Dad took me fishing while we were in VA for the Christmas holidays. We went out past the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, some 17 miles out. The striper were hitting the bait fish on the surface, and we caught several. My biggest was this 37 inch, 18 pound striper caught on a shad lure. Thanks for the fun, Dad!
Eric and Karen also bought us the board game Hansa. It's a buying and selling sort of game set in the 15th century Baltic cities. The primary challenge of the game never having enough resources to do everything I want to do. The rules are not really that hard, but they are a bit difficult to pick up. We spent our first game just getting used to the mechanics. I don't think my 7 year old could pick up this game.
The game itself is both fun and challenging, but it is short-term, since you can't do much to prepare for the future. And you can't even plan your next turn, since the board will probably change as the other players move.
Rating: good game.
Eric and Karen bought us the card game For Sale for Christmas. It's both simple and short. The game has 2 phases. The first uses a bidding mechanism to buy houses; the second uses a bluffing mechanism to sell them. The mechanics are simple enough that my 5 year old should be able to learn, but there's enough complexity to keep adults thinking. It looks to be both a great game for the whole family and for introducing non-gamer friends to the genre of German games.
A friend bought our family Keesdrow Deluxe as a Christmas present. We sat down today as a family to play it. It's essentially Scrabble meets Boogle. If you like making works like Boogle on a board that looks like Scrabble, you'll like this game.
Although I own my own domain, I blog using Blogger, which makes posting my blog entries very easy. The default way to post is to log in at the Blogger website and use their web-based editor. But web-based editors like this are usually short on features, not to mention inconvenient. What I need is a blog editor that is its own Windows program.
For the last couple years I've used w.bloggar. It's ok. It works. But it's quirky to say the least. And probably 20% of the time it tells me it can't submit the post to my website. I have no idea why. Maybe it's not even w.bloggar's fault, but it sure is annoying. So I've been on the lookout for a new editor.
Then I found Windows Live Writer. It's a new blog editor from Microsoft. Although designed to work with Live Spaces, it works with a variety of other blogs as well. So I'm giving it a try. So far so good.
Now let's see if this baby can actually publish to my blog...
- 60's & 70's - Inerrancy - The Bible has errors, said the liberals.
- 80's & 90's - Sufficiency - The Bible needs help, said the charismatics and the Christian psychologists
- late 90's & earlier 00's - Relevance - The Bible is not a priority, said the seeker-sensitivers.
- 00's - Perspicuity - The Bible is unclear so truth is unneeded, said the emergant churchers.
1 stick butter
1 onion -- chopped
5 stalks celery -- chopped
14 ounces pepperridge farm stuffing
1 can oysters -- chopped
1/4 cup parsley, fresh
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
6 cups turkey stock
Melt one stick of butter and saute in onion and celery. In a large bowl, mix pepperridge farm stuffing with water on package. Add fresh oysters. Add parsley, basil, sage, salt, paprika, eggs. Mix well. Add turkey stock. Add enough to make stuffing sloppy. Stuff turkey and bake as per turkey directions. Put remainder of dressing in casserole and bake one hour.
Do you want the Bible's answer? Here it is: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (2 Pe 1:2-3, NASB95) In Christ we have everything we need for godliness. A godly wife is a great asset to my godliness, but she's not required. Godly children are a great asset to my godliness, but they are not required. A godly boss and godly neighbors and so on are all wonderful, but they are not required. No one around me can make me sin. The Bible forbids this type of blame-shifting that permeates our culture (even our Christian culture). So where does the blame for my sin reside?
Here's the Bible answer: "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders." (Mt 15:18-19, NASB95) My sin is the result of my own wicked heart. And this is why I need the gospel. And so we find that Christine's conclusion is absolutely correct: "Being conformed into the likeness and image of Christ, living the gospel daily, and removing selfish pride from your life is essentially the ulitmate preparation to living with and respecting and loving a husband."
We know that it's never a matter of *if* your computer will fail, but *when.* Did I have a backup system? Yes! I use Second Copy to backup our files between our various computers. It's set to make an identical copy every two hours. Did it work? Yes! I only lost about 45 minutes of work, which I was able to reproduce. This $30 utility is worth every penny, especially if you have two computers in your house. Still, I'm thinking about buying a NAS, if I can find an inexpensive wireless one.
Then the fun began. A new hard drive was only $60 from Dell, which isn't too bad considering that this is an older computer. The site said that the drives usually ship in 3 to 5 weeks. That's longer than I would like, but it was acceptable since I have other computers that I can use. So I placed the order. Then we got the confirmation, which said the expected shipping date was 4 Dec 06! Yikes! That's not 3 to 5 weeks, that's 3 to 5 months! I googled around for a bit, but I couldn't find anyone else who sold the older hard drive that I needed, so I resigned myself to being without that laptop for a while. It wasn't that big of a deal, since I have a newer Inspiron 9300 laptop that Calvary gave me last year. I began installing all the software I need on it (stuff like Outlook and GAIM). This morning we got another email from Dell: the hard drive has already shipped. Sigh. How do they go from such extremes? I guess their ability to estimate has just gone nuts.
Several things made the trip go by fast:
1) We hooked our laptop up to the power convertor for a make-shift DVD player, which kept the kids busy for three hours. Tim, my fellow intern at Calvary, had the great idea of letting the kids use headphones to watch the movie. He loaned me an audio splitter, so Jacen and Emmy each got their own. This freed Ann and I to be able to talk up front.
2) Early in the week Ann downloaded "Robinson Crusoe" as an audio book on MP3. I burned it to 3 audio discs, and the kids listened to the first third of the book. That was another great idea that burned lots of time.
3) This was the first time I'd traveled to TX since the speed limits have been increased. Every state from NC to TX now allows 70 MPH on at least some parts of the interstate.
That strangest thing we saw was a couple of roadsigns in Birmingham: "Pollution levels high: please drive less." What? What do they expect people in Birmingham to do? "Gee, honey, the pollution's high, let's not go buy any groceries today."
Anyhow, we're glad to be in Texas for a few days visiting with Ann's family.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, Write, Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are true words of God. (Rev 19:7-9 NASB95)
The bride of Jesus is his church, the one he is sanctifying to present to himself without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5:26-27). If Jesus had married, he would have been a polygamist. But he wasn't. He's waiting for me!
To download the MP3 sermons, go to this church's website, scroll down and look for the two sermons entitled "multi-generational faithfulness." They are not listed right next to each other.
"The pastors and leadership that realize that they are technically driven are the churches that are going to flourish, because people are technically driven. If they weren't, we wouldn't be watching the movies that we watch. People go to the movies to see the incredible effects. It's not so much the story line anymore; it's how exciting the movie is going to be. Technology is really driving a lot of the things in our society, and the church that embraces that - not to dilute the message, but to enhance the message - is a church that is going to move forward."
Three subtle mindsets concern me:
1) A church must be technically driven in order to flourish. Not driven by obedience to God's leading. Not driven by preaching the Word. Not driven by evangelism or missions or discipleship. Driven by technology. I agree that such a church might flourish numerically, but I wonder if it will flourish spiritually.
2) Church should be exciting. Movies are not about the story, they're about the excitement, and the implication is that church is the same way. It's not about worshipping God; it's about seeing how exciting the "Sunday morning show" is going to be. Church has become entertainment. Where do I buy a ticket?
3) The message of the cross can be enhanced, and in fact it needs to be enhanced. Oh my! This is dangerous. Paul said he would not enhance the message when he preached it (1 Cor 1:17, 2:1-1). Why? Because enhancing the message is the same as diluting it - it makes the cross of Christ powerless!
The Me Church
What has been more interesting to read is the undercurrent of those who place little to no value on these assessments. There are a number of different criticisms:
1) The Bible makes no mention of spiritual gift assessment tests. Although believers are commanded to use their gifts in service, they are never commanded to test themselves to determine their gifts.
2) Spiritual gift assessment tests do not truly assess spiritual gifts. If they did, one would assume that a non-believer who took the test would score a zero, as they have no spiritual gifts. And new believers who took the test would presumably score near zero, as they have not yet matured their gifts.
3) Spiritual gift assessment test are actually "spiritualized" personality tests; there is a fair amount of overlap with personality tests such as Myers-Briggs and DISC. It has been argued that spiritual gift assessment tests are attempting to utilize the humanistic theories from Carl Jung and others.
Those who do not approve of spiritual gift assessments offer a number of alternatives. A believer's gifts can be ascertained by their experiences as they serve among the church, their desires to serve, and their God-given opportunities to serve. The gifts can be confirmed by the results of their service and by the confirmation of mature believers. It's easy to see why these types of assessments are not used much. One, they are quite a bit more subjective. An assessment test gives you a convenient, objective score in 30 minutes. Two, they take a lot more time. A believer would actually have to be serving for some number of months or years before his gift could be assessment. And if this time of service were repeated to assess each of the gifts…oh my! Three, they rely upon experiences, and conservative leaders tend to shy away from basing objective reality upon an individual's experiences.
These alternatives are interesting, and it would probably be productive to study the Bible in greater detail to determine if it condones such ideas. If Scriptural authority is found, it would then be helpful to organize these thoughts into a format useful for churches and believers.
For it's worth, I use ESV during my study time, although the NASB is my preferred study translation. The ESV is a fine translation, and IMHO it would be especially good for someone who was raised in the KJV tradition but is looking for a newer and more accurate translation.
Want to hear samples of the music we're getting? Try here:
Glad's The Acapella Project
Glad's Acapella Hymns
Acappella's Hymns for all the World
Acappella's Hymns for all the Ages
Hmmm, why does Glad spell acapella with 1 'p' and Acappella spell their name with 2?
Second, well, the picture of my nephew says it all.
Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. (Mk 10:15)