January 31, 2005

Being Right

I believe that there is a high correlation between how much we love God and how much we love others. The degree to which we love God is shown in and by our love for other people. There are many places in the Bible that allude to this fact. One place in particular is seen when Christ is questioned by the pharisees:


But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"

And He said to him, " `YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' This is the great and foremost commandment.

"The second is like it, `YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
--Matthew 22:34-40


Notice that the question that was asked was, ...what is the greatest commandment? Yet when Christ responds, he responds with Love God... and just like that, Love Your Neighbor. Even though He was only questioned about the one greatest command, He responded with the two commands. Loving God and Loving your neighbor are so tightly bound together that it was almost as if you couldn't say one without saying the other. Together, these two commands are a summary of what God wants you to do.

At a later place, Christ is talking to his disciples about the judgement, and he likens it to a shepherd, seperating the sheep from the goats:


"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left."
-- Matthew 25:32-33

He continues on in this illustration by talking about how the sheep have lived and about how the goats have lived. In fact, the ONLY difference that he mentions is how these people have treated each. He talks about how the sheep have fed and clothed Him, how they have visited Him while He was sick and in prison. Their response is, Lord, when did we do this?!? He immediately responds by saying, "In as much as you have done it to the least of these my bretheren, you have done it unto me... enter into my rest." (Read the full passage here.)

So you can see, your love for God is played out, is demonstrated in your love for other people. But not just anybody... It must be everybody! Here is a sobering thought: Your love for God is best demonstrated in your love for the least of these.

Take a moment to consider that one person in your life that you like the best. Of course you show love to them. As Jesus said, "...even the tax collectors and sinners love those who love them..." But now consider that one person in your life that you like the least. That one person that you find to be irritating or annoying. Think for a moment about your worst enemy. How much do you love them? THAT is the picture of your love for Christ!

If you want to be right with God. It begins by being right with others. It is easy to sing those songs in church about how much you love God. That makes us feel good. But which category do you fall into?

The sheep or the goats?

January 27, 2005

Just Coffee

I think that this is really amazing. And Cool. Coffee Art.

Anticipating the Day


Light of the Harbor


The site is just coffee, and all of this art is done with coffee. Just coffee. Espresso for the darker spots, a lighter coffee for the lighter areas. It is all done in the same method that you would paint with water colors.

See the entire gallery here.

The artist is a distant cousin to one of the students in my computer class. She showed it to me, and I thought that I would pass it on to you.

monitoring tests

In the last year I have had 2 monitors burn out on me.

And I think that I am about ready to lose another one.

I like to type my own tests. OK, actually I don't really like to type them, but I just don't like those pre-made tests that come with the curriculum. I am a fundamentalist when it comes to Math. I like to stick to the basics. Some of these more recent text books like to cram in several different topics and methods all together. But I don't like that.

I can remember when I took math growing up: If you had a chapter on fractions, then you would get like 100 fraction problems. Now, if there is a chapter on fractions, they give you 5 fraction problems, a few story problems, some problems with decimals, a couple of pictures of fraction situations, and several review questions.

I know that this concept of integrating several different things together seems sound, but I just don't think that it works in reality. If students are going to remember how to work with fractions, they need like a hundred fraction problems... at least! It is the repetition that burns it into their brains.

I just know that I am about tired of teaching the upper level classes and half of them don't know how to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions. It's just crazy. It is one thing to have a couple of students that are struggling, but when you put some fractions on the board and half of a class doesn't know where to begin... very frustrating.

But anyway!

I planned on typing two tests at home last night (the tests were today) and it didn't seem like it would be too much of a problem. I had already gathered all of the information that I needed, written out all of the problems, and all I had left was to type it. And then it happened.

The monitor started flickering.

There it would go. In and Out. In and Out. Every time it started to flicker, I thought, "oh no! This can't be happening."

I barely made it through the tests. They were saved and printed. But I just couldn't believe it, another monitor! And on a night like that. I almost never bring work home to be typed on the computer, and the one night that I do, the monitor starts to go out. Wouldn't it just figure?

January 26, 2005

Carson Quotes

Johnny Carson
1925-2005



I know that I am barely old enough to say that I was a part of the Carson era. But I do remember watching his show. It was usually on the couch at my girlfriend's house, as we were waiting for Letterman to come on. I don't remember alot about the show, because my attentions were focused on the girl... not on the TV.

Here are a few quotes of his that I found on the internet:

"If it weren't for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we'd still be eating frozen radio dinners." (I have actually heard this one before.)

"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."

"The only thing money gives you is the freedom of not worrying about money."

"My success just evolved from working hard at the business at hand each day."

"People will pay more to be entertained than educated."

"Married men live longer than single men. But married men are a lot more willing to die."

Book Review - Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling

"All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
-- 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I believe that the Bible has the answers and the directions to any trial, tribulation, or temptation that you may encounter in your life. The Bible is there to equip you: completely and accurately. The Bible has not become outdated. And regardless of popular opinion, there aren't exceptions to the answers it provides.

But lets be honest, the Bible is a huge book. It is filled to the brim with information. And when you are in the middle of a crisis situation (whether yours or someone else's) you may not have the time to find what you need. Any Biblical tool can become very useful, and almost essential. So, you don't need to be a counselor to think that the Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling is an excellent book. Even though it was written with the purpose of assisting Biblical Counselors, I have found it very useful in day to day life.

There have been many occasions that my wife and I have flipped through these pages, writing things down, searching for the answers and the help for the moment.

I have also used this on several different occasions when working with students. A counselor is simply a brother or sister in Christ that is walking along side... that is assisting along the way.

Here are just a few of the topics included in this book:

Anger
Bitterness
Changing (to please God)
Church Discipline
Comfort
Death
Decision Making
Depression
Divorce
Drug Abuse
Fear
Homosexuality
Husband/Wife Relationships & Marriage
Laziness
Lust
Lying
Obedience
Overcoming Sin
Persecution
Prayer
Priorities
Providence of God
Repentance
Resentment
Self-Centeredness
Self-Control & Self-Discipline
Self-Pity
Sex Life
Trials
Trust
Waiting on the Lord
Warnings
Work
Worry



    This book has been an excellent help to me, and I just thought that I would pass it along to you. Click on the book, and check it out. The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling by John G. Kruis.




January 24, 2005

Sonnets

I have gone and done something a little bit on the geeky side. I have signed up to receive a sonnet-a-day. Each day I receive in my e-mail a sonnet by Shakespeare. And I freely admit that I am surprised at how much I love to read them.

Here is one that I read the other day that I really enjoyed.


Let not my love be call'd idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so.
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence;
Therefore my verse to constancy confined,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
'Fair, kind and true' is all my argument,
'Fair, kind, and true' varying to other words;
And in this change is my invention spent,
Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
'Fair, kind, and true,' have often lived alone,
Which three till now never kept seat in one.
--William Shakespeare

January 20, 2005

coffee mom

Recently my wife landed a job at Port City Java. Besides the extra income, I am seeing all sorts of benefits to this new job. (1)The free coffee. (2)The free cappucinos. (3)The free lattes. (I don't know if I am spelling any of these things correctly or not...) (4)Being able to have my wife order my coffees for me because I am never really sure what I am ordering until I take the first drink. (5)Finding out what a barista is. (6)More free coffee.

The list of benefits is huge! And I haven't even gotten into the secondary benefits yet. Things like: having more time to do school work at home or being able to watch a Jackie Chan movie on a weekday. There are all sorts of secondary benefits.

But the neatest thing about this job is how she got it. You can read all about it in her post titled, the story of my life. But I still feel the need to make a couple of comments about it myself.

I must say, the way she finds jobs is amazing. I mean, even in this case, she didn't even go down there right away, they called her! That is so typical of how things go in her life. She gets the neatest opportunities and I think that it is because people love her. They really do, people just love her. She has abilities in social situations that would amaze you. She can walk into a room of complete strangers, and within minutes have people feeling at ease and wanting to be her friend for life.

I also want to say that I think that she will be perfect for this job. God has blessed her with the ability to multi-task and administer. She does great in high pressure situations. I fully expect her to be running a business someday. She just has a knack for it.

Her only limitation will be her priorities. I know that she will put me and the boys first. I don't doubt it for a moment. Her #1 priority is her family. She is a mom at heart and nothing is going to change that.

Port City Java may just have to wait for their manager of the year decade.

Jack Arnold

Last Sunday at our church, the music pastor told us a story about a man named Jack Arnold, who had been his own pastor at one time. He told us about how this man had died close to the end of his sermon.

Then again this morning during our teacher's devotions I got to hear the story again. Jack Arnold had at one time been the pastor of the church that is associated with the school where I currently teach. This morning I got to hear a little more about his story.

After being a pastor for many years, he founded a ministry called Equipping Pastors International. So when most men are considering retirement, this man was founding a new ministry where he would be traveling around the world, going into the most remote places of Africa and training the national pastors. He was like a one-man seminary. And as you know, there are no luxury hotels in the deepest parts of Africa, so he would simply live, sleep, and eat with the people that he was training. All done for the furtherance of Christ.

Our music pastor, who knew him personally said that his final sermon was a characterization of his life. Here is an excerpt about that sermon that I found on the EPI site:


As Dr. Arnold neared the end of the sermon on the "Cost of Discipleship," he spoke of his favorite verse - "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." He quoted from Wesley saying, "Until my work on this earth is done, I am immortal." He continued, "But when my work for Christ is done..." and slapping his hands together skyward, "I am outa here! I don't know about you, but when my work on earth is done, I go to be with Jesus. And that will be gain! And when I go to heaven..." At this point, Jack paused, looked up, swayed slightly and his spirit departed.
--Website of Equipping Pastors International


This morning I was told that at the end of his sermon notes he was planning on saying something like this: "... what the church needs today is bold Christians. Christians who are known by Christ and are living for him."

I agree. I would say it this way though, "What the church needs today is Christians being Christians." If we are going to carry His name, then we need to live like him the way this man, Jack Arnold, lived for Him.

I have found this story to be both encouraging and challenging, so I decided to share it with you. You can read more about Jack Arnonld and his story here, here and here.

January 18, 2005

Gossip

Gossip. What is this? Most of the time we think of a couple of older women sitting around discussing everyone's business. It is usually accompanied with some, "did you hear what so-and-so did?" or "I can't believe she is seeing someone like that!" or "...well I heard..." and so on. Sometimes we start to visualize the housewives picking up their "prayer chain" in order to discuss certain "prayer requests" with each other, and before you know it, information that should have been kept private has been spread to an entire church during their toddler's afternoon naps.

But is that what this word is referring to? Are the only people that are prone to gossip older women playing bingo?

A couple of years ago I was given a little tool to determine whether or not information should be shared: If the person that you are getting ready to share with "...is not part of the problem or part of the solution..." then they do not need to know. And for quite some time this was an adequate definition for me. Pretty much any situation that I personally encountered was easily handled with this device. But, as we know, nothing is perfect, and even this little tool can still pose some problems, especially if it is misused. So, today I decided to delve in deep to discover what this word means.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines gossip this way:

1. a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others
2. a : rumor or report of an intimate nature b : a chatty talk c : the subject matter of gossip


Not a bad definition at all. Especially note the words habitually, personal, and sensational. All three words focus on the heart of the gossip.

Next I did a little Bible search using studylight. I looked for two words: gossips and gossip. My search for the word gossips turned up 5 verses. (see these verses here) And my search for the word gossip turned up 2 verses. (see these verses here) Listed below are the original words with their Strong's definitions. (If you click on the word it will take you to the full definition, with pronunciation, and other translations of that word.)


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Gossips
1. Psithuristes (gk.) -- a whisperer, secret slanderer, detractor (Rom. 1:29)

2. Diabolos (gk.) -- prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely, a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer; metaph. applied to a man who, by opposing the cause of God, may be said to act the part of the devil or to side with him (I Tim. 3:11, II Tim. 3:3, Titus 2:3)

3. Phluaros (gk.) -- of persons uttering or doing silly things, garrulous, babbling; of things, foolish, trifling, vain (I Tim. 5:13)

Gossip
1. Psithurismos (gk.) -- a whispering, i.e. secret slandering; of the magical murmuring of a charmer of snakes (II Cor. 12:20)

2. Pathah (he.) -- to be spacious, be open, be wide; to be simple, entice, deceive, persuade (Prov. 20:19)


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I wasn't as helped by these verses as I had hoped that I would be. The verses themselves don't offer a direct definition of the word gossip. Most of them talk about the word, grouped with several other words, as a list of things or people to not be a part of... to not have as a part of oneself.

After I had read each of these verses, I began to look at the words and their definitions. As you can see, there is more than one word in the original texts that has been translated gossip. But looking at the definitions, you may begin to notice a few similarities.

One big similarity is this idea of slander. I believe that slander is sharing information with the intent of hurt. If your communication is done with the intent of bringing down another, this is definitely not good and could be characterized as gossip.

Sometimes we even seek out certain people to share with because we know that they are going to be on our side. We are looking for allies, people that will join in with us. Our communication has become a campaign to align as many people on our side as possible.

Question your motives. Why are you sharing? What is your purpose to share the information that you have? If you can see that you are aiming to bring someone down, this is not good Godly communication. All of our communication should be characterized by a building up of others. This can be difficult at times.

Most of the greek words also have something to do with being secretive. On further study, I found out that more than one word, that was translated gossip, came from another word that means whispering. I get this picture in my mind of two people looking around to see if they are being watched, and then leaning over and sharing some juicy info. Being sneaky is a big warning signal. If you are sneaking around sharing information, chances are this is gossip.

In the Old Testament, the hebrew word that is used gives you the idea of a person that just says too much. Many times this is the real problem, people who don't know when to shut up.

These three ideas I believe are characterizations of gossip: secretive, slanderous, and talking too much. (I tried to find three words that started with the same letter, but just couldn't do it.) If your communication is characterized by any of these, then be careful.

But what about my original gossip tool? "... part of the problem, or part of the solution..."

It is pretty obvious that if someone is part of the problem, then it would be OK to share with them, to discuss with them, that is the Matthew 18 principle. The real problem is when you begin to wonder, "who is part of the solution?" Now I am going to venture into the arena of my opinion. (Notice that I bolded "my opinion" so that you would make sure to see it.)

My opinion is that there is no specified list of people who are part of the solution. Godly counselors do not have to take the form of a Pastor. Sometimes they are teachers or best friends. Sometimes they are parents or other family members. Sometimes they can be a complete stranger. BUT, here is the key: are they solution minded people? When you go to them, do they steer you to the Word of God? Do they always aim to give Godly counsel?

More importantly, be honest enough with yourself to question your own motives. Even if they are giving you Godly counsel, are you planning on listening? Sometimes it is easy to say that you are going to get some counsel, when in reality, you just want to tell another person about how you were wronged. This can be a tricky thing, don't deceive yourself.

In conclusion, I would seriously like to encourage you to look up these verses for yourself. Come up with your own conclusions, and don't take my word for it.

January 13, 2005

hello guests

If you are new to visiting this site, or if you have been here often, I would like to direct you to the menus located under the title. I have arranged the majority of my oldest stuff into categories. I would love it if you would consider browsing through to see what is there.

Also, would you please consider signing my guest map? It doesn't take long to do, and I would really appreciate it!

Thanks!

January 12, 2005

commenting

I have decided to get rid of the "haloscan" commenting. I fought against it for awhile, but it just seems silly to have two different commenting systems.

I also realized that haloscan comments disappear eventually. None of my old posts have comments anymore.

If you just posted on the other comments, I am very sorry.

the rain

The rain fell softly and slowly,
its pitter-patter lulling the man
into thoughts of comfort,
but never warning him
of the oncoming storm.

January 11, 2005

Thy will.

Most, if not all of us have been through tough times. Times that seem bleak and hopeless. Times that shake the very foundations of our belief system. Regardless of whether these times were brought about by our own sin, or by the sin of others, it felt like we were hanging on a precipice. The circumstances were hard, very hard. Seemingly the hardest that they could be and we were contemplating letting go.

When we are in those conditions, we know the right path. We know the way God would have us go. Sometimes we don't want to admit that we know... We like to wallow in our own misery because we simply don't like the right path.

Then there are times when the right path seems a bit risky. We know that there are all of those "Bible Promises" out there, that guarantee that God's way is the best. But when you are in the midst of it, it just doesn't seem that way sometimes. The right path begins to take more of the shape of a rickety old rope bridge over a raging river with sharp rocks.

You even start thinking of your possible future time-line. You take a glance down the way, and it seems pretty bleak. Trials and difficulties galore, if you choose the right path. Sometimes we even dredge up, from our memory, certain stories of what has happened to other people. Testimonials that our brain uses to try to convince ourselves that the wrong way is the easier way... the only way to happiness.

We pull back momentarily, reminding ourselves, "God's way is better... God's way is better... " But the words seem empty, without power.

Have we found an exception?!? Is this the one instance that God's way isn't better? Is God actually saying to us, "Oops, I messed up on that one. You better do the wrong thing to get out of it... "

As you read this you might already be anticipating the warmth and encouragement that I am going to type, to press you on to do the right thing. You might even be expecting me to start quoting verses about the blessings and the joy that await you if you do the right thing.

I believe firmly that those verses are there. I believe that they are true and can fill you with hope!

But that is not what I am going to do today.

A few thousand years ago there were three young men who were facing a very difficult situation. They were going to be thrown into a huge furnace if they did not obey the king of that land. Normally these men were very obedient. They were known for their service and loyalty to the king. But this time the king was commanding them to bow down and worship an idol. To pay their allegience to one who was not the true God. They refused.

When the king confronted them, they replied like this:

"Your threat means nothing to us. If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn't, it wouldn't make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn't serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up."

Most of us know the rest of the story. Many of us have known this story since we were small children. If you would like to read the whole thing, you can find it here.

For those of us who know the story, we know that they are miraculously saved. We know that the king's heart is changed, and we know that the three young men are promoted in the end.

But when they made their statement to the king... when they decided where they would take a stand, they did not know how it would all turn out. They even say that to the king, "God can save us... but even if he doesn't, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Where do you stand?

"There will be two kinds of people in the end: Those that will say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God will say 'Thy will be done.'"
-- C.S. Lewis



do right.

January 10, 2005

I Love


Blogger Idol Week 5


I love...
green VW beetles
passing notes in class
driving around until 2:00 in the morning
staying up really, really late watching movies
and hanging out with friends
... because I love you.

I love...
long distance relationships
driving far to watch a late movie
giving instructions on driving a stick
writing extra long love letters
and paying huge phone bills
... because I love you.

I love...
sleeping two hours a day
working all hours of the night
trips to Chicago
a band called Worm
and learning about Keith & Rich
... because I love you.

I love...
working third shift
taking care of a whining puppy
stopping by the office with snacks & root beer
sleeping 4 hours a night
and eating mexican food for breakfast
... because I love you.

I love...
five and a half hour drives
going to school & skipping chapel
meeting new friends
sleeping 5 hours a night
changing diapers
watching movies whenever there's time
being poked with a needle
crying, laughing, praying
exhaustion... depression... completion...
and moving on
... because I love you

I love...
mini vans
getting up early
rock ballads & Chicago's greatest hits
putting the soap in the soap dish
working long and hard
baby sitters
staying up kinda late watching movies
empty wallets, beat up cars
and growing
... because I love you.

I love...
the empty nest
the passing years
a few gray hairs
a few extra pounds
and watching movies early in the evening
... because I love you.

I love...

... because I love you.

(this is the second time this has appeared on my blog)

January 8, 2005

The Weekly Weigh-In

A week to date of dieting and the scales reads....(drumroll, please)

181 pounds!

That's precisely 13 pounds lighter IN ONE WEEK!

Just thought I'd let you all know....must go...too faint to type...

January 5, 2005

194

I weigh more now, than I ever have in my life.

I weighed in at 194 lbs. on Sunday afternoon. I couldn't believe it. 194 lbs. That is only 6 lbs. away from 200 lbs. and I refuse to go there. There is no way that I am going to top 200! Not gonna happen.

So... The diet started on Monday.

I have never been on a diet before. I have thought about it, I have toyed with the idea, but then I went ahead and ate that extra Krispy Kreme. It just wasn't that important to me. I didn't really care how much I weighed, but I never thought that I would even get close to 200 lbs.!!!

A little depressing.

So a dieting I will go. I am not going to say which diet I am on. It is a fairly well-known diet. But I am going to be giving weekly updates on my current weight. I just figured if I made it public knowledge, it might help me to stick to it.

So here I am at 194 lbs. and counting... down.

January 3, 2005

sheltered

"A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in." -- C.S. Lewis