MacArthur sermons now free!

I love good, expository preaching; it's the best kind of preaching by a long shot. When I'm studying a text, I love to download a sermon that a expository preacher has preached on the same text and listen to it. So when a great expositor indexes his library of sermons and makes this freely downloadable on the web, that's cause for shouting. John Piper's sermons are available at Desiring God. Danny Akin's sermons are available at SEBTS. And now John MacArthur's sermons are available at Grace to You!

Photos: Emmy's best friend

Emmy loves animals. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see her grow up to be a vet or a biologist or a zoologist or whatever. Ann's folks have a border collie named Brandy, and she spends every minute possible hanging around her. Brandy is a blast. She fetches soccer balls, catches frisbees, attacks sprinklers, and other fun stuff.

081224 Brandy

Photos: Lawn mower

Like any boy, Jacen wants to drive. So Ann's father taught him how to drive the riding lawn mower and then turned him loose to mulch the leaves in the backyard and in the neighbor's yard. Jacen had a blast!

081219 Jacen Riding Mower

Photos: Family Pictures

It's been a while since we've had some good family pictures taken, so we asked a friend to take a few. This one with the yellow tree was my favorite. There are two others near a cypress tree.

081215 Family Picture

Photo Gallery

I've been working on my (limited) photography skills the last few months, so I decided to set up a gallery to display some of my better shots. Since I use iWeb for my website, I started by using the built-in gallery. It was lame. But a friend pointed me to SimpleViewer, so now I set it up to be my gallery. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Online Backup

I've written before about having an offsite backup plan. After reading an article in a magazine, I decided to give Mozy a try. I started by using the free version, which lets you automatically backup 2 GB of data online. It's not much space, but enough to backup my documents folder. I like that it encrypts the data, so that (allegedly) not even Mozy employees can read my data. This won't backup all my data, but it will at least protect the most important parts.

YouTube videos

What would it sound like if you could take everything a mother says in a 24 hour period of time and condense it down to 2 min and 55 seconds? It would sound like this. And the same for dads? Like this.


I've been playing Desktop Tower Defense on the Casual Collective since it started. They've recently released a new game, Minions. I love it. It's a simple team game of robots destroying each other. It's Flash-based, so nothing to download or install (except Flash, of course). And it's free! Let me know if you like it.

Book: Culture Shock: Thailand

Culture Shock: Thailand is one of several books in this series, providing a guide to customs and etiquette. Thailand, like every country, has its list of things that will feel very strange to foreign visitors. For example, Thais smile lots, so much so that it's called the land of smiles. Smiling is a form of communication; how and when you smile all convey something to the people around you. The head is considered important, but the feet are considered unimportant and dirty; thus, you do not touch someone else's head, nor do you point with your feet. In keeping with their Buddhist beliefs, getting angry with people or even speaking loudly is impolite. Never wear black, unless going to a funeral. And so on. I've enjoyed the book, and no doubt will find it immensely helpful. I recommend it.

Photos: Science Museum

My father and stepmother came up to spend Saturday with us, so we took the kids and went to the science museum downtown. We had a great time seeing the exhibits and watching the shows. Emilee especially enjoyed the animals; she got to pet a giant cockroach (not a joke) and a rat trained to play basketball. Afterward we did a little shopping and had dinner. It was a nice break.

081115 Science Museum

Fixing Spotlight

Recently Spotlight, the built-in indexing service on my iMac, stopped working. Conveniently I found this article while reading the Dec 08 issue of Macworld. I tried the Terminal command they suggest, and it worked fine for me.

Photos: Peter Panda

At Emilee's school, they take turns bringing home a stuffed panda bear, Peter Panda, and taking care of it. This weekend it was Emilee's turn, so we went out Sunday afternoon to have some fun with the bear and take a couple pictures of them together.

081109 Peter Panda

Picture: Our family

A friend took a couple new pictures of our family. Enjoy.

081024 Garriss Family

Book: The Heavenly Man

The Heavenly Man is the autobiography of a Chinese Christian who started house churches all over China. The most riveting parts of this excellent books are the many times and ways he was persecuted for his faith in Jesus. Bible verses on persecutation and suffering take on a whole new meaning when viewed from a world where Christianity is still persecuted, as opposed to my American Christianity which is still (for the moment) tolerated. I highly recommend this book.

An engineer at the ballet

I took Ann to the ballet this week, a last date of sorts before too many transitions catch up with us and prevent us from going out. We saw the Carolina Ballet's performance of Don Quixote at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. It was the first time either of us had been to a ballet.

How should I describe my reaction? Two thoughts: One, ballet is an incredibly inefficient medium for communication. It often took 5 to 10 minutes to convey even the simplest of thoughts. Entire movements were devoted to saying "I love you" or "Will you marry me?" or "Yes" or "Leave me alone, slimo, I love that other guy instead!" Definitely inefficient. (What? What did you expect from an engineer?) Two, the story of Don Quixote was pretty interesting. It actually made me want to go and read the book. Have you read the book? Was it interesting? Was it more efficient than the ballet?

Book: St. Patrick of Ireland

If I had to estimate, I would say that about 10 percent of "St. Patrick of Ireland" by Philip Freeman is fact; the rest is speculation and tangential information. To be fair, there really isn't much factual info about Patrick available; much of what is recorded about him is fictional (with the occasional smidgeon of truth tossed in). So Freeman does a good job with what he has, but I didn't much enjoy reading a biography that had so little biographical information. I don't recommend this book.

Photos: Trip to the beach

We went to the beach this past week and spent a few days with my side of the family. I took some family pictures, and they turned out better than expected. Enjoy.

081002 Family picture

What's your offsite backup plan?

You do have a plan for backing up your data, right? You've heard the saying "it's not a matter of 'if' your computer crashes but 'when'." Personally, I use Chronosync to automatically backup my iMac to my Time Capsule. I hope you do something similar.

But what's your offsite backup plan? I had a friend email me last weekend. Someone broke into his house and stole his laptop and the external harddrive he used for data backup. He lost everything. He had no files left from seminary. So what's your offsite backup plan? From time to time I burn my data to a DVD and sent it to my father's house. If thieves steal my stuff or a fire burns my house down, I'll at least have my most critical data available to me.

If you've got a good idea for an offsite backup plan, leave it in the comments.

Fortune Cookie

The message in our fortune cookie tonight? "Relish the transitions in your life - they will happen regardless." Heh. There's the understatement of the week.

Book: Ayn Rand

I knew a little about Rand. I knew she was a philosopher and was from Russia, but that was about it. So I decided to try this biography by Jeff Britting and found it to be very interesting. She immigrated to America in her 20’s. She wrote books, plays, and movies. Her writings, even her fiction, always had an agenda, advocating her personal beliefs and philosophies. She opposed socialism and communism. She believed in objectivism, which asserts that reality is objective and outside of man (a good thing) and individualism, which asserts that man can determine the nature of reality using his mind, thus bringing glory to man (which is not such a good thing). Her beliefs tended towards being self-assertive, egotistical, and very man-centered. She believed she had the mental capacity to live like she believed, and unsurprisingly this made her rather arrogant; she was critical of most everyone who didn’t believe like she did. She had little use for family and had few friends, though she had some very close friends and was married for 50-some years.

This biography is very well-written. It shares her beliefs and works without being particularly approving or critical. The pace flows well through the various stages of her life. Perhaps the best feature of this book is the various pictures and memorabilia included. Instead of being jammed into one section all in the middle of the book, they are interspersed throughout the book, co-located with the pertinent sections. This makes for pleasant reading and viewing. Even though I personally disagree with much of Rand’s beliefs and philosophies, I highly recommend this book.

How cool is Skype!

I installed Skype last week for the first time. I’ve known about Skype, and I’ve used AIM and Google Talk for years (and ICQ before that), but I’ve never used Skype before. Setup was simple and quick. Adding friends who have Skype as new contacts is painless. So now I can chat, talk, and video conference with people anywhere. One day I was talking with friends in Brazil, the next day friends in Indonesia, and the day after that a friend in Senegal. How cool is Skype!

If you've got Skype and would like to talk, leave me your Skype name or send me an email with it.

Surf fishing

We're at Nags Head for a bit hanging with our family. I went out onto the beach this morning to do a bit of surf fishing with my dad. Now dad really likes to fish, and I've done a lot of fishing with him. Most of time we either stand safely on the shore or sit calmly in a boat while fishing. No problem. You pay attention to your rod and your bait and that's all there is to it. But when you're surf fishing, you've also keep to keep an eye on the waves. The waves relentlessly try to knock you down or pull you in, and when that doesn't work, they pummel your feet and shins with shells and rocks. So, it's challenging. Dad caught a couple small speckled trout this morning, but I got nothing. We'll try again later.

New icons on your mac

I have a number of folders that I put down on my dock. Applications, utilities, downloads, my programming software, my photography software, games, and so on. The generic blue folder icons all look pretty much the same, so I thought I'd liven them up and make them easier to distinguish. A clone trooper for the games. A camera lens for the photography stuff. Etc.

So how did I do that? Here's how: First, I found some icons I liked. There are tons of nifty icons at InterfaceLIFT. Download the ones you like; put them somewhere accessible. Second, find the folder whose icon you want to replace. For example, use finder to navigate to your downloads folder. Third, get info on that folder (use command-i or select "get info" from the file menu of the finder). Move the info window to one side. Fourth, find the icon you want to use. Get info on the icon file. Fifth, with the two info windows side-by-side, select the icon you want to copy (the icon in the upper left corner), copy it, and then in folder window select the icon you want to replace, and paste. The generic blue icon should be replaced by the snazzy new one. Spiffy.

Let me know if that works for you.

Zinni Optical

Someone recommended that we try out Zinni Optical, an online store where you can get glasses for $12.95. He was happy with his glasses, so we decided to try Zinni. We ordered one pair of glasses for Ann as a test. When they came in, we were a bit unhappy. Although the lenses were fine, the arms (the part that connects the lenses to your ears) were really flimsy and cheap. Because of the price, we decided to order more glasses for the family, but we paid really close attention to the pictures and only got glasses with thicker arms. It didn't help, they were flimsy as well.

So, would I recommend buying glasses from Zinni? Maybe. If you wanted a second pair cheap, an emergency backup or a pair to leave at the office, sure, that would work. But as a wear-them-everyday-all-around pair? Nope. I guess the old saying is applicable: You get what you pay for.

Mac case made with Legos

I love my iMac. I love Legos. What could be better than a Mac computer case built with Legos? Watch the time-release video some folks made of building a Mac case with Legos.

Dropbox: File sharing done right

We have 2 computers in our house, and often my wife and I need to share files back and forth or use the same file on different computers. We could mail each other. Or we could use a USB key. Or we could log into the other computer. These work, but they're cumbersome. Dropbox works better.

It's a fairly new file sharing software that I recently installed on both our computers. When I put a file in the dropbox folder on my iMac, it shows up near instantly in the dropbox folder on my wife's PC. And when I edit it on her computer, it gets updated back on my iMac as well. Nothing to it. There's also a web interface, should I need to access these files online or share them with someone else, and version control, should I delete or overwrite a file accidentally.

I like. Give dropbox a try.

New iTunes Visualizer

Ok, normally I don't care anything about visualizers for my music. They're boring. They're dumb. Whatever. But I gotta say that Magnetosphere in the new iTunes is pretty cool. It's like a concert light show smashed into some fireworks. Pretty cool. You get the visualizer free with you get the latest version of iTunes. Or if you just want to get a taste, you can watch a demo of it on Vimeo. (Uh, the song is in Spanish, and no, I don't know what she's saying. I hope it's not bad.)


Recently I mentioned that I was looking for some good software to backup my iMac to my networked hard drive. After looking through a list of available solutions, I finally found one that seems to work: ChronoSync. It does everything I need: one-way synchronized backup, automatic scheduling, error logging, and automatic mounting of the network drive. It even sends me an email when there's an error!

You can download a trial version from Econ's website, but the trial version is really annoying. It displays a splash screen that requires you to click on it, and it only lets you make one backup before having to restart the program. This made it impossible to adequately test it out. Fortunately, Econ allows you to request a temporary license; I did, and now I can test it fully functional for 30 days. So far, so good. Barring something unexpected, I'm going to be buying this backup software.

Photos: Jacen's new glasses

Well, not only does Emmy need glasses, so does Jacen. We found this out when he was trying to sing in church and had a hard time reading the words on the screen. So we got him a pair, and he looks sharp in them. I wanted to take some pictures, so this seemed like a good time to try out my new camera lens, so off we went. I hope you enjoy them.

080904 Jacens new glasses

Backup Software for the Mac

Yes, I know Leopard comes with Time Machine. And yes, I got Time Machine working with my Time Capsule. So I have a painless backup system. But honestly, I don't like it. Two reasons: 1) It fills up the whole stinking drive (almost). Time Machine just keeps mindlessly making copies of all my files until it fills up the hard drive in Time Capsule. If Time Capsule had a preference that said, "Only use up ___ GB of space," I could be happy with this. But no such option exists. 2) It's not recoverable from another computer. Suppose my iMac goes up in flames. I'd really like to recover my files using my PC. That means my files need to be saved simply as files, not as some strange binary format.

So, I need another backup program, something for my Mac like Second Copy on my PC. I don't know what I'm going to use, but I found this nifty page listing tons of options. I'm gonna start trying them out. Let me know if you have one you use.

Book: Secrets of the Vine

I recently finished Bruce Wilkinson's "Secrets of the Vine." Normally I don't pop-Christianity books, but a friend gave me this book a while back, so I wanted to read it. I suppose I would say this book is ok; there's nothing really wrong with it, but I don't perceive it to be an amazingly helpful book, its popularity notwithstanding. I suppose if I knew a new believer who was beginning to be lulled into thinking that Christianity is a religion, that it is all about doing certain things to win favor with God, then I might recommend the book to him as a reminder that Christianity is a relationship, a relationship with Jesus. The secrets of the book are, of course, not secrets, as the author himself notes; rather, they are principles for living the Christian life. If I have an objection to the book, it would the sensationalistic writing style. From the back cover: "Do you want to experience the joy of making maximum impact for God?...You'll learn three surprising secrets that will open your eyes to your unrealized potential in Him." Not really my style. Like I said, the book is ok.

Inductive Bible Study: Jude 1-2

When it comes to personal Bible study, I'm convinced there's no better method than the inductive Bible study method. It saturates you in the text and lets the text speak for itself. To this end, I have previously created inductive Bible study tutorials, which I have posted on the tutorials page of our web site. Many people, however, learn best by example, so Ann and I are in the process of supplementing the tutorial by posting the results of our own inductive Bible study using the book of Jude. First you read how to study in the tutorial, and then see what it actually looks like. We hope you find this helpful; you can see our work on the tutorials page.

Be fluid

Fluid is a simple application for the Mac that takes a web site and makes it appear to be a standalone application. It allows me to take my favorite web apps, such as GMail and Blogger, and add an icon for them in the icon bar and run them without first opening my web browser. Give fluid a try.

However, to get the most out of Fluid you need to utilize one important preference. Go to preferences, click advanced, and check "allow browsing to any URL." Many of the web apps I use require me to login. If you don't allow Fluid to go to a different URL, some apps will switch to a web browser to login, which defeats the whole purpose.

Book: Bradley

Bradley, by Alan Axelrod, is about Omar Bradley, a 5-star general and one of the top American commanders involved in liberating Europe during WW2. The book is a good read. It's style is pretty relaxed and lightweight (<200 pages), not bogging the reader down with too many details. If you're a history or military buff, this will be a quick read. Most of the book (naturally) focuses on Bradley's various military assignments, though there is some information on his personal life. The most interesting part for me was his interaction with other top military generals; I was surprised to read how often Eisenhower, Patton, Montgomery, and Bradley disagreed with each other and even disrespected and disobeyed each other. I recommend this biography.

Photo: Getting ready for the garage sale

We had a big garage sale set for today, and everyone chipped in to help. Jacen and I spent some time cutting wood for the garage sale signs.

The only place we advertised was on Craigslist. I was shocked at how many people came out! We had a steady stream all morning long. In fact, we sold more than half our stuff, including the lava lamp! We had a great time.

080822 Cutting Stakes

Photos: Emmy has glasses

A few weeks back Ann took Emmy to the eye doctor and found out (much to our surprise) that she needed glasses. So we got a pair, and I finally got around to taking a few close-ups of Emmy so you can see her new look.

080727 Emmy glasses

Book: David Crockett - Hero of the Common Man

As the name suggests, this book is a biography of Davy Crockett. The book is a light read; the pace moves quickly, and I finished it in a few hours. It was a good book, very enjoyable. Skip the introduction, as the author gives away the ending of the book. I recommend this book to you.

Book: Don't Make Me Count To Three

"Don't Make Me Count To Three" by Ginger Plowman takes the principles of "Shepherding a Child's Heart" and makes them even more accessible. She does a great job of helping parent's work on their children's hearts while employing Scripture and providing training. I like this book more than "Shepherding" and would probably use it in any class I teach on parenting children. I highly recommend this book, particularly for children 6-12 years old.

Photos: Playing at the playround

There's no place like a playground for taking pictures of kids, both young and old. After getting dinner and watching the train last Friday, we stopped by the playground near the seminary to play for a bit.

080724 Wake Forest Playground

Photos: On the Train Tracks

We went back up to Wake Forest for dinner on Friday night. Just as I took out the camera to take a few pictures, a train came through town. So I took some shots around the tracks.

080725 Railroad Tracks in Wake Forest

Photos: North Hills Mall

Ann had a gift card to Penny's, so we went down to North Hills Mall to do a little shopping. It's an outdoor mall with plenty of water fountains and a small area for the kids to run around. I took the camera along and got a few pictures of the family.

080712 North Hills Mall


Reading is good for you. And sometimes it gets you free tickets to a soccer game. Ann took the kids to our local library on Monday, and they were giving out tickets to the Carolina Railhawks, a local USL soccer club. So we drove Thursday night down near Cary NC and watched them play to a 2-2 tie. Not a bad game. Certainly a cozy little stadium. And the fireworks afterward weren't too bad.

On the fourth we went to Zebulon NC to watch the Carolina Mudcats, a double A team affiliated with the Florida Marlins, play a little baseball. It was a solid game, and the Cats crushed the opposition 6-0 on the strength of three homers. The fireworks after the game we even better. You can find more pictures on our Flickr site.

080704 Mudcats Baseball Game

Photos: Historic Oak View County Park

We took Monday off for another Garriss family day. We went to the Historic Oak View County Park on the east side of Raleigh, NC. It's a restored cotton farm, complete with cotton, goats, and a fruit orchard. We enjoyed learning about life a hundred years ago, but the most fun was had by Emmy as she fed the goats. Enjoy the pictures.

080631 Historic Oak View County Park

Commentary on Genesis: Chapters 48 and 49

Our church is writing our own curriculum for teaching in the ABF classes, and I was asked to help write a handful of the lessons. I've recently finished the last two, Genesis 48 and 49, and added them to the OT section of our family website. I realize my studies in Genesis are incomplete, but these were the texts I was given. Maybe some day I'll come back and fill in the gaps.

Photos: Yates Mill

Thursday was family day. We drove south of Raleigh to Yates Mill, a restored corn mill. They have done a superb job turning it into a state park, where you can see the mill, walk around the mill pond, hike through the park, and explore their small museum. We had a picnic on the grounds, and there were boatloads of butterflies to photograph.

We also swung by nearby Lake Wheeler and found a couple geocaches.

10 minute mail

There are a lot of annoying web sites. I'm referring to those sites who have some great service to offer you, but they require you to give them an email address first. Well, certainly I'm not going to give them my real email address; hello spam city! In the past I've used a gmail account for these things, but now I've found 10 minute mail. You go to their site, and they give you an email address good for 10 minutes. You sign up for the service at some website, check the email at 10 minute mail for the link, then you forget about the email. Cool. I don't know how 10 minute mail's gonna make any money, but I'll use them while they last.

Windows or Mac? Yes!

I have a Mac. Specifically, I have a 20 inch aluminum iMac running OS X Leopard. I love my Mac, but there are two really good pieces of software that I've been missing. One is Microsoft Word; I think I've got that one fixed. The other is good Bible software. I love Libronix. I use it every day for Bible study. I tried MacSword, but, well, it's pretty lame. Yes, I know Logos is working on Libronix for Mac, but they've been doing that for what, 4 years? I need something now. So I installed Parallels Desktop for Mac. It allows me to run Windows on my Mac, as if it were an application. So now I run Libronix on my Mac! Not the perfect solution (installation was a bear!), but it works pretty well. And it's darn cool.

It's a small (coffee) world

I like Caribou Coffee, more than Starbucks even. We recently bought a bag of Ethiopian coffee beans called Yirgacheffe. Good stuff. Sorta dark, with a strong hint of blueberries. The other night we had a couple from our church over for dinner. Turns out that Yirgacheffe is the name of an Ethiopian village, and this couple had lived in a nearby village. It's a small world.

Bats in

Monday morning I took the kids with me to the SEBTS gym where I play a bit of basketball with some guys. While there, they found a couple baby bats in the gym. They were alive, but weren't old enough to really fly. The kids had a great time picking them up (using an extra shirt), tossing them into the air to watch them fly, and seeing them scamper up the brick walls. Eventually they turned them loose outside.

Book: Isaac Backus

I just finished reading the biography of Isaac Backus by William McLoughlin. Isaac was a preacher in New England in the 1700's. He went from the established Puritan church to the Separatist church to the Baptist church. It was a very interesting read, part biography, part Baptist history, part Revolutionary War history. I was most intrigued to hear how so many of the issues of his day (antinomianism, pastors in sin, lack of church discipline, etc.) are still issues today. It seems human nature doesn't change much. I recommend this book.

Office 2008 for Mac coming

I have tried to like NeoOffice, really I have. You see my 3 most-used programs are my email client, a web browser, and a word processor. I write documents all the time. So when I got the iMac, I needed to get a good word processor. I've used MS Word for years, but trying to keep things free, I tried NeoOffice, a Mac-specific version of OpenOffice. It works, sorta. But it's slow and clunky and some stuff (like footnotes) doesn't work when I transfer files back and forth to a PC with Word. It's just frustrating to use. I even tried the newest OpenOffice beta, which has a native Mac interface. No different.

I thought about buying Office 2008 for Mac, but it's $130. Then someone pointed me to the software portal at the company I work for, The MITRE Corporation. Turns out they have an agreement with Microsoft that users can install Office on their home computers if they buy an extra copy of the media. So for $21 I have a copy of Office 2008 for Mac coming. Schweet! Thanks, MITRE!

Photos: Our Townhome

In the last day I've added 7 new pictures of the townhome we are now living in. You can see them on our Flickr page.

These pictures are the first ones I've taken with my new lens, a 17-50mm lens that I bought used from a friend. The 17mm is really handy when trying to make everything fit into the picture.

Helping Refugees

Every year thousands of refugees, fleeing persecution of one sort or another in their own country, are allowed to move to America. Some of these are sent to Raleigh. They arrive in town with $425 per person. They may or may not speak English or have a marketable skill set. There's a lot about living in America they don't know, a lot of stuff they've never seen. Obviously, they need a lot of help.

Our church recently decided to sponsor a refugee family, and Ann and I decided to help out. We volunteerd to take this refugee family shopping, so when we heard they were getting low on food, we went over as a family. We introduced ourselves, and they quickly invited us in and served us juice. After a bit we told them we would take them shopping, and away we went.

First stop was to Fresh Market, because they said they needed fruit and it was within walking distance of where they live. They recognized most of the fruits and vegetables there, but hadn't seen some, like dates or artichokes. While there, they communicated to us that they like coffee. We described what a coffe maker was, and although they had never seen one, they agreed that would be nice. I think the only coffee they have had was instant coffee. Well, Fresh Market didn't have any coffee makers, so Ann pulls out the GPS right there in the store and scans for the nearest Wal-Mart (this was a part of town we weren't familiar with). That was new to them; Ann explained that it was a map. There was a Wal-Mart a couple miles away (isn't there always?), so we piled back into the van.

When we got into Wal-Mart, I think it is safe to say they were stunned at how big it was. They wanted to know if the entire store was owned by one person. We bought them a coffee maker, some coffee and sugar, and a rice cooker, and off we went. Back at their place, we showed them step-by-step how to use it. I think they understood. Hopefully this morning they are enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee.

I think they still have a whole lot to learn about living in America, but they seem quick to adapt and were certainly very friendly and thankful.

Video: Beautiful Emmy

I created a new video for Emmy. Want to make one of your own? Head over to Animoto. All you need is some pictures and a song; the website does the rest.

Photos: Playing and More

I've uploaded a handful of new photos recently onto our Flickr page. They include the kids swinging on a rope swing, playing on a playground, and feeding some geese. If you like the one of the goslings, you can set it as your desktop picture at Feel free to comment on the pictures here or on the Flickr page.

Videos: Preaching James 1:2-4, 12

I've uploaded a sermon I preached recently at Enterprise Baptist Church near Lake Gaston, NC. They invited me to come for a couple weeks while they were waiting for their new pastor to arrive. The sermons are posted on YouTube (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4); links can also be found on our About Us page.

New lease

We signed a new lease on a townhome in Raleigh, where we'll live for the next few months as we continue to wait on the Lord for a ministry. Pictures coming soon.

You don't take what?

I was back at Enterprise Baptist today, preaching for them. For lunch I went over to a restaurant called Grandpa's Kitchen and got a plate of yummy eastern Carolina BBQ. When I went to pay, I found to my shock that they don't take credit cards. Naturally, I didn't have any cash on me. To my pleasant surprise, the cashier trusted me to go and get the money and come back to pay. Fortunately the chairman of the deacons at Enterprise was gracious enough to loan me the money so I could pay. All things considered, it was a rather embarrassing afternoon. At least the food was good!

Commentary on James: Chapter 2

At long last I've finished my work on the book of James. I've translated the entire book and written commentary on every chapter. Of course, the work would really benefit from a good editor; at times it's quite uneven. Still, it's good stuff, and I'm reasonably happy with it. The five chapters come in at 183 pages, which is not too bad. Certainly more work could be done, but it's a good start, useful for Sunday school teachers and college/seminary students. Enjoy.

Photos: Chesnut Falls

080401 Near Galax VA
Originally uploaded by james.garriss.mar08

We spent a couple days with friends near Galax VA. While there we went hiking and geo-caching. One stop was at a small waterfall called Chesnut Falls. More pictures on our Flickr account.

Mac and Cheese

We were with some friends this week, and during dinner Jacen complained that the mac and cheese tasted funny. We thought he was just be whiney, so we told him to keep eating. Later that evening we had coffee. Knowing that I'm a bit picky about my coffee creamer, Ann had brought some from home in a glass jar. When she got it out of the fridge, she was puzzled; half the creamer she brought was missing. Turns out that our friends thought it was milk and had used it to make the mac and cheese. Sorry, Jacen!

New Camera

When I grow up, I want to be like Ben. Or at least, I'd like to be able to take photos as good as he does. So I got a new camera and began to practice. Here are some of the new photos; most were taken at the park.

Egg nog and coffee?

I love egg nog, and I like coffee. So Ann bought some Vanilla Spice Egg Nog Gourmet Coffee by Southern Comfort. Just in case you're wondering, this is not a case where two great tastes taste great together. We threw most of it away.

Commentary on Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1

Ann and I are studying this very challenging book together in our quiet times, comparing notes on what we've learned and how God is applying the text to our lives. As I've done with other books, I've compiled my notes into a mini-commentary and published it on the site. Let me know what you think in the comments.

15 years

27 Feb 2008 - That was our 15th anniversary! I set up a date night with Ann a couple days later. While some friends watched the kids (thank you Matt and Shauna!), Ann and I went to Second Empire for dinner and to the NC Symphony for a bit of culture. But before dinner, we went downtown Raleigh for a photoshoot. I hired Ben Waddell from Ray Studios to take some pictures of us, and he did a great job. Take a look at some of my favorites.

New look for

One of the programs that came with the iMac was iWeb, which is designed to quickly built simple websites. I decided to give it a try and rebuilt with a cleaner, simpler look. Take a gander and let me know what you think of the new design.

Book: The Journal of Modern Ministry

For Christmas last year I received a subscription to the Journal of Modern Ministry, edited by Jay Adams. I just finished the Fall 07 issue, and I really like it. At 178 pages, it's a fairly substantial read. And it covers a variety of subjects, including general ministry, counseling, preaching, medicine, apologetics, and book reviews. The articles varied from 2 to 12 pages; none were so long as to bore me or lose me. I highly recommend this journal for everyone who is in ministry in the local church, including pastors, deacons, and teachers.

Book: John Myers' "Doc Holiday"

John Myer's biography of "Doc Holiday," written in 1955, is an interesting read. The style is dry and witty at the same time. For example, in listing the things Doc was not good at, Myers wrote, "Among divers other things, these said that he was not good at distinguishing between his own and another's property." Heh. Doc was a thief. Overall the book is pro-Doc, making him out to be not as bad as other's have claimed. There are a number of holes in the story where information about Doc is scarce, but Myers did a good job of keeping the story going. It's definitely a good read if you're interested old western gamblers and gun-slingers.

Commentary on James: Chapter 1

I'm continuing my work in the book of James. Chapter 1 is now finished and available for downloading.

Photos: Laurel Mill

After we went hiking at Medoc, we stopped by two geocache locations on the way home. One was the very pretty Laurel Mill. Ann found the cache while I took pictures.

Photos: Medoc Mountain State Park

Yesterday we went hiking and geocaching at Medoc Mountain State Park, about an hour NE of Wake Forest. This park wasn't nearly as picturesque as some of the ones we hiked in the Piedmont, like Stone Mountain, Pilot Mountain, or Hanging Rock, but it was cool because we went geocaching. Ann found 4 geocaches for us to try, two in the park and two on the way home. We actually found all four of them, which is much better than the first time we went geocaching and came home 0 for 2. I've posted the pictures of us hiking and exploring the geocaches in Medoc.

Book: Bruce Ray's "Withhold Not Correction"

"Withhold Not Correction" is a good book on biblical correction in the home. The first part provides a solid theological foundation for biblical correction, and the second part details several principles on implemention. I recommend this book in conjunction with Michael Pearl's "To Train Up A Child" for children from birth to around age 8.

Videos: Preaching Isaiah 38:1-8

On Dec 30, 2007, I got an opportunity to preach at Enterprise Baptist Church near Lake Gaston NC. I preached on Hezekiah's healing from Is 38, and you can find the videos in the "My Sermons" section on my preaching page. The videos are hosted on YouTube.

iMac Software

The new iMac came with a bunch of great software, notably the iLife suite of tools. I really like iLife, but there's still lots of other things I'd like to do, and my goal is get everything I can for free. In other words: open source. Here's a list of what I'm using now:

Audio - SlimServer (for my SqueezeBox)
Bible - MacSword (simple but gives me the ESV, ISV, and NET)
Compression - Stuffit, YemuZip
Games - Argonaut, Goban, FreeCiv
FTP - CyberDuck
Office - NeoOffice (OpenOffice ported to the Mac, works surprisingly well; hopefully I never have to buy MS Office)
Pictures - Image Tricks
Programming - TextWrangler
Video - Flip4Mac, Handbrake (great tool for ripping videos), Miro (let's you watch TV on your computer), VLC (plays every kind of video, esp. those that QuickTime won't play)
Web - Firefox, Flickr Uploadr

Photos: The new iMac

I've uploaded three new pictures of the iMac to Flickr.

More Memory for the iMac

The iMac I bought a couple weeks back came standard with 1 GB of RAM.  I could get Apple to upgrade it, but they want $150 for an additional 2 GB.  I bought the same memory from Crucial, and it cost less than half of that.  And it took only 5 minutes or so to put in.

Commentary on James:  Chapter 5

I'm continuing my work on converting my studies in the book of James into a mini-commenary.  Chapter 5 is now complete, and you can find the PDF file in the NT section.

Commentary on James:  Chapter 4

I'm continuing my work on converting my studies in the book of James into a mini-commenary.  Chapter 4 is now complete, and you can find the PDF file in the NT section.

Book of the Year

My preaching professor, Dr. Heisler, wrote a book on the influence of the Holy Spirit on preaching, and his book won CT's book of the year. Not bad for his first book.

Testing From the iMac

Ok, I got the new iMac today.  I'm trying to post to my blog from a Dashboard Widget.  This is merely a test.

Photos: Disney World

We've not had a family vacation since starting seminary 3.5 years ago, so we decided to have one now that I've graduated and before I re-enter the work force.  We went to Disney World for 5 days.  We had a blast being together as a family, riding the rides, and seeing the shows.  The kids didn't really know what they were getting into, but they loved it quickly.  Both became avid coaster riders in a hurry.  Because I have so many pictures, I created a separate Flickr account, which you can find here.  Enjoy.

Commentary on James

While I was an intern at Calvary, I taught an ABF class (Sunday School) on the book of James.  I am in the process of converting that material in another mini-commentary, similar to the one I'm working on for Ephesians.  I have the first complete chapter, which is oddly enough chapter 3.  Don't ask, it's just easier to do these out of order.  In any case, you can find my work on chapter 3 on my NT page.  Let me know in the comments what you think about it, how I could improve it.

Photos: Jacen's birthday

Tomorrow Jacen is 9.  Wow.  We celebrated his birthday as a family this morning, letting Jacen open his gifts a day early.  He got Bionicles (Lego robots), XBox 360 marketplace points (to buy online games), a book on building with Legos, and a CD of Narnia-based music.

Photos: Christmas Presents

We spent Christmas day at my father's house.  Here are a few of the photos we took while opening presents.