Friday, August 29, 2008

a kick

Last night I was reading the Bible to my children before they go to bed...

I would like to be able to say on this blog that this is a regular occurrence in this house, but it hasn't been. We, like so many families read the Bible in spurts. We will do it really regularly for awhile, but then it will taper off. I confessed to my sons the other day that this was my fault. As the dad, I view it as ultimately my responsibility whether or not this happens. My sons graciously volunteered to help me in this, which they have... hence the Bible reading last night. Back to the story...

So, I was reading the Bible to my children before they went to bed last night. I had taken a few days to read some proverbs to them and talk about what those things mean, but the last couple of days I shifted into the Old Testament to read some of the stories. Well, I got a little boost (or maybe a kick in the butt) to continue on in this daily endeavor when I stopped reading.

You see, I had just been reading a little bit at a time each night. So, when I came to a stopping place (or so I thought) and said, "We'll have to see what happens tomorrow..." I was met with a stereo "No!" Then a calmer, "Just a little bit more... Pleeeease."

What a motivation to keep reading! That freshness of perspective and experience renewed that sense of awe within me. "What a great story this is!"

[In fact, while I was typing this, my youngest came up and asked what I thought was going to happen next.]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spending my Days

I am spending my days in my currently empty classroom, trying to get all of that "stuff" ready for the beginning of another school year.

If you haven't seen it yet, here is a picture of my school, taken by the Science teacher, Mr. Heavner.
The sound of the rain outside has helped make my room a good place to get some work done.  It also gives a nice opportunity to occasionally get up and check out the mountains in the background.  They are really cool in a storm.  You can see the clouds rolling gently over the edges of the mountain behind the school.
I thought that I would also add a picture of the gymnasium that is currently under construction behind the building.  It is going to be really nice when it is completed.  Right now we are still praying on the funds to finish the project.

Finally, I thought that I would pop in a picture of my (messy) desk so you can really see where I spend my days.
(Note: You can see the blog post that I am currently working on when I took the picture.  Also the book, When Sinners Say "I Do" is on my desk as well. )
Well, this is where I am spending my days.  I would enjoy seeing where you spend your days.  Take some pics, drop me a note.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Urgent Message?

I love it when I get a really important, urgent voice mail.

The excitement in people's voices...
The sense that they will be anxiously awaiting my return call...
The feeling of love and happiness that they had a reason to call me...

That is what I felt when my sister left this message the other day.

By the way...

Happy Birthday!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

When Sinners Read a Book

I am reading a book called When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey. I haven't completed it yet, but I am recommending it already. It's great!

Here is a clip from the preface:
You might be curious about a guy who would write a book called When Sinners Say "I Do." My name is Dave and ... well ... I'm a sinner. Saying "I do" twenty-five years ago to my beautiful wife not only didn't solve that problem, it magnified it times ten.

He goes on to say:
If you are married, or soon to be married, you are discovering that your marriage is not a romance novel. Marriage is the union of two people who arrive toting the luggage of life. And that luggage always contains sin. Often it gets opened right there on the honeymoon, sometimes it waits for the week after. But the suitcases are always there, sometimes tripping their owners, sometimes popping open unexpectedly and disgorging forgotten contents. We must not ignore our sin, because it is the very context where the gospel shines brightest.

It has been so good that I have wanted to blog something from every other page. Maybe it is a little premature to start buying copies of it and handing it out to all my friends, but I have to say that is has already moved up to the top of the list of books on marriage that I own.

Before this my favorite book was Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson. That was a very convicting book, and one that I have recommended to others already, and still recommend. I thought that I had written some posts about it, but I can't seem to find them.

Anyway, If you have a few extra bucks, Check out this book, it is worth a read (at least the first few chapters. Once I have finished the book, I will let you all know how I feel about the rest.

The sad life and death of Dolores Aguilar (From Rodney Olsen)

I found this over at Rodney Olsen's blog and just wanted to pass it along...


Sent to you by mattharmless via Google Reader:


via by Rodney Olsen on 8/21/08

coffin.jpgWhat do you hope people will say about you when you die? Does it really matter to you?

Sometimes I wonder who'll turn up at my funeral when my life here is over. Will those who do show up have good things to say or will their silence tell a different story?

I will have no chance to control what's said when the time comes but I can do something about it while I'm still here by the way I choose to live my life.

Will I leave friends and family with good memories? I guess that's up to me and the choices I make every day of my life.

I wonder about what kind of difference I'm making to the wider world. Will I be missed by more than those close to me? Will there be those I've never met who will be thankful that I was once alive? Am I making a difference through my work and through the the volunteer tasks I undertake?

I was saddened to read the following obituary for a lady who died earlier this month.

Dolores Aguilar
1929 - Aug. 7, 2008
Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby.

She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing.

Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself. As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again.

There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.

It's hard to imagine that anyone would write such an obituary but they did. I checked this one out on Snopes just to make sure it wasn't a hoax.

How devestating to think that this woman could have made such an impression on the world she left behind. How sad that no one thought enough of her to even arrange a service to farewell her.

When they finally shut the lid on the box and send me on my way, I hope that someone will shed a tear. How do you hope to be remembered?


Things you can do from here:


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Don't listen too closely...

I am preparing some lecture notes for the in-service week at school.  I was asked to do a little teaching on Communication or Conflict Resolution, and I was assigned a 30-minute time slot.  (Which is coincidentally right before the session on blood-borne pathogens.  What is that supposed to mean?)

In the process of refreshing my memory and revising my notes, I ran across a verse that has never jumped out at me before, but I thouroughly  enjoyed it, so I am passing it along to you.

Do not pay attention to every word people say,
     or you may hear your servant cursing you-

for you know in your heart
     that many times you yourself have cursed others.

(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22)

Isn't that just a great verse? What verses have you had jump out at you lately? Maybe they were more like a smack than a jump...

Template Changes

I adjusted my template a little bit.

If you are checking this out through a reader, drop by and tell me what you think.

Vacation Pics

I am too lazy to do a full vacation post, so instead I will do a slideshow...


Here is a post

Here is a blockquote that is meant to look like a highlighter...

This doesn't work as well in Internet Explorer... So, I am going to try this...

Here is a blockquote that is meant to look like a highlighter...

Maybe this one will look better...

Counseling 101

In addition to the beginning of another school year, I am also gearing up for the beginning of another round of Counseling 101.  I am still team teaching the class with Jim Phillips, but this will be the last time that I share the responsibility. He is only covering one topic, and that is at my request.

Here is the description of the class from my church's website:
God’s Word gives us wonderful insight into such heart issues as anger, depression, guilt, fear, anxiety, and more. Join Matt Harmless and Jim Phillips as they share sound Biblical truth you can use to help counsel yourself and others. Counseling 101 is offered during the fall and winter Life Ed. sessions. This training is vital for those desiring to minister words of encouragement or exhortation in obedience to Scripture (Romans 15:1-3a; Galatians 6:1-3, 9-10; Hebrews 10:23-24, etc.). (Room 106)

I am looking forward to the class already.  Not just because I love to teach (Which I do), but also because I always learn so much during the preparation process.

I doubt that anyone who reads this blog lives in the area, but if you do, I would like to encourage you to join the class.  The class runs from September 14th to November 16th at 5:30 pm.

Find my church by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm back

I am back from my short little vacation, and I think that I am ready to roll...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

We're off!

The van is packed. The kids are dressed and already standing by the door. Just one more time for everyone to "try" to go to the bathroom, and we're off!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Road Trip

We are all getting to bed early tonight, anxiously awaiting our road trip tomorrow. There isn't a person in this family that doesn't enjoy a road trip. (Except maybe the dog.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Love Your God With All Your Mind

I want to write something about the book that I just finished. The title of the book was Love Your God with All Your Mind and it was written by J.P. Moreland.  I say I want to write something about this book, but I am just not so sure what to write.

The book started out quite interesting.  It had a great premise and the author put the thoughts together in a very systematic, logical fashion.  It was well researched and contained several great quotes and supports for his argument.

I am not going to attempt to summarize this book, but here is the gist of it:  (Is "gist" a real word?)  Intellectualism and the cultivation of the mind is an essential part and a core value of true Christianity.  In other words, true Christianity and its faith includes reason and rational thought, it does not stand in opposition to it.

I agree with this basic idea.  I get bothered by those who pass off the Christian faith as something for the dull-witted, like anyone who believes the Bible is some kind of back-woods redneck who hasn't been enlightened yet.  I can be an intelligent, rational human being and believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the Jesus Christ really came to this earth in the flesh and died on the cross for the sins of humanity and that this earth was created in 6 literal days without evolution from species to species over long periods of time.  These beliefs don't fly in the face of rational thought, they complement each other.  I would go as far as to say that true rational, logical thought will lead straight to God, and the Bible is full of examples of Christ and the apostles reasoning with the lost in order to lead them to faith.  I encourage rational thought, I am not afraid of it.

I am over-generalizing my thoughts here, so don't critique me too much.

The problem that I had with this book was two-fold.  First, the guy was too wordy.  He took 200 pages of small print to say what he could have said in 100 pages of normal text.  Second, the book began to feel more and more like a rant.  With a greater frequency, he began to use phrases like, "I think..." or "I believe..." or "Here are some suggestions that I would like to make..." as the book progressed.  It was just getting to be a little too pompous for my taste.

So, I am recommending this book... sort of.  Maybe you could call it a recommendation with a disclaimer.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I need a break...

This summer has flown by.  Seriously.  I don't even have that back at school awkward feeling when I walked in my room.  It seemed like I had just been here the day before.

The biggest reason this summer flew by is my lack of time off.  I went straight from working at the school to working at the moving company.  Then I have only taken two days off from the moving company.  One Friday for a short family trip to Chimney Rock, the other was a Tuesday because I had the flu. Add in the hours that I have worked at the church, and it has been packed with work.

Now, here it is a Monday, and I am back at work at the school.

Fortunately I am going to take a short vacation starting this week.  I am starting with a little family reunion in Gatlinburg, TN.  Then I am going to visit more family in Indiana and Illinois.  We are then taking a little trip up to Chicago for son #1's 10th birthday.

But do you think that I am going to leave all that work behind?  Oh no.  I will, of course, be bringing some of that school work with me.  Mostly books that I need to read, but work none-the-less. 

Hey boss, when is break time?