Thursday, October 24, 2013

Randoms is hosting a two-hour seminar by Dr. Bill Mounce answering the question concerning Bible translations ("Why are they different and can I trust them?"). He will discuss the nature of language, ten translation principles that explain why translations vary and gives reason why translations are trustworthy.

SparkPeople posts "How To Learn From Pain." Listen to your body when you train or work out!

Lifehack lists "20 Reasons To Read That Will Change Your Life."

A Toilet-themed restaurant. One more thing I guess I just don't understand (other than knowing that most animals would never consider the thought).

Joe McKeever at the Colson Center presents "Twenty Things Many Pastors Do Not Get and Should."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Plan Your Life Wisely

" . . . not as chance will have it, but with prudence and foresight. Without amusements it is wearisome, like a long journey where there are no inns: manifold knowledge gives manifold pleasure. The first day's journey of a noble life should be passed in conversing with the dead: we live to know and to know our-selves: hence true books make us truly men. The second day should be spent with the living, seeing and noticing all the good in the world. Everything is not to be found in a single country. The Universal Father has divided His gifts, and at times has given the richest dower to the ugliest. The third day is entirely for oneself. The last felicity is to be a philosopher."

(Balthasar Gracian, 1601-1658)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Close Call Miracle

I've watched this video repeatedly and am just downright astounded by the outcome. Notice from the beginning of the clip the movement of the boulder from the top of the mountain. It's too dark to see it roll, but the splash and crash is traumatic. What gets me is the driver's reflexes, but it looks to me as if even with the car's turn, the vehicle is shoved further left than a normal turn would result. Also, the boulder nearly tips over onto the car, then rocks back. Debate the shape of the boulder and the splash if you wish, but I feel like two big ol' angels were protecting someone.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Puffer-fish Evolution

Can't help but wonder about Puffer-fish evolution. Which came first: the need to reproduce or the ability to reproduce? How quickly over the course of millions of years did this 5 inch Puffer-fish develop the skill to construct such an elaborate mating bed (up to 7 feet across) that would be attractive to the female in order for the species to survive?

Thursday, October 10, 2013


BreakPoint offers a succinct statement regarding Christians and Cultural Discernment.

Tarantula mating season is here. yay.

3 Benefits of Jogging.

Leadership Journal publishes a thought-provoking article on finding your calling by stepping down.

Read Tolstoy and others to increase emotional intelligence!

Futility Closet has a great one here. "When the Erie Canal was opened on Oct. 26, 1825, the fact was known in New York City, 425 miles away, within 81 minutes. This was before the advent of radio or telegraph. How was it done?"

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

"Out Of Your Mind" Learning

It can happen very quickly, the swing from “what’s on your mind?” to “are you out of your mind?”. The look on one’s face is easy to read: the contemplation is deep, but the expression of the thought--often-times, our thoughts are received in unexpected ways.

The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). The Philippian Christians were encouraged to demonstrate Christ-mindedness toward one another (Phil. 2:1-2, 5). When one who is hard after God shifts from living “under the sun” to learning “under heaven” and applying heavenly wisdom, the world does not know how to receive the lessons. Like Festus to Paul’s ears, “you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind!” (Acts 26:24)

The mind of Christ is not the mind of the world. Learning the mind of Christ is to gain the viewpoint, understanding, wisdom, thoughts, feelings, purposes, the desires of God’s anointed Messiah.

Paul had the mind of Christ, but he did not start off with the mind of Christ. He was a Jewish Roman citizen raised in Greek-speaking Tarsus and as a Benjamite, was named after Israel’s first king (Saul) who, incidentally, who ended badly. Growing up was not easy and Saul/Paul had make up his mind how he would succeed in life considering this crazy, mixed-up background. He could get run over by the stigma of his name and cultural tension, or he could (and did) learn to use his position to his advantage. He studied at the feet of Jewish masters, familiarized himself with Greek thought and followed the protocols of Roman citizenship. Then Jesus entered the picture and showed him he where he was lacking.

Paul’s lifelong learning was not thrown out the window, abandoned. He did not commit intellectual suicide because of faith. Paul was able to tie up the loose ends that remained in his learning. He knew much but his application was way off at first. The living Christ met Paul personally and brought an objective viewpoint all his tradition, all his learning, all his social contribution. Then something fascinating happened: he spent the next 14 years learning the mind of Christ.

Learning is life-long and the grasping the mind of Christ is not the assimilation of ideas, but takes place in the context of relationship. We have only begun to learn when we master literature, science, language, math, music, etc. There remains wisdom that comes only from God--orientation of a working mind.

Going “out of our mind” is exactly what we should do in order to be the best student. Our learning “under heaven” should inform our learning “under the sun” through our relationship with Christ.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Life-long Learning "Under Heaven"

I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about learning and the Christian worldview. Past blog posts have considered the difference between learning “under the sun” and learning “under heaven” as explored by wise King Solomon. We now he did not turn out so well in the end because of compromised worldview. Is it possible to learn, to pursue education, to grow in wisdom in the context of the world in which we live?

Long after Solomon’s golden age ended and the kingdom was divided, we read in the historical literature that Israel was carried away in Babylonian captivity. Caught up in the capture were some notable young men that receive this assessment of their captors:

And in every manner of wisdom and understanding about which the king [Nebuchadnezzar] inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.” (Daniel 1:20).

Consider the situation: these young men were uprooted from their homeland and transplanted. Their integrity remained intact because God upheld their integrity. It is not difficult to imagine how they may have encouraged one another with scripture like Psalm 26. Their new teachers could only provide them a platform for deeper learning as they pursued education on their own.

While the culture tried to redefine them (as seen in giving them new names--interesting that we refer to them not in their native names, but their Babylonian names, except for Daniel) they used the culture for the glory of God. The young men learned the language, read the literature, familiarized themselves with the culture, learned court-protocol and with that learning, they served the true and living God, who upheld their integrity. The studied and worked from God’s perspective. Daniel and his friends graduated top of the class because they were open-minded in truth. The model excellent discipleship in their diligent application of what they learned “under heaven.”

There seems to be an unspoken rule that once one finishes high school, one is no longer required to learn. Some do press on to college, but often the same attitude surfaces again--learning may now cease. Perhaps there is the notion that learning = tuition. This is not the case at all. We are made to be life-long learners. It is impossible to stop learning; however, it is possible to be selective in learning, which in turn proves where excellence lies--”under the sun”-- in the realm of vanity, useless wisdom.

Friday, October 04, 2013

"Oilfield Dodge"

Back in the day, Dem Ol' Dudes Go Everywhere!

Thursday, October 03, 2013


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Learning "under heaven"

And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all [is] vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13-14, NKJV)

There, you see! Don’t waste your time reading and pursuing knowledge! King Solomon himself said that seeking wisdom is burdensome (“evil business”) and vanity! Actually, Solomon said everything under the sun is vanity, striving after wind so if we follow the logic, we should stand perfectly still with our hands by our sides, eyes closed and holding our breath. Solomon states a conclusion from a lesson learned: wisdom pursued apart from God is vanity. Learning is hard work and has a reward in the end--but learning must be done correctly. Solomon only increased in wisdom by learning in context, by learning “under heaven.”

Look again at those who followed Jesus--they were learners! This is what is meant by “disciple.” They received instruction from the Master, the dispenser of wisdom, and they were to apply what they learned to their lives, which in turn, touched others. Learning was not easy as their discipleship hinged on change, starting with that which constituted their very lives. They had to stop what they were doing and start doing something new. They had to leave something behind in order to take up what lay ahead. The moment they did that, their first lesson was learned. They got dirty, wet, hungry, scared, confused, were intimidated--but they learned. Let us not miss the fact that Jesus’ disciples spent most of their entire lives in the shadow of Solomon’s temple.

Solomon was faced with a choice: learn about life the way God intends life to be, or learn about life apart from God. Wisdom literature plainly distinguishes the disciple as the wise and the non-disciple as the fool. In other words, we can learn in the school of hard knocks (where all is vanity) or we can learn by submitting to “right” and glorify God by all we do and say.

Follow Solomon’s thought and watch how he entertained the diversions. How much wisdom did he maintain when righteousness was set aside? What did he learn by removing himself from wisdom but that apart from God all is vanity? Solomon accomplished much in his lifetime (the “golden age” of the kingdom), but he slipped. He lost focus. He stopped following the Master.

We glorify God by “learning under the heavens” and glorify ourselves by “learning under the sun.” Wisdom is found “under the heavens” and foolishness is found “under the sun.”

When we are in the process of learning, we must constantly take what is before us to back to the Master, to hear His voice in scripture and in prayer. We will see there what man apart from God is like, what is truly evil, futile. We must remain humble to say, “God is right” when we our presuppositions are challenged--otherwise, we will never learn.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

That Evil Business

One great reward of translation work is seeing words as they are. The truth of a word in its original brings unexpected surprises, sometimes a shock--like licking a 9-volt battery. Once you do it, you don’t want to do it again . . . or do you? Especially when you have few to choose from and your guitar needs a replacement. But I digress . . . (who puts old batteries back in a drawer?)

We grow up saying it--”learning stinks” (or something to that effect). Hardly a day goes by when a Junior High schooler expresses his or her heart-felt woes concerning education. As home- schooling parents, we’ve heard our share of learning woes. There’s nothing new under the sun with this sentiment. Which brings me back to that place from which I began: the unhappy business of learning. Old Solomon said it plainly.

And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13)

That burdensome task is seeking out wisdom. That unhappy business is learning. The Hebrew combines the word “evil” with “business” to describe the task as unprofitable. Does this mean that wisdom cannot be acquired, or is not as highly valued as we make it to be? Is there an implication that God bestowed evil upon man if man searches out wisdom? No, I think the writer was being cheeky. Wisdom is connected to the fear of God, but not the kind of fear as if He were a monster. This is the healthy fear of respect, right relationship. When one seeks out God one finds wisdom, but one must work at it by asking good questions.

Learning can be an enjoyable experience and still be hard. There are many difficult, even borderline dangerous things we do that are rewarding: roller-coasters, falling with style down mountains on skis, lifting weights, playing physical sports. We enjoy the activity and shower off the sweat at the end of the evil.

Personally, learning is enjoyable. I was never a sporty person in my early years. I played sports, but did not enjoy them--never got into them. Now in later years I’ve found great enjoyment in the evil of running and lifting. Try and stop me from CrossFit. What I enjoy most is when the mind gets way “up there” and suddenly things mentally click into place--the blood flow awakens the brain (or something). I’ve learned about health and nutrition--and enjoy taking care of my body.

The same is true with mind and spirit. I write because I am learning--and sharing what I learn. I read the Bible and pray because there is more to a person than body and mind. I am a spiritual being that must learn, and often times, there are some things that cannot be learned by books and in classrooms. We are shaped by experience.

This seems to be the most difficult place to learn (the most “evil”) because sometimes, a relationship must be challenged in order to deepen. Life is abundant with opportunities for hurt and heal for the sake of learning. Teachable moments are all around us, though I admit I am not excited about most. These are challenges, but not impossible challenges. Just like lifting and running--you gotta push through to the end because there is no “quit.”

Wisdom is fearing God, which means more of Him and less of me.

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