March 31, 2004

Restless

"Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee."
--St. Augustine

Some people look at the Bible and Christianity as a whole and see rules and restrictions. They see barriers to their own personal happiness. They see walls and fences blocking them in.

They want out so bad that it hurts.

And many do "get out." They break free from God. And find themselves enslaved by sin.

Many don't ever recognize their position, their enslavement. They flounder around in sin and degradation, never realizing that true freedom can only be found in Him. And with that freedom from sin, their is true joy to be found.

"God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we, as well as He, can in divine communion, enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile."
--A.W. Tozer

Check out the book, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

March 30, 2004

A song about me...

It's not very nice.

And it isn't true at all.

but here it is...

The Blog Song (Ode to a Math Teacher)

Check out this students other songs at Jared Zachary

March 24, 2004

A Word from the Wife

Two really cool things that will probably mean nothing to you, but were significant to me...

It is very handy to have a brother-in-law that is a computer guy. (I will make note here that I do not feel he is altogether a "computer geek" because he is highly social and that does not tend to fall into your usual geekness personality traits)...you know what I mean....but regardless, techno-whatever is his career. ANYWAY, I'm blogging right now from my bed!!!! AH! I love it! I am usually anti-computers for lots of reasons I won't bother you with but this is right up my alley! A t.v., a glass of juice, my bed and my sweetie niece....and blogger access...this is the life. Now I just have to figure out how to make it mine! It's so cool.

Number 2 cool thing...I do this silly thing every year. When I get ready to pack up my coats and jackets for the winter, I usually put a 5 dollar bill in one of the pockets so I can get a little surprise when I put it back on the next year. Sadly, I didn't do this last year because I forgot. We were headed south and due to the "almost" warmness of this area (yeah, right...it's freezing!), I packed my jean jacket. So, yesterday, I was putting it on and I felt around in the pockets to make room for my icy hands when I discovered a strange occupant of my handy pocket. A leaf. Now, some may say, "A leaf? Ew....trash in your pockets...I hope you cleaned it out", but they would be wrong. I remember when I put that leaf in my pocket. It was last fall. I'm generally not much of an observer. I'm commonly very focused on the task at hand and tend to miss what's beautiful around me, but this day was different. I recall that last fall was particularly breath-taking. This day I was taking a jaunt through a set of trees and I was compelled to stop and glance at how stunning they looked around me. It was a unique moment for me and I remember feeling very happy and very much at "home". So, I decided to pick out a pretty leaf and stick it in my pocket so I could remember it.

The last few days have felt very homeless. My hubby is awesome in those transition phases of life. You can't seem to shake that guy with "different" or "unfamiliar". Me....not so much. So, when I pulled that cracking leaf out of my pocket, I smiled. Yeah, there it is...home.

March 23, 2004

BJU!

I am blogging about a block away from the Bob Jones University Campus, in Greenville, SC.

I am staying with my sister Amanda tonight. In the morning we are going to go to an IHOP for breakfast. I am getting hungry already, just thinking about it. I am also hoping to play a little euchre tomorrow. I know my wife doesn't like it that much, but I do love a good game of euchre, and I think that she loves me enough to play a game or two.

I hope that all of my students had a good day today, even though I wasn't there to teach them! Oh well, they probably learnt more without me...

Talk to all of you later!

March 21, 2004

Sweet Tea

By the way, I failed to mention that I am blogging from the South! It is much warmer and every restaurant automatically serves sweet tea.

Hot topics

I am always intrigued by the differences in opinions among believers.

There are some things that will always be "controversial." But there are other things that should not be controversial at all. For example, I know that in some Christian circles going to movies is an automatic no-no, no matter what the movie is. To step foot in a theatre would be a grievous sin! But with the release of The Passion, this standard has been questioned. And maybe rightly so. Those in that circle usually use the "we can't support the movie industry" reason to not go to any movies. But then they go home and purchase cable, and rent movies, just showing a hypocritical belief system.

Many youth and young adults have seen right through this hypocritical belief system and gone to the other extreme. Now we have a whole generation that pours pretty much anything that they want into their brains, without a question asked.

In the case of movies, we should be challenged to question the Biblical reasons to go or to not go. Too many times people are just lazy and don't want to research what God would have them do. There is no digging into the word of God. And there is nobody on their knees asking the creator to give them wisdom in their search.

But this post is really not about that. It is spurned on by some of the "Christian websites" that I have found. There are some things that just shock me. Not in an old lady -- "oh my good heavens!" kind of way. But in a taken off guard kind of way. Things that I have never questioned before as being wrong. Now I am being forced to think! Because I don't want to be like the typical person in my generation that automatically thinks that anything from the previous generation is wrong. I also don't want to be like the typical person from the previous generation that thinks that anything new is wrong! I am searching for a balance. And I think it is the Bible.

I want to be a seeker. A seeker of truth in the Word. Not just a logical thinker -- philosopher. I don't want to stand before a Holy God and give an account, and the only reason to support my behavior is my feeble reasons that came from my own brain.

When you see something that you disagree with, ask yourself, "why?" If you don't have some verses pop into your head, get to digging.

Be prepared.

March 19, 2004

The Friday Five

The Friday Five

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?
I think that I would probably serve Mexican food. I love tacos and burritos and enchiladas, etc. Hmmm... I am getting hungry just thinking about it. The meat, the cheese, the tomatoes and salsa. All of the sour cream and chips... Ok, next question.

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
Probably a book store. I would love to run the counter, and just sit there and read. I would probably have a wide variety of books. Lots of Christian books and lots of children's books. I would also like to have a row of classic books. And there would definitely be a coffee shop. (With free coffee for me.) My guess is that my shop would be next to a Krispy Kreme! Oh, now that I think about it, I think that I might want to change restaurants...

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?
My first choice would be a compilation of lessons that I have taught in my Bible classes, and in the other classes from time to time. I have noticed that a lot of books are done that way. Mostly they don't start from scratch. They take things they have been working on already and just compile the material into a readable form.

I would also be interested in writing a story of some sort. I don't think that I would actually be able to do this. But the students love it when I start telling stories. But I think that is more about my mannerisms, than it is about the story.

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach?
Since I am a teacher already, I know the answer to this one. It would definitely be math and Bible. When I went back to school to be a teacher, it was a toss-up between math and science. I chose math because it would be easier to prepare for on a day to day basis. Not as much prep time, etc.

Now that I have been teaching math for a few years, I have grown to love the subject. I always liked math, but now I find myself "thinking math" all of the time. I see it in everything. And I love learning more about it all of the time.

I also love teaching Bible. Next to understanding the Word of God... what else matters?

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
Seriously... probably funny songs for kids. My musical talent is so bad that I can't even think seriously about myself singing. I wish I could sing better. My wife has a beautiful voice. And it would be neat to be able to sing with her. But alas, that probably won't happen. (Although my wife does think that I have a good voice, but I think that she is biased.)

March 18, 2004

This too shall pass...

Gam zeh ya'avor (Hebrew) "This Too Shall Pass"

Welcome! According to Google Analytics, this is by far the most visited post that I have ever written.  If someone comes here from a search engine, most of the time they are looking for "this too shall pass quote" or simply "this too shall pass" on Google or one of the other search engines.

I am sure that most of the time visitors are looking for the originations of this quote, but I have to wonder, why is this quote on people's minds? Why are they pondering the passing of events? 

Here is my thought: It is probably because most of us have realized that the adult life is much harder than we ever imagined it to be. There is more pain and more sorrow than we had ever imagined as children, but we have learned that time keeps ticking. And as time continues to flow things pass.

In fact, even the really big things and the really hard things will still pass.

If you are here because you are thinking to yourself, "this too shall pass" then you are right. We know that things pass, but I think that the too in the phrase is important for us. The too reminds us that no matter what it is, it will pass. We are told by Paul, in I Corinthians that this world and the things of this world, are passing away. Notice that they have not passed yet, but we are also not waiting for them to start passing, they are currently passing.

Please consider writing to me to tell me why you were pondering this quote. I would love to hear your story, and maybe even compile a list of stories. If you tell me your story, I will make sure that I respond with mine, and tell you the real reason why this phrase was significant to me when I wrote this.

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Update #1: One possible source of this quote is the poet Lanta Wilson Smith. To read her poem click here.

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Update #2: Another possible source is this poem by Helen Steiner Rice click here.

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Update #3: Check out my "This too shall pass" store.

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Though times have changed for me, the original post with this title can be found here.

This Too Shall Pass...

Update: Check out the updated version of this post by CLICKING HERE. Also click here for some other stuff.

Every Wednesday morning, I have a Bible Study with some of the Junior boys. The regular attendees are Adam J., Paul, Jared, and Adam B. I love these guys, and I really want to see them grow. Currently we are studying a book called The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. It is a really good book, and very challenging. It breaks things down, so they are not so overwhelming. And it builds logically.

I love it when a book builds logically. When it starts off slow, with some general truths. It gradually progresses through some systematic steps, while keeping your attention. And then by the end of the book, you are chewing on some real meaty stuff, and you didn't even notice the increase in complexity.

For example, the first sentence, no... the first paragraph of the book is, "It is not about you." What a way to start!

We just finished chapters 4 through 6, and these chapters really focus on the shortness of life, seeing things with an eternal perspective. It talks about how life is three things. Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment.

I don't have time to really go into the depth of the book, because I would end up just copying all of the book, and then I am sure that I would end up with some copyright laws being broken and such. But I will give you one good quote out of the book to wet your appetite.

C.S. Lewis captured the concept of eternity on the last page of the Chronicles of Narnia, his seven-book children's series: "For us this is the end of all the stories....But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world... had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and ever and in which every chapter is better than the one before."

I know that most of what I quote from this book is actually a quote from another book, but that is the way Rick Warren writes. There is not a page that goes by where he hasn't either quoted the Bible, or quoted from another writer; all to help drive across a point.

(And if you think that the verses he uses are out of context, I don't believe that he is completely losing the point of the verse that he quotes.)

I would definitely recommend this book. Great reading!


March 16, 2004

an e-mail...

from Dwayne Hoskins, a fellow teacher

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

amzanig huh?

Dawyne Hiksons

March 15, 2004

The Fear of the Lord

What is this all about?

I mean, "Fear the Lord"?!? C'mon, that's something for those old-school fundamentalists, right? God is our friend. He is loving and kind. We have no need to fear Him. He is our good shepherd, our counselor, our comforter, our prince of peace. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Even though God loves us, we are also commanded to fear him. Eccl. 12:13 says,

"Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."


This Fear of God is one of our core duties as human beings.

But it is not only commanded, it is encouraged because of God's love for us. Isaiah 33:6 says,

"He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure."


His love for us knows that our best is to fear Him.

We are unholy, unrighteous, ungodly people. And we have offended a Holy, Righteous God. We have every reason in the world to be fearful of Him. He is angry. In fact, God is angry with the unrighteous every day.

"You, even You, are to be feared; And who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?"
Ps. 76:7


"But this is only one end of the fear of the Lord. At the other end of the spectrum is a fear reserved exclusively for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. This fear of the Lord means reverent submission that leads to obedience ... it includes a knowledge of our sinfulness and God's justice and his anger against sin. But this worship-fear also knows God's great forgiveness, mercy, and love... It knows that in our relationship whith God, He always says 'I Love you' first. This knowledge draws us closer to God rather than causing us to flee. It causes us to submit gladly to his lordship and delight in obedience. This kind of robust fear is the pinnacle of our response to God."
-- Welch


See, Fear of God is more than a simple terror of Him. It is at the very heart of worship, true worship. It is a reverence that acknowledges Him for the placement in our lives where He belongs... on the throne! He is Holy and

"...by God's grace, we can grow in knowing his holiness, and this knowledge will both expel the people-idols from our lives and leave us less prone to being consumed with ourselves."
--Welch


... as too many people are. They bow down at the altar of self, and sacrifice all to worship there.
This post was inspired by my own personal battle with the fear of man, and also from the book, When People are Big and God is Small, by Edward T. Welch, which is perfectly suited to battling against the fear of man. Check it out!

March 12, 2004

The "Friday Five"

For some new inspiration, I have decided to do the friday five

Each week this website posts 5 questions and you have to answer them as best as you can. Then you can leave a comment on that website, and others can look at your answers. I don't know if I am going to do that part, but I will answer the questions.

1. What was the last song you heard?
The New Earth by John Michael Talbot. I was listening to him this morning after I did my devotions, and while I was starting to work. That was the last song before I turned the music off.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?
Hmmm... Probably Ice Age on DVD, and Finding Nemo. (Can you tell that I am a Dad?!? Oh well, just keep swimming, swimming...)

3. What were the last three things you purchased?
I don't ever have any money. I am having difficulty trying to remember the last 3 things that I purchased.

I know that I bought some McDonald's with the family two days ago. I seem to remember buying some meds for the kids last week, and I can't remember anytime before that.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
I can only list four?

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
My Wife, Charity. Sherry Syroteuk, the History Teacher. And three students, Eve Sutherland, Ashley Cody, and Ashley Crussel.

March 11, 2004

Sick and Tired

Great!

You know, you teach your children to share, and then they do.

The illness that Samuel had, has now been passed on to Josiah! I am on my way home to take him to the miracle worker, Dr. James Thomas.

March 9, 2004

Blogger Idol Week 8 -- "I Confess..." Really?



"I Confess..." do you really?

In the New Testament there are basically two greek words that are translated confess. Both of them mean approximately the same thing. One of the words is Homologeo. One of the key ideas that this word is conveying is to say the same thing. It comes from two greek words in combination, so it means literally same -- words. When we confess our sin to God, we are saying the same thing about our sin as he is.

An example of this is in I John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." John is telling us to say the same thing about our sins. If we do this, God will be faithful to his promises.

Another example of this word is found in Matthew 10:32 - "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." We need to be saying the same thing about Jesus whether alone, or before others. If we do this Christ will be saying the same thing before his father! What a promise that is, to know that Jesus won't be turning his back on us, but he will be keeping his word and telling the father just what he has told us!

The other Greek word that is commonly translated confess, is Exomologeo. This word is a combination of the previous word, and the word ek which means "out of." The meaning is basically the same. But I want to share one specific example of this word. It is Philippians 2:10-11 - "So that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!"

Isn't it awesome that one day, everyone will be saying the same thing about Jesus? One day we won't have to stand alone declaring his Lordship of this earth and of our lives. One day all people will say the same thing: "Jesus Christ is Lord!"

Are you saying the same thing now? or will you be one of those who will wait until the mandatory confession?

Greek definitions brought to you by studylight.org

the test

I have been reading several books. I read a little of each one each week. The books that I am currently reading are listed on the right side of this page.

One of those books is The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. And even though it was written quite awhile ago, I have found it to still be quite practical, and relevant for today. Just recently I was reading a chapter called "The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing" which is the same chapter that I did a post called the treasure in the field. (If you check the dates on these posts, you can see how slow I am reading this book.) This whole chapter is about how you can't pursue God and other things. It is very convicting. He pleads with us to renounce all other things and pursue God.

Through the process, he brings up the idea of testing, an idea that is familiar to all of us, and he makes these statements:

"If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God, He will sooner or later bring us to this test." And I would say tests! Not just a one-time testing, but an ongoing process of testing. Maybe daily, sometimes hourly testing. Bringing us to the choice again and again. Jesus says to us to take up our cross daily, and come and follow him! "At that testing place there will be no dozen possible choices for us -- just one and an alternative -- but our whole future will be conditioned by the choice..." or choices "...we make.

Even though I believe that this is an ongoing process, and that we are tested daily, I also believe that we can have some real doozies. You know what I mean. Those whopper tests. The ones that really put who we are on the line. The choices that we make during those tests can alter our lives in ways that we couldn't imagine. Tozer uses the example of Abraham and his son Isaac. Imagine how much different his life could have been if he wouldn't have been willing to offer his son upon the altar.

Check out the book, The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

my wifey

She's awesome!

Yesterday while I was at work she moved all of our stuff to the basement apt. that we are going to live in!

Those of you that know me, know that I work for a moving company during the summers. And if there is anything that I enjoy doing it is moving stuff. (weird, I know!) So I was expecting all day to have to go home and move a bunch of stuff. But that just wasn't the case. She had moved all of the stuff except a couple of big things to the basement.

The really cool thing is that she did all of this with the kids. I just can't figure it out. When I watch the kids by myself, I can hardly get anything done. After I have been watching them the house is usually a wreck, toys everywhere, food stuck to their faces, etc. But after she has been with them, the house is usually in more order, they are usually neat, and their is a meal waiting for me. And yesterday, on top of all that other stuff, our entire living space was rearranged!

Amazing!

March 5, 2004

Website Update

I just updated the "look" of my school website. It isn't really anything to brag about, but it is different. Take a look at it and tell me what you think!

It is my harmless homepage!

Blogger Idol Week 7 -- Play? What's that?



A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? - Eccl. 2:24-25

I read this verse this morning and I just thought to myself, "that is so true!" I mean really. What else is there to do here except eat and work. Ultimately it will boil down to that. Especially the older you get. It seems that there is less and less time to play, and all that is left is work.

Work to bring home the bacon. Work to cook the bacon. Work to feed the kids the bacon. Work to store the unused bacon. Work to clean the bacon-dirtied dishes. Work to take care of the bacon-eating kids and to put the bacon-eating kids to bed.

It even seems like it is work to take those mini-vacations, and those short trips home to see the grand-parents. Relationships are work. Godly friendships are work. A Great Marriage is work.

So what is there to do besides eat your bacon and enjoy your work?!? God is such a good God that he has made it possible to actually enjoy the work. To find that a job well done brings great fulfillment and pleases the God who created you. That when your work is done well, that God is Worshipped!

Work, for the day is coming... Work at your job, but don't stop there. Work at your home, work at your family, work at your friendships, work, work, work! Redeem the time for the days are evil. Don't waste it with foolishness and play! You will get plenty of rest after you die! Work while it is day, for the night is coming.

March 3, 2004

Sick Joke -- Sick Kid

Last Friday was my wife's birthday.

And being her 30th birthday, I really wanted to make it special. Now, I know what special means for me, but for her it is a slightly different story. She loves the party. The get-together. The social event. So I began to plan.

At first I didn't think that I was going to be able to pull it together. I am not much of a party-planner. But then I called upon her good friend, Julie, a.k.a. the youth Pastor's Wife. Everybody that was going to go to the party was going to rsvp to Julie, and she would then tell them what to bring. Nicole also volunteered to help by organizing the child care. And I convinced my good friend Jonathan to pick up the tables and chairs for me. Things were going good.

The day of the party came and I left the school to go buy some last minute items. Because of the traffic it took me longer than I anticipated. I made it home about 20 minutes later than I expected. I called the babysitter and asked her to pick up some McDonalds on the way to the house to feed the kids. We finally got on the road about 25 minutes later than the plan.

All of the guests were going to meet at the Church just down the road and wait for the van to drive by. Once we drove past the church, I knew that my whole goal was to take my time. I started by getting some gas at the friendly neighborhood Meijer Gas Station. I took as long as I could. I then began to weave my way to through the town, slowly but surely. At every turn my wife thought that I was going to this restaurant or that one.

Finally the call came. The babysitter says, "Son 1 just threw up." Through the course of the deception that I was weaving, we turned the van around and started heading back. The atmosphere in the van was full of concern, frustration, and depression. And slowly we weaved our way back through the town.

When we finally get to the house, my wife goes inside and and nobody is there. The babysitter calls from the basement, saying that Son 1 is down there. And even though my wife thinks that it is weird that her sick child is in the basement, she heads down there. As she rounds the corner, she sees a table with balloons, and thinks that is weird, but still she is looking for her sick child. She turns the other way and right there in front of her are several of her best friends saying, "surprise!"

Everything turned out great. The surprise was successful. The party was fun. My wife was pleased. But then it happened...

The trick to get my wife back to the house backfired. Saturday, Son 1 got sick. Sunday morning at 3:30 am I found myself in the van driving Son 1 to the E.R. He ended up needing an I.V. (which he was very brave during that process). And by Monday we found out that he had Mono. Today we also realized that he has a cold on top of everything else.

Last night I went in to see him. He was curled up in a little ball, his legs bent up underneath him. I thought he was asleep until I saw that his eyes were open. I bent over and said, "how you feeling, buddy?" Without changing his gaze, he said in a his shaky little voice, "...bad."

Oh, my heart sank. That's what I get for making my wife think that he was sick all the way back through the traffic of Lafayette!