October 1, 2004

To Do

Sometimes it seems that my life is run by the "to-do" list.

I have forced myself to get into the habit of typing everything that I need to do into my to-do list. Everytime I think of something that I am going to need to get done, I type it in.

I then find that I can get so much stuff done if I just choose to stop thinking about all of the tasks that are awaiting me, and just get busy working on each thing as it appears on the list.

But sometimes I end up feeling like my life is controlled by this list that I have created. And the list is a cruel task-master. There are no "take a break" tasks or "write a blog entry" tasks. Oh no. It is nothing but work from the all-powerful to-do list.

So sometimes I just choose to ignore the list. I could have a hundred things on there and I just think, "forget it! I'm not doing anything productive!"

Unfortunately I think this way most of the time.

Well, it is the beginning of the weekend, so maybe I will be able to get some of this stuff done. That is what weekends are for right? Cause they definitely aren't for catching up on sleep!

tawanty scheven

Here is a picture of the back of my shirt that I wore today. I just thought that I would share this with you all.

As if I didn't have the number 27 showing up and haunting me enough, people thought that it would be fun to give me a shirt with a giant 27 on the back.

Oh well, I guess it is just my fate.

p.s. - The #27 lottery ticket box at the gas station had the #27 ticket up to be sold next.

Christian Education -- Relationships

When you are a teacher, you can't help but build relationships with your students and with your peers. But I would say that in Christian Education there is a deeper layer of fellowship that can be reached.

In the Bible, when you see the word fellowship, it means, "to be in common." It carries with it the idea of heading the same direction or going down the same path. Sometimes that word is translated partnership.

You see, in order for you to have true fellowship, you need to be headed the same direction. There needs to be a common goal, a common destiny.

Paul tells the Philippians that he is thankful for their fellowship (or partnership) in the gospel. They are partnered in the good news of God. And there is no better partnership to be in!


"...if we walk in the light as He (Christ) is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another..."
--I John 1:7

In my short time as a Christian School Teacher, I have seen this sort of fellowship. But I have also seen the other kind.

There have been several students that have shared with me their goal to become more like Christ. And we have sought together to continue reaching toward that goal. Sometimes as Teacher to Student: God allowing me to be used in their lives as an example. And many of the things that God has taught me have been passed on. And we strove together toward the one true light.

But there have also been students where I knew that there was a different goal. Maybe they didn't say it, maybe they would never admit it, but they were headed a different direction. And because of that the fellowship was limited.

So after time I begin to echo the words of Christ to his disciples:

"I do not call you servants any longer,
because servants do not know what their master is doing.
Instead, I call you friends,
because I have told you everything
I heard from my Father."
-- John 15:15

And friends they are.

The picture was drawn for me at the end of last year by my 8th grade boys PE/Study Hall class when they found out that I was going to be moving. I still have it hanging beside my desk.

Blog Safari -- Entry 1

Since nobody else has done this yet, I have decided to take a Blog Safari! (spoken in your best echo-voice)

If you are not for sure what to do, this can also be an example post for you to refer to when you decide to go on your own safari. It has several elements...

(the link to blog safari)
(the blog find)
(the blog drawing)


(The Blog find) My Blog Safari (...safari ...safari ...safari) led me to j smith. I don't know if I could tell you exactly how I found his site, but I know that I clicked several different links... and there he is!

(The Blog Drawing) One thing that draws me to a blog is when the writer sounds intelligent. That is very important. And Mr. Smith sounded intelligent when I first read his blog. I have read a few of his entries and he has some good stuff to say. I will probably visit his site again.

(The Link to Blog Safari) Read other Blog Safaris at Blog Safari!

September 30, 2004

breakfast

I had a doughnut and some coffee for breakfast today.

And then I had the same thing for lunch.

Is this healthy?

I am thinking that it isn't all that healthy, but it sure brightened my day! It was like manna from heaven!

September 29, 2004

Blog Safari -- Tips

Here are some FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) about Blog Safari. Actually I have never had any questions asked about Blog Safari, but I have always wanted to have a FAQ post!



What is Blog Safari?
Start by reading this. I started Blog Safari to help in displaying blogs that I run across from time to time. There are alot of really good ones out there, and it is fun to share them with others. Blog Safari also serves in expanding readership of all of the blogs that are involved.

Where did you get the idea for Blog Safari?
Awhile ago Darren from Living Room ran something called Blogger Idol. I thought that it was alot of fun and I always wanted to do something like it. I have to give him the credit for the idea. I had also been bumping the idea around for awhile because of the blogger "next blog" button. I thought that was a great idea.

How do I go on a Blog Safari?
One possibility is to click on the Blogger "next blog" button. The problem with that one is that it will only take you to blogger blogs.

Another possibility is to check out some blog listings. Here are a few:
, , and

But my preferred method is to go to a blog that I enjoy reading and click on a link that they have listed. Most blogs have a section of blogs they enjoy reading. If you do that and then look at the links that those blogs have, you could go on indefinitely.

If you have any other Blog Safari tips that you would like to share, feel free to do so.

Thanks for stopping by.

Blog Safari -- Week 1

I have noticed that there are literally thousands upon thousands of blogs out there. And surfing through them can be both fun and dangerous. Almost like a Blog Safari!

Now, I have been on a few blog hunts myself from time to time, and have found some interesting blogs, blogs that I would like to share with other people. Blogs that I feel are a unique find. But I never had a way to share those blogs with other bloggers... Until Now!

If you would like to join in on the Blog Safari, Here is what you need to do:


  • Go on a blog hunt.

  • Write a post on your blog telling us about your exceptional blog find! (You might want to explain to your readers what you are doing and include a link to this page.)
  • Include a link to your blog in the blogger input section of this post, by clicking blogger input at the bottom of this post. Even if you are not a "blogger" member, you can still leave a comment there. Make sure you leave (1)your name, (2)the link to your page, and (3)a short description of your blog find.

  • Feel free to browse through the entries for each week and pick a top three to post on your blog.

  • Please, only one entry per week. (I will try to do this every week and in the next few weeks will possibly include some theme hunts or something like that.)


If this works, I think that it will be a great way to network with other bloggers and to also get your own blog discovered.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the Blog Safari, e-mail me at mattharmless@hotmail.com

Last, but not least, I need to acknowledge Darren of living room. His Blogger Idol series is what inspired me to try this.

none gross

When I came into my room this morning I noticed that on my white board one of my students wrote:

We luv U Mr. Harmless

*In a none gross way*


What does "none gross" mean? That is what I want to know!

September 28, 2004

Christian Education

Even though I am a Christian School Teacher, I don't think that I have ever blogged about Christian Education.

But yesterday, as I was waiting for my microwave meal to be nuked in the teacher's lounge, I picked up one of those teacher magazines. I don't remember which one it was, but there was the title of an article that really jumped off the page and grabbed my attention. It was, Why do Christian School students resent Christian Education?

It is an excellent question. It is a question that I have thought of myself. I went to a Christian School myself, and now, as many of my classmates have reached the age where their children are going to school, a majority of them speak so resentfully of their own Education. And refuse to send their kids to a Christian School.

It baffles me, it really does. In most of the cases, it wasn't because the school was all that bad, it was because they were bad! I know because so was I!

We were rebellion incarnate. It wouldn't have mattered what kind of school we were at, we were bent on doing evil. Unfortunately many of my old friends want to blame the school and blame their church and blame their parents, but they don't want to look deep to see what the real problem was. them.

When I decided to go into education, I chose Christian Education mostly because I knew that if I worked at a Public School, I would get fired. Plain and Simple. There is not a day that goes by that I don't refer to the relevance of God in everyday life. I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut in a Public School.
  • Why is a line straight? God made it that way.

  • Why do we have to do geometry? God tells us to be submissive to our authority, and your authority says to take geometry.

  • Where did the number pi come from? God came up with it. Decided that would be the best number for the job. And even though it is a never ending and never repeating decimal, God knows the whole thing... He wrote it.

  • Why does 2+2=4? God decided that.

  • Why do we have to do our homework? To get good grades, so we can get into a good college? No! It is because God says to do all things to glorify Him.

  • When are we ever going to use this? You might never use this particular thing again, but your whole life you will have to do things that you don't want to do or don't understand why you have to do them, so doing geometry to the best of your ability because God says that is the way we should do all things, is practice for real life.

  • Why? Why? Why? God.


It all comes back to Him.

Why do Christian School kids sometimes resent Christian Education? They don't see it's value. Maybe they had teachers that weren't doing the job well, I don't know. But I want to restore that value. NO. I don't have delusions of grandeur. I don't think that I can change a whole system, but I do think... Hope... and pray that God might help me no use me to reveal God to a student.

Even if it is only one.

daddy

as I was growing up, I always thought that I would be the best dad. I don't know why I thought this, I just did.

I loved kids, and usually chose to play with them at family outings and such. I also had two younger sisters, and for the most part I enjoyed playing with them. I was almost 15 when my youngest sister was born, so I was very familiar with the whole thing... or so I thought.

I had a sobering moment a couple of days ago. I looked at my children and thought, "all of the bad things they do, they learned from me." It was depressing, but oh-so-true!

Now, sometimes, I look at my kids and I wonder if I am any good at this daddy thing at all. If they survive this earth it won't be because of me, that is for sure. It will be because of the grace of God.

September 27, 2004

politics...ugh!

This is definitely not a political blog.

I think that if you have read this blog at any time in the past, you will notice that I have not at anytime tried to express my own political opinions. I have chosen to keep silent about it, but with the upcoming election, I think that I am going to take a poke at it.

First of all, I am not a political person. I just isn't my cup-o-tea. I can't help it, I just don't find politics to be an overly interesting topic.

Secondly, it doesn't matter that much to me. I enjoy my freedoms in this country and appreciate them, but that has no bearing on how I am going to live my life or make my decisions. If tomorrow I lost all of my freedoms, I would still be free in Christ, because "... if the Son has set you free, then you will be free indeed!"

Thirdly, my citizenship is in heaven. And even though some would consider this to be figurative, I take it to be a reality. I am just passing through this country.

So politics just aren't a regular topic of my conversation.

But one of my favorite blogs, that I read on a daily basis, inadvertently motivated me to consider my own political stand with this post. If you go there you can read my comments and the comments of some others who were also motivated to speak on the subject.

Since I talked about it there, I thought that I would throw out my comments here and see what everybody thinks.
I almost hesitate saying this, because people on the web seem to be the most critical people, but here goes...

I simply can't vote for someone who is pro-choice. I know that most people think that is such a minor issue, but to me it is the most important of the issues. There aren't many things on this earth that are worse than abortion.

What I really find amazing is the number of people who would claim the Christian Faith as their own, yet still say that it is OK to kill an unborn child. Amazing.

Like I said, I know that most people will say that this is not the main issue, but I consider this a defining issue. Most of us are fools if we think that we know as much as Bush or Kerry when it comes to running the govt. I have never tried to run a govt., so on some of the issues, I have opinions, but I do know that it is wrong to kill innocent children. I know that there are thousands of women across this nation that have listened to the lie that it was OK, and now they are trying to survive the aftermath of such a decision. AND if I have to chose which man is going to be responsible for the govt. that I am under, that I have to Biblically submit to, I hope to get a man that will stand firm on an issue, no ...on a moral principle.

I am sure that I am going to get comments about how wrong I am to say such a thing, and quite frankly, that's OK. (this isn't my blog anyway...Just thought that I would put in my two cents)


The first response back said:

Thanks for standing by your convictions, always an admirable attribute. I to cannot fathom the act of abortion and could never support such thing. However, politically speaking, it's a moot point. Here is why. . . just as many abortions can and do occur during a "pro-life" administration as that of a "pro-choice" administration.

It has always baffled me and angered me (this is not directed to you Matt) that "Christians" stand on the abortion issue alone when exercising political rights. We are called to be our brothers' keeper; to care for those that are in need. Is this limited to unborn children, absolutely not. Many "pro-life" Christians could care less about the well being of pregnant woman, just that her fetus lives. They don't offer her any solutions, compassion, or help. They could care less about the homeless guy they rush past and ignore his pleas for help, or the black kid that is actually more depressed than violent, or the homosexual that really does not "deserve" to die. In a nutshell, Republicans oppose abortion and social support for those in need. Democrats support abortion and social support for those in need. Pick a side. It's not fair, but it is what it is. Since this issue is a moot point politically speaking, wouldn't it would make more since to focus on actual modern day Biblical issues and needs ?

Let me leave on this note. This is how I judge our current president and the gentleman wanting replace him:

Mathew 7

15"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character:

·Love
·Joy
·Peace
·Patience
·Kindness
·Goodness
·Faithfulness
·Gentleness
·Self-control

21"Knowing the correct password saying 'Master, Master,' for instance isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience, doing what my Father wills. 22I can see it now at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' 23And do you know what I am going to say? 'You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.'


And since I wasn't for sure if he had actually understood my point, I responded again by saying:

Actually the point that I was trying to make is that I can't trust that a politician can make good decisions in other "issues" if he can't see (and state openly) that abortion is wrong.

As far as offering help and solutions, that is the responsibility of the church not the duty of the government. In fact, if you want my opinion (which you probably don't), I don't want a government of godless men offering solutions to mothers.

And I can't speak for the "Christians" that you know, (I know that this world is full of hypocritical people) but most of the Christians that I am around on a weekly basis work very hard at offering as much help, support, and Biblical counsel as they can. And it doesn't come in the form of an organization or committee, it comes in the form of people helping and loving other people.

But like I said before, my only point is that, if a man doesn't say that it is wrong to kill, then I don't want him making decisions about war or economics or anything else for that matter. And NO, I am not foolish enough to think that America will ever get to the point where abortions aren't taking place, and NO I don't think that they will even get any less just because of a president, that wasn't what I was saying. My point is just that the issue of abortion, for me, is a sign of some level of morality.

If all of the other levels of morality are gone, at least he knows that it is wrong to kill.

Now, the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Everybody and their brother has something to say about what the president should do or be like, but I am not foolish enough to think that I could know all of the ins and outs of public office. So this isn't about whether or not abortion will be banned or not, because let's face it, abortions will continue to take place in this country no matter what law is passed.

So I am not saying vote for Bush because I think that abortion laws are going to get changed (though I hope that they do). I am saying vote for a man who is going to say that it is wrong to kill. And will continue to say that even if it is unpopular. I am saying don't vote for Kerry because he says that even though life begins at conception, abortion should still be allowed.

I guess that the really hard thing to believe is that any Christian would place this issue second to any of the others. Not out of a desire to change the law, but out of a desire to support morality.

bubblewrap

If you are feeling a little bored, I just thought that I would post something to fill the time.

Bubble Wrap

September 24, 2004

Saturday Morning

There aren't many things that I look forward to more than Saturday Mornings.

Ever since I was a kid I have enjoyed the Saturday morning cartoons, the sitting around, and the eating of unhealthy breakfast foods. And since my wife just bought some Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, I think that tomorrow moring I will be all set!

I usually get up a little earlier than Sam, make myself some Coffee and relax. Once Sam is awake we get some breakfast and plop down at the coffee table to watch some cartoons.

I think that my current favorite is called Teen Titans. It is a little weird because it has Robin, from the Batman and Robin Duo.

Well, I need to get to bed so I can be well rested for my saturday morning kid time.

twenty seven

I am not alone (with some really cool links)

The 27 conspiracy (with some cool links)

Properties of the number 27

The number 27 on the Bible Wheel

On the number 27

Meditations on 27 (a poem)

27 rationales for war in Iraq

27 articles of T. E. Lawrence

Title 27 - Intoxicating Liquors (even though I don't drink)

27 fundamental beliefs of the 7th day Adventist

27 lines on a cubic surface

27 star flag

27 countries had nuclear bombs deployed during the cold war

La Generacion del 27 (a famous group of poets and artists called the generation of 27)

27 people involved in the abuse of prisoners

27 in numerology (it shows up and means something

27 in numerology (again)

27 in astrospeak (who knows...)

and many more from Google

Mathematicians who were born or died on the 27th of...

I was born 8/27/72, my wife was born 2/27/74, I have 2 sisters and we are each 7 years apart, my social security number contains the number 27, but since this is the internet, I won't mention how it does, on 2/27/27 I will turn 54 1/2 (54 times 1/2 is 27), I started teaching when I turned 27 and at that first school the school's phone number was 447-2727 and I was extension #127.

I realized today that I have 27 desks in my room, and 27 posters on the walls, I have used 27% of my hotmail capacity, and 27% of my flickr picture uploads for the month.

The number 27 shows up all of the time, I probably see the number 27 at least 3 to 4 times a day. It is really weird, but since I am not superstitious then I don't really care... although, yesterday I was at the gas station getting my morning coffee and I noticed that on the counter there were numbered boxes of lottery tickets. Now for several days that box was empty, but today there was a roll of tickets in it. And I looked, and the next ticket up was #217! I tell you, if I would have had the money to buy it, I would have!

More 27's later!


September 21, 2004

devotion

devotions... I don't know if this word means the same thing to everybody, but in many Christian circles the word "devotions" is referring to the time that we set apart to "devote" to God. Ususally some reading of a passage of the Bible, and a little time in prayer will suffice for most of us. But is that really sufficient?

I love being able to check items off of my Palm Pilot "to-do" list, but is that all devotions are? Some heavenly "to-do" item, that we are able to check off for the day? Is a simple reading of the Word of God adequate, or is there more that is expected? Or maybe that is the wrong question entirely. Maybe it isn't that we are doing the wrong thing, maybe we are just doing it the wrong way. Could it be that Godly devotion just isn't complete without a heart-felt delight. Consider this Psalm:
How blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
--Psalm 1

As I type out this Psalm, I know that my own time that I spend reading the Bible and praying has been feeling a little incomplete lately. I had decided to read through the Psalms again, and after I read that first chapter, I was reminded again of how important it is to delight in God's Law.

That word delight means to take pleasure in. Not just set aside some time, but to truly value the very words of God. Maybe my pitiable little devotions are useless if I have not set my heart upon the truth.

And notice that a man's delight is going to be somewhere. Either in the way of the world, or in the truth. It is going to be one or the other.

Ahhh... but the results of delighting in the Way of God will be stable, nourishing and fruitful. There is value in that. It is only, and I repeat ONLY, when your value is placed in Him that you will have a prosperous life.

If you have set your heart on finding delight in anything else, turn away! They are useless, and you will also be useless. You will be like the Chaff that the wind drives away. Flee from those delights!