Monday, March 26, 2007

What a Weekend!

I feel like we're back in California. Over the weekend we had highs in the high 70s/low 80's with lows in the low 50s. I woke up this morning to overcast skies and a damp chill in the house from leaving all the windows open. It was overcast until about 10:30 this morning. But now it's sunny and in the mid 60s outside.

We were absolutely slammed with activities all weekend. On Saturday we went to our Childbirth Education party (more on that in another entry) and then Amanda and Lily attended a birthday party after that. We then went to church, grabbed dinner on the way home, and then made an apple pie in the evening.

Yesterday we had our Beyond Budgeting class in the morning and Bill's birthday party immediately following that. We got home around 3, I took a nap while Amanda and Lily napped, then I went out to Sam's Club to get some much-needed groceries. We had dinner and then I had class.

Meanwhile, I need to find the time to write one paper (20 pages) and update another. I also need to take the time to really study my Greek. I'm keeping up OK, but I know that I need deeper knowledge if I'm going to do well on the final.

I like to say that we need to stay busy enough that it will take much grace to get done all we need to do. I think I'm doing that now.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Is it May Yet?

Wow. Another crazy week is in the books. And I mean that literally too. It seems like I've spent all my non-work time either reading, writing, or translating. I guess I should also make an exception for my family time. I guess I should be glad that through it all I am honoring my commitment as a husband and daddy. I am sure that taking more than one class in a semester would be a terrible idea.

I am encouraged by tonight's work in 1 John. There were a few things I had to look up in e-Sword, but I got most of it with just the lexicon. I need more confidence with the various particles for words like "why" or "how" or "where", etc. But I think I'm on the right track.

All I know is that tomorrow will not give me much time. I simply must get some things done in the morning because we're going to a party for our childbirth education class at 11:00. I get to come home after that and get some work done while Amanda and Lily go to another birthday party. Then we'll meet for church at 5:30 (unless they come back here which I don't expect). We'll do church and then maybe pick up food for the way home. I'll put Lily to bed while Amanda gets started on pie crusts for Bill's birthday pie. Oh, and somewhere in there I need to make Jack's legendary baked beans.

I'm pretty sure that God doesn't intend for life to be quite this crazy. I'm ready for the end of the semester I can tell you...

Friday, March 16, 2007

James 1:19

James 1:19 ESV
(19) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

I would have done well to remember this yesterday. As a bit of background, they are installing new carpet in our office. It is, shall we say, a tad "busy". In fact, some have likened it to the pattern you might see at a casino. (someone wondered if there will now be a $10 charge to use the ATM) This has become a running joke among denizens of my side of our building.

Yesterday I had a meeting at the other end of the building. I was late getting there for a few reasons:

  1. I didn't leave my desk until 1 minute after it started. I was on the phone with a user.
  2. It was on the far end of the building
  3. I got lost trying to find it
So I came in probably 10 minutes late. This meeting had people from various departments. I tried to make light of my lateness by saying that I was late for two reasons:
  1. I got lost
  2. I had motion sickness from the new carpet
Turns out that the new head of a part of our general services was in the meeting. Oh, and he was the one who chose the pattern. Basically, I made a huge ass of myself.

The manager of our helpdesk is a great guy who has made a career of putting his foot in his mouth and has served as something of a mentor for me when I do it. He smoothed over the situation, which was nice. I later apologized to the guy I offended.

Sometimes it's better not to make a joke, especially when it's not a particularly good one. Hopefully this will sink in someday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Squeezing the Turnip

Today started off innocently enough in SCF-land. In fact, I was greatly encouraged by a mentor emailing the discussion group asking for help in rotation. It seems that she was starting to feel overwhelmed. She actually quoted my previous messages where I told mentors that the answer to going off of the mentor rotation is not to get off, but to get more on. That is what she was doing.

Rotation is like being in a line to receive new students. Once you get one you go to the back of the line until everyone else in the line gets one. And so on. If few people are in line then you get a lot of students. If the line is long and enrollments are steady then you don't get so many. It's simple math, but it is a step out in faith because if your fellow mentors get out of the line then you will end up with a lot of students.

I sent several messages to the group exhorting the mentors to get on rotation and stay on for as long as possible. Some mentors felt like I was trying to guilt them into going on rotation. Some also thought that perhaps I was being insensitive to all the things that they have going on. I challenge anyone to show me that they are much more busy than I am. Some may be, but I suspect it is not very many. I write this not to brag, but to make the point that I'm only trying to lead where I've already gone.

At any rate, this process has given me some insight as to what it must be like when a pastor needs to preach on giving so that the church can make ends meet. If everyone at my church gave $100/month we would have very few budget shortfalls. And, in fact, we could do so much more.

How we spend our time really shows where our hearts are. I say that a person's bank statement and day-planner show what is important to that person. I like to think that mine are in line with my values, but there is always room for improvement.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where I've Been Sent

My normal reading plan has me in Ezekiel and I felt like this really spoke to me:

Ezekiel 3:4-6 ESV
(4) And he said to me, "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them.
(5) For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel--
(6) not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you.

As I'm learning from my friend Mark, God must not have sent Ezekiel to Hungary!

When I read this I feel like it is telling me that I am not called to foreign missions. I feel like there is much for me to do here in the United States. Though if I did feel called to foreign missions I would take this passage as a great encouragement. Of course, this also supposes that I'm not reading something into the text that isn't there. Clearly God called Ezekiel to domestic missions.

Here's another passage from today:

Ezekiel 3:17-21 ESV
(17) "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
(18) If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
(19) But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
(20) Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand.
(21) But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul."

I take this to speak to our personal responsibilities to share what the Bible says. This seems so contrary in our culture. Our culture is all about not hurting each other's feelings. But this passage would indicate that we are actually being much more loving when we help someone avoid their iniquity.

Of course, this must be done with graciousness. I've taken this passage as a license to be a spiritual bully, which I don't think is God's intent. But I do know that if someone professes Christ and mentions an area that needs help it is every Christian's job to help as they are able. I realize that I'm not in a position to help someone deal with their recalcitrant teen. I have little idea about how to comfort someone with ailing parents. But I do know how to help someone escape the traps of sexual sin as well as gluttony and laziness. So I'm going to keep following where I think I've been called for right now.

I do know that this is all subject to change. God seems to work that way sometimes.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Frogs, Snails, and Puppy-Dog Tails

We found out last Friday that we're going to have a boy. I guess that I'm supposed to be jumping for joy over this. After all, what man doesn't want a son to carry on the family name?

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at the news. I'm kind of used to Lily and all the girl stuff. Plus, if we had a girl we could have them stay in the same room and we would still have our guest room. I guess that's not the best reason to prefer a certain gender over another though.

But what I really think is that I hadn't considered all the possibilities. Amanda has talked about getting a crib set from a friend. She asked me if I thought it would be OK and I only semi-jokingly asked, "Is it going to clash with the Cleveland Indians nursery?" She then told me that we could do a baseball theme in the nursery if I wanted. Now the wheels are turning...

I think that my real fear is that I will favor one child over the other. I really enjoy my time with Lily and she and I have our things that we do together. We run errands together, particularly the groceries. We play Lego Star Wars together and that is something that Amanda really couldn't care less about, though she thinks that the game may be a bit too violent for Lily's young eyes. We have our stuff and I'm afraid that my son will get in the way of some of that.

On the other hand, maybe this will be good when Lily gets into her adolescent years when she doesn't have much room for mommy or daddy. Our son will be 8 when she is 12 (Lord willing) and that will be a good time for sports, etc.

Anyhow, it's all still a bit jumbled in my mind. I am looking forward to a son. There are lots of guy things that I'm looking forward to doing with him, including sports. But I also want to make sure that I save room for Lily as well. It's going to be interesting to switch between "girl mode" and "boy mode", but I know that if I can context-switch that quickly at work I should be able to with my children.

Writing this has been good. I think that it's starting to sink in...