Saturday, September 23, 2006

Home Safely opposed to "safely home," which is generally used by Christians to mean dead.

I made it back. I have a lot on my mind, but who knows how long it will take to get it all down. Things seem to be busier than ever.

So while I'm composing my thoughts, you can read this from Dan Phillips, which is where I was last Wednesday (after meeting with the LDS missionaries), and this from RevGoT, which is a complement (though not a perfect parallel) to what I experienced.

A quick thanks to all who prayed for my trip & our discussions with the two Mormon missionaries.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Sorry, I'm not talking about me, despite the fact that I am currently missing church to take a class for work, and despite the fact that I had Sangria with alcohol in it along with our authentic Spanish meal last night (I hope to revisit both of these subjects sometime after my return next week).

No, I'm referring to the two LDS missionaries we had visit us on Friday night. It was really surreal. At one point, after being asked some rather pointed questions, one of the young men went into what I can only describe as a trance-like state and started reciting his testimony. His eyes were glazed over; his voice was flat; his body was immobile.

As we discussed it after they left, we discussed the possibility (or indeed the likelihood) of a demonic influence. Those of you who know me know that I wouldn't bring this issue up lightly.

I bring this to your attention to ask for your continued prayers for these young men. They are scheduled to return on Wednesday, and we are tentatively planning to present the Gospel, the Biblical Gospel, to them then. Please pray that the Lord might hinder any negative spiritual influences, while at the same time through His Spirit opening their eyes & hearts to see the truth.

Their names are Staples & Bingham.

More later...

Cent must be back, as I notice I don't have access to his blog anymore. So I guess it would be a good time to express my thanks for him letting me post on his blog (particularly since I was being so disagreeable prior to his vacation).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Greetings From Near Texas Somewhere

Bonus points if you can identify the allusion in the title...

Just a quick note to say that I've arrived in Texas, and classes are going.

The folks that I'm staying with (we'll call them Bonnie & Clyde), would like to be full-time missionaries to Mormons in Utah. I got to see a presentation on Sunday night of their most recent short-term trip to Utah, and also hear a bit about it.

Now for the prayer request: two young LDS men who are here on their mission are stopping in on Friday. Would you join me in praying that what we say while they are here would be pleasing to God, and that He might bring them out of darkness & into His marvelous light?

More later.

Your co-worker in the Kingdom...

I do have a question for those of you who may have witnessed to Mormons before. I'm struggling with how to use a Presuppositional approach when all the terms I would use have different meanings to them.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm In Love With My Calculator... that so wrong?

This is my new calculator.

How have I lived without this thing?

In college, my Financial Math professor warned us to make sure we knew the formulas, and so cautioned us against using the financial calculators. Being a poor college student, I was happy to oblige not having to buy one more thing for class.

Fast forward about four years to grad school. The professor suggested that we get a calculator, and the Texas Instrument BA II Plus was fairly cheap at Wal-Mart, so that was it. I did use it for my classes, but always had a hard time making the math turn out right. Plus, there are a lot of buttons to push when doing worksheet calculations. Still, it is a great value for the money, because it has so many functions, and would probably be a first or second choice for undergraduate work.

Which brings me to now. The appraisal industry has but one calculator, the HP 12c. All of the class literature I've read has warned me to make sure I know how to use it before I get there, so I've been fiddling around with it for a month.

And all I can say is where has this been all my life.

There are two highlights of the calculator: the craftsmanship, and the operation.

I like how it is made. It's sturdy, the buttons are firm and responsive, and because of its horizontal orientation, I can hold it one-handed (which, given a four-month old in the house, comes in quite handy).

But perhaps even better is the operation. The calculator operates on a principle known as Reverse Polish Notation, or RPN. If you don't know anything about RPN, try Wikipedia, the Hewlett Packard website, and the HP Calculator Museum.

Once you've read about it, may I suggest downloading a copy of an RPN calculator to try it out for yourself? My current favorite is Excalibur, downloadable here. Free to be downloaded, or you can send $5 via Paypal to the author. I hate paying for software, but I play on sending him his Fiver--it's that good.

Once you go RPN, you'll never go back.

Friday, September 08, 2006


4685: the number of days (not including today) that I have been in the financial services industry (calculated on my new HP 12c calculator, which you'll be hearing more about in the near future).

This is it. Today I hang up the ties, white shirts, and black dress shoes, and move into a new phase in my life--a new career.

Thanks to all who submitted guesses. I can only say that I'm sorry that my real answer will probably disappoint you.

I will be going into commercial real-estate appraisal. Some friends of ours are in the business, and they have asked me to join them. To do it, I will be taking approximately 180 classroom hours in the next 16 months, as well as completing several thousand hours of practical appraisal work.

The job is 12 miles from my house (vs. the 30ish I'm traveling currently), which opens up the possibility to have meals with my family. I will also have some scheduling flexibility, which I hope will translate into some Bible conference attendance (once I complete all the necessary work).

God has been incredibly gracious, as He always is, in leading us down this path. One day I will sit down and give a full accounting of His continuous faithfulness throughout my entire career.

But for now I'll be content to say thanks to Him, and ask (as you see fit) that you might remember my family and me in your prayers.

The first of my classes starts on Monday, and I'm assuming that I will be out of commission until they are over, which will be in about two weeks. In the meantime, if you just gotta have your fix, thanks to the magic of the Blogosphere, you will be able to see some of my work on BugBlog, and at Centuri0n's place as well.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Anything I Could Say Tim Has Said Better...

This post from Challies took the words right out of my mouth (well, except for the part where he handles things diplomatically and with much aplomb).

Read & consider it. When I return, I hope to pick up on one of the big picture themes that underlies this post.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New Job--Not too Late to Guess

It's not too late to make your guess as to what my new job will be.

My favorite guesses so far were full-time blogger (Nate: are things really so slow @ GTY that you have to spend all your time leaving sarcastic comments on people's blogs?) & diner owner (do I look like Vic Tayback?). Oh, and special kudos to Nan, whose guesses were very close to home.

Polls will close Thursday night, & I will make the announcement Friday morning.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Baptism & the Lord's Supper

1) RevGoT muses about why the Lord's Supper shouldn't be celebrated in small groups. I wonder out loud if it has anything to do with whether one sees it as a sacrament or an ordinance.

2) A rather lengthy conversation on "why Christianity isn't an intellectual pursuit" has turned into a discussion of whether the sacraments convey saving grace with FTM's "token Catholic friend" Therese Z. At the plate: baptism. On deck: the Eucharist? Or maybe marriage? Feel free to jump in...

3) For my view on baptism, you can listen to (or download) this sermon, preached last week at my church. One highlight of the message: an explanation of "baptized for forgiveness of sins" being "as a result of" instead of "in order that" (hint: think about a wanted poster--are killers wanted so that they can murder, or because they have already murdered?).

Friday, September 01, 2006

ESV Outreach New Testament--50 Cents a Copy!

Read the announcement here.

Available only through bookstores--but my local Mardel store doesn't carry them. Hmm--I wonder if Frank will make an exception to his "no mail" policy for outreach ESVs...

Update: I'm not the only one having a hard time finding a participating store. If anyone knows an online store that is carrying them, please leave a comment here. Thanks.

Also adding a trackback to the announcement on the ESV blog, in case they can help.