Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Place to Pray

Tim:

I’ve spoken of this process in the past, but here’s a pretty cool video graphically demonstrating the work that is happening with the Dead Sea Scrolls. See for yourself!

Originally posted on Zwinglius Redivivus:

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Tim:

If you own a Tesla, you plug it in, right? Thought this was ironic since I happened to see one in person for the first time this week.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

A single blogger recently relayed comments made by a single Tesla service tech who reportedly knew of five Teslas that were “bricked” by owners who left them off the charger too long. This single unverified report spread like wildfire across the blogosphere. Tesla came out and acknowledged that it was possible to destroy the Roadster’s battery pack by keeping it unplugged but Tesla has employed numerous counter-measures to prevent that from happening. The company responded further today in a lengthy blog post titled “Plug It In.

Here’s a key excerpt from the blog post,

A plugged-in Tesla is not only charging its battery, it is also keeping key systems within the car functioning properly. Tesla owners around the world keep their cars charged on a daily basis without any issues at all. If ever the battery in your Tesla runs low, the car is designed to let you…

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A Very Good Day

Today was a very good day. It started with good feelings about last night’s Ash Wednesday service. Then I got an early-morning email from someone thanking me for my ministry of the Word and sharing how God was working in his life. It’s always great to see someone growing in grace.  Nice.  Then another man expressed a desire to join the church and be baptized. Good signs of growth in his life, too after a long trial. And the day was just getting started.
My daughter Sarah celebrated her 18th Birthday! We took her out to dinner and she shopped with some gift cards and birthday cash. Her boyfriend came along and we all had some fun. We dropped my younger daughter Rachel’s old Mac off for service at the Apple Store along the way. Meanwhile, I discovered a Tesla store at this mall! Tesla is the iconic maker of all-electric sports cars that broke the 4 second barrier for acceleration 0-60. I’d read about this car for years, but tonight I sat in one. I’ll never own one, but it’s amazingly light and simple. Cool to see this kind of technology that’s showing us a possible future for transportation. Speaking of tech, when we picked up Rachel’s Mac they’d fixed even more than we asked and decided not to charge us a penny! This is part of  why I’m loyal to Apple even though no company is perfect.
Many inside jokes were shared we marveled at what God has done in the 18years of Sarah’s life! She’s just getting started and the college journey will begin soon. So proud of her growth and humbled by God’s goodness to us.
Ellen and I have been blessed and today we had much to give thanks for. A very good day. Thanks, Lord.

Ash Wednesday

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Today begins a 14 week journey of faith called Ashes to Fire. It begins in the ashes of repentance and reflection. Ashes are an ancient symbol of death. The ancients had a much closer relationship with death than we do today. Hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral homes keep us separated strangely from our mortality. One thing we can’t separate ourselves from is grief. As Coldplay reminds us: sometimes you “lose something you can’t replace.” It became a tradition to make a physical statement of loss and reflection by covering oneself with ashes and even tearing garments or putting on obviously uncomfortable ones. No need to pretend or save face. Something or someone important has been lost. It’ll be a while before we’re restored to normal. Sackcloth and Ashes.
Physical death and grief are devastating realities. But so is spiritual death caused by sin. When we realize we’ve been on a wrong path sometimes we need a powerful symbol to validate a definite u-turn. Sin is anything that gets in-between us and God.
It could be just about anything: Disobedience to known commands from Scripture. Disobedience to the guiding voice of the Spirit or our conscience. Preoccupation with things of the world (entertainments, material goods, career advancement, even family) which keeps us consistently from being close to God. Unforgiveness toward the sins and imperfections of others. Lustful thoughts, overly sensual attitudes or dress, allowing are eyes to wander are also examples of sins. Pride of life or dress. Spiritual pride toward the outward sins of others. Spiritual hypocrisy of hiding our true motives. Half-hearted devotion or service to God. Unbridled anger. The list could be endless. But the results are similar. Spiritual death. Scripture warns us as soon as we become aware of sin we should confess it and deal with it before God and others.
But there is value in regularly and intentionally bringing both of these realities together in a public way. All of us will die someday and therefore must live sober lives. All of us have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. None of us are so holy as to not have areas of life which need renewal. So Ash Wednesday is like a big family meeting where everybody checks in with their commitment to God above all. It’s a solemn assembly that reminds us all that repentance is the only path to forgiveness. God is our only hope for eternal life. We admit that we are prone to drift away from Him if we just leave it in default mode.
And so we come. Apart from work and family and chores and entertainments. We come to God. We acknowledge we were born in sin and will die forever unless we receive God’s grace. Sin is serious business and we are having a going-out-of-business sale. Ashes on the forehead symbolize that we know we are dust and desire to have spiritual life, given by God. We kneel, we are marked with a cross. We rise in repentance. We pray for newness of life. We rehearse the great forgiveness that is ours. And we wipe away the ashes, anticipating a renewed walk with God. Just a simple ceremony. We could totally phone it in or fake it. Absolutely. Nothing magical about it. But for a few moments each year there is a fresh reminder of how deadly sin is and how amazing grace is. Why not do it for real? And should we stumble again before next year, we’ll remember how big a deal it is and know exactly what to do: repent, take it seriously, and be assured of forgiveness before sin swallows us up. We lose things we can’t replace. We break things we can’t fix ourselves. But God can. Ash Wednesday.
We begin in the ashes of repentance. By the grace of God we rise to seek Him more and grow in grace between now and Pentecost at the end of May. So let’s begin the journey with Jesus together.

It’s You

It Might Be You

December 1982: The first time I heard this Stephen Bishop song I was 15 years old, over the credits of Tootsie. It made me feel hopeful about waiting to find the right person. That we could take it slow, letting love grow, imagining a lifetime together. Little did I know that I would find the place and recognize the face within a year of that moment.
September 1983: Gus asks me to give his girlfriend a ride home from school. Seriously? She. is. hot. I have a pretty hot car. She likes it. Her smile melts me completely. But I wait.
September 1983 Get picked to play sax in Good Time Company. First day I notice: Ellen is in GTC. No boyfriend at this time. Hmmmmm
I memorize sax solo from Modern Love by Bowie.  I serenade her in the hall.  She has no idea what I’m playing but seems to like it.
November 1983- I ask if she wants a ride home after rehearsal. She says, sure! My life is never the same.
After thanksgiving she gives me her picture, so I give her mine. On the back I ask her to be my “main squeeze” at the Charmin Dance Dec 2. She says yes!
Dec 3rd I’m floating all day long, like on a cloud of bliss. Dec 4th as soon as I get home from church I’m planning the call. 4hrs. I dial and hang up 93 times. 94th is the charm(in). I let it ring. Her mom answers. I take a breath and ask to speak to the girl of my dreams. (I can hear her playing violin in the background-amazing)
Hello?
Hi Ellen, it’s Tim. I had a great time, Friday.
Me, too.
I was wondering if you’d like to go “steady”.
Pause. Yes, I’d like that.
Yes?
Yes.
That’s great! I can’t wait to see you at school tomorrow!
Can’t wait to see you, too!
(Insert: Rock Anthem of your Choice)
Dec 4 is a major holiday on my calendar.
How does this even happen? I have no idea. My only answer is God planned it. I dreamed it. I acted on my dream. And it happened in His time… I’ve never doubted anything is possible since that day.
28 Valentine’s Days later, she’s given me two beautiful daughters and she still makes my heart beat fast…
Yeah, this song can be cheezy. But it inspired a moment in my life and the thought it started played out rather nicely. Love needs more than romance, but romance gets you started, keeps you close and can be rekindled. Here’s to love that can last:

Lovesongs, lullabies, and so much more. It’s you, Ellen.

Time
I’ve been passing time watching trains go by
All of my life
Lying on the sand, watching seabirds fly
Wishing there would be
Someone waiting home for me
Something’s telling me it might be you
It’s telling me it might be you
All of my life

Looking back as lovers go walking past
All of my life
Wondering how they met and what makes it last
If I found the place
Would I recognize the face
Something’s telling me it might be you
Yeah it’s telling me it might be you

So many quiet walks to take
So many dreams to wake
And we’ve so much love to make
Oh, I think we’re gonna need some time
Maybe all we need is time

And it’s telling me it might be you
All of my life

I’ve been saving love songs and lullabies
And there’s so much more
No one’s ever heard before
Something’s telling me it might be you
Yeah, it’s telling me it must be you
And I’m feeling it’ll just be you
All of my life

Maybe it’s you (it’s you)
Maybe it’s you (it’s you)
I’ve been waiting for all of my life

Wesley’s 22

Dr. David Wine shared these at a Discipleship seminar I recently attended. These questions would be excellent for anyone to use at the end of the day. Notice they cover vertical and horizontal stuff in our journey. I also see a trend toward authenticity over achievement. What do you think?

Wesley’s 22 Questions

Questions John Wesley used for accountability for members of his Holy Club at Oxford.

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did the Bible live in me today?
  8. Do I give it time to speak to me every day?
  9. Am I enjoying prayer?
  10. When did I last speak to someone else of my faith?
  11. Do I pray about the money I spend?
  12. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  13. Do I disobey God in anything?
  14. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  15. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  16. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
  17. How do I spend my spare time?
  18. Am I proud?
  19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially, as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
  20.  Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward, or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
  21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?
  22. Is Christ real to me?

Grace for Today

Ever get stuck in the mud, wheels spinning? Mud is yesterday’s treasures and worries eroded by time back to the dust from which we came. When our thoughts are drifting back, we fail to be fully present to today, the only day we can change. The Good Old Days weren’t as great as we thought. The bad old days weren’t as bad as we feared because we’re still here. Still living. But are we fully alive?
Every morning the mercies of God are new. Grace for today. It’s not enough to cover our preoccupation with the past. God’s plan is for us to give yesterday to Him and receive grace. Just enough grace for today. Today. Drop everything and embrace what God has for you today. Celebrate the past. Grieve the losses. But live in today. Let God put His Spirit in you, healing, restoring, and beginning a new work called today. Get on with living. So many others need to be set free. Embrace God’s mission of letting your light shine right where you are. In serving others your past will be fully redeemed for their benefit and your healing. Today.
(I’m indebted to Nooma #17 Today) you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tQ82LSSeZ0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Engage the Word: Again with the Fear Not…

Engage the Word is a 40 Day journey through key highlights of the Bible. Sign up at www.discovernewhope.org by clicking on the picture of the Bible.

Exodus 19:1-20:21
Pray. Read. Reflect. Respond.

Well the people have made their escape from Egypt and seen God work in powerful ways to deliver them. Now they find themselves at the foot of a majestic mountain needing to hear from God. Have you ever gone to God for guidance? Sometimes it’s our last resort. We’ve tried everything else we can think of…maybe God can help. But we’re hoping for a tame sort of gentle help that will fit nicely into our current schedule. But when you ask God to show up, he really does. On this occasion he definitely showed up.
“On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud appeared on the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast was heard.” (Exodus 19:16)
The LORD knows how to make an entrance, eh? He doesn’t do this very often, but he’s pretty good at it. And human beings are pretty good at freaking out. “…All the people in camp trembled with fear…they said to Moses “you speak to us, we will listen; but we are afraid if God speaks to us, we will die.” When God shows up, really shows up, he doesn’t really fit into our program. But that’s a good thing. If our expectations are aimed at taming God for our own comfort we have a choice to make. Fear and pull back from God, or respect God reverently and draw near, rebuilding our expectations based on a new reality. When God shows up in thunderous ways it’s for a purpose: to get our attention and refocus our vision for life. “Don’t be afraid; God has only come to test you and make you keep on obeying him, so that you will not sin.” He wants a holy respect that keeps us accountable. Why do we resist this? It works well. We let God be God. We know our place: his obedient people. He provides for our needs and shoulders our battles and burdens. We receive his blessings as we trust and obey. He gives us direction and mission in life. We make his mission our mission and find purpose in every moment. It’s not a bad deal. Best of all, it’s what he created us to experience so it just feels right when we just let it happen. Peace and fulfillment. Good stuff. But the people didn’t exactly choose that…they want a go-between. Preferably one that will negotiate a discount. “…the people continued to stand a long way off, and only Moses went near the dark cloud where God was.” Moses again said, “Don’t be afraid.” He’s a good leader. They want a priest who gets peace for them. God wants them to be a kingdom of priests who bless the world.
So what kind of people will we be? Ones who look to God and respectfully draw near; receiving his blessings and taking on his mission? Or, those who remain fearful instead of moving on to faithful? For the wandering Israelites the results are tragic. A whole generation misses out on the biggest blessings God had in mind. And so the same opportunity bounces to you and me: the chance to fear not, draw near, and receive all that God has for us. It’s time to respond…

Review: The 100 Greatest Leadership Principles of All Time

The 100 Greatest Leadership Principles of All Time
The 100 Greatest Leadership Principles of All Time by Leslie Pockell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I find it very powerful to have just a single sentence on a page for reflection. Not all are great, but it’s an interesting exercise to simply read the statements without commentary.. I found it very helpful to read leadership concepts from a wide variety of authors and personality types from several different millennia.
Not for everyone. Probably wouldn’t purchase but checked out a digital copy from the library.

View all my reviews

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