Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Love

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Love

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third Sunday in Advent: Joy

Third Sunday in Advent: Joy

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10, 11 ESV)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Second week of Advent: Peace

Today is the second week of advent. Today we lit the candle of Peace (last week was Hope).

Advent is a season of looking forward to Christ's birth and his coming. It's also reminds us of anticipating his second coming. It is celebrated the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th!

Here are some verses about the peace that God gives. I believe the one from John 14:27 is most significant for us to consider; God's peace is better and different than the peace the world gives.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)

"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12 ESV)

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:14 ESV)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 ESV)

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." (John 20:21 ESV)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1 ESV)

Please feel free to share your verses and thoughts on Advent here in the comments!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rescue Accidentally deleted files

Someone I know on facebook posted a request for help because they deleted files and then deleted their "trash"  - someone suggested this tool and it helped. I'm posting this here so I will remember it in case I need it and maybe someone else might benefit too.

 Recuva from Piriform

I can't speak to it, but I'm certainly going to keep it in mind!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Packing Shoe Boxes for Operation Christmas Child

Today our Sunday School Class (5th and 6th Grade) and the 1st and 2nd grade class packed Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes for needy children.

We packed 34 boxes!

One of the students helped us drive them to a nearby drop-off center. Here's a photo of Ruth and I with the boxes in the trunk.

We've done this for many years with the Sunday School.  The children really enjoy doing it. They own it and it's their own service project. I started putting notes together from the lessons we learned and realized I would post them in case someone else can benefit from them.

  • Order Boxes and other materials (labels and more) in advance on the website 
  • View the drop-off centers and the due date well in advance and set a date to pack the boxes (you may also need to decide who will take the boxes to the drop-off center - perhaps some of the "packers" may like to go and see the excitement there as well)
  • Communicate with church/parents in advance so they know what's going on and when the day will be. Send them a list of what to bring, what can be put into the boxes, that you will already have boxes, and that they can donate online and print a label to find out where the box goes.
  • Show video in advance and invite the whole church to contribute or take part (although it's special when the Sunday School or youth group can own it themselves). Videos are available on the website, or you can make your own slideshow from photos from the prior year if you did it the year before
  • Show videos (from the website) to the Sunday School classes the week before the event and remind them what to shop for
  • Send another reminder email to church/parents about what to shop for and to donate and bring the barcode
  • Tell people they can fill their own boxes with what they brought, or that you will have a place to put donations and then children can pull from that pile to pack boxes
The Day before the event
  • Make a donation in advance and bring labels
  • Get some suplies together: 
  • Bring clear packing tape to apply labels - maybe tape them on in advance?
  • Bring rubber bands for all the boxes so stuff doesnt spill
  • Bring a camera (maybe appoint a photographer)
  • Bring a permanent marker - helpful for marking boxes 
  • Print a page in advance that has a small note with the address of the church with a note that you'd like to hear from them if possible (maybe also mention that you are including a photo). You may even want to create a form with this information and allow the "packers" who are helping pack the boxes sign the form and maybe add a note.
Setup for the event:
  • Set up tables (in a large room or Gym)
  • Make one place to put boxes together (The children in about 4th grade and up like to do this)
  • Make one place (table) for those who want to pack their own boxes with their own things they bought
  • Make another place (table) for the bunch of donated items 
  • Make yet another place (table) for "packed" boxes
The event:

 Designate adult helpers:
  • Someone to help children with folding boxes
  • Someone to collect any donations 
  • Someone to take photos - try to get individual photos of each "packer" packing a box
  • Someone to help checking contents of boxes for age category  and either marking the age range and boy/girl or putting a label on each box
  • Someone to check that a note (and photo) gets in each box and then a rubber band is placed around it
  • Someone to count boxes completed

Announce the following items:
  • Tell the "packers" that they can fill their own boxes with what they brought (at the one place/table), or fill boxes from the items donated (from the "donation" place/table - the "packers" can pull from that pile to pack boxes).
  • Put out the note printed ahead of time (see above) and tell all the "packers" sign it 
  • Take a photo of everyone and send it to the local photo printing place (Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, etc). Many have apps for smartphones that make this easy to do. Print enough photos for the estimated number of boxes.
Once started - during and after the packing:
  • Be available to help "packers"
  • Make more photocopies of the note so one can go in every box - save a copy or take a photo of it to make a video the next year
  • After the boxes are all packed, have all the "packers" pray for the receivers. Take a photo of everyone with hands on the boxes praying for the children who will receive them.
After the Event - getting the boxes to the drop-off center
  • Someone can pull around the car
  • Children/ "Packers" can carry the boxes
  • Get photos of everyone helping carry the boxes
  • In some cases, some of the "packers" may like to go along to the drop-off center (for children,  get advance permission)
  • Pick up the copies of the photo of the group (use a one-hour photo) and put a copy in each box along with the notes
  • Remember to give the donations to the drop-off center
 I'd like to hear any notes you have for ideas for this great service project!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Discover Your Spiritual Gifts

Maybe you've taken tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment or the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) test. Did you know you can also take a test that might help you identify your spiritual gift(s)?

Where the fruits of the spirit are located in the scriptures
Romans 12:6-8
1 Corinthians 12:7-10
Ephesians 4:11
Tests you can take online to help you identify your spiritual gifts

42 Question test
They ask for an email address, but I suppose you could enter a random email address if you don't want them to email your results. You will see them on the next screen anyway.
This was quick and easy to take and gave me a close result to what I've seen before.
There is also a 12 page downloadable version that included explanations of the gifts

This test had 9 screens (90questions) and took about 10 to 15 minutes. I liked it and it's results.

108 questions on about 5 screens. Took 12 minutes for me to do. They ask for an email address, but I suppose you could enter a random email address if you don't want them to email your results. You will see them on the next screen anyway.

About 5 screens, maybe 20 to 30 questions.
This didn't match so well to the results I've received on other tests, but it was quick to take:

I also found these two, but didn't try taking them:
 60 questions:

What are your spiritual gifts?  Please comment!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Good Entertainer Leaves Their Audience Wanting More

As a youngster, I wanted to be a magician. I had a magician's kit and a book or two. I often put on shows for the family.

I just remembered the other day a lesson that I learned in one of the books:
"A Good Entertainer Leaves Their Audience Wanting More"

This idea can be applied to many things in life.
I'd like to explore a few:

1. A job interview - I've read in a book that when we're in an interview, use only 2 minutes to answer a question, then end with a statement something to the effect "I hope that answers your question; if you want to know more, let me know." Leave your interviewer wanting to know more.

2. Talking with other people (whether networking or someone you know real well)
I need to remember this probably more than anyone reading this, but as it's been said "God gave us two ears and one mouth, that's probably a hint as to how often we should use each" - As I mentioned above about interviews, we need to do the same while having conversations with people on any subject; talk less, listen more. I need to remember to give only the high level overview of my thoughts and let them ask for more.

3. When you are "entertaining" someone
Whether you play an instrument, sing, speak, throw parties, or cook for others, when you are entertaining someone it's good to keep this principle in mind. As some people say: "End on a good note." If someone gives you a standing ovation, it's time to stop. If someone seems to really enjoy something you did, that's when it's time to stop, We've all seen when someone had a really good performance of a song and then after everyone enjoyed it, they went on to do another that wasn't enjoyed as much. End on a good note.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Monday, June 04, 2012

2012-06-04 MoMenTum men's meeting: toxic environments


Pastor Bert Crabbe from True North Community Church. True North is one of the fastest growing churches on Long Island, a church that Bert planted with a team of passionate co-workers!
His blog:

Story: The 1911 NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The greatest factory disaster in history.

Point: it wasn't the building, it is still standing. It was the toxic environment (flammable materials, lack of safety equipment, etc.) that caused the fire to be deadly.

Text: 1 Cor 15:33

Many of us deal with Toxic environments: @work , @home, @team, @church group

How do we respond?
1. Acknowledge that there is God and I'm not him. We make bad decisions when our sprit and emotions are depleted
2. Pray for gratitude - ask God to give you a spirit if thankfulness
3. Decide that you will change: I won't let it burn me down. Be a thermostat instead of thermometer. A thermometer just complains: "it's really hot in here." A Thermostat thinks about how to make a change
Col 3:22-24

We are cultural architects, God created us to be creative. We have never had a neutral conversation in our life. Our interactions effect others in one way or another. Also, some people are givers and some are takers.
Instead of changing things by accident, change things intentionally.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Archiving old family photos

I've found several sets of very old family photos on both my father's and mother's side of the family.

I've been wondering the best way to archive them.

I've decided to:
1) Use jpg files for digitizing the old photos
2) Use Picasa for adding captions (I've been told that it has the added advantage of face recognition, so it may help to identify relatives in photos if you have them identified in one photo and want to figure out what other photos they are in)
3) Probably buy two external hard drives to store all our photos on: one for hear at the house and the other at a relatives house for an "off-site backup"
4) I will keep the old photos since that seems the safest way of preserving them

Here are some websites I've found helpful:

Do you have any questions or suggestions along these lines? Please comment!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

About Accepting Invitations (a life lesson)

I've been thinking that I'd like to start a series of writings about things that I've learned in life and pass them on to my children. I thought it might also benefit others as well, so I decided to post them on my blog.

About Accepting Invitations
This morning I read Matthew 22:1-14 in my daily bible reading.
This parable that Jesus taught is about a king who prepared a wedding banquet. Take a few minutes to read it and then return here.

I learned a long while ago (I believe from a wise parent who had adult children) that they make an attempt to always say "yes" to invitations from their adult children: to baby-sit their grandchildren, to come for a visit, or to help with something. Why? because if you say "no" too many times, then eventually people will feel you are not interested and will no longer extend the invitation.

In this parable, Jesus made the point about the Kingdom of God. God invites people to come to his banquet, but some are just busy. Look at verse five. They were busy with their field and their business. They saw the invitation as an interruption, but if they thought about it, the interruption was more important than their plans.

We need to be very careful to accept God's invitation to his banquet. I've accepted the invitation to his Eternal Kingdom Banquet (I've accepted Christ as my savior). And, also, I know that I need to learn to accept his daily invitations to his "kingdom banquets" that are right in front of me each day.

By the way, on a related note, verses 11 through 14 confused me about the wedding clothes until I read the commentary. Accepting the wedding clothes is also an invitation to receive a gift. This part of the story is symbolic of how Jesus provides us with the gift of righteousness that we also must accept.

I hope that you'll accept God's invitation to real life that has been extended to us through Christ Jesus.

And, I hope that you'll also think about accepting the invitations that people make to you. If you can't accept an invitation, then take the time right then and there to set up a time when you can make it work rather than letting it drift off into nothingness.

One rule that I try to use when deciding between two competing events that I can attend is to consider how often they occur. For example, when we have invitations to a 50th birthday and an invitation to dinner with friends on the same day, I will take the 50th birthday invitation because it only occurs once in a lifetime for that person when the dinner invitation could be postponed to another date.

People invite you because they need you and/or care for you. Life's interruptions are where real life happens. Try to say "Yes" (or at least set up a firm postponed time so that it's a delayed "yes").

Please comment with your thoughts on this subject.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bible Passages About Love for Valentines Day

Here are some Passages and verses about love. These would be good to read and use for Valentines Day. They can be read to yourself, at the dinner table by family, or used in a note to someone you love.

I've put these in no special order and only gave you the references so that you can have the opportunity to look them up yourself.

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:4
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8
  4. Ephesians 3:17-19
  5. 1 Corinthians 13:13
  6. 1 John 4:9
  7. Hebrews 10:24
  8. 1 John 4:7
  9. 1 Timothy 4:12
  10. Psalms 118:29
  11. Ephesians 5:25-28
  12. 1 Peter 4:8
  13. John 13:34
  14. Colossians 3:14
  15. Ephesians 2:4-7
  16. 1 John 3:11
  17. John 15:13
  18. Galatians 5:22-23
  19. Ephesians 5:1-2
  20. Romans 5:8
  21. 1 Corinthians 16:14
  22. Galatians 5:14
  23. Galatians 2:20
  24. John 15:12
  25. Romans 12:10
  26. 1 John 4:9-11
  27. John 3:16
Please comment on the ones you like or suggest some you like!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Bible Meditation: an offer for you

A few months ago, I restarted something that I had done on and off for years: sending out a weekly Bible Meditation scripture selection to my family.

Since it's easy for me to add people to the list that I send this to (and I send it BCC so nobody sees each others email addresses) I've been able to add other people to the list.

So, I'm opening this up now to whoever is interested. If you would like me to add you to the weekly email, please let me know. And, if you ever want to be removed from the list, just ask. I'll add or remove people, no questions asked.

Another thing that I started doing lately is also texting the same weekly Bible passage to whoever would like to receive it in a daily text message (about 5:30pm Eastern time each day). This helps us to meditate on the scripture because we're seeing the same one each day. I'm also offering this to whoever is interested. Just let me know. And, just like the weekly emails, I'll add or remove you whenever you want without asking any questions.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Guitar resources

I realized today that I have a bunch of ukulele resources listed on a previous post, it's time that I made a similar post about guitar resources (especially since I started playing guitar in 2008 and the Uke in 2010).

Guitar Lessons:
  • Someone today (2012-01-03) suggested Justin's Guitar Lessons. They are free and there are more than 500 videos available! If you like them, consider making a financial contribution or buying something in his store.
  • Christian Guitar has some free lessons

How to play certain chords, use a capo and such:

Just I have with the Uke Resources page, I'll be adding more information here as time goes on!