Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eric Mataxas Lecture on Bonhoeffer

This past summer, Eric Mataxas came to Ocean Grove for the new Elwood Stokes Lecture Series. He talked about his biography on Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

Here are my short notes taken on my mobile device.

2011-07-12 Eric Mataxas - OG Tabernacle
First in Elwood Stokes Lecture series

About Eric
Eric wrote part of Lyle Viking for the Vegie Tales videos and also was the narrator for the Esther Vegie Tales video. He attended Yale. His website is There are video interviews there.

Eric read the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
He wrote a book "Everything you Wanted to Know about God, But Were Afraid to Ask" He talked about it on CNN. He also wrote a book on Wilberforce. Someone convinced him to write about Bonhoeffer.

About Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer, after obtaining a doctorate in theology from Berlin@ age of 21, then came to USA and attended Union theological seminary. A friend invited him to Harlem Abyssinian Baptist Church and that moved him.

2 days after Hitler made was made chancellor, B. gave famous speech on radio:
Legit leadership is submitted to God and is a servant.

The Nazis didn't advertise neo-paganism, they just said it was the German church.
B. Felt it doesn't pay to run down corridor of train in opposite direction, need to get off the train, so he separated from the German state church.

in 1933: he preached about death, the final station on the way to freedom. If we've glimpsed the kingdom, our lives are forever and totally changed, we are homesick and live to walk in God's way.

Two central beliefs he had:
1. Church is a church for others: we are blessed to be a blessing to others. Who can't stand up for themselves? Those are the ones who we need to stand up for.
2. Religion-less Christianity: Religion to B. was pejorative: not just being moral, but to bless, serve, and help others.
We are to live our whole lives and give them to God. But, he would say we were just religion-less Christians, so the Nazis prevailed. This parallels our church today.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Origami !

I've always enjoyed Origami.

I really got interested in it a few decades ago when we visited the Japan Airlines Origami Christmas Tree in New York City. Then, in the 1990's a coworker friend made me some wonderful Origami. He made a mobile to hand from my car mirror that had a few Origami stars and a fish.

Tonight, when we ate at the local Chinese Buffet, one of the young ladies there had made a 3 Dimensional Origami swan. I also saw she made some stars and remarked about them. She made me one!

So, I thought it would be interesting to post some info on Origami.

I have to get my paper out and make a few things!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Notes from the "Love Worth Fighting For" Marriage conference

My Notes from the "Love Worth Fighting For" Marriage conference in Ocean Grove NJ on 2011-09-17)

Note: We have a DVD of the Marriage Conference and would like to loan it to you for 2 weeks if you just ask.

Kirk Cameron (from the old TV show Growing Pains) was the main presenter.

Four points:

1. The Heart of the problem is the problem of the heart: it is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Only God can heal that heart bent on selfishness. Kirk realized he has a heart that could destroy the marriage from the inside.

In the Fireproof movie, the main character got the Love Dare book from his dad. The turning point was not the Love Dare, but it was when God changed him.

You can go for all the counseling, speak the love language, fill the love tank, do the love dare, but if your heart is wrong on the inside, it will not be possible to fix your marriage on your own.

You have to go to God who can transform you.

It isn't about saying a prayer to be saved, it's about a change of heart.

When he grew up he was "too smart" to believe in God. But then someone took the time to explain the Gospel to him. If we look at the ten commandments, many of us have stolen, used God's name in vain, lied... We've broken the 10 commandments.

When we lie to a child, the child will do nothing. If we lie to our wife, we will sleep on the couch; If we lie to our boss, we may lose our job; if we lie to the government, we could go to jail. It's all the same offense, but it's who you offend. We have all offended God. The good news (the "gospel") is that God sent his son to die in our place for the forgiveness of our sins.

What does it have to do with marriage? Everything! If we don't have that power of the Holy Spirit, we won't be able to live the marriage God intended.

2. There is only one person you can change and it's not your spouse. If you're trying to change your spouse, how's that working for you? Kirk believes that God reserves the right to change your spouse. And God reserves the right to change you.

We need to look for separateness and send off alarms when it happens. We need to move toward togetherness. If you see yourself drifting apart, it's time to go into rescue 911 mode.

When we start to realize how much God loves us and what Jesus did for us on the cross. We realize how much God did for us when we realize that we didn't care about him; he died for us when we didn't have a heart toward him. This realization is so great that when we realize God forgave us of so much, then we can forgive those around us.

Surrender yourself to the Lord. It's not about changing yourself, it's about asking God to give your spouse a new you!

3. I must have an effective war strategy to destroy sin in my life or it will destroy me.

This is also a change of heart. We can put up safeguards (like internet filtering for example) and that will help for a while, but we need God to change our heart and give us a new heart in order to make the change.

One sign of being a Christian is that there is a battle going on between sin and God's Spirit within you. The Bible says In 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Be so dazzled with God's love for you on the cross that you love your spouse more than your sin.

4. God has ordained for the man to be the head of the home. We are to be the leaders. This is a message to men for women

Kirk used the following material from a sermon by James MacDonald (from Walk in the word)
1 peter 3:7. The 6 verses before this one are for the women, but this one verse is for the man. God knew he had to keep it simple for the guys!

There are several points in this verse:

1. Dwell with them, spend time with them. Invest and share. This will radically transform your marriage. The way you get good is by spending time at it, whether it be getting better at playing music, golf or whatever. Spend time one-on-one 15 minutes a day just talking. Then, after a while, one night a week, then one day a month, then one weekend a year.

2. Dwell with them in understanding: study her, know her. Before you were married, you studied her like crazy. You wanted to know everything about her.
You have to keep studying: what fires her up, what brings her down, when is a good time to approach her, when is a bad time to approach her. They love when you understand them.
Romance springs from sacrifice and planning, not convenience.
Intimacy with your wife is icing on cake after a good day.
Being nice and giving complements can't be overdone.
A little help goes a long way: washing dishes or helping with something stressing her out. Keep a little 3 by 5 card of notes of what works and what doesn't

3. Give honor to your wife
This means more than respect; treat her as rare and precious. Think of a military general singling out one man to honor him. Be her biggest fan, honor her. Kirk told the story about kissing his wife instead of the actress in the movie fireproof.

You can honor your wife by how you talk to her amongst your friends. You could give her some money to buy whatever she wants. You can honor her in front of your children by giving her a day off and doing her work for her.

4. The wife is weaker
This is about protection, you are supposed to protect her. You should put your arm around her to give her Security to make her feel safe,
When she feels she's in danger, be patient with her, like if you're driving too fast.
You can make her feel safe in her absence. Many men have to travel, have neighbors or family watch out for her. Call her to let her know you're checking on her safety.

Protect her by managing your aggression during an argument with her. If you have to talk fine, but don't raise your voice or punch the walls or throw things.

Here they showed a clip of the fireproof meeting when Caleb lost his temper.

If your wife ever cowers in front of you, then you're being the coward

5. Joint heirs
In order to have that long term relationship you have to keep opening up to her. Wives want you open up so she knows who you are. She wants you to let her know about you. Are you a closed book to her? Maybe your wife has a good friend because this friend is listening and sharing feelings. (You should be the one she talks to). God revealed himself to us, we need to open up to her.

6. So that your prayers will not be hindered
If you feel your prayers are a struggle, cut off, or hindered, maybe because you're not doing these things.

When a man does all these things above, then a marriage can have life breathed back into it.

Yes, the wives need to be changed too, but "Everything rises and falls on leadership" and God has ordained men to be the leaders of marriages.

We have a DVD of the marriage conference and would like to loan it to you for a few weeks if you like.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The FREE IBM Think Exhibit in New York City

IBM is opening the FREE IBM Think Exhibit to the public in New York City on Sept. 23 and it will run through October 23, 2011.

This exhibit is tied into IBM's 100 year birthday this year.

We went to a preview of the exhibit the other day. It was fun, well done, and informative. Here are my photos on flickr.

Someone asked me what it was like, so I thought I'd post something for all to see.

This Exhibit is FREE to the public, however you have to obtain tickets for a scheduled entry (I think plans are that you can walk up and get tickets for the next showing depending on how busy it is, or you can get them in advance on the

The exhibit is explained on the website at

The exhibit is placed on a ramp near Avery Fisher hall (Lincoln Center) in Manhattan (New York City). Here's a Satellite view from Google maps. Zoom out to see the surroundings.

The Exhibit has four parts:
1. Waiting Outside at the "Data Wall"
Outside waiting area on the ramp where you can sit 0r stand and watch the 123 foot long "data wall" which is a constantly moving digital display of information presented in a very attractive media experience. People were stopping by the street and very interested in it. You can get your tickets at the end of this ramp and watch the data wall while waiting. There are also bits of information written on the opposing wall that help you to think about possibilities of what can be done to help our communities (locally and globally). The Data Wall was a real attention getter and very interesting!

2. Movie 12 Minutes
When you enter with your group, you go into a "room" at the bottom of the ramp that has 40 display screens, each one 7 feet high. Once everyone is in the room, the doors are closed and you watch a 12 minute media rich film that spans several of these screens. This was a great film to watch, well done. I liked the part when the showed people and sort of visually showed data within them.

3. Interactive Touch Screens: as long as you want, up to about 30 or 40 minutes
When the film ends, the display screens all turn into interactive touch screens. Each screen covers one of the five main topics of the movie (seeing, believing, mapping, Understanding, Acting). You can move to other screens to see the other topics. We saw adults and children of all ages interacting with these.

4. Exit walk: IBM's 100 Icon's of progress
After you leave the exit, there is a long white glass wall with all of the 100 IBM Icon's of Progress on it. You can read them all, or only the ones you are interested in, or you can just bypass the whole thing and exit. You can also see these icons of progress on the IBM100 website:

Here are some of my photos on Flickr that I took of the Lincoln Center area after seeing the exhibit. It was a bit dark, so I'm sorry for the darkness of the photos.

IBM has also posted photos on Flickr of the exhibit.

There is more about IBM Think on this website:

Coverage of the Think Exhibit in Media:

Friday, September 09, 2011

Could Your Marriage Be Better?

Could your marriage be better?
I think everyone would answer that question with an emphatic "Yes!"

Here is some help if you want your marriage to be better:

1. Watch the movie "Fireproof" (if you want see it, or see it again, we can loan you a DVD).

2. There was a book showcased in that movie called "The Love Dare." I would suggest the Love Dare 40 day challenge book for you (here are some stories about it). I can get you a copy if you like.

3. Here is the link to the movie's Marriage 911 page to get help for your marriage:

4. Also, Kirk Cameron, the star of the Fireproof movie (you might also remember him from the TV show "Growing Pains" that ran from 1985 to 1992), is involved in LIVE marriage conferences being held around the country. The Conferences are called "Love Worth Fighting For." You can find out more about local conferences here: (and here's an interesting article about the making of the movie)

One of these Marriage Conferences will be one held in Ocean Grove, NJ ("God's Square Mile on the Jersey Shore) on Saturday Sept. 17, 2011. Here's a link for info:

Here's a short YouTube video from a past one of these conferences:

I hope this information helps your marriage. Please share your thoughts in comments to this post. Also, please pass around this information and ask people to subscribe to my blog at - thanks!