Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just developed from Mommy's last birthday.

January 26, 2005 ... we went out to eat at a restaurant behind the Grand Floridan.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fools we can count on ...

The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' - Psa 53:1
Since this was as true yesterday as it will be tomorrow, fools will continue to deny the Lord. There is no reason to think that this fact will ever change for society as a whole. That is to say, if God maintains this truth along with the commands to preach the gospel, there may be some folks who find the Lord and gain wisdom, but there will always be plenty of folks who deny the Lord, and establish the truth of this verse. We need to just get comfortable with this fact.

This verse is evidence that there is no "winning" in the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design debate. As true as it is that there was in fact intelligent design behind the creation of the universe, the intelligent Creator also maintains a group of fools who say, "There is no God." David spoke of them thousands of years ago, we will be speaking of them tomorrow. We can rely on the truth of scripture for this.

New boy ... New pictures ...

1 lb 4oz. the doctor says that's just right for a boy at 23 weeks ...

The lady conducting the ultra sound machine said, 'Every baby is different" and then she said, "He's cute" ... what do you think?

Preparations for the school parade a few months ago ... just got the pictures back today ...

Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Kara's early B-day

The cake:

Lauren's take on the situation:

Kara's reaction:

God is good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Peace United Methodist - Preschool Christmas Show

Kara gets ready to sing ...

Mommy and Lauren get ready to watch the show ...

Kara sings !

Kara's baby Jesus goes to sleep ...

Hallelujah !

We all enjoyed the show ... especially mommy.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A friend sent me this ...

Considering the fact that there have been an average
of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations
during the last 22 months, and a total of 2112
deaths, that results in a firearm death rate of 60 per

The rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 firearm deaths per 100,000.
That means that you are 25% more likely to be shot and
killed in our nation's capitol, which has some of the strictest gun
control laws in the nation, than you are in Iraq.

We should immediately pull out of Washington D.C.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's a boy.

It's close enough to the end of the week for me. So there it is. And here is some of what I've seen from the outside lately ...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Let's cut to the chase ...

We got one comment that there is not enough information, so here is the picture for tonight:

The perinatologist and his assistant (with 25 years of experience) said that this picture conclusively indicated the gender of the baby. I personally could not see what the fuss was about until they told me more. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

10 ounces.

Here is the picture for tonight. It is amazing how they make 3-D sonograms now, so tonight you get the 3-D picture they gave us. Apparently the child is quite squirmy and flexible.

The perinatologist said that the baby was only about 10 oz at the taking of these photographs.

No guesses yet in the comments. Thanks for the most appropriate verses from Scripture. Praise the Lord.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's a ...

Well, now the grandparents know their grandbaby is on the way, but it's time for some more fun. We got the ultrasound pictures back.

1) Each night we will post another picture.
2) You are free to comment and make guesses.
3) You may not ask our children for the answer.
4) At the end of the week, we will reveal the child's gender.

Here is the first picture:

Friday, November 25, 2005

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclaimation

Recently, I heard one fellow talking about how our Thanksgiving holiday is really just a secular holiday, and has nothing to do with God, but is just a time for us to give thanks to one another, etc ...

He must not have had the oppurtunity to read George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclaimation (1789). My dad made sure I read it.

Thanks Dad.

Monday, November 21, 2005

How should we break the news?

My wife and I are pregnant. Well, I should say, she is pregnant, and we are expecting :-) This will be our third child, and I am more excited than I should be. Admitting that I am more excited than I was with our first would not be exaggerating, but it feels inappropriate to say it that way. The girls are excited. And mommy is feeling great.

Anyway, on to business ...

How should we tell the grandparents? The thing is, my wife is already 5 months pregnant, so it's not like we just found out. My wife's family already knows, but they have not told my folks yet. My sister does not know yet either, but if you find out, honey, do not tell Mom and Dad yet, they'll find out in about two more paragraphs.

I saw a video of a friend of mine, who first got news of her new grandchild when she met her son and daughter-in-law at the airport, and she asked, "Who is this?" And then they told her it was her grandson ... She cried with surprise and joy, and it was a great. I do not think we will go that far, but we do want to have some fun.

This is also a bit daring, because I know my mom and dad may read this blog, and if they find out how long it's been in my drafts folder, they'll ring my neck. So Dad, I know you've read my blog, and if you read this before you find out any other way ... Your newest grandchild should be here in about four more months. And Mom, do not go and complain that your son only communicates with you via his blog. This blog is trying to come up with a creative way to tell you. There are also already other posts on the internet about it, so it's not such a secret I guess, but really, that's even worse, right? Because the whole world knows before the grandparents ... sigh.

Vernon's rules for posting:
  • Bad news ... publish it immediately to those who are affected by it, and first to those most affected ... experience will teach you this.
  • Good news ... Tell everyone and take your time doing so, especially if that will spread more of the joy. The best example I can give is the truely Good News that has brought me the most joy.
Someone suggested that we invite them to a birthday party in April ... Great idea!

Another couple had a fun time ... They steamed some fortune cookies, opened them up, and put fortunes in them for the grandparents such as, "In four months, you will have a new heir to your fortune cookies".

If you have a fun idea about how to break the news, let me know.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Blogs and Wikis and Tags ... Oh my!

This last month, I had the privilege to speak in front of a few audiences on the subject of social software. Once at Walt Disney World and once at DeVry University, also in Orlando. People are clearly interested in this subject matter, they could not get enough.

Here is the cheat sheet I used to conduct the presentation for those of you who could not make it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cheap or frugal?

I'm an idiot, but why haven't I ever been able to express this idea as well ... Thinking like this does not make you a cheapskate. It's just solid wisdom.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Slides from our men's breakfast ...

These slides are outstanding. Enjoy.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Making new friends ...

If you need some ... go and get'em ...
Make a friend of one of these kids here ...
Mrs. Atwood's kids
What ever happened to pen-pals, anyway?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Vaunting ...

Jon Udell's weblog is amazing. You know he's good when he has links called "screencasts" and "podcasts" and doesn't bother linking to them, but rather brazenly links to his bookmarks of them on, showing us how many other folks admire them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Aliyah insight ...

The Lord has blessed Jews with amazing minds ... and when combined with frank humility ... the whole world benefits.

This week's audio blog by Brian Blum, for example, is stunningly refreshing (The Jerusalem Post broke the link, imagine that ... they don't want people to read their stuff).

But, I'd wager that more folks have been touched by this testimony. And a few of us who heard it were not only refreshed, but invigorated by the unmatchable power of the Holy Spirit.

If you have not read Aviad Cohen's testimony, you should probably first read one of the many pejorative articles and blogs published about him recently. That should set the tone for you to better appreciate Aviad Cohen as the underdog. You'll understand after reading or hearing his testimony how clearly he knows what the results of his belief in Jesus will be ... he knows what the results of his aliyah will be. May the Lord bless him and all of the spiritual descendants of Abraham.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Unreal numa numa-ness ...

Just in case some of you have missed this ...
It is the original numa numa lip sync that became famous on the net
before folks started editing, immitating, etc ...

Here are some more numa numa versions which are fun to watch ...

American Idol parody ...

Lego Numa Numa ...

The Sims numa numa (long and not so good ... but still amazing how folks have that kind of time)

Strongbad numa numa

Whole other collections of Numa numaness

Various goofballs, like myself, making daemon possesed numa numa fools of themselves

Beautiful Israelis with a Hebrew video numa numa ...

And yes, kimpossible, even the ...
Napoleon Dynamite Numa ...

"That's what I'm talk'n about." -- Kip from "Napoleon Dynamite"

Most of this came from the wikipedia entry on numa numa ... sigh

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Black vs. white

Clay Shirky's keen and brief note on blacklists vs. whitelists:

... the blacklist/filter out strategy: "Exclude the unwanted down to a manageable S/N" -- disadvantage being frequent pruning and increasingly baroque strategies. Advantage being preservation of serendipity.

... the whitelist/filter in strategy: "Include only the obviously relevant people and tags" -- disadvantage being loss of serendipity, advantage being great stability in set up over longer time periods.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The hotdog Church

I should be blogging about JavaOne, since that is my reason for coming here to San Francisco, but it may be more appropriate to mention one of the Lord's reasons for bringing me here ... plenty of other folks are blogging about JavaOne.

Providence Care Ministry is the in the heart of SanFrancisco's tenderloin district, and it targets outreach to some of the poorer folks who live there by serving food after each Sunday service. Apparently, one day, an invitee asked, "Where?", and the inviter answered, "You know ... the hotdog Church", and the name must have stuck.

Despite the neighborhood, the congregation was extremely friendly and their new location was very clean and well kept. Their web site said that prayer started at 8:30 am, but the Associate Pastor, Eric, kindly let me in at that time anyway, and noted that the website just needed to be updated.

Instead of prayer we had a great chat about the Church, and how it has shifted locations around the tenderloin district over the past few years. I mentioned that a lady named Crystal had mentioned the church to me on my flight to San Francisco. She was on the plane planning a discussion for a women's retreat with her church, and I told her that when I saw her carrying a large bible onto the plane, it reminded me of a video which I linked to a while back.

Eric was quite a motivating speaker, and made a great introduction to worship. He loves the folks in his congregation, and they love him. He has what I'd call, God-given street smarts. It cannot go without mentioning that God had me meeting Eric at the Hotdog church on the same day as another well publicized event with lots of media coverage, which was set to commence as soon as our service let out at noon. The parade was to be conducted right along the edge of the tenderloin district only two blocks from us, between the Church service and my hotel room. So, yes, I had to avert my eyes as I went back to my room after the service. Eric was careful to note that God's Church does not go in with the "God hates fags" banners which also show up at such events. He said that they greet homosexuals just the same as any other person who comes to their Church, that is, with love, admonishment, and the offer of Christ's free gift.

Later, the Hotdog Church made the mistake of inviting me to play the ukulele, and were even kind enough to clap to the rhythm of one of the songs I was having trouble with.

No spoilers here about their senior Pastor, suffice to say that he brought me to tears several times, loves the people that attend his sermons, and God is with him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Why Babble, why?

Social bookmarking is not too deep, in and of itself, but taken in its context it is a biblically frightening notion ... to quickly give you an idea of the scope ... group weblogs, design patterns, site summaries, memes, peer 2 peer networks, taxonomies, virtualization, conversations, templates, flamewars, Usenet, portals, newsfeeds, syndication, agreements, extensible markup, markdown, detailed pings, communities, wikis, Linux, aggregators, live bookmarks, instant messaging, open source, tagging, trackbacks, resource description frameworks, and folksonomies are a few of the ideas that come to mind when thinking about the context of social bookmarking.

In brief ... after reading my Bible ... it strikes me that social software is trying to deal with this part.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Interview with Brother Hayden

Recently, I got the opportunity to interview an old friend of mine for the Calm. I used to think of him as a missionary kid from Ethiopia, but he's become much more than that in my eyes, and now you will have to chance to see him, and his Lord, as I do ...

Quick facts about Brother Hayden:
Brother Hayden has a wife and two children, and is an Advanced Master of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and is planning on returning to full-time missions in Ethiopia, early next year.

Brother Hayden's bookmarks ...

Interview with Brother Hayden on Apr 5, 2005:

The Calm: So tell our readers here at the Calm, how can a man start-up and run a small business, while finishing seminary, while starting a new Baptist church, AND expect to enter into full-time foreign missions in a place like Ethiopia? I mean, full-time missions, the language barrier, cultural problems, children matriculating into foreign schools, an intimidated wife ... any ONE of those issues is enough to discourage a devout believer.

Brother Hayden: The Lord's provision is exceedingly abundant. The first thing is that when God calls, there is nothing else that makes sense other than to follow His call.

The Calm: But, how can you do all of that AND keep up with a wife that is such a front runner, among her peers.

Brother Hayden: She is the perfect wife for what the Lord has called me to do, and she herself has grown more and more to feel called into this herself, and so now the calling is our calling to serve God in this way.

The Calm: We probably need to have a whole separate interview with her.

Brother Hayden: Absolutely. She is an amazing woman.

The Calm: Tell us, what is "Sojourn"?

Brother Hayden: Sojourn is a missional community that seeks to glorify God, and to live out life together in a way that constantly helps us to grow in Christ's likeness.

The Calm: I ran across some great notions on the Sojourn Community website ... listed under "core passions" ... I found:

Because all that we are and have has been given to us by God for the sake of serving others in our church, local community and world

Because real relationships are messy.

The Calm: What does Sojourn mean by promoting BOLD LOVE?

Brother Hayden: Bold love is our way of confronting one another regarding sin ... There are two components to bold love ... the first is the most important and that is grace. In confronting anyone, or as we like to call it "care-fronting", grace must be the underlying motivation, and the uniting principle in the relationship, without this there is all kinds of room for Satan to work havoc. The second component is the Word. Both parties must agree to submit themselves to God's Word and what He has to say on the subject.

The Calm: It appears that the Sojourn Community is very concerned about embracing the diverse interests of believers. Any of the community's personal interests, in fact, appear to become entire ministries of Sojourn, but especially ones which do not conflict with your core vision or the Bible. For example, the ministries include everything from Sojourn Outdoors, to aesthetics, to hospitality, to Worship Arts ... What are worship arts?

Brother Hayden: The goal of a worship arts ministry is to empower artists to use their gifts in service to the community, an example would be a painting that causes others to worship God more deeply ... music that is done with excellence, and again pushes others towards Christ ... a specific example was a photographer in our community ... for Good Friday, she took thorns, rose petals, and people's hands, and did a series of photographs that depicted parts of Christ's journey to the cross. She then shared it with her art class, and got to do that during the Easter season, and then the community got to enjoy it during our service as a way of remembering and visually seeing what Christ has done. That was really cool, and stuff like that happens in our community all the time. Or for instance, our bulletins have new artwork each week, not some standard cut and paste picture.

The Calm: Sermon mp3s! ... published on the web ...
Why doesn't my church do this? I mean, we're huge, we have big budgets, but we still sell tapes. Mp3s, right off the web ... that's great. Is that difficult?

Brother Hayden: No. It's actually cheaper and easier than tape machines.

The Calm: Tell our readers, what is the social and religious climate of Ethiopia like today, and how will that impact your ministry?

Brother Hayden: Ethiopia is a highly patriarchal society, it is a deeply religious society, and at the same time very superstitious. The social situation is very similar to that of Europe just on the eve of the reformation. The Orthodox Church is the controlling social and religious force in Ethiopia for the majority of Ethiopians. They celebrate the Mass in a language that has been dead for 500 years, so while the Gospel is inherent in every Church service, it falls on deaf ears. The people are not allowed to read the Word, and only priests get to study it. Much like the Catholic Church was prior to the reformation. Anyone who shows any signs of true belief (e.g. reading your Bible) is often ostracized, beaten, and kicked out of town, and in some cases even martyred.

The Calm: How do you know this stuff? Do you keep in contact with any brethren in Ethiopia on a regular basis?

Brother Hayden: Yes, through visits, and e-mail, etc ... There was one fellow who recently came to Christ and could not put down his Bible. His family caught him reading it ... told him to stop ... the Priest living next door also caught him ... and told the family "Either, kick your son out of the house, or we'll kick your family out of town". They took his Bible, burned it, and kicked him out.

The Calm: When was that?

Brother Hayden: About a year ago.

The Calm: Do you keep in contact with any other brethren in Ethiopia?

Brother Hayden: Yes. Lot's of amazing men and women to talk about here ... One guy, for instance, is illiterate, but has all four Gospels memorized! and goes around ... coming up to folks saying, "Let me tell you a story ..." and then out comes the Gospel of Mark ... amazing ... He just had a guy read it to him over and over, until he got the whole thing ...

The Calm: Can you give an example of a cultural expectation of Ethiopians which you've taught your family about in preparation for living there?

Brother Hayden: Ethiopians pray with their eyes open. To pray with your eyes closed marks you either as a Muslim or a protestant Christian, so we pray with our eyes open ...Ethiopians have a tremendous respect for the elderly, so I teach that as a value far more than other Americans would.

The Calm: Is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church still popular in Ethiopia? Do they really study from the Book of Enoch? Explain your approach to this in ministry.

Brother Hayden: Yes, very popular. To be "Amhara" (one people group in Ethiopia) is to be Orthodox. It's a non-negotiable aspect of the community. Yes, they do study from the book of Enoch, but remember they don't get to study unless they are Priests, but the Book of Enoch is included, along with book of the Miracles of Mary. And, by the way, the Miracles of Mary actually gets spoken in the vernacular, so that the public can here it, so Mary is worshiped far more than Christ.

The Calm: Is the Ark in Axum the original one?

Brother Hayden: I have no idea. The Judaism in Ethiopia is pre-Talmudic, which puts it before Christ, so it is very old. Ethiopians also follow Kosher laws for diet. So the Judaism is just very old in Ethiopia, and also there is evidence that the Queen of Sheba did come and visit Solomon from Ethiopia, so there were contacts between the two ancient cultures, so my answer is "maybe" ... but I doubt it.

The Calm: Will you be participating in any of the popular activities of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church? For example T'imk'et? Why or why not?

Brother Hayden: One thing that we will be doing is fasting on the prescribed days ... Lent, etc ... We will go to all of the festivals, and attend the local Orthodox Church each week. My reason is basically to follow the missional precedent of Paul ... to become a Greek to Greeks, and a Jew to a Jew, so that by all means I might reach some.

The Calm: How did you learn to speak Amharic?

Brother Hayden: I was born in and grew up in Ethiopia.

The Calm: Are you a citizen there?

Brother Hayden: No.

The Calm: So, not only are you heavily involved in foreign missions, but you are a missionary kid, right?

Brother Hayden: Yes. I will be the third generation of missionaries in Africa in my family.

The Calm: Would you discourage folks from going on foreign missions? Folks that do not have that kind of advantage? i.e. pre-exposure to the language and culture.

Brother Hayden: No. Absolutely not. Mission changes your perspective on life, and the vastness of God, and on His passion for the lost. Jesus is about lost people.

The Calm: But, how do you respond to folks who say that you should not go on foreign missions because there are enough folks right here who need the Gospel?

Brother Hayden: I've never had a person go on a foreign mission, who did not come back more passionate about reaching others for Christ, wherever they were. And I don't have the stats in my head right now, but i can get it to you ... the number of Churches per person in the U.S. vs. the rest of the World ... the number of believers in the 10-40 window, etc ...

The Calm, also got Mrs. Hayden's take on this question, quote:
Every person I have seen that goes on a mission trip goes thinking that they are going to change the world, but they return realizing that they themselves have been changed more than the world.

The Calm: Are you part of the Southern Baptist Convention?

Brother Hayden: Yes.

The Calm: What are you personally planning to accomplish before you leave?

Brother Hayden: I strongly feel that every missionary has a responsibility to multiply themselves out of a job, so my goal as a Pastor in Sojourn is to replace myself with several Pastor Elders.

The Calm: How is that going ... found anyone?

Brother Hayden: Yes ... Three so far ... That is, of the twelve that I am currently discipling, there are three who are ready to become Elders.

The Calm: How are your wife and children preparing to live in Ethiopia?

Brother Hayden: My kids love to eat Ethiopian food, so we eat Ethiopian food often. I sing a song to them almost every day in Amharic. We talk about going. I'm taking a trip to work out some details before our whole family moves. We are preparing four years worth of home schooling material. There is a lot to do.

The Calm: Wow. Praise the Lord. Well ... know that our readers back at the Calm will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for the great interview, and may the Lord Bless your journey with Him.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

She still does not know ...

Prophecies are amazing. They come true, and so show the Lord's power. Some of the most amazing prophecies of God are the ones which tell folks what they will be thinking ... before they ever think it. Take for instance Mat 25:37 ... "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?'" The Lord told them about their own beauty and goodness before hand in giving us the prophecy, but they lived out their entire lives, never having recognized their own beauty ... never having remembered this or that particular goodness. How could they have asked, "When did we see You a stranger and take You in", and at the same time remember that good deed? The Lord never lets them see their own beauty or goodness ... an amazing prophecy.

We see plenty of our own beauty and goodness for sure, but that's called pride. We do not see our true beauty and goodness. We may think we see it, but if we find something good about ourselves, that is always counted as pride and sin ... just like the person who prays in their heart, "Thank you, Lord, because I am not a sinner like that fellow." [Luk 18:10-14]

Now, when we look at others, there is a chance to see, not our own goodness, but goodness and beauty which comes from the Lord [Romans 1:19 and 20]. All good things come from Him [Jam 1:17]. When you see the beauty of a flower ... that comes from Him. When others see good in you, that has come from Him, that is, until you claim recognition or reward for that good, and it becomes pride. You see, as the prophecy says ... we will not remember or even recognize our own good deeds ... they are things that only God and others around us can see. As soon as we recognize the deeds as good, we will have already received our reward [Mat 6:2].

This morning, I saw my wife ... in the light of the window behind her. She is beautiful and it was good, and only the Lord and myself know it, and now you. She did not see her own beauty and goodness, and would not recognize it if we pointed it out ... she'd just think we were silly ... unless she sinned and took pride. Let's not give her the chance to take pride, and cause her to sin. Her beauty and goodness is for us ... the onlookers. And on that day, if I may be counted as even the least of His brethren, the Lord will show her how I was a stranger, and she took me in ... she will ask, 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?' ... and the King will answer and say to her, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' [Mat 25:40]

Praise the Lord!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year !

Here is a great post, from Dave's ongoing research ...

Dave's hints on Monitoring wikis worldwide