September 30, 2006

Bit-O-Honey

Thanks to the Mast General Store, I have rediscovered the Bit-O-Honey.

I haven't had any since I was a kid. My dad used to get them all of the time. At least the way I remember it, it was all of the time. In reality, he probably only picked that candy a few times. Regardless of how often my dad purchased these little delights, they always seemed like an "adult" candy to me.

I can't actually remember any exact event that led me to believe this. Maybe it was because the adults wouldn't share their Bit-O-Honey's with me. Or maybe they had a fear that I would choke on it or something (...it is a very chewy candy). Possibly it was a little bit of both; they convinced themselves that I wouldn't be able to handle it's awesome chewiness, so they hoarded them all for themselves!

Eventually I was able to get my hands on one. I felt like I was intruding into the land of adulthood with my stolen bit-o-sweetness.

All of that put aside, I am lovin' these candies!

Unfortunately I can't eat just one. I stick one in my mouth, and it never lasts as long as I really want it to. I chew on it for awhile, enjoying every little squish of juicy honey-nutness, then suddenly it disintegrates. The flavor lingers for awhile, mostly due to the little bits that have attached themselves to my teeth. Once that last little bit has been wrenched loose with my tongue, I give it a quick chew then catch a glimpse of the jar out of the corner of my eye. I usually end up having a little pile of wrapper debris before I force myself to stop.

September 29, 2006

a poem (not my own)

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
       We will grieve not, rather find
       Strength in what remains behind;
       In the primal sympathy
       Which having been must ever be;
       In the soothing thoughts that spring
       Out of human suffering;
       In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.


—from "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by William Wordsworth

September 23, 2006

The Slowest Ever!

I have been asked to teach the counseling class again. I was really hoping that this would happen, because I really enjoyed the last time that I was able to do that. (And, I have to say that it is a good sign, when you are asked to do something again... It means that they must not have hated me the first time I did it.) This time the topic is Progressive Sanctification in Counseling.

First I have to say that every time I am given a topic, I seem to be hit with all kinds of things in my life to help remind me of why God has really allowed me to teach this class. I can assure you that God has not allowed me to teach because of my great knowledge on a particular subject, or because of my amazing ability to present a lesson. No, no, that is most definitely not the case. The reality is that God allows me to teach because of my great need to learn and grow myself. Quite humbling, if you ask me.

When I was given the Idols of the Heart topic, God began to reveal in me all of these idols! I was full of them! I thought I was doing pretty good on this idolatry thing, but no! Far from it!

Well, this topic has been no different. From the time the teacher told me that I was going to be teaching Progressive Sanctification to this exact moment, as I am typing this post, God has shown me over and over again in these last few weeks, that I have not arrived. I am still in great need of Sanctification myself.

Second, I also have to tell you that I am the absolute slowest note writer -- ever! I hate to sound childish, but it takes me forever to complete a set of notes. As you can tell, it is Saturday night, and I have to teach tomorrow, and I am still making revisions. Crazy. I find that the most difficult thing is just coming up with a basic outline that makes sense to me. I will spend hours trying to formulate the flow of the lesson: all of the transitions between points, nice illustrations, etc. When I was a school teacher, I just needed the basic material, and I could wing the rest. It always came so naturally.

Truth is, I probably over prepare, but hey, these are adults that I am speaking to. It just seems so different!

Anyway, I better get back to work. I still need to practice teaching this thing 100 more times before I feel comfortable.

g'night...

September 20, 2006

The Lawn Mower Man

(It is a "moving" story...)

I was in Jacksonville, MS. I was almost done unloading a 10,000 lb. shipment (which is a story in itself), when my boss calls me. He tells me that there is another driver that has an overflow. (For you non-truck drivers, an overflow is when everything that is supposed to fit on the truck, doesn't fit.)

The other driver had relayed to my boss that there were just a few items left over, nothing that one person couldn't get by himself. He also said that everything was moved to the garage. Sounded easy.

And it would have been easy if this other driver had actually been telling the truth.

I didn't arrive at the residence, which was way down near the coast, not too far from New Orleans, until about ten at night. Now remember, I had already unloaded an entire shipment of stuff, then I had spent nearly five hours driving to this location. To be completely honest, I was pretty tired before I had even arrived, but I kept telling myself that it was just a little bit of stuff. Nothing too difficult for a mover like me!

So, like I said, I pulled in about ten that night. Oh sure, everything was in the garage, but it was a three car garage! And it was full! There were a couple of dressers and an entertainment center, two entire lawn furniture sets, several pieces of exercise equipment, etc., etc., tons of stuff! I couldn't even begin to tell you how much stuff was there. The picture that I have here barely does it justice. All I can say is that it ended up being 4,500 lbs. worth. (That is about a half a truck load.)

I couldn't believe it. Right after I pulled up to the house, the owner came out and said, "Well, I gotta get to bed. Good luck. See you later."

Umm, yeah. Sure. I'll get all of this up here.

So, I started working. One piece at time I moved all of that stuff up there. I called upon all of my many moving skills to tote, drag, and roll everything up that ramp. Until...

It was about one in the morning. I had been ignoring it the entire time, glancing at it out of the corner of my eye, but ineveitably I had to deal with it. It wasn't a little riding mower, it was one of the big ones -- heavy duty stuff here. I thought that I could push it up the ramp. I have done that before with much smaller mowers. Didn't work. Then I thought that I might be able to pull it up the ramp, so I tied a strap onto it and I was able to get it about half way up, but then I had visions of it rolling back down the ramp and crashing through the back of the garage. I quickly rolled it back down.

Then I said to myself, "I am smart guy. I know geometry, calculus, advanced mathematics... I can figure this out." I stood there for about 10 minutes, and right before I dozed off in that standing position, the solution hit me.

I want you to know that I am posting this video, knowing that I will be made fun of for this. Please take into consideration that I had been awake since about 5:50 that morning, and it was now about 1:30 the next morning. I tied two straps onto the mower, and as I tightened the straps, it gradually pulled the mower up the ramp.




All I can say is that the mower made it up there. After it was in the truck, I quickly strapped it off and drove to the nearest hotel.

September 19, 2006

How to Overcome Evil - Review

How to Overcome Evil
by Jay E. Adams



Summary:
The subtitle of this book is a practical exposition of Romans 12:14-21, and that is exactly what it is. Jay Adams breaks down each word and each phrase of this section of scripture, and he does it in a very practical way.

We are commanded to be overcomers, and that is what we will be, if we are followers of Christ. The key is that we are to overcome the evils of this world, not by returning evil for evil, but returning evil for good. God's good is the only weapon that will legitimately defeat evil.


My Thoughts:
This book was an eye-opener for me. I have two other posts that I have done about this book that will help illustrate some of the specific points of learning that I experienced through reading these explanations of scripture. (Here is post one and post two.)

This book can serve as a great tool for anyone who is struggling with problems from other human beings. (I think that includes all of us, doesn't it?) Being a Christian does not mean that you are a floor mat for people to walk all over. It is an aggressive stance toward the freedom found in Christ.

We are given weapons and marching orders in this battle, a battle that is already won. If you have never read a Jay Adams book before, this would make a good starting place. It isn't that long of a book, but it is packed with valuble information.

free time

With my job right now I have lots of time at home. I didn't think that it would be that way, but it does seem to be working out for the good.

Now, I need to tell you, when I work... I WORK. Being a mover isn't easy business. Carrying hide-a-beds, taking refridgerators upstairs, and dragging pianos around to the back of a house is all part of a days work. There have been many, many times that I have found myself on the heavy end of a long, large dresser -- full of clothes, mind you -- wondering how I was going to make it up this long flight of stairs without crushing myself.

Then, when I am between moves, I am driving...
    ...and driving
        ...and driving
              ...and ...

I have gotten really good at spending time on the road. I listen to books on tape, sermons, etc.

When I am off of work, though, I am really off. That is one thing that you don't get when you are a teacher. When you are a teacher, you are never off the clock. You are a teacher 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even when you aren't doning anything that is directly related to your subjects or your students, the teacher mindset is always there. Always hovering at the back of your consciousness.

As a mover, I don't even have to think about my job. Sometimes, I don't even think about it when I am there! I have always said, you can teach monkeys to do what I do. (You might be able to say that about teachers too, but regardless of popular opinion, that isn't the case.) Taking stuff on and off of a truck without dropping it, isn't rocket science. Give me some well-trained gorillas, and I can get the job done.

The only problem that I am having with my downtime is that I tend to be lazy. Just like yesterday, I didn't have to work, so I basically didn't do anything at all. I could have been working on the yard, or reading some of my books, or studying for my next Counseling Class lesson... but instead, I just sat around and did as little as possible.

I think that I am going to have to come up with a way to manage this extra free time. I need to set some goals or something. If I don't, I am going to end up like a bump on a log.

September 15, 2006

Fixed

"Fix my footsteps in Your Word
And don't allow any evil to rule over me."
Psalm 119:133 (Jay E. Adams translation)

I think that it is amazing that God brings the right passages of scripture into our lives at just the right time. The verses that have been the most applicable to my current situations have been the exact same verses that I have found in my daily Bible readings. The verse quoted above is one of those verses.

I decided back in January that I wasn't going to sign on for another year of teaching. This might be news for some of you who only keep up to date through this blog. I did not make this decision lightly. I had surrounded it with prayer and wise and varied counsel.

Of course this decision left me facing in the direction of the unknown, (not my favorite direction to face) but I was sure that God was going to open some unforeseen door. Until that happened, I did know that I had a way to provide for my family, which was my primary concern and one of the motives for leaving education to begin with. I knew that I could be a truck driver as long as I needed to be, but I also knew that I wouldn't be doing that permanently, so the path before me seemed so clouded.

There have been times in my life when the path set before me seemed bright and cleared. That, of course, never lasted, but it at least seemed that way. But now I was facing a course where I couldn't even see a few feet in front of me.

I don't know about you, but when things get like that, I occasionally have a day or two of freak-out. I get this panicked feeling, and I want to get everything fixed as fast as I can. Sometimes that leads to un-thought-out decision making, and with me it almost led to a job that would not have been the right thing at all. Fortunately, God opened my eyes enough to see that before I signed on the dotted line (literally).

Shortly after that, I read this verse. Now I know, both by truth that has been taught to me and also by my own personal experience, that I absolutely need to remain fixed in God's Word. But when I read this, it dawned on me that fixing my footsteps in God's word isn't just some metaphorical phrase to be quoted to ourselves when we are feeling directionless. NO, it is the essence of practicality. God's word clearly lays out how we are to live.

The Bible is not a big quotation book for positive thinking. It is a living powerful book that has all that we need for life and godliness. And for me to "fix my footsteps" in it means that I will, by faith, do what the Bible says, trusting that God knows what He is talking about.

So, that is what I am doing.

I am walking down a path, with God's word as a lamp and a light, showing me exactly what the next step is that I need to take. I hope to remain fixed in His word by reading and studying daily, and by praying for His grace to be sufficient.

Idols of the Heart - Week 4

Here is the final week of the teaching.


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To listen to all four weeks of the teaching visit my odeo podcast.

September 5, 2006

Idols of the Heart - Week 3

I have added the third week of the Idols of the Heart lesson. Here is a link to my podcast, where you can find the other two lessons and download the mp3's for listening to on your ipod.

Or, you could listen to it here:


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September 4, 2006

The Trail

The sins of some men are obvious,
    reaching the place of judgment ahead of them;
the sins of others trail behind them.

    I Timothy 5:24


In my life I have fallen into both of these categories.

There have been times when my sins were worn on a badge on my chest. They were right there out in the open for anyone to see, anyone who was looking. Sometimes I was the only one who could not see these sins. I was under the impression that I was doing pretty well, when those who were closest to me were being hurt.

Other times I have kept my sins hidden. I was the only person who could see these sins. I held onto them the way a man might hold onto the last bottle of water during a drought. These hidden sins were the last remnants of a former self, a self that I clung to, even though it was detrimental to me.

A better illustration would probably be more like a man holding onto a bottle of sea water during a drought. Secretly taking drinks of it, thinking that it those cool drinks would be satisfying. But sea water can never satisfy thirst. It only heightens it. I would have been like that man, when there was a cool fresh-water spring within reach.

This verse was written as a warning, in the context of elder approval. When one is choosing an elder, great caution must used. There is always the possibility of hidden sins. You may not see them right away, but they will show themselves eventually.

Even though this verse was written to assist with the evaluation of others, I read it as a warning to myself. (It seems that most of the verses I read end up having their targets aimed at my heart.) I recognized how I fit into this verse. I don't want my sins to be leading the way in front of me, and I most assuredly don't want my sins to be following up behind me, leaving a trail of destruction.

I want to be the kind of person who is laid bare in the eyes of Christ, not withholding anything. I want my sins to be dealt with right now, today. Not in front of me or behind me. Right here. Let's get to the heart of the problem.

The Bible is the exact tool that I need (that we need) to achieve this. It is living and powerful. It is the only book that has the ability to cut to the depths of the inner being, and it will reveal the heart (Heb. 4:12). And the heart is the exact place where we need to go. It is the source, the wellspring of all sin (Mk. 7:21-23).

May God cleanse our hearts and renew our spirits (Ps. 51)before the trail of sin becomes irreversible.

September 2, 2006

The 27's...

As many of you know, especially if you are one of my former students, I have this thing with the number 27. I don't really want to get into the origins of the 27 right now, I will have to save that for another day.

I would like to share this e-mail that I received the other day concerning the 27. I think that you might find it to be entertaining.

Your site describes almost the exact same set of events that my friends and I have been experiencing for about a year now. We are thoroughly amazed that another person has experienced this, let alone with the same number as us.

We have a wealth of photographic and written evidence, and one of us is also planning to do a short comedy film (The Curse Of 27) based around the number (and possibly a comic, called the Chronicle of 27)

The first incident occurred whilst purchasing sweets. When asked what the price of a Drumstick lolly, one of those present replied off-hand "27 p" for no reason. Upon inspecting the Drumsticks, to our surprise we discovered the price to be exactly 27 p.
At first this coincidence led us to believe the number was lucky, and we noticed in many different locations.

Eventually though, the sheer number of 27s we found led us to believe that 27 was perhaps not as positive a number as we had first believe. A prime example is a building one of us found with a huge 27 on the side. A week later, he attempted to show one of us to the building in question, only to find it demolished.

We await your response.


:)