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Showing posts from October, 2009

Non-profit of the month: September 2009 - TeachOverseas.Org

In these monthly posts about organizations I support, some have re-appeared from time-to-time. I'm a supporter of TeachOverseas.Org.

This wonderful organization is marking its 20th Anniversary:

The autumn of 1989 was an exciting time in world history. The Berlin wall came down with a bang that sounded an era of hope to people living in the Eastern and Soviet Blocs. At the same time, in Alhambra, California a small non-profit with a bold vision to change the world was born.

How could ordinary Christians from North America make a strategic impact in these newly declared republics? TeachOverseas co-founder and President Ron Nicholas had an idea: train and send Christian English teachers to serve local people in the spirit of Christ’s love.

The first teachers went to Hungary and were hugely successful in building bridges of friendship and trust. New doors opened in Ukraine and Russia. TeachOverseas’ reputation for quality English teachers with high moral standards grew. Soon, schoo…

Non-profit of the month: October 2009 - National Parks Foundation and Joshua Tree National Park Association

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Very much enjoyed the segments I saw of Ken Burn's National Parks that recently aired on PBS.

Thus, I am donating to National Park Foundation.

While I was at it, I figured, I'll donate to the closest National Park I know of to where I live which is Joshua Tree National Park.

The non-profit connected to the park is, of course, the Joshua Tree National Park Association.

Devotional Thoughts: My ears had heard of you

And so we reach the end of the story ...

Then Job replied to the LORD :
I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.'
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.

When confronted with God, what is there to say?

God is holy. But what does Holy mean?

One simple answer I heard was that holy is all that makes God God and not us!

Though we are made in the image of God, that image is now marred. That is why we look at the world with a sense of unease and a sense that things are not the way they should be. Thus, in many ways God is so completely different than us. He is so "other" (holy) compared to us.

When Isaiah met God, h…

Life: Pastor Timothy Lin, 1911-2009

LA Times Obituary October 20, 2009
Lin, Timothy
January 18, 1911 - October 11, 2009

Pastor Emeritus of the First Chinese Baptist Church, Los Angeles, passed away peacefully at the age of 99 on Sunday, October 11, 2009.

Dr. Timothy Lin was born to a minister's family in Chekiang, China. In 1940 he came to the United States to study Hebrew and Greek at Concordia Theological Seminary and Washington University.

Dr. Lin was a member of one of the Old Testament translation committees for the New American Standard Bible. He was a professor in the graduate school of Bob Jones University, where he taught Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Old Testament Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, Classic Arabic, and Peshitta Syriac. He was also a professor at Talbot Seminary, Los Angeles, and Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Chicago.
In 1962 he became pastor of the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles. When he retired as Senior Pastor a few years ago, the church had eight pastors, more than 2,200 in regul…

Business: 2001-2003 RAV4 Toyota Automatic Tranmission Problems

Love the car. But ...

It started to act up ...

Rough shifting between gears on a couple of occasions ...

When going up an incline, the car didn't seem to know it should downshift for more power so instead the car limped up the hill ...

Check engine light came on ...

That lead us to do some searchs on Google which brought up many web sites describing the problem.

Here is one on Toyotafans.net which refers to a bootlegged copy of the Technical Service Bulletin issued by Toyota describing the problem.

Even the New York Times is blogging about the problem.

The car is now in the shop and we are hoping that the transmission isn't torn up.

Devotional Thoughts: Behemoth and Leviathan

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Continuing toward the end of Job ...

Usually don't cover two chapters in one bite. But I figured addressing the "behemoth" and "leviathan" in one shot might be the way to go.

The LORD said to Job:
"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!"

Job had pretty strong words in lamenting his situation to God through the many chapters.

And God went face-to-face with Job in return.

I suppose we can take comfort in the fact that when Job went toe-to-toe with God that Job didn't become a smoking hole in the ground.

Now, before we get too comfortable, God can turn cities full of people into ashes as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19.

Why the difference?

Sodom and Gomorrah was truly wicked ... Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous ... but Abraham begged God to spare the cities if 10 were found righteous. God said yes. Alas, not even 10 were …

Sports: A tale of two baseball games

Attended Game 1 and heard the dramatic finish to Game 2 on the radio during the commute home.

In game 1, both starting pitchers were struggling and the Dodger bullpen held onto the lead the Dodgers scratched out.

In game 2, both starting pitchers were on top of their game and the Cardinal bullpen (and left fielder) couldn't hold on.

Getting to Dodger's stadium in the heart of rush hour was a long slog on Wednesday. While waiting in line for food, the Dodgers fell behind 1-0 in the top of the 1st. As we walked to our seats, the crowd went crazy as Kemp gave the Dodgers the lead with a 2-run homer.

As we watched Wolf do a tightrope walk, during the 2nd inning I texted a friend who was also at the game saying, Wolf isn't getting out of the fourth. Indeed, Wolf would go only 3 2/3. But as he has done all year, he kept the Dodgers in the game, giving up 2 runs when he could have easily given up 4 or more. Weaver came into the game for Wolf and got the third out with the bases …

Sports: LAD vs. STL, Game 1 NLDS 6:37PM PDT

Its time for Dodger Baseball!

I'll be in the rafters taking it all in!

3 of 4 Yahoo! Sports analysts are picking the Cards.

7 of 8 ESPN experts are predicting the Cardinals will advance.

11 of 12 on CNN/SI's panel are voting for St. Louis to take the NLDS.

Seem to recall that last year, not many were giving the Dodgers much of a chance against the Cubs.

Go Blue!

LA Scene: L.A. Philharmonic Conductor Gustavo Dudamel Dog

The new LA Phil music director has a hot dog named after him at Pinks.

Contains: Stretch hot dog, guacamole, American & Swiss cheese, fajitasmix, jalapeno slice, topped with tortilla chips

Price: $6.95

For non-LA folks, Pinks is an LA institution.

Paul Pink started his hot dog stand in 1939. It was only a large-wheeled pushcart in those days. The depression was on and money was scarce. Pink's chili dogs, complete with a large warm bun, oversized hot dog, mustard, onions and thick chili sold for 10 cents each.

LA Scene: Dodgers vs. St. Louis in NLDS!

Am guessing the Dodgers are the underdogs against St. Louis.

The 25-man roster hasn't been announced yet...

I wonder how many pitchers will they select for the NLDS. Shorter series probably eleven.

My guess for the 25-man roster...

1. Broxton, Closer
2. Sherrill, 8th inning
3. Kuo, 7th inning
4. Belisario, relief
5. Elbert, relief
6. Weaver, long relief
7. Garland, emergency starter, long relief
8. Wolf, #1 starter
9. Kershaw, #2 starter
10. Padilla, #3 starter
11. Billingsley, #4 starter

Catchers
12. Martin
13. Ausmus

Infield
14. Loney
15. Hudson
16. Blake
17. Furcal
18. Belliard
19. Loretta
20. Castro
21. Thome

Outfield
22. Ramierez
23. Kemp
24. Ethier
25. Pierre

Go Blue!

UPDATE: The Dodger 25-man roster has been announced. I incorrectly thought they would go with Elbert over Troncoso.

Science: CCD & Fiber Optics researchers honored with Nobel Prize

2009 Physics Nobel Prize has been announced today.

We use the technology recognized by the committee every day!

Fiber optics are the backbone of telecommunications and CCD chips are what make digital cameras work to capture the moments of our lives. Thanks go to Charles K. Kao, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith for their work that help us "stay in touch" and "keep our memories" in photos!

The day before, the Nobel Prize for medicine was given for work on telomeres which are on the ends of chromosomes. These telomeres in most cells degrade over time so cells age and eventually don't divide. Not surprisingly, this system is altered in cancer cells opening up another avenue for investigation. Congratulations to Elizabeth Blackburn, Jack Szostak and Carol Greider for their work!

Politics: Rio gets Olympics while Chicago lost in round one

When I had heard that the President and First Lady were making a trip to support Chicago's bid for the Olympic games, I was surprised. I don't recall any other President doing so. But I figured that Chicago's organizers must have been pretty confident they would win because you wouldn't want to bring the President in on something that might go down to defeat.

So when I heard they lost the vote quite badly, I figured the Chicago people may have taken advantage of their connections to the President and overplayed their hand which reflects badly on them. Of course, one could say that President Obama should have been more shrewd and recognized that his Chicago friends didn't have the cards to win. In this scenario, team Obama probably royally chewed out the Chicago people for getting the President involved in a losing effort.

This morning while listening to the Prager radio show, an alternative explanation was offered.

Prager said, the alternative to the President bei…