Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some Thoughts of the Republican Presidential Candidates About the Bible

Last night CNN and YouTube partnered in putting on a debate among the Republican Presidential Candidates. I DVRd most of the debate (I lost about the first 15 minutes). I probably watched about half of what I recorded. I'll finish watching the last 40 minutes or so before I delete the file.

I was interested, however, in a segment in which a YouTube participant asked the candidates their belief about "every word" of the Bible (the one he held up was a King James Bible). This is my first time to upload a video segment to YouTube, and to place it on my blog:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jesus: God's Promised Gift

School started again this morning, after an entire week off for Thanksgiving Break. My boss, Mark Scott, preached in chapel this morning. We have just two more weeks of class before Final Exam Week, so there are only 3 more chapel services now.

His assigned text was Matthew 1-2, "The Gift . . . Promised". He opened with a verse from Proverbs:
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
(Proverbs 13:12, NIV)

He divided the first two chapters of Matthew into four literary units, with this dominant theme: The Promised Gift would not be deferred by:
  1. Questionable Roots (1:1-17)
  2. Suspicious Origin (1:18-25)
  3. A Looney King (2:1-18)
  4. Seeming Obscurity (2:19-23)

Mark did a masterful job, which drew me towards Christ. The audio should appear on the college website within a couple days. I recommend you check it out. You can either listen online, or download the sermon file in MP3 format.

The songs selected during the worship time contributed to the service. Songs were interspersed with Scripture readings taken from Matthew 1-2. The lyrics to a song we sang were especially significant to me, and probably put me into the Christmas spirit, Welcome to our World, by Chris Rice:

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking

How we need to hear from God

You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome, Holy Child

Welcome, Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger

How I wish we would have known

But long-awaited, Holy Stranger

Make Yourself at home.

Please, make Yourself at home.

Bring Your peace into our violence

Bid our hungry souls be filled

Word, now breaking Heaven's silence

Welcome to our world

Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us

Tender brow prepared for thorn

Tiny heart whose blood will save us

Unto us is born

Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You

Breathe our air and walk our sod

Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God

Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world.

May the Christ of Christmas indwell your world.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts on Thanksgiving: aka 25 Years Ago This Month

25 years ago (this month), we were living in a house rented for us by the Lakeside Christian Church of Springfield, IL. The chairman of the mission committee at Lakeside Church lived across the street from us. My good friends from college, Mark Scott (who is now my boss) and James McCracken ministered in the Springfield area. My oldest child, Charissa, was in kindergarten at Christian Elementary School, operated by the Westside Christian Church. Delicia (nee Jones) Bare was in her class.

25 years ago (this month) my son Greg was being potty trained. On a Sunday afternoon, he had an accident (that means he pottied in his training pants) when he was with me but not with his Mom. You see, he accompanied me to a store to buy some allergy medication. On the way back home a Springfield police officer stopped me for doing 38mph in a 25mph zone. The vehicle we were driving that furlough was licensed in Florida, and I had a Florida drivers license. Because I was an "out-of-state" driver, I was told that I would have to pay a $50 bond. I didn't have $50 to pay the bond, so I was taken to the police station (my son, in training pants accompanied me). It was at the police station that Greg had his accident. Everybody knows that you get one phone call from the police station before they throw you in the cell. Did I call Rose? No, I did not! I knew that she didn't have $50 either. Who was the recipient of my call? Our friendly neighbor, the chairman of the mission committee of Lakeside Christian Church, received that honor. I trusted that he either had $50, or could get it from one of those fancy ATM machines (ATM machines were rather new--we had set up a checking account with a local institution, but because we were only going to be in Springfield for 3-4 months, I did not think I needed an ATM card). Having to call the chairman of the missions committee was quite embarrassing (though it makes a good story).

25 years ago (this month) I bought my very first personal computer. It was a Commodore VIC-20, with a whopping 5KB of ram. I think it cost me about $300. The crummy dot-matrix printer that I got with it (no descenders) cost $399. The computer came with a tape player type of drive that stored its programs and files on an ordinary cassette tape. The VIC-20 was advertised by Star Trek's William Shatner. You can see a commercial of Shatner hawking the VIC-20 by clicking here.

Today (this month--that's a tad redundant, don't you think?), I'm writing these lines on a laptop computer that has 419,430.4 times the amount of RAM as the VIC-20. In case you are interested in the math, a kilobyte has 1024 bytes. 5KB of RAM equals 5,120 bytes. To get a megabyte, you multiply the kilobyte by 1024. To get a gigabyte, you multiply the megabyte by 1024. My computer now has 2GB of RAM (though some of that is shared with the video card). The VIC-20 with 5KB of RAM totaled 5,120 bytes. My current laptop with 2GB or RAM is calculated by the following formula: 2 x 1024^3, or 2,147,483,648 bytes of RAM. That number divided by the 5,120 bytes of RAM in the VIC-20 is 419,430.4.

25 years ago, Kimberly, our youngest, was not even a thought. Today (25 years later), our son Greg has recently given us 3 adorable grandsons. Rose is happy that we will get to see them in about 20 days!

The idea to write this little essay came to me when I realized that I purchased my very first personal computer 25 years ago this month. I put that little tidbit in the 3rd paragraph, as I understand that family trumps computers every time. Thanksgiving was Thursday, and I was thankful. Today is the Monday after (known by retailers now as Cyber Monday), and I navigated both Black Friday and Cyber Monday without spending money I don't have on things that I don't need. That makes today a day of Thanksgiving as well.

The Psalmist put it well:
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
(Psalms 34:8, ESV)

I am blessed indeed!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Workshop at the National Missionary Convention

Tomorrow we'll meet home about 1:00 PM and head towards Cincinnati for the National Missionary Convention. I will lead a workshop on Electronic Resources for Bible Study on Saturday morning.

I will demo some of the packages I mention in the handout. How things have changed since the days when I shipped hundreds of book in print form. Now that the postal service no longer has international book rate, missionaries should take advantage of electronic books.

As an added plus, we'll get to visit the Creation Museum just west of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport.