Pop-up Blocker

Uncle Johnny -- There are a number of pop-up blockers out there, but I prefer to use the Google Toolbar. It works well, it's free, it's stable, and it includes a really easy way to search the web with my favorite search engine -- Google. To install the Toolbar, go to the link below and follow the instructions on the screen.

Google Toolbar


When I was in Colorado Springs last week, a co-worker and I went to several gaming stores in town. At one really nice one downtown, I found a game I had been looking for -- Attika. It's set in the time of the Greek city-states, and the goal is to either build your entire city or build enough to connect two shrines. The game has been elements similar to Settlers of Catan, so if you like that game, you'll probably like Attika. It plays well with 2, 3, and 4, as there is no trading element to the game.

Boardgamegeek's Info on Attika


I was in Colorado Springs last week for a business trip, so while in the neighborhood I took a day off to go skiing. Some guys from the MITRE office took me to Breck and showed me around. What a blast! Way better than Snowshoe, hands down. There were so many more runs, and the runs were much longer. Plus they had a bunch of ungroomed stuff way on the top of the bottom, which was really hard but a blast to ski through. Of course at 12,000 feet I was gasping for breath much of the time, but it was all worth it. Hopefully I can find a way to go next year.

Info on Breckenridge

Building my own computer

I'm in the process of building my own desktop again, the third one I've built. I have never had so many problems! First the BIOS was set for an 8X AGP video card, so my 4X card wouldn't work. I had to borrow an old PCI video card just to get to the BIOS. Then I couldn't get the BIOS to see my 40 GB hard drive. I finally had to borrow a drive with a newer interface, and then the BIOS was happy. (Thanks, Allen, for swapping hard drives with me!) Finally, while installing Windows, I kept getting Blue Screens of Death. After talking with MWave's tech support (where I bought the motherboard, processor, and memory), I think I have a bad stick of RAM. When I took one out, everything works fine. Anyhow, I now have my new computer up, and I'm in the process of installing the software. Whew!

Spring has sprung

Ah, the flowers are blooming! I love this time of year. The daffodils are blooming and the hyacinths and anemone have started as well. God's creation is a magnificent testimony to His creative power and artistry.

The Passion

Ann and I saw the movie today, so I thought I'd share a few of my thoughts on it.

The bad: The only part of the movie I didn't like was extra emphasis it placed upon Mary, the mother of Jesus. In one scene she supernaturally knows where Jesus is, and John repeatedly refers to her as Mother with a capital 'M' (oddly enough, Jesus still refers to her as woman with a lowercase 'w'). This emphasis is consistent with the Roman Catholic church's teachings of Mary, claiming she is sinless and a mediator between man and a wrathful Jesus. This view is heretical. Although Mary trusted God and most likely understood who her Son was, Mary was still a sinner like the rest of us. Nothing in the Bible suggests that she was without sin; she needed the salvation her Son provided, just as all humanity does. Furthermore Mary is never depicted as a mediator in the Bible; that role is expressly given to Jesus, who mediates on our behalf before God.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

The unecessary: A Satan character appears in various scenes, motivating various characters to sin and generally making sure things are going his way. Although I have no doubt that Satan worked mightily to accomplish the death of Christ, thinking to thwart God's plan, the portrayal of him in the movie was not strictly necessary and a bit theatrical for my tastes.

The good: By and large the movie was good. It was Scripturally accurate. It used flashbacks well to recall various points in Christ's life and teaching. It placed a high emphasis on how Jesus related to people; He was always interested in people, even while dying. The scourging, the crown of thorns, and the crucifixion were all done very well. [Too well done, perhaps; be careful taking small children to the movie.]

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. What was my personal response to this movie? In the class I am teaching at my church, we are studying Philippians 2, which describes the descent of Christ, the steps He went through that led Him to the cross. As I watched this movie and cried, I could not help but thank God for the love I saw demonstrated before my eyes -- Jesus died for me. Here are two quotes from commentator Gordon Fee on this passage:

"What is thus being urged upon the Philippians is not a new view of Jesus, but a reinforcement, on the basis of Paul's view of the crucifixion that in the cross God's true character, his outlandish, lavish expression of love, was fully manifested."

"Here is where the one who as 'equal with God' has most fully revealed the truth about God: that God is love and that his love expresses itself in self-sacrifice - cruel, humiliating death on a cross - for the sake of those he love."

So what response could someone have who is not a disciple of Jesus Christ? Can they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus just from watching this movie? The movie is certainly not a study of systematic theology or soteriology; it did not end with someone telling the Roman's road. Despite this, yes, I think someone could be saved. In the flashbacks to the Last Supper, Jesus makes two key statements.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Matthew 26:28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

I believe this verses are sufficient for someone to understand that they need to be saved, why Jesus died on the cross, and perhaps how to be saved. At the very least it should cause people to ask more questions, which is an opportunity for additional explanation from the Bible.

Would you like more information on why Jesus died? First, read this:

God's Plan

Then call me or email me at james @ garriss.org.