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Showing posts from December, 2010

Gadgets! 2010 in stuff

I thought about making another thought-provoking year-in-review, next year-in-preview post today.  However, there's work to be done with the brain, and it's not going smoothly.  So, I thought I'd post this for you.  It's a review of some of the stuff I've acquired in the last year.  Some is awesome, some is quirky.  All of it is a challenge: do I have stuff, or does stuff have me?  Will I use these various gadgets for the glory of God or am I hiding behind my stuff?These aren't in any order of preference, cost, or amazing-ness.  They're just in the order I put them in the blog post. FYI: If it's an Amazon.com link, it's probably my affiliate link, if it's not Amazon, it's not an affiliate link. Not trying to profit from any of this, just thought it would be fun.First item: The Chop-Stir!  Ever have trouble when browning ground meat?  You can't get it quite chopped up and stirred up and well browned? This thing is the solution: It's l…

Looking backwards

I'm sitting here at my computer, thinking back over the last 12 months.  Well, a little more specifically, 11 months and 29 days.  I'm trying to mentally review life over the last year and see where I am now compared to where I was.  And to determine if it's helping me get where I should be going.So, where was I?  Last year at this time, I was attempting to have a little bit of quiet isolation to plan ministry and preaching for the year.  It didn't quite work out, but that's the way things sometimes go.  I never finished the sermon series I had planned, though.  Through a various series of both good things and bad, it became evident that my time in Monticello, Arkansas, was drawing to a close.  That led to a move at the end of the summer to where we are now, Almyra, Arkansas.Meanwhile, I've started back to school, primarily at the prodding and insistence of people that are looking out for my best interest when I just want to sit on the couch.  The one class I t…

Flat tires

I went into the garage last night and discovered something.  The right rear tire on the van was completely flat.  In the past 4 months, I've had to deal with patching 2 tires, and now this one makes the third.  Yes, all on the same vehicle.  No, I don't know where I keep getting all these blasted nails from either.  I know I had at least 2 of them in Monticello, and maybe I picked up the third here in Almyra.  All of them started out the same way: a perfectly good tire ran over a nail. (You wanted something bizarre?)  However, I didn't know it.  The symptoms then appeared: the tire appears to be slightly deflated, and a pressure check shows that it is, in fact, deflating.  So, for some time, I add air to the tire.  Once we moved, I even bought my own car-powered tire inflator to keep adding air. Eventually this routine gets old, and something must be done.  Or what happened yesterday happens.I aired up this one yesterday in preparation for making the trip to Monroe today. …

December 26 Sermon

Audio link hereThe outline is weak.  Originally, I was going to be preaching Isaiah 65, and changed at the last minute.  Well, not quite the last minute.  I changed about 3 hours before church.  I have changed sermons during the offertory before, but that's pretty rare.Matthew 2Magi:Highlights: sought, found, with joy. Exceeding joy! Worship! For the opportunity to give:3 Gifts:GoldFrankincenseMyrrhPrecious due to rarityGifts given to show how much more valuable the receiver is than the giftsWhat do we learn:Gold: wealth of the earthFrankincense: often used in religionMyrrh: a burial spiceLike many things, these had multiple uses, but these are some of the main ones.Therefore:1. How should I use my earthly wealth in view of the coming of Christ?2. How should I use my religious life in view of the coming of Christ?3. How should use my lifespan in view of the coming of Christ?Realize:1. Not everything goes well: The Magi went to the wrong place to begin with2. Not everyone means wel…

Boxing Day!

Today is a holiday that's semi-unknown in the US, and mostly misunderstood by those of us who know it exists.  It's…Boxing DAY!What do I know about Boxing Day?  Well, original I only knew what was referenced on the TV show M*A*S*H years ago, that on Boxing Day, the officers of the military do the enlisted jobs, and the enlisted do the officers' jobs.  It's a one-day swap out, to see how the other side lives.  Apparently, if you trust the Wikipedia, there is some nature of this day originating in allowing the household servants the day off, since they were required to work on Christmas.  However, that's more a matter for legend and not the point.The point is this: well, there are a couple of points:1.) Words shift their usage with time.  How many people assume Rocky is the movie for today? (Apart from some of you loons who think Rocky is the movie for everyday!) It's not about boxing, though it is Boxing Day.  Likewise, we must be careful assuming we always know…

Christmas Eve Service Outline

The service tonight did not lend itself to being audio recorded, and I didn't arrange for a video either.  Here's what we had: various Scripture readings and group hymn singing.  So, I'm going to paste the complete outline, and try to find video embeds for all of the hymns. Hymn numbers included are Baptist Hymnal 2008 from Lifeway.  Merry Christmas to all.  Doug“Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1, NAS)Joy to the World Hymn #181 “The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ” (Luke 2:10–11, NAS)How Great Our Joy Hymn #202 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14, NAS)Hark the Herald Angels Sing was actually an unintended, and not peaceful, collaboration of George Whitefield and John and Ch…

Inadequate words

It's Christmas Eve, and I've finally put my finger on what I've been thinking the past few weeks.  I'm a preacher.  I spend my days, my nights, my efforts to put into words the love, majesty, and truth of God.Yet there are times when I cannot put into plain words, because words alone often lack the beauty and completeness to communicate what needs to be said.  Christmas is one of those times.  While I can find Scripture that says what needs to be said, my own words are too often inadequate.  It's a time and a celebration that needs music and enthusiasm.So, while the angels say "Glory to God," we people need to sing it.  One of the other amazing things about Christmas is that it's possible to sing the message without truly believing it.  It's amazing to hear artists on the radio sing songs of the joy of Christ, of the birth of the King of Kings, and sound amazing doing it, and next week they'll be back to broken hearts, drinking, and whatever e…

Inadequate words

It's Christmas Eve, and I've finally put my finger on what I've been thinking the past few weeks.  I'm a preacher.  I spend my days, my nights, my efforts to put into words the love, majesty, and truth of God.Yet there are times when I cannot put into plain words, because words alone often lack the beauty and completeness to communicate what needs to be said.  Christmas is one of those times.  While I can find Scripture that says what needs to be said, my own words are too often inadequate.  It's a time and a celebration that needs music and enthusiasm.So, while the angels say "Glory to God," we people need to sing it.  One of the other amazing things about Christmas is that it's possible to sing the message without truly believing it.  It's amazing to hear artists on the radio sing songs of the joy of Christ, of the birth of the King of Kings, and sound amazing doing it, and next week they'll be back to broken hearts, drinking, and whatever e…

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

"Prayers are done for today"

I use a Bible software program.  It was required for several of my seminary classes, and I love the study tools on it. Plus, it has multiple devotional classics on it, so I'm reading through those, although I long to be able to create a daily reading on it and send that reading to my Kindle.One of the features of this program is a daily prayer list on the home page.  I've entered a few things on that prayer list that I want to keep up with, and the system allows you to check those items off as you pray for them.  Side note: I'm very pleased that there is a place to enter how the prayer was answered in the prayer list section.  Makes me think the program authors believe that God answers prayers.After you've checked off all the prayer requests on your daily list, the prayer request section gives you the message that you see in the title: "Prayers are done for today."  Now, imagine that you create a checklist of things to speak to your dearest friend about, your…

Voices of the Faithful by Beth Moore

Book Review: Voices of the FaithfulVoices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the WorldWhile this book is fairly new to being published by Thomas Nelson, from whom I received a free copy to review, it's actually been around for a few years. It was originally published by Integrity Publishing, and the copyright is jointly held by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. All that aside, you didn't come to see the history of publication. You came for a view on the book.First, let's address the question of authorship. The book credits “Beth Moore and friends” as the authors of the book. If, however, you were to credit based on volume of material written, the “Friends” would be in much bigger and bolder print. As far as I can see, Beth Moore wrote the introduction as well as smaller introductions for each month. The daily devotionals are actually written by various missionaries and others who, as the credit put…

Not moving on

I'm going to post the tracking info on a package the Postal Service has.  However, this isn't to rant that the quasi-government agency isn't efficient or effective, because we all know that already.  I actually have a point.  Here's the data:December 21, 2010
01:43:00 AM
Memphis TN US
Arrival ScanDecember 18, 2010
04:58:00 PM
---
Arrival ScanDecember 18, 2010
09:56:57 AM
Fedex Smartpost Southaven MS US
Departure ScanDecember 18, 2010
09:56:00 AM
---
Arrival ScanDecember 17, 2010
04:42:19 PM
Fedex Smartpost Southaven MS US
Arrival ScanNow, all of that shows this: for almost a week, this package hasn't moved 5 miles.  It leaves Southaven (Memphis area), goes back to Southaven, and then goes to Memphis.  I don't expect it to arrive before Christmas, though I could drive to where it is and be back by lunch today.It's kind of like the way we sometimes get stuck in a rut in life.…

Chazown by Craig Groeschel

Book Review: Chazown by Craig Groeschel
ChazownOne key to book sales today, it seems, is to have an off-the-wall title. That title then gets someone to pick up the book, if only to figure out what's inside. Chazown by Craig Groeschel certainly fits that mold. The title is enough to attract attention which then, hopefully, results in an examination.
Let's take a few moments and examine Chazown. First of all, the title is a transliteration of one of the Hebrew words that is translated as “vision” in most Bible translations. A quick aside: it's not the only word translated that way, nor is it always translated that way. Groeschel has taken the word, though, from Proverbs 29:18: Where there is no vision, the people perish. (KJV)
From this, he has constructed something that is less a book and more a guidebook. As you pass through Chazown, there are exercises to complete, thought-provoking questions to answer, and notes to take. Unlike many books, this isn't really optional, …

Unstuff by Hayley and Michael DiMarco

Book review: Unstuff by Hayley and Michael DiMarcoUnstuff: Making Room in Your Life for What Really MattersWhen I was a kid, there was a TV show with Gerald McRaney. No, not Major Dad, but after that, where he and his family sold most of what they owned, loaded up in a Suburban pulling a camper, and toured across America. For the record, this was an old-school Suburban, not one of the new stylish ones. It was an interesting show, and a fairly positive one. I've wondered about living that life with my kids, or if anyone has ever tried it.Well, Hayley and Michael DiMarco took a shot at it. They didn't exactly have to divest everything, but they downsized and then spent 3 months living and traveling in an RV, with only what they could fit in it. This led to the book Unstuff, which I received free from Tyndale House Publishers to review for this blog. Now, to give the qualification to the situation, the DiMarcos kept their jobs, although being authors isn't exactly stable work…

New Living Translation Contest

We’re highlighting three ministries, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Oasis International, and The Dream Center, (click on the link to learn more details about these ministries) and by voting for one of these ministries you’ll be entered to win one of many prizes.

With the Give the Word Bible Contest and Giveaway:
    • Ministries win: Each time the NLT Facebook Page reaches a fan count milestone, votes will be tallied and the three ministries will receive cash donations from the New Living Translation and Tyndale House Publishers.
    • Everyone wins: Everyone who enters on the Bible Contest website wins a free download of Matthew West reading the Christmas story.
    • Daily NLT Study Bible winners: Vote on the NLT Facebook page and you will be entered to win two NLT Study Bibles—one to keep and one to give away. A new winner will be chosen every day.
    • Weekly Give the Word Locally winners: Tell us about a deserving local ministry on the NLT Bible Contest website a…

Good hearts, strange choices

Last night, I went out to grab some firewood to put in the fireplace.  I noticed by the back door a small pile of Cheetos.  This was, certainly, not a normal thing to find outside the back door.However, having three children, you learn to expect the occasional odd thing to happen.  So, the question was sent through the house: "Did any of you dump your Cheetos outside?"  Yes, parenting involves asking questions that you know the answer to.  I knew they weren't from my dinner, and Ann knew they weren't from hers, so we assumed that a random person had not come by, dropped Cheetos at the door and gone on.Fortunately, we had a quick response that, indeed, we had a child acknowledging the crunchy cheesy event.  When asked why, the answer seemed a little odd, as it was "because of kids living on the street."  The final conclusion was this: apparently, for fear that a child might be living on the streets and need food, we had put the Cheetos outside for this unkno…

December 19 Sermon

Ok, so the actual sermon and the outline don't match very well.  However, here it is:Audio link: December 19 AMHo! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. 2 “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. 3 “Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. 4 “Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader and commander for the peoples. 5 “Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteo…

Not quite hungry enough

Today marked my last day of deer hunting for this year.  The season ends Sunday, and unless things go differently than planned, I will not have the opportunity to get back out and find one of those tasty beautiful animals to kill and eat.So, now that I've got a season behind me, I feel qualified to talk deer hunting on the blog here.  After all, 4 trips makes me an expert.  Never mind that I've shot precisely zero deer.  Why have I shot no deer?  Well, I've seen a dozen.  They were on the road, and you can't shoot them from the road.  And I wasn't driving, so I didn't run them over!  All the hunting I've done has been from deer stands, where you sit, mostly quietly, and wait to ambush the poor, defenseless creatures when they show their heads.  None of them have shown their heads, tails, or vital organ areas, so I've shot none.Now, thanks to the game cameras in the area we've been hunting, I know there are deer there.  Quite a few.  I heard this mor…

A few wandering thoughts

Just a few thoughts this week, some political, some other…1.  A federal judge struck down part of the health care law this week.  The same conservatives that rail against judicial activists undoing the will of the people's legislators cheered the verdict.  The same liberals that insist that the judiciary has the right and responsibility to remove laws, no matter how popular, that are against the Constitution stated that the ruling doesn't matter, the law will be enforced.  How about consistency from both sides?  Either courts are supposed to do this, or they're not. The whole idea is the rule of law, not the rule of whoever happens to be in charge and what they personally prefer at the moment.  2.  Does anyone else think that sports coaches that are willing to look at other jobs shouldn't get million-dollar contract extensions for their wanderlust?  How many physics professors get 30% raises just for considering going down the road to another school?  And does anyone e…

The voice, The call

We have cats.  This is not to brag or complain, but there are three of the furry parasites in this household.One of the things we allow our cats to do is go outside.  This is positive, because since we started allowing this both the food and cat litter expenditures have dropped around here.  However, it's met with the inconvenience of letting them in and out.  I'm sure there's an illustration hidden in the in and out, cold, hot, raining, dry, whatever, but I'm not there right now.  I'll find it, though.Where I am is here: the cats have taken to jumping into the windowsill by my desk when they want in.  Occasionally, I'm quick to let them in, but since I'm here, with a desk, with the intention of working they are not my priority.  So, the fuzzies are used to seeing me sit here for a few minutes, and then get up.  Sometimes I get up to do something else and then go open the door for them.What I noticed today is that one cat has to be called very pleasantly wi…

A reminder

Quite some time ago (1996!), country music singer Collin Raye put out a Christmas album.  Well, probably there was never an album, but a CD and a tape.  Still, I remember albums, and know why that’s the term…but I’m chasing rabbits again.This album featured a song that highlighted a Christmas story.  It was the first time I had heard this story, and to this day, the song and the story both haunt and challenge me.The story is from the Western Front, 1914, during the First World War.  It was at a time when it was just the front, and just a European War, a war that eventually engulfed most of the world, and then took a 20-year hiatus in Europe before erupting again.  It only took a few years off in Asia, but the US wasn’t as involved as many other nations, except for 1917-1918 and 1941-1945.The war was being fought between Germany on the one side, and England and France on the other.  The two sides were settled into trench warfare around the border of the two countries. (Yes, I’m simplif…

Sermons December 12

Here's the weekly sermon post.  It's long, and you don't have to read it if you don't want to. I just want to enable you to catch up if you missed or review if you missed something.  The outline/sermon guide that you see is what I wrote in preparation to preach.  It is often at least slightly different from what I preach, because I don't read it, just refer to it. You're welcome to tell me that it would have been better to preach what I wrote rather than what I preached!DougHere are the audio links:Click here to download and listen to the Morning Sermon.Click here to download and listen to the Evening Sermon.  And click here to listen to the ladies group sing Silent Night.Outlines:Morning: Isaiah 53Sermon: Isaiah 53: Love: Shown to us through the suffering of the MessiahText: Isaiah 53Title: Love SacrificesTheme: The Suffering MessiahLocation: FBC AlmyraDate: 12/12/10So, today we come to love. Love is, like many of the words that we find in Scripture, one of th…

Today I will Preach

I’ve never been much of a poetic person, but I’m calling this an attempt at poetry because these days the only rule for poetry is that you can not follow grammar rules.  A poem doesn’t have to rhyme or even make sense, although there is some rhyming here and it made sense to me when I blurted out the words.Today I will preach
I will get up
I will clean up
I will put on a suit
Lately, I have studied
I have prepared my words
I have sought out His words
I will stand before the body
I will stand before His body
I will stand, before that, I must kneel
I do not hope to motivate
I do not hope to captivate
I hope to not equivocate
Today I have nothing to offer
I am neither the eldest
Nor the smartest or wisest
Not even the funniest
I have nothing
No words that heal
No words that soothe
No adequate words
Only words not my own
Words owned by Him
My explanation perhaps
Yet His Word controls
Command…

Week in Review

It's been a roller coaster week, and I thought I'd just pour it all out here on the blog so you can share it with me.Sunday went well.  We had good services at church, a good deacon's meeting, just a nice smooth day.I spent Monday on the phone with various bank representatives trying to figure out if any of the billions of dollars banks got to help people who couldn't make mortgage payments or sell houses could somehow help me, since I have a house to sell that won't sell.  One bank seemed somewhat helpful.  The bank whose representatives talked me into splitting my 100% finance mortgage into an 80/20 Mortgage and Home Equity Loan, and who then sold the 80 and kept the 20, they weren't very helpful.  In fact, they basically told me that no matter what happened, they would have to have the final say in whether I sold the house.  They have no guidelines to offer about what offers will be acceptable short of 100% payoff, even criticizing me for having made the dec…