Month: February 2016

Friends, Family and the Flesh

  • My dear spouse, why do I find it hard to receive biblical perspectives and teachings from you?
  • Why do my family and friends always discourage me from my heart’s desires?
  • Why are my family and friends not as excited about my prospective mate?

Do some of these questions hit home?  For Bible believers, they are tied together quite intimately.

Last night I was starting to sleep when my wife woke me up and asked me, specifically why it is that when I present my spiritual opinion or my biblical perspective on a theological topic to her that she immediately opposes or doubts it, instead of trusting and believing it.

My response that spewed from the depths of my near REM sleep was:

  • the Spirit of God is living in you, so He is safe-guarding you against deception
  • all men are liars and God only is true
  • I am your husband and you’ve seen a track record of imperfection, hypocrisy and failure

As I reviewed my knee-jerk response in the morning, I was actually pretty surprised at the truth therein.  But the cherry on top was that when I opened my Bible for my daily Bible-in-a-year cycle for the new testament, lo and behold I found myself one day ahead of schedule and landed upon Mark 6.  As I read the section I couldn’t help but get excited about how God has been speaking so directly to me lately.  Last week it was a friend from the other side of the country He spoke through and today it was His Word but in the most clear way I have seen yet.  Here is the excerpt with my underlines added:

And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing [him] were astonished, saying, From whence hath this [man] these things? and what wisdom [is] this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them]. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching. [Mar 6:1-6 KJV] 1

Friends!  Family!  Flesh!

The un-spiritual trinity (lol?)

But seriously.  The only place in the new testament that I can find where Jesus could do no mighty work was in his home town where his flesh was raised.  Now check this verse out:

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. [2Co 5:16 KJV]

I’m guessing I don’t have to expound too much on anything here.  The answer to my wife is simple: she is my friend, my family and she knows my flesh, too.  I cannot think of anyone in the entire world who could possibly have a harder time trusting my spiritual insight, direction, theology, etc, than my wife.  She has to fight all three.  And so, my new response and suggestion to her would be this:

  • get even closer to God and subdue the flesh and submit the soul entirely to God
  • although you have experienced my fleshly humanity, try to view me as an eternal spirit and a resident of God’s kingdom passing through this troubling life
  • do not *know* me after the flesh.  Know me after the spirit
  • increase time in prayer together – somehow – anyhow

The last one is for some reason the toughest.

Friends and family, although they mean well and care, often times are unable to view their family and friends as spiritual beings but merely as earthly souls.  Hey – they did it to Jesus so don’t expect better from your friends and family.

That’s why the church is so important.  It’s the spiritual family – the one that travels into eternity with us.

Hope this little chunk of insight from God is useful to someone out there, not just Wayne Out There.

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The Real Jesus of the Bible

I’ve been a professing disciple of Jesus for about 20 years.  Prior to meeting Jesus personally, I had seen an Anglican version of Him.  It was a ritualistic cookie cutter machine of religious gymnastics.  I realized I didn’t have what it took to become good at this sport so I left.  When I really met Jesus it was through a group who preached that I had to be ‘born again’ to be saved.  Now this was different.  This had something that stirred my very soul.  This had some truth that my soul knew was right.  And so I got born again according to the playbook of many other folks who got born again.  Anyway, enough of my background.  I mention it only to say that I’ve seen the very ritualistic form of religion as well as the more evangelical form of it.  And here’s the part that’s going to ruffle some feathers and backstroke some cats (just made that up):

The Jesus preached to me since my birth is *not* the Jesus I see in the Bible.

And now let me make this a bit more personal for you:

The Jesus you think you know may be a form of dead religious gymnastics, not Jesus the God-Person-Saviour-Christ of the Bible.

or, let me put it a bit more cool-jazz style (start slow trumpet in dark urban alley):

Whatever religious ‘thing’ you’re doing, might actually be *preventing* you from truly knowing our Heavenly Father.

It’s time to take a step back and evaluate where we really are in our relationship with our Heavenly Father and I’m going to help ignite the process by showing some things about Jesus in the Bible that might surprise you.

Jesus Never Fits the Religious Gynmastic Programs

 

1. Jesus pardoned sins while walking the earth

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (Mark 2:5)

Everyone knows that Jesus healed people.  This is exciting and fine.  But Jesus, in front of the ‘church of his day’ (the synagogue) declared that He had the power of God when he forgave the man his sins.  Shocking would have been an understatement for anyone standing nearby – much more shocking, if you think about it, than the fact the paralysed man stood up and walked.  The healing was merely proof of his former shocking words.  How many times has your church preached this part of Jesus?

Jesus spent time with sinners

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? (Mark 2: 16)

It would have been considered extremely poor religious behaviour for Jesus to be spending time with the unclean heathen.  But for this reason did Jesus come – to heal the sick.  Healing the sick offended the religious folks.  This Jesus was offending them.

Disciples of Jesus didn’t fast

And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? (Mark 2:18)

The Pharisees fasted.  Even the disciples of John the baptist fasted.  Anyone who was part of any religious team fasted!  But not Jesus’ team.  They walked to a different beat.  This Jesus simply didn’t feel the need to fit in with what was going on.  This Jesus knew who He was and didn’t derive his identity from approval of religious teams and their coaches and their board of directors.

Jesus worked on the Sabbath

And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? (Mark 2:23-24)

According to their rules and regulations, one wasn’t supposed to work on the Sabbath.  And here is Jesus ‘breaking the rules’.  Or…. was He?  Is it possible for the one who made the game and its rules to break the rules?  Jesus was declaring that He was not part of the religious game but instead the Maker of the game.  Surely, this rocked their religious boat.

Jesus healed on the Sabbath

And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. (Mark 3:5)

The religious teams considered an act of healing to be ‘work’.  They were so addicted to the comfort of their religious systems that they were unable to even desire to see a man with a withered hand healed.  Their desire to see the cold rules of the law followed to a tee was stronger than the desire to see a suffering person’s pain and burden healed.

The above five events pulled from the Gospel of Mark really require us to sit back and take a look at our own lives.   Pretend just for a moment that you are part of a synagogue of Jesus time.  Let’s pretend that the ‘synagogue’ is called a ‘church’ for fun (it’s just a name of a gathering after all…).

You find out that a certain miracle-worker named Jesus has showed up to town and really offending the churches.  Some are calling him a blasphemer, some are calling him a heretic and a cult leader.  This Sunday he and his crew show up to your church meeting and walk in.  In the middle of the well-planned sermon Jesus puts his hand up and asks why 80% of the males in the group are in bondage to pornography.

An uncomfortable silence follows and the males squirm in their chairs.

Then Jesus asks why there is over a 50% divorce rate amongst you.

Further awkward silence.

Then he asks why there are those participating in holy communion who have wicked lives behind the scene.

Now here is the question I want you to really think about.  If the above were to happen today, do you think the Shepherds and the Sheep of your group would:

a) repent in bitter sorrow and weep over their condition or

b) kick this preacher out the back door for rudely speaking out of turn and mucking up their flow

I want you to think about this.  Really.

But it doesn’t stop there.  The Jesus that I see in my Bible also said this:

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Matthew 10:34-35)

He also said this:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)

And the list goes on.

I hope that I’m mistaken, but I’m guessing that the Jesus above doesn’t match up with the Jesus being preached to you. And that’s why you are in permanent bondage and your life is dark and dreary.  Don’t think I haven’t been there before nor think that I’m fully out of the religious forest.

But great news, folks.  Jesus is not a religious cross-fit program.  He is a Person – and the most amazing, loving, forgiving, life-changing, freedom-providing One I have ever met.

Do not accept spiritual mediocrity.

Do not accept a program to substitute a relationship.

Do not accept a ‘form of godliness’ and deny the power of God.

Decide today that you will *know* your Heavenly Father by knowing His Word yourself.

Turn off the TV.

Turn off the news.

Turn off your cell phone.

Bow the knee.

Our Saviour has come.

He awaits at the door.

He is knocking.

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How to Fix Owncloud Maintenance Mode Message Ubuntu Server

Did and upgrade to your Ubuntu packages and owncloud is mucked up?  Same.  So I blogged this because it happens all the time and I always forget how to do it quickly. Hope this helps you, too:

  1. Access your server via terminal (ssh in)
  2. move to your owncloud directory.  Mine is default and if yours is too copying and pasting this should work: cd /var/www/owncloud/config
  3. edit the config.php file: sudo nano config.php
  4.  scroll down and change the word ‘true’ to ‘false’ besides maintenance mode
  5. control x to exit
  6. ‘y’ to save it

Done.

There is apparently an even easier way to do this in a single command which I have not yet tried found here which I will try next time. Command looks like this. Again, I have *not* tested this but it looks promising:

sudo -u www-data php occ maintenance:mode –on

and I’m further guessing that you could change the last part to read –off to turn maintenance mode off…

UPDATE: I tested the above command and it couldn’t seem to find said ‘occ’ in the command.  Not sure.  So the top of my tutorial works, though steps 1 to 6…

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Should I Kill my Dumb Smart Phone Forever?

You know, sometimes you read an article and when you read it you are sure it’s wisdom screaming out at you.  You know there is truth there.  You know you should listen.  This article is just such an article but before reading it, let me state a few things:

  • she should also ditch google and all the other invasive companies who are ruining her life secretly
  • is there a need even for the landline?  This is a debate on with my friends now.

The ‘cell phone’ has become a ‘computer in your holster’.  Everyone knows it.  Everyone feels the addiction and gets panicky when they can’t feel the bulge in their pocket…

It is undeniably a chain, a leash and perhaps even a noose.

Also shared by my buddies was this link.

This article speaks of some technological and privacy reasons why it might be wise to bench the stench.

What we need to do here at W.O.T. is create a useful series about how to break the chain of addiction one day at a time.

Oh! There is one solution, like the landline, not mentioned here and that is that you could get your ham radio license (amateur radio) and communicate just fine and dandy in plain view of the world.  Then you can say “Text??  How about ham me at VE7CAK at 5:00pm?”  Actually, you *can* text message with ham radio, if you want.  I’ve forced my parents to license up because one neato thing not mentioned in any of these articles is that these dumb phones are radio transmitters that can’t talk to each other without a cell phone tower or wifi connection in between.  In Canada, that means they are useless across most of the land!  So with radio you control your own network, not your telecom. Ham radio baby.

This dumb smart phone ain’t no bottle of vodka – it’s much stronger.

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Everything You Need to Know about Ubuntu Phone

My friend sent me this link to a great page that summarizes most of the key things you need to know about the Ubuntu Phone.

As mentioned in my previous article, we are quickly moving to convergence and in order to make sure we get there safely, ubuntu is the *only* option.

The great news for all of you who were making excuses, is that now you can buy very reliable devices out of the box that are Ubuntu.

It’s not that Ubuntu is the future, it’s that everything else is the past.

 

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Manna: What is it? It is this.

UPDATE: I’ve included a response from a friend to this post in the body of the post below under these neato little == markings, removing some personal identifying items.

=========================

I could feel the heavy burden on my back when I woke up.  It was also on my chest.  I could also feel it pushing on my temples (both sides).  I was being slowly crushed under it – again.  How did this happen?  How did I end up back here again – back under the horrible weight of stress and worry?

Maybe I should have just gone the way of other men.

Maybe the wide road of comfort, ease and abundance is the better way.

Maybe pushing papers for the government or a big company isn’t so bad because there at least I’ll know that my mortgage and bills will be paid and by whom: me!

STOP THE PRESS!

WOAHHHHHH, NELLY!

CONDUCTOR, STOP THIS TRAIN! I NEED TO GO VISIT CAPTAIN JESUS!

And so I went into the Holy of Holies to pray (I call it that because I have curtains that go between my home office and the place where I find myself crying out to God on the floor).

I stopped talking and thinking and got down on my knees and started worshipping.  Within less than three seconds (sometimes He’s fast) He said ‘Manna’.

Manna?

What is it? (Exodus 16)

And what does it have to do with this burden of stress that is slowly sucking my will to live?

Although I don’t have the entire revelation, here is what was shown me in convenient bullet point form for millenial encouragement:

  • no matter how many hours of the day I work I cannot provide more
  • if I sweat all day long and all night long and gather storehouses full of it, it rots leaving me with exactly what I need when the delivery arrives the next day
  • it’s about being in God’s will, not about the easy life that matters
  • the wilderness might not be pretty, but it’s there where faith grows
  • no matter how poor I am, no matter how empty my basket is, no matter how hungry I am, the amount I need always seems to show up – but not always exactly when my stomach growls.

and, the key take away point for me, for today, when I could feel the burden lifting off of my chest, temples and shoulders was this:

  • no matter how much I worry, I cannot add or subtract to the amount of Manna provided because God Almighty knows what’s best for my soul.

Jesus asked this ( Matt 6:27, NLT version):

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

I write this today in hopes that someone out there who is in my shoes is encouraged.  I’m thinking of one particular friend in Ottawa with whom, although we rarely have time to chat these days, has also chosen the path of most resistance for many years and found himself with humbled and asking for continual help.  He, like I, know that there is something so important to learn on the journey that we have, for many years gone without, worked countless hours more than our neighbours and friends and have ended up with just enough Manna for today.  I’ve always wanted to ask him if his heart, like mine, has become so thankful for the small things in life.  I’ve always wanted to ask him if his relationship with God, like mine, has become so much closer through the journey of learning to trust our Heavenly Father.

And so, brother, I hope that this short post has boosted your faith in Christ, multiplied your thankfulness, encouraged you for the day, and given you hope for tomorrow.

Manna.  It is this.

=========================

Hey bud,

Thanks again for sharing that blog post.
To be honest, I see things a bit differently. Bear with me as I go through some of the things you wrote and offer a different point of view 🙂
The Lord Provides
Full transparency here, and forgive me if I’m repeating stuff I already shared.
A few years back I was pretty fed up with my employment. I had spent a lot of time studying and earning certifications so I could work my way up the ladder and actually help people. Well… when I got there it was just more sales.
As my dissatisfaction grew, my desire to be independently wealthy grew, too, so I made the decision to resign and go it alone.
That was the first in a long series of bad decisions.
In those first few months of unemployment (self employment) I tried various investments and even online marketing.
My wife and I met the Lord in Dec 2011. Shortly after things got to their lowest. We nearly had to sell the house to pay off all the debt I had got us into. Fortunately we were able to work out a debt repayment plan through a government agency here, and as long as we were able to pay X amount back to our creditors each month, we could keep our house.
After that our monthly obligations were more burdensome than ever, and I was still too stubborn to get a job. I was determined to be self employed and had myself convinced that I was very close to having a breakthrough.
I went through many many sleepless nights, crying out to God for help. Every new win encouraged me, so I kept going despite the irrefutable reality that I couldn’t afford to take care of my family.
We were “borrowing” money from my parents on a very regular basis. I was working very long hours. And we just couldn’t get ahead.
There actually were a few times I nearly caved to get a job. My wife kept reminding me to trust the Lord. So I did, and kept going.
Now My Comments:
Maybe pushing papers for the government or a big company isn’t so bad because there at least I’ll know that my mortgage and bills will be paid and by whom: me!
The point you seem to be making here is that if you’re self employed you’re relying on the Lord to provide, but if you were to get a job you’d somehow be relying on your own strength.
I think the danger of relying on your own strength is just as great in either case, but I think that is beside a much greater issue:
In My Case:
I now firmly believe that I was missing a greater commandment and mistakenly thought that I was somehow trusting God more by sticking with self employment.
Here was the reality when I was self employed
  • I was often stressed
  • I wasn’t able to provide for my family
  • I was a great burden to my parents
  • I had very little time with my children and my wife
  • When I DID have time with my family, I was often preoccupied with the demands that come with running my own business
  • I felt like a failure, but didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it
  • I wanted to succeed
Here are some truths I have come to understand better in the last year:
  • The professional path I choose does not define my level of trust in the Lord ( Col 3:23-24 )
  • The Lord commands me to train up my children and have a great quantity of time with them (not just ‘quality’ time) ( Deut 11:19, Prov 22:6 )
  • The Lord commands me to be the head of my wife, ministering to her faithfully ( Eph 5:25-30 )
  • The Lord expects that I will make wise decisions and provide for my family. ( 1 Tim 3:5, 5:8 )
I Was Very Wrong
I came to the conclusion that I was no more pious in working for myself, nor would I be any less pious for getting a job.
I realize that my understanding of what it meant to “trust The Lord” was flawed.
I realize that The Lord gives us a very long leash – even enough with which to hang ourselves.
We are expected to be wise. We are commanded to make good decisions. I was using my “trust” in The Lord as a cover all for poor planning and poor decisions. Not intentionally, mind you, but that was what was happening.
With all due respect, love and tenderness, brother, I think you’re missing something when you equate getting a job with seeking a road of comfort, ease and abundance. I don’t think they are the same thing, at all. If you were guilty of that, you’d be guilty of it as a self employed entrepreneur or an office worker.
Rather, could getting a job not be a means to obeying a great commandment? If you were to get a job (and it can be one with purpose, that you enjoy), how much more time would you be able to spend with your family? How much more effective would you be in ministering to the wife and daughters the Lord has entrusted to your care?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
What a promise!!
I’m not saying you are NOT doing these things, but I’m just asking how much MORE could you be doing them were you not preoccupied with work? That was certainly the case with me.
Things Have Changed
Last year I decided to finally get a job, and one that I could enjoy. I decided on a field that I was interested in, and thank The Lord I have a lot of fun doing it.
Last June I started to study, and the Lord connected me with all the right people and opportunities to really grow in this field I enjoy so much.
I was looking for work, but I still had much I needed to learn before I could be an effective team member on a team in this field.
Praise God, through a very unlikely turn of events I landed a job at a startup just 5 minutes from home.
Things are still a bit tight financially, and I get up very early most mornings to study, but we’re making it, and it’s getting better all the time. I have no doubt that The Lord has provided all of this.
I get to spend each lunch hour with my family. I have had the opportunity to share Christ with my young coworker, and I sit next to a woman who recently fled her native country to provide a better life for her sons.
My Point
 
Your post did indeed resonate with me, brother. I saw so much of myself in your struggles, and I find it no accident that we share so much in common.
To answer your questions. Yes, I have been humbled, and continue to be most days ;). Yes, I am very grateful for everything. Yes, I love The Lord so much more than before. But none of those things had to come from the poor decisions I made before.
Now I’m not saying you are guilty of the same things I was. But maybe something in my experience matches your own.
I just urge you to reconsider your assumptions. You are NOT being unfaithful by seeking employment if doing so means more time with your family.
============================================
Thanks Brother. This response will help countless people as it has and will myself.  I wholeheartedly agree with 100% of your points and I ask God to rebuke me sharply if I am on the wrong path.  I want to also add that there is a very good book (I have no idea about his faith) called Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki that talks about becoming an entrepreneur within a company.  There is a cool term for it that I forget but if I could do it again, I would probably go this route for the first round: get a nice paycheque every month, win the hearts of the ownership/directors, and then get their permission to start a new venture under the financial power of that company.  What an easier path than the painful path I have taken my family through, as my friend described above.  That said, God is very gracious.  He speaks to us through friends like this and through His word and if we’re listening He quickly shows us whether we are on track or need to readjust our trajectory.  Thanks again for taking the time to respond, brother.  Next time spare me the pain of editing and just post the comment yourself! 😉
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The Race to Convergence: Or is it a Marathon?

ubuntu-logo

This article started out kind of exciting.  It explained how Ubuntu was about to show, on a large commercial scale the unveiling of convergence of multiple devices.  For those who don’t know what convergence is, it’s the ability for multiple devices to converge into one user experience – without the need for multiple processors and hard drives.  For a company that sells desktops, laptops and tablets, it is a scary, scary business proposition.  For a company that sells high quality screens or high powered mobile phones, it could be a dream come true.  Essentially, the ‘computer that you carry in your pocket’ can be instantly connected to whatever screen you feel like.  It’s truly the most disruptive reality to hit the computer hardware market, in my opinion, in recent history.  One thing is for sure – the entire world is begging for it whether they even know it or not. Combining that with the increase of people sticking their digital lives on ‘clouds’ (other peoples’ computers) this disruption is also poised to be a seriously dangerous one for those who don’t make wise choices.

This article, although it was smart to feature Ubuntu as a forerunner, it foolishly tried to give credit to Microsoft for ‘truly being the first’ to do convergence. First, did they?   I had no idea.  Nor do I care.  Nor does anyone else I roll with.  If the name has ‘Microsoft’ in it, we flee for the hills.  Why? Because it’s compromised out of the box.  It is dangerous.

So, while reading this article, it became even more apparent to me that the ‘battle for the operating system’ will eventually be won by Ubuntu in numbers (it is already won in principle) and it will happen not by speed (even though development is moving fast like lightning) but by security and, although the word might sound cheesy and not a popular choice in a tech article – love.  You see, Ubuntu cares about you, because it’s built by people who care about things other than shareholders’ dividends.

Let’s run this basic scenario.  You buy the latest, most fashionable phone by Microsoft or Apple.  They boast this cool new feature that allows you to plug it into a big 60″ screen and now it’s your computer (Ubuntu had this for years, btw, but I digress). It’s convergence!  You show Grandma and Grandma thinks you are the bees knees.  You take a selfie with Grandma and there is a picture of her Bible behind her favourite chair.  As you get in your car your photo is magically whisked away to the cloud service you love so much provided, by force, by your over-priced phone manufacturer.  Meanwhile, back at your local government, they decide (without vote, of course) that they don’t like what these Bible readers believe and decide to persecute them and kill them.  They ask Apple and Microsoft for access to review stuff on their servers (your cloud) and they say no.  They say yes.  They say no.  They pull out the guns.  They say yes.  They say yes, too. Oh! And look! There is Grandma with her Bible.  Busted with Bible. Bye bye, Grandma.

And so my point is this: it doesn’t matter who gets to convergence first.  It matters who gets there securely and with freedom as a top agenda.

And if you didn’t know, you could, right now, have Ubuntu in your pocket.  You can either buy one out of the box, or have someone help you put it on supported hardware.

What are you waiting for?  Your Grandma to get busted?

Go healthy.  Go Ubuntu.

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