Archive for January, 2007

Seaside Church building

January 30, 2007

I had a killer good time at the Seaside Church Building yesterday. There were probably a few reasons for this. I’ll try to guess what they were:

  1. Being in less sin than I was in the week before
  2. The (“symbolic”) baptism during the second service
  3. The wedding during the second service
  4. Getting a new volunteer for the ministry team that I lead (50% increase!)
  5. Sunshine
  6. The irony of listening to the first sermon of my community group leader who used to not want to sit through sermons
  7. Patting myself on the back for remembering to change my cellular telephone ringer mode to vibrate so that it didn’t ring loudly when the worship pastor called it during the prayer of the lead pastor to give me instructions regarding the unrehearsed baptism ceremony
  8. Two FULL services (if we keep this up, we’ll have to go to three services, or plant another church or something)!

There you go: a few (which is eight (1 Peter 3:20 (NKJV))).

Distinguishing one big word from several others

January 28, 2007

A couple nights ago, I decided to lay in bed and listen to the eleventh sermon in the Mars Hill Church Christ on the Cross/Atonement series. This sermon is about expiation, which is what Jesus can do so that sins are exported and souls are cleansed, so that Christians don’t have to walk around with all the effects of their forgiven sin inside of them. Early in the next morning, I added another verse to the stack that Mark Driscoll had presented and came up with a more clear (for me) way of understanding one component of how expiation works alongside propitiation and redemption.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

This is redemption.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

This is expiation! I am sure that expiation can also be related to many other verses, some of which were mentioned in the aforementioned sermon. Maybe I should make a list.

Oh well, I decided to listen to that sermon and even to bring that up here because God forced me to be rid of some sin this week.

Further evidence of my poor driving skills

January 17, 2007

I got my company truck stuck on Wednesday. I was backing up to leave and I drove the truck right off of the stabilized construction entrance so that all four wheels of this dinky little two wheel drive pickup sank into the mud. My only excuse is that I later determined that the soil sample that I took from the site showed that the soil is worthless as far as drainage is concerned. The great thing about construction sites is that they have big machines that can pull really hard and that rarely slip so that my company truck didn’t have to be stuck very long (just long enough for me to take these pictures for you).

illuminate_commander@hotmail.com

January 15, 2007

I thought that you might like to look at some pictures of the Illuminate. When I saw Star Trek III for the first time, I decided that I needed to name my car. I was going to call it a roadster, but then I found out that roadsters have open cockpits and bench seats. The final (corny) idea was to call it the L.L. (Lord’s Limousine) Illuminate, but that first part sounded corny and didn’t really go well as an electronic message address (which still works, by the way), so I haven’t mentioned it in a long time.

Here is a picture of the Illuminate 1 after it got smashed.

The Illuminate 1 is a 1998 Ford Taurus that I purchased for $10,300 out the door in September of 2000. I hadn’t always been expecting to get such a nice first car. One afternoon, my dad told me that I needed to and visit my grandfather who lived very near my home. I asked my dad if he was sure because, “I already did some work for him today and he could have talked to me then.” My dad told me that he was sure, so I walked over and my grandfather offered me $5000, promising to provide it as soon as I knew which car I wanted.

I wrecked it in my first at-fault accident as I was determining a route away from Mars Hill Church in Seattle on June 26th of the year 2005. I had taken an acquaintance to hear Mark Driscoll preach from Genesis 38 about how God is able to save even those people who are so bad that they themselves know that they are bad and deserve His judgment. Unfortunately, my acquaintance was not such a person. After the service, I failed to yield the right of way and was smashed there on the starboard side, just forward of the door.

So used the Illuminate 1 during all of Junior College and for most of my time at the university. It depreciated at only ~10% and I received $4700 from the insurance company.

Here is a picture of the Illuminate 2 which I purchased in December of 2005 because I knew that I would be wanting to go to job interviews and perhaps dating/courting (whatever you want to call it) and I did not want to be late like some of the rides that I had had during the previous five months without the Illuminate 1. I decided to go without the car for those five months because I didn’t really think that I needed it and I thought that I could save money. Walking and later biking the three miles to work and back every day that summer was good, and I really didn’t need a car at school, since I lived so close to campus. Also, I had recently determined that I probably wouldn’t have a girlfriend (what I would now call a VIP) anytime near that time.

In as much as imitation is said to be good flattery, I am including a picture of my community group leader’s car, which he calls the “Turbo Taurus (Illuminate 3).”

Today

January 15, 2007

Since late in the afternoon of Friday, 5th (fifth) day of this January, I have been inspired (or inaudibly commanded) by God to set myself up to be hospitable for reasons that I have made up because of my ignorance of the real reason. Somehow or other, on Friday, I came up with this great idea: I can easily set my self up to provide protein to my guests. I am a phenyleketonuric. This means that I am allergic to phenylalanine which is an amino acid. I understand that amino acids are building blocks for protein, so I must take care to ensure the exclusion of protein from my diet. Consequently, I am quite ignorant of the proper methodology that is commonly applied to the preparation of protein-laden foods. All of that is to say that when I realized I could add protein to my meals through things as simple as cans of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and boxes of Macaroni & Cheese, I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I think of this earlier? It is so simple!” So I went out and purchased such things. Amazing are the problems that a man can solve if he puts his mind to their solution, but I wasn’t even thinking about this problem when the solution came to me!

This morning I woke up sometime a bit before 5:30 and I determined that I was likely to be visited today by at least a couple of particular people, so I rose and began to clean my home. Fortunately, I had already purchase everything that I would need for the stir-fry two days ago when I thought that I was supposed to, and of course the protein food was still remaining.

So I got all set up and went to church and my ministry there went quite well, perhaps better than ever before. I even got around to talking to a person with whom I had not previously managed to converse, but the particular people about whom I was thinking did not show up and I did not think that these people had sufficient information to just show up at my home, so I decided to invite the drummer and his wife to my home and the whole meal (even the protein) went over quite well. The picture below illustrates our activities:

  1. Eating
  2. Chess playing (un-timed)
  3. Chess playing (timed)
  4. Video watching (on computer)

Don’t you wish that you had been there?

I wonder if my cooking skills are being built up to the point of actual hospitality or if they are just to be used for the purpose of facilitating fellowship.

I still seem to be having difficulty with blessing my neighbors in any way other than prayer. I don’t mind leaving the women alone because they could lead me straight into trouble, but I am sort of bugged by the fact that I can’t seem to make any kind of connection with the single man who lives next door. I’ll read your suggestions about this if you type them for me.

Really Fast

January 6, 2007

If you have ever left my presence and any particular informal setting at the same time, you have probably heard me say, “Drive really fast!” If you’re like most people, you made what my mother and dear sister (not the one that is married) call a mental footnote and you thought to yourself, “Joshua must drive like a maniac.” If you actually take the trouble to ask me what I mean, I will probably tell you that what I really mean is, “Be sure that you drive faster than I can run,” thereby telling you that I think that I can run really fast. The reality is that I do not know that I have ever quite run a six-minute mile (isn’t it the four minute mile that lots of people can run?), but I like to think that I can run really fast anyway. Perhaps I should go to some trouble to determine whether or not I can run a five-minute mile (after some training).

But back to the driving. I have recently discovered that I am a poor driver. I had previously been under the false impression that I was a good driver because of some people’s praise (those who thought otherwise were ignorant) and because of the fact that I had been in so many collisions that were not my fault. But one night, not too long ago, I found myself sitting on a four-lane road with my left hand (or left foot) turn signal on. Presently, a vehicle approached the front of the Illuminate 2 and stopped ~15 feet off of its nose. I then figured out that I was not in the center lane (because there was no center lane), but in one of the lanes that was supposed to be utilized for travel in the direction that I did not want to go. I moved back to the side of the road corresponding to the direction that I wanted to go (more or less) and turned left a bit further down the road. I continued to drive along to my worship pastor’s house, and as I did, I determined that good drivers don’t get themselves into situations like the one I just described and that I must not have been a good driver since I got myself into such a situation.

I find these things quite convenient:

  1. My worship pastor has been trying to convince me that I am a poor driver ever since his first trip in the Illuminate 2 which was to the Red Sea Church in Portland.
  2. My worship pastor is a professional driver
  3. My worship pastor has offered to help me improve my driving skills

Let me tell you about how I finally accepted my worship pastor’s help: A couple of weeks later, I was at his home again and I was told to make a list of my list of strengths and a list of my weaknesses as a prospective husband. In as much as I began with the strengths list, and in as much as I was having such a good time with it, and in as much as I don’t like thinking of my weaknesses as much as I like thinking about my strengths, my strengths list was much longer than my weaknesses list. Even so, bad driving was at the top of my weaknesses list because I remembered at that moment that my mother had also told me that I should learn to drive in such a way that a woman riding with me would begin to think of herself as precious cargo.

Wouldn’t you know that at the end of the meeting, my worship pastor informed me that the next meeting time would be spent on discussion regarding the termination of the items on the weakness list and that he would be willing to help me to put an end to my bad driving and that he could have begun to do so during our trip from Portland to Silverdale if I had been willing to listen. So I took, several days to think about it and determined that I would have to accept his help.

I am a bit annoyed because I still don’t think of myself as a poor driver, or even a person who can learn anything about driving from my worship pastor, but if I am going to be at all committed to truth, I have to look at the logical conclusion that the facts are pointing to: I am a poor driver.

Also annoying is my tendency to try to explain away all of my problems, which my instructor observes. I can totally see myself moving backwards and becoming an ignoramus regarding my own problems.

Have you ever noticed that the last person to notice his own problems is the person who possesses these same problems? No, I don’t mean his wife.

I realized this when I was still a teenager, so obviously, I won’t have any problems left after I terminate this last one.

Ignoramus.

End/Beginning of Year Activities

January 3, 2007

I have noticed that my most recent blog postings seem to be rather mundane. They probably are not very interesting to people who are not very interested in me. Before this I have managed to type about things that are of some interest even to people who do not know me so that they think to themselves that I might be a bit interesting as well. For some reason I have not recently been able to relate what I have been experiencing to particular philosophies or to truth in general. Well, either that or I am unwilling to type them here for the whole world to read. I hope that this is because I am busy doing what I think that I am supposed to be doing and not because I am becoming hardened by sin so that I can not pay attention to what is going on inside of me anymore. If you think that this is the case, do tell (me, not everyone else–yet)!

On Saturday and Sunday I visited with Brandon and Virgiliana (the lady with the name that I really like) in Duvall at Brandon’s parent’s house. We talked about some of the things that I have been unwilling to blog about. We talked to Brandon’s mother about politics. At least none of them believe that the United States Government blew up the World Trade Center in New York City, New York with pre-installed explosives. On Saturday we went on a little hike in a park in Carnation. We ate food that was bad for us at a place called Small Fries. Then we viewed Snoqualmie falls from the lower viewing area which I did not realize was available. To access this lower viewing area, pedestrians must pass by a building in which are several hydro-electric generators. Some water is diverted from the falls to make these hydro-electric generators do their job. We went shopping and bought food and Brandon built a stir-fry for me. Then Virgiliana realized that she had become ill. We tried to watch the Walk the Line movie about Johnny Cash, but someone had turned the sub woofer up a lot and then lost the remote control for the sound system so that we could not make the movie sound very nice, so decided to not watch the movie after we had tried to make it work for a long time. Then I entered the Illuminate 2 and drove home. Oh yes, we prayed for Virgiliana to cease being ill and for a couple of other things.

On Sunday I did my normal church work. I was glad to see some good progress being made in the training aspect. I was invited to three different parties, so I chose one and had a good time with it. I began to play chess with this one guy and because of his threats, I decided that a draw would be the best ending (that and the fact that I did not think that I could win). That was kind of fun.

On Monday I got to wake up at a decent hour and travel to the home of my mother’s parents for a visit with them and with my brother-in-law and with my parents and with all of their children except one. My mother’s parents fed us all quite well and gave me a nice shirt. Those of us who are not ladies put together a carport which was made out of metal pipes and a tarp and fasteners. We all had a nice time talking together, but my mother’s parents thought that the whole thing was too short, perhaps because in the past, we have come for more days at a time. I left at 3:00 pm in anticipation of another meeting which didn’t happen, but everyone else was leaving then and I have plenty to do. I made sure to get lots of sleep on Monday night.