March 31, 2009

My Drive Home

God's beautiful creation is evident to me on my drive home.

March 30, 2009

I'm Seeing a Pattern...a Pattern of Excuses

It's so easy for me to become distracted in the mornings with my son wanting attention, or some form of technology calling for me to check out the newest time wasting features or products. But I do desire to read God's word, grow in it's truth, and write about what I've learned. The problem is time. I try to get myself up at 6:30am everyday, hoping to come downstairs, read my Bible, and blog about what I've read. Then mornings like today come and I don't get to blogging about what I've read until it's time for me to wrap it up and get ready for work. Or mornings like the last few, where I don't even get up in time or my son wakes up with me and choose to entertain Him. These are not excuses. They are actually frustrations with myself. I'm annoyed by my weaknesses. I can only hope in the future glory to be revealed in Heaven. But more on that next time.

March 27, 2009

2010 VW Golf is Golf not Rabbit...and the GTD

I wrote about the new 6th generation VW Golf due out this summer already (here, here, and here), but I have info about the upcoming model. First, it is rumored VW is not going to call the next generation Golf the "Rabbit" here in the USA. Instead, they are going to be calling it the "Golf" again. I am glad we are going to have that name back here, as "Rabbit" is a little.......not masculine. Also, and the most exciting part, they are going to be introducing the GTD. It's a GTI with a turbo diesel. This 2.0 liter diesel engine produces 170 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 is close to 8 seconds, but the best part is the MPG. This diesel is rated at 44.4 MPG. That's awesome. I'm definitely wanting one. I'm not sure what the price will be, but I really like what I see...and read. Read on Autoblog and Jalopnik.

March 25, 2009

Heirs of God with Christ

There is a stark contrast between being a debtor and an heir. To be a debtor you owe something. In the case of our soul, death is the payment for those who live in or by the flesh. Romans 8:12-17 compares that debt owed if our lives are lived in the flesh to that fact that we are given something when we live in the Spirit. We are made heirs of God if we are led by the Spirit of God. We are sons of God. Verse 13 "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." We become adopted sons "by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" We are "heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him."

Are we living in the flesh or in the Spirit of God? Are our sins in control or are we striving to please God with our lives? Are we fleeing sin on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis? I'm not saying we will ever reach perfection. But I think too often we fall back on that excuse are think, "welp, I'm a sinner." Instead we need to be angry with our sin. That is probably the only way we can have justified anger. Be mad at your sin. It is a battle we must wage even every second of our lives. We need to listen to the Spirit's prompting. We need to continually focus on God and His will for our lives.

Praise God for His Adoption, that we can be heirs with Christ.

March 23, 2009

Made Alive by the Spirit

First, there were some police officers killed in the line of duty in Oakland. It is a sad thing when people, who are doing the job of protecting society from evil doers, are killed in the process of doing that job. But my pastor used this event to again express his love for people. He prayed yesterday for the families of the officers killed. He prayed that God would save at least one of these officers out of the abundance of His grace. And he prayed that through this tragedy others would be drawn to God and more people would be saved. Out of all the tragedies that have happened during my short life, I don't remember ever hearing someone pray, "Save one of these lost in the tragedy out of the abundance of Your grace." It was an awesome understanding of who God is, His power to save, and the knowledge of His love.

Romans 8:9-11 tells us (we) "are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in (us)." If we don't have the Spirit we do not belong to Him. I often feel like my sin begins to rule over my life and I almost freak out with the frustration of that. I hate my sin and do not what it to be in my life. But I do feel the prodding of the Spirit in my life to turn and flee sin. I know that, like the "Crazy Love" book said, "when we love God, we naturally run to Him - frequently and zealously." I know I desire to spend more time studying His word and understanding His grace and love more. I know that love is one of my weakest attributes. But it's a crucial attribute of God, required for my salvation. If God's grace was not revealed to me, I would not have any hope of eternity.

I praise God today for the grace and love and mercy he has shown to me. I praise Him as the one and only God, the Great I Am, my Savior, and my only hope. My prayer is that my life would be a light and my sin would be crushed, so that more people may know and understand God's grace. I am thankful for God's provision in my life and trust that He will continue to provide for my needs. I recognize my true needs have already been met in salvation and my joy is made complete in this truth. Praise be to God.

Praise God.
Praise Him as the Great I Am.
Praise Him for His Grace.

March 22, 2009

Crazy Love - Chapter 3, Crazy Love

So I'm really behind on my book review updates. I'm on chapter 5 with the guys and this is only chapter 3's review. This is the book titled chapter. It's a great chapter about God's love, and how crazy it is that He gives it to us. We don't earn it, desire it, and most of the time realize it's impact on our lives. The song "Jesus Loves Me" in basic terms tells us that we are loved by Jesus because "the Bible tells (us) so," but do we just believe that to be true or do we realize that as truth. Do we implicitly know that Jesus loves us? Or is it just a "concept we are taught" as Francis says? Do we know God's love?

Francis talked a little about his father and the abusive nature of their relationship. He explained that for a long time, "the fear of the Lord" was actual fear for him. He says he could relate to verses in the Bible about fearing God or God's wrath, because his own father created these feeling in Francis toward him. It was not until later in his life that Francis realized the love for God caused him to run towards God and desire to know God more. This deepened his understanding of God's love as well as His wrath. Instead of studying our of guilt, the desire to study comes out of love.

He goes on to talked about God knowing us, directing and/or allowing the situations in our lives to arise in accordance with His plan for our lives. God knew us before we knew ourselves. Before we were, God knew us. In life (specifically in Francis' upbringing) doing something offensive often results in punishment not love. But God loves us despite our sins against Him and His law. "...if God's mercy didn't exist, there would be no hope. No matter how good we tried to be, we would be punished because of our sins." Also, Francis says, "The irony is that while God doesn't need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don't really want Him most of the time."

One of the last things that jumped out to me was this: A student at a college were Francis was speaking asked him this question, "Why would a loving God force me to love Him?" First, I recognize the arrogance in this student's question, but I think Francis sees the opportunity for love. He says it was tough to answer in the moment but having time to think about an answer he wishes he would have said, "If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn't draw us towards what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)?" "The greatest good on earth is God."

That is so powerful. God's love is so great that He draws us to Himself so we can be saved from our otherwise wretched existence. We draws us to the only good on earth; not just the best or greatest good, but the only good. Himself. God is great. And He reigns forever. And His crazy love for us should be worshiped forever and ever.

March 20, 2009

Focus on the Things of the Spirit

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1-8 starts with this great truth. And although this doesn't mean we will live sinless lives, it does mean that One did, satisfying the righteous requirement of the law. Jesus came and lived a perfect life according to the law by the Spirit because He was God. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." Those who have their minds on the flesh are hostile to God, not submissive to God's law. They can not please God.

It's time to turn our minds to the things of God and the Spirit. Peace and life come from God; death from the flesh. It is a battle of the Spirit against the flesh in our lives. We must continue to focus on God and flee the desires of our flesh.

Praise God for His Word. It provides the focus we need.

March 19, 2009 iPhone OS 3.0 Preview Presentation

iPhone OS 3.0 Preview
To: My Readers
From: Jimmy the Gun
I just finished watching the Apple March 17 Event. You should check it out.
Watch the video
Copyright © 2009 Apple Inc. 1 Infinite Loop, MS 303-3DM, Cupertino, CA 95014.
Coming to an iPhone this summer, iPhone OS 3.0. The long awaited cut/copy/paste will be here. The missing MMS capability will finally arrive, allowing contacts, photos, audio files, and location to be sent to other phones. The landscape keyboard for more than just Safari. Text forwarding, copying, and deleting will be realized. The ability to email more than one picture at a time is coming. And so much more; over 100 new features for the end users. Apple announced the Software Development Kit (SDK) for iPhone OS 3.0 is now available to application developers. They announced over 1000 new application programming interfaces (API) or new tools for the developers to use. Such additions include: purchasing within an app (like new levels to games or subscriptions to newspapers or e-books), in app use of the local iPod songs, in app emails, peer to peer or iPhone to iPhone connections via Bluetooth or wireless, Push notification (for things like IM or sports updates from ESPN), and more. This could turn the iPhone around for me. It's been a good phone but it's limitations are irritating because they don't need to be there. This phones possibilities are almost endless, and some of the basics have been missing. It sounds like this summer will bring A New Hope to the iPhone. Check out the gallery of photos at Engadget here and here.

March 16, 2009

Star Trek Title Logos Over the Years

I've seen all the movies.

I Sin Even When I Don't Want To

Romans 7:14-25 starts by telling us (who are saved) that we know the law is spiritual, but we are flesh, sold under sin. Because of that we sin, even though we may not want to. Our minds agree with the law which is good, but our actions are those of the flesh, and are sin. We desire to do what is good, but not the ability to carry it out. Verse 19 "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." Verse 23 "but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members."

WE ARE WRETCHED! But Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Verse 25 "So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." This passage is so true in my life. I'm starting to realize how negative, destructive, and wretched I am. My wife can tell you I talk about it all the time. And I don't want to be this way. I want it to change. I want to be filled with the joy that only a believer can have. I am a wretched man, stuck in a fleshly body full of sin. But I have the Grace of God which saves me from that sin. My mind can be filled with the knowledge of that salvation being given undeserved to me by the God and Creator of all things.

Praise God for Jesus Christ, my Savior.

March 15, 2009

My Week Long Love Affair with Pepsi Natural

It's been a week now since I discovered and tasted Pepsi Natural. And I have to say, I love it. It's really good. Drinking out of a glass bottle, feeling like it may be better for me than Pepsi with HFCS, the taste, the bubbles, the textures, it's a great drink. I long for it all day. I've managed to keep myself at one a day, but it's good. I hope it stays around. It's a little expensive compared to other sodas, but I enjoy it enough to keep drinking it. The weirdest thing so far is that I can't seem to find information about it on Pepsi's website. If you haven't tried it, head to Target. It's good stuff. It was on sale this past week too. I'm not sure it still is.

March 13, 2009

The Law Points to Sin and Death, but it's Holy

First off, I'm ridiculous. If I get outside my routine even a little, my devotions and blog are what suffers; the devotions being the most important part missing from my day. I've re-read Romans 7:7-13 and it still is a tough passage, going back and forth about the law and sin and death. I'm going to take a large portion of passage and cover the general meaning because I think I could work on this section for a while and I want to get past it.

The law, which is the commandments of God, reveal sin and the death that sin brings. That doesn't; however, make the law a part of sin or sin itself. The law provides knowledge of sin in our lives, ultimately so we know that we are sinners and we can turn from sin and towards Christ. In the same way, the law does not bring the death that comes from sin. Sin brings death. The law, again, shows us we are sinners and that we are dead because of it. The law is holy and from God. It reveals our sin so we can know that it is doing evil in us.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will continue on and finish Chapter 7. I also have 2 more chapters of "Crazy Love" to finish.

March 12, 2009

Pepsi Max: A True Diet for Men?

Fat men, and that's starting to be me more and more, do have a choice in soda now. For the first time I can ever remember, the marketing for a product actually caused me to try the product. The commercial for Pepsi Max, that ran during the Superbowl and I posted here, is actually a diet soda that I can bare. Although it still has a diet taste, it's not as strong as other diet sodas out there. It's also made with Ginseng and caffeine to help give energy. I do want to say: it is diet. And diet is not as good as regular. In fact, Diet Mountain Dew is awful, and I don't like to say anything bad about MD (I love regular Mountain Dew so much I don't even mind that it's part of the reason I'm headed upwards in the numbers associated with my weight). But diet is not good, gross usually. Pepsi Max; however, is a decent attempt. Because I posted the commercial so many posts ago, and because I think it's so good, I'll post it again.

Andy Richter Hyundai vs Toyota, Nissan Commercial

This is good.

March 8, 2009

Crazy Love - Chapter 2, You Might Not Finish This Chapter

Well, the title of this one may be confusing but Francis was pointing to that fact that none of us knows when death will come...or Christ for that matter. We need to live every moment as though our life could end right then. This means live every moment to the glory of God.

Some things I highlighted from the chapter include his thoughts on people like my self, "worriers." Francis says of himself, "I was the worrying kind. I'm a problem solver, so I have to focus on things that need fixing." If you've ever read my other blog, you'd see that pretty much could be the mission statement of my writing there. Francis points to verses like Philippians 4:4-6, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Francis also says, "Both worry and stress reek of arrogance." Stuart pointed me to Matthew 6:27, "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"

Francis points to the fact that we are often "quick to forget God" when "life is all about God and not about me at all." Our existence is not even equal to his description of our "two-fifths of a second" compare to God's eternal existence. God has been forever. "The point of your life is to point to Him (God). God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His....His world, His gift."

Francis also quotes a essay from a young girl who ended up passing away at a young age. She wrote the essay at around twelve years old, but her understanding of our purpose on earth was far better than mine. I even felt a little emotional thinking about my son and the example I am to him. She wrote, "I'll live my life to the fullest. I'll be happy. I'll brighten up. I will be more joyful than I have ever been. I will be kind to others. I will loosen up. I will tell others about Christ." Francis spoke at the little girl's funeral and witnessed people who were affected by her little life. Later, Francis writes, "Sadly, many people die while living selfishly. Their funerals are filled by individuals who stretch the truth in order to create a semblance of a meaningful life." Was he talking directly to me? It felt like it. Who is getting up at my funeral and lying about my meaningful life?

Chapter 2 closes with a strong reminder for me. "Friends, we need to stop living selfish lives, forgetful of our God...nothing matters except out King and God."

Pepsi Natural Packaging

The packaging for Pepsi Natural is a little plain, almost boring, and easily missed. I was thinking, if Pepsi just put their colors on the logo only, it would jump out better as a Pepsi product. Yesterday, I was physically looking for the Pepsi Natural and almost missed it. If someone is not looking for the specific product, it could easily be missed. Please remember, I do not have Photoshop, nor could I use it if i did.

Pepsi vs. Pepsi Natural Part 2

I drank my first Pepsi Natural last night, sharing a little with my wife. It was still not quite cold enough for the official taste test so I just enjoyed it. And I did enjoy it. To be as completely fair in this taste test, I had to pour the Pepsi and Pepsi Natural into cups with 3 piece of ice each. This way the glass bottle would not bias the experience (still does). The first thing I noticed was the amount of foam the Pepsi Natural created and how long it held. The foam head was so great it took me several minutes to fill the cup and empty the bottle. The color of the foam was also a darker shade of tan with a hint of green. The next thing I noticed was the lighter color of the Pepsi Natural next to the Pepsi. I'm not sure why this is but PepsiCo did use different ingredients for color in the Pepsi Natural (APPLE EXTRACT (COLOR) and CARMEL COLOR vs just CARMEL COLOR). I also noticed the bubbles on the sides of the glass were more and smaller in the Pepsi Natural. Again listed on the Natural is sparkling water, and on the Pepsi is carbonated water. I'm not sure if this is the reason for the difference but it may be. Finally the taste test. Really they do have similar characteristics, but the Pepsi Natural is more like a matured Pepsi. Take the familiar sweet taste of Pepsi down just a tad, reduce the sticky acid bite and teeth eating texture of a normal soda, at hints of nuts and coffee, spices, and a lighter bubble and you've got Pepsi Natural. I think I like it. I think it will work if Pepsi keeps it around.

March 7, 2009

Pepsi vs. Pepsi Natural Part 1

So here we go. I found Pepsi Natural at Target literally 52 minutes ago. I am so pumped. There were three 4-packs at the Lincoln Target, and I bought them all (one's for you Ted). Now, I'm going to blog about it more than once, seeing how I've blogged about its coming more than once. First, I'm going to compare Pepsi Natural to Pepsi. (A Rabbit wife is currently pregnant with our second kid and can't ingest as much caffeine as a non-pregnant person, without risking harm to the baby growing inside her. I poured her a caffeine free Pepsi today and set it down next to my Pepsi. I didn't pay attention to which one was which and, well, the taste test happened. Results: NO discernible taste difference between Pepsi and Caffeine Free Pepsi.) Now for part one of "Pepsi vs. Pepsi Natural." First, while the Pepsi Natural is cooling in the refrigerator, I will go over the ingredients and nutrition facts listed on a can vs. the glass bottle. On a 12 fluid ounce can of Pepsi the ingredients are listed as: CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CARAMEL COLOR, SUGAR, PHOSPHORIC ACID, CAFFEINE, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR. CAFFEINE CONTENT: 38mg/12 fl oz. On a 12 fluid ounce glass bottle of Pepsi Natural the ingredients are listed as: SPARKLING WATER, SUGAR, NATURAL APPLE EXTRACT (COLOR), CARMEL COLOR, CITRIC ACID, CAFFEINE, ACACIA GUM, TARARIC ACID, LACTIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR, KOLA NUT EXTRACT. CAFFEINE CONTENT: 38mg/12 fl oz. Nutrition for both looks very similar except for sodium, total carbs, and sugar. Pepsi has listed: 30mg sodium 41g total carbs 41g sugar Pepsi Natural has listed: 35mg sodium 39g total carbs 38g sugar Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, I'm looking forward to the next steps. Drinking from a glass bottle. Tasting Pepsi made with sugar not HFCS. Experiencing a different way to make a great product. Stay tuned for part 2 later, after the Natural cools for awhile.

Pepsi Natural made from....

Pepsi Natural comes in a 4 pack

Pepsi Natural at Target

I found it. Pepsi Natural at Target in Lincoln.

New Star Trek Movie

This trailer will probably get pulled soon but I'm posting it anyway. The new Star Trek movie coming in May looks so awesome. Even a non-Trekkie should be able to like this movie.

March 5, 2009

Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback

Updated pictures.

Pepsi Natural

On February 19th I talked about Pepsi and Mountain Dew Throwback, both the original products being made with real sugar instead of HFCS. Through researching that information, I came across a website called I also saw something about following the site's updates with Twitter. So, I started following and...about 30 minutes ago I saw an update from today for a product called "Pepsi Natural." I had to check it out and this is the first thing I saw. also quotes the press release from Pepsi saying: An all-new premium cola, Pepsi Natural is made with all-natural ingredients, including lightly sparkling water, natural sugar, natural caramel and kola nut extract. The amber-hued cola gets its color from natural caramel and natural apple extract. From the amount of bubbles to the foam that rises to the top of beverage when it's poured, Pepsi Natural offers a brand-new cola experience. Pepsi Natural is packaged in a sleek 12-oz. glass bottle and is available in single-serve and 4-packs initially in the premium and/or natural food aisles of retail outlets in the following ten regional markets; Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas and New York. and: Pepsi Natural Sparkling water, sugar, natural apple extract (color), carmel color, citric acid, caffeine, acacia gum, tartaric acid, lactic acid, natural flavor, kola nut extract. I've been blogging about my love for Pepsi for some time now. And part of my blogs have been about Pepsi's need to come out with their sodas in bottles again. Well, they finally heard least I'm going to take credit for it on this site. I mean, they are making it with premium ingredients and calling in natural, and I'm betting it's not going to be found in the normal canned soda section, instead look in the health/premium foods section, but I've been saying glass bottles since.......March 10, 2008 and again on August 24, 2008. I am such a die hard fan, I'm thinking of taking a trip to San Fransisco to try and find some of this Pepsi Natural. Anyone want to go?

Pepsi Max Advertisement

I saw this during the Superbowl and just came across it again. Enjoy.

The New Holodeck

I found this on Gizmodo, one of the tech blogs I read. To steal the description from Gizmodo, it's like the modern day Holodeck from Star Trek TNG. This is a really neat video, and I would love to have something like this for designing some of my ideas for houses, cars, and even video game worlds. It takes a minute to get going, but it's a cool video.
World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

March 4, 2009

Depeche Mode's "Wrong" Video

I've been a Depeche Mode fan for a really long time. I have every album they've produced since 1981 through 2005 and I still listen to them all, all the time. I truly love the sound of their music, still. Well there is a new CD coming out soon, four years later, and I can't wait. Although the song in the video below takes a couple of listens to get used to, the video made the song for me. Watch. The three guys looking at the guy in the car are DM's members. Now that I've found their YouTube site, I may post more videos. UPDATE: I like that they used a Crown Victoria in this video.

Just a Personal Update

The next passage of Romans is a hard study for me today. I'm going to hold off on writing about it today and re-read it again tomorrow. I'm hoping more insight and understanding will come from more time to read it and meditate on it.

I also realized I haven't been doing my book review updates. I have 2 more chapters of the book "Crazy Love" to review and I will work on those tomorrow too.

With the economy the way it is and the financial world going through trying times, my company has made cutbacks in the hours and salaries of all employees. The bank is doing this as a measure to drive off the need for layoffs. My bank is rated as the more solid and secure bank in the USA and I feel like it is still a good company to work for. This has caused me to have Thursdays off. It's good and bad. It allows me to watch Caleb and spend more time with him. But it causes Lisa to have to work. I do have an interview for a promotion on the 11th and I'm praying that God allows is for me to step into this new role. It's a huge step, but one that gets me back to where I believe I'd be if I had never left the bank.

I guess this is a prayer request. This opportunity would allow me to get back into what I enjoy doing for the bank. I'd be the District Operations Manager, managing the Northern Sacramento Branches (Colfax down), where my duties would be to manage the branches to the banks policies and procedures and federal regulations. I'll admit, I would be a little freak out at first, as this would be a giant step after 5 years away. But I know that I can do it. I have 8 years of experience with the same bank. I have my law enforcement background, which may be used in preparing for court, organizing reports, and conducting interviews and investigations. I know that the two Operations Specialists I'd be working with have a great amount of knowledge and experience. I think we would have around 15-20 branches in our district. That's a lot, but when I was an Operations Specialist in 2003 I had 14 branches all to my self. I am praising God just for the opportunity, and I know that he put me in the bank for a reason.

Praise God today with all you do and say. Be in constant prayer, relying on Him for the strength needed to avoid sin and bring glory to Him.

March 2, 2009

No Longer Under the Law

Chapter 7:1-6 of Romans talks about our release from the law because we are now under Christ. Paul uses the analogy of a woman being freed from the bonds of marriage when her husband dies. Likewise, we are dead to the law and alive in Christ.

This passage was really written to those who found (or believed they found) their salvation in obedience to the law. The problem is: we all sin; we all fall short of perfection in adherence to the law. And that disqualifies us from righteousness and holiness and the requirements to enter the presence of the Holy God.

This passage is necessary in understanding that no matter how well we know and understand and follow the law, we can not earn salvation from it. It's really quite comforting to know that we must trust in God and believe His grace is the only thing that can provide salvation from our sins.

Praise God for His Grace.