Unity Proposal Stuff

Back in September the UP folk announced their work was done and it’s on to the next step for the UP. (Yeah, I’m late on this, it’s been in draft on my blog for around a month. Sorry.) If you care about that, go read Alan’s or Pinakidion’s posts, they state my reaction better that I could have. Of course, if you read this blog and care about the UP, you probably read their blogs too and already saw their comments back in September. Did I mention I was a little late?
Since then, the first delegate meetings have happened, a new gang of nine has been chosen and yada yada yada. For now I’m content for them to do ther thing as long as we can do ours here in Columbus without distraction. So far, so good.
Anyway, none of that is not the real reason for this post, I just wanted to throw it out there so the following wasn’t completely self serving. 🙂 Just for giggles, go to Google and search for “Unity Proposal”. The actual UP is link #1, but this little ol’ blog is #2. Why? Well, other than my need to write about it at every oppportunity (like this one), who knows. Certainly others have written as much and better stuff, but for some reason, one of my posts has made it to the #2 spot on Google.
So, for all you ariving here from The Google looking for Unity Proposal stuff, I give you linkage to all my UP blatherings. Try to contain yourself.

Spam

You may have noticed, some rather, uh, specific, spam comments have been getting through the last few days. I’ve been using the Weblog Defense Grid, a combination of anti-spam plugins combined with a comprehensive set of filters for MT’s Spamlookup that has been quite effective until now.
However, some rather determined spammers have found a way around those filters and plugins, so a little tweaking was required. Hopefully that will keep them at bay for a while.
Sorry to anyone who was exposed to some of the more, uh, specific spam. Yuck.

More Geeky Goodess

Keeping with my earlier theme, I thought I’d share some other geek fun I had this weekend.
I found, via the Total Choice Forums, a nifty little script called dbsender. What it does is create a dump of any MySQL database, gzip’s it and emails it to you. By setting it up as a cron job, I can now automate backups of the database that runs this blog. Now, each night at 3:00 AM, I get a backup of my site via email. Cool!
What’s even cooler is that a year ago there’s now way I could have understood that last paragraph, let alone write it!
Secondly, my Palm Treo 600 phone had developed this rather nasty buzz that had rendered it nearly unusable. I really want to replace it with a nice, new Treo 700p, but alas I have 6 months left on my Cingular contract. There was no way I was going to get through 6 months of talking through a swarm of honey bees, so I Googled “treo buzz fix“.
Link #1 on that list pointed to a simple solution that involved a T6 Torx screwdriver and a small piece of aluminum foil. It goes like this:

  1. Sync your treo to back up you data.
  2. Open the Treo case (that’s where the T6 driver comes in).
  3. Unplug the battery wire and wrap it in foil (seriously).
  4. Close the case.
  5. Re-sync to restore your data.

Sounded to good to be true, but there were a bunch of comments testifying to it’s accuracy, so I dove in. I now have a buzz free Treo.
A little aluminum foil, who knew?
More substantial posts to come this week.

Google, RSS & Tags, Oh My!

It’s a weekend of tech goodness & tech questions.
Google
First, I discovered that my favorite browser, Maxthon, now works with the latest version of the Google toolbar. The only thing I missed from IE and the one thing that temped me to use FF, now available in Maxthon. Sweet.
For you guys, the big thing is that the Google Toolbar has a built in spell checker, so that should mean less typos. We’ll see.
RSS
Second, I’ve discovered RSS. Since I began blogging 2.5 years ago, I thought that RSS was something that that I ought to figure out. I’ve tried a couple of times, but it never clicked with me. Now, I’ve got more blogs that I want to track than I can keep up with, so I’ve revisited RSS.
I’ve decided that I wanted to go with an online readers and I think I’ve settled on Bloglines, but I’d love to know what others are using. I like the Google Reader too, especially the cleaner interface. What are you using?
I’m still finding my way around using RSS, but I like being able to see what’s new quickly in one window. What I don’t like is seeing all the blogs in the same, simple mostly text interface. I miss seeing the layout and look of the blogs I visit. That was one of the main reasons I didn’t start using RSS earlier, I like the experience & look of each blog. The convenience of easy access to the latest posts is worth the compromise now, and the actual site is only a click away.
The other question I have is about the feeds on my site. MT generates 3 feeds out of the box, Atom, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0. Do I need to keep all 3? The RSS 1.0 feed seems the best to eliminate as it doesn’t show the entire posts. What do you think?
Tagging
The last thing is tagging. Huh? Can someone ‘splain this to me? I just don’t get it at all. The new version of MT I just upgraded to has tag support built in and I’m not sure what, if anything, to do with it. So what is tagging and why should I care?

Midweek Lesson – 10/25

In the past few months we’ve talked about identifying our spiritual gifts & having dreams for God. I want to expand on this from something I learned at a men’s retreat with my Dad 2 weekends ago.
I’ve come to believe even more strongly that God has a personal vision for us, that he created each one of us for a specific role and mission. It may be big and public, like an evangelist or minister, but more likely it’s smaller and less known – an encourager, friend, listener, inspiration, teacher.
Let’s look at some verses:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

This passage says that we are each given a manifestation of the spirit for the common good. It then goes on to say that that manifestation comes in a variety of ways and is different for each of us. Knowledge, faith, healing, prophesy, etc. We all posses some of them, in varying ways.
The interesting and amazing thing is that God has set it up this way on purpose. We do not all have everything the church needs, some are strong in one area and weak in another, others are reversed. You have a gift and strength that I do not.
This is for the good of the church, take a look:

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Ephesians 4:7-13

We all have a role to play on the church. My role is different than yours and they are both different than DG or JB or SL or … We do share some common roles such as loving each other, seeking the lost, etc., but we all may not even do those things in the same way.
This passage says that God has given us all gifts, first the gift of grace, and then gifts of service to the church. It talks about specific, ‘high profile’ roles in the church, but I believe that this applies to all of us. We are called to fill a role that only we can fill. He designed you, equipped you, do be a certain person for the good of the church. Look back to 1 Corinthians 12:

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?

1 Corinthians 12:14-30

Just as our body needs all of it’s parts to function properly – hands, feet, eyes, ears, intestines, lungs, etc – so the church needs all of it’s members to function as God intended it. Yes, the human body can function if some parts are missing. Blind and deaf people get by; you can remove a lung or a kidney and keep going. But usually, it hampers the person’s abilities. They can get by, but they’d likely do better if they were whole. So it is with the church, we will survive if were are all evangelists or teachers or encouragers, but we’d do better if we each filled the role given us to serve the church.
So, who are you meant to be? What has God made you? Do you know? If you do, are you doing it or are you following your own agenda? I know, like I shared last month, I don’t believe that I’ve done well at filling mine. I believe I’m meant to be with people, to encourage and strengthen the weak and care for the flock, not sit in my home alone. I’ve noticed that God has given me the ability and the heart to strengthen the weak. I feel it with in me. When I sense someone is hurting or struggling, I want to get involved, to fix it. In several cases, I’ve found that just being with folks and listening, they go away encouraged. I honestly don’t know why, it’s certainly not the words I say, they are few most times, or any grand advice, many times I tell them I don’t know what to say. But somehow, God has enabled me to be an encouragement and a strength to them in their time of need. That is who I am meant to be, who God created me to be.
The bottom line is that God created you for a purpose as well, if you refuse that purpose there’s no one else to do it. If I refuse to be Doug, the Doug that God created me to be, no one else can be Doug. The same is true for you, for all of use. No one can fill our shoes if we refuse.
This requires us to stay in tune to, and listen for, God’s spirit. That’s not easy to do. It takes quiet meditation, prayer, discernment, Godly advice. So, listen, what is God calling you to?

1960 Ford Ad

While I’ve got nothing to say, check out this ad for the 1960 Fords. My T’bird is in there. OK, it’s a white hardtop instead of a black convertible, but you get the idea.
This commercial is amazing. I mean can you imagine a 3 minute commercial now? And with full orchestration and soprano singers with rhyming lyrics. Whoopee!
I especially like the inspred lyrics they came up with for the Falcon. How many times did they say ‘new Ford Falcon’?

I’m Still Alive

Thought you ought to know, in case you were wondering. Not much to say though.
Went to a great retreat with my Dad and his church last weekend. Lots of good teaching and good talks. Not so good music. Mostly fluffy ‘praise’ music that leaves me, I don’t know, wishing there had been other music? Repetative and hollow, but some was OK. Really needed to break out a hymnal. Did learn some good stuff, maybe I’ll post on it later.
But mostly, I’m just reading other blogs and living life. Kinda have blogger’s block. Be back later.

About God …

This week, three different posts on other blogs have showed me God in a new way. Each has moved me and stirred my emotions. Let me share them with you.
First, Pinakidion shares a lesson about God learned from his son, through weaning him:

… I don’t believe that he is tapping his foot, impatient with us that we are not taking the next step on our journey. He is not standing there pleading, “For the love of me, just do this simple thing!” If I, a sinful man, can look at our son in love and accept him for who he is while completely believing in him – surely God can do the same, if not more.
This is an image of God I like because he is not some Santa Claus god, or a permissive god, or a god that is as subject to creation as I am. No. He is deliberate, loving, faithful, and most of all, present. From my perspective, all I can do sometimes is demonstrate that I am angry and frustrated and sad. He knows that sometimes I cannot or will not understand no matter what He says. Instead of getting angry, he looks to comfort, offer, and wait. The expectation hasn’t changed, but he’s not going to give up because He always trusts.

This was humbling to me. I tend to see God as distant and disappointed. I think he right on here, however, God knows me, knows what I am capable and deals with me appropriately. He does not expect me to understand concepts beyond my grasp or to act accordingly. It’s a powerful realization and a relief as well. I need not be concerned about chasing every right path and understanding. God knows me and will only ask what I am able to deliver, I need only to seek Him.
I’m left thinking also about whether I’m doing the same with my kids. Do I treat them as 7, 9 & 11 or am expecting them to act like adults? Too often I’m treating them as adults and expressing my disappointment when they don’t act like it. I need to act more like God with them.
The other two were at Patrick Mead’s Tent Pegs. First, what is our reward?

The benefit I received in marrying Kami [his wife] was: Kami. I get to be with Kami. That’s it. And that’s wonderful. She is complex, interesting, mysterious, changeable… an enigma in a pretty wrapper. THAT is my present.
I know this will upset the Prayer of Jabez people or the Prosperity Gospel folks, but the presence of God is my present. My only reward is that He will walk with me and not turn away when times get rough (see Psalm 139). When I don’t get the job I want, when a monster walks into a school in Colorado or Pennsylvania and kills sweet little girls, when my health shudders and breaks, or when financial disaster closes in on me, I have my reward — the presence of God.

I need reminded of this, especially with my wife. I need to step back and just marvel that I am with this woman, and that she wants to be with me. Also, the idea that just being with God is my reward is liberating. I don’t need to seek any other blessings or understanding, just be with God. That is enough.
Later, Patrick asks us to go for a walk.

The whole of Scripture can be read as an invitation by God to walk with Him. In one instance, God tells Abram to “walk before me.” That doesn’t mean that Abram led and God followed, not at all. It was sweeter and more wonderful than that. It was God saying, “Let me watch you walk. Walk with me and let me rejoice in your walking.” You have a Father who wants to watch you walk today. It’s okay — He loves you! And He will walk with you.

What an amazing picture of God, a God who longs to watch us walk with him, to rejoice in our walking. I don’t think I’ve had such an intimate picture of God in a long time. I needed that.

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