Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Own Peter Warski

So we've all done it, ran a Google search on our own name.  Once upon a time, all searches were created equal.  When I searched for my name, it was the same as when you searched for my name.  Nowadays, there's no such thing as a single set of results.  So my search for James Lamb does bring me up in a lot of the top results.  But there are others with my name or a name close to mine, like a now-deceased author of dog training books and a man in California who's been in the news a lot struggling to find a home after serving time for doing unpleasant things.   Even my online persona TV James (or tvjames - it's never been settled) is sometimes up for debate.  There's a guy with an email address similar to my gmail address, as near as I can tell, scams women with offers of a free makeover on a TV show.  Dumb women.  Women who mistake my email address for his and send photos of themselves.  And some guy whose last name is James and whose first name is Thomas and middle name starts with a V.  He's got to hate me - even his mom emails me on my Yahoo account.

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Life

Click over to YouVersion to see it with the Bible verses.

New Life (John 5:16-47)
(from "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg; Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; April 24, 2011. My notes are from the 9 and 10:45 am services, I pray that my notes capture the right stuff and are helpful to you)

--- When Religion Attacks Jesus (v. 16-18) ---

How many religious "acts" are simply "performances"? Keeping rules and regulations, always about your actions and not about God's love.

1. "He breaks our RELIGIOUS RULES."
He healed on a day when you're not supposed to do miracles. (Of course, how many of them could do miracles on any day?)

2. "He claims to be EQUAL WITH GOD."
If he were here today, he'd plead guilty. He did break their rules. He did claim to be equal to God. He never intended for us to be wrapped up in religion. It's not about doing stuff, it's about believing. Faith in Jesus is about a change inside, not about following some man-made rules.

--- Jesus' Response to Religion ---

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Up?

It's been tough lately. But things feel a little better at the moment. I posted the other night "I do believe that at this moment in time all of the right balls are back up in the air where they belong. Let's see how long I can keep them up there this time." and got a few likes on it, so I guess that means people understand where I'm coming from.

So, yeah, the last few nights I've had a chance to watch some TED Talks, Groundswell came back to the library again and I did some reading in it last night. Over the weekend I read a few more chapters in the atheism book. I think I'm getting caught up on Google Reader. Last week the weather was nice enough to get a run in. Although since then it's been just raining like crazy. I'm using Lose It again - I want to drop about 8 pounds - five new ones plus three that came back. I like the rain, but I'm ready to start running again. We're trying to get to bed earlier and the doctor's appointments for our children were pretty good. And we ended up having a date out of the deal. I got the laundry room re-plumbed and put back together and am getting caught up with the laundry. Things are going better at work. I've even scheduled a week of vacation for mid-May. And what will I do on vacation? Read books and magazines, do house projects (maybe build a fortress of solitude in our crawlspace*, a workbench, outside access to our crawlspace, an outside toolshed or my new outside office. If the rain stops, I'll re-kill all the vegetation alongside the house, cover it with a few layers of weedblock and work on the backyard hangout place I want to build. Or maybe just fix the grout problem in the kitchen tile and finish the chair rail in Ben's room). I've been toying with the idea of completing everything on my to do list or reading every single post in my Google Reader, just for the idea of completing something.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Sift 111-115

The Sift 111: Google

  • New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels
  • Google To Test In-Store Mobile Payment System
  • Google Sets Role in Mobile Payment
  • Google: Social Media Success Will Determine Employee Bonuses
  • Google Developing App That Can Snap Your Face, Pull Up Your Profile

Read more...



The Sift 112: Entertainment and Technology

  • Piracy is a problem of 'global pricing,' not enforcement, claims new report
  • Went to Bharma -- LOST themed restaurant in Barcelona
  • Theater owners ready to fight over $30, 60-day window VOD movies
  • 15 Movie Cliché Supercuts That Poke Fun at Hollywood [15 VIDEOS!]
  • Art of the Title - moving opening sequences
Read more...

The Sift 113: Social Media
  • Facebook Releases Robust Updates to Its Comments Plugin
  • Facebook Writes Its Privacy Policy in a Language Humans Can Read
  • Warner Bros. Starts Renting Movies on Facebook
  • Foursquare releases venue database for all to use
  • Cost of Facebook Ads Jumped 40% This Year
Read more...

The Sift 114: Finances, Banking, Business and Acquisition (Tax Day)
  • Tax Day: Are You Ready? (Infographic)
  • Google snags PushLife, will probably use it to push music to your Android phone
  • Google Gets Green Light From Justice Department for Travel Acquisition
  • SmartGiving Lets Your Credit Card Choose Your Charity Causes
  • Discover cardholders can send money to anyone with a cell phone, email address
Read more...

The Sift 115: WOW Videos
  • Slowing down time - recording at 2,564 frames per second
  • How to Organize a Bookshelf
  • Fighting Shadows
  • San Francisco to Paris Time-Lapse
  • South Sanriku - Tsunami seen from Shizugawa High School - watch at your own risk
Read more...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review -- The Office on Pacific

We went to The Office on Pacific (a Bar and Grill in Tacoma) last night.  Highly recommended, we'll definitely be going back there again.  Read my Yelp review.

Also, I didn't mention in my review, but they also have a $5 special going on Foursquare right now as well.

Their website:
http://www.theofficeonpacific.com/

Monday, April 25, 2011

120: Unfortunate Acts of Others

"You suck!" yelled the driver as he inched by in his blue sedan.

There was nothing Jared could do. The truck had clipped his Sportage and pushed it into the railing where it was now stuck. Of course, the truck hadn't stoppped. So Jared sat on the edge of the railing and waited. He had tried to extricate himself, but the car wouldn't budge.

It was a hot day and the sun beat down. The air was still. He would have given anything for a breeze. Or a working cell phone. A woman who had seen the whole thing called the highway patrol for her, but then she, too, had to move on. The mountain pass was narrow and she couldn't stay either.

He wished he had a watch. He had no clue how long it had been. Or even if there was a tow truck or patrol car somewhere in that long, long line of cars that stretched as far as he could see. Eventually the winding road curved around a hill and he couldn't see any further, but so far, no relief was in sight. And at the speeds these cars were edging around him, it was going to be quite some time.

The truck had been tailgating him for some time, a large pickup with big tires and a menacing grill driven by a menacing jerk. This was not the place for lessons, so Jared had kept to the speed limit and had hoped a clearing would present itself before the guy did something stupid. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and so near the top of the hill just as it flattened out, the driver of the pickup had seen the oncoming lane was clear, floored it, trying to charge past. Only he'd misjudged, tapped the corner of the SUV, pushing it to the right, towards the guardrail and the cliff. The bumper was pushed under the guardrail and when Jared got out to take a look, the car lifted just enough to catch and become stuck.

The pickup had stopped, but as soon as Jared got out of his car, it raced off. "Chicken" Jared thought. Jared was a big guy, but not a confrontational one. Of course the guy in the pickup didn't know that, they were obviously a coward who made up for it with an oversized truck.

Jared looked again and counted. 14 cars slowly making their way up the hill and squeezing past. Over his shoulder, he looked down. The hillside was flat rock for quite some ways. He had no idea how steep, but he guessed several hundred feet. After the rocks, it quickly spread out, grassy and covered with trees. It was an idyllic spot probably not glimpsed since the last time the guardrails were worked on.

Again, he lamented the lack of a breeze and wondered if he had any bottles of water in his car.

A family in a minivan crept slowly by, four faced turned to stare at him, children in the back with their mouths opened wide in curiousity and the sight.

Yep, it was gonna be a long day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Courage! To Forgive

Click over to YouVersion to see the Bible verses

COURAGE! To Forgive

Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011; Pastor Jeff MacLurg (notes are mine, I pray that I have correctly heard God message in this sermon and recorded them here in a way that helps you)

----- Identifying the Twin Giants -----

- Giant #1: An unwillingness to FORGIVE OURSELVES (look at what I did, look at what I caused, look at what I ruined. There's no way. It's just too big, too unforgivable.)
- Giant #2: An unwillingness to FORGIVE OTHERS (fear, unthinkable)

----- The Giant-Slaying Weapon -----

That weapon: the reality that God has FORGIVEN YOU

Psalm 103:12
1 John 1:9
Acts 10:43
Luke 7:48
Psalm 86:5
Jeremiah 31:34
etc.

God's forgiveness means that God will no longer require PAYMENT from you for the SINS YOU'VE ALREADY COMMITTED.

Jesus took the debt we owed, the debt we could have never paid, and he covered it. Did I commit the sin? Yes. Did I deserve to be punished for it? Yes. Was there any way I could have ever paid it? Nope. But it's been covered. Will I ever sin again? Yes. Does God know that? Yes. But he chose to forgive you anyway because he loves you. And it's only forgiven people who can change.

Example of when the pastor was in the grocery store and the blind man in front of him came up $5 short. The pastor gave the cashier the money and it was paid just as if the man had paid it himself. There was no longer any debt even though the man had not paid it.

----- Unwillingness to forgive ourselves -----

(You won't find this in the Bible, but you'll find this principle.)

Stop feeling that I stop paying additional EMOTIONAL BILLS for the WRONG I HAVE DONE.

I have no more painful bills.

People who can't forgive themselves:
- they don't like themselves very much
- they chronically nag themselves and call themselves names
- self-destructive behaviors
- may be depressed
- may medicate or partake (eating, drinking, drugs) to numb or mask pain
- may see pain in their world as punishment for what they've done
- may be suspicious when you forgive them or simply want to be their friend
- they carry a heavy, heavy burden of guilt

It's not easy, especially if it's against someone else. We feel awful for our behavior. "How could I have done that?" "How could I have said that?"

* Forgiving myself means changing my belief system

It takes courage. Other people may tell me I have no right to get on with my life.

We think we need to be more accountable. We need to be wiser. We have no right to make the mistakes others make because we hold ourselves to a higher standard. It's easier to forgive others for even worse sins. I deserve penance.

HOLD UP!!!! - that's just being arrogant. That's pride speaking.

Take the courage to say that you can let go of that pain, that guilt.

God forgave you. All of you. Even you specifically. He remembers your sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34) The sin is a fact, but it no longer defines you because it has been forgiven.

Acts 10:34 - God doesn't show favoritism. God forgives you and you and you and you and you and you (etc.). We should be prepared to model God and not just forgive everyone else, but truly everyone (including ourselves.). If God has moved on, so can you.

* Forgiving myself - God's example

1. I agree WITH GOD.
I did sin. I did something wrong. I caused pain. But, if God is willing to show me grace, I can believe it and show myself some grace as well. (The woman caught in adultery - Jesus: "Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.")
(see James 5:16 - then people can confirm that you truly have been forgiven - sometimes saying it in the mirror just doesn't cut it)
This isn't about confession or absolution. Simply know and admit that you are forgiven.

2. I seek others' FORGIVENESS.
The other person not need forgive me for me to be forgiven, but it is the opportunity to set them free. (Romans 12 - build the bridge). It may take time. A lot of time. May involve you offering restitution - not to pay for your sin, but if you've cost someone, it may be the right thing to do to relieve anything you've cost them.

3. MOVE ON
Expect life to be different. Do expect that memories of what you did will come back, but you no longer need to hate yourself for what you did.
Look around you - we are all sinners. And we've all been forgiven. When the mental bill collector comes around (Satan) telling you haven't paid enough, you're free to dismiss him. You couldn't have paid it anyway.

If I can't move on, if I think I need to pay more, then I'm being prideful. If it's already been paid, why I am ignoring God and listening to the devil?

---- Unwillingness to forgive others -----

Forgiving others means I stop desiring REVENGE OR ILL WILL toward toward those whom I feel have wronged me.

It's not dependent on the other person repenting. There's no requirement for them to admit they were (or are still wrong). Has little to do with the person you're forgiving and everything to do with you. You set them free.

It does not mean it all goes back to the way it was before. You give up your desire to hurt back. Trust has be to rebuilt. In some cases, things may have gone too far.

Ephesians 4:32

Understand how much it cost God to forgive you. Appreciate what it takes to experience that kind of freedom.

Too often we're afraid that they'll be hurt again. Or what our friends will say.

Or like Jonah, we don't want them to be saved.

If a perfect God could forgive our violation, then imperfect people like us must be able to.

1. Admit my ANGER AND HURT.
Allows us to turn it over to God to deal with.

2. I decide to MOVE TOWARD FORGIVENESS.

3. I work ON FORGIVING.
Begin a walk with God. Starts where you are in your hurt and takes you to someplace else. May be a long walk. May require many talks with God and others.

4. MOVE ON.
I am now set free to move on in life. No one can turn back the clock. But with God's help, our life can move forward.

----- Life without the giants -----

1. I'm OK about the injury.
I have peace about the person who hurt or who I hurt.

2. My life is no longer DEFINED BY THAT PAIN OR INJURY.

3. I no longer carry any ILL-WILL TOWARD THEM.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Friday (part 2)

And now, part 2... (part 1 is here)

Brock Friday


Death Friday


Lipsynch Friday


Mullet Friday


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sift 106-110

The Sift 106: Cars

  • EV milestone: Fisker rolls first Karma off the assembly line, aims to deliver 7,000 this year
  • Hyundai Unveils the Hydrogen-Powered Blue2 Hybrid
  • GM Announces That Chevy Volt Owners Can Go 1,000 Miles Between Fill-ups
  • First Drive: Rav4 EV Prototype Embodies Tesla Spirit
  • Tesla Roadster Wins 5th Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally

Read more...



The Sift 107: Dropbox

  • How to Sync iTunes Across All Your Computers with Dropbox
  • Create a Highly Organized, Synchronized Home Folder with Dropbox
  • Sync Your Desktop Between Computers Using Dropbox
  • DropVox Records Voice Memos Directly to Dropbox
  • Need an account? Sign-up for Dropbox

Read more...



The Sift 108: Employment and Work

  • Top Ten Ways to Rock Your Resume
  • 10 Things You NEED to Do if You Were Hired Today
  • 80 Startups Rejected from NYC Job Fair Launch Rival Gathering
  • Facebook-Infused Job Search Site Finds Listings From Your Social Graph
  • Pay Attention to What You Envy to Discover Work That You Love

Read more...



The Sift 109: Finances, Banking, Business and Acquisition

  • ReadyForZero is a Simple Webapp That'll Help Get You Out of Debt
  • AOL Bolsters Local News Investment With Acquisition of Outside.in
  • VeriFone Demands Recall of Square Credit Card Readers
  • Facebook Acquires Snaptu to Bring Social Networking to Feature Phones
  • Sprint Kicks Off the War Against AT&T’s Acquisition of T-Mobile

Read more...



The Sift 110: Food, Health and Medicine

  • The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu (and Super Secret Menu!) Survival Guide
  • The REAL first Starbucks
  • How to Render Bacon Fat - a phrase I heard on a show my wife was watching that I needed to look up
  • How Your Taste Buds Play a Role in Potential Health Issues
  • MyVoice app for iOS and Android enables the mute to talk

Read more...


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Los Angeles

Tonight I heard "Variety Speak" by the Animaniacs, "Ooh La" by The Kooks and "Los Angeles" by Sugarcult, the last two while out running. In 48 degree weather.  At least it wasn't raining.  But it did make me miss the 72.  Way, way back, I used to have a Sunday tradition.  (Well, there was also a Saturday tradition involving roller blades, Santa Monica, Blockbuster and Sunkist Orange soda, Subway.)

But the one I was remembering fondly tonight was the Sunday night tradition.  I'd take Friday's Hollywood Report and Variety home from the office at the end of the day Friday.  I'd go to Starbucks in Encino in Ventura, get a coffee and a scone in the glass "for here" service and I'd go outside and prop my feet up on the edge of the fountain and just spend the afternoon reading and enjoying the beautiful weather.


View Larger Map

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Labels

I think it's finally dawning on me.  Maybe I'm late to the party.

Or I've been overly optimistic.  Or maybe I still have every reason to be optimistic.  Maybe this is just my very literal nature getting the best of me.  But after talking to Lori Saturday night, it seems like I'm not arriving at a place she's been at for awhile now.

When we took our little guy in to the doctor a few months ago, we finally got a referral to Birth-to-Three.  We had raised concerns almost a full year earlier but they were summarily dismissed by his pediatrician.  He also dismissed our concerns about Rachel.  We're transferring to a new pediatrician.

Anyhow, so we finally got an evaluation by Bto3 and it turns out that Ben is delayed in every area.   They call this Global Developemental Delay.  A representative of the school district also attended the assessment and talked with us a little bit about what he could look forward to from the school district when he turned 3 which included 4-day-a-week preschool and bus service if we wanted it.  Clearly, this would be one of those shorter buses, but I knew Lori wouldn't send her little guy on a bus so early in his little life so I didn't give it much thought.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Piling It On Again

It happened again. It's almost as if the emails just bubble up from inside Gmail all on their own. I didn't have my assistant this time, but it was time to sit down again and try and fix it. And in a month's time, it was over 100 emails that I had to go through again. It wasn't even all of the emails I received, it was all the ones that I hadn't done anything with.

So, having gone through this a second time, I think a month from now I won't be in this situation a third time, I can't, I won't. I will reform. I will do a better job of deleting emails.

My public humiliation follows.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

That's What Faith Must Be

Jump over to YouVersion for the version with the bible verses.

That's What Faith Must Be
Message #6 of "John: A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg; Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; my notes from the 9 and 10:45 am on Sunday, April 10, 2011. I pray that my notes will be helpful for you.

--- The Background for Belief (John 4:43-46) ---

The Persons Involved

* Jesus - escaping the crowds who see him as a religious sideshow, a guy who does miracles
* A royal official - probably wealthy, a member of the court of Herod - his son's death is probably imminent and he's travelled 20 miles, desperate, begging from help anywhere he can get it
* A sick (dying) boy

The Needs Involved

* Healing of the boy's body
* Forming of the father's faith

Friday, April 15, 2011

سلام، دوستان ایرانی من


I have no idea why 18% of my blog's traffic 
for the past week has come from Iran.  

But, welcome.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Sift 101-105

The Sift 101: Kinect

  • DIY 3D volumetric display / Kinect hack spices up the Fortress of Solitude's kitchenette
  • Kinect hack gets a Wiimote assist, stomps all over Dead Space 2
  • Microsoft sells 10 million Kinects, 10 million Kinect games
  • Gmail Motion April Fools' gag inevitably turned into reality using Kinect (videos)
  • Music video shot entirely with Kinect. Not so sure about song itself.

Read more...



The Sift 102: Transit, Traffic, Travel and Development

  • Construction Commences on MVRDV’s Massive Amanora Vertical City Apartments in India - 3,500 apartments! too many?
  • House Panel Considers Privatizing Rail
  • Crowdsourcing of Traffic and Incident Reporting in Los Angeles
  • Mad Men Discuss The Future and Why Rail Will Play a Part of the Future
  • Arguments for Center-Running Light Rail on Woodward in Detroit

Read more...



The Sift 103: Music

  • 3D Printed Concert Flute Rapidly Prototypes Sound
  • Pandora for Chrome Controls Your Music with Your Keyboard, No Open Tabs Required
  • Clocks/Chicago (Coldplay/Surjan Stevens) Mashup
  • Musical Interpretation of Pi
  • Ahn Trio: A Modern Take on Piano, Violin, Cello

Read more...



The Sift 104: Email

  • 10 Fascinating Facts about Email
  • Snooze Your Email Reminds You of Important Emails Later On - I don't use this personally, but it sounds interesting
  • How to Use Facebook and Twitter over Email
  • AP Stylebook Finally Changes "e-mail" to "email"
  • Fixing the Little Things

Read more...



The Sift 105: Odds and Ends

  • Purgatory at 37 degrees - The power of the internet. Bob helps a friend get restitution on a busted refrigerator at Home Depot when GE, LG and the very evil Assurant Solutions won't help. A very serious reminder to document all warranty repairs.
  • Research suggests text messaging could help smokers quit
  • In and Out (Writing)
  • I wish... - a website for ideas you'd like to see turned into reality
  • America's 'panic button' to wipe phones of democracy activists, perturb repressive governments

Read more...


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Goals

When I recently posted about being in a rut, a few people on Facebook suggested maybe I needed some long-term goals, some things to shoot for, some things to look forward to.

It made a lot of sense. So I thought I'd write a blog post and talk about my goals. And then I saw this video.



No goals for you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Classic

The scary thing is? You'd think I'd be trying to pay Kevin to not post this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Going Nowhere Fast


If you know me, you know I have an amateur fascination with transit, city/urban planning, development and architecture. So I've watched with interest the discussion of the tunnel. (I'm against it.)

So here's some interesting articles, in case this stuff interests you at all.

The Ramps to Nowhere, from above: View Larger Map

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Belief Systems


The other day I was daydreaming about the next time a pollster came to the door, engaging them and acting crazy and inconsistent and wasting a bunch of their time and then turning the sprinklers on them as they left.  Then I realized that (a) wasn't nice and (b) I'd have to run after them with the hose because we don't have sprinklers set to go, let alone ones so poorly aimed they'd drench anyone who was walking along the path/drive.

There are things that are truth and there are things that are simply belief.  And it comes to politics, there are no absolutes.  I have my beliefs, you have yours. So two scenarios present:

1. We agree.  So no need to talk about it.

2. We disagree.  I don't like confrontation/debate and am not interested in engaging you.  So no need to talk about it.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Sift 96-100

The Sift 96: Cars

  • Veritas RSIII Roadster is the World’s Fastest Plug-in Hybrid
  • U.S. Department of Energy Announces New Biofuel for the Replacement of Gasoline
  • Google Maps Now Indicates Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
  • New Shock Wave Engines Have the Potential to Triple Fuel Efficiency in Hybrid Vehicles
  • European Union May Ban Gas Fueled Cars in Cities by 2050

Read more...



The Sift 97: Education, Brain and Thought Leadership

  • How to Spend $100 Million and Really Save Education
  • Reserve Intentional Solitude Time to Improve Thinking (and Friendships)
  • Teachers-in-training to get pointers, CIA updates via wireless headsets
  • The Siren Song of Pub (Release) Day
  • Bill Gates: How State Budgets are Breaking US Schools (Video; 10:16)

Read more...



The Sift 98: Employment and Work

  • No Robots
  • Make Your Flattery Indirect for Effective Kissing Up
  • Texting While Working
  • How to Know When to Quit Your Job
  • Be the Most Prepared Member of a Meeting to Get Your Ideas Heard

Read more...



The Sift 99: Infographics

  • How Likeable is Each Angry Bird?
  • Nike Grid: Mapping Running Competitions in the City
  • Facebook Photos By The Numbers
  • Explore Facebook Stats
  • Explaining Gender Imbalance through an Infographic Presentation

Read more...



The Sift 100: Can't Stop the Signal

  • Google’s Answer to the Facebook "Like" Button: The "+1"
  • Ultra high-speed broadband is coming to Kansas City, Kansas
  • Amazon negotiating for Cloud Player music licensing deals after all?
  • Fox asks Time Warner to stop streaming its channels to customers iPads
  • How to Hack the New York Times Paywall -- With Your Delete Key

Read more...


Friday, April 08, 2011

Living Water

Jacob's well, Nablaus-Shechem,
c. 1900-1920
(click photo to see larger picture)
Link to YouVersion for the Bible verses.

Living Water (John 4)
Message #5 of "A Story to Believe" by Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.; 04/03/11 (Notes are mine, I pray they will be helpful to you.)

--- The Story: A Woman, a Well and Water ---

Israel - 120 miles north to south. Traveling from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. Part of Jesus' reason for traveling now is because he's starting to become "the next great" after John and Jesus wants to avoid the "fad" mentality. Hostility to Samaritans caused most to travel to the east along the Jordan to avoid Samaria, even though it took longer. Samaritans were looked down upon, maybe even moreso than Gentiles. Dispute had been going on for over 400 years. And it wasn't just one way - the animosity of Jews by the Samaritans was just as strong. (Makes the story of The Good Samaritan so much more compelling.)

So Jesus didn't have to travel through Samaria, except that he had to.

A Jewish men would not have asked a woman - a Samaritan no less - for a drink of water. A rabbi would never be seen talking to a woman alone. And also he knows her background. No one who knew her background would drink from or touch her cup because it would have been considered unclean. A half mile out of town and she had to draw water in the middle of the day because she would have been unwelcome or uncomfortable at the time the rest of the women drew water. (Earlier in the day when it was cooler.).

(Showed a cool photo of well in early 1900s. These days an orthodox church sits on the well site. See http://dqhall59.com/mt_ebal.htm )

--- Jesus' Living Water ---

* It's for both the DOWN & OUTER as well as the UP & OUTER.
(The healing of the official's son at the end.)
Is Jesus only for the desperate? Only for the people who have nowhere else to go? Only for people who are searching, yearning to find something to fill a need? Yes - but that's all of us. (If that's not you the you're fooling yourself.)

* It's a GIFT that Jesus WAITS TO GIVE to those who ASK.

Isaiah 12:3 - "God's people will joyfully draw water from the Lord's well of salvation."
Jeremiah 17:13 - "The Lord is the spring of living water."

"In every person there is this nameless unsatisfied longing; this vague discontent; this something lacking; this frustration." -- Barclay

* It satisfies YOUR INNER NEED that outward SATISFACTIONS can't fully REMEDY.

Her five failed marriages and then live-in boyfriend were all attempts to find something. She was trying to find something to fill a longing. Or we eat. Or drink. Or smoke. Or gamble. Or shop. Or escape into the virtual world of their computer. (Jeremiah 2:13 - "My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me (God), the spring of living water, and have dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.")

* It makes you ALIVE!

15 "...a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Jesus didn't come to satisfy needs, but to give us eternity. Once we accept this, God transforms the entirety of our lives, in the process, some of those needs become met (often in ways we never imagined or even needs we didn't know we had) and other needs fall away.

Then why do many Christians seem stagnant? (see Jeremiah 2:13 again)
Ha... My "in a rut" post from a few days ago? Filling my life with the wrong stuff?
Time to drink from a different well.

* It gives you Someone to BELIEVE, to WORSHIP, and to SHARE.

--- Take a Drink ---

1. Now, your FAITH IS UP TO YOU.
verse 39 - they believed because of her testimony but then they listened and believed for themselves.

2. Tend to YOUR WELL.
Are there things that must be set aside? Connect with Jesus. Find ways to be encouraged and grow and you can encourage others (like a small group)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Two Bills

I had a rough day yesterday at work.  Things kind of came to a head.  I think they had to and I guess I'm glad they did, but it was painful.

When I was at Warner Bros., I had a team of six reporting to me.  We met weekly for a quick meeting.  It was mostly a venting session, most of the work we handled as it came up. If you've seen Erin Brockovitch, you've seen our offices, a rich wood-paneled affair in Glendale.  Irrelevant, but interesting.   My boss handled all of the adminstrivia relating to time off and vacations and stuff.  Each of the team handled 2-3 salespeople.  Even though I led the team, I also handled several salespeople.  One was in New York, but the others were local.  I made a regular habit of wandering down to the salespeople's offices and just hanging out in the doorway chatting.  It was a luxury.  There were also a lot of meetings.  For some reason, it was often me and then Middle Eastern IT team and the Russian programmers and I would kind of play referee or translate even though everyone was speaking English.  I just remember some of those meeting getting heated.  But at the end of the day, we had a lot more staff than work -- we often spent 1-3 hours of work time a day playing Rainbox Six with the full knowledge and blessing of our teams' supervisors.

At Lake Avenue Church, I didn't have anyone reporting to me, but for awhile there I had 2-3 regular volunteers coming in who did work on my behalf.  I was responsible for the seven websites and I also helped out with helpdesk functions.  Because everyone was local and almost all within the same building, and because I was larely responsible for defining and designing my work, I would occasionally make the rounds, visiting the different offices, sometimes scaring up business or discussing an idea, or just seeing how I could help people.  The situation worked really well.

At my current job, I've not felt like I had that luxury.  I've been swamped with email, I'm supporting a team of eight, there's a huge overhead of management, and there's a really strong tension between my customers who want stuff now and my staff whom I want to not be miserable.  But apparently that balancing act is all wrong.  It's suggested that I'm painting myself into a corner, that my collateral is slipping, my influence is waning.  It's all very hard to hear, but it's not untrue.  And so I wondered... how can I reverse this trend?  When I was less busy in the good ol' days on the second floor, I did visit some of my customers regularly.  It was tangentially work-related and sometimes it felt like I was being wasteful but I enjoyed it.  So, apparently I need to focus less on trying to keep up with my email and do more outside of email.  And apparently in the case of a few people, I should swear off responding to them by email if at all possible.

So, I gave it a shot at the end of the day.  Instead of emailing or texting someone, I called them and had a frank conversation that needed to be had.  Then I grabbed my coffee cup and began to wander.  I got in a great conversation with a few people and was able to explain an idea to them that I had and they helped me refine it.  (It requires the permission of two or three other people, but I resisted the urge to email them, I'll ask them in person tomorrow.  There won't be any time lost.)  And then I was able to be a listening ear to two people who were struggling with some news that weren't happy to receive.  And then I was able to talk to a third person about my own rough day.  And then it was time to go home.  So I went back to my desk and wrote out a post-it note for someone instead of sending them an email.  And then I started getting ready to go home (well, after I looked over all the email that had come in the last two hours of the day) and the person I'd left the post-it note for stopped by to talk.

So in the end, I did connect with a number of people and I got a chance to talk about an innovative idea.  It was a good feeling.  I have no problem wandering around with a coffee cup, I'll just need to make sure I'm a McNeal and not a Lundberg.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

In Defense of Epsilon (A Work-Related Post)

So if you have an email address, most likely you've heard from a company informing you of a security breach at the hands of Epsilon.

Like most people at this point, you're probably asking "Who's Epsilon and why do they have my information?"  And if you're reading normally credible sources like MSNBC or CNET News, you're actually becoming more misinformed the more you read, and it's quite disappointing.

I read today of someone who got an email from US Bank about the breach and immediately drove to their local bank and demanded of the teller why his bank had given his information to Epsilon.  Of course, that went nowhere so he made his way up to harassing a manager.  A fruitless waste of everyone's time, to be sure.

So, I feel compelled to explain what Epsilon really is.  And I think it's easiest to start with an analogy.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Nicodemus and New Birth

Click through to YouVersion to view with the Bible verses.

Nicodemus and New Birth
Message #4 of "John: A Story to Believe" (Sunday, March 27, 9 am; Pastor Jeff MacLurg, Our Savior's Baptist Church, Federal Way, Wash.)

--- Nicodemus: Who is this man? (3:1-3) ---

His Credentials

  • He was among the RELIGIOUS ELITE OF ISRAEL.
  • He was a political POWERHOUSE IN ISRAEL.
  • He was possibly the most PRESTIGIOUS JEW OF HIS DAY. (Jesus referred to him as "THE teacher" - think of someone who is always consulted these days - like Rick Warren now or Billy Graham before that.)
  • He was very INTRIGUED WITH JESUS. (Probably because he didn't want to be seen in the company of that "troublemaker" Jesus.)

His Speech

He calls Jesus "rabbi" even though he knew he wasn't. Nicodemus was seeking more prestige by learning more about Jesus.

His Surprise

So dumbfounded, he gave a dumb answer. "What?!????"

--- The Conversation with Jesus (3:4-21) ---

Question #1: What is THIS 'BORN AGAIN' STUFF?

Ezekiel 36:24-27 - this is something that would have been well known to the Jews
(especially the teachers), a great passage of hope. (Dude... Nicodemus... How can you be confused? I'm making this personal.)

Answer #1: It is a WORK OF GOD'S SPIRIT which gives one A NEW LIFE.
(This isn't about 'getting religion' this is about getting a brand new life.)

Question #2: How can this HAPPEN WITH ME?

Here you are a teacher of Israel, THE teacher and you don't understand? Moses and the Snake - Numbers 21 - God sent the snakes and the people repented and begged for mercy. God told Moses to make the snake and put it on a pole for them to look up to and be healed. (Parallel to Jesus going up on the cross and us looking to him and being healed of your sins.). Not just a belief that a God exists but accepting him as our God.

Answer #2: Through FAITH IN ME.

Explanation:


  • The new birth is a GIFT OF LOVE, not a result of OUR GOOD WORKS.
  • It is a gift of LIFE, not ETERNAL JUDGEMENT. (If he wanted to squish us, he wouldn't have made us in the first place.)
  • It is a gift of LIGHT, not DARKNESS.

--- The Questions for Us ---

1. Have you RECEIVED THE NEW BIRTH THAT ONLY JESUS CAN GIVE?
Nicodemus was a secret follower for three years.

2. Are you still AMAZED AT THAT GIFT?
Jesus points out to Nicodemus that he's been a believer so long that he's forgotten why he believed in the first place.

God loves each of us as if there was only one of us to love." -- Augustine

My thoughts:

God loves you (your name here) so he wants to spent eternity with you, beyond your short years here on earth. However, God is perfect and a perfect being cannot be with someone who is imperfect. Becoming perfect is something we are unable to do on our own - there's no possible way was can pay or do anything big enough to overcome our imperfection. So God has paid our way through the sacrifice of his son Jesus. All we need do is accept this gift.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Sift 91-95

The Sift 91: Fun & Games

  • Angry Birds Coming to Facebook
  • Need... More... Coffee...
  • Why can't this girl find the right guy?
  • Kitten's First Soft Food
  • Super Mario FPS

Read more...



The Sift 92: Foursquare

  • Foursquare gets ready to release an overhauled platform for businesses
  • If I Ran Foursquare
  • Everything you need to know about the new foursquare points and leaderboard
  • Why Does My Foursquare Point Total Keep Changing?
  • How to Create Your First Foursquare Special

Read more...



The Sift 93: Transit, Traffic, Travel and Development

  • High-Speed Rail Goes To Florida’s Supreme Court
  • Los Angeles City Council Unanimously Approves Plan for 1,680 Miles of Bikeways
  • Washington State Route 112
  • Review -- City: Rediscovering the Center
  • Interfering with Traffic by Jay Malin

Read more...



The Sift 94: Advertising, News and Media

  • How to Keep Reading the NY Times for Free
  • Extraordinary iPhone App Identifies 2.6 Million TV Shows by Listening
  • 30%, the long tail and a future of serialized content
  • What the Egyptian Revolution Taught Al Jazeera About Digital
  • Making of an "Old Spice" commercial

Read more...



The Sift 95: Amazon

  • Clicker.com analyzes Amazon Prime Instant Video offerings vs the competition
  • Amazon Threatens to Cut Calif. Affiliates Over Taxes
  • Amazon Ends Affiliate Program in Illinois
  • Amazon Cloud Drive Stores 5 GB of Your Stuff Online and Streams Your Music Back to You
  • How To: Use Amazon Cloud Player with iOS Devices

Read more...


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Review -- Pretzel Crisps

("D" battery for size comparison)
For reasons I won't go into, this bag has spent two months in our bedroom - open.  The good news is - these chips are still just as crispy, just as tasty as the day the bag was opened.  (They're now properly stowed in the cupboard with the ziplock seal closed.)

Ok, I will go into... the crisps were supposed to go in carry-on and go on a trip but the bag ended up being too big and got left behind and opened shortly after returning from the trip.

Aaaanyhow (as my friend Adam used to say), these are some good chips.   They are thin and resemble pretzels.  I don't know if they're just formed that way, or if they actually create pretzels and then flatten them, but they're good very crunchy.  They do puff up a little bit with air inside them.  And then they're coated with flavoring that tastes good on the crisps and also on your fingers (it will get all over your fingers).

There is 7 servings in the bag and each serving is 10 crisps at 110 calories.  It is a pretty decent snack.  Safeway lists the price as $4.39 for the bag, so it's 60 cents a snack, so about the cost of a candy bar, so a little pricey, but much healthier.  

Their website shows 12 different colored bags.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Review -- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

To be fair, this is another partial review as I was unable to finish reading this book. That said, I will probably buy this book.

"The War of Art - Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battle" by Stephen Pressfield ("The Legend of Beggar Vance") is a short book. Like most of the books I read, I added it it to my reading list at some point in the past, most likely as a recommendation from Fast Company, Inc., Reader's Digest or Entertainment Weekly. Or maybe from an RSS feed like Lifehacker or Unclutterer. Maybe I should start tracking that.

The copy I had was about 160 pages or so, a small 5-1/2x8" paperback filled with short essays that rarely took a full page. The boom is divided into three "books"

Book One: Resistance - Defining the Enemy
Book Two: Combatting Resistance - Turning Pro
Book Three: Beyond Reisistance - Higher Realm

Books one and two are amazing. The kind that has led to some soul searching and some "aha!" moments. Not to mention some validation of things I already know and some good swift kicks in the pants for things I know I ought to be doing but aren't.

Pressfield sets up Resistsnce (capital R) as a force that's out to kill you, especially when it comes to creativity or thought or passion. He slowly builds the compelling case against resistance by showing you how it works, showing you it's motivation and showing you just how effective it is.

"Resistance's goal is not to wound or disable. It aims to kill. It's target is the epicenter of our being: our being, our soul, the unique and priceless gifts we were put on earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death."

Once we've clearly identified the enemy, Pressfield sets about helping up to see how to fight it. We are not amateurs or hobbyists. If we are to be successful, be it as an artist, or creator, an innovator or even someone running a business, we must be serious, we must be professionals, we must be in it for the long haul, and we must know how to defeat Resistance.

These two books alone are worth the cost of admission. I got my copy from the library, but like I said, I think it may purchase a copy.

It's that third book, however, that gives me trouble. Pressfield dives into the positive side - the origination of ideas and inspiration. To boil it down, he seems to suggest that the muses of Greek mythology give us ideas and Angels sent by God breathe life and encouragement into those ideas, cheering us on, giving us visions and dreams to help us. Even going so far as to identify a prayer to the muse he says each morning when he sits down to write.

I could not get into this and did not finish reading the book. So perhaps I'm misinterpreting or misunderstanding. But way too "out there for me.". The essays also grow longer in this book. This may mean the subject matter more complex, less concrete, or it simply means the lack of crispness and concise writing means a topic the author is less sure of or feels requires more thought to sell it.

So, Thw War of Art will make you think. And in part, I really recommend it.