Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The world and everything in it.

I hit the ground running on my first day back. I had a two hour meeting about accessibility codes with the developer in the afternoon.

Now, many would probably groan and think that is the worst possible way to spend the first day back on the job. But really, it was the better thing to come back to. I figured I could A) look at my desk and wonder "now, where was I?" or B) attend code meetings and field questions left and right. The second sure makes me feel much more useful.

This morning's reading in the Psalms brought something to mind.

Psalm 65:9 - 13
9You visit the earth and cause it to overflow;
You greatly enrich it;
The stream of God is full of water;
You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.
10You water its furrows abundantly,
You settle its ridges,
You soften it with showers,
You bless its growth.
11You have crowned the year with Your bounty,
And Your paths drip with fatness.
12The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
13The meadows are clothed with flocks
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

I reflected on the current trend among evangelicals called "Creation Care". Heard of it? The premise is that we are to be stewards of the earth. It's the evangelical response to being "green" without being "liberal". Or is it? Without the foundation of the gospel, how can we separate our responsibility to be stewards of what we have without relying on the strength of our own right hand to sustain us? It's one thing to work diligently. It's quite another to assume that we are left alone to battle the wild untamed forces of nature in order to survive. God's word assures us that material increase on this earth is a result of His blessing on our work, not a result of our work and our work alone. Without a right view of God, can we really have a right view of the earth?

I remember at one time looking at the mountains and hills as a sort of geological "record". I had some Biblical influence. I remember thinking "now, what about the Great Flood caused this to happen?" But the more I read the Word, and take it at face value, the more I understand. "God carved that valley, He lifted those mountains up and set them firmly in place. His hand smoothed over the rolling hills, and leveled the plain."

Finally, I was looking over some pictures I took during a trip to Oklahoma a few years ago when contemplating a job offer that would take me back to Norman, Oklahoma. I sat for a few hours with my Bible on the top of a flat rock high on the top of a "mountain" in the Wichitas. It was a Friday, and a family was taking a little tour around the edge of the mountain. As they came near where I was sitting and walked to the edge of the rocks to look down, one little boy exclaimed, "Look what God made!"

Yep. Seems he had a better understanding than I.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The test went very well.

We have our first Moderate day of the year.

The National Storm Conference is coming March 8.

And I'm looking forward to the Sola Conference next week.

I'm ready for a nap.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'm as prepared as they come.

My verse this past week has been

Psalm 121

1I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
3He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

He is my help in all things, no matter how this test comes out.

I'm about as eager for morning as a little kid on Christmas Eve.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... (a short diversion)

Don't they look so harmless when they're asleep?

"Put the camera DOWN! Can't you see I'm not ready for pictures? Aren't you supposed to be studying?"

Okay, stop me if I'm wrong, here, but isn't this a legitimate (although not as beautiful as its classic shape) Kelvin-Helmholtz wave-form cloud? I think its origin is a contrail from a plane that happened to cross the boundary of two currents of air. This was the form's only location in the sky, as you can see to the right. Any meteorologists out there want to venture a guess?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

From sun-up to sun-down

By the grace of God I have not yet exited my apartment through a third-story window.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Taking a little break

More good stuff from Dan.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I walked to the mailbox this evening and retrieved the official "pass" letter from the state. I looked at it and thought "I only need two more of these."

Collect all nine for fabulous cash and prizes.

No. Really.

I'm taking the week off work to study study study. Went in to the office this evening and assigned some work in my absence. That was so I wouldn't feel as guilty as I do for doing something I have no reason to feel guilty for.

Your prayers are coveted.

If you have time, though, here's a revealing book on the Puritans I've been leafing through.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vicarious Blogging Tour Stop Three

I can't help myself.

This post reminds me of monday night, sitting in Starbucks, thankful I had a night to study, but pondering what my life reflected and praying for an opportunity to share the gospel.

Then, as if on cue, this big black guy walks in. He doesn't order a drink. He walks over to the bar and picks up a straw and proceeds to chew on the end as he makes his way to the table next to me. He sits down directly facing me.

"Hey, what's your name." Is he talking to me? Can't he see I'm reading?

He had been drinking. But I reluctantly entered into a conversation with him. If you've ever had a conversation about religion with a drunk person, just know that they won't be able to put together a solid logical statement, nor will they remember a thing about it. Don't get frustrated. Just pray and let them talk.

He got up in mid sentence, proceeded to put his coat back on and walked out the door without finishing the conversation.

Lord, that wasn't what I meant.

Still, no matter who or what opportunity is dropped in your lap, will you be ready to give an account? I was amazed at how much knowledge he had about the Bible (he had gone to ORU in Tulsa), and if he hadn't been drinking I wonder if we would have been able to have a discussion about some of the points he brought up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I am often asked why I got into architecture. Well, this is why.

Just take a look at this structure. I could go in a million different directions with this about how God is the greatest architect, and I only seek to copy what He's already done.

I look at this and consider the Tower of Babel story in Genesis. Had I been the architect of record for that project, this here is what I would have modeled my schematic design after. I would have aimed for nothing less.

Anyway, enjoy this and praise God for His continued work in the creation (including us).

(As a side note: I'm getting the "itch". This is not good.)

Vicarious Blogging Tour Stop Two

Sometimes lists are good.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Vicarious Blogging

I'm swamped. We've got issues at work that always come up when multitudes of unredeemed people get together and try to get something accomplished. Conflict is inevitable. While I'm silently observing everything going on here at the moment, I'm going to have to send you to a series at TeamPyro that sounds like a good read. Everyone needs to hear the gospel. Everyone needs the gospel. The gospel is the answer to everything. The gospel is the goal of our jobs. The gospel is the goal of marriage. The gospel is the goal of raising children. The gospel, as Frank Turk's pastor has so wonderfully quipped, is the solution to culture.

Anyway, the topic over there is on original sin. And instead of yammering on over here while I really have nothing to say, I'm going to point you to a much better use of your grey matter.

I passed my last exam. *grin*

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A little fun

Nice touch, guys.

Love one another

I haven't had much to say lately. Mostly that is because I've been wrapped up with these tests. Trying to get out when I can. Enjoying the occasional bobcat sighting. (God is good)

But I think I need to say something.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says "I have come to known Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - 1 John 2:3-6

We are love, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. - 1 John 4:19-21

I remember that when I became a Christian, the practical side of me took a while to get out and explore the new landscape. And when it did, it was terrified by what it saw.

Apparently, I had to love. Now, at the time, this seemed ludicrous. I wasn't loving, and I didn't think I had to be as long as I was right. Wasn't truth of ultimate importance? After being starved of it by the church I was attending at the time, it was the truth or nothing at all. And if you didn't get the truth, if you didn't understand it, well, you're an ignorant beast who deserves your sorry destination. In fact, I knew of a great church for you to attend if that didn't matter to you.


To me, "love" smacked of hippy-Kum-By-Ah-ism, where we all hold hands and forget that there is a right and a wrong way to think about things. Oh, but I was wrong and it was only by the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit who patiently softened my heart to the fact that even the most chafing individuals in my life were to be treated with the same love and care as the most precious and endearing individuals God had put in my path. The hardest obstacle wasn't loving the members of the Body, but loving those who were not regenerated at all, those who I may interact with daily.

May I ask you this: Are you there? Can you think of the most chafing individual you know, and can you put yourself in their place for a day and treat them as if they were you yourself?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

For the good of the saints.

I scheduled my last exam this morning for March 17.

I could not schedule my most recent exam, nor did some paperwork which arrived last night indicate that this test could be scheduled again. To me, this means that I passed it. To me, this means that I only have two more tests to sit through. This means that I MAY know the status of my professional registration some time around the end of May. This means that I MAY be able to start pouring on a thicker repayment of my student loans.

Lord willing.

Dear Lord, You know there is SO MUCH I want to accomplish, but these tests weigh me down. They ARE teaching me about responsibility, commitment, obligation, seeing things through to the end. And on the other hand, I just want to open up a good book in the living room and read about something OTHER than how to operate a 10 year old piece of software that is incredibly counterintuitive. So please, if it is Your will, may I not receive any more "Fail"s in the mail. And may I study hard.

Funny thing about the cat. This situation made me see just how dire it was that I finish. For a brief moment, there was the thought that I could place the license in jeopardy by my own selfishness. And I fled from that as fast as I could. It was hard packing him into his crate this morning; he actually hissed at me, which he's never done. On the ride home from dropping him off at the vet, I felt relieved. I was sad, to be sure, but I felt a renewed sense of vigor toward the exams, and toward completing. And a thankfulness that the situation went as smoothly as it did. If this was the only reason that cat came into (and went out of) my life, then I have to say, how much more gracious and lavish can our God be? To use something as uncomfortable and sorrowful as that in order to put a renewed fire within me to finish the course I started ten years ago. I don't understand, but I don't have control or sovereignty, nor do I own everything like God does. Everything is His, and He uses it ALL for His purposes, to achieve His ends, and I'm beginning to see how it is often for the good of His saints.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Goodbye Chester

Well, Chester may have cancer, will have to have an operation and may even need to have his leg amputated, and will certainly need care greater than I can provide right now in this time in my life. Especially with the next exam looming in 19 days.

I learned a lot with this cat. Just in the last 4 days, I learned how to be more patient. I learned to enjoy some of the sweeter things in life, like watching two cats play and interact. I considered Proverbs 14:10
Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.

I am sure there will be people who extend words of comfort, but they won't be experiencing the same sorrow.

I am aware now that it is best to be silent in the company of these people. How can I possibly know what sorrow they are feeling when THEY or loved ones are inflicted with the horrible consequences of living in a fallen world. Granted, it could have been much worse. It could have been a parent or friend. But it was enough, it was just enough to make me think about how the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.

Why didn't He protect me from bringing Chester home? From getting all the supplies? From considering getting another cat? I understand, this is minor, but I am learning through the kind hand of God's sovereignty and providence in my life how to trust Him now. I only pray that I will be able to exhibit the same level of trust with the greater disappointments and sorrows in life.

As I said before, we cannot embrace all of life's joys and none of its sorrows.

I would love to keep him, nurse him back to health, but I have an obligation that I made a long time ago, and I have to see that through first, before taking on anything else. I made a commitment a long time ago, and I cannot abandon it for any desires that come up along the way.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The meaning of it all

I woke up, enjoyed time in the Word, played with the cats, took a bike ride, showered...

and as I'm drying off the last bit of hair, I turn around as it hits me...

Hey, I'm 29 now.

Off to Starbucks to study study study...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year News!

Well, we made the front page of again. This year it is to celebrate the story as the Best of Boston Travel. By the way, yes, you read the URL right if you happened to notice... we made the FRONT PAGE of, beating out any other travel photo.

You know this is because God alone was the Creator of this scene, don't you? Of course you did.