Month: November 2013

Knowing my God, my Lord, my Creator

Even though I’m Wayne, I need to be frank.

I greatly disappoint myself and regularly.  I often feel that I’m a failure husband, dad, youth group teacher, son to my earthly parents on both sides and a neglectful friend.  But worse than all of those is my feeling that I am a failure child of my Creator God Almighty.

Yet all of the former feelings of failure are linked to the latter, which all stems from my relationship with God.

With each passing day (I’ve recently noticed wrinkles forming on my forehead and creases at the corner of my eyes in addition to my almost-completely grey head) one thing is becoming more and more obvious: at the end of this extremely short life, nothing else will matter other than my relationship with my God.  Do I know Jesus?  Do I really know Jesus?  Does He know me?

People throw the idea of ‘knowing God’ around in a similar sense as ‘being one with god’ which is a popular term in new age religions.  The same people who say this like to say, “I’m spiritual but I’m not religious” – yet when asked to further explain this seemingly exciting status are unable to say much more.

My Sikh [will I ever stop mixing up the ‘h’ and ‘k’ when I spell that word?] friend – whom I do truly call a friend – likes to speak to me of ‘god as divine energy’ or ‘god is everywhere’.  On this Wiki page about the Sikh faith, it presents the idea of being able to choose any path to end up at the same god.  It says that god has infinite names yet is somehow still ‘knowable’.  All of this believing yet they do not accept the idea of a ‘personal God’ in the way that believing Christians do (I use the term ‘believing Christians’ to differentiate true disciples of Jesus from those who just go to a church on Sunday to massage their conscience).  These ‘any-god-is-ok’ ideas are quite attractive to the person who is not a spiritually dry man walking through the endless desert of life.  Talking about a god and trying to know a god sounds great.  But here’s the thing:

I need to know God *now*.

My soul cannot wait any longer.  It is thirsty beyond belief – yea, even to the point of death – and though all these discussions are intellectually stimulating and the debates exciting, my soul needs living water.  And when I drink this water I shall never thirst again but it will instead be a well of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4).

Man, I’m thirsty these days.

Yet, though I know the Truth, I, like many other believing Christians, have been deceived by the world and its plethora of offerings of temporal satisfaction.  I have allowed the things of this short life to pull me away from my one true love – Jesus.

I have recently been thinking about my salvation experience back in 1998.  I was so empty and spiritually thirsty.  I tried everything the world had to offer – all those carnal pleasures – and nothing left me satisfied for more than a very short period of time. I was always thirsty again and increasingly.  I was like a man drinking salt water.  I kept trying to tape up the hole in my spiritual bucket but the tape would soon give way and my bucket would dry.  I didn’t like the world or myself in those days.

But then I met Jesus.  And when I’m talking ‘met’ I mean ‘met’.  He moved into my life and poured His sweet Spirit into my parched soul and it was like the first rain on a cracked dry soil.

I began to rejuvenate and hope arrived.  Hope.  Man, how I love hope.  Without hope we answer “Same ol’, same ol” when someone asks us how we’re doing.  On Mondays we answer, ‘Well, it’s Monday.” with a grumpy-pants face and, ‘Yay! It’s Friday!” with a happy face on Fridays and then repeat the dismal cycle.  It reminds me of my friend Adrian’s theory of the drink-work cycle: people work hard from Monday to Friday and then spend all their money on booze on the weekend to try to forget the workweek leaving them with no money on Monday and having to work hard again.  But hope – true hope – makes today a new, fresh, and exciting day.  What will God do today?  Where will He take me?  Who will he put in my path?  Who can I share this good news with today?  Hope is so precious.

Strength came, too.  When suffering, hardship, or general challenges came, I didn’t get bitter and hopeless.  God kept my chin up and gave me joy in the midst of tribulation.  I was much more bold back then.  I would preach the good news from a street corner or on a bus.  Give me a mic and I would tell you about Jesus and what He did for me.

But then something happened.  I let the distractions of this earth slowly creep into the time that I used to dedicate to my relationship with my God and my Saviour.  Then strength to resist sin became more difficult and eventually sin occurred – just as the Bible explains it in James chapter 1:

14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Then guilt followed the sin and it became yet more difficult to come back to my Holy and Perfect God.  It’s an age-old trap set up by the enemy of God, the devil.  I took the bait and that was that.

But thankfully, I’m parched again and I know what’s going on.  I know that there is just one thing that will fix everything: knowing God.  And you can’t tell me otherwise.  As my first pastor Randy said “A man with an experience in God is not at the mercy of a man with a theory.”  He’s right.  I’ve tasted a hint of the sweet presence of God Almighty and I want it again.

So what are the components of knowing God?  This magazine article from In Touch Ministries is absolutely excellent.  Read it if you have time.  Here is a video sermon on the same topic by the same people if you forgot how to read.  But the summary of the story is easy.  How do you get to know anyone?  You give them your time and your heart.  If you give them your time without your heart, there is no intimacy.  If you give them your heart and no time, there is no substance.  Think of the relationship between man and wife: why do some cuddle and hold hands when they go out while others read the newspaper?  What happened to the intimacy and the desire? Probably a lack of dedication to the relationship, I’m guessing.

And so it is with God, the Creator of us and all things.  He made us unlike any other created being so that He could have a relationship with us.

Even though I type this seemingly heartfelt blog, I’m giving my time to the blog and not God. I need to stop typing and go and fall on my face and praise Him for the wonderful things He has done.  I need to speak to Him about my financial struggles and ask Him to pour out His Spirit on me so I can endure to see the recovery.  I need to pray for protection for my family.  I need to talk to my God and get this relationship with Him back on track.

I don’t want to walk into heaven as someone who knew ‘about God’.  I want a real and intimate relationship with Him.  Nothing less will do. I don’t want to be one of those people who think of God as ‘somewhere out there’ – and that’s exactly how my relationship with God was getting.  But no longer.

I’m so thirsty.

The alternative is death, but I want life – badly.

Excuse me while I end this blog post so that I can go to my Heavenly Father through Jesus who made it possible.

 

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The End of Geek

A friend of mine sent out an email to people he knew and respected about how he was invited to speak at a well known event with the word ‘geek’ in the title.  It was apparently an honour.  The reply-all response to the email by a gentleman whom I respect greatly caught me off guard and really got me thinking – something hard to do at 3am before my first coffee.

He sent a link to this article and suggested that one ought not be proud of the word geek nor allow it to be attached to us as people.  I was most intrigued so I did what few do and clicked the link and was most pleasantly surprised. I hope that you will do the same.  Allow me to present you another hyperlink to the article essentially doubling the chances of you reading the article.

I agree with the author.  Here is a list of things that I’m absolutely interested in that might be considered ‘geeky’ by those people who line up for mobile phones with fruit logos on them:

  • ham/amateur radio
  • VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
  • Privacy and Security
  • Programming (even though I can’t even do it)
  • DIY projects like when I recently built an HD antenna for my TV
  • …and there are probably many more….

Don’t call me a geek.  You have no idea how cool these things are because you simply aren’t into them.  I personally don’t understand gamers.  I can’t see dedicating any part of my life to playing video games.  I can more easily relate to board games but even those… yet there are actual cafes dedicated to them!  And I always drive by those places where you can get all those medieval board games and clothes…  I simply don’t share the same interests – yet.  Whose to say that I won’t one day get into board games or gaming?

So don’t call me a geek and stop calling yourself one.

I’m a ham radio enthusiast.

I’m into ham radio.

I’m part of the ham radio community.

 

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A Better Craigslist Selling System

Have you ever felt that Craigslist is a great system but a little difficult to manage in regards to keeping track of photos and content – especially when it doesn’t sell right away?

It’s easy when you price something dirt cheap but sometimes you are trying to sell something that you want to get a little more money for or there aren’t so many buyers for.

For this reason I have come up with the following method for doing “Craigs Blitzes’  Here’s what I do and hopefully it will help you sell more quickly and with more ease.

  1. Create a new folder on your computer called ‘Craigslist’
  2. Create a folder within that folder for each one of the items you are trying to sell
  3. Put all photos related to that item in its named folder.  There are a few ways to do this:
    a) download directly from photo device into the folder via usb, b) use some kind of cloud synching system,  c) email it to yourself, etc.  However I use Craigslist itself to do it which I will expand on in a bit
  4. Create a spreadsheet similar to mine (I’m not good at making mine) for managing the ad content. See following screen shot:
    screen-shot-spreadsheet
  5. Download and install a Craigslist app like ‘Craigslist Pro’ on your smartphone for listing a quick version of the ad.

Now let me expand on the flow and you can adapt to your situation a bit:

First, I create the spreadsheet content with all the selling information I need. I also use very specific guidelines for the buyer so that I’m not wasting my time with people who can’t meet me when I’m available, who think they are going to jam my price down further, etc.  So, all my ad content is first created in the spreadsheet.  I like this because a) I have a nice big computer to do it very quickly and b) I can think about the content more and c) I can do very quick copying and pasting which is always more cumbersome on a mobile device.

Next, I use my smartphone craigslist app to take a picture of the items, to quickly give it a listing title, and a few words in the body like ‘nice chair for sale’.  Then I upload it.  I repeat this step for all my items until I’m done my ‘blitz’.  The app and camera are an awesome easy way to get the skeleton listing up and active.  Who knows – you might even sell the item before you can get upstairs to doctor it up because at this point your add is officially ‘live’ albeit not in good selling form.

Once I’ve got the photos and the skeleton uploaded, I then go up to my big, nice computer with the normal keyboard, open up that spreadsheet I made, log into Craigslist from my browser and go into my account.  There I should see a list of everything I just uploaded from my mobile sitting there with ‘active’ at the top of the list.  Now, I just click ‘edit’ and copy and paste the ‘real’ ad content from my spreadsheet into the craigslist add via the browser.  This is very fast and easy.

NOTE: While I am in here at this point editing the ad and fixing up the text content, I always right click and download all the photos from the craigslist ad into the folder I created on my computer.  The reason why I do this is twofold:

1. Craigslist has already optimized the photo (reduced the size and quality) to their limit so why not just save that version on your computer instead of uploading a bigger one later if you need?

2. Once I do so, it’s right there on my nice big computer so I don’t have to mess around with transferring the photo from my mobile to my computer.

The main reason why I do all this is because it’s likely that one or more of the items will not sell on the first listing.  What I do now is I just fully delete the listing, rethink the content in my spreadsheet, repost it which brings it back up to the top of the list – ultimately giving it a higher chance of selling.  If you delete and repost and don’t have a system like this in place it’s pretty annoying and hard I find.

Enjoy your posting.

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Learning from my Pee

So I woke up and whizzed – my normal morning ritual.  But today was different.  Today my pee was phosphorescent yellow.  I’m not talking about ‘bright yellow’ or ‘really yellow’.  I’m talking about so bright that I thought someone had dropped a glow stick in the bowl or that a nearby nuclear reactor had managed to send it it’s waste back up my grey water pipe.

This pee was yellow.

My first thought was, “Oh. I’m dying” so I did a quick search to find out by what means I would be going.  I was pleasantly surprised to find this article on a website owned by a monopolist that I would by no other means visit.  The cool thing is that I learned a lot of useful things in this quick article, including that it looks like I won’t be dying from some urine kidney issue.

I recommend spending five minutes reading it as it will help you and your family quickly assess things.

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