October 31, 2009

I May Have a Man Crush on Ken Block

I can't get enough of Ken Block's driving skills. He is amazing.

October 29, 2009

Own Your Spiritual Gift

So gifts are an interesting topic, since a lot of people confuse talents with gifts. I play piano a little; is that a gift? No. There are other places in the Bible that talk about gifts but Romans 12:6-8 list some that Paul wants us to realize are gifts that are to be used for the body of believers. Again, the body is made up of different parts with different purposes. And so are we as Christians all part of one body in Christ. We all have different gifts to serve the body according to God's grace.

"if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness."

Each gift has instructions that follow. Basically we need to own our gift, using it fully to the extent that God has designed. Figure out what your gift is and use it. I think service is a huge one where many of us can find ways to be involved. I often wish I was rich so I could be the "one who contributes." But there are other things besides money that can be given with generosity. We need to look at this list and work out what we can do to fulfill our duty as part of the body.

Praise God for the Gifts He's Given Us.

October 28, 2009

We Are Memebers of One Body

Is a foot as important as an eye? Or is the hand more important than the ear? What part are you in the body of Christ? Are you super important? Do you often think of yourself as such? Too often, I think we do. I willing to bet most of us are toe nails, but ingrown toe nails. Sure we have a purpose, but too often we are hurting the body of Christ more than benefiting and protecting it.

It is so hard to be a Christian. I think a lot of us play the part on Sunday, but in our daily living among the world and non-Christians we are no different. And if you don't agree, PLEASE write comments on how you have success in this. I need help. I know the biblical answers is to listen to the Holy Spirit and to study God's word, but I'm crying out to God for help on a consistent basis and I feel like I fail every day. I am too often that ingrown toenail to the Christian body.

Romans 12:3-5 tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. We are all members of one body with different functions. Each of us needs to preform our functions to the best of our abilities. I know I'm not. Tomorrow I will write about some of the different gifts listed in verses 6-8.

Praise God for His Patience.
Praise God for His Faithfulness.

October 27, 2009

MS Windows 7 Launched on Today Show...with a big Oops!

So, Microsoft introduced Windows 7 on NBC's Today show a few days ago. Two funny things: First, the graphic of the Windows 7 logo in the background is overlaid on an Apple MacBook Pro. Second, Matt Lauer (a moron in his own right) talked about how Apple seems to be considered the "cool" company. Great launch info Matt. I can only imagine what Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, was thinking as Matt was saying that. At the end Matt added, "By the way, we should mention Microsoft is part owner in MSNBC...important to get that out." So is he saying they are biased by Microsoft? Why is that important to get out? Again, Matt is a moron, just like the graphics guy for the Today Show. Found on CrunchGear. UDPATE: I just found these too: The Japan Launch? Windows 98 Launch? "Hey Bill." An Explanation:

October 26, 2009

More Tomorrow

Today, I read too late to spend quality time writing my explanation of the next section. Romans 12:4-8 talks about the fact that the church is like a body with all the members making up the different parts of the body. It also talks about the gifts that we have as members. We all need to be using these gifts.

More tomorrow.

Praise God for another day to service and glorify Him.

October 25, 2009

Girls Are Evil. Here's Proof.

I originally posted this a long time ago, but my blog was not mature enough to leave it up. Here we go: Girls are evil. This is proof, mathematical proof. And math transcends language, culture, and even species. It's Science.

Esteban's Rootbeer by Oogavé

Trademarked "The original agave soda", Oogavé Sodas out of Denver, CO says, "Oogavé may increase your desire to stop drinking other beverages". I must admit, my first drink (at my cousin's house last weekend) was amazing. It caused me to head to Whole Foods and buy myself some more. It's great stuff. At only 102 calories in a 12 ounce glass bottle, this smooth drinking root beer is a hit in my book. Natural, organic, and delicious. I used to make fun of the organic stuff, calling it the foods for hairy women and hippies, and other un-showered folks. But as I get older and fatter, I am beginning to look for healthier options. My love for sodas has caused me to seek out alternatives to the stuff made with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS has been linked to weight gain and poor digestion, as I've talked about in past posts. This agave nectar sweetened root beer gives me an option with only 2/3 the calories of the other guys and a natural sweetening ingredient that is easier for my body to digest. Made with organic agave nectar instead of cane sugar or HFCS (the evil sweetner), or the artificial sweeteners like aspartame or saccharin, Oogavé's root beer doesn't leave any diet aftertaste either. In fact, I wouldn't know it as a healthier option from the taste. It is a great root beer. So go check it out. I enjoyed mine today with homemade nachos.

October 22, 2009

The New iMac

The new 21.5" and 27" iMacs are pretty amazing.

Don't Think More Highly of Yourself Than You Ought

I wake up all the time in the middle of the night. I think I have sleep apnea. I also think it affects my mood and causes mood swings, anger, frustration, and other issues. It sucks. I'm trying to realize that and pray about it because it's causing issues in other areas of my life. Work, marriage, interactions with other people; they are all suffering because of this.

Sometimes I think about if we are still in the garden, sinless, and in the presence of God, walking with Him, talking with Him, enjoying His creation, would there be little issues like sleeping problems. Because sin is the root of all things bad, would I be going through this if there wasn't sin? Well, that's not even what Romans 12:3 is about but that's all I'm going to write on today, as the next set of verses talk about Spiritual gifts. That's a big section.

Romans12:3 tells us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Paul says, "For by the grace given to me..." He points out the fact that he was given grace from God and it's according to that grace the he preaches and teaches God's word with the authority he does. We must likewise think about ourselves with sober judgment basing it on the "measure of faith that God has assigned." Our importance is not to be thought of too highly because it is assigned by God. God is the one who deserve any glory.

So far I don't think I've done much to explain this verse, so let me write an example from my own life. I used to help with youth ministry and music at FBC Auburn. I began to think of my "service" as a really "spiritual" thing. And, although I did help some people, my focus was often on self glorification and being able to say I served God. I thought of myself as better than others who were not serving at all. The realization of this hit me recently, when I recognized that I don't serve now. I didn't always think of myself as better than others, there were times I had the proper attitude. And I desperately miss music ministry, but there's a fine line between arrogance and a proper attitude of service. Each person has their own way to serve too...but that's for next time.

Praise God for The Faith He's Given me.

October 21, 2009

Don't Be Conformed, Be Transformed

Romans 12:1-2 are pretty well known verses. They are verses that tell us something we should be doing; therefore, as humans we feel like it's something we can be doing to earn our salvation. But Paul is writing this just after 3 chapters about election. We must realize that these are not actions that we do to gain or earn our salvation. These are the things we should be doing because we were chosen, because we are so grateful to God that He saved us. "...by the mercies of God...present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, WHICH IS YOUR SPIRITUAL WORSHIP." This is how we worship the one who saved us.

Verse to goes on to tell us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. "BY TESTING" we may discern what is the will of God. I think that may mean we are going to be tested by God, but also, we must look at the things in our lives on a continual basis and test them against God's word to see if they are in line with God's will. These things that are good, acceptable, and perfect. Although we can never be perfect in our sinful bodies, we can seek the things in our lives that are good, acceptable, and perfect and pursue them. Again, we must realize we are made to worship God. We are made to bring Him glory, praise, and honor.

Praise God Forever.
Praise God Forever.
Praise God Forever.

October 20, 2009

Oh How Deep Are the Riches of God

First, Stuart Fraser preached on Romans chapter 9 and God's sovereignty. It was so great to hear him this past Sunday. The previous Sunday and this past one, Stuart preached Romans chapter 9 to a church that does have some people who are very passionate about the topic of election, arguing man's part in salvation. Stuart and I both read this passage to say God saves us through election. Nothing we can do can gain us salvation. Listen to Stuart here then here, to hear the sermon series.

Now, moving on with Romans 11:25-36. Paul continues to point out Israel's part in God's plan. He talks about the "partial hardening" of Israel which allows for Gentile's to become part of God's family. Israel is considered an enemy of the gospel, for the sake of the gentiles. But as for election, God chose the Jews as His people. Therefore they will be saved because of their forefathers. To both Jews and Gentiles, God's calling is irrevocable. His mercy saves us DESPITE our disobedience.

Verses 33-36 are such a powerful passage about God. They are also a great song.

Oh how deep are the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to Him that he might be repaid?" For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.

October 16, 2009

Hansen's Beverage Company Sucks

Calling all Monster Energy Drink drinkers: STOP drinking it. Calling all Hansen's Beverage Company patrons: STOP buying their products. Don't buy anything from the Hansen's Beverage Company. They are going crazy with the lawyers, trying to scare a beverage review website into taking down a review and trying to tell a Vermont beer brewer to change the name of a beer. Monster Energy Drink vs. Vermonster. Oh yeah, I can see the confusion consumers are going to have. NOT! Beer is sold in a different location within the store to a different person wanting something different from their beverage. I'm calling for a boycott, not because it directly affects me, but after seeing their attack on my favorite beverage review site, bevreview.com, I came across the second story about the brewer. It makes nme mad that a large corporation would go after a small brewer for something that is totally not a trademark infringement. And like the brewer says in the following video, it's just a huge expense, Hansens can afford and the Rock Art Brewery can't. Here's the brewer's story. Read bevreview.com's story on their own site here or here at the Consumerist. Read the brewer's story here and visit their website.

October 15, 2009

Dublin Dr. Pepper

So I heard about a Dr. Pepper made with real can sugar. The problem was, it is made in Texas and it super expensive to have shipped here (I looked into it). You can check out the site and history at http://dublindrpepper.com/. Then, Tech-Guy-Ted told me about a place in Auburn, CA that sells this Dr. Pepper. I called the place, called Joe Caribé, and they had them. Although expensive, I was able to get a few bottles and taste this sugar cane version. It was so good. This version reminded me of the old days, when Dr. Pepper was my favorite soda. Even the "Nectar of Life", Mountain Dew, was below Dr. Pepper back then. ANYWAY, Dr. Pepper needs to sell a sugar based version nationwide. Pepsi and Mountain Dew did it, and are doing it again, with their Throwback versions. It's time for a Dr. Pepper Throwback.

We Were Grafted In

Romans 11:13-24 is a difficult passage of imagery. Paul uses the picture of an olive tree with branches broken off and different branches grafted in. The original branches represent the Jews who rejected Christ. The grafted branches represent Gentiles added to the family of God because of their belief in Christ as their Savior.

I have to work on this later, since I have to go get ready for work.

October 14, 2009

Salvation To All To Make the Jews Jealous

My friend Stuart and I were talking while having breakfast yesterday. I found out he is preaching through Romans at his church, and we talked about grace, God's calling, and some other serious topics like hyper-Calvinism. We also talked about the fact that too often, many people "write off" the Jewish people because salvation has been revealed to gentiles too. Because of the Jew's reject of Christ, now gentiles have access to Christ. Romans 11:11-12 tells us that Gentiles are included in God's plan for salvation to make the Jews jealous. That is really great for us who are not Jews, but more importantly, it points to the fact that God still loves His chosen people.

Praise God for Salvation.

October 11, 2009

Saab 9-5? Looks Like a Rebadged Audi A6

So the new Saab 9-5 looks like an Audi A6. And the A6 has had a similar look for over 10 years. Here's a 1999 Audi A6. And here's the beautiful 2009 Audi A6. Hey Saab, try harder. I mean, I'm sure Audi is flattered that you want to be like them, but come up with your own look.

Pomplamoose and VideoSong

I'm obsessed. These two are so talented. Pomplamoose is their name, and they make something called a "VideoSong." In their words, "A VideoSong is a new Medium with two rules: 1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice). 2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds)." Beat the Horse by Pomplamoose is an example. I think my first taste of something like this was a video editing guy I posted about a long time ago, here. The difference is these two are actual musicians, they record the tracks and then layer them. I think I thought they were doing a similar thing at first, but I realized Lasse in the video from 2007 was editing sounds together, and these two are editing layers or tracks together. Editing trick verses musical talent. I need help with my music. I want to be at a level nearer this, not the messy sounding, tape recorder style junk I've got now. Enjoy. Made famous by Nat King Cole. There's more too but just go to their site.

Pepsi Natural is Going "Bye-Bye" and Other Marketing Stuff (A JTG Rant)

I was at Target this week and a PepsiCo employee was there checking stock and shelf placement, and whatever they do to not help them sell soda better. Being the nerd that I am, I struck up a conversation with him about my love for Pepsi's products and my desire to work for PepsiCo. He said to me, "no you don't." What? I guess he is a commission based employee, which I would never want to be because goals are usually set at a point where reaching them is just shy of what is possible to reach for bonuses, and therefore, no money is made. This seemed to be his complaint. I did notice too many different sizes of cans and bottles, no Pepsi Natural, and just all around bad placement of the beverages. He also mentioned something about the Coca-Cola guy who also entered the isle. I quickly mentioned I hated Coke and he almost came to the rescue of the Coca-Cola guy. I felt like punching both of them after that. I asked him a few different questions about Pepsi and other flavors, but then I turned my focus to the fact that NO Pepsi Natural was on the shelves. He told me, it is done. Pepsi is not going to be selling it anymore. "What? That was a short run. And Pepsi did NO advertising anywhere for it," I told him. "Even Pepsi's own website doesn't mention Pepsi Natural." He told me they just try things and they are hit or miss. If it doesn't sell well right away, they pull it. It didn't seem right to me. I'm a huge Pepsi Natural fan. I mean, this is my favorite drink. I actually spend the extra money they charge for the glass bottled 4 packs of the stuff. And then I started thinking about how marketing people think they know sooo much about how to market products, companies, etc. For example, I had a great idea for my own employer. I believe they should use social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, to spread the word, for virtually free, to the world. Sure they would have to pay me a small salary to maintain the sites with current and relevant information about the company, ad campaigns, promotions, giveaways, etc., but I could do in for cheap. I wouldn't need an office. I wouldn't even need a computer really. I can practically do most of the required work from my phone (okay that might be pushing it a little, but don't pay some "marketing expert" moron 100K. Pay me 50K). This would be a great way to spread the word about the company, while at the same time, offering up solutions to problems, customer service help, and a way to control information about the company on the Internet. While on leave for a few weeks with a new baby, I set a meeting with the marketing people. These marketing geniuses basically didn't even let me explain my ideas. Instead, the president of marketing talked over me about how they were "already looking into this avenue of marketing" and "they were looking to hire someone who had experience in setting up this kind of site for a large company." So, in other words, my creative ideas after 9 plus years of experience with this company, would not be needed because some outside yahoo would be able to do it better; him with his marketing degree and all. I think what I'm getting at is: too often people go to school, are taught how to do things the teacher's way or the industries' standard way, given a degree that says, "you know marketing", and all the creative ideas of others are looked down upon or considered sub-par. My ideas come from experience, participation, and the observation of success in using these mediums. I look at what other LARGE companies are doing and how they make their followers, friends, and fans feel as though they are part of the company. I see that potential being wasted by the "marketing experts" of my company. The Mountain Dew Labs thing, for example; I'm not totally convinced I've had any impact on the design, look, name, or anything associated with flavor #231, but Mountain Dew made me feel like I did. They made me feel like I am part of their design team. I feel like I am part of the family. And that's what I see being the missed opportunity here. I spoke to two different customers this week about similar topics. One customer is a website designer. He told me he usually doesn't hire the college graduates who apply to his company because they design just like they were taught. There is no creativity in their designs, and they are often boring. The other customer was a retired marketing expert. He told me how the big corporate marketing jerks take the creativity of the little people and smash it to create the cookie cutter look that everyone else has. He talked about how the company he worked for was owned by a larger national company. When the larger parent company came in to "implement" the company's national message, they lost customers, jobs, and ultimately the whole smaller division, due to the lack of understanding their customers. Someone needs to take the little guy's ideas and let them run free. I think if my employer hired me to implement my social networking strategy, we would see almost instant gains in sales, recognition, and a nationwide acknowledgment of what the company is doing. We would be able to share our goals, products, position in the current market, and all the other strengths that make us one of the best in our industry. We would be able to show that we are the leading company in the nation, still doing business the same today as we did 5 years ago, before the current economic crisis. We are strong, secure, respected, and well funded to maintain a high level of quality service and products for our customers. These free marketing mediums would allow us to express our redefined focus on customer service and all the great products we offer both businesses and individuals. We could incorporate our national marketing campaigns with local focuses and successes throughout all our markets, products, and services. But back to my Pepsi Natural. Pepsi never even addressed that they made this stuff. It's no where to be found in any of their marketing. And it's sad because it is soooo good. Sure, they can't really talk about the fact that it's made with real cane sugar, making it easier for their consumers' bodies' to digest. They don't want to harm the sales of there biggest two beverage, Pepsi and Mountain Dew. But, why not talk about the "all natural ingredients" or the "original cola style taste" or the fact that it's stinking amazing, in a glass bottle, and a sophisticated grown-up soda? I'm so sad about Pepsi Natural. It really is good. People were not given a chance to try it. Maybe the marketing as natural threw off the masses. Instead, you marketing geniuses, try the "original cola styling" approach. That might get some more fans of old school stuff to try it. Look at the marketing success of the VW Beetle when it came back out. It's been awhile since I had a good rant, so here's one about marketing, Pepsi Natural, and college educated people sucking. HAHA. Maybe that's a little harsh. Sorry to those of you who went to college and think you are somehow smarter, or you who think the word "sucking" is as bad as any cuss word. I'm actually sad about my misfortune with the marketing people at my company. I know I would be good at it. I'm still passionate about it, and that means I care enough about it that I'd do really well at it. I'd enjoy my job too. But for now, I'll still work hard where I am.

October 10, 2009

7000 Jews by Grace

Today, I finally get back to Romans chapter 11. I accidentally got myself out of order back in August. I jumped from chapter 10:5 to 11:5, so after today's entry, jump to here.

In Romans 11:1-6, Paul asks if God has rejected his people. And although the Jews did reject God, He did not rejected them. Paul points out the fact that he is a Jew, and God chose Paul to spread the word of Jesus death and resurrection, and spoke to both Jews and gentiles about their need for a Savior.

Paul, in verse 5 and 6, points to the fact that it's by God's grace that 7000 Jews were selected by God, when all others were killing God's prophets and destroying His alters. It's all by God's grace.

Praise God for His Grace

October 8, 2009

Make Jesus Lord

Romans 10:18-21 talk about the fact that the whole world has heard about God. Everyone needs a Savior, whether or not they confess that. My wife and I started talking about these passages and it caused me to re-read verse 9. "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD..." He has to be Lord. You confess it, but the words are just words unless you believe it, allow it, and are conformed by it. "Even the demons believe - and shudder!" (James 2:19)

The word confess must mean something more than just "saying words". By confessing, you are admitting truth; you are admitting that Jesus IS Lord of your life. The passage does not say, "if you say Jesus is Lord," it says, "if you confess..." It is so important to make Jesus Lord.

There are a lot of excuses we make that lead us to lazy lives. And laziness can be a sign of being a lukewarm Christian. And a lukewarm Christian is spit out of the mouth of God, this means you are not saved. And, THAT IS SCARY to me. I've been so lukewarm (closer to cold) for to long. I need my butt kicked. I've even allowed myself to become depressed and miserable. These are not characteristics of a Christian. We have the grace of God in our lives. We have the hope of the free gift of God. And if Jesus is the Lord of our lives, all we do will be for His glory and therefore good. Sure, life will probably be harder; sin is so easy. But it will be worth it because it will feel good, bring joy, satisfy beyond understanding. If Jesus is Lord, you can take comfort in knowing all that comes your way is for His glory. And you can face down any challenge because Jesus is Lord, God is God, and they are on your side.

It is time for me to turn my life around. I need to do only things that are for the glory of God. Although it was easier when I was involved in church with music and youth ministries, there is an unsaved world that I work in and with; and there is an opportunity to be an example to these people. Forget the stresses of life. Work to please God and everything else will not matter. Don't work to please man. Don't live to bring glory to yourself. Live and breath for the purpose of glorifying God. John Piper says, "The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever." I would say, by glorifying God, we will enjoy life better. Our lives will have meaning. Without a commitment to the glorification of God, there is no meaning for our existence. My wife said as an example, "Angelina Jolie is an atheist and probably thinks of herself as a good person because she donates millions of dollars to charities and is taking care of underprivileged kids." If it was for the glory of God it would mean something. Unfortunately, it's for the glory of Angie.

Praise God and Glorify Him Today. Make Jesus Lord.

October 7, 2009

Faith Comes from Hearing, Through the Word

Romans 10:14-17 asks several questions. How do does one call on Him in whom they have not believed? How does one believe in whom they have not heard? And how does one hear without someone preaching? Verse 17 tells us that "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

Here in the USA, we have such access to churches, Bibles, and other resources to hear and study the word of God. On a personal level we need to be working through studying the word of God, the Bible. Also, we need to be diligent to attend a local church to hear the word of God preached. This is a little more challenging, as it is easy to find a church but it is more difficult to find a preacher who actually preaches the word of God. It's important to find a Bible teaching church, one that goes verse by verse through a particular section so nothing is taken out of context. This is called expository preaching. Topical preaching, another style, can allow for too much opinion and misinterpretation of the a passage or verse.

October 6, 2009

Confess and Believe and You Will Be Saved

Chapter 10:5-13 talks about the great hope anyone can have in Jesus Christ. And it's always been this way. Often, people think of the old testament as the time when people were saved by following a bunch of rules and preforming sacrifices. But even Moses wrote about righteousness based on the law verses righteousness based on faith. Those who base their righteousness on the law must live by the law, meaning a strict adherence to the law is required for salvation; and NO ONE can follow the law perfectly. But righteousness based on faith allows for verse 9. "...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." And verses 12 and 13 tell us everyone who called on the name of the Lord will be saved, Jews and Gentiles.

Praise God for The Free Gift of Salvation.

October 5, 2009

Royal Red Robin Burger

This is such a good burger. It's the Red Robin "Royal Red Robin
Burger" and it is delicious. Burger, bacon, FRIED EGG!! So good people.

The only thing missing is the Pepsi products they used to carry.

October 1, 2009

5 Weeks Off and Nothing

How wrong of me to not write on this blog these last almost 5 weeks off. I'm sad at my lack of blogging. I had a real chance to get this thing going strong and I never did. Boo on me.