August 31, 2005

Destroy Cloy. (update)

I just refurbished the "Destroy Cloy" T-shirt. After I e-mailed my pastor, he made a couple of suggestions, but in general, he really liked it!

Here are the updates.

Once again, if you can't read it from the picture, it says, "Destroy Cloy." And then in small print, "Go for Real Joy! (Ps. 16:11)"

August 30, 2005

Google Talk

I can't believe it, Google has joined the ranks of IM services!

Well, because I just love all things Google, I am going to have to give it a whirl... And I will let you know how it goes.

Check it out!

August 28, 2005

destroy cloy!


In honor of all of my North Hills friends, I have created this shirt. In case you can't quite make out the words from the picture, it says, "destroy cloy!" And then, "in anticipation of the full joy" is the small print below it.

I added it to my store in response to the sermon this morning. I am not going to go into a full explanation right now, but I will say that a proper understanding of the word cloy is necessary to appreciate this shirt.

cloy - to disgust through an excess (usually from what was originally pleasing).

And we all experience cloy. Children experience it with a new toy, or toy cloy, as my pastor called it. You can experience it with a song, with a person, with an activity, etc. And the more you think about it, the more it seems like almost everything is prone to cloy... we are wired for cloy. Yet the Psalmist says,

"You will show me the path of life;
in Your presence is fullness of joy;
at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
~~ Psalm 16:11


This is, in the words of my pastor, cloyless joy! It is hard for our minds to conceive of this.

If you would like a more detailed explanation of "destroy cloy!" then you need to listen to the rest of the August 28th sermon here.

In the meantime...



Party.

Well, we had an excellent little get-together on my birthday, produced and directed by the master party maker... my wife. She has always been the best at making my special days, well... special! She is truly a master at it.

We had all of the right decorations, all of the right people were there (my family), and of course, we had all of the right foods -- CAKE and ICE CREAM!

Birthday Hug!As you can tell from the cake and the person being hugged in this picture, it was a party for two! My sister, whose birthday is two days before mine, celebrated with me. She turned 18 this year, and I am so excited that she has now moved here, and I get to visit with her anytime that I want!

I am not really all that big on birthday parties, but I did really enjoy this one. I think that what I really enjoy is having my family around me. Obviously I love my family, most people can say that, but I really like them too. Oh, they are a weird bunch, but I couldn't ask for a different group of people to be legally and genetically attached to. From my mom and dad, all the way down to the newest member, Amelia. I love being a son, a brother, a husband, a father, and an uncle, all wrapped into one.

What makes my birthday happy? It isn't the presents, it is the presence. It is the presence of the people in my life. Thanks everyone!

August 26, 2005

the 27th

It is almost August 27th.

(That's my Birthday.)

Advertisements on Blogger!

I can't believe that there are advertisements showing up on my blogger comments! It is just plain stupid. Who thinks that this advertising method will work? Can they not see that it is just going to make people mad?!?

Blogger actually has some help for this. They now have word verification on the comments. If you are a Blogger blogger, and you would like to turn this on, just go to your comments settings and scroll down to this spot:



Make sure you select yes, and save your settings. Once you republish it should take affect.

Here is some more help on the subject.

August 25, 2005

Man, do they know me!!

My dad found this shirt and thought that I would like it.





My whole family has now agreed that this shirt was made for me. My wife doesn't even think that it is all that funny, because it is "...a little too real."

The 25th!

Today is my sister's Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you!
Woo!

Happy Birthday to you!
Woo!

Happy Birthday dear Ash--leeeee!

Happy Birthday to you!







Oh, and just in case you were wondering... my birthday is on the 27th... and here is My Froogle Wish list...

August 24, 2005

Free Money!

Do you ever get one of those grocery store cards that help you save money? Well, tonight I found out that if you register those cards online at www.upromise.com, a percentage of your purchases can be put back for your children's college!

There isn't anything that I like more than free money. Well, Ok... maybe a Hot Now Krispy Kreme...

Harmless Stuff

Come and visit my store!

http://www.cafepress.com/mattharmless




All proceeds go to ... ME!

August 23, 2005

A Trailer

Last weekend I attended the Desiring God Regional Conference. It was really awesome, but I won't talk about that right now. What I would like to suggest is the viewing of this trailer, which was shown right before one of the sessions. It is an awesome trailer, and something that my wife and I have decided that we need to watch every morning.

click here to view it. (right-click to save it)

When they played this at the conference on the big screens, there was actually an applause at the end. It is an awesome reminder.

August 22, 2005

Bible Reading

Reading your Bible everyday can be a challenge. Here are some pointers given by John Piper (at the 2005 Regional Conference in Greenville, SC...) on how to read your Bible Daily:

1. Pick a place - Don't wander around, unsure of where you are going to sit. Pick a spot that you can use everyday. Also, make sure that it is a place that will be free of distractions.

2. Pick a time - Don't wake up in the morning and say, "I'll read my Bible today." It won't happen. Know in advance when you are going to do this. (I suggest first thing in the morning.)

3. Pick a plan - This doesn't mean that you need to have some devotional guide, it just means that you need to know in advance what you are going to read. Many times, if you don't have a plan, you will end up flipping around through the Bible for half an hour, and never actually read anything.

August 13, 2005

Self-Confrontation

This school year I am being allowed the great privilege of teaching a class that has been titled Survey of Self-Confrontation. It is based on a manual by the same title. The purposes of this course, as outlined in the book are as follows:


I. To teach you how to approach circumstances, relationships, and situations of life from a biblical perspective and to experience victory and contentment in all of life's trials, testing, and problems.

II. To prepare you to help others face and deal with their problems biblically.


It is soley based on the fact that the Bible is the only authoritative rule of faith and practice, which adds a different element to this course. Math, English, Science, History... All good courses, and very helpful in life, but when you are digging into the very words of God, that is different. The Bible, unlike any other book, is living and powerful, and its purpose is to teach us and change us.

Which means that the most interesting thing about this course is that it is mostly spiritual. Of course it could be treated as just another academic endeavor by the students who have decided to take it, but the very nature of it requires them to step outside of the academic realm and examine their own hearts and lives.

It requires them to take the Word of God and apply it... to do it.

And there is the problem. James 1:22-25 says,

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."


Can you see the danger? Hearing God's word and doing it, results in self-confrontation, because we all have sin in our lives that needs to be dealt with, and God's word reveals that sin. But hearing God's word and not doing it results in self-deception. Thinking that you are alright, when you are so far from it.

Already in preparing for this class I have been confronted in my own heart. I know that if I am not right with God, it will affect the usefulness of this class.

I hope that it goes well, and I will try to keep you all updated on how it is going.

August 12, 2005

The 4 Rules of ...

Communication!

That's right ladies and gents, I have posted on my back wall right now the 4 Rules of Communication. If you have never heard of them before, they are:

Rule 1 - Be Honest (Ephesians 4:25)
Rule 2 - Keep Current (Ephesians 4:26,27)
Rule 3 - Attack the Problem, Not the Person (Ephesains 4:29)
Rule 4 - Act; Don't React (Ephesians 4:31,32)

I know that in some circles these are used quite extensively, so much so that they are almost ineffective. But they are really good rules. I just never thought that I would be posting them.

On a side note, it is official, I am now the SFCS assistant Soccer Coach!

Talk to you all later!

August 10, 2005

seven

He made it.

Somehow this son of mine has survived the first seven years of his life.

He is smart, funny, obedient, inquisitive, respectful, and loving. He is also the happiest person I know, and I am so thankful to God, that He has allowed me to have such a wonderful person in my life.

My one and only hope for his is that he will seek Christ. My heart breaks at the thought of the alternative.

Sam, you are my buddy, my son, and hopefully one day my brother in Christ.

Just do me one favor, stop growing so fast!

August 9, 2005

hope

One of my all time favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. It is by Stephen King and from the first time I saw it, I loved it.

One of my favorite scenes is right after the main character (played by Tim Robbins)decides to play some music over the intercom. It is some opera music of some sort, and when he plays it, all of the inmates stop what they are doing and listen to this music.

The narrator (Morgan Freeman), who also plays one of the inmates, talks about how he had no idea what that woman was singing about, but how beautiful it was.

It was a moment.

The narrator then states, "Andy got two weeks in the hole for that little stunt."

The movie then switches scenes to Andy (Tim Robbins), who is sitting in his Solitary Confinement cell. In the Script of this movie it says, "Andy doesn't seem to mind. His arms sweep to the music still playing in his head. We hear a FAINT ECHO of the soaring duet."

The next day the inmates are in the Mess Hall. Here is a conversation that they have. (Heywood and Floyd are two other inmates. Red is Morgan Freeman, and Andy is Tim Robbins. They also mention Brooks, who was an inmate that had been released, but couldn't handle the freedom. He had taken his own life earlier in the movie.)

HEYWOOD - Couldn't play somethin' good, huh? Hank Williams?

ANDY - They broke the door down before I could take requests.

FLOYD - Was it worth two weeks in the hole?

ANDY - Easiest time I ever did.

HEYWOOD - No such thing as easy time in the hole. A week seems like a year.

ANDY - I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company. Hardly felt the time at all.

RED - Oh, they let you tote that record player down there, huh? I could'a swore they confiscated that stuff.

ANDY - (taps his heart, his head) The music was here...and here. That's the one thing they can't confiscate, not ever. That's the beauty of it. Haven't you ever felt that way about music, Red?

RED - Played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost my taste for it. Didn't make much sense on the inside.

ANDY - Here's where it makes most sense. We need it so we don't forget.

RED - Forget?

ANDY - That there are things in this world not carved out of gray stone. That there's a small place inside of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope.

RED - Hope is a dangerous thing. Drive a man insane. It's got no place here. Better get used to the idea.

ANDY - (softly) Like Brooks did?


Did you catch that?

We have a hope that is here and today. Not just the thought that we will one day be liberated, but that we can live liberated now!

It is sad how many Christian people respond like Red. They feel like it is pointless to consider hope for today, that all we are to do is sit around and wait for our parole to come up.

But our hope is to be today! On this earth is where it makes the most sense to have hope. Hope that this isn't all there is. Hope that there are bigger things. Hope in a savior that knows and understands because he put in his time in this fleshly prison, and paved the way to freedom.

Hope is a wonderful thing. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Now I'm here!

Monday, August 15th, is the first day of school. I don't know what to think about this yet, I haven't really allowed my brain to dwell on it for too long, but it is coming whether I think about it or not.

The beginning of school is always the most difficult for me. Here I am, and I have just finished working a job that has kept me away from home most of the summer. And just as I start settling in at home, which, by the way, is my favorite place to be, because all of my favorite people are there, I am "forced" by the nature of human existence to go to work again. So here I am, out in the cold cruel world of Christian School teaching, having to type stuff, and put up bulletin boards (which no man should ever have to do).

Obviously I am being a little exaggerative, but it sure feels this way right now. Mostly because the "benefits" aren't here. No! I am not talking about health insurance, though that could be better, and I am not talking about salary, though that could definitely be better, I am talking about the benefits... the students. It is like dinner without dessert, or coffee without my International Delight, French Vanilla Creamer! Bearable, but not nearly as good.

On a serious note, here are a few beliefs that I hold dear, which help me through the year:
  • I am exactly where God wants me to be. I genuinely believe this. Life would be so much worse if I didn't practice this belief on a day to day basis.
  • God has given me everything that I need to do what I need to do. Whatever gets put on my plate will be the exact right amount.
  • God always... ALWAYS meets my needs. There is no exception to this. He always has, and I can, by faith, believe that He always will.

August 4, 2005

almost there

After this short sabbatical from the blog world, I am about ready to get started again. I hope that you are ready for me.