The devotions for November are up now. They deal with the theme of thanksgiving. As I was writing I came to realize more and more that we simply don’t off thanks to God often enough. I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off from devotions, both to give my brain a break from devotions and to work on some other projects. I will be working on redoing the online Bible dictionary with a new design. After looking at my statistics, I decided to keep the pages hosted on spreadinglight. It will only take a day or two to switch the pages. After that I will be adding more definitions. This will be an ongoing project that I will be working on between other web projects. I figure that I will basically never run out of things to write about in relation to the Bible. In addition to theological definitions, I will be adding sections on Bible places, people of the Bible, and a discussion of Biblical weights and measurements.
The new windows operating system, Windows 7 came out Thursday. I hadn’t planned on buying it yet but I was having trouble with my laptop and figured that upgrading might solve my problem. Fortunately it did and my laptop is working fine now. I’ve only been using Windows 7 for a day but I can share with you my thoughts so far.
Installation is simple but time consuming. I upgraded from Windows Vista which possibly took longer because it had to convert all of my old files. What isn’t mentioned up front about the upgrade is that if you are upgrading from XP you are doing a full system install. This means that you will have to reinstall all of your old programs so hopefully you have all of your disks.
Installation from Vista took over 2 hours but was relatively simple. I had to enter some information for the first ten minutes and then was able to leave the computer to itself. If you’re using XP the actual installation will likely be quicker but reinstalling all of your old programs may take considerable time depending on how many programs you had installed.
Windows 7 is attractive and runs fast. It uses less system resources than Windows Vista so your computer itself should run better. There isn’t a big difference between Vista and Windows 7, so I’m not sure if it’s worth the the money but I didn’t have a problem with Vista to begin with. From everything that I have read though, Windows 7 eliminates the annoyances that have prevented Windows XP users from switching to Vista, namely program compatibility and an annoyance problem with constantly asking for permission to do stuff.
If you’re still running XP, Windows 7 is a big upgrade and I believe that you’ll be very pleased with the new look and function of the programs. It will take some time adjusting to new things but is worth it in the end.
As I’ve been preparing devotions for the month of November, I’m working on the subject of thanksgiving. Something that has struck me is how my prayers often don’t reflect an attitude of thanksgiving that all Christians should have. So I’m going to practice what I preach. I suggested in the devotions to list one thing for every letter of the alphabet that we’re thankful for. It can be big or small, simple or great. I’m writing my own list and including it here so everyone can see what I’m thankful for and so that I can work through the exercise just as I suggested other people do.
- Fall leaves
- Ice cream
- New things
- Orange juice
- Yoga on Wii Fit
I’m a big believer in paying bills on time. In my years of paying bills I’ve only been late on one payment and somehow didn’t realize that I didn’t send in a payment one month. As much as possible I don’t even carry a month to month balance on my credit card so that I don’t pay interest on it.
So this makes calls from debt collectors all the more annoying to me. I’ve had my current phone number almost two years now and apparently at least two people who had it before me didn’t like to pay their bills and I keep getting calls from debt collectors for them.
At first I answered these calls to tell the companies that they had the wrong number and to take my phone number out of their system. One company I had to tell six times before they finally got the message. Lately though I’ve been just getting a recording, instructing me to call them back at their 800 number.
I’m not taking my time to call back about a debt that I don’t owe and waste my time on hold, all so the company can call me again the next day because they never bothered to remove my phone number from their system.
All consumers have rights. Debt collectors may only call during certain hours of the day. They may not call at work without permission. They may not make threats or use abusive language. They must identify their company and explain that they are attempting to collect a debt. Unfortunately many debt collectors don’t follow these rules.
Fortunately you can report such thugs to the FTC. http://www.ftc.gov explains all of the that collectors must follow. If a debt collector has broken any of these rules you may report them to the FTC.
First, Google the phone number that the debt collector called from or search www.whitepages.com to find the company name. After you have found as much information as you can about the company, go to www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov to report them to the government. You won’t receive anything in compensation for your annoyance by these companies but the government will investigate their practices and fine them if they have been breaking the law.
This year I have launched several new websites – I’ve honestly lost count but I think there might be 14 – under the Spreading Light Ministries umbrella. As the year winds down I will probably be doing less expansion and more maintenance. I’m sure that I’ll have a great idea sometime in the middle of the night and that will spawn a few more sites but for the most part I think I’m going to slow down on new sites.
There are all sorts of things that I have to add to current sites however and this will continue. I literally have a to do list that goes back to 2005 that I have not completed everything on. So there’s plenty left to add.
At the top of my priority list is the completion of eight more months of devotions. I hope to be able to do one month’s worth every month until I have the entire year set. This was my goal last year too but I have more time to devote to not just devotions but all of my web projects now.
Next on the list is more theological definitions. This is a long term goal and I don’t think that I’d ever run out of things to write if I chose to keep adding definitions. What I am still debating is whether to keep the dictionary under spreadinglight.com or to launch a new site for the definitions. There are advantages to both and I haven’t fully decided what I’m doing yet. One thing that I am sure of is that the design will be different from the current Spreading Light design and more like the newest sites in form and function. It’s a cookie cutter design but I’ve really come to like it and it makes it easy to launch a new site.
Third on my priority list is additions to the Bible studies. I’m always interested in adding more Bible studies as they have had good success on the site. Now my goal is to have at least one study for every book of the Bible. This will obviously take a very long time if I write them all myself. I hope to post a study on the Gospel of John in late winter/early spring when I finish preaching through it. I also have a study on Malachi that I’ve done before that I may be able to post before John, it depends on how my schedule works out.
So those are the long term plans. They’re all subject to change of course but that’s how I see things working on currently. I will be making regular posts here about any new projects that are going on. For now I’m going to work on some devotions for the month of November.
My church celebrated homecoming this week. This event is known by other names but in essence it is designed as a big church event to boost attendance numbers and/or raise money through offering for a special project.
I’m of two minds on these such events and waffle back and forth depending on what mood I am in. Some churches act as if these events are evangelism because people come that don’t normally attend their church. At least with the name homecoming, it is implied that it is more like a reunion for people who have moved away or attend other churches. The truth of homecoming (and most other special events) is that it generally adds attendance at the expense of other churches.
On the other hand, homecoming is always a good excuse to invite back people who used to attend the church but no longer do for any number of reasons. It is good to make an effort at winning people back who have stopped attending church regularly. If anybody returns to church because they attended homecoming, then it is a win not just for the church but for the kingdom of God.
So, at least for today I’ll say that homecoming is a good thing in the right context. We shouldn’t be out to get people from other churches but if we draw back anybody who had fallen away, then it is a good week. I suppose it all depends on the intent of what homecoming is about for the church.
Scientists are abuzz over the release of fossil findings that claim to be much older than previous human remains and come closer to the elusive missing that bridges the gap between the evolution of apes and humans.
For starters, I’m not a big believer in evolution. I believe God created man from the dust of the earth, not through millions of years of gradual changes as the strong survived and the weak died out. It bothers me greatly that this is taught as scientific fact in schools for the simple reason that it is called the theory of evolution for a reason. If it’s a theory, that means it hasn’t been proven or it can’t be proven. And if it is a theory, alternative points of view should be discussed but those come from religion and apparently religion has nothing to teach us so it should be removed from public school at all costs.
Perhaps more frustrating about the Ardi finding is the fact that scientists are jumping to conclusions about what this new fossil teaches us. It appears that Ardi walked on two feet like a human and had many other human like traits that scientists didn’t expect one of our “ancient ancestors” to possess so early in our evolution. Based on one skeleton scientists are rethinking everything they know about early humans.
Rethinking things is fine when new evidence is presented. I’m all for that. But the way these new conclusions are being trumpeted as if we have finally find the answer to all that we were missing is absolutely ridiculous. This is one skeleton. It happens to be far more complete than some of the previous heralded finds but still just one skeleton.
What puzzles me more than anything about science’s search for the missing link is how little evidence there is compared to what we can still find from what supposedly took place millions of years before man was on earth. Dinosaurs supposedly died out 65 million years ago – Ardi’s remains date back only about 4 million years. Why are there an abundance of skeletal remains from 65 million years ago but nothing of ape/human remains. You could make the argument that dinosaurs were much bigger and their bones would take much longer to break down and decay than a human’s. But I would have to believe that 60 million plus years is more than enough time to make up for the difference in size.
While scientists trumpet this latest proof in the evolution of humanity, I’d recommend that we take everything with a grain of salt. I believe the Bible for what it’s worth and believe that God created me special, not as a long term science project with apes. But using sciences own criteria I feel fully confident that in a few more years there will be another “big discovery” that will change the way we look at early human history once again.
Welcome to A Pastor’s Thoughts. This site will serve as my personal place to sound off on what’s on my mind in regard to religion, current events, and politics. It will also serve as a place to provide updates on what is going on with Spreading Light Ministries.
I have no idea how often this will get updated but I’d like to provide at least one update a week so it is worth the time to come back and visit often.
What you should expect from this site is a sort of view from the pulpit. I believe that pastors see the world slightly different than everyone else, for better and for worse. It is my hope to offer insight into the world around us and encourage others to remain strong in their faith.
I’ll try to stick with current events as they relate to Christians but occasionally something there may be something that is just bugging me enough that I have to get it off my chest. Although I consider myself a conservative Christian, this will not be a right-wing political platform to air grievances about liberals. There are going to be things that I disagree with from both parties and I will be critical of decisions made by politicians in general, not attacking one side or another.
Mainly though, I want give insight into the mind of a pastor, his frustrations and triumphs. I hope that you’ll find it worth your while to read.