Friday, May 11, 2012

Notes on Ephesians 4:17-24

I recently studied Ephesians 4:17-24 with a group by listening to a message by Dr. Tim Keller. His focus was on the struggle of Christians to truly make Christ Lord in their daily lives. He described a teaching that made an impact on him during a college camp. Below is my transcription of what he describes in the sermon "The New Self."

"If the distance between the earth and the sun (92 million miles) were the thickness of a piece of paper,
Then the distance between earth and the next nearest star would be a stack of papers 70 feet high.
Then the distance between earth and the end of our galaxy would be a stack of paper 310 miles high.
And our galaxy is just a speck of dust in the part of the universe that we can see.
And if Hebrews 1:1-3 is right - that there is a God who created this and he holds it together with the Word of his power, with just his pinky,
Is this the kind of God you ask into your life to be your personal assistant?
Who are you living your life for? Who calls the shots in your life?

What a powerful message! It requires that I get serious about thinking about my relationship with God and what role he plays in my life. Dr. Keller goes on to describe some wonderful insights related to putting off your old self and putting on a new self in Christ.

To see a summary of the complete sermon, you can view the notes here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Notes on Ephesians 3:1-13

My Bible study group recently studied Ephesians 3:1-13 and the message "A Foretaste of the Future" by Dr. Tim Keller.

The full sermon notes from our study are available HERE.

The first section of the message focused on the "hardness of life." This is not news that life is hard, but as humans we are constantly at war with ourselves about why our life is hard. Is there something that we did to deserve pain and suffering? Could we have done better to avoid it? I was amazed to focus on John the Baptist in Matthew 11 - while in prison he sent word to Jesus asking whether or not he was actually "the one!" Even John the Baptist faced doubts during rough times.

Section 2 jumps in to an analysis of the "mystery" of grace. Mystery meaning not something hidden that has to be found, but something counter-intuitive that needs to be wrestled with in order to be accepted. Following the Ten Commandments is intuitive - it is about doing good. But grace comes from not perfectly following the law but as a gift from God. It is a mystery. I learned also about a famous Martin Luther quote "Simil Iustus et Peccator." This means "at once justified and sinner." That is also a mystery.

The next section is called "The Brilliance of the Church." Keller asserts that Paul is saying the manifold wisdom of God is made known through the church. The primary means that the gospel is communicated is through the church. We all need the church, flawed though it is, to learn and grow in Christ. We will wither without it.

Finally, the message is wrapped up by a discussion of how we overcome suffering through Christ with the aide of the church. We put the earlier points together to gain an understanding of how suffering is never for nothing, no suffering can ultimately hurt you, and how your suffering will be for glory (verse 13).

Be sure to read the notes for more detail on this beautiful section.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hiding Movie Previews on an Apple TV

The Apple TV in an excellent resource for the elementary classroom for video viewing or for using the AirPlay capabilities of an iPad. However, young students may be distracted by the display of "Top Movie" posters that are displayed on the Movie section of the Apple TV menu. To make matters worse, the Apple TV will default to this view whenever you turn on the Apple TV or switch back to the menu screen.

With the newest Apple TV update (version 5.0 - 4099), the parental controls allow you to hide these movie previews so that they will not appear when you inevitable go to the Apple TV menu screen.

To hide the movie preview display, take the following steps:
MENU> Select the icon on the right called "Settings."
SETTINGS> Choose the "General" option by pressing the enter button.
GENERAL> Click down to "Parental Controls" and press enter.
PARENTAL CONTROLS> First you will need to turn on parental controls under the first option. Select a four digit code to secure the controls with. Be sure to make note of this code. You will have to enter the code twice before it is accepted.
PARENTAL CONTROLS> Once the parental controls are enabled, click all the way down to "Purchase & Rental". Press enter and you will have to enter your code. Once your code is in, you will still be on the Purchase & Rental menu item. Press the enter button on the remote till you see "HIDE" displayed. This is the setting you want to hide the movie previews. Press the menu button on the remote to return to the previous screens.

You may wish to look at some of the other parental controls in order to hide more options on the default menu.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Notes on Ephesians 2:19-22

My Bible study group recently studied Ephesians 2:19-22 and the message "United to One Another" by Tim Keller.

The full sermon notes from our study are available here:

I was struck by the emphasis on "unheimlichkeit" in the first section. This is a concept by Martin Heidegger that emphasis the homesickness of the Christian. Paul says we are no longer "foreigners and aliens" when we are in Christ. It is our homesickness that leads us to seek the restored relationship that Christ offers. 

Keller describes the church in three vivid ways of increasing intensity: fellow citizens in a nation of God's people; brothers and sisters in God's household; and stones in a temple in which God resides. We are being called in deep relationships and deep involvement in a Christian community. I should seek deep accountability with those in my community, deeper hospitality with those I reach out to, and the willingness to share our corporate spirtuality - which means actually talking about your faith with others. Keller wraps us this section by reviewing the concept from C.S. Lewis' "The Four Loves." In this book Lewis describes how we are made better in community because each of us helps the others understand Christ and each other in a unique way. If you lose a member of the group, you lose an opportunity to grow in a way that only that person can cause. 

Lastly, we are to "maintain" the unity of the spirit. It is hard sometimes to be in good relationships all the time, even with other Christians. Keller says to first of all make Christ your cornerstone. If you go to Jesus first you will be inspired to show the true hospitality that he showed us first by giving his life for us. 

Love is what life is about. Community is what life is about.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Using Google Chrome Extensions

Google announced in late January that the latest version of their Chrome browser would now handle extensions. Truth be told I have stayed away from using a lot of extensions in Firefox because I did not like the way it slowed down the browser. Since the main reason I use Chrome is to have a quick way of doing basic browsing, I was hesitant to start jumping into a bunch of extensions in this product either. But Google seems to emphasize speed over all else, so I decided to try a couple of the new extensions out.

Once you have the latest version downloaded, the extensions that can be installed are located at or by going to "Extensions" in the customize and control menu. I had recently started using "LastPass" for password management for web sites, so I was eager to install that in Chrome as well. During the past month, I have also installed "Chromed Bird", "Blog This!", "Remember the Milk for Gmail", and "RSS Subscription Extension Plus." After all of this I have not noticed any slowness in the browser or it locking up on me.

One curious thing is that the applications do not always tend to work immediately. Even with a restart to the browser or the computer, there are times where I am waiting for it to start working correctly. I have not found any information on line about this problem. In face, I installed the "Blog It" extension earlier today and still do not have access to the "Options" for this extension in the controls.

I am most pleased with the Remember the Milk extension. I am totally in Gmail now, but miss the convenience of tasks in Outlook. This gave me the ability to have my tasks in the same view as my email, which I find very useful.

Also I have gravitated to Chromed Bird as my most used Twitter client. I rebuilt my main computer during the past few weeks and have not felt a need to reinstall TweetDeck since the Chrome extension has worked so well.

Finally, I have found the RSS Subscription Extender is pretty useful to loading an RSS feed in to Google Reader. Though there are times when I need to look at actual RSS feed and I am not able to because the extension takes over and reformats things differently.

I am pleased with Google chrome and the extensions now available make the experience even better!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. It is an awesome day for reflection over where you are at in your spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of a journey to Easter Sunday.

An excellent daily devotion for this journey has been produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries. The journey to Mount Calvary can be found at the Lenten Devotions website.

Prince of Peace had an Ash Wednesday service this morning for the middle school and high school students. It was a blessing to be a part of. In this picture, Pastor Landon is doing the traditional practice of the imposition of ashes.

Blessings on your Lenten journey!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Suggested Contacts in Outlook 2010

So I realized today that I still have the Windows 7 Release Candidate installed on my main workstation at church. I got the friendly little two week warning. I have been meaning to do a fresh install of the actual production build, but never quite got to it!

The next step is to pull any data off the computer that needs to be saved before I wipe it clean. A crucial piece is the pesky NK2 file in Outlook that saves the auto-complete for email addresses that I type in the TO line of a new message. This important data is synonymous with Contacts for most users. I learned long ago to grab it during every computer transition if I want to avoid an irritated customer. Every time I move that file I secretly wish that it could some how be saved server side since it is such a crucial piece for the user.

I was confused when I could not find a current NK2 file in the usual path for Vista and Windows 7 (C:\Users\Home\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook). Luckily I had a relatively new copy backed up from when I did the Office 2010 beta install a month ago. But it got me thinking that maybe there was a new location for it in Office 2010. A short search and I discovered a really nice surprise!

Office 2010 has a new feature called Outlook called "Suggested Contacts". Apparently during the upgrade, Outlook read my NK2 file and turned all the data into contact entries in Outlook. It put them in a new Contact folder in my mailbox. Better yet, they are saved on the server so now they will follow me around and be available if I install on a new workstation. A very nice addition.

There is a downside for some, however. The "suggested contacts" folder shows up in your mobile phone if you sync with Exchange. Here is one user who didn't like the extra clutter. I still use a Blackberry, but have an iPod touch that I do email on. I was wondering where all those addresses were coming from. Seems handy to me.

Thanks, Microsoft!