April 30, 2010

Thanks for stopping by...

I think that my blog is going to set a new record today. The record will be a new monthly high number of visits to this blog. The previous high was in October of 2008, when I had 1291 visits in one month. I think that I have already surpassed that for this month, but I want to really beat the record!

So, if you are reading this through a feed reader, stop on by!

Please say "hi" while you are here (via the comments).

Comment Moderation

Well, I just had to turn on the comment moderation. I don't like to do that because I like the comments to show up right away. Especially if I am not going to be by a computer for awhile.

But yesterday I had several spam comments. Those are comments from people who really have no interest in your blog, but want to put up a link to their website so that they can get more publicity. So, when someone says "Hey love your blog." and then adds a link to Jordan Shoes... Yeah.

So I am now going to start moderating the comments.

April 29, 2010

Everything Skit

I just posted that last video that my wife showed me, and it got me to thinking about other videos that have been beneficial to me. This one I saw at church a few years ago. I have to be honest, I still cry every time I watch it.

Embracing Accusation

Excellent video!



[HT: my wife]

April 27, 2010

Peter and the Star Catchers (review)

I love reading to my two boys.  I read to them nearly every night, when I have the chance.  I try to go the whole nine yards too, including different voices for each character.  Peter and the Starcatchers has been a great book to read to them.

It is the story behind the story of Peter Pan.  I know, I know, Peter Pan... But I am telling you it is a really good book!  It is written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, and they do an amazing job of breathing new life into these well known characters and letting us get to know a little more about them.  I mean, who hasn't wondered about Captain Hook's history?

It was fun going through the book as you see these different characters being revealed and the aspects of the traditional story begin falling into place.  I don't want to go into detail because I don't want to ruin the story for you.

If you enjoy reading to your kids, then I want to recommend this book.  My boys loved it and immediately upon its completion made me go to the Library to get book 2.

If you have any questions about this book, please feel free to e-mail me, I might be able to give you a little more detail.

April 26, 2010

we are surrounded by fruit

We are surrounded by fruit!   Evaluate it before you eat it!

Yesterday I preached through the next part of the Sermon on the Mount.  In this section, Jesus warns His disciples of the reality of false prophets.  This warning is important because (1) as humans, we have the potential of being deceived and (2) there exists a being who is known as the deceiver.

He is the great deceiver and we can be deceived. He is the father of lies and we can be lied to.  He is a trickster and we can be tricked.  This is not a good combination, therefore a warning.

If you would like to download this sermon, right-click this link and choose save.

Fruit Inspectors

April 22, 2010

The Way

I just posted last Sunday's message.  I titled it The Way, because, according to Jesus, there are only two ways and only one right way.  This teaching stands very much opposed to the teaching of today.

If you would like to download this message, right click and choose save.

The Way

HWJT?

How Would Jesus Teach?

That is what I am wondering today.  If Jesus was a public school teacher, how would He teach?  How would He respond to students that don't want to learn?  What sort of reaction would He have to disrespect? ...to profanity?  ...to disobedience?  ...to cell phones in class?

He taught those who came to Him (Matt 5:1).  It wasn't a captive audience.  When He taught something that was hard, many would leave and stop being His students (John 6:60-66). Those who stayed and disagreed with Him were simply there to try to trip Him up.  When they couldn't frustrate His teachings, they simply plotted to kill Him.  When they finally carried out their plan; He did not fight back; He did not resist.  So, when I look at His life, it is hard to know what He would do, because the situation is so different.

The question then remains, "How would Jesus teach?"

Some days, I stray away from that question to a different question... Would Jesus Teach?

I know He was a teacher.  I know He was the Great Teacher!  But, would He teach at a public school?  Would He daily expound on truth, without ever giving THE Truth?  If you consider the gospels and look at His interactions with people, nearly every time you can read of how He expertly steers the conversation from some abstract to a personal confrontation with the Truth of the gospel.

I can't do that at school.  I am not allowed.  Living in constant suppression can be strenuous.

What do you think?  How Would Jesus Teach?  Would Jesus Teach?

This Volume

This volume is the writing of the living God:  each letter was penned with an almighty finger; each word in it dropped from the everlasting lips; each sentence was dictated by the Holy Spirit.
Albeit that Moses was employed to write his histories with his fiery pen, God guided that pen.  It may be that David touched his harp, and let sweet Psalms of melody drop from his fingers; but God moved his hands over the living strings of his golden harp.  It may be that Solomon sang canticles of love, or gave forth words of consumate wisdom, but God directed his lips, and made the preacher eloquent.
I follow the thundering of Nahum, when his horses plough the waters, or Habakkuk, when he sees the tents of Cushan in affliction; if I read Malachi, when the earth is burning like an oven; if I turn to the smooth page of John, who tells of love, or the rugged fiery chapters of Peter who speaks of fire devouring God's enemies; if I turn to Jude who launches forth anathemas upon the foes of God, everywhere I find God speaking; it is God's voice, not man's; the words are God's words, the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of this earth.
This Bible is God's Bible, and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, "I am the book of God; man, read me."
~C.H. Spurgeon [from his sermon titled "The Bible"; Spurgeon's Sermons Volume I]

Man.  Read it!

April 21, 2010

Blocked!

I just left Direct TV last month.  I had one month left on my contract, I completed that month, paid the bill, and said, "good-bye."  It wasn't a harsh dismissal.  I wasn't angry.  I didn't berate anyone on the phone because of high bills or bad customer service.  I simply did not want to pay for something that I am not going to use.  (There are only 4 episodes of LOST remaining, so once that is over, there will no longer be any ties between me and the TV.)

Truth is, I am just too busy to watch TV.  If I have a spare moment, I want to read.  I want to spend time with my wife and my children.  I want to study for the next sermon.  I want to accomplish some little unfinished project on my house.  These are the things that I want to do.  So, I broke up with Direct TV.

That is when the calls started.  No voice-mail.  No messages of any kind.  Just silence.  I called it back once, and it was Direct TV!

So, thanks the the amazing powers of Google Voice... They are now blocked!  Now, when they call, they will receive a very official sounding, "I'm sorry.  The number you dialed has been disconnected..."

April 20, 2010

The Product

I just read a good post over at the Guru's Handbook, called The Dirty Secret of Education. I would like to encourage you to read it, so I am going to give you a little taste:
In most professions the practitioners can point to a product or an effect of their work. A better tool, a running program, a written document, satisfied clients, smoother operations. Yet there is no object produced in teaching and the teacher’s job is not to make people or institutions happy, but to draw the student to learn, to change. What is the product? It is not the curriculum, which is only one of many ways of organizing subject matter. It is not the student’s mind, which arrives mostly assembled. It is not an abstract ideal of knowledge which if it exists only exists inside this mostly assembled student’s mind. The teacher’s work is to lead the student to learn – perhaps the material, perhaps how to learn – but only the student can do the actual learning. So what is the product?
Ok. That was a big taste, but I like that! "What is the product?" I believe that this thought is at the core of my frustration with the media... even the conservative media. Even though they want to praise teachers out of one side of their mouths, they also want to blame those same teachers when students don't perform to expectations. You see, many believe that the product of the teacher is an educated student. I just don't agree.

The Guru's Handbook went on to discuss what the product of the teacher IS, but it stimulated a few braincells in the direction of the fact that student achievement is the product of something. I work with the same amount of energy, desire, effort, and ingenuity with each of my students and in each of my classes, and yet I have the full spectrum of student achievement... sometimes in one classroom! My student's achievement is not the product of this teacher. Frankly, I wouldn't dare rob any of my students of the credit for their achievements. But even the collective student achievement (or lack of achievement) is not the result of the collective of teachers. I believe that it is the product of society... of culture.

Teachers are not to be let off the hook. There are certainly good teachers and bad teachers, but the problems in education in America are not primarily the teachers. If we (collectively) are part of the problem, then we are about 10% of the problem (if that!), and yet all I ever hear about is what the teachers could be doing better. Then I hear about crazy things like merit pay for teachers! Nuts!

The system needs to change, there is no argument there, but I just fear that the direction of change is still the wrong direction.

Anyway, read a better post here. (Only slightly the same topic.)

April 16, 2010

Important Instructions for Parents

I have seen these on other blogs before, but I decided to find them and put them into a presentation...

Official Google Docs Blog: A new Google Docs

One of my favorite things about Google Docs is the fact that it is nearly constantly getting better. Plus, you don't have to download and update anything. It simply changes. From the Official Google Docs Blog: A new Google Docs.

Or, check out the video:

April 15, 2010

Let Me Not Wander

I decided on Monday that I have neglected my Bible blog, titled Let Me Not Wander, for too long.  This morning I started it back up.

I spruced it up with Blogger's new template designer, I burned a feed for it with feedburner, and I posted the next passage of scripture.

I made the decision to go back to the book of James and continue my meanderings through that amazing book.  I have written commentary on over 500 passages of scripture, simply by posting one a day.  I wish I hadn't stopped that blog, because I could probably have doubled that number by now.

If you have never been to that blog, then I am asking you to check it out and add some of your own commentary to the passages that I am wandering through and become a fellow "wanderer."

Harmless Thoughts

I just added the option to get Harmless Thoughts in your e-mail!

So, if you can't get enough of me, and you want to make sure you don't miss anything, then look to the left hand column and you will see a place to get e-mail updates.

April 14, 2010

I can't help but think...

Earthquakes
January 12, 2010 - 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti
February 27, 2010 - 8.8 magnitude earthquake near Maule, Chile
April 4, 2010 - 7.2 magnitude earthquake in California/Mexico
April 13, 2010 - 6.9 magnitude earthquake in China
and more

Matthew 24:7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places." (ESV)

I know that nobody wants to jump the gun, but you can't help but think... 

April 13, 2010

Love Haiku #2

he said it, she fought
with no care he spoke again
"you're beautiful!"

Simply Marvelous

This last Sunday I was speaking on "The Golden Rule" as quoted in The Sermon on the Mount. Before I spoke on it I gave some thoughts on who is the speaker of the Sermon on the Mount. I have thought many times that the intended audience of this particular sermon are disciples (follower os the teachings and life of Jesus), but I forget who the speaker is at times.

Consider for a moment a conversation involving the computer industry. If, in the middle of a conversation, you realized that the person you were speaking with was Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, you might quiet yourself and listen up!

The speaker of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus, the Christ! He is the same person did the talking at the creation of the universe. He spoke the animal kingdom into existence, galaxies filled the empty space He had created and by His voice mitochondria were formed and began to function.

Here is an mp3 of the message:
Simply Marvelous
(Right-click and choose download so you can listen to it at the same time that you click through the slides.)

Here is the slideshow that went along with the message:

(The pictures in this presentation, taken from various internet sources, have not yet been properly documented.)

I hope in some way this message is a blessing to you.

April 8, 2010

One Day Without Shoes

Unfortunately they won't allow me to go one day without shoes in the school... some nonsense about regulations or codes... but as soon as the day is over, I am dropping the shoes!

Why would I do this?  April the 8th is One Day Without Shoes Day.  I would fill you in on all of the details, but there is a website that does a much better job.

April 7, 2010

Needing Some Motivation!

I usually come back from Spring Break with my head in the game.  I am all set for the last several weeks of school.  I am trying to get everything done that I can get done, but not this time.  I am suffering from MDD (Motivation Deficit Disorder).

I am already suffering from ADD, with the occasional bout of OCD, but with this new onset of MDD I am just not sure what to do.

I think that I need an exquisite, thoughtful, meaning-filled quote to get through these next few weeks.  Anybody have any amazing quotes to inspire me on to teaching greatness?!?

April 6, 2010

Piper and Warren

I wanted to put something up about John Piper inviting Rick Warren to the Desiring God conference, but I am not really all that good of a blogger, and the really good bloggers beat me to it. One of those really good bloggers made some really good points. Here is an excerpt from Tim Challies thoughts on the topic that might whet your appetite:

Having said all of this, I still believe it would have been best for Piper not to invite Warren. In inviting Warren, Piper is implicitly downplaying the reasons that many Reformed Christians have expressed concern about Warren and his ministry and have separated themselves from both. Yet these are good reasons based around sound biblical concerns. Let me look at this under two headings.

Read the rest of the post here and let me know what you think about Piper inviting Warren.

April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

If it is true... an actual historical fact... then what?

The reality of the resurrection should mean something. If there was a man who rose from the dead, you would want to know that guy and how He did it.

Here are some more thoughts on Easter. (Click to listen or right-click to download.)

When Love Has Now Become A Proper Noun

The sonnet is a form of poetry made famous by Shakespeare. The typical sonnet consists of 14 lines.
The marriage dance requires only two.
So dare I talk of love in such a way?
The man is me, the woman must me be you,
But love is here and now this love must stay.
It entered in when we did least expect,
Though embodied in a man so long ago.
That love in us He seeks now to reflect
So I see you when I see him still more.
Now from above its given hands and feet,
It has a heart and breathes with its own lungs.
It moves and grips us when our eyes do meet,
And fills with wordless songs our souls have sung.
This marriage is enveloped all around,
When love has now become a proper noun.

(Written for my wife in honor of our 14th anniversary.)

14 Years of Marriage

April 3, 2010

The Floors

After a short debate over light or dark, we settled on dark and the floors were stained yesterday.  They still need varnished, but these pictures can give you an idea of what they will look like.




All thanks to my Father-In-Law!

Piper's Sabbatical

Pastor John Piper is taking a sabbatical. Here is an excerpt from a letter on the Desiring God website:

I asked the elders to consider this leave because of a growing sense that my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, I love my Lord, my wife, my five children and their families first and foremost; and I love my work of preaching and writing and leading Bethlehem. I hope the Lord gives me at least five more years as the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem.

But on the other hand, I see several species of pride in my soul that, while they may not rise to the level of disqualifying me for ministry, grieve me, and have taken a toll on my relationship with Noël and others who are dear to me. How do I apologize to you, not for a specific deed, but for ongoing character flaws, and their effects on everybody? I’ll say it now, and no doubt will say it again, I’m sorry. Since I don’t have just one deed to point to, I simply ask for a spirit of forgiveness; and I give you as much assurance as I can that I am not making peace, but war, with my own sins.

He goes on to reaffirm that it isn't because of one particular sin, which is what most of us think when a guy says he is going on a sabbatical to work on his marriage. My mind started heading that direction right away. What really struck me was this next comment:

In 30 years, I have never let go of the passion for public productivity. In this leave, I intend to let go of all of it. No book-writing. No sermon preparation or preaching. No blogging. No Twitter. No articles. No reports. No papers. And no speaking engagements.

A "passion for public productivity" is not something that I struggle with, with but I could understand that drive in slightly different ways. I have found at work in me, though I would normally characterize myself as a lazy bum, an increasing desire to be productive, to get something done all of the time, everyday. I get up early everyday, even days off so I can accomplish something. I have spent this spring break working, from the time I got up to the time I went to bed.

What is the balance between taking time off and "redeeming the time" (Eph. 5:16)? I am not sure.

April 2, 2010

Photo Friday: Blurred

Photo Friday Topic This Week: Blurred


I haven't done Photo Friday in a while, but I just so happened to have the perfect picture for this week's topic.

When Boys Color Eggs

They aren't as pretty as normal...





April 1, 2010

A Few Finished Rooms

A few of the rooms at our house are finished.

The Master Bedroom


The TV Room / Study

The Bathroom 

The Kitchen

The upstairs and the boys rooms are also finished, but I don't have pictures of those yet.  The trim (around the doors of the two rooms and the bathroom isn't done yet, but here is a picture of the trim.