I have been blessed in this life to have never owned a "PC" (I say that in quotes because in fact I have owned PLENTY of personal computers… but somehow Bill Gates and his nasty Microsoft Windows people get to call their machines PCs (personal computers) as though it were a name brand… like Kleenex or something…) I do not say that in jest… I am the proud owner of 8 Apple Computers. (Well, one we have given to my in-laws so they too can know the joy of being a Mac User…)

BUT, though that is completely true… MAN are they frustrating!!! πŸ™‚

I have gotten into tinkering with the insides of computers, and there’s more there than meets the eye. One little switch or thingie out of place or whatever and the whole thing is messed up! So… takes lots of time, lots of trial and error… oh yeah, cause the local Mac techies want $100/hour to LOOK at my stuff…

Makes me think I should get into doing THAT…


Anyway… I finally fixed that old Performa tonight… and now Alex had his very own computer. Very nice. BUT, when I was swapping Hard Drives between the new G3 we got and the old 6500 that I am giving to Jen’s folks… well… it didn’t work. πŸ™‚ I got the one in the 6500 OK, and am formatting that now… but I somehow managed to mess up the monitor for the G3.

It’s one of those all-in-one units where the monitor is part of the computer… so, don’t know if I messed up a connection, or perhaps it was the part when it fell backwards on the table with a pretty loud thud? πŸ™‚

Oh, bother. (As Pooh would say…)

Well, I’ll keep you updated… just wanted to get back in the habit of posting here.

I head to the dentist tomorrow. Ask God to make that all go OK… I like Dr. Muscarella… just don’t much care for anyone doing things that dentists do in MY mouth…



You know what…. I think I have in mind for this space to be a spot where I can share all the thoughts that are in my head. The strange things that have no other place to have a voice. And that is what it has been. Well, if for some reason you are a regular visitor here, you may have noticed that the strange voice has been rather silent lately! πŸ™‚ I have been thinking about that… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ And, I think it’s a couple of things..

(I am proving my point here by the frequency of the word "think" in the paragraph above…)

(1) We have been so busy – as I am sure have you – with holidays, and we had the bonus fun of being quite sick for most of last month… so… even if I WAS thinking… no time to chronicle it….

(2) I don’t think I have been thinking. πŸ™‚

Yesterday I had a great chance to think again. The sermon in the morning, the parenting class we started in the evening… to starting my new Max Lucado book just before bed (1am for those who are interested) … lots of GREAT stuff to think about … I will probably include some here in the next couple days…

But that’s when i noticed… I had not been thinking. Whether simply because of the busyness, or because of weariness, or… unfortunately… because I was not allowing anything in to make me think? Often during the holidays I was not really stimulating my mind or my heart… I was merely being entertained with anything that I was giving time to. Or, I was doing my job… singing Christmas songs. Now, don’t get me wrong, Christmas songs rock! BUT, I am not sure I was being stimulated to think.

I was not really reading… anything. I was not hearing anything new in particular… and on top of that I was busy…

That all adds up to, no thinking.


So… I am looking forward to thinking. πŸ™‚

The Dentist

One more thing to add today…

TODAY, January 12th, 2004 – is Ian’s FIRST trip to the DENTIST!!! Dum-dum-daaaa. (That was big scary evil music….)

I am going in for a cleaning today, and we thought we would bring Ian along for his first cleaning today. Should be… interesting. πŸ™‚ At the moment, he is still quite excited.

We’ll see how long that lasts. πŸ™‚

Does anyone out there LIKE going to the dentist? e-mail me. πŸ™‚

Do we really trust him?

Well, it’s that time of year again… January. And that means, that I am starting the One Year Bible again! πŸ™‚ I tried last year and got through April, and then… well… got too far behind. SO, I am giving it a go again and reading all the crazy stories in Genesis again. One of those the other day hit me…

You may know the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob (later known as "Israel") was the trickster, fooling his older and not-so-sharp brother out of his birthright and his father’s blessings – two incredibly important things in those days. Esau was the tough-guy, jock of the family, though, so Jacob left town and went to live with his Uncle and cousins. (He ended up marrying BOTH of his cousins… that’s a little different than we would do it today, too…) πŸ™‚

Well, God tells Jacob to go back home. This is many years, even decades later. Jacob has amassed quite a wealth of everything you can imagine, including a very large family. God has blessed him. Over, and over, and over again. So, Jacob obeys and heads for his homeland.

On the way he wonders what Esau will do, and then he finds out Esau and 400 of his men are on their way to meet him!!! That sends quite a shock through him. That night he prays a sentence that stood out to me… "O Lord, you told me to return to my land and to my relatives, and you promised to treat me kindly." (emphasis mine)

You promised!

Those are words a little child might say when they feel they are being – or even might be – mistreated. Jacob is pretty sure that things don’t look like God is going to keep his promise. And that bothers him. In his prayer, he doesn’t really show any kind of confidence in God… almost just whining….

Then he proceeds to put together elaborate gifts of EVERYTHING he owns, sending those ahead of the main caravan of people and stuff. As Esau is met by each group of gifts, he is a bit perplexed. But Jacob keeps sending them…. hoping to somehow assuage his anger. (When Jacob left, Esau was letting everyone around him know that he would soon murder his brother…)

You know what happened? For all his effort? For all the huge, elaborate attempts to win his brother’s favor? You know where that got him?

God had already done it! Esau was not swayed by any of the presents showered upon him. It wasn’t for any of Jacob’s efforts… but rather, God had made it happen, just as He had promised him.

Don’t we do that? Don’t we try with all our might to take care of ourselves? When all we have to do is trust God? Jacob even said it in his prayer, but I don’t think he really meant it. He said, "you promised to treat me kindly". Apparently he had heard from God that not only should he return, but that all would be well… but instead of confidently going forward in what God had told him, Jacob wasted lots of energy trying to earn his own way.

All this just makes me wonder… where am I wasting energy? Where am I not really believing God? How can I rest more in Him and wait to see what He has promised me come true? How about you? Where are you being like Jacob and trying to clean up your own messes? Trying to make your own way?

Next time you are following God’s lead… don’t be like Jacob (or even Peter when he was walking on the water) and try to take matters into your own hands. Believe God. For real. That he will really do for you what He promised you.

Life is better when we do.


Jen & I are reading through the New Living Translation One Year Chronological Bible right now (how’s that for a title??) And, it’s awesome. We’ve read all this before, so sometimes it’s hard to keep on reading… BUT… I just read some amazing stuff today that makes me want to keep reading.

Do you remember Joseph? He was Jacob’s first son through his wife Rachel. (Rachel was the one Jacob loved of the two sisters, Leah and Rachel.) The sisters had started a baby war with each other… whoever had more babies – sons specifically – would be loved more by their husband. So, they even got their personal servants in on it. They each gave their servants to Jacob as wives (so he had FOUR! WHOA!) And everyone was having babies except Rachel. Until, God blessed her with Joseph.

So, with all of that history, and with Jacob’s love for Rachel, Joseph was pretty special to Jacob, and he was treated accordingly. He had 11 brothers… and they didn’t like that their next-to-youngest brother was so favored. So, after he had irritated them enough, they decided to kill him. When they were far away from home they were going to do it, but they ended up finding a group of Egyptians, so they sold Joseph to them to be a slave.

First of all, how crazy is that? He was their brother???! But, they did.

The next 20 years or more of Josephs’ life is INSANE. God is with him, in everything he does. He is so well respected by the man who bought him as a slave that he ends up putting him in charge of his whole household. Everything that matters to this guy was given to Jospeh to take care of. That’s when the whole thing with Potiphar’s wife happens… his master’s wife thinks he’s pretty amazing too, and wants to sleep with him. Joseph knows that’s wrong and amazingly (I think) stands up for what he believes (I am not sure he had much support in that… a man of God on his own in a country of people whose beliefs were not like his own.) He ends up running out of the house on one of her advances and then is falsely accused by the lady — and he ends up in prison!

So, ok, first his brothers betray him and he’s thrown in a pit – and sold as a slave. Then, even as a slave he rose to the position of prominence where he was… and he’s betrayed again and ends up in prison! What is going on! Wouldn’t you think he would be totally discouraged and flipping out?

He wasn’t. He was the "model prisoner" and the guard ended up putting him in charge of all the prisoners (it says that the guard didn’t have to worry about anything any more!) πŸ™‚ Again, God blessed Joseph in everything he did… and Jospeh shows amazing patience and trust to just endure all of this extremely unjust, unfair life. It sure seems like Joseph was dished an unequal amount of unfairness in life.

So, more of the story… two other dudes were in prison with him and they had dreams. Joseph had some experience with dreams… God had given him some when he was a young boy that foretold the greatness that God had planned for his life. So he said, God can tell you what these dreams mean. So they explained their dreams to him and he interpreted them. And he was right. Their dreams told them that in three days one of them would be reinstated to their jobs in Pharaoh’s court… and the other would be executed. When they were released, Joseph said, "Remember me when you go to Pharaoh!" But… they didn’t.

Betrayed again. But, did Joseph give up trusting? Did he decide God was no longer trustworthy? Apparently not. Amazing.

Pharaoh ends up having a disturbing dream and no one can tell him what it means… and the dude finally remembered Joseph. That was the moment God was waiting for. Joseph not only successfully explains the dream… but he also gives Pharaoh a strategy to handle what the dream was foretelling. Pharaoh says, "I like you!" and puts him in charge of THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

OK, recap time…. Joseph was almost not born… took a long time for his mom to have a baby. Then he was despised by his family (brothers) and the betrayed him… ended up a slave. Then he rose to the top as a slave… and was betrayed again… this time ends up in prison. Betrayed again by a fellow prisoner set free… then finally remembered… and here we are. He is second in command only to Pharaoh.

He’s like Dick Cheney. πŸ™‚

The dream that Pharaoh had told that there would be 7 years of abundance and then 7 years of severe famine. That did happen, and Joseph had a great plan to store up during the abundance, so everyone was coming to Egypt to get food… including JOSEPH’S BROTHERS!

Joseph ends up playing mind games with them, because they did not recognize him. But after all of that, he breaks down and just weeps at the sight of his brothers again (especially his full younger brother Benjamin.) They do some reminiscing and then Joseph invites them to come down with all of their families and live in Egypt happily ever after.

And what I read today was the end of Joseph’s life. There was so much more, but there are a couple of good lines I wanted to share. From what you have read so far (the much abbreviated version) there was a lot to be bitter about. A lot to hold a grudge for. A lot to be angry about – with all of those people and even with God.

But listen to what Joseph said upon revealing his identity to his brothers:

"But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me(sold him into slavery), for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. … God has sent me here to to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation."

And later when his dad died and his brothers were again afraid that Joseph was holding a grudge and would now act on it, he said to them in a completely humble and reassuring way, "As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil".

What an INCREDIBLE man of God. Seriously. He had really understood the big pitcure. Had he kept his eyes on himself and his circumstances he could have been really ticked off! But, he realized that God was magnificent and had a much larger plan in mind. And even though so much bad had happened… he was in charge of the most powerful nation in the world. Wow.

THEN, one more picture of God’s goodness to Joseph… When Jacob died, the whole country of Egypt mourned for 70 days. Seventy. And then, as per Jacob’s request, Joseph asked if he could take some time off to go and bury his dad’s body with his grandpa and great grandpa (Isaac and Abraham). Pharaoh not only agreed but it says "So Joseph went, with a great number of Pharaoh’s counselors and advisers – ALL the senior officers of Egypt." Again, that’s like being sent off with the President’s cabinet and all his top dudes. Don’t forget… this is a foreigner. They don’t much like foreigners. But he was treated as a king. That line just stood out to me as how much they valued Joseph… this former slave and prisoner.

God took this guy through the craziest circumstances and used him to preserve his people (whom God would later rescue in a big and amazing fashion) and put him in charge of the most powerful country in the world!

What an amazing story. What an amazing man. What an amazing God. I can only hope to be as faithful as Joseph. Though I don’t hope for his circumstances, I sure do hope for the way he handled them.

In case you haven’t read it in a while. Read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-50.


So, I was at the post office today… waiting in a rather long line, and I got to observe something from a different perspective. The lady I was directly behind finally got to the counter, and she is in the process of moving and was getting mail sent to the wrong place and needed a piece of mail TODAY! The PO worker kept telling the frustrated customer that the mail she was looking for wouldn’t really be available till tomorrow morning… it MIGHT be after 4:30 today, but they close at 5pm. So, they went back and forth a couple times saying the same thing… Until the aggrivated customer finally came up with a plan to satisfy her sense of urgency.

And I just thought.. how silly. She could just wait till tomorrow morning. Then I thought… oh wait… I’ve been there before πŸ™‚ I have been in a spot where I was pretty sure I needed something NOW… and wasn’t willing to wait even a DAY.

How silly of me. πŸ™‚ Hopefully next time this outside perspective I got today can help me see a little bit bigger picture … and I can have just a little bit less urgency (and the folks in line behind me won’t have to say, "How silly…")

I Can’t Get No… Sa-tis-fac-tion

I was just singing a little tune to myself in the shower, and it made me think… and I thought perhaps it would make you think as well.

I was singing the song we’re doing at The Summit tonight – Better Is One Day (M. Redman) – a song that I have sung a million times I should think. And then I sang these words:

"For here my heart is satisfied… within your presence…"

And I went on… but only a bit, cause I was stopped by that word. Satistfied. ‘Isn’t that just it?’ I thought. Isn’t that the root of much of our sin? Dissatisfaction? Distrust. Impatience.

Greed, lust, stealing, lying, cheating, selfish ambition — mainly are rooted in NOT being satisfied. Not being content. You want more – and you want it your way. Essentially we think that we know better. We are not content to wait for God’s provision – God’s timing… God’s way.

So – instead of humming the Stones’ tune … let’s allow the Matt Redman song (from Psalm 84, by the way) fill your mind and heart and then heed these other words of Scripture:

Be still and know that I am God.

He calls the shots. All we have to do is follow. And we will be satisfied.

Jennifer Lyn

Just wanted to get this in writing (for the whole world to see, I guess) before I go to bed…

Finished reading our parenting class homework for the week, it was all about how cool marriage is. God saw that Adam was incomplete… and he provided the perfect completer.

I am 100% certain that is what he did for me. I think life could have been pretty decent with just God as my completer… but at the moment, I am quite overwhelmed with joy (don’t know how else to say it) that he brought Jen to me. Way back in 1990. (That’s 14 years for those of you who are counting…)

Jen is thoughtful, beautiful, soft and kind and gentle, helps me to see life more clearly, fun, challenging, and loves me even when she shouldn’t.

What more could I ask for?

She even likes the Bills too! πŸ™‚

I love you Jen. You are my perfect completer. πŸ™‚

the god of the familiar

I was just reading some from the New Living Translation, preparing for an upcoming worship service, and I happened to flip back to the beginning of the book, where there was a note from the publishers. They were attempting to make clear that much effort had gone into making this translation accurate as well as understandable to the modern reader — equally clear now as it was when it was written. They also said they translated entire thoughts rather than word-for-word which I thought was actually a better translation technique. Some feel that you must translate word-for-word in order to be truly accurate, but that’s not the way I would translate a Spanish document to English. I would use similar words (or phrases) to communicate what the speaker/writer was trying to communicate. We have phrases that mean something entirely different from the actual words… and so do the Greek and Hebrew languages.

As I read that, it made perfect sense to me. I rarely use even the NIV anymore. My preferred translation is the New Living Translation… but I also use, The Message, the Contemporary English Version, and any other modern language translation I can get my hands on. Some would say that I am reading watered-down Scripture – or just flat out deny that it is even scripture! An older pastor friend of mine was recently joking with my about my choice of translation… how he wasn’t sure if I was really a Christian, reading that sort of thing… πŸ™‚

But you see, the thing is, we are just much more comfortable with the familiar. There are some people who still think that the King James is the best text just because it was the first English translation. (Some think that the original text was King James! It was actually in Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic…) πŸ™‚ The reason there are so many strong disagreements in churches is that people long to cling to the familiar… in some ways, elevating the familiar to god status – that it is supreme and constant and deserving of our staunchest efforts to preserve it.

The god of the familiar is seen in what translation we can use, what seats we sit in on Sunday morning, what music is acceptable, what apparel may be worn when, and all of the things that get rigidly passed down only to preserve the sense of familiarity.

In fact, God is "the same yesterday, today and forever" but, he is not rigid. He is not mundane. He is familiar in character, but not always in method. He is a living being with a personality. Able to be different in certain instances while his core remains the rock-solid constant that he is.

He is in fact quite adaptable. He is quite personal. He knows how to speak to and love each of us – personally. He does not speak in King James to me. πŸ™‚ Sorry… πŸ™‚

SO, next time you are tempted to stick up for something just cause that’s the way we’ve always done it… just remember that God changes his methods along the way too… and all he really wants is not for people to follow a certain way of doing things – but people who follow Him on The Way.