Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Prayers

Today I pray for the hurting, the despised, the lonely, and the desperate. For my children. And I pray for Peace on Earth.

There is so much to pray for. And sometimes when I pray I begin to despair - until I think of the man who left the right hand of God to become a baby in the must humble of circumstances. To walk amongst us and die so that this world would not remain cloaked in darkness. He came so that his light would shine for each and every one of us even when we are unworthy. So that we - no matter how much we hurt, no matter how much we are despised, no matter how lonely or desperate we are - we can come home to him and find solace, joy and peace in his arms.

So while it's good to pray, it's even better to praise because our God lives outside of time and space!! No matter your circumstance right here and now this Christmas, God sees the end game, and if we but believe our end game is glorious!!

Thank you Father for Christmas. I don't deserve it, but I accept your forgiveness and your love and there alone I find joy.

May the joy of the Lord be your strength during this season and always. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

All that's gold doesn't glitter...

I can't exactly say that we're moving into the Christmas season now, when Walmart has been playing Christmas tunes for over a month now, but I'm a late shopper. Still before I hit the stores I make sure to stop and take an inventory of what exactly is of value in my life.

The holy spirit turned me on to this article in his usual perfectly timed way. I highly recommend this article in Boundless entitled The Wealthy Ones. It sure puts everything into perspective.

Everything I buy this season will eventually turn to dust. But there is one thing that I can hold fast too that will never change. Thank you God for your steadfast love.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Women At The Well

I was the woman at the well - but by the grace of Jesus I am free, forgiven, redeemed and restored.

This monologue from YouTube that is about that same story says everything that I'd like to say about that. Wow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Matters More?

Everyone is blogging about Derek Webb's song from his new album Stockholm Syndrome. The song is 'What Matters More?'. It's getting lots of press in the Christian realm because of the two dirty words that are used in the song.

I first listened to the song when it was posted on my friend Ben's blog. And true to form, Ben's post got me all riled up. Not because of the swear words. *gasp* But because of the subject matter. The song addresses the churches treatment of homosexuals in a rather 'in your face' kinda way. I never expected that song to strike such a deep chord with me, but it did. Below is the paraphrase of the comment I left on Ben's blog where the title of his post was: WE NEED THE CONTROVERSY.

If you listen closely, I believe the curse words are there to be ironic. I rather wish they were not in there, but I won't start marching around and carrying signs to try and protest the song. Sadly I used to use the ‘f’ word every other sentence and it still slips from time to time.

Which brings me to point number 2 – I sin every day. I sure try not too. But I do. Therefore how in the world could I condemn anyone else for the same?

Do I think being gay is a sin? Ya it is but it’s not my job to judge. (At first I said it 'probably' was a sin, but I edited that out because it is. Very clearly) So is jealousy, cursing, and anger, just some of the things I'm guilty of. Besides I’m no bible scholar and I can’t know absolutely for certain what Jesus thinks about it anyway.

But no, Ben, I don’t think we need the controversy. What we do need is to shut our mouths about it and get on with the job Jesus gave us: Loving one another, and loving the Lord our God.

I leave you with the only Bible verse that I think applies in this case. Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Or this one: John 8:7 “Any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” But brother, that ain’t me.

Wow. The thoughts behind that song really ticked me off. I didn't even know I really had an opinion on the matter. Thanks Ben for turning me on to that song. :)

You can listen to the ever so 'shocking' and controversial song here. But be forwarned!!!! You will here the nasty versions of the words Darn and Poop. Really!

And if you do listen to the song, honestly ask yourself "What matters more to you?"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What does being a Christian mean?

That pic is Meghan - blogger, video producer, skater, Christ follower. My daughter just sent me the link to a YouTube Video that was written and performed by this 21 year old poet who has wisdom well beyond her years. I am astounded by the depth, insight, and truth of this young woman's words!

She has entitled her poem 'box', and anyone who has felt pigeon-holed because of the label 'Christian' will empathize and agree with her well chosen words. Please watch the Video - this is life changing stuff.

You can watch her heartfelt, moving, inspired video here:

And you can read her blog at the link below. Her name is Meghan, and her heart is for the Lord:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Censorship vs Free Will

Partial Freedom is an oxymoron - but that's just want some people would like the internet to be: "Partially Free". I am greatly disturbed by the censorship of the 'net that has been taking place in China, and is now in beginning in Germany. This censorship in Germany is being done under the guise of making the internet safe for children. In China the Government just admits that it wants to control the information being distributed to their citizens. While China's attitude is disturbing, at least their admonition is refreshing.

This subject took me back some years as I recalled the formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I remember the first time I read the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace penned by the poet John Perry Barlow. Its inspiring words, shown in part below, brought tears to my eyes:

"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather. ..."

"We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth. ..."

"We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity. ..."

"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before."

---John Perry Barlow

Noble thoughts expressed over a sometimes ignoble medium. But the truth is that Cyberspace is no more evil than the world in which we live, although the anonymity of the internet allows that which resides in the hearts of men to surface freely. But we can not be afraid! Where freedom reigns the truth can always be found. Censorship does not eradicate evil. Wrongdoing is only further obfuscated by censorship.

Yes, there are nasty, and evil places on the internet. There are also places of goodness, justice and truth. I'm not willing to allow any Government to decide for me which is which. In China, for instance, some Christian Web Sites have been banned.

Our Lord gave us Free Will. I'm not willing to let any Government take that away from me.

I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.

I will speak of your statutes before kings
and will not be put to shame,

--Psalm 119:45-46

Makeup your own mind about Cyberspace! Here is some software that can help:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nothing ordinary about it...

The Church counts the time after Pentecost and before the Christmas Season as Ordinary Time. So between June 1 this year until November 28 life will be ordinary.

I discovered this because as a new Christian I like to study not only the Bible, but Biblical and Church History. I read the above article about Ordinary Time – which really just means 'ordinal' or counted time. But I highly object to that name!!

There is nothing ordinary about following Jesus Christ. Ever since I made the choice to accept Christ into my life I've been living an incredible adventure. Doors have opened that I never expected. People accepted me and my life is filled with those who not only love me, but stand beside me in times of crisis. I see miracles happen all around me every single day - evidence that the Lord works both ends of every situation. I have gained wisdom, and confidence that I never knew I could possess because all of these things were born of the Lord.

Sometimes I almost feel a little sorry for those who have known Jesus their whole lives because I understand that they will never get to feel the thrill of the realization that they are finally honestly FREE from the darkness, and pain in which they used to live. I'm going to keep the joy that 'thrill' gave me forever.

It may well be that the Church counts the time after Pentecost as 'Ordinary Time'. But my life after my own personal Pentecost is anything but ordinary. Life with Jesus is an eternal adventure!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Prayer

Heavenly Father I ask that you never let me forget my life before I was saved.

I never want to forget the utter emptiness in my soul that I tried to fill in all the wrong ways.

I never want to forget the self loathing I felt for the way I was living my life.

I never want to forget the loneliness of my self imposed isolation.

I never want to forget the disappointment of opening my eyes to a new morning when what I longed for was death.

I do not want to forget the overwhelming fear that kept me from leaving my home.

I never want to forget the guilt, and the anxiety and the pain that filled my every waking moment because of how I had failed my children that I could not raise.

I never want to forget the lies, deception and the self denial of my decaying mind.

I am so grateful for your redemption, for now there is no condemnation, and I am free.

I will treasure these dark memories because only through them can I measure how far you've brought me. Through them I can know just how far I've come by your grace alone. And with these memories I can begin to fully understand how great your love is. You never let go of me Lord, no matter how deep I sank. And I never want to forget that.

Thank you Lord for these dark memories. They keep me praising you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Technology MUST HAVE

I just bought 10 of these for our Pastors!! It really blew my budget, in fact I had to take out a loan to get them but they are sure worth it! I'm saving to purchase the VR model for my own personal use!

These guys are hilarious.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New meaning for the "Handshake"

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been working on what they call 'Nano Skins' Which is not to be confused with the iPod decals. These nano skins are comprised of a tiny web of nano tubes and polymers that are thin enough to fit beneath your skin while retaining their ability to conduct electricity.

These nano skins would be linked to your WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network). Yes, we'll become wireless!!!! Oh Lord let me live long enough to see this research come to fruition!!!!

The applications for this kind of technology are only limited by our imagination - but I'd very much like to have in addition to a notepad, little display and keyboard. I'd never lose my PDA again!!!

I remember when we used to call establishing a connection from one computer to another a hand shake. Perhaps there will soon come a day when a real world handshake does the same thing.

Which may cause AVG to begin making hand sanitizer...

You can read a bit more about this new tech in this H+ article.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Green Data Center

That photograph is the Telehouse Dockland Facility - and they are doing exciting and innovative things!

I know how hot my little server room gets here at APC - and it's a shame to have to waste that energy. But greater minds than I have figured out a way to use it. They are going to put that kind of heat to work heating homes and businesses in London.

"The Greater London Authority has approved a plan in which waste heat from the $180 million Telehouse colocation facility will be used in a district heat network for the local Docklands community.

The project is expected to produce up to nine megawatts of power for the local community, and allow the 130,000 square foot Telehouse West to reduce its carbon footprint by 1,110 tons. “The energy savings will equate to boiling 3,000 kettles continuously,” the company said."
Wow!!! This is very exciting stuff! You can check out the full article here.

And you can check out Telehouse at their web site.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Can't we all just be friends???!!!????!1?!!1

CAUTION: Pollyanna views ahead!

I just watched the video of Christianity Today's panel on the “emerging church” at the Christian Book Expo in Dallas — along with experts Kevin DeYoung, Tony Jones, and Scot McKnight.

I don't mean to be flippant, but that video just seemed like a very long version of one of those Macintosh vs PC commercials. The emergents of course being represented by the cool mac guy, and the more ''Orthodox” gentleman being the PC.

I was always annoyed by those commercials, because both a Mac and a PC have their place and both get the job done!!! Arguing about it means nothing to our culture other than both companies vying for a larger market share.

Why are Christians spending so much time and MONEY arguing with one another – knit picking. (As far as I can see.) I understand that to some people arguing as to whether Thomas Aquinis is fundamentally Platonic, or Aristotelian is a very important pass time. I have my own opinions, but that's all it is – an opinion. And who the heck cares if your church has pews or sofas??

Everyone should be encouraged to read the Bible and perhaps other historical and newer texts in order to develop their own view of the truth. But the only Truth that really matters is the Truth that Jesus Christ died for our sins and on the third day rose to defeat even death. And he's alive and working in each of our lives every single day.

I will never be a cool Mac. I wear glasses, need a hair cut and I'm an overweight 49 year old computer geek. But I love Jesus, with all my heart. And I strive every moment so that my words and deeds are a pleasing aroma unto my Lord and King. I often fall short, but I keep on trying.

Christians are under attack from all sides by other religions and those who profess to have no religion. Why do we have to pick each other apart too?

You can see the video here if you really want too:

And check out the picture of that panel above - every one of them looks like they are in great pain.

Oh and by the way: HE IS RISEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Power of Jesus

I love National Public Radio. They handle news stories with a gentleness and respect that I very much admire.

Today they are running a story that is proof positive that our Lord is alive and well and living in even the most dangerous of places. The story is called Finding Jesus in America's Inner City Alleyways.

The story details an upcoming exhibit of photographic images that will be part of an exhibit in the Washington DC's National Building Museum. You can see some of these photographs at the NPR site. These photographs were taken by one man in some of the most dangerous places in America, and every one of them depicts an artists rendition of Jesus Christ.

"You don't mess around with Christ... too much," The Photographer, Camilo Jose Vergara, speaks about how Christ is still powerful force in the lives of many people who do not even consider themselves Christian. Some of the holy graffiti was placed by Priests or Pastors in the hopes of discouraging the violence in the area.

Mr. Vergara tells the story of a simple Wooden Cross placed in an empty lot in Detroit - and the old lawn chairs placed around it where people had gathered to worship. He says that his photographs prove that individual church doesn't matter, what matters is that people come to worship.

What a beautiful thought on this Good Friday.

Jesus Christ is alive and well on this day and every day, not only in the beautiful places, but also in urban decay. I am grateful for a living God. It's Friday, but Sunday's coming!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Step Closer to Gibson's Dream

I was in my early 20's when I became a self proclaimed Cyberpunk, and William Gibson, the father of Cyberpunk has always been someone I've very much admired.

I loved the idea of cybernetic implants that could not only make you 'better, stronger, faster' but that would also allow our brains to directly access information located in cyberspace.

I was delighted to find that we are one step closer to developing that very brain implant that I will gladly test one day!!!

Check out the very newest and incredibly useful wearable technology.

And no, I don't think that this kind of implant would make me any less human that sitting in front of my computer all day does. :-) I would still love and server the Lord. I'd just be able to serve him 'better, stronger, faster'.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Casting Crowns

This is the song of my heart.

Life Song
Copyright Casting Crowns

Empty Hands held high
Such Small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to you
Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign your name
to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You

LORD, I give my life
A Living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You


Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Let my lifesong sing to You

Monday, February 23, 2009

For two years every evening my daughter and I settle into my bed to read the Bible. I read it to her, and we stop frequently to discuss things that come up. It's such a precious time to me. When we're done reading she always asks, "Can we talk now?"

And the talks that we have can be serious, or goofy, but they too are precious.

She turned 13 last week. That's an incredible milestone. But every night she still says, "Lets go read the Bible and talk now".

And that is the greatest gift the Lord has ever given me. I know it won't always be like this. There will come a time when we won't read the Word every night. But I'm so grateful for this time that we have together. So grateful that she still /wants/ me to read to her, and that she still wants to talk every night before we sleep.

God is so good.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Timelessness of Jules Verne

I grew up reading Jules Verne and HG Wells – the fathers of 'steampunk' before moving on to Orwell, Asimov, Bradberry, and Gibson. Science Fiction has always been my genre of choice. Recently I began to reread 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and was again reminded of the creative and future-sighted genius of Verne.

From the submarine Nautilus to the spacecraft Columbiad Verne's fantastical machines were as much works of art as they were practical vehicles - all polished brass clockwork fueled by steam whose ethereal qualities added to their mystique.

When I saw an article about the Corpus Clock I was struck with the idea that Mr. Vern would be pleased to see a project like this come to fruition. And the fact that the art behind this practical clock is a metaphor for fleeting time makes this something that we can all appreciate.

Watch the video. It's incredibly cool.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Year of Leaning Forward

Our Senior Pastor Jeff Leake started the tradition of 'naming your year' with is wife. It's a cool idea that allows you to give the coming year a 'theme'.

Last year I named my year "Diligence and the Holy Spirit". I was trying to be diligent not only in my faith, but also in my work, and personal life. And I was seeking to become ever closer to the Holy Spirit.

This year is going to be the Year of "Leaning Forward". This phrase "Leaning Forward" has been used around our Church for some time. Pastor Jeff uses it and a very dear friend of mine even named her Blog after the concept. And I feel sad that I do not know the name of the person who originated the phrase with this particular definition so that I can credit him with this clever verbiage.

Our definition of "Leaning Forward" means to lean forward INTO the arms of God. I don't want to lean back into his arms, I want to lean forward aggressively. I want to have that kind of faith.

So here is to the new year, and my Year of Leaning Forward into your arms Lord, trusting in you in all the situations of my life. I will not be prey for any spirit of fear, but I will trust that your Grace is sufficient for me. Amen.