free web stats Lost in the Eternity of the Here and Now: January 2007
Sola Scriptura · Solus Christus · Sola Gratia
Sola Fide · Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, January 26, 2007

To the Horizon

One thing I have learned in my few years since graduating is that the single greatest roadblock to experiencing life is myself. It is so easy to get caught up in a routine and forget that there is an entire world waiting to be discovered. So often we define ourselves based on our immediate surroundings and become confined in a prison of our own making. That which we value is trivial, and that which actually has value is trivial. I see two components to this problem.

The first is ignorance bred through complacency. We have lost the ability to read, the constant desire to learn. We learn what we need to function in our environment and cast off other knowledge as ancillary. Who can remember being in high school and hearing, or even saying, “Why do I need to know math? I’m never going to use this.” What ever happened to the idea that all knowledge is valuable and should be cherished for its inherent value, not just the dividends of profit we reap from it. If only we could break free from our sedentary nature and strive to know all things. Paul says that the knowledge of God is clearly seen in nature, therefore any study of the natural world becomes a tool to know God.

The second reason is fear. We are comfortable in what we know. The world is a dark place, that is, until we start looking around. We fear the unknown, but why? What is it about uncertainty that instills such dread in man? Meeting new people, visiting another country, starting a new job. It all goes back to faith in God. If he is in control of all things, and he works all things for the good of those who love him, then fear is destroyed. There is nothing unfamiliar that we can encounter that can take from us that certainty, that God is in control and he is more valuable than any other thing.

So if the world is so large, and we experience such a small portion of it, how can we remedy this? I don’t know if my inexperience is speaking, or if I am being taken by wanderlust, but from the earliest memory I have always been fascinated by my surroundings. I want to see and do everything. To accomplish this I think I would like to acquire a yacht and sail the world; just lift the anchor and go. Nothing too fancy of course, but you can pick up a nice sail boat for the price of an average home. Just imagine being able to travel all over the world, stopping as you please. Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, South America, the Philippines, Australia, a world of opportunity! You would meet so many people, and be able to share the gospel with people all over the world. I found this site and have been reading about this retired couple’s experience. It's intoxicating!

...Maybe I’m just crazy, but I still think it would be awesome.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pride in the Night

Today I witnessed what appeared to be an entire pride of lions at the water hole. At first it was just a couple of lionesses, but then more and more kept coming. I counted at least 5 lionesses, maybe up to seven. And I saw one adult male, unfortunately he was beyond the range of the night vision camera and too blurry to capture. At first I thought that maybe they were hunting, or returning from one, but the presence of the male throws that theory out. I guess they were all just thirsty. I wonder if there are any cubs running about...

I also caught a few turtles sunning themselves earlier.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In the blink of an eye

It’s late. You’re driving home listening to your favorite radio station thinking about what you have to do tomorrow. Your nose itches. You wonder why they keep playing this song; it’s so old. You need to get gas in the morning. A bright light, a surge of adrenaline. Then... nothing.

Death doesn’t come in a black robe, he drives a truck.

A friend of my brother was killed in a head-on collision two days ago. Her car was hit by an old man who veered into her lane. She died instantly. Her name was Allyson. I knew her only by reputation, by stories, by the snapshots frozen in time, images caught on little pieces of paper. These are all that remain of her in life. I am told she was awesome to be around, a personality that brightens the entire room. Now she is gone. Her name was Allyson.

Though I never met her, I was saddened by her loss. What saddens me most is that I do not know where she is now. I did not know her heart, only what others told me of her. Will she spend eternity praising God with the angels? Has she been reconciled to God by his grace? Does she know Jesus as savior? These are questions to which I may never know the answer.

About a month ago Saddam Hussein was executed. He died instantly. As he fell from the gallows he chanted his profession of faith to the god of Islam. I can say with near certainty where he is now. Being guilty of the murder of hundreds, maybe thousands of people, directly or by their sanction, Saddam fell to his death by man’s justice. Saddam will endure God’s justice for eternity. Even a man who committed such atrocities, even for him I was saddened, because I know that apart from the grace of God I am guilty of every sin under the sun and entitled to the same.

I ‘know’ where Saddam is, but where is Allyson? How great a tragedy to not know. We are told to repent because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. I think it’s closer than we all would like to admit. One second you’re the most powerful man in your country, the next you are standing atop the gallows. One moment you are a twenty-year-old girl with you’re entire life ahead of you, driving home, thinking about trivial matters, then time stops and eternity stretches out before you as you stand before the judgment seat of God.

During a recent conversation with a friend we discussed why we feel so motivated to strive to share the gospel when you’re on a mission trip. Simply, time is short. You know that soon you will have to return home and these people may never have another opportunity to receive salvation. Yet when we return to our ‘normal’ lives we settle into the mundane, the ordinary, forgetting that people of the Spirit are never to be classified as ordinary. We forget that time is short! So much shorter than we think. Soon we will leave this place, we will return home. Will our friends, our families, meet us there? Are they there waiting for us now? Jesus said he is the only way to the Father. How will they know if they never hear? How can we sit by as those we love perish? So often heaven and hell seem so far away. Yet here I find them revealed for what they are, the eternal outcome that is both real and immediate.

Her name was Allyson.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Breaking News! - '24' Characters Not Original

Breaking News! It has come to my attention that the break-out television sensation ‘24’ may have plagiarized two of its main characters, and as such could be open to a host of lawsuits. That’s right, the good people of America have been duped into thinking this stunningly original series was anything but derivative! The creators of ‘24’ virtually lifted two of its characters from the animated series ‘Inspector Gadget.’ “What on earth are you talking about?”, you say. It’s true, both Chloe O’Brien and Jack Bauer are frauds. Before you get defensive and start hurling your insults at me, first consider the evidence.

Chloe bears a striking similarity to Penny. Think about it… They both have blonde hair, but regardless are the brains behind the operation. Let’s not forget that both have a computer that can seemingly hack into anything, be it highly secure government files, or a refrigerator motor, they can do it. “But wait!”, you exclaim. Penny was a cute and lovable little tike, while Chloe has some sort of ‘personality disorder’. Obviously the creators of ‘24’ didn’t want to be too obvious, so they did the next logical thing. Please see this derivation.

When you cross Penny with a head of broccoli, lo and behold, you get Chloe O’Brien. Scary isn’t it?

“Okay, okay, maybe they stole Chloe, but Jack? Come on, we both know that’s sacrilege!”

Is it? Let me continue. Jack bears a striking resemblance to Inspector gadget himself. With the help of Penny, er, Chloe, they can get out of just about any situation. They both work for people that are pretty much clueless, and let’s not forget that each has a catchphrase that is identifiably them. (You know what I’m talking about.) Last, and certainly the smoking gun of our case, they both have had a substantial part of them removed in order to make more room for superhuman abilities. Inspector gadget likely has no skeletal structure, internal organs, or brain, while I’m pretty sure that Jack had his soul surgically removed during season one.

“Fine, I suppose I can grudgingly admit some similarity, still, Jack and Inspector Gadget? Still too much…”

Again, look at this derivation, and I think you’ll be forced to agree.

Crossing Inspector Gadget with a rottweiler invariably creates Jack Bauer, a man who’s not quite a man, and who’s vicious nature and lack of a soul makes him the ultimate weapon. Something happened to Jack while he was in China though. I think they stole some of his tools, and now he’s left with a gaping hole where his soul/abilities used to be. Season six will undoubtedly be the best season yet as Jack has to decide between his lost passion, or his long lost soul, a journey that may very well finally destroy him. Call me a sadist, but I’m rooting for the old Jack Bauer, the one who will do anything whatsoever to get the job done.

Let’s hope they can let this flagrant violation of intellectual piracy pass so that we are not denied the oh-so-addicting weekly dose of the drug that is ‘24’.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cyber Safari

A co-worker sent me a link this week that opened the door to a veritable cyber safari. There is a camera setup overseas that allows us to stream live images from a waterhole straight from Africa. This thing is great. Just take a look at a few pictures that I took just this morning.

*Added 1/19/2006

These pictures capture some sort of native deer, a lion cub (maybe a lioness), and a family of baboons. I've heard stories of giraffes, rhinos and hippos too. Some people even claim to have witnessed kills here. All I know is that I'm hooked. I love this thing! What do you think?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pointless Insight

I had to travel to a field office this week for a last minute project change. Reflecting on my trip I have the following insights to share. You know you’re in a small town when:
  • There is only one main road in town, and its speed limit is 25 MPH
  • Groups of teenagers hang out at the local Wal-Mart
  • People give directions in relation to ‘the light’
  • The locals are excited at the building of a new restaurant that nobody likes
  • You work with two guys named ‘Roy’… who are related
  • You leave work and your only companion in the parking lot is a tumbleweed
Lesson learned this week:
  • Yelling at the fe-mailman, even by mistake = a bad idea

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2006 - A year in review

Another year has passed. I look back on my accomplishments and wish I could say that I lived this year to the fullest, that I had done all that I had intended, achieved all my goals, been the person I ought to have been, obeyed my God as is fitting in his sight; but if I am to take an honest account of my life I must admit failure, at least partly. I know there were times that I passed up an opportunity to share the gospel, when I misspoke while teaching out of ignorance or haste, when I was not a model of integrity for those around me, or even in secret, when my own moral failures weighed down on me like a mountain of guilt threatening to crush me beneath their enormity. That being said, that I acknowledge so many failures does little to diminish what I consider to be a successful year, both in leadership and continued personal growth. Below I present a list of some of what I consider to be the major milestones of personal import in 2006.

January through June
Started running the sound system at church. An arduous journey of humbling failures that still progresses as I attempt to convey the perfect sound to people who otherwise have no knowledge of my existence. A truly thankless position.

Started teaching youth on Wednesday nights. Gaining the trust of kids who have had so much taken from them is difficult. Originally I took the position as a favor to another, and stayed on long after for the opportunity to make some positive impact in the lives of these kids whom I have come to care for.

Felt an overwhelming conviction to enroll in Seminary. I always knew in the back of my mind that I would like to go some day, but it never surfaced until one day I could not stop thinking about it. I enrolled and began classes in the fall.

Working with our music director I co-produced and directed the Easter presentation at Church. It was a dark and somber look at the path Jesus took to the cross and that which he accomplished there.

I completed my second presentation of Financial Peace University, the thirteen week course designed to help people get control of their finances. Those who attended, by their own profession and to the glory of God, have made extraordinary strides to free themselves from the bondage of debt.

In May I joined the blogosphere. This place has been a wonderful sink into which I have poured many hours of thought and pondering, sharing the insightful and mundane alike with my few, but faithful readers.
July through December
Ordered and constructed a suit of ghillie. Wearing my battle dress and with nerves of steel, I continuously wreak havoc on those who wander into my web.

I returned to the world of academia by starting classes at SWBTS. The path was difficult and forced me to be more purposeful in the allocation of my time. I completed my first semester with a 4.0, a first since high school, a feat never accomplished during my undergrad.

Started a project of home improvement that has grown beyond the scope of its vision. We painted the majority of the house in cool colors forever banishing the drab off-white that haunted us for years. We installed tile and wood flooring throughout the main living areas. It looks like a new house.

Made contact with several long, lost friends. Some through people networking, others by sleuthing the internet. As much as I disparage MySpace, it is an excellent tool for finding people that you haven’t thought about in years.
General Accomplishments
Completed chapters 3 through 6 in the book of Romans with my Sunday School class. Much to their dislike, we have slowly combed through this book as I present John Piper’s teachings of this, the greatest and most comprehensive single presentation of the gospel in the Bible.

This year I think I finally was able to begin to grasp, not just ackowledge intellectually, but really savor, the idea of justification by faith through grace, that no work was done, nor could ever be done, by me to secure my salvation. I remember when this first hit home as I was preparing for class, in the midst of chapter three, tears began to well up in my eyes. I am not an emotional person, and tears in my eyes is the equivalent of another person weeping in the quiet of their room in the dark of night. The beauty of that revelation still makes me stand in awe when I contemplate the magnificence of the love of God, that he would save one such as I.

Renewed contact with family near and far. Early in the year I felt bored. I did not seek a new hobby, as those are ephemeral. I later realized that relationships are important, not secondary to the human experience. We were created to be a community and that drive exists in some measure in all people. Likewise, I expanded and redefined relationships with current friends, sometimes painfully, but those with whom I have made the effort, I feel more at peace with the result than had I not addressed the underlying currents that sought to destroy the tenuous bonds of friendship.
Much has been gained this year. I thank God for another year, and pray that I do not squander the time I have to serve him amidst the trivial and fruitless expressions of menial human pursuit that so often define the lives of God’s people, whilst a hurting generation unknowingly yearns for purpose beyond the empty lie that has promulgated; that the ultimate pursuit of satisfaction can be found anywhere save in the presence of God’s unfathomable love.
Thank's for stopping by!