Tech Tip #2

Category Technology
GPS is the technology I'm using right now to get ro a centre I've never been to before. This is one of the best times to have a GPS, no maps, no writing directions down, no making wrong turns ... Well OK that does still happen! But it does direct me to the door really well.

Something I love about GPS (I use a TomTom) is that it tells me how long until the next 'change'. This means when I'm cruising down SH1 I know whether it is worth overtaking or not! It also let's me see how the road 'goes' ahead. This means I can see if it is still winding or if I'll have the chance to overtake.

All in all I love GPS! In many ways it perfectly matches a useful function into useable technology (it is really easy to operate)! Of course it does what my wife and a $20 book of maps has always done!



Category Family
Last night N and I went to school for a parent teacher interview. What was evident was that E is doing very well at school which is (obviously) very pleasing. E seems to really enjoy school, learning and being around other kids. E's writing seems very good to us (as it would), but the teacher also likes his creativity and expresiveness. So today I'm publishing two of his stories!

My Dad has blackish-brown hair. He looks like a hairy monkey (and farts)!! My Dad looks cooler than a dinosaur. He looks very silly like a silly monkey. His arms and hands are very strong. He is gigantic like a giant. He looks fatish-thin. He's very cool. And he's very cool. He farts! He likes to watch rugby. He's special my Dad. My Dad goes to work. My Dad says "Johnny!" I love my Dad and he will love me forever and ever.
Seems there is a recurring theme in that story! Even as I type it now (after reading it half a dozen times), I'm laughing away to hairy monkey self!

My Gran is cheerful and nice. She lets me have lollys. Gran has lines on her face and has grey hair like outerspace. Gran used to live in Tawa and she lives with us. Next she's going to live near Kelson school! When she welcomes me to sleep she says "Hi honey!" I'm allowed to ride her scooter, it's very cool. I go fast. I love my Gran and she loves me forever and I will to. My Poppa calls me a name, but that is another story.

I'm not sure my Mum was quite so impressed by being described as having lines on her face and grey hair but the addition of the like outerspace made all the difference.


Another question

Category Bible
Maybe a different question to what I asked yesterday is the inverse of the final question! Do your works produce faith? By this I mean do the things you do lead others towards faith or away from it? Are my actions and reactions likely to turn people towards Jesus or away? Reminds me of a previous post I made (prompted by another blog) that included this video:


Does your salvation produce works?

Category Bible
Does your salvation produce works? I know this will (or perhaps) should ignite the debate of faith versus works, but it is something I often wonder about. Should I be busy doing God's work (loving people, sharing His grace, establishing His kingdom), or should I focus on strengthening my faith (reading the bible, being discipled, discipling others)?

To me this is a bigger than big question! I don't want to just be busy with doing, I want to be effective for the kingdom. I don't want to be caught up in action that is centred on those in the kingdom (the 3 parables in Matthew of lost things (a sheep, a coin, and a son) all make one thing clear ... God goes looking for what is lost)!

I know I've blogged several times on this theme, but it is a central point of my thinking. I also know that Jesus was often criticised for spending time with sinners and not the religious. He (Jesus) was always quick to respond to this: I came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10 (AMP).

I'm taking the long way round to get to my point (nothing new there), and also thinking I'm making a point when in reality I'm just asking a question (after all what do I know?)! TGE (The Great Escape is online at thegreatescape.net.nz is part of my works. It is a deliberate attempt to bring people who don't know about Jesus into a place where we try and create the opportunity to talk about deeper things, spiritual things, God things. How successful it is I'm not sure, but I do invest some effort into it. Part of TGE is also about relationships, journeying with people (I'm not quite there yet), and acting in a way that demonstrates my faith.

James talks specifically about this, I like the way he puts it (even though it is actually Eugene Peterson translating it for me): Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you?

Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department." Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

What works does your faith produce?



Category Ride Random
I've said it so many times I'm not sure that I need to say it again. I don't like riding (my mountain bike) on the road - it is just too dangerous! Of course in this video the cyclist technically isn't on the road ... so they should be quite safe!!


The 2nd Coming

Category Church General Bible
This weekend TGE (The Great Escape) Cafe starts again. After a tumultuous start to the year with some logisitical and property challenges we're finally underway again. It is exciting as I really enjoy spending time with the people loosely associated with my church. The common denominator is Playgroup (we all have young kids), but over the past year or so we've found more and more in common ... mountain biking ... movies ... fish and chips ... We've shared these things together in the busyness of our lives.

We've started a website dedicated to TGE to help stay in touch with those who come along and communicate what is happening. Check it out at thegreatescape.net.nz if you're interested.

The message tomorrow is taken from Luke 21:34-36 which says the following: “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”



Category General
Today is the funeral of Major Thelma Smith. She is someone who has been an influence on me and throughout the years since I first met her (I was 4) has been a part of the fabric of my life. The story goes (although I don't remember it), that my family had just moved to Glenfield on the North Shore of Auckland. Major Smith (a term of endearment), had just retired and began attending our church.

On her first time attending it is reported that I walked out of the front doors of church to meet her, took her by the hand and sat with her for the next 5 years (until we moved away)! Major Smith often looked after me (and my brothers), had us over for dinner (she cooked something we thought very exotic called Ming Ling - it was savoury mince meat)!

Today is Major Smith's funeral. However we share the same hope, in the same person, and fear not what the future holds. Our God is mighty and the mere sound of his name signals hope (Matthew 12:21 MSG). Click on read more to see the official bulletin issued by The Salvation Army.

I thank God that people share their faith and their journey with me. In doing so I see that humanity is week and frail, but grace overpowers this and love (perfect love) puts all things right.



Category Bible
Rather than blog today my thoughts, I've decided to include a quote from the Philip Yancey book, Soul Survivor. It isn't that they're necessarily new to me, or share a particularly deep insight that I've missed in the past (although the quotes are show a keen understanding of Jesus life). It is just that every now and I become weary from battle. At times the fight seems to be happening all around me and I can't escape it.

At these times I find it helpful to remind myself of the basics ... the simple stuff that often gets overlooked! So thanks Philip Yancey for a book that helps those of us who struggle, to survive church!

The gospel of grace infiltrates this world not primarily through words and rationale arguments but through deeds, through love

To follow Jesus, I learned, does not mean to solve every human problem - Christ himself did not attempt that - but rather to respond as he did, against all reason to dispense grace and love to those who don't deserve it.



Category Random
Why do we take the easy option when in the long run we know it isn't the best option? In fact we know it is actually a really bad idea and yet we make that decision anyway! Is it weakness? Comfort? A desire to not have to deal with the root cause of the problem? Maybe it is just laziness but God please let us make the right decision! 10 minutes of pain today is better than another 10 weeks (or months) of pain in 10 days time!


Love #2

Category Bible
Today wasn't going to be about love, but I have had the verse from Mark I referred to yesterday rolling around in my head (it sounds like a marble in a can of spray paint if you were wondering)! It has been kind of perplexing as I reflect on the values I pursue and ideals I hold as virtuous because, well, it is so simple ... but I keep trying to complicate it!

I can imagine the scene that leads to Jesus answer in the bible as it is one I would most likely participate in ... A discussion about the finer points of religion is taking place and it is getting more and more animated as words are used to paint pictures of what the kingdom of God should be like. People are up on their high horses (I would have been one of them) extolling a prescription for a life that honours God. Nothing else will met that. Jesus is in the middle of it answering questions and provoking a life of action and not simply words or ritual.

Then some smarty pants Christian comes out with this (which is verse 28 from The Message): One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: "Which is most important of all the commandments?"Mark 12:28

Now if I was there I would probably have been trying to answer this for Jesus! I would have been suggesting all sorts of different answers based on theory, religion, rote, dogma, all those good things that the church has perfected! But Jesus answer, as always, has a bit of a twist:

Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these." Mark 12:29-31

What is the twist? To me the twist is that Jesus doesn't denegrate religion or the tradition that goes with it. He doesn't toss out everything that church had become and suggest people reject it. If anything he embraces it (love the Lord God with ALL your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy). While not the exclusive domain of church, these comprise many churches.

Then Jesus continues and suggests an action from us ... He says to love others as well as you love yourself. Action must follow (or am I delusional)? So the question I have today about love is how does my love of God (which should be with ALL my passion and prayer and intelligence and energy work itself out in action towards others?


Top 10 Pastimes

Category Random
In the continuing series of my Top 10 lists (which is a habit I have since watching the movie High Fidelity), I thought that I'd blog my Top 10 Pastimes. It is a challenge getting balance (not just work / life) but complete balance in my life. If it isn't one thing crowding my time it is another! Time is a luxury that I don't have enough of. Of course I do try and do an extraordinary amount with the time I have! Anyway, most of my Top 10 passtimes are dependent on different influencing factors (money, time, weather ... things largely outside of my control)! However they are the way I would choose to fill my days if I didn't have to pay a mortgage, put food on the table, etc!

Passtime #10 - Building stuff (playhouse for the boys, deck around the spa, etc)
Passtime #9 - Sports (watching or playing)!
Passtime #8 - Reading
Passtime #7 - Learning
Passtime #6 - Riding my motorbike (especially long rides on windy roads)
Passtime #5 - Music
Passtime #4 - Guitars
Passtime #3 - Mountain biking
Passtime #2 - Family time (going out, holidays, exploring with the boys, etc)

and my number #1 passtime...

Passtime #1 - Travelling with N (anywhere)!

My conclusion? If I could get N, my mountain bike & guitar on the back of my motorbike I'd be in for some sweet travelling!



Category Bible
Today is another verse posting day, again from the Message. Interestingly I haven't had as many conversations lately about my fondness for the Message compared with other more traditional translations.

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Message really puts it well for a mind like mine (which is a little twisted) by adding a couple of adjectives - trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly - they really bring the active Paul is calling us to alive and make it a little more meaningful.

In fact it almost sounds (to me) as though Paul is trying to explain what is meant by the greatest commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength Mark 12:30). While that seems simple we miss the point (perhaps I'm only speaking for myself on that one), so Paul takes a moment to explain it for those who are slow to catch on like me: trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly

Can justice (see yesterdays post) exist without love?



Category Bible
I just want to post a verse this morning (which is part of a series I've been looking at). As seems to be my habit, I've ended up settling on the Message translation (or paraphrase for the purists) because it really brings the meaning to life for me.

Before you knowit, his justice will triumph;
the mere sound of his name will signal hope,
even among far-off unbelievers.
( Matthew 12:21)

Seems like the world could use a little more justice. Not the mosaic law justice (eye for an eye), no point us all being blind. BUT the justice Jesus bought - the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, a new kingdom being established in the midst of our everyday lives.



Category General
I think that I've managed to break my blog application so will need to rebuild it from scratch. I guess this isn't such a bad thing, there is a lot of garbage in there now. Watch this space for the rebuild (all so that I can publish the Why boys need parents article!



Category Random
Thanks to Vaughan who shared this video first. I can't help but think this is how Christians are supposed to be ... spontaneous ... joyfull ... bringing a glimpse of the kingdom (where there will be singing and dancing) to the ordinary routine of everyday.


Hmmm .....

Category General
It would seem that there are a few things broken on my blog (picutres aren't showing correctly. I'm going to try reapplying the template and hope that will sort the problems out for me. If not I suspect I'll be recreating the entire blog (which I don't like the idea of at the moment).

In the meantime I'm not going to post part #2 of the Why Boys Need Parents blog until I've got part #1 sorted.


Form or Function #1

Category General
What is your preference, form or function? Is it more important that your _______ (car, house, clothes, mobile phone, etc) is good looking or serves the purpose it was intended for? Do you compromise function for something you like the look of?

Apple (a company whose products I love) seem to have struck a balance. There products are functional and good looking. This is the line I like to walk. BUT is it possible or do you need to compromise one or the other?



Category Church Bible
I love revolutions, the very idea of them excite me. I am convinced that Jesus was (I mean IS) a revolutionist and he has invited any and everyone to join him. The revolution is what you'd expect BUT not achieved through conventional wisdom and thinking. I'm sure you will understand why the following quote resonated so strongly with me.

What Jesus was about was starting a revolution. He called this revolution "the Kingdom of God." This revolution isn't centered on getting people to believe particular religious beliefs and engage in particular religious behaviors, though these may be important, true, and helpful. Nor is it centered on trying to fix the world by advocating the "right" political causes or advancing the "right" national agendas, though these may be noble, righteous, and effective. No, the Kingdom of God that Jesus established is centered on one thing, and one thing only: manifesting the beauty of God's character and thus revolting against everything that is inconsistent with this beauty.

From "The Myth of a Christian Religion: Losing Your Religion for the Beauty of a Revolution" by Gregory A. Boyd
Buy the book now or read more from this book from Zondervan.


Doing Stuff

Category General
What is it that drives some of us to do stuff, lots of stuff, more stuff than we can probably cope with (if we want to do them all well)? I may suffer from chronoptia (see here for more details), which may contribute to the problem, but how much is too much? Or perhaps a better question is what is important?

Asking what is important changes everything! Imagine what would happen if I only focussed on what was important to me and those people immediately around me. Would it be progress? Or would there be more satisfaction and a better balance of life? Of course what it might do is expose how twisted I am and leave me equally unbalanced and still suffering severe chronoptia!



Category General Technology
Did you know you can visit my blog at mdbennett.net now? Yes, I'm afraid it's all true ... I've gone completely cyber-geeky! I even got facebook.com/mdbennett over the weekend too. These are sad times I'm living in now!


Coming Home

Category Bible Church
If people are lost what are we doing about it? Reading Luke 15 there are the 3 stories of things that are lost (a sheep, a coin, and a son). In the first 2 (the sheep and the coin) assertive action is taken, someone goes after lost item trying to find it! The shepherd goes out into the open country to search for it. A similar reaction happens with the lost coin, the house is turned upside down in order to find what was lost. The shepherd and the woman go all out to find what is lost, leaving what is found safe in order to find 1 sheep or 1 coin.

The prodigal son story is a little different because the father doesn't go out to search. However he does look for his lost son and when he recognises him on the horizon runs to embrace him.

All 3 stories have a similar theme and ending ... something valuable or precious is lost - a search starts (in some cases a full on search and rescue mission) - what was lost is restored to its correct place. In each story there is an action that occurs after it is noticed something is lost. The shepherd goes out into the open country, the woman looks in every nook and cranny until she finds it, the father when the son was still a long way off, heart pounding, runs out, embraces, and kisses the son. Click on read more to see the whole passage of Luke 15 from the Message.

2 things stick out to me: 1 someone acts when the realise something is lost. 2 when they find what they're looking the celebrate! What if we were to act this way at church? What if we were to actually go looking for those who are lost and then celebrated when they're found? What if we actually ventured outside our sanctuary in a search & rescue party?


Definition of lost

Category Bible
How do we define lost? Normally I use to to describe to location of something (car keys) that I've misplaced. But I also use the word to refer to my location when I'm was travelling from A to B and I no longer no how to get to B. I also sometime get lost when I haven't been able to follow a movie's plot.

I guess how much value on place on what I've lost determines my course of action. Do I go looking? Shrug my shoulders and forget about it? Stop everything else until I've found what I'm looking for? The bible makes it very clear how God goes about finding those of us who are lost. There are lots of stories that speak about this, each with a slightly different bias (the lost coin, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, to name the 3 most well known). I guess the message of the bible could be summed up in a ploy synopsis that says, we start off at home, wander off and get lost, Jesus comes and finds us, now we're walking back toward home. The bible specifically mentions this:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10 (AMP)

But all of that is just background noise to what I want to ask today ... If the church is God's idea, and here to help point the way 'home' then how good are we at looking? A sign out the front of the building is about as much help as a map of Siberia is to someone lost in London. Services inside the building as good to the lost as a petrol station 100 miles up the road is to the person who has run out of gas!

How can we effectively be Jesus and seek and save that which is lost when we're so preoccupied in our little building? When are we going to step outside of the church and be living monuments of God's grace? When are we going to actually go and seek and save that which is lost?


What if?

Category Bible
What if the world consisted of only 100 people ... How would (or perhaps should) a Christian react or respond.


Christianity Defined

Category Church Bible
Shortly after the young Francis of Assisi embraced a faith that would help color the face of Christianity for centuries to come, he sensed God telling him, "Francis, all those things that you have loved in the flesh you must now despise, and from those things that you formerly loathed you will drink great sweetness and immeasurable delight."

As the young Christian rode his horse out of town, he saw what he once most despised; a leper. Exuberant in his newfound faith and with joy flooding his soul, Francis chose not to run from the leper, as he would have done earlier in his life. Instead, he leaped from his horse, knelt in front of the leper, and proceeded to kiss the diseased white hand.

Francis's initial conversion was invisible, exhibited only in the changed expression on his face. That's as far as many of us ever go -- a superficial change of mind in response to a compelling argument for faith. This act was astonishingly explicit -- a grotesquely gorgeous parable of a radically changed man. The very instant Francis's lips touched the leper, what could have been merely a religion crumbled under the weight of a new way of life.

From "Holy Available: What If Holiness Is about More Than What We Don't Do?" by Gary Thomas

Buy Now: http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/ProductDetail.htm?ProdID=com.zondervan.9780310292005

Read More from This Book: http://browseinside.zondervan.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780310292005

What if we put ourselves in a position to ensure our conversion made us a different person. What if we actually tried to be living monuments of God's grace?


Does Technology Help?

Category Technology

It could be this diagram is entirely true (click on it to see a larger version). Perhaps we are using technology to try and cover for personality deficiencies or a propensity to want to destroy what makes us look bad!


I'm a Sick Man

Category Random
Ok, that is hardly going to be news to some of you who know me, but I am a sick man who has just learned the name of the condition I suffer from. It is a terrible disease that causes me to suffer socially and in my professional life. For years I've lived in denial but today I think I can publically declare my problem.

I suffer from chronoptia

A person who who suffers from chronoptia will always under estimate the time necessary to do something or get somewhere.

"Hey, Cindy. you know my parents are expecting us in 20 minutes." 
"No problem. I just have to wash the dishes, take a shower, do my hair, walk the dog and then I'm all good to go. See you in 15." 
"You are such a chronoptimist! I'll see you in 45."

Here is hoping that now that I've accepted my condition I can be cured.


Foolish IT Prediction #6

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is the final installment, #6.

Apple is already dead (Nathan Myhrvold, for Microsoft CTO, 1997)

Typical Microsoft behaviour here! They had a marketing campaign for a couple of years announcing Lotus Notes was dead and yet it remains a dominant market force (this blog is actually a Lotus Notes application)! Of course Apple was up the creek without Steve Jobs!

The miraculous part of this prediction to me is how Apple became such a market force through the creation of a music player (the iPod). One could argue that their power and position within the IT industry is all based on the iPod (we'll save that arguement for another day). Whether the prediction says more about Microsoft and their inability to read the market or about Steve Jobs brilliance remains to be seen.

It feels like I should make my own foolish IT prediction to close this series, but I just can't bring myself to do it! I've predicted many things in my life and few have turned out as I thought they would. Of course this is the very nature of predictions, we're making a best guess based on what we know at the time. Many of the 6 foolish IT predictions PC World published would have seemed entirely rationale and sensible at the time. But history now tells a different story.

Prior to World War II Christians around the world were praising Hitler and Nazi Germany for restoring some morals to society and taking a stand against corruption and evil. Within a couple of years the world was at war trying to defeat a genocidal tyrant. Often the true nature of someone or something isn't apparent until we have lived with it for a while.

However, I am willing to predict that IT will continue to revolutionise the way to do business, communicate and share our lives. Brave and bold prediction huh?


1 of 12?

Category Bible
It strikes me that I could have been 1 of the disciples! I've often said that I might have made it to being one of the 72 Jesus sends out (), but had never really thought about being 1 of the 12! So where does this thought suddenly come from?

I was listening to The Bible Experience reading from Matthew 26 and following on from the last supper Jesus tells them how the disciples will fall away. Yes - I get things wrong and miss the point regularly! This got me thinking more about the disciples and how they so often missed the point. How many times did they have to take Jesus aside and ask what he meant by his parables? How many times did Jesus have to correct their behaviour?

Perhaps it is a little easier getting direct (and instant) feedback. But it seems to me that I could have been 1 of the 12 because I miss the point and need the parables explained. I can be certain that I would have been the one who started the conversation recorded in
Matthew 16:5-13 (one of my favourite missing the point moments)! I also get things wrong and don't act in a way that leaves people wanting to know more about God. Rather they're probably left running away from the mention of Him.

Still I guess the point is that we can all be 1 of the 12 ... after Matthew 28:19 says exactly that, go and make disciples. I'm no mathematician but I suspect I'm possibly disciple number 12,588,273,306,281,419,552!


Tech Tip #1

Category Technology
Technology is supposed to help us. Tech Tips is a new series of posts about different technologies I use that I think are helpful. Sometimes they will be a specific application (Notes, Quickr, Twitter, etc) and other times the underlying technology (e.g. RSS, TCP/IP, CUPS, etc). Chances are (given the way technology is evolving and moving), it will be a never ending series!

The 1st Tech Tip from me is Twitter. There are many ways people use it but I find it useful. Why? Because it combines the good things about email, instant messaging, blogs, and Facebook into a single application. I'm able to be connected to people who aren't in the same office (or the same side of the world) easily. It's short nature (140 characters) means there aren't essays to read if you've been offline for a while.

In fact I find it kind of like the office water cooler (that mythical place in the office where people gather to chat and share information). Unlike the water cooler, Twitter lets you choose who you actually listen to (and it isn't as rude as just tuning them out in person)! You can talk openly (to the group) or privately (to a specific individual). It even helps me be productive. I can ask questions (which I do) and I get answers (some of them are even helpful). I also hear about things that are happening or products/upgrades I didn't know about simply, easily, and quickly (because you're limited to 140 characters).

The main tools I use to keep an eye on Twitter are Nambu (on the MacBook), UberTwitter (on the BlackBerry), and TwitterGadget (in LotusNotes). There are loads of others available and even the website (which also has a mobile option - m.twitter.com) works well and keeps in in touch.


Jesus Christ: Left wing or right wing?

My 5 kinds of Christian series of articles (thanks to the blog of Captain Collo) left me with the distinct impression that we are meant to be agents of grace (see for my summary/conclusion). It would seem that the 5 part series keeps on going as this is about part #10 now I think! It also follows on quite well from the Preaching the Gospel blog yesterday.


Well we seem to confuse preaching with actually doing! Jesus life demonstrated a whole lot simply by virtue His actions (the people He chose to spend time with, the people He would speak to, the people whose houses and parties) he went to. This video (which is a small part of a full length DVD) portrays well how we (Christians) often become more interested in the semantics of what being a Christian means and less interested in being a monument of God's grace (Oswald Chambers quote). If you're interested in the blog of the guy who made the video look


Foolish IT Prediction #5

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is installment #5.

Almost all of the many predictions now being made about 1996 hinge on the internet's continuing exponential growth. But I predict the internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse (Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, 1995)

Who can honestly say that they thought the internet would be as influential as it has been? Arguably it is the internet that has changed society because without it a computer is far less useful. Yes they can do amazing things but for me the power of the computer is the ability it has (through the internet) to connect, share, and interact.

Would I journal my thoughts on my computer if it couldn't be shared with the world? Possibly yes, but it is far more interesting when a comment is made and a conversation continues. Would you publish photos and comments in a Facebook application if it didn't let you connect with friends and family where ever they are in the world?

Without the internet I don't think computers would be as pervasive or as useful as they are. Even in 1995 when the internet was in its infancy, the power of it was obvious. The potential wasn't as obvious, nor was the influence it would end up weilding of society. Perhaps this foolish IT prediction is the reason Cisco dominates interconnectivity and 3Com has faded from its once dominant position (I remember 3Com being the standard to which all other network providers made their devices comply).


Preaching the Gospel

Category Bible
In the 5 Kinds of Christians articles (this is about part #9), I came to the conclusion that we should be agents of grace. This reminded of the Saint Francis of Assisi quote, preach the gospel always, and if necessary use words! All too often we're intent on just talking about things (especially Kingdom things). All too often we miss the point that we're meant to be living monuments of God's grace and not a megaphone Pharisee. Personally I find it more comfortable to run around with a megaphone pointing out why others have got it wrong.

A living monument of God's grace ... What do people say when the look at my attitudes, my actions, and my reactions? Do they get a glimpse of God's love or just an earful of regurgitated Pharisee nonsense judgement?

The following quote is from the book Stories behind Men of Faith by Ace Collins, published by Zondervan.

"Preacher," the Hindu man continued, "these ... seven [children] have no one who will take care of them. They have no clothes, no food, no home, and certainly no money. Tonight you said that we need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for those who have nothing.... Will you take care of them? Will you live the words you asked us to live?"

John Douglas had come to India to preach, not be a nanny. Yet as if he were looking into the face of God, the American nodded. "I will do so."

Falling back on his business experience, Douglas formed a nonprofit organization to expand orphan care beyond those initial seven children. In 1957, with the backing of just a handful of people, World Missionary Evangelism was founded. Two decades after his death, World Missionary Evangelism is still supporting the work John E. Douglas began and is heavily involved in what he had longed to do on the day he died. Through the organization he started, African AIDS orphans are being cared for, educated, and given the same kind of devotion Douglas gave those first seven Indian orphans brought to him by a Hindu man intent on challenging the preacher's faith.

Paul put it this way in Romans 9:31-32 (MSG): How can we sum this up? All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling.


God Told Me ...

Category Random
Following on from the Please God, save me from your followers comes the god who is at my beck and call (and therefore if you don't do what my god says you can't be a good person)! It also seems to fit well with the 5 kinds of Christian series (part #8 now I think)!


Another thought on 5 Kinds of Christians

Category Bible
Technically this post should have been entitled 5 Kinds of Christian #7! Not sure how but I've turned a 5 part series into 7 (so far) and I'll probably refer back to it in the future so will possibly have a continuing (neverending) series on my hands)!

Anyway, again the blog of Steve Taylor jumped out at me. On the day I post about grace being our defining characteristic he produces a brief look into 1 Corinthians 6 (see the full post here). Seems that we agree with the apostle Paul that grace is the absolute defining characterstic of those who want to associate themselves with the name of Jesus.


Foolish IT Prediction #4

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is installment #4.

There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home (Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)

This prediction seems entirely reasonable to me. In 1977 who would have wanted a computer in their home? They ran business applications to balance bank accounts! I can't really see that being overly useful to me in 1977, or my parents, or anyone else except maybe a billionaire (but even that is slightly doubtful).

In 1977 computers didn't exactly entertain us, they didn't provide us with access to limitless information including the uncensored opinion of millions. They didn't help us in anyway (well not personally) and if we needed to communicate with people we would write a letter (hand write) or speak to them. None of this instant messaging, Facebook, blogs, or email faffing about we do today!

The computer is one of those odd inventions where at first their use seems limited and pointless. It wasn't like the car which had obvious benefits over a horse and carriage (although I guess that statement has the hindsight of more than a century of automotive innovation and advances). Much of the useful application of computers has come as they have evolved over time.


5 Kinds of Christian #6

Category Church Bible
Here we go, part number #6 in a #5 part series! Difficult to imagine but I found myself identifying with different characteristics in each of the 5 kinds of Christian (well some anyway)! Just to review (briefly) the article on Captain Collo's blog listed 5 types of Christian: #1 Active, #2 Professing, #3 Liturgical, #4 Private & #5 Cultural.

As I think about the 5 types I can't help but think these are just the characteristics of personalities. Some are detail people so far more interested in the semantics and specifics of doctrine. Others are more action focussed and are interested in doing rather than being. Some of the characteristics seemed generational (i.e. Gen X characteristics) probably included a specific age group (i.e. my experience is that the majority of liturgical Christians are older). However I digress from where I want to head with this.

As I read from My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers) in the weekend I came across the following quote (sorry if you follow me on Twitter and saw it already) which (with a little bit of a twist) fits my paradigm. The quote is We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God's grace.

Increasingly I am convinced that grace is the defining characteristic of Jesus life and therefore should be the defining characteristic of mine. This doesn't mean I DON'T go to church but it also doesn't mean I DO go to church! It DOESN'T mean that I have to fit one of the 5 kinds of Christian but it DOES mean I should be becoming more like Jesus.

When I desperately need grace (which seems to be more and more often) where do I go? When the world is crying out for grace, where does it turn? In fact it would seem to me that a better way to phrase that question is to ask how will the world know where to turn for grace? Does my life (the sum of my actions and my inactions) leave people who I interact with thirsting for God? Do I bring out the God flavour in the world?



Category Random
Through my Twitter network I was led to Some of the articles don't seem that related to producitivity (in my opinion) BUT I read one which seems very related and also was (in my opinion), excellent! So here it is (reproduced without permission) but credited and linked here.

Imagine you are interviewing someone for a job and one of the questions you are going to ask them is “How much time do you spend reading and what do you read?”  Now imagine the answer you get back exactly describes your own reading habits.  What would your opinion be of the person you are interviewing based solely on that answer?

In other words, are you impressed with your own reading habits?  Most people aren’t.  With the Internet, the average person reads a much wider range of content with much less depth than  20 years ago. And while there are some definite advantages to knowing a little about a lot of things, much of the content adds very little value to people’s lives.

Making a conscious effort to read well-written books on a regular basis can go a long ways toward making your reading habits more balanced.  Personally, I can tell if I’ve been reading enough high quality writing based on the number of ideas I have.  For example, if I sit down to write and have a very difficult time coming up with anything to write about, it is usually a sign that I haven’t been reading enough.  On the other hand, if I’ve been reading a lot of high quality content, the ideas just seem to flow. How do you guage your reading?


5 Kinds of Christian #5

Category Church Bible
This is part 5 in my (slightly plagiarised) series from the article the 5 kinds of Christian (which I came across in Captain Collo's blog). The 1st kind of Christian is an active Christian (see here for the article). The 2nd kind is a professing Christian (see here for the article). The 3rd kind is a liturgical Christian (see here for the article). The 4th kind is a private Christian (see here for the article).

Cultural Christians 21%
Little outward religious behavior or attitudes
God aware, but little personal involvement with God
Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation
Affirm many ways to God Favor universality theology

Perhaps I have found a point (or 4) to disagree with in this kind of Christian! Previously I have convinced myself that the other 4 kinds of Christian weren't quite as bad as I initially thoughts. In fact I can see the different manner in which the types work there way out in the different personalities of people.

However, not viewing Jesus as essential to salvation? Isn't this actually anti-Christian? How can someone who claims to be Christian (a follower of Christ), not view Jesus as essential to salvation? Doesn't the entire New Testament (short of the 4 gospels which tell the story of Jesus life) outline how Jesus is the only way through which one can find salvation?

1 Peter 1:3-5 from the Amplified Bible (which I refer to as we were discussing it at my life group earlier this week), outlines it very succinctly (well as succinctly as the Amplified Bible can) and I've either bolded or underlined the bits that jump out to me: Praised (honored, blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)! By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God's power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that [a]final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.

Can one actually be a Christian without believing that Jesus is the Christ, who came to help put things right (a loose paraphrase of John 3:17)?


The XT Network

Category Technology
I'm writing this blog from my phone that is on the new XT network. Performance on the XT network is supposedly to be blinding and leave the old network for dead. So far I've had mixed results. At times Internet speeds are very fast (blinding even). But sometimes they are, well, like the old network!

Maybe I expect too much some times. Maybe the XT marketing people did such a good job my expectations are too high. Or maybe, being wireless, I'm getting a great connection sometimes and an average connection other times.

Still, the new phone is better than the old one (except for battery life)! I feel a Top 10 list of IT peeves coming on!


Adventures in missing the point #1

Category Church Bible
From time to time I manage to listen to podcasts of speakers I enjoy and find challenging. Tony Campolo is one of those speakers and one of his podcasts was entitled Adventures in missing the point. The podcast was a discussion between Tony (Campolo) and Brian McLaren. Prior to hearing the podcast I had already figured out that I am very good at missing the point! After hearing the podcast I though I would start a series on the same subject and in addition to expanding on some of their points add some missing the point moments I have.

I'll start with a quote from the podcast: The emerging church is group of young people who have said the traditional church has turned off a lot of people so we're going to do Christianity in a non-traditional way. We're going to say things that we think need to be said and take risks traditional churches are afraid to take.

I've missed the point! I thought that the traditional church was all about that. I had thought that the church was about giving the world a taste of life with God, bringing out the colours in the world (Matthew 5:13 - Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? from The Message).

As generations change, traditions need to evolve to prevent them (the tradition) being lost. In my experience we focus too much on the ritual of a tradition and not enough on the spirit of it (although that could just be my personal response). We get caught up in the way things should look and forget about what the prevailing attitude should be.


Foolish IT Prediction #3

Category Technology
Continuing my short series of Foolish IT Predictions what I found in the New Zealand PC World magazine, today is installment #3.

Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years (Alex Lewyt, president of Lewyt vacuum company, 1955)

This prediction is unbelievable! Of course PC World points out that in the 1950's asbestos was safe and radium-impregnated paint was produced for glow-in-the-dark dials. The stupidity of all of this is stunning to us in the 21st century, but we didn't have any idea what we were dealing with back then.

Interesting to me is the fact I have never heard of the Lewyt Vacuum company and I am writing this blog entry on an airplane so can't check Wikipedia or the Internet to see if they still exist. Perhaps they did produce a nuclear-powered vacuum cleaner but ended up going out of business because of the wrongful death law suits that followed a year later.


Hubble Telescope Images

Category Random
Thanks to Twitter (specifically Mark Herring I found some amazing images from the Hubble Telescope. First launched in 1990 (thanks Wikipedia for the information about it), it has been sending images of the universe back to us ever since. For all the talk I've recently heard about how limited the functionality of it is I'm still blown away by the pictures. If you want to see them all check out the Hubble website.

Here is one I downloaded of The Crab Nebula - Which is the strangest name ever! Well, nebula is very cool but crab? Bizarre name!


Are we there yet?

Category Bible
It is interesting how for so many people life is all about here and now. Even many Christians seem to default to this kind of attitude where our behaviour conveys the message, this is as good as it get!

Is the way my life is now the best it is going to be? Is this current existence the best there can be and what God had in mind when he created the heavens and the earth?

Perhaps not ... Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ's death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation. Hebrews 9:28


Foolish IT Prediction #2

Category Technology
Television won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of starting at a plywood box every night - Darryl Zanuck, executive at 20th Century Fox. 1946

Now that is a real clanger! An executive at a major film studio thinking that a morph of what he was in the business of (and quite successful business) wouldn't succeed? It seems naive to me (of course I'm speaking more than 60 years after him). Why wouldn't we want entertainment in our homes? Why would those of us who are socially challenged choose to go out in public to be entertained when it can happen in the comfort and privacy of our own homes?

Of course I struggle with the concept of TV. Mainly because it seems so dictatorial ... If you want to watch something you have to watch it when the TV channel puts it on. And then they interrupt it with all of these advertisements for products I don't need or want making inflated statements about how good they are! Yes I know, there are these devices called VCR's and even hard disk recorders (which despite 1 fatal flaw are infinitely better).

What amazes me about this foolish IT prediction is that the TV continues to be such a phenomenal success. Despite many stories and predictions that it's demise is imminent, it seems to continue going from strength to strength. I guess part of that is the social aspect of it. No it isn't very sociable to sit and watch TV, but the conversations that happen the next day about a program can be very sociable!


Save Me!

Category Random
Thanks to the blog of Steve Taylor (no not that one, the other one) for the following humorous t-shirt. It sums up my feelings all too often (although I'm not too sure whether I should rely on my feelings). However you may recall the book I came across earlier this year that referred to this exact phenomenon!

A picture named M2

The BIG question for me is am I one of those followers who others want to be saved from? If I am it may not be such a big deal ... If I'm on of those followers who challenges others to do more and be more like Jesus then that must be good. However if I'm one of those followers who make others cringe and turn people away from God's Kingdom then tell me now (or just take me out back and shoot me)!


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