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Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 - 10:53 PM

"I Need Thee"

I'm helpless, not because life is too much for me, not because I lack the faith to face the darkness... but because I need Thee, I want Thee. No Thee is enough for me until I see Thee. If I was Adam, I would have done the same thing he did, I'm sure. Instead of taking what he knew to be sin to You with whom he walked every morning and asking You what he should do, He hid from you and committed the world's first sin. I've done this so many times myself as well. However, I'm at the point where I lack the strength to do wrong anymore. I've seen the high cost that comes with making bad choices, and I can bear to make them no more. I am so broken that I cannot do anything but sit and wait, wait to hear from the Lord. I refuse to make faithless choices, and I must hear from Him. My life is at a standstill until I hear the voice of the Lord. I have sinned. I am Adam. Instead, I have chosen to take my state to the feet of the Father. I weep before Him and ask Him, "What will You do with me? What will you do with all I have laid at Your feet? I have nothing left that I wish to preserve, to keep from You. I have nothing to hide, all is laid bare. What I thought was my own, what I held most dear has been taken from me. What else do I have? I have You alone. If You won't take me, if You will not use what I have to offer, then life is vanity. If there's nothing of use at Your feet, then wash me away in Your flood. But You can use the worst in us. You can heal the brokenhearted. You have room to work, as I have no strength left to push or pull with. Pull me here, push me there. I long to feel your hands, even if in discipline. Father, wash my slate, restore my broken heart. Use me, and don't let me become what I once was. Purify my heart. Cause what beats in me to beat for You. I am nothing, yet You consider me more than I dare to dream. You died to set me free! If my soul is Your reward, if my life is what You died for and what You love... well then use it all, take it all! I dare not keep from You, God, what You love! I offer myself, for I have nothing else to give."

This song came to mind, and I sadly (my sad skills) played it prior to writing that prayer. This song is so much my prayer; I can't begin to describe how much so.

I Need Thee Every Hour

I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.

I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their power when thou art nigh.

I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.

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Monday, September 29th, 2008 - 2:12 AM

"Thanks Rameys"

I could make this post WAY longer... but it's WAY late! I'm trying to write things as they come to mind, rather than waiting until I forget (which is usually about 2 hours or so). I want to thank Paul and Mer for being who you are - shining examples, awesome leaders - and for what you are doing for Ethnos. I feel greatly graced by your presence and ministry. You will be severely missed. However, such sadness will be quickly replaced by great joy after hearing how amazingly you will be used in New York! That's a ridiculously awesome story you shared today - and a perhaps more ridiculously HUGE leap of faith your family is taking! The cool thing about that is that it is your faith that gives peace in my heart to know you are going the right direction. A verse comes to mind that has been one of many brought to my attention lately:

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

~ I John 5:1-5

Now before we get all puffed up by our great faith and its potential, let's not forget the importance of the object of our faith. Faith implies faith in something or someone. Faith in faith means nothing. It must have a sure foundation or it is about as useless as totally meaningless positive thinking trash like The Secret. What better foundation or object of faith than Jesus Christ Himself? In fact there is no other object that has ANY value at all! Jesus is the Son of God, even God Himself. Don't believe? Think He's just a man or a teacher? Doesn't matter. Our opinions don't change fact. He doesn't need our approval to exist. He is (different tense - I dare not say "I AM", for only He can say that). He needs no testimony, for His testimony about Himself is the very testimony of God! So while it may be that God gifted us with some mysterious inherent power in our acts of faith, I tend to believe the power comes from the object of our faith, even Jesus Christ Himself! I dare not dream or wish to have power or glory myself. I wish all of it come from and return to the God of eternity! May He be forever praised!

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

~ I John 4:4

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." The Pharisees challenged him, "Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid." Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me."

~ John 8:12-18

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

~ John 16:33

This is he who came by water and blood - Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

~ I John 5:6-12

Okay... so that got a bit off topic (the topic being thanking the Rameys), but I've been thinking about it anyway, and it seemed like I may as well get it out.

I want to specifically thank Mer for speaking to me briefly in the backyard as I was finishing up painting the trim. Thank you for asking how things are going with "us". Thank you for reminding me of your great and glorious story. I got a bit teary eyed, for I admit I am a bit envious and wish God would pan out my story to have a similar redeeming result as what happened in the story of your relationship. However, my emotion was also resultant because I am so stinking THANKFUL for that result for YOU, despite what happens to me and my situation! I am so thankful that you were redeemed. Your testimony of obedience in spite of dubious emotions and circumstances is BRIGHT and SHINING! Thank God for this act of faith! See what is resulting?! How awesome! Thanks for being open and not ashamed to share difficulties you've been through... for it is a huge blessing and encouragement for those going through similar things.

Let me be clear about this... I don't know what God has in store for me. Of course redemption is my highest desire and I pray for it with tears! My love will not ebb away, for it is Christ in me - and He simply doesn't disappear or let go, even in spite of our lack of faith! Christ living in me is a force to be reckoned with! It is not by my strength but by the power and authority of the One who is above all and through all and in all. All things are under His authority! And by some mystery, we have inherited this authority as "co-heirs"... what a humbling thought!

Even if my path is one of pain and endless sacrifice for all my days - I desire to be obedient and sing praises to the glorious name of the everlasting merciful Father! He may choose to test me and break me. I may even shatter in my brittleness. He may throw a bit of "garbage" my way. Sounds harsh, but He is God - and if He so desires, He has the right to be harsh! He is sovereign, and I must submit! But I pray I am the most beautiful garbage can ever made, for it is Christ living with me in the clay! And if He's a key ingredient, let me tell you, let me boast how beautiful this jar will be! His strong arms form the "hoop/rim" if I am willed to receive difficulty... and He will not drop any load too weighty for me to bear! I'd rather be crushed and garbage ridden than to be a self-declared "beautiful pot" that is faithless and self-sufficient, comforted by all the sparkly deception this world has to offer!

This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, "Your older son will serve your younger son." In the words of the Scriptures, "I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau."

Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses,

"I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
and I will show compassion to anyone I choose."

So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, "I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth." So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

Well then, you might say, "Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven't they simply done what he makes them do?"

No, donít say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, "Why have you made me like this?" When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

~ Romans 9:10-24

Rameys, don't give up on this that the Lord has shown you (unless He Himself - and only He - shows you differently). I guarantee you will see much opposition and testing of faith. The undertaking you are facing is not one of financial or circumstantial challenges. Those are easy for a limitless and rich God to provide! I dare say the most difficult challenge you will face will be one of darkness and evil. The enemy will hate your work and will work relentlessly against you because of your obedience. You may be tempted to sin or to give up entirely. Be aware of these likely attacks. Stay in the Word to ridiculous proportions!

If obvious spiritual battles come your way, read Ephesians a hundred times. Better yet, have someone read it to you! God is empowering me through this and other passages. I'm being attacked crazily, as you can imagine. Nevertheless, I'm ready to start using this knowledge to strike fear in the darkness. Not fear of me, for I am no one and nothing, but rather fear of Christ living in me! The darkness will also attack you in fear of the great work it sees potential in you. The place where you are going is surely a stronghold for darkness, and you may not always be met by appreciation or friendliness. May this be an encouragement to you to press on and fight the good fight! If it seems more than you can bear, contact us back here at Ethnos immediately, and we will intercede for you. The darkness will not prevail! As long as you are opposed yet obedient, you can be sure you are in the "right place" and equally sure that God will be with you! Um... and yeah, if God be for you, who can be against you? There's a reason that question is left unanswered... it's a tad unnecessary and rhetorical. We know the answer.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ - everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan...

Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God's people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called - his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else - not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

~ Ephesians 1:9-11,15-23

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Monday, September 29th, 2008 - 1:40 AM

"Johnny Cash Reads the Bible"

Johnny Cash reads the Bible

While helping Paul and Mer with their house on Saturday I learned something exciting. Jeremy was pressure washing the driveway when Jordan (I'll be really annoyed at myself if I got that name wrong - all of a sudden, the very moment I needed my recall to work, I'm experiencing tip of the tongue syndrome even though otherwise I've been remembering your name all this time since I met you last Sunday!) pointed out his ear buds. "What tunes are you listening to?" Jeremy responded, "Johnny Cash reading Revelation". Now that certainly sparked my interest. I recently shared how God gave me the new gift of listening to His Word audibly. In addition, Jeremy told me some days ago that he too was encountering the Word in new and exciting ways this year.

What instantly piqued my interest was the fact that Jeremy specifically said "Johnny Cash" reading the Bible. Ever since hearing Johnny Cash singing or speaking, I'm pretty sure I regard his voice as the most unique and attractive voice I've ever heard. He has such a deep and rustic sound all to its own! I'm not a huge collector of his music or anything, but every time I hear his voice it calls my attention, and I think, "Cool! That's Johnny Cash!"

Just now I ordered the CD set of Johnny Cash reading the entire New Testament in the New King James Version of the Bible. Though I'm not totally sick of my Text-to-Speech Bible listening, I can't imagine anything better than hearing my favorite voice in the world reading my favorite text in the world (beyond this world)!

So thanks, Jeremy, for being specific in your answer yesterday! I'm really anxious to get the CDs in the mail now!

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Sunday, September 28th, 2008 - 10:25 PM

"Thank You Dr. Lockridge"

I felt my meeting today with Elder Dave was quite "productive" and valuable. Not to say that any one of my weekly meetings haven't been valuable - much the opposite! Since we've been meeting, the work of God in my life has only increased. And, admittedly, oftentimes because of my sadness and loneliness there are times when I feel about to break. A meeting or something Dave shares with me via email through the week come at perfect times to sustain me. And of course I sense the timely power being dosed out to me as the result of those who are praying for me. I can't express the appropriate measure of gratitude owed to those who fall in that list!

Among other snippets of useful and challenging truth Dave presented me this afternoon, he included a preview of a video he intended to share during the sermon. Being that I'm meeting with the "pastor"*, I often get bits and pieces of his sermons in our meetings. I find this an awesome privilege, for it prepares me to think in advance on what will be said. I feel I appreciate the sermons more this way, for it especially empowers me to apply them to life situations.

Man, I suck at writing! I totally noticed how both of those two paragraphs above start out with a topic sentence, then immediately go off on a tangent without supporting and concluding the primary idea. Oh well. I'm not about to go back and rewrite them!

S.M. Lockridge

So... back to the video - Dave shared with me a video called "My King", or "That's My King" by S.M. Lockridge. It is in my estimation one of the best 3 to 6 minute sermons I've heard in my life. It's kinda like The Lord of the Rings movies... even though there are 3 of them, and each one is 3 hours long (4 with extended versions), you still want to watch more. The same goes for this sermon - even though he made his point by going and going and going... I want to hear more and more and more!

It's really awesome and amazing that what God is teaching me about Himself - through my life situation and His response to it, and through my time spent in His Word (can't get enough!) - He is reinforcing through the sermons at Ethnos. Well, Dave, be encouraged. I know God is using your words to bless others. I am 100% confident of this. Nevertheless, even if I was the only one, be sure that I am blessed. Oftentimes it feels as though the timing of your sermons perfectly matches what God is already showing me - or else, it relates fairly directly and challenges me to think it out further.

...and now, more of my disjointed discourse... I encourage everyone to watch this video of Dr. Lockridge's sermon. I am certain it will be a blessing to you. There is a beauty in the man's voice. There is a passion there. You know he is speaking not just truths he studied and listed out, but it's spoken from personal experience. His voice has a certain authority, yet you can tell he is overflowing with God's love as well. In these few words, I hear a testimony of a life lived well. Dr. Lockridge died in the year 2000. Many thousands were blessed by his ministry. Through videos like this, I have the feeling he will speak "from the grave" for many years to come (though certainly that's not where he is).

My King (MP3, RealAudio)

My King (downloadable video - various formats)

* Our church** is elder led - many of the responsibilities shared, others taken up by laypeople. Dave just happens to be the elder most gifted or chosen to deliver messages on Sunday. So most would refer to him as "the pastor".

** It's a bit wrong to say "our church" because it's God's church... not only that, but we are the church, not some building or meeting place. So when I say "our church", I'm really saying "our local community of believers, part of the larger church, or Body of Christ." ***

*** Why have only two nested footnotes when you could have three!

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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 - 9:20 PM

"About as 'Cyclist' as I Get"

new rain gear and helmet

I recently purchased some rain gear for my biking pursuits. Rain is inevitable here in the Pacific Northwest, and my bike is going to remain my primary mode of transportation in the foreseeable future. I had some PVC mega rain gear, but it is a bit heavy, not extremely flexible, and massively hot, since there isn't much venting.

I went to Performance Bike as usual. I have had good experience buying there. They always have pretty crazy sales on stuff. Unfortunately rain gear seems to be expensive no matter where you go. I am normally extremely thrifty when it comes to buying clothes. Nevertheless, I'm coming to realize quality bike gear is worth investing in. Anything that increases comfort or safety while riding is well worth some added expense. Besides, if maintained properly, most gear lasts for years. Bike safety is extremely important, as it is literally a matter of life or death. Even people who look to me to be the "coolest" bikers always stress the importance of making oneself visible.

The waterproof pants I bought are fairly generic (and inexpensive) but fine for my needs. They are not breathable. Most of the time I won't be out joyriding in the rain. Getting 2 miles to work should be tolerable. The jacket was the primary investment. I've never spent so much on a single item of clothing! Even so, I feel it's money well spent. It is one of the most comfortable jackets of any sort I've worn, and the quality seems pretty good. When I showed it to elder Dave (avid biker), he approved and confirmed that the price I paid is to be expected.

I was kind of sick of the appearance of my cheap Target bike helmet. A few weeks ago I bought the one pictured here. It was mega-cheap at Performance Bike and looks way better than my now back-up helmet.

Yep, this is about as "cyclist" as you'll see me get. I really don't like the whole look of those guys with all the official bike apparel. You know the type - the padded spandex and nylon shirts with logos and swooshes all over them. I don't have anything against those people or what they wear. I just feel it is a bit much for my tastes.

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Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 - 8:19 PM

"Bike Surface Longitudinal Plaque Vapor"

S'about time to throw up some more bike stats, to my readers' disinterest and dismay...

Bike Stats: 09-18-08
Distance 7.92 miles
Ride Time 41 minutes, 40 seconds
Average Speed 11.3 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 21.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-19-08
Distance 9.23 miles
Ride Time 48 minutes, 51 seconds
Average Speed 11.3 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 20.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-22-08
Distance 7.32 miles
Ride Time 38 minutes, 4 seconds
Average Speed 11.5 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 22.0 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-23-08
Distance 14.60 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 14 minutes, 27 seconds
Average Speed 11.7 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 26.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-24-08
Distance 7.98 miles
Ride Time 41 minutes, 25 seconds
Average Speed 11.4 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 20.0 miles per hour
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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 - 9:29 PM

"Thanks, My Brother"

Thank You, Father. Thank You, Jesus! As Your creations, we try to imitate You. Yet we cannot give gifts like You, we cannot love nearly as well! The blessing to see my brother, Micah, is beyond my ability to describe! Praise You. I love You, Lord! My eyes are flooded with tears as I think of how good You are to me! Inwardly, I groan. I groan for holiness. I groan to unzip this jacket of flesh around me. I groan to see Your face! I have seen a glimpse of Your face in that of my brother. Thank You for the faithfulness and the bright shining example of Micah and his family. Thank You for my special sister. She is one of a kind! I'd ask for no other in addition or in her place! Thank You for my beautiful nieces and nephews! They are all special in Your eyes, and each one is a unique treasure, made in Your likeness. Bless this family! Provide for Your faithful servants!

Micah, my brother-in-law has been in town for a week. For those that don't know, my sister and family are missionaries in Peru. The occasions I get to see them are few and far between. Each time I find that I love and cherish them more and more. I am so proud, I boast of their work in the Lord!

I wasn't sure if I was going to get to see Micah. I would have been very sad if I didn't get the opportunity. He made a special trip out to my side of town during lunch today just so I could see him. He brought his Bible, and we encouraged each other in the Lord. It's not possible my encouragement was nearly as timely or valuable as his. I so needed to hear from my brother. Knowing that they are praying for us and love us is such a gift, such a blessing! It's like being ministered to by Jesus Himself. Again I am brought to tears... if mere men can so demonstrate the love of Christ, how much more will we experience when we see Him face-to-face! I can't wait!

my brother

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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 - 8:24 PM

"And God Saw That It Was Good"

The best this world has to offer doesn't compare to the work God brought about. The beauty in His hand causes all else to pale. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Jesus make yourself known through the glory of Your work in us and help us see that all good things come from You and the Father of Lights. We dwell in darkness, but You have exposed us. You have shined down upon us and given good gifts to Your children.

In the beginning was the babe, and the babe was with me, and the babe was beautiful and sweet. The babe was with me in the beginning.

Where we met, in Teresina, Brasil

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Monday, September 22nd, 2008 - 10:46 PM

"The Bunny and Me Are Like This"

Today I saw the bunny again on the way home from work. It was sitting right by the path, and I decided to see how close I could get. I got within about 2 feet, and the bunny didn't even flinch. I probably could have pet it. It's like I'm saying, Me and the bunny, we's like this:

We like this

Okay, perhaps it's more accurate to say the bunny is like this:

bunny ears

Which leaves me as being something like this:

like this

At any rate, here's how the bunny really is (from less than 2 feet away):

bunny

bunny

...and last and least, here's how I really look from, well, way too close!

too close

I see you! ...sorry, a bit creepy, I know!

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Monday, September 22nd, 2008 - 8:59 AM

"Give Ear To My Words"

Psalm 5

O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness;
you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence,
for you hate all who do evil.
You will destroy those who tell lies.
The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.
Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house;
I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Lead me in the right path, O Lord,
or my enemies will conquer me.
Make your way plain for me to follow.
My enemies cannot speak a truthful word.
Their deepest desire is to destroy others.
Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave.
Their tongues are filled with flattery.
O God, declare them guilty.
Let them be caught in their own traps.
Drive them away because of their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
For you bless the godly, O Lord;
you surround them with your shield of love.

Every time I read this song I'm reminded of the chorus based on the fist part. I like that song. It is one of the songs I've sung through the years when I'm lonely and sad, in need of the presence of God. I decided to listen to Psalm 1 to 10 this morning and came across this one again.

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Sunday, September 21st, 2008 - 9:38 PM

"Abandoned - No, Immanuel"

I am abandoned, alone. Oh Lord, help me! I cannot live this way. I cannot make it on my own. I need my companion, my love. Why am I not loved? Am I the worst of all Your creation? Lord, strengthen me in my loneliness. Take my fear and doubts away. Help me to trust in Your sovereignty over this situation. Though it seems enemies are all around, Lord You can defend me on every side. I lay down my arms, for Your defense is perfect, Your technique is faster than light and a thousand times as beautiful as masterful T'ai Chi. Though my foes plot against me and seek to steal my joy, Lord You are my Joy, my Hope, my Strength. No one can take You away from me, for it is not by my strength that You and I are bound. We are bound by the blood of Your Son, Jesus. I am Yours, and I am proud and humbled to call You my God. It is Your right hand that sustains me, and no one can make You flinch or cause Your grasp to slip.

Help me to trust in You and to drop all things so that I can rest in Your arms. Fight my battles for me. Oppose those who oppose the beauty and glory of what you have made. Yet relent in your mercy, for they also need You. Show all people Your love and curse no one for my sake. Instead, forgive them, for I bid no one sorrow in revenge. My sorrow is enough for ten men, and I would bear more if You require it of me. Reveal Your sovereignty as God to all, as You have shown me. I pray, even beg that You continue to reveal the truth of Your Word in me. May Your Spirit calm my heart, and may Your presence be real enough to satisfy my severe loneliness! Oh, Father, rescue me! Hosanna, Savior! Abba, hug me, for my humanity and the dust that You created needs love!

Forgive me where I have failed to uphold the holiness of Your name, and where I have set idols before me instead of a relentless pursuit of You. Set Your path before me and light the way so I will not miss a step. Discipline me as a son, so I will know You are my Father. Create in me a clean heart, one that is starving for You every moment. Don't let me lose site of the prize. You are my prize. To serve You in Your house is all I long for. To be close to Your heart is what I need. Cast the remaining darkness from me, so I can approach You.

I wish I knew which name to use to address You, God. There are so many... but for example, mine is Phil. What is Yours? I've longed to call you more than "Father", "Lord", "God", "Master"... yet perhaps my pronunciation of Hebrew or whatever name You tell me would make me worthy of death. I won't accept an answer that doesn't come from You. If I don't receive such an answer, I will still worship You the best I am able. I have no right to call You by such a personal name, and I should be satisfied to call You by Your titles. I want to address no one else but You in my prayers. There are no other gods before You. I worship the God of Abraham, the God of Moses, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus' name that I pray, for by His blood I can address You.

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Sunday, September 21st, 2008 - 12:55 AM

"Moved, Mess, Monkeys, Movies, Missing, Memories"

Here's a peer into my "new life". I moved recently. I still haven't unpacked everything. The monkeys like to watch movies. I amuse them (well, they amuse me), since aside from the Holy Spirit, they are my only "company". Is it sadness or madness... perhaps a bit of both.

movie monkeys

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Saturday, September 20th, 2008 - 11:42 PM

"The Right to Choose"

  • Devotion
  • Faithfulness
  • Loyalty
  • Promise
  • Commitment
  • Covenant
  • Oath
  • Eternity
  • Forever
  • Solid
  • Firm
  • Unshakable
  • Understanding
  • Patience
  • Goodness
  • Humility
  • Forgiveness
  • Memories
  • Beauty
  • Light

And now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.

Te Amo

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Saturday, September 20th, 2008 - 12:22 AM

"Five Mile Social Walk - That's How We Roll"

Katamari Damacy

I called up my good ole buddy Marcus and went over to his place this evening after stopping to get some vittles at Pizza Smizza. He, Tammy and I went on a rather long walk in the dark. It was not your average run of the mill Friday night activity. That's what made it so cool. Who thinks to go on a fairly lengthy walk as a way to socialize? It's better than sitting on a couch for hours on end. Exercise is good. The outside temperature was absolutely perfect - not too hot, not too cold. After we got back we sat on a couch for a while and played Katamari Damacy for the PS2. It's a very amusing and unique game - a bit of our senseless style of humor included.

Thanks, guys, for the company. Good friends make good company - especially when rolling huge gravitational spheres, collecting thumbtacks, penguins, umbrellas, crazily screaming humans with four foot hair projections, boats, houses and the like. Hmmm... too bad they don't have Katamari Damacy for the GameCube.

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Thursday, September 18th, 2008 - 8:55 PM

"C2F Holiday 2008 Web Site Theme"

Wow, it seems like forever since I've updated the C2F web site with a new visual theme. Typically I change it each season to match our promotional catalog. I was pretty busy with other projects through the summer and wasn't hugely impressed by the summer catalog's appearance, so I skipped that one. Besides, my boss somewhat agreed with me regarding the less than spectacular summer cover, so I didn't push myself to get it done. Nevertheless, I dare not skip two seasons. Just last week I finished the newest theme for the Holiday 2008 promotional season. By the way, if you think retail is getting earlier and earlier in selling seasonal items, imagine how early wholesale sells such items, since wholesale supplies to retail, and each member of the chain needs prep time! Here it is, Christmas in September!

C2F Web Site Holiday 2008 Theme

Click here to view a sample of the Holiday 2008 theme in action

Previous Posts About C2F Themes:

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Thursday, September 18th, 2008 - 8:28 PM

"Tomato Season Makes Me Happy"

It's around that time of year when all those who have invested time in planting a home garden yield a harvest. About the only thing I care about that whole deal is all the opportunities availed to grab a tomato or six. My parents typically plant several tomato types, and I've been privileged to receive a few of theirs. A few people at work have brought in their homebrew selections as well. Tuesday morning I was graced with a yellow variety that my boss brought in. I used half of it to make a tomato, melted cheese and pepper sandwich for lunch today. Oh man, that's good!

Since the general consensus nowadays is that a tomato is correctly categorized as a fruit as opposed to a vegetable, I can quite easily say the tomato is my favorite fruit. Nothing beats a perfectly ripe home grown tomato (not sure, but I think my favorite is probably the beefsteak - because it's so big and juicy). This one pictured here is the one from my boss. No, it's not unripe. It's a yellow one - not sure what exact nomenclature to label it with. I dub it "blue-green tooth fly with vertical limitations of equine variations and crib double-duck spider whip alongside jelly cistern spigot galleries".

yellow tomato

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 - 9:31 PM

"More Bike Stats Galore"

I want to get creative with these bike stats posts... like say "[ x ] Celebrity Rides Again" in the title and find a picture to demonstrate. It's really cool and interesting. However, I can't do Google image searches due to the restrictions of my accountability software. Oh well, it's for the greater good, I suppose :) Time to do some serious catch up!

Bike Stats: 09-08-08
Distance 6.39 miles
Ride Time 33 minutes, 30 seconds
Average Speed 11.2 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 24.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-09-08
Distance 12.86 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 5 minutes, 25 seconds
Average Speed 11.7 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 21.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-10-08
Distance 7.24 miles
Ride Time 39 minutes, 28 seconds
Average Speed 10.9 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 22.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-11-08
Distance 10.48 miles
Ride Time 57 minutes, 53 seconds
Average Speed 10.7 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 19.6 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-12-08
Distance 18.53 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 38 minutes, 58 seconds
Average Speed 11.1 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 24.0 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-16-08
Distance 8.06 miles
Ride Time 40 minutes, 15 seconds
Average Speed 11.9 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 23.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-17-08
Distance 6.95 miles
Ride Time 35 minutes, 59 seconds
Average Speed 11.5 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 20.5 miles per hour
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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 - 8:46 PM

"Bunny Habitat"

I don't think this is the bunny's natural habitat. Methinx it is a domesticated bunny. However, it is making due with its current location and has found covering in the tall grass. I took this picture a week and a half ago... a bit behind.

bunny along Fanno Creek Trail

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 - 2:05 AM

"She Got Lost On the Way Home"

"Dad, where's Mom?"

Freddaminker

God only knows. I miss her too, Free-odd...

Dom...

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Monday, September 8th, 2008 - 10:44 AM

"C2Froggy"

Some people at work noticed a small frog on a leaf in our planter outside last Friday. I quickly went out there to get a few photos. Just then, the president came out. He was excited about the possibility of using such a photo for a pad cover... not sure if that will happen. My camera is fairly low resolution. We'll see.

C2F Froggy

C2F Froggy

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Monday, September 8th, 2008 - 10:20 AM

"Papa Smurf Rides Again"

I'm blue, I've got a white beard and red cap, and watch out Gargamel, cuz I go lickety-split right past you and your evil cat, Azrael!

Bike Stats: 09-05-08
Distance 3.86 miles
Ride Time 22 minutes, 22 seconds
Average Speed 10.2 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 19.1 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-06-08
Distance 24.36 miles
Ride Time 2 hours, 8 minutes, 5 seconds
Average Speed 11.3 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 28.5 miles per hour

Bike Stats: 09-07-08
Distance 13.32 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 8 minutes, 40 seconds
Average Speed 11.6 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 30.0 miles per hour

Papa Smurf on bike

Papa Smurf on bike

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Friday, September 5th, 2008 - 2:52 PM

"And-I-Gotta-da-Bunny, Baby!"

I finally captured the other bunny (in a photo). I've been told there are three. That may be the case, but I've only seen two at once. The other one probably looks like one of the other two, and I've probably unknowingly seen it already. I was able to get within 3 feet to get these pictures (my camera's zoom capabilities stink). Obviously these bunnies are tame, probably previously pets.

bunny

bunny

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Friday, September 5th, 2008 - 1:42 PM

"Iron Man's Bike Stats"

Last night I went to Valley Theater to watch Iron Man. Dave showed up too. It was a decent movie, aside from the junk near the beginning which further aided in objectifying women. Thanks for showing up, Dave. It was nice to ride somewhere late at night to be surprised by a familiar face.

Bike Stats: 09-04-08
Distance 16.01 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 18 minutes, 22 seconds
Average Speed 12.2 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 27.5 miles per hour
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Thursday, September 4th, 2008 - 11:09 AM

"The Latest Wave is... Death to Humankind"

It has long been a conspiracy theory of mine that all these waves we emit via technology through the air are destructive to the health and safety of humans. I believe in addition that much of our food processing has a similar affect. Both of these things are regulated by federally legislated agencies, and the amount of waves and chemicals out there are all "approved" for the health and safety of the average American citizen. In short, it's my belief we are killing ourselves

This legislation provides a false security. It is documented fact that certain transmitted waves and chemicals in concentrated form are either lethal or destructive - often causing defects and serious diseases such as cancer. Despite this danger, rather than banning these sources of death and disease, the government simply regulates their volume. As long as we don't absorb or consume over a determined amount, we are "safe". Nonsense. Poison is poison.

There are many scientific factors that could nullify any measurements that are decided to be "harmless". For example, perhaps cell phones, TV, radio, microwaves, satellites, wireless internet, wireless phones, bluetooth, and a HOST of other wave generating devices are individually regulated and determined to be harmless (a questionable determination already). However, who is monitoring the affect of all these waves together? My bet is no one - at least not adequately.

Another perhaps unforeseen or at least unregulated factor is the concentration of such waves and their emitters. Almost everyone has multiple TVs, radios, cell phones, wireless devices and so on - in nearly every single household in this country! In some densely populated metropolitan areas, this can amount to an astounding number of wave emitters in a relatively small patch of land.

Here's yet another reason for deciding against getting a cell phone: one of many articles on the affects of cell phone use. Now, I just read that a 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz (or even higher frequencies nowadays) cordless phone emits the same level of wave destruction as a cell phone. If I was super-paranoid, I'd probably get rid of my cordless phone. I get so few phone calls that it probably has little affect, since the waves are likely only transmitted (or at least increased) when the phone is disconnected from the charger/base and in talk mode.

My theory is that, if accurate records were available, a trend of disease could be tracked that fairly directly correlates to the number of wireless devices and increased chemicals found in modern processed food. Unfortunately I don't think we have documented records to support it all, for medical records haven't always been as informative as they are now (or could be better even now?). After all, modern knowledge of cancer (to name a key disease potentially linked to wireless devices) has only blossomed in the last 50 to 100 years, along with modern science. It is therefore difficult to know how trends have changed since the advent of wireless technology. To me, even without the data, it seems like a no-brainer (sorry - bad pun considering the subject matter) that cancer and other diseases have increased sharply in connection with modern technology and chemistry.

While the cellphone popping popcorn or cooking an egg videos might be hoaxes, I still believe there is something to being concerned with the vast increase of waves beaming through the air. At the same time, I utilize many such devices and don't live in total fear. Even if I were to rid myself of all offending devices, I'd still have waves messing with my cells from all my neighbors and my city's infrastructure. We all die some day... I guess it just means maybe more of us will die of cancer. Even if there were no unnatural waves traveling through our atmosphere, I'd still probably get cancer or some other defect from all this pop I drink. Food for thought... or perhaps for death... or perhaps it's not even food at all. Yeah, that's it. Not food for death, aka starvation. Oooo, that's deep! okay, not really. The End.

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Thursday, September 4th, 2008 - 8:36 AM

"The Bike Ride Known as MegaDeath Sanchez"

Yesterday was a significant day in my bike riding history. Most may see it as fairly insignificant. Some riders probably have a daily commute that bests my one time route. Nevertheless, for me it was a challenge to speak of, and in my mostly decrepit physical condition, an accomplishment.

My friends Dave and Marcus invited me to join them yesterday evening, and I decided to meet them at Marcus' apartment. The problem is that Marcus lives right in the thick of the west hills. I looked on Google Maps for a route that could get me there as quickly as possible as the crow flies.

Unfortunately, as I quickly found out, the crow's flight is unaffected by ridiculously steep climbs, unlike me in its shadow. I chose a path that took me parallel to Canyon Blvd and up through Sunset Hills Memorial Park. The path from there was increasingly up and steep until I reached nearly the full summit of Elk Point. The climb was so ridiculous at one point (as I passed equally ridiculously expensive houses) I had to walk a short distance. That turned out to be a mistake, as both my legs almost immediately started cramping up. I applied my fictitious and non-existent t'ai chi calming ceremony of total mastery over bodily control and was able to continue shortly after. Finally at the peak of my journey, the short distance to Marcus' from there was a breezy and enjoyable descent.

I chose a different route on the way home (duh!). I simply took Barnes down to Cedar Hills Blvd and cut across to Hall. It was so ridiculously easy after what I endured previously, it felt like I was riding on silver buckets filled with intricately cut diamonds and teacups made of solid sapphire, surrounded by Guadalupes del Hamburger (in other words, it was pleasant and smooth - just like all those things listed?). It felt like I was home in no time flat.

Bike Stats: 09-03-08
Distance 20.80 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 43 minutes, 32 seconds
Average Speed 12.0 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 28.5 miles per hour
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Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 - 8:21 AM

"A New Work Bike Route"

Yesterday I was once again car-less, and I tested my new route to work for the first time. It turns out the distance to work is about three times the distance from my previous abode. That means a lot more exercise per day. It also means I will probably bring my lunch to work more than before because it won't be quite the negligible jaunt back home for lunch that it used to be.

After work I did quite a bit more riding. Among other things I met Joel at Starbucks. We talked a bit about spiritual life and where we are at. Thanks, Joel, for going to the effort and showing interest in getting together.

When I arrived home I saw how close I was to riding twenty miles and considered going back out. I needed to get some things at Target. By that time it was completely dark, and I didn't feel like going. Besides, the triple eights in the distance was numerically satisfying enough. Hopefully all this riding will continue to shed the pounds. So far this summer I've lost about 15 pounds off the heaviest weight this goofy body has ever seen!

Bike Stats: 09-02-08
Distance 18.88 miles
Ride Time 1 hour, 34 minutes, 31 seconds
Average Speed 11.9 miles per hour
Maximum Speed 27.5 miles per hour
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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 - 3:52 PM

"The Word Doth Calleth"

When the Spirit calls, you better answer!

I suppose that title is pretty bad grammar, but most people don't know their thees and thous, so methinx I'm in the clear. In the end, I think "Doth Calleth" is better than "Dust Collect".

Truth be told, my in-the-flesh Bible might be collecting a bit of dust for lack of use. I haven't been reading it much lately. Last night I arrived home late in the evening after hanging out with Dave. I saw my Bible sitting on the floor next to my bed. It was quite literally calling to me. Okay, so not audibly, but pretty close. I was strongly compelled to pick it up and start reading it. However, I resisted the call and got distracted with unpacking some things in the new apartment. Well, at least I took a picture of it... does that count? Maybe I'll absorb some truth by osmosis or "photosynthesis"?!

I know, so far this account sounds pretty bad. Sounds like I haven't read the Bible in centurons and am resisting the Spirit of God calling me to read His word. Well, that's not quite the whole story. I admit feeling bad for resisting the urge to drop everything last night and heed the call. I should have picked up the Good Book. I probably missed out on something. Nevertheless, the urge remained this morning, and I immediately put my headphones on at work.

So, to clarify, I've been more in the Word than I have been in years. One could say I spend several hours every day interacting with the Bible. It's perfectly accurate to say that the Bible is transforming my life in a living and active way - possibly more than ever in my life before (at least in recent history). The Spirit speaking through the Word is what brought me to repentance and is continuing to transform my life in miraculous ways.

It may be mere "coincidence", but this new and exciting spiritual experience came immediately as I started listening to the Bible audibly instead of reading it with my eyes. I tend not to have very good reading comprehension when I read the Bible. To be honest, unless much effort is exerted, I often get bored and sleepy when reading. As I started listening to the Word, nearly every sentence became solid gold to my spirit - bringing me to awe, tears, and a greatly moved spirit on numerous occasions in recent weeks. I've been thirsting more and more for the pure, sustaining, transforming water every day and honestly feel that even a few hours simply ain't enough to satisfy! Last night was a good example of how God has been working in my life... I truly believe the Spirit of God is speaking directly into my life, guiding me in specific actions as I'm setting my heart on obeying and listening to Him. I don't always listen or obey perfectly, but it is of great comfort to know I'm not alone and that the God of the universe - my Father - loves me, has plans for me and hasn't given up on me (and never will).

There is much I wish to write based on what I've heard in the Word. Hopefully when I get an internet connection again soon, I'll find time to write about some of these things.

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Monday, September 1st, 2008 - 9:37 PM

"Labor Day Hike 2008"

Labor Day Hike 2008

I told a number of people I was going on a hike with a friend for Labor Day. Rather than go into a lengthy description of the experience and show a variety of pictures, I just included what I thought was the best photo from the trip.

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