Sunday, February 26, 2006

Today's prodigal sons.

Yesterday, my church, Northern Hills sponsored a session on Identity Theft given by the District Attorneys office. It was quite good.

One of the things that stuck out is that our senior citizens are the primary target of identity theft. Since this has hit my family twice, Marj and I went.

The one thing that I keep thinking about since then are not the means to prevent identity theft, an important thing to know but the statement that crystal meth is the primary driver for identity theft. He showed the booking photos of one ring. The leader had an MBA, one other person worked at the post office. The rest (10-15 people) were skimming mailboxes, dumpster diving, stealing wallets, etc.

When Marj was talking about this to a friend the picture of the "Prodigal Son" popped into my head. In The Message, Luke 15:16 says:
He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
As Cary, the presenter with the Case partnership told me, these are desperate people. The thing that is hard to remember when you are a victim is that just like the story of the prodigal son, God still loves them.

Parental Outsourcing

As I was looking at yesterdays post, I realized how often we as parents outsource our duties.

It is much easier to outsource my job as a teacher to my son about moral and spiritual topics to the schools and churches.

Since, of course, I am not the only one who has done this, there are quite a few kids who have had their training broken, bent or ignored by those we outsource to. Then, when they fail, we get upset at the outsourcing, not direct the blame to the real cause, ourselves.

We need to take back our jobs as parents!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Outsourcing taken to the extreme...

Primate Programming Inc: The Evolution of Java and .NET TrainingThis is not real (at least I don't believe it is real or I am in real trouble.

Outsourcing has been a real problem for many in America. As an alternative, google Rural Sourcing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Putting your money where your heart is....

I ran across this news article...

"Minister Buys Lap Dances To Tell Strippers About God"

Read the article before jumping to conclusions.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I am a....

At the top of this blog is "the banner", describing what this blog is about. I think I misinterpreted what it was supposed to do but that leads to this entry...

This morning, I was listening to a message titled "aka God part 3" from LifeChurch in Okalahoma City.

Listening to the message sparked many different topics but this one stuck.

In there, the speaker asks, what is your banner?

Many, in fact maybe most of us, when asked to introduce ourselves, somewhat automatically "banner" ourselves. When asked in a work environment, it is automatically the business card version of our life.

"Hi my name is Joel, I am a software engineer".

Is that really who I am? A few years ago, in response to a book I read call Software Craftsmanship, I stopped calling my self a software engineer and when asked, told people that I write programs or "code". Many times, when asked at church to introduce myself, I respond "I sometimes run sound." or "I sometimes play bass".

I realized this morning that I have changed my banner. No longer is what I do defining who I am. In response to this thought, the banner on this blog will be changing.....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Links, Links and More Links...

After worship team practice, one of the guys asked for "All the links you sent them..." speaking of a couple of others on the team.

After sending the email, I thought, why not just post them here too.

Feeds I subscribe to (mostly blogs):
Also recommended... evotional

Podcasts I listen to (yes, I am falling behind)...
Last but not least... A guy at work sent me a video link to the iGuitar. Here are those.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

More thoughts on Grace and Truth

It seems, as we look at all the unrest in the world in the name of someone's god, everyone has an opinion on truth.

As I was listening to a local Christian radio call in show on Friday. The host of the show had been talking about wine and the practice during those times of diluting the wine with water. Shortly after that, a woman called in and says....

"I just can't picture Jesus drinking a glass of wine...". It was then explained to her that the only one the Bible mentions that didn't drink wine in Jesus' time was John the Baptist who had taken a Nazerite vow. She just couldn't accept that.

I think that this is an excellent example of how our cultural "baggage" colors our beliefs and reading of the Bible. In some respects, we have adopted a belief saturated with relativism, not truth. God tells us that his truth is absolute.

So here is where grace comes back in. God gives us the truth of his word in the Bible but there are many people who won't accept that truth, on only accept parts of his truth. Then there are others who have taken that truth and twisted it around until just a little remains, the rest is a great lie. What should our response be to those people.

I suggest that we have a practice of "grace", from the post below, the best description I can come up with is "A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.".

Why? Because as a follower of Jesus, I am told to. I John 4:7-8 (The Message) reads:
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love--so you can't know him if you don't love.
When asked what the most important command was, Jesus replied:
"The first in importance is, "Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: "Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these." (Mark 12:29-31 - The Message)
So, what is the point here? I have rambled a bit but I think it is as follows:
  1. Have the courage to pray for truth and accept the truth that God shows you
  2. Challenge your cultural presuppositions against the truth of Gods word, The Bible.
  3. Love those around you by giving them grace when you don't agree with them.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tolerance and Loving You

We are approaching Valentines Day, they day of Love and Romance.

What does that have to do with tolerance you ask? Well, funny you should wonder...

A little over a year ago, Northern Hills did a series on grace, focusing on Gods grace toward us.

John 1:14 (The Message)
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.

After seeing the aftermath in Europe when cartoons considered irreverant by Islam is published, I wonder where we as followers stand on tolerance.

The end of the passage above is translated "full of grace and truth" when talking about Jesus. What does that mean. First off, it means that God is merciful in sending Jesus to suffer for our wrong doings. Second, it means that God didn't ease up when it came to the standards of perfect actions and thoughts.

Sometimes, however, we as followers of Jesus, look more like the religious leaders of Jesus' time than like Jesus. As I have been reading through the Gospels (Matthew & Mark so far), I see Jesus acting intolerant toward those who accused him of not being as good as themselves. On the other side, I see quite a bit of tolerance of those that are searching for better ways. A couple of examples right off the top of my head....
  • Jesus was said to be a drunkard because he would visit the houses of "sinners".
  • Jesus' morality was questioned more than once, not only because of the group he hung around with but because he was willing to cross the line of the religious leaders laws.
The thing I notice about the definition of tolerance is an implied acceptance or respect of a differing view. The definition of the word grace in this context, however, mentions the following...
  1. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
  2. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
From this definition, we can see that God, though Jesus, gave is grace (4). Though that gift, we as followers of Jesus, should grant grace (5 - temporary exemption), to those around us who are not followers of Jesus in order to show Gods grace (4) .

The challenge is that it is so much easier to just show the truth part of John 1:14. Unfortunately, that puts us on the same playing field as the religious leaders of Jesus' time.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Herding Cats...

Here is another funny commercial, this one from EDS.

If the video doesn't work, go here.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl Day Advertising

For those whos favorite teams didn't make the Superbowl, the best attaction is, of course, the advertisements.

This happens to be one of my all time favorites... I didn't see it here in the US except via the web. The rumor I heard was that it was not edited but did take over 600 attempts to make it work.

** I noticed that this didn't show up in my rss aggregator so visit Superbowl Day Advertising to see it. It uses Google video so..... If that still doesn't work, try this.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Podcast Small Group

Coming from a church (Northern Hills) where small groups (we call them Life Groups) are quite an important aspect, I was intrigued when, while listening to a Theater Church (National Community Church) weekly sermon PodCast, they mentioned starting a small group for their "podcast congregation" at the ZoneGathering blog.

It looks like they have started a blog at blogspot (the same site that this one is hosted on), allowing those in their group to contribute.

It will be quite interesting to see how this works out.

It looks like at least one of the members is not new to small groups. She is one of the staff at National Community and has a blog on Dicipleship Groups.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

From Kicked Back to Crazy

Last week, every evening was free. Things I had scheduled were canceled. After having busy weekends since the start of the year, it was a welcome change.

This weekend, we saw "The End of the Spear", an excellent movie.

This week, however, it is nearly the opposite, Monday and Friday evening are free. I also am filling in on bass at Church. The bass I bought last year is pictured at the right. We are leading a new song this week from Hillsong called "All For Love"... Quite powerful! I am really looking forward to it!

As I posted earlier... I am just helping out as I am needed.