Faith General

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light,
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy,
they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest,
as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:2-7

Current Events

New terror alert levels

Threat Advisory
The current threat advisory system is inadequate. I mean, what does low, guarded, elevated, high, or severe really mean? I think this site has a good alternate interpretation of the system.

UPDATE: Even better terrorism alert system:
Sesamie Street Security


Three things

Three things you probably didn’t know about me:

  1. My cell phone is named C-Pochalypse.
  2. Pierce gave me the nickname C-Pochalypse during Physics 2306.
  3. I didn’t learn any physics in Physics 2306.

I’ve been thinking about making posts like this more often (weekly?), where I tell you three loosely related facts about me that you likely didn’t know. If you like it, please leave a comment and tell me to continue.


Break plans

I’ll cut to the chase: my break plans are not final–you can still be part of my break plans!

Friday, December 16 – home after a day of snowboarding at Snowshoe
Monday-Thursday, December 19-22 – working at Digital Sandbox
Thursday, December 22 – extended family Christmas party
Friday, December 23 – catching up with Owen and Christmas Eve Eve service
Saturday, December 24 – Christmas with the family
Sunday, December 25 – Christmas with the not quite as extended family and family friends
Monday, December 26 – after-Christmas sales
Sunday, January 1 – head to Blacksburg
Monday-Thursday, January 2-5 – Passion ’06 in Nashville
Tuesday, January 17 – classes resume

Now the $1 million question: do I stay in Blacksburg from January 5 onward or do I come back and possibly work more and spend more time in the DC area?

Please let me know (call, comment, email, IM, etc) if you want to do something with me during break. I’m up for things in the DC area, Blacksburg, and during Passion (in Nashville).

Virginia Tech

The rest of the semester (try #2)

So once again the university partially cancelled exams due to weather. My last exam that should have been at 7:45 this morning is now at 7:45 tomorrow morning. Thankfully, the professor is allowing us to take it at 3pm today, so it won’t throw off my snowshoe plans. I still have one project to finish up. It’s due at midnight, so tomorrow’s drive to snowshoe could be interesting. I still don’t know where I’m going after snowshoe. Probably either to my parents’ for Christmas or to Richmond to spend more time with Kevin.

Virginia Tech

The rest of the semester

Signals and Systems: 7:45am tomorrow
Electronics I: 5pm tomorrow
CS: 7:45am tomorrow

CS #5: midnight tomorrow (currently up to 204/300)
CS #6: midnight tomorrow (not yet submitted)

Thursday afternoon:
Relaxation, let me know if you want to do something
I’m thinking of throwing something nice on the grill for dinner

Snowshoe at the crack of dawn with my former roommate Tomayto

Break schedule coming soon!


Yay for sledding!

It’s great sledding on the Blacksburg Municipal golf course. It’s even better when you go at 1am. Now I’m wondering whether I’ll have my exam tomorrow or if it will be pushed until Saturday.

UPDATE: Exams before 1pm were pushed to Saturday. Mine was at 1:05, so I took it and feel good to be done with Digital Design I.


My phone doesn’t like the cold

Just a quick alert to everyone: if you call me and I don’t pick up and I don’t seem to be responding to your voice mails, my phone has probably decided to turn itself off. It seems to do that frequently when I go outside and it’s cold. I’m trying to remember to check that it’s on frequently, but please bear with me.


Highly valued, deeply fallen, greatly loved

I’ve had multiple reasons to do a lot of thinking recently about the church and its response to the world. I grew up in a church that while the Gospel was preached, was very much a museum for “saints.” Very few in the church admitted their failings beyond the recited public confession we all read aloud during each service. Those who did admit their faults were often seen as being a worse person for it and sometimes were even picked on because of their willingness to be open. That is not the way things are supposed to be. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” All. Not some. Not those who aren’t part of our church. Not the scary guy down the street. All includes us.

The church was never meant to be a museum for “saints.” Instead, the mission of the church is to be a hospital for sinners. 1 John 1:10 says, “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” In Mark 28:31, Jesus told the religious leaders of his day “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Yet, to many people who have not been impacted by the power of the Gospel, the message of the church is not of love, but of hate.

The problem seems to be that many Christians feel that an important way that they bring the Kingdom of God to earth in a more visible form is through politics. Interestingly, that’s the same approach taken by the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They felt that they could hasten bringing the Messiah to earth by keeping the law perfectly. Their hypocritical observance of the law caused them to ignore the people who God wanted them to help–the people on the fringes of society.

I firmly believe that the way to bring the Kingdom of God to earth does not revolve around voting for candidates from any particular political party. The Kingdom of God isn’t restricted to a single political ideology or approach to society’s problems. In the United States, no political party has it right when it comes to pleasing God through their actions. You can’t bring the Kingdom of God to earth by passing laws. The way to influence people isn’t by telling they’re wrong or by holding them to a standard that Scripture doesn’t apply to those outside the Kingdom. The way to change people is by love.

We’re all greatly loved by God, a love that knows no boundaries. The approach laid out by Jesus in the scriptures is to meet people where they are. When Jesus met the woman at the well, he knew that she had a questionable past and had been forced to the edge of society. Yet, his message to her was of hope and forgiveness, not judgment. There is a time and a place to judge, but that is reserved for between followers of Christ who know each other well and are doing it out of love and not out of legalism.

Today, the people on the edge of our society aren’t orphans and widows, as they were in Jesus’ time. The message hasn’t changed, just the people to whom we are to deliver it. I like how Bono of U2 fame put it: “If Jesus Christ were on earth you’d find him in a gay bar in San Francisco. He’d be working with people suffering from AIDS. These people are the new lepers. just like the turn of BC / AD. Don’t touch them, walk away from them. If you want to find out where Jesus would be hanging out, it’ll always be with the lepers.” Why don’t we live that out?


Advent reading

Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas when Christians prepare for the birth of the coming Messiah. During what tends to be the busiest time of the year, I like to stop and refocus what’s going on in my life. It’s not about shopping for the best gift ever. It’s about the coming of the Savior, the one who died to save us from ourselves and allow us to be reconciled to God. One way that I like to prepare for Christmas is by reading through the books of prophecy in the Bible, focusing on the prophecies concerning the Messiah. I’ve figured out my reading plan up until Christmas, and I’m sharing that with you. Feel free to join in. Expect periodic reflections to appear here.

I’ve selected chapters that flow well together for each day. Reading is 2-4 chapters per day and covers about half of Isaiah, some Jeremiah, all of Zechariah, and the Christmas story from both Matthew and Luke. The links on the passages will take you to that day’s reading courtesy of
December 1: Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2
December 2: Isaiah 1-4
December 3: Isaiah 5-7
December 4: Isaiah 8-10
December 5: Isaiah 11-12
December 6: Isaiah 40-41
December 7: Isaiah 42-43
December 8: Isaiah 44-45
December 9: Isaiah 46-47
December 10: Isaiah 48-49
December 11: Isaiah 50-51
December 12: Isaiah 52-54
December 13: Isaiah 55-56
December 14: Isaiah 57-58
December 15: Isaiah 59-60
December 16: Isaiah 61-62
December 17: Isaiah 62-64
December 18: Isaiah 65-66
December 19: Jeremiah 23, Zechariah 1-2
December 20: Zecariah 3-5
December 21: Zecariah 6-8
December 22: Zechariah 9-11
December 23: Zechariah 12-14
December 24: Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2 (both in a paraphrase)
December 25: Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2