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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Soliloquy of the senses, and then some

I like:

Eating apple sauce out of the jar
The smell just after it rains
Seeing a blue sky with sparse clouds on a quiet day
The sound of a great multitude of females singing praises to God
The feeling of intentionally tightly laced shoes
Giving completely unexpected and over-the-top gifts

I dislike:

Eating crustaceans
The smell of perfumes
Seeing bright lights in the dark
The sound of high pitched, repetitive noises
The feeling of heartburn
Giving the wrong impression

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Unlikely Inspiration – Feline Fancies

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a cat person. I vehemently dislike dogs. Man’s best friend? I think not. Dogs are loud, dirty, and are pathetically intent on pleasing their owners. They need constant attention and want to be involved in everything. A cat on the other hand is quiet, well-kept, self sufficient, small, and could care less if you approve of it. Their haughty conceit is a thing of magnificence. But I digress.

All three of my cats, like all good cats, are quiet when content. However, when they want out, want attention, or want food, they all get mouthy. Of particular interest is hunger. I am the first to get home in the evenings, so I get the barrage each night. Without fail each will approach in their own way so as to let me know they are hungry. One cries with what could only be described as a painful meow, another chirps and anxiously approaches the door, while the third jumps on the back door to hang in order to peer in the window. Even after I let them in, they still proceed to meow with their petitions. As if I did not know they were hungry; that’s why I let them inside in the first place! However, when I walk in the door, the first thing on my mind is not, “feed the cats.” I might put my things away, grab a bite to eat, or sit down for a few minutes. I always take care of the cats, they never go hungry. Unfortunately, they have the memory of a cat, which is to say, about fifteen minutes. So, we go through the same routine every day.

Now, obviously it is my plan to feed them, but in my own time; when I am ready and not before. All their crying and feigned affection will not change the course I have set in my mind. How similar is this situation to that of God and our petitions? Cat’s live for 10-15 years, while we live for about 80. Our minds perceive on a level so much higher than they that we could be considered as gods to them. Their ability to think beyond a small period of time is comparable to our being able to think in regard to eternity. They are focused on what they need, here and now, quickly forgetting our previous faithfulness. They have no faith in me to remember to feed them, just as we often have little faith in God to “feed” us. How many times have we brought petitions before God only to be frustrated when he does not answer in what we perceive to be a timely manner? Yes, we may be “hungry”, we may sincerely need what we request, but God answers in his own time. I would never let my cats starve. How much more should I be faithful that God will grant my requests? Sure, I may be hungry, I may yearn to my core to the point of pain, only to be put off for what God has planned right now. He will certainly accomplish what he has planned before giving me what I need, though I should not doubt that he will give it, only in his time, not mine. Jesus spoke to this directly in Matthew 6:25-34. He was talking about food, drink and clothing. He spoke to the most basic needs of man. How much more will God provide for his children their other needs if we just trust in him, that in his good time he will provide them!

Forgive me, Father, for my lack of patience and faith.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Air planes are fun

Okay, so... funny story. I was signed up for training (for work) that was in North Carolina. I've never been to North Carolina. Neat place, but that's not the story. I flew over yesterday afternoon, got my rental car and hotel last night. Classy place. All the receptionists have foreign accents. All is well with the world. The hotel I'm staying at has the SelectComfort Sleep Number bed. I looked at these about a year ago and decided against getting one because they cost too much. Well, after spending a night with it, I think I may have to get one. Oh wait, that's not the funny part. So I watched Forrest Gump, and then went to sleep at midnight. That's 11:00 central time, but still pretty late for me. I wasn't sure what time training started so I got up early the next morning to make sure I wouldn't be late. First, I drove right past the BIG sign that said "ISA". Then when I pull into the parking lot... I'm the only one there! I walk around the lobby for a few minutes waiting for someone to show up. Finally two people walk in.

"Excuse me, do you have the time?"

"Oh, it's a quarter to 7:00."

Thinking to my self, "Oh, that's interesting. Not only did I move forward an hour by going to the east coast, but apparently my alarm clock was an hour fast too..." Good times, but still not the funny part!

"I'm here for training today. I wasn't sure what time it started, and I figured it was better to be insanely early than embarrassingly late."

"What training are you here for?"

"Automation Project Planning and Justification."

"Oh... really... hmm... are you sure?"

"Yeah, I've had this trip planned for months."

"See, the thing about that... Your class has been cancelled."

Blank stare from me.

"You didn't get the email?"

"Uh... no..."

Still not the funny part! So he goes upstairs to his desk and returns with the class roster.

"Here's the reason you didn't get the email. You weren't even on the roster. It appears that you were never actually signed up for this class."

After apologies, and an inappropriate suggestion for retribution against my office secretary, I left. I got to my car and laughed maniacally. Whether you agree or not, this was the funny part. I just spent over $500 on car/hotel/flight, three hours at the airports, three hours on a plane, and now I'd have to repeat it in as many hours. Hilarious! I'm still not sure what happened, but I'll get to the bottom of it at work tomorrow. I did seize the opportunity to do a lot of my homework and studying though. I needed the break to catch up on my Hebrew before class Thursday. That’s what I keep telling myself.

So... bad things about NC: The appalling lack of street signs, direction signs, speed limit signs... well, pretty much all signs. Good game NC. The good things: catching up on homework, quiet area, no traffic, nice trees. Overall, I think the pros outweigh the cons. I could go back... just not anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

U.N. Update and Foreign Hostility

Last night Iranian President Ahmadinejad, or President Tom as Beck likes to call him for simplicity, made his address to the United Nations General Assembly. Big Media only covered a few highlights of his speech, spouting the same rhetoric of their typical seditious foreign endorsement. They report President Tom's repeated assurances that Iran's nuclear ambitions are peaceful and merely for energy. With headlines like, "Bush and Ahmadinejad trade accusations at UN", and "Iran's Ahmadinejad: 'Can't we just be friends?'", one might be fooled to think President Tom's remarks were a peaceful plea against US imperialism. Of course, this is what Big Media has been pushing since Bush 'stole' the election - both in 2000, and in 2004 - any foreign agenda that undermines the administration, without care to how it undermines the country. No Big Media source has covered Tom's insistence that the 'occupiers' must leave 'their' land; read that as Israel and Palestinians, respectively. No Big Media source has covered the last words that President Tom spoke during a prayer to Allah wherein he calls for the return of the 12 th Mahdi. Basically he was praying for the end of the world wherein the final Imam will return and rule a world that has been converted to Islam, whether through peaceful enlightenment, or more likely, through the sword, as heralded by radicals who seek to bring about the last things through terror attacks. Previous statements show that he thinks this will take place in the next two years. Now let's put two and two together here. If he thinks the end of the world is coming within two years, then all he has to do is hold out against the international community for two years, where after he can usher in a new age of global Islamic rule with the destruction of the State of Israel. How many people realize the threat that this man, and radical Islam, pose to the Western world? He and other radicals are correct in stating that we are in a war against Islam, only they are the ones waging it by trying to spread Islam through the sword; as was their custom in the 8th century when the religion was founded.

On a related note, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spoke today at the U.N. calling the president, "El Diablo," or the devil for the not-so-Spanish-savvy, amongst other inflammatory comments. This might be a good time to add that President Tom and Chavez recently had a powwow down south where more anti-American rhetoric was proclaimed. Here are two men who pose a direct threat to America and they are allowed on American soil to spout this hate-filled speech against one of the only nations on the planet willing to fight for freedom. And what is worse? Over 90%+ of Americans have no idea, or care for that matter, what happens beyond their own cozy little lives. That is one of the reasons the rest of the world hates Americans so much, because we don't know or care anything about the rest of the world, their culture, or customs; and shame on us, they're right!

But then again, maybe I'm blowing this all out of proportion. Or then again, what if I'm not?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Break out the Viagra®

Warning! This is a political post of global consequence. If you are not interested in politics then I urge you to consider your heart and think about why politics exist, and to what extent a Christian should be involved.

I was listening to Glenn Beck this morning and he had an interesting discussion on his program. George Clooney, and a lot of other people with whom I typically disagree passionately, have been pushing the U.N. and the rest of the world to stop the genocide in the Daruf region of Western Sudan. Clooney and others urged the U.N. Security Council to accept what the rest of the world has already declared as ‘ethnic cleansing’ or genocide.
"After September 30 you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones," the actor warned.

The mandate of African Union peacekeepers in the region expires at the end of the month and the Sudanese government has refused to approve their replacement by a U.N. force.1
Over 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda in 1994 while the U.N. stood idly by. I hate to say this, but I think the analogy is apt. Africa is the neglected step child of the world, forgotten amidst more profitable and familiar ventures. People are dieing, and it’s about to get worse. God forgive me for agreeing with Clooney, but I thought that people had inherent value, and that in our “age of enlightenment,” we had shed the prejudices against the color of another person’s skin. But Darfur, and Africa as a whole, is largely discounted by the rest of the world. They will pay the butchers bill, but the rest of the world will be liable for their blood.

The U.N. replaced the League of Nations in 1945. It was founded after the conclusion of WWII with the primary goal of preventing future conflicts. Beck’s question: If the U.N. is incapable of stopping the genocide in Darfur - and let’s face it… it’s Africa, people with rocks and sticks comparably, not China or some other industrialized military giant - then what hope can we possibly have that the U.N. Security Council will take any action against Iran’s budding nuclear program? The thought of nuclear capability in a state that has publicly declared its desire to see Israel wiped off the map is unconscionable.

I think we need to send truck loads of Viagra® to the U.N., because they are impotent old men incapable cutting through 50 years of bureaucratic red tape. They have no power to perform when needed. The institution has failed. It has never worked. That is why 800,000 people died in Rwanda. The U.N. sat idly by while people were slaughtered there; it is why the US had to unilaterally attack Iraq while it openly defied the international community’s demand for inspections (how many ignored U.N. Resolutions?); and why Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is allowed on US soil this week without being arrested while he defies the U.N.. God help us all if Iran attains the nuclear capability it seeks. God help the people facing extermination in Africa.

Time to break out the duct tape, because my head is about to explode!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Alma Mater

I had the pleasure today of attending a training seminar for work. Normally I despise these training sessions, but this one came with a special treat. It was held in College Station across the street from Texas A&M, my alma mater. There are two things that struck me today as I drove those familiar streets. The first is college girls... I mean wow! It was like waking up from a long, boring dream. In the two and a half years since I graduated I guess I had forgotten how gorgeous they are. There is something that must happen to them when they graduate, or maybe they disappear to some secret location after graduation, or maybe... I'm just hanging around in the wrong places... I think there must be a secret place out there, and I implore you who know its location (you know who you are) to tell me where it is! I don't know… but what I do know is that institutions of higher learning have an inordinate number of beautiful girls as compared with the rest of society. Certainly that had been forgotten. Second, and more interesting, is the sense of emptiness that I felt as I was leaving town. I don't know what it was, but a part of me felt cold, like I wasn't suppose to leave. Today is one of the few times I can recall ever knowing where "home" was and feeling sad that I was leaving it. I did not realize I had such revere for my old school or that I had missed it so.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Unlikely Inspiration - Paintball Parables

Considering the number of people who have lived from the outset of creation, I think it is a safe statement to say that God has spoken to only a select few, in the strictest sense of the word, that is. As far as biblical accounts, there are only a handful of people mentioned who have been awarded this honor, when compared to their contemporaries. For the rest of us, especially in this current, and likely last, dispensation, our revelation comes not from billows of smoke or columns of fire, but by the indwelling Holy Spirit. As such, the world is full of teachable moments through which the Spirit can teach us something divine from the otherwise natural realm. This thought will be the basis for a series of posts that I will title, “Unlikely inspiration.”

One of these moments that I would like to share is a parallel to playing paintball. Yes, God can find a spiritual use even for paintball, such a seemingly violent sport. Paintball could be classified as a battle game, one that simulates human-to-human combat using close-ranged firearms. For this parallel, let the opposing team be equated to the dark forces that seek to destroy my team, the Christians. Please do not read too much into the premise. Every time I go out onto the field I have some idea of what I want to do, some plan by which to decimate the enemy. Each person is assigned a role, a specific task that on its own is not of much consequence, but when a part of a larger plan, means certain victory. Now, if every plan was executed flawlessly as envisioned, then no casualties would be taken and victory secured each time. The problem is that the plan is rarely executed exactly as envisioned. Invariably, someone does not apply pressure where it is needed, or applies too much, and the enemy seizes the opportunity of weakness for its own exploitation. Oh, how many times have I been on the receiving end of that one! Or even worse, that the plan was executed to a tee, but the plan itself was flawed. Imagine being the team commander and your team loses because you did not lead correctly. All too often I have been eliminated because of a rookie mistake; some simple thing like not ensuring adequate cover, or not noticing an opponent. I walk off the field fuming. I am angry, not at the person for eliminating me, but for allowing myself to be in that situation. I don’t mind being eliminated when it is a good move by the opposing team, but because of something I did? That’s just too much. The shame, the self loathing that follows… Of course, if I left it there then I would be deserving the next time when the same mistake is made. But, what if I learn from my mistake? What if I can see what the enemy is doing, the entry point at which my defense was broken, my pivotal mistake that was my undoing in the first place? If I learn my weakness from my mistake, then my mistake, while is in itself deplorable, it is not without purpose. I can rest assured that God causes all things to work together for the good of those whom he loves and who have been called according to his purpose. As Christians we face a battle of a different sort, and much more violent. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers. We must be knowledgeable of the enemy and of our own weaknesses, lest in our pride we seek to run before we can even walk.

Can a failure be considered a success if it serves to highlight the point of failure so as to avoid it in the future? Should I go so far to say that such a mistake is good? It seems that is what Paul was saying. Though it was intended for evil, and was indeed evil itself, it can be turned to good, that is, for sanctification. Do I stretch too far or is my parallel just?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This has been a long week... With work all day, everyday, a trip to Corpus Christi and back Wednesday, school on Tuesday and Thursday and all its required study, youth class on Wednesday, and all the preparation for our class party last weekend, I have not had time to post anything about Jeopardy from last weekend.

Bible Jeopardy was a success! I’m not sure which was harder, coming up with the categories and questions or designing the interface. I think the categories part was harder, strictly speaking, even though the interface took more time. However, now that the interface is complete, future Jeopardy games will be much easier. For the techno-geek out there, it is a series of PowerPoint presentations that are XML data driven. All I do is hit a button on the master slide and all my questions are pulled in from the XML sheet behind. For the not-so-tech-savvy, you can just ignore the last two sentences. We had food, just quick hamburgers and hotdogs, then hit Jeopardy. Since I figured it would be entirely unfair if I let them pick their own teams, and not trusting in my own objectivity, I let God do the team assignments. They drew numbers from a hat. Erin and Kenny made up team one, while Shane and Amy took up position at team two. We had an odd number of people so team three had three people, Jarod, Megan, and Stephen. The game kicked off with team one taking a commanding lead. By the end of the first round, team one was the only team with positive points, team two in second, and the team with the most players dead last. Team three however took back the lead in Double Jeopardy due to the quick buzzing by Jarod and good team work. Sadly, by the time Final Jeopardy came around, team two was still negative, and team one was too far behind to catch up. A run-away game is never the ideal Final Jeopardy. Both remaining teams, however, correctly answered the final question, but alas, team three had played it safe and only wagered a small amount, so as not to jeopardize their victory. Kudos to all the players, and Chris for running the buzzer station. Feedback was positive and most seemed eager to continue the newfound Jeopardy tradition. I find that the competitive element makes studying the material much easier for the class. I learned a good deal more as well, solidifying many areas of previous concern. I hope I was able to convey a portion of that to the class. And now, back to Romans for a while, for we have neglected it for too long!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Return to Academia

I have completed my first week back in academia. For the record, I am pursuing a Masters of Divinity at the Havard School for Theological Studies, the Houston branch of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. My first week of seminary classes was very encouraging. I am only taking two classes (six hours), Evangelism and Hebrew. I am told though, that Hebrew should be considered as two classes, for its difficulty. My Evangelism professor is a first-time professor in this course. That is good in that the class will likely be a little easier, a big plus being my first semester. Regardless, I know I will learn a lot from him. His passion for the gospel is genuine and unmistakable. My own studies have thus far focused primarily on the intellectual side of the gospel, and I have no doubt that God placed me in this class my first semester for a reason. It is the balance I lack. Hebrew... well, what can I say. Learning a new language is difficult, no doubt; though I've always had an affinity for languages. Though I like language, I have never enjoyed learning them formally. However, my first class in Hebrew excited me even more than did Evangelism. I am thrilled that one day I will be able to read the very words that God spoke to the patriarchs and the prophets, to hear his words in their original language and context. If I was excited before starting seminary, I am exuberant now.
Thank's for stopping by!