free web stats Lost in the Eternity of the Here and Now: July 2006
Sola Scriptura · Solus Christus · Sola Gratia
Sola Fide · Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just a little off the sides please

Well… today, it finally happened. It was a momentous occasion, though it came and went with little adieu. It took me two years and seven months, but I finally cut my hair! The last time I had my hair cut for was Kevin and Rachel’s wedding. People have been telling me I need to cut it for a year now. Friends, family, even my boss was starting to make fun of me. Though to be fair, his hair use to be longer than mine, before he started balding (or so he says). I really don’t care what people thought about it. It was just easier to let it be. Besides, think of all the money I save by getting my hair cut every two years! Really, the reason that I wanted to get it cut was that it was starting to annoy me. It was just too long to keep. There comes a point at which practicality must overcome laziness. Considering it was such a rare event, I am truly saddened that I did not take before and after pictures. I didn’t cut much off, it is still ridiculously long, but I bet I lost about six inches. I like it much better now anyway. It is easier to keep, not as hot, and doesn’t bother me all day.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What's up Doc?

Okay, so enough was enough. Last week I went to the allergy doctor. I live with chronic allergies. Let me describe a typical day for you. I wake up at 4:45 AM, yes there is a 4:45 AM, promise. I can breath through a single nostril; the other is clogged, not from substance, just clogged. I blow my nose and get as much out as possible. This of course releases the flood gates, the magical barrier that keeps my nose from running all day. I live in a house with three cats, about two and a half tons of dust (loose estimate), and live near, and work in, Houston, a city full of molds, pollens, and pollution. Once the flood gates are opened, there is no stopping the flow. I blow my nose all day, but it never stops. Oh, I might get 15 minutes here or there without it running, but the beauty of it: when my nose is not running, it is itching like someone took a pipe cleaner wrapped with poison ivy and routed my nostrils with a righteous frenzy. The itch invariably brings sneezing, which again opens the passages to more running and the process starts all over! This is no way to live, if it can even be called that.

Meet Dusty the dust mite. He hates me.

Last week allergy man prescribed a few drugs to help. Now you should know this about me: I despise taking drugs. I don’t even like taking pain relievers for a headache. I avoid caffeine unless I need the energy boost in the morning (rarely). The body was designed to function without the need of all these drugs, and I am content to allow it to do so on most occasions. Now, after being on his drugs for a week, I am conflicted! The improvement has been drastic. I can breath through both nostrils, though it may sound trivial to you blessed folk without allergies, this is a major relief. My nose doesn't run or itch, at all anymore. So, what do I do? Continue with drugs, whose long term side effects are unknown, possibly doing irrevocable damage to myself, or enjoy the benefits of a normal life? What a quandary!

So I’m laying on the table at the doctors office, my back has been pricked with about 55 allergens to test for reaction. The nurse comes in about ten minutes after pricking me repeatedly (that was unpleasant) and says,

“So, how do you fee..Wow…”

“Wow what? Is that good or bad.”

“Oh, you’re definitely allergic to some stuff.”

“What, like everything?”

“Let’s just say that you’re special. Hear, let me wipe some of this off to reduce the reaction.”

Exit nurse. Muffled talking outside. Enter another nurse.

“Ah, you want to look too?”

“Yeah, she said you were really reactin… wow, you are.”

“Yes, yes, all the folk want to see the freak! You should charge admission,” laughing.

Exit nurse, enter doctor.

“Okay doc, how long do I have?”

“The verdict is in… you are allergic to… well, everything.”

“Told you.”

“Specifically: cats, dogs, dust, trees (yes all of them). You have three cats?”


“You need to run away from that house as fast as you can! And don’t get me started on grass. Grasses... well, they hate you. Lets see, there are about twelve grasses we tested for and you’re allergic to... all of them. And not just allergic. I can’t even measure the allergic reaction because they are all blending in together.”

I looked in the mirror and it looked like I had been beaten with a Chinese cane for stealing bread. Two red stripes decorated my back with welts along the interior. Beautiful! I felt special.

“If you ever have kids I hope the mother doesn’t have allergies. If she does, I pity those children, because they're screwed.”

He prescribed even more meds to help me out. He temporarily put me on a steroid and warned me it might have the following side effects: increased hair growth, insomnia, increased appetite and weight gain, irritibility, and trouble concentrating.

“Hey doc, it sounds like I’m already taking those!”

Monday, July 17, 2006

"One shot, one kill." -Sniper Motto

Look! It’s a wookie! No! It’s a pile of brush! No, it’s a… wait, what is that? It’s a sniper barrel pointed at the unsuspecting paintball player, looking so much like a deer caught in the headlights. That is the reaction when you finally realize that a sniper has you in his sights and that there is nothing left to do but pray. I introduce you to the new and improved Mike for Patinball v. 2.0: the bushrag-wearing, point-sight toting, sound-suppressing, fear-inducing, machine of godly stealth. Behold Action Ghillie! It’s death on wings baby!

I spent hours carefully attaching this mesh of leaf to my camo pants, jacket, mask and gun. Over all I would estimate that it took about 10 hours start to finish, all the while eagerly anticipating the advantage I would gain when I dawned my cloak of seeming invisibility. I carefully dialed my laser point sight for a distance of 35 yards and ran through about a hundred shots to acquaint myself with it, learning the feel of the gun against my shoulder, how to lay my head against the stock, breathing correctly, proper bracing, the whole nine yards. This gun feels so natural that you don’t even have to think about aiming it. The Tippmann A5 is a beautiful piece of paintball magic. Add that to the laser sight and Action Ghillie and you have a very dangerous opponent.

So, after hours upon hours of preparation I eagerly approach the paintball field thinking since I am about 15 minutes late that everyone will be ready to start the game. As I pull up to the meeting ground I notice that it is desolate. Not just that people were missing, possibly out playing the first game, but that no one was even there yet. No vehicles, no equipment, nothing! save me and the quiet whisper of the trees. My mind races. Surely this is the right weekend! Yes, I remember Randy telling me the 15th. Maybe I’m early, maybe he said 2:00 instead? As I begin to doubt my memory and very sanity I notice Randy in the distance sitting in a lawn chair.

“So, Randy… Where is everybody?”

“What do you mean, this is everybody.”

“You’re kidding me right…”

“Oh, Lane’s in the house.”

“So there are three of us? Grrrreat…”

Needless to say, no one else showed up. All our friends are losers and were busy, sick, or forgot, each of them knowing that this was the first weekend for paintball in over six weeks! Okay, so maybe I was a little upset. I had put all this time into making my ghillie and now I might not even get to use it? Talk about disappointing!

We decided to play critical strike, three-way free for alls with reincarnation after one minute, each starting at a different corner of the field. Critical strike means it takes a single shot to the head, two to the chest, or five anywhere else to be eliminated. I suggested this style for two reasons. 1) There were only three of us and we needed something to make it more challenging. 2) I am a sniper who goes for the single shot kills. Perhaps it was slated in my favor, but everyone agreed. I dawned my suit, and after a few minutes of prep we were in our positions. I yell, “Ready!” and wait for the whistle blow. The shrill cry of the whistle pierces the quiet of the woods and we’re off! I quickly make my way to the creek bed and cross. I find a nice perch with good cover and an escape route if needed. Now I wait. I sit still, become one with the forest. “Yes little bird, I am a bush, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” The sounds of the woods resume, the sounds that are absent when people intrude. The woods had forgotten my existence, I was invisible! I look to my right, no one there. I hear the faint splash of someone walking in the creek. I wait. Minutes later my mark comes stalking down the creek, slowly, filled with caution. “Mike could be anywhere, I must move slowly,” he thinks.

I watch as he carefully looks the area over, each bank of the creek, advancing ever so slowly. I remain motionless. He walks out past the brush I am using as additional cover, but to his folly, he is scanning the opposite side of the creek; though had he been looking directly at me, my guess is that he would never have seen me. He stands motionless not twenty feet from me! I slowly raise my marker, place my head to the stock, peer through the scope, down the barrel and fix the laser on his head. I brace, hold my breath and smoothly pull the trigger. THWAP! A white dot appears on the top of his helmet. He is stunned! “Head shot!,” he cries out, completely mystified. He futilely looks over the area again, now that he has been eliminated, but to no avail. He shakes his head after about ten seconds and leaves the game, never seeing his eliminator.

Later, once they learned that I looked a lot like a pile of brush, they started shooting at anything that looked like a pile of brush, like trying to scare a rabbit out of his hole. No sniper would survive if he got spooked every time he heard fire. I’ve had paint wizz over my head, inches from my helmet and never moved an inch. “Hey… what’s the pile of brush doing in the creek!” They got me that time, but that was the only time! Mwuahahaha! I ended the day with four kills to one death. I’d say the new ghillie did the trick! My hours of labor had paid off. The sniper was complete.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Something New

I know it has been a while since I posted last. That has been be design. I have had several projects running in parallel that have taken my full attention. One of those has been completed and I will post pictures soon. Another is still in the works and I will post it when I complete it to my satisfaction. Yes, yes... very mysterious, but soon all will be made clear.

Now, on to the something new. Our Sunday school class is embarking on a journey to study and understand the five points of Calvinism of reformed teaching. I know we've talked about these ideas a lot in the past, but we've never taken the time to formally look at each point in depth. I feel there are still some strongholds to the idea of God being completely sovereign, even in salvation, both among the newcomers and the regulars alike. In an effort to make this process enjoyable and take it out of the sphere of thought and put it into practice, I am devising a game. Bible Jeopardy! Yes, I am stealing the idea of Jeopardy, and I welcome the lawsuits. I plan on making a display with categories and points, complete with daily doubles and the final round, music and all! The class will be split into three teams. Gift certificates will be handed out to the winners. If everyone performs dismally, no prizes awarded! If I have time I'll even rig up some buzzers so that we can tell who buzzed in first. Who knows... if this works well and everyone enjoys it, then perhaps this could become normative instead of the exception.

Now, on to my question I wish to pose. For all my searching I cannot seem to find any biblical support for the Arminian position that man is spiritually sick, rather than spiritually dead. It seems that the Arminian idea of Diminished Depravity is a logical necessity of their belief system rather than a tenet of established and sound Biblical doctrine; arising from the ideas of resistible grace and conditional election. If I am wrong I would love to hear some scriptures used to support the Arminian side of Depravity, regardless of how taken out of context they are. Are there any? I welcome your input.

If the last two paragraphs confused you then I invite you to join in on the discussion, and make sure to check out the link to to the right and read about the "Doctrines of Grace." Reformed teaching has been wholly abandoned by the modern church for the sake of novel thinking in an effort to make it more palatable to the carnal mind. The gospel has been hijacked and is enslaved in Pelagian captivity, a modern day Babylonian Captivity as Sproul puts it. Only through proper teaching and the Spirit of God will we return to the truth as revealed in the Bible.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I know you're out there!

I'm curious... who all is reading this blog? I know you're out there, the number keeps climbing. Now... we can do this the civilized way, or I can trap you and post embarrassing pictures of you when I find out you've been stopping by without saying hello! Take your pick, the challenge is set, the gauntlet thrown down! And if you know me, you should know that I'll do it! ;-)

Monday, July 03, 2006


Yesterday at church was the first public announcement of my intent to enroll in Seminary this fall. Many of you already knew, but for those of you who didn't, I plan on starting classes at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Houston branch this fall. I will continue to work at my current job and take evening and online classes.Park Place Baptist Church I am really looking forward to starting classes again. There is just something about being in school, something about always learning something new. Yes, I learn things in life and at work, but those experiences are so different from formal education. I plan to pursue a Masters in Divinity. To what end I dare not say. I have no clear direction as far as the ultimate goal in this training, only that I feel I belong there. It will be a long, difficult path for sure, but one with return beyond measure.

Of particular interest in the story... The branch in Houston is at Park Place Baptist Church. Park Place Baptist deeded the buildings to SWBTS in 2002. It was through this church that I accepted Christ back in... '94 I think. It seems only fitting that after 12 years I should return to my beginnings, not to remember the past, but to find my future.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

gogogo Weekend

Friday, Stephen and I passed out nearly 900 flyers advertising the 4th of July special at Whispering Pines Baptist Church. We pulled the lazy route and papered people windshields in parking lots. We hit two walmarts and several other smaller surrounding stores. I don't know if anyone actually came because of those flyers, but at least it puts the Church's name out a little.

A really weird occurrence during the outing. While sitting in traffic we saw this guy get out of his SUV and walk around to the back. He popped the hatch and took a pair of sandals and laid them behind the vehicle, right on the freeway feeder. He then walked back around and got in, like nothing happened... so strange, I thought it worthy of mention. I wish my camera had been handy, that would have made a great movie.

Then, Saturday night I went to see Superman Returns with Chris and Stephen. I was surprised that I liked it so much, not really caring for the whole Superman thing. I mean... really... the guy's invincible... I think it may have been the best superhero movie to date. Brian Singer (think X-Men 2) did a marvelous job making a character with nearly unlimited power seem real and fragile. On an unrelated, albeit related note, I eagerly await Spiderman three which releases May '07.

The fourth of July service and picnic went well at church. Major General John. J. Closner III spoke. The picnic was fun. There was ultimate frisbee, watermelon wrestling, a giant balloon water slide and, without a doubt, the best brisket I've ever eaten. There were several visitors and I hope they all received whatever word God had for them.
Thank's for stopping by!