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!