Wind Rock and Board Games

It was over 60 degrees here today, so Justin, Jason, Tim, and myself jumped in the car and went up to Wind Rock for sunset. We were coming back for a game night, so we didn’t have time to have a campfire and make s’mores, but it was still a great trip, even though the sunset wasn’t perfect.

Homegroup game night was fun–I played Cranium, and learned a new game called Kims that’s good for a crowd.

Wind Rock


Interesting last few days

Duct tapeIt’s been an interesting last few days. Wednesday, I drove up to Lexington, VA for traffic court. A reckless driving ticket, which I initially thought was a criminal charge, ended up becoming a plain speeding ticket during the trial. I was very thankful–I got a fine, and it looks like my license will only have four points total on it. I’m very glad about that, and I’ve driven 3500+ miles with much more caution since then.

One of the amusing things about the hearing was that the judge didn’t seem to like the cop. The cop was not at all polite to me when he stopped me. Even with two hearing aids, I had to repeat everything I said at least twice to him as well. The judge seemed to be purposely picking on the judge’s bad hearing. He spoke very softly, and on several occasions made comments that made the cop look like an idiot–especially during the first case, which was criminal reckless driving (trucker hit eight cars). I also think part of my ticket reduction may have been to spite the cop. Works for me.

On my way home from Lexington, I stopped off in Roanoke for a little shopping, since I had already missed all my classes for the day. I discovered that Dick’s Sporting Goods is more like a Cabella’s, and less like a Sports Authority. In other words, they didn’t have a single ski rack, let alone a pair of skis or a snowboard in the store. Lots of golf clubs and hunting gear, though. I also peeked in Circuit City, Lifeway, and the Valley View mall. I was wearing a suit, so I didn’t do as much shopping as I would have liked to, but at least I got a good soft pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. I hadn’t had one in at least 3 years! Mmmmm!

I got some work done Wednesday afternoon, experienced the second homegroup of the year, and went on the lifegroup tour. Speaking of lifegroups, I know where I’m going now. Only thing that could change it is if one of the other lifegroups is only threeish people.

I also had several long online conversations Wednesday night. At one point, I had five active conversations going, which is more than I like to have going. The only ones that were at all memorable though were with Tim, Michael, and Zack. Okay, I admit the Zack conversation was seven messages total, but it caused a more than two hour phone call on Thursday. I got in bed around 4am, which was not ideal, but given all the things that were going on last night, it was easily the right choice to stay up.

Thursday was not what I was expecting. I had my alarm set for 9:30, since my first class was at 11. However, I woke up around 8:30, and after several minutes, decided trying to go back to sleep would not work. The first thing that I felt when I woke up was that I should be praying on my knees. I rarely kneel when I’m praying. I got up and used the close to an hour remaining before the alarm went off to pray. I had three things that I just kept thinking of, and I prayed about all of them.

Thursday afternoon, I called Zack. I had a list of several questions for him and several things I wanted him to know. Every time I talk to Zack, I learn of something that I’ve been blessed to see happen here that had been prayed about for years in the past. I’m extremely thankful for the seeds planted on this campus by past leaders, and I hope that I’m able to plant spiritual seeds that will sprout in the future. It sounds like Zack has some amazing seminary courses this semester, and fortunately, seminary is not what he feared it could be. Some of his professors are well known–I read a report last week that one of then had written!

Other things worth an honorable mention over the past few days: getting beat down while wrestling Justin several times over, using Michael as a body shield against Justin, and duct tape!


Encounters with God are Dangerous

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post titled “God is not safe, but He is good.” Now, Michael over at You Can Know God has a similar post titled “Dangerous Encounters with Christ.” It’s a very well written post, and I think he’s right on, especially in our self-centered America. A brief quote:

Over the years, I’ve heard a lot of people pray something like this in a church gathering or a worship service: “God…we don’t want to just meet together, we want an encounter with you.”

I think the problem with a prayer like that is that there are a lot of people, no, probably most people DO want to just meet together and are NOT really interested in an encounter with God at all.


Monday Morning Perspective

Virginia Tech sunriseSo often I don’t feel like getting up in the morning, and I let the day get to me before it even starts. Especially Mondays. Days when I don’t want to be awake are the times when it’s most important to get my focus in the right place. John McGowan has an excellent post about this struggle on his blog today. An excerpt:

Psalm 66 starts this way, “Shout joyfully to God, all the earth; Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious. Say to God, “How awesome are Your works!” These verses are an invitation and a challenge to me. An invitation to the joy of worship. A challenge – will I choose to worship?

Today, will I choose to worship? Will I use the gifts that God has given me to glorify God through my small actions during the day? Will I be intentionally working to make earth more like heaven?


Awesome weekend

Just a quick post to say that I had an awesome weekend. I had no homework to do, and I had plenty of time for relaxation and catching up with several friends. Friday, I was able to visit one of the campus ministries that sponsors vtONE that I had never personally visited before, which was cool. I also got my new headphones, which will keep me entertained while the amplifiers for my studio monitors are in for service. Hopefully, I will not pick up WuVT any more when I get the amplifiers back. As much as I enjoy listening to WuVT, I’d rather not hear it on top of my iTunes library. Speaking of which, I am nearly complete getting my iTunes library in shape (reripping CDs or adding ID3 tags as appropriate). My data files are also backed up, and I’m ready to tackle the new week.


Reflection from an anonymous friend

Twilight reflections on Lake Accotink, Springfield, VABorrowed (yes, I have permission to use it) from an anonomyous friend’s away message a little while ago. I think it’s very well put. He’s reflecting on Proverbs 4:18-19.

“The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

What He means is that righteous people aren’t perfect; they simply have the desire and the means to be so. God shows them their faults and He is the impetus for working on those faults. He is an unstoppable force, so His work in your life is constantly progressing.

This was really encouraging this morning because I haven’t been feeling like I’ve been doing a good job, but this reminded me that God’s working in me so it’s not like I’m gonna fail.

“But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

Don’t read too much into the use of the word wicked. The Bible makes a clear distinction in saying that the only permanent sin is not believing. If you don’t believe the Bible is truth, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this. It’s just a simple definition.

Anyway, the Bible says that Jesus is “the Light.” He reveals what we need to do and what is standing in our way of having a fulfilled life. By simple logic, if you don’t have this, then you are lost in darkness, not being able to see what makes you stumble.

This was also encouraging cause lately I’ve been screwing up and have been able to pinpoint the reason. More assurance.

But like I said, you should take this as what the Bible says and your reaction should hinge on that. Personally I believe it’s true and have seen lots of examples that seem to back it up.

Virginia Tech

Two days down . . .

I’ve now been to all my classes once. Here’s a course review:

NUMERICAL ANALYSIS: this class doesn’t seem too bad, but the lecture is in a hot room and the professor is Indian with a very low monotone. It has weekly homework, but I can put up with it since it’s my only TR class and it triple counts (major and both minors).

INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERNET: what a joke. An online course that hasn’t changed much since it was introduced in 1994. I’ve already taken 2 of the 16 online quizzes for the class. 100% so far. Too bad it doesn’t look like I will be able to just do the whole class in an afternoon, since the quizzes aren’t all available yet.

OPERATING SYSTEMS: this semester, we’re using PintOS instead of Linux as the operating system for the class. This class looks like a lot of thinking, but four of the five projects are group projects. The projects also require extensive documentation. And I think McQuain has hijacked the projects for this course now. At least I don’t have him as my professor–my professor seems like he will not be anything like a McQuain clone. Thankfully!

MICROPROCESSOR SYSTEM DESIGN: JP has never taught the course before, but I have a good feeling about him. He’s encouraging us to make the course interactive. His notes seem well prepared, although it’s his first time teaching the course and it’s outside his area of research. I feel no need to rush out and switch to Thweatt’s 9am section. I’d rather have the extra sleep and not have a hole in my schedule, although the hole would make a good lunch time.

STATISTICS FOR ENGINEERS: what a class! It’s a large class, but it’s going to rock. The professor comes in and goes “ok, who’s heard stories about me?” Every hand goes up. From how class went, I can see why. He told us we didn’t need to buy the $90.80 book. He told us the only reason it was required is because the author has an office across the hall from him. He also told us that the only difference the version that says “for Electrical Engineers” on the front has from the cheaper normal version is the words on the cover. He seems to love doing things to upset the administration. He referred to the provost as “an asshole” within the first few minutes of class. Another choice quote said while going over the syllabus: “I used to do quizzes to make people come to class. Now I just don’t care.” He then went on to recommend that we stay home when we don’t feel like coming to class. Nice. I’ll still come to class–I want to learn some statistics and I don’t want to miss his stories!

Faith General

In Memory of Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Dr. King is one of the heroes of both the civil rights movement and also of the Christian faith. Dr. King’s commitment to his faith led to one of the best examples of the correct way to mix God and politics that the United States has ever seen. Dr. King was not afraid to step out in faith to seek change that seemed impossible at the time. Even when cast into the public spotlight, Dr. King retained his integrity and remembered that his ultimate goal was to bring glory to God. While started with noble intentions, many recent religious political movements, such as the Religious Right, seem to have lost sight of the ultimate goal in favor of attempting to stay in power continually. Christian politicians today would be well advised to follow Dr. King’s example, instead of attempting to hide their faith or use their seemingly meaningless faith as a trump card in elections.

JR has an excellent post in celebration of Martin Luther King day. The post is largely a sermon that Dr. King preached about the role of faith, prayer, and God. Dr. King’s text is Mark 9:14-29.

Faith General

Goals for Spring 2006

Those of you who have been around me for a while know that I like goals. I am very vision oriented–I believe in having a set direction and establishing a path of how to get there (think Proverbs 29:18). However, I always shy away from making New Year’s resolutions, or for that matter, talking about goals in January, for fear that they will be seen as New Year’s resolutions. I think my fear of New Year’s resolutions comes from the popular perception that new years resolutions by definition have no follow through. I’ve also shied away from making my goals public, probably out of fear that I’ll be held to them. I’m not going to do that this semester. I’ve been contemplating writing this post for several weeks, but thanks to Matt Rogers for giving me the kick in the seat of the pants I needed to actually get the list finalized and posted. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing with any of the goals listed below.

  1. Prayer
    I firmly believe that having an active prayer life is one of the most important parts of being a Christian. While I feel that I’ve improved my prayer life greatly over the past few years and especially over the last semester, I feel that I’m not where I should be with prayer. I also feel that I have dropped the ball on prayer with regards to vtONE. We used to have an prayer team, which is no longer the case. Nearly everything that happened as a result of vtONE this past semester is a direct answer to prayers prayed over the past three years, which is amazing, but it also tells me how important prayer is and how vtONE needs to do more in the area of prayer. Personally, I need to be more consistent about praying for campus transformation, people that are in my life (especially ones that I see infrequently), and my family. I need to do a better job writing down what I’ve been praying for, to make sure that I don’t miss seeing God’s answers to prayers.
  2. Scripture memorization
    Something else that I need to be working on is memorizing more scripture. I figure that I’ve been a Christian for at least 13 years now, and yet I don’t have very much of the Bible memorized. Having Scripture memorized makes handling a lot of situations easier, since you know a truth to apply to the situation. Another plus is that it makes writing or preparing to speak easier–less things that need looking up. This semester, I want to memorize 1 John, plus another passage a week. This week is Matthew 22:36-40.
  3. People
    One of the core values of my church in DC is that “people matter to God and to us.” I firmly believe in that statement, but I’ve done both really good and really bad in that area. Last semester, I was averaging close to a month turn around on personal emails to me–many from people who I consider close friends and mentors. That’s just not acceptable! I’ve done a good job spending time with lots of different people and making myself accessible to my friends, but only the friends who live in close proximity to me. I also haven’t taken enough time to invest myself into many of the people who I have been working with. A lot of that comes down to people who are helping with vtONE, who have not seen near as much of me as they should. I also need to make more of an effort to build relationships with the campus ministers from the ministries that sponsor vtONE.
  4. Personal fitness
    I didn’t want to put this as a goal, because I’ve done a great job of making this a goal and a horrible job of making it happen. However, when I was working on the list earlier, my roommate Justin asked me to go running with him (we ran two miles). I took the hint. Even though I figure I walk between three and five miles on an average day with classes, I am not in as good of shape as I should be. I need to work on establishing healthy habits, because I’m already noticing that my metabolism is starting to slow down. I also feel better when I’ve been exercising regularly.

Again, please feel free to ask me about any or all of these goals (please be specific!). I need the encouragement and accountability!


What a good day

Today has been a really good day. This morning, I managed to get the repair man out to the apartment to take a look at the range. Our large burner has been shooting sparks since November 10, and they’ve known since the next day. They admitted it’s not fixable and will be installing a replacement eventually. Also, they cleaned our refrigerator’s coils, so it supposedly should stop leaking.

I called the traffic court and learned that my speeding ticket is a traffic charge and not a criminal charge. It changes my defense, but at least there’s no chance of it going down as a criminal charg (a very Bad Thing).

A quick shopping trip became a shopping marathon, but I had great success. I was able to sell back most of my text books, start acquiring new ones. I found some cold weather shirts that won’t die in the dryer for under $10 each, a polarizing filter for my camera, several months worth of household/cosmetic supplies, and got to play one of my dream digital pianos. Too bad that I still need to find a short bookshelf and a keyboard stand that’s not being held together with duct tape.

Tonight, I get to hear JR Woodward as part of the first e4 project intensive for the year. JR founded my Blacksburg church and is now pastoring a church in inner city LA. He’s an outstanding speaker, and it’s always cool to hear him in an interactive setting. The topic for tonight is the Kingdom of God, and I hope to ask JR some questions about what the Kingdom of God looks like and what that means for movements like vtONE after the intensive. I ran into JR briefly this afternoon, and the notes that I saw him printing tell me that tonight is going to be outstanding.

Oh, it nearly hit 70 degrees today. I did most of my driving with the sunroof open. The weather says it will snow on Saturday. That’s Blacksburg weather for you!

It may be 40 degrees now, but I just want to let you know that I wore flip flops today. All day!