Showing posts from August, 2007

Devotional Thoughts: my understanding inspires me to reply

Previously, in Job 1-2 the stage is set for the drama of Job's sufferings.

Job 3-14 is the first set of speeches where we hear Job followed by a friend in dueling monologues.

This pattern is continued in Job 15-21 with a second set of dueling monologues.

Here in Job 20, we hear Zophar give his second speech ...

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
because I am greatly disturbed.
I hear a rebuke that dishonors me,
and my understanding inspires me to reply.
Surely you know how it has been from of old,
ever since man was placed on the earth,
that the mirth of the wicked is brief,
the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.
Though his pride reaches to the heavens
and his head touches the clouds,
he will perish forever, like his own dung;
those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?'
Like a dream he flies away, no more to be found,
banished like a vision of the night.
The eye that saw him will not s…

Devotional Thoughts: Art and Spirituality

A few months back, I posted this item.

I did get to see the exhibit and took my digital camera and snapped a few shots.

Here is one for contemplation ... What do you think of the art object to the right?

And how about these random questions about art and spirituality ...

How much of the spiritual message is dependent on the context of the art exhibit?

Would this item (or any other art work) invoke spiritual thoughts if it were NOT displayed at a church as part of an exhibit with the title, "Spirituality in Contemporary Art?"

In the post-Christian era, to what extent do traditional religious symbols (like the Cross or a Lamb) have meaning to a viewer?

If you are interested in my thoughts on this art work, go to the comments.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on it!

Travel: wonderful little quote

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
-- St. Augustine

Found that little gem in this article about personal finances.

Non-Profit of the Month: August 2007 - Feed the Children

Heard about this this morning on the radio while driving to work.

Here is the blurb on the fund-raising effort:

Homeless children learn to go without lots of things that most of us take for granted... but expecting them to go without school supplies is simply too much to expect. That's why talkradio 790 KABC has teamed up with the Feed the Children Foundation to make sure that thousands of homeless kids in the LA and Orange County area will have a backpack filled with school supplies.

Obviously, the problem is one with many factors but the choice is between doing nothing or trying to do something. Maybe by trying to do something, the forces will be set in motion to do more!

Please consider giving to this effort!

Technology: 911 and Cell Phones

Saw this item in the Los Angeles Times.

The reporters studied the challenges of the 911 system having to field so many calls many of which come from cell phones.

Life: and another summer winds down

So school sounds start soon
Long hot days start to fade away
Leaves fall yet new times

Sports: Dodgers sing, send in the 40somethings

I stuck a fork in 'em a week and a half ago. Since then they have gone 6-4 which is an improvement that keeps the team treading water. They need to make a statement against the Mets and sweep as they are 5.5 down in the NL West and 2.5 down in the Wild Card.

The Dodgers have signed 44 year old David Wells to bolster their injury depleted starting rotation thus joining 42 year old Roberto Hernandez who was picked up off free-agency to help the overused bullpen.

I saw David Wells pitch when I recently visited San Diego. He can't break tissue paper with his fastball! Okay, slight exaggeration. He threw a lot of 67 mph curveballs and that night it was breaking well and the Mets were missing it and so he won going 6 innings.

Have nothing against 40+ year old people, I'm a 40-something! But it does say something about the situation the Dodgers are in that two of their playoff run acquisitions are on the plus side of 40.

Go Geezers ... err Dodgers!

Devotional Thoughts: Who may dwell in your sanctuary

Been reading in Job for some of my times of reflection. But sometimes, I feel it is "too heavy" and I'll do something else like think about a song with meaningful lyrics, try to write poetry, jot random thoughts that come to mind or read a thoughtful book.

In my mind, the idea is to "reboot" my mindset back onto God and there are many ways to try to do this.

Another way I do this is to read in the Book of Psalms. I'll either read one Psalm or one page in my pocket Bible that has the New Testament plus Psalms plus Proverbs. So today, I read from Psalm 15.

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when i…

Space: Welcome home Endeavour

Isn't she a beautiful sight!

Image source:

I have to admit, I was nervous and had the NASA TV internet streaming video going.

Many years ago, two decades ago, I was driving to school listening to top-40 pop music when the DJ broke into the music with the first reports that something had gone terribly wrong with Challenger shortly after launch.

A few years back, it was an early Saturday morning when I listened with sadness on the radio that contact had been lost with Columbia on re-entry. As a high schooler, I had gotten up early in the morning to watch Columbia lift off in STS-1, the maiden voyage of the space shuttle program.

This morning, I was aware of the landing and the concerns about the dented tiles. The heat of re-entry is one of the dangerous parts of the mission. It was great to hear the NASA announcer report they were in touch with the shuttle as it punched through the fiery re-entry phase and began its moves to red…

Elsewhere: Stuff I've come across

Speedsters in stiletto high heels ... whoa, look at the determination in their faces!'s 20 questions to ask before you get married ... amazing how many questions are really practical ones!

I occasionally catch Krista Tippett's Speaking of Faith radio show on the radio. More often, I'll hear it via podcast if the topic sounds interesting.

Really was moved by their recent program on L'Arche which are communities of faith where mentally disabled individuals team up with assistants who help them. As a "high functioning" scientist type of person, it is so easy for me to define my life by what I do. Listening to the show reminded me that humans have an intrinsic dignity and worth regardless of what one is able to do.

I also heard on podcast, Krista's discussion about Marriage, Family and Divorce from Jewish and Christian traditions. Not surprisingly, a lot of the thoughts were highly pragmatic compared to the idealized vision our Western media-soake…

Devotional Thoughts: whom I shall see for myself

Job 19 was this morning's reading.

Then Job answered and said:
How long will you torment me
and break me in pieces with words?
These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
are you not ashamed to wrong me?

The old cliche is sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. I suppose in some situations that may be so. But when you are in pain and your friends are saying hurtful things, it can be pretty tough to bear.

Job said "10 times you have cast reproach" reflects how badly beaten down he feels by his friends. He could be counting specific insults given by his friends in which case maybe there were 10 zingers that he has counted. If you are keeping score at home, up to this point Eliphaz has spoken twice, Bildad twice and Zophar once. Zophar is about to speak in Job 20. Thus, the friends have spoken five times which would make 10 an exaggeration. But I think the point is taken in any case that he feels broken up by his friend's lack of s…

Youth: World Premier!

Can you name that movie in one image?

The Artime home was decked out for a world premier viewing party!

You know something huge was going on when sports talk radio hosts are talking about a movie that has nothing to do with sports.

Friday night, August 17, was the world premier of this movie the eagerly awaited sequel to this surprising sensation.

Here were some of the Route re-watching one of the memorable scenes from the film.

Hooray East High Wildcats!

Sports: A fan is what a fan does and "My favorite Martin"

So despite the dismal play of the Dodgers of late, what was I doing lasts night?

I turned on the radio to see how they were doing and voila, they were winning!

The tag line for the game by the headline writers on the radio was "My favorite Martin."

Martin hit two homers to power the Dodgers to victory!

Devotional Thoughts: My heart will choose to say

One of the songs we sing at church a lot that I like a lot is Blessed be Your name.

I like how the lyrics alternate between the happy and difficult circumstances of life yet through out upholding our desire to consider God worthy of blessing and praise.

Here are some of the lyrics to give a taste of the song:Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your nameHeavenly Father, whether I'm in the highest places filled with joy or in the dry desert you are there. Jesus left the 99 to look for the 1 lost sheep. You have come to look for me. So I ask the Spirit to fill me today to mold me and use me an impe…

Youth: a recent evening together

Tonight, our time of praise and prayer was guided in part by these two passages:

"After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet ... " -- John 13:5

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me ... " -- Isaiah 61:1

Lord, remind and challenge our young friends to be servants to one another and to people You bring into their lives. Help them know and have confidence that they belong to You and are enabled by You in unique ways for the people and places You have put them. Amen!

Devotional Thoughts: How not to do an intervention

Job 18 tonight.

I link to because with ease you can change to another translation and you can even get translations into many languages other than English!

I've tended to post using NIV, TNIV, ESV, NKJV. I've occasionally gone with the NLT and once in a while the Message. I personally like the NASB because I grew up with it. But cutting and pasting it from the is tough because I have to remove so many footnotes!

On the spectrum of more literal to less literal, I believe the order would be NASB -> NKJV -> ESV -> NIV/TNIV -> NLT -> Message.

For personal reading, I've been going with the NIV/TNIV. But for more serious examination, I'd supplement with the NASB. Within this blog, I've mostly used NIV/TNIV but have and will occasionally use one of the other ones to keep things fresh!

But back to Job 18 ...

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
How long before you stop talking?
Speak sense if you want us to answer!
Do you think we…

Sports: Stick a fork in 'em, Dodgers are done

They are 6 down in the NL West and 3 down in the wild card and the team is showing no signs of getting off the downward elevator.

Certainly, part of the problem is the injuries to the starting pitchers.

Lowe is clearly not himself with that hip injury. They may need to shut him down to prevent that injury from causing injuries to other parts of his body.

Wolf is out with a shoulder injury and is probably down for the season as well.

Schmidt was done very early in the season with shoulder problems.

Penny is the only one of the original starting five who is still going strong.

Various other pitchers plugged into the starting role were either ineffective (Tomko) or erratic (Hendrickson) or injured (Kuo).

Billingsley has come on strong as a new addition to the depleted starting corp but it must be disheartening to lose two 1-0 games!

Post-game Dodger talk fans are saying it is time to plug in the young players.

I agree.

The current team isn't getting the job done and it is time to roll the di…

Travel: Hot, hot, hot - Palm Springs July 2007

Recently went to Palm Springs for a brief get away from Los Angeles.

After lounging around in the hotel for a bit, went to the Palm Springs Art Museum.

There is free admission every Thursday from 4-8 p.m. during downtown Villagefest. And so since it was Thursday night, can't beat a free visit. It was 105F outside so going inside for the art and the air made a lot of sense!
Palm Springs Art Museum
101 Museum Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 325-7186
Closed Mondays and major holidays
Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Thu 12 pm-8 pm
$12.50 adults
$10.50 seniors 62 and over
$5.00 youths 6 to 17 years, students and active military personnel with I.D.
Free to children under 6 years.

The museum leans toward modern and contemporary art though it had a small number of old classics.

One of the displays at the museum was the Russel Wright exhibit.

In another section, they had various glass works. Here was one of the really colorful pieces that caught my eye!

These aren't real people! But …

Space: "The classroom is now open ..."

With those words the NASA launch narrator reported that external tank separation had occurred and Endeavor was well on its way to achieving orbit.

Shuttle launches are never routine though in the public consciousness they have become so. However, yesterday's launch was special because it was a promise kept from 21 years ago.

Congratulations to Barbara Morgan, educator-astrounaut!

Now let's all work real hard to bring her and the rest of the crew home safe in two weeks.

Devotional Thoughts: tapping into the creative side of the mind

One of the things the new "emergent" type churches and people who have some affinity for them like to do is incorporate art into their quest for spirituality. I'll leave the whole is emergent and postmodern debate kosher for another occasion!

The other day, in youth group, we did some using of our imagination to spur us to thinking about our walk with God.

Above is art (my attempt!), poetry (I'm not setting my sights on that poet laureate gig!) and Bible passage that spurred my reflections.

Your grace renews me like the wings of the morning
As your Spirit restores praising from mouring
May your light lead me to the truth of You
And the assurance You are good and make all things new
May I walk through the day looking all around
For the glimpses of beauty that can be found
Psalm 139:9-10
If I rise on the wings of the dawn
If I settle on the far side of the sea
Even there your hand will guide me
Your right hand will hold me fast

Sports: 755, 756

Post Script: Bonds hit 756 in front of Giant fans on Tuesday night August 7, 2007. Here is the press statement by Hank Aaron and message in his recorded video remarks:I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball's career home run leader. It is a great accomplishment which required skill, longevity and determination.

Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball, and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement.

My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.Update: 8/1/2007

Watch for the flashes as Barry Bonds is at bat!

I was at Dodger's Stadium to see the Giants play the Dodgers in the 2nd game of the series. LAPD was out in force and the Dodger blue security guys were quick to kick out unruly fans! Anywa…

Devotional Thoughts: he who will shake hands with me

Job 17 this quiet Saturday afternoon while the laundry is going.

My spirit is broken,
My days are extinguished,
The grave is ready for me.
Are not mockers with me?
And does not my eye dwell on their provocation?

As a young person, most of the time I am filled with a "fighting" spirit... BRING IT ON ... and other such Die Hard-ish kind of bravado.

But there have been times when I feel so beaten down that I can relate in a small way to Job's despair here. He wants to raise the white flag of surrender, to throw in the towel, to tip the king over in resignation.

Now put down a pledge for me with Yourself.
Who is he who will shake hands with me?
For You have hidden their heart from understanding;
Therefore You will not exalt them.
He who speaks flattery to his friends,
Even the eyes of his children will fail.

For today's reading, I clicked on the NKJV text. The phrasing ... Who is he who will shake hands with me? is interesting. Too bad I don…

Life: Dating article I found randomly surfing the internets

Up in the marquee of this blog is a straighforward mentioning of my single status.

As an observer of human behavior all my life (I'm okay at it; not great, but not bad), I have always wondered what the appeal of the "bad boy" was to what seemed to me to be pretty together women.

So when I saw this item I clicked over to read it. Excerpts:I think that for a lot of women, guys in turmoil seem strangely fascinating, as if they are, by definition, more interesting than everyone else. There’s more of that clutter, so there’s more going on, and there’s more to sink your teeth into, and there’s maybe even more emotional depth to such a person.
You’re going to get plenty of emotional complications from anyone. Even people who have their lives very well pulled together are going to give you lots of opportunities to practice patience and understanding. There’s no point in starting out with someone who isn’t even trying.
All that “You can’t love anyone until you love y…

Technology: Yikes, this is an R-rated blog!

Saw this item at Vintage Faith who has an "R-rated blog."

So I had to try the rating for myself!

Voila ...


This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

dead (19x)
pain (6x)
death (4x)
suicide (2x)
steal (1x)

Devotional Thoughts: A prayer of Mother Teresa

Did a google search with the key words: prayer Mother Teresa.

I figured I'd find something inspirational.

Here is the one I focused on this morning.DEAR JESUS, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.AMEN!