one tiny soapbox: March 2008
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Sunday, March 30

Silver Lake Reservoir...an historic moment?

y Bible study meets in a very lovely home, perched half-way up a steep hillside overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir of Los Angeles. Well, I'm told that about every 20 years, they drain this reservoir for maintenance.

For the first time since purchasing it, I used the panoramic function of my (semi-)trusty Kodak Easyshare to capture this significant moment in time...to share easily.

Who knows where I'll be in another twenty years? ...enjoy the breathtaking spectacularity! (Click the pic to go "full-size.")

ibcarlos, Reformed thinker

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Saturday, March 22

just. plain. asinine.

seriously thought this was a joke, until I realized: it's not.


In case you can't read it, the text says that if you visit the church this Easter Sunday, you can get a free 'Jesus Mii' for your Nintendo Wii. (An additional character you can use in your various Wii games.)

Clicking further through the web site led me to conclude this is a Presbyterian (PCA) church that seems to play fast and loose with the reverence of corporate worship and the purity of Biblical doctrine. No surprise there.

Click the image above to see whether or not that seems as clear to you as it does to me.

ibcarlos, Reformed thinker

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Friday, March 21

the Best Friday of all 52

...marks the day His hands were pierced.
Happy Good Friday to all!!!

n much, much, much lesser news...this week marked the 1st anniversary of my current employment. I'm very thankful for the job I have and think very highly of both my immediate boss and the company-at-large. Despite working from a small satellite office (with only 2 other people), I've experienced tons of grace, generosity & a fair amount of friendly cooperation. It really is a great place to work.

Spiritually, though, it has seemed un-surprisingly like parched earth.

Of course, I have wondered about whether or not there are any other Believers. My boss is agnostic and the other gent is a non-practicing Jew. From my own very limited standpoint, it's hard to sift through all the emails to ascertain who else might actually be in The Way.

Well, today, I had a somewhat gratifying email exchange with a co-worker housed in our Texas HQ. She had included a Passion-related passage of Scripture in a public email, to which I responded with an inquiry about her Faith. Following is part of her response:
Yes, I am a Christian. There are NONE in HQ, which I know of...I just try and do my best, when I move around, to find a good solid group of Christians to fellowship with, but it’s not always easy. The lack of them in the Houston office is very hard on me. VERY hard. Their perceptions of what’s “important” in life is very different from what God says is important. The people here make me sad, honestly, when you realize how unhappy most of them are, but they aren’t that interested in chatting with me about anything. Most people in the office know that I’m a Christian. What they don’t know is that most all of them are in my daily prayers.
I later quipped that she seemed unlikely to be attending Osteen's church. That set her off on a bit of a rant:
From what I’ve seen of Osteen, he’s about telling people what makes them feel good, and being non-offensive for the sake of furthering along his church (business) and popularity. My boss...says that he likes Osteen for that reason; he makes you feel good about yourself.

While it’s always nice to feel good about yourself that is NOT what Christ is about. Osteen was asked in an interview a few months ago why he chooses not to have a cross in his church building, he responded with some answer about how it could “offend” some people, and that’s not what he was about.

Do you think Christ cared about being non offensive when he picked a fight, twice, in the temple, or called the religious authorities a brood of vipers? I don’t think so. Joel is all about Joel, and anyone with half a brain that drives by his stadium church should be able to see that. His name is literally in huge lettering all over it. No mention of Christ. Just Osteen.
Yep...seems like we might have a live one, here. I guess time will tell if the true bond of Christian fellowship can grow with this fellow employee...sure hope so.

And so, I've been granted yet another (albeit far lesser) reason to rejoice over the Sovereign work of a Risen Saviour. I trust this weekend we will all contemplate the Richness of Grace Mercifully poured out upon those who Truly Love Him.

ibcarlos, Reformed thinker

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Thursday, March 6

You Need A Budget!

orget that old envelope system, enough with the "I keep it all in my head" excuse. If you sincerely want to be faithful to manage the funds the Lord has entrusted you with, then you do need a budget.

What exactly is a budget, you may be wondering? Well, it certainly doesn't have to be some laborious, time-intensive compilation of books and ledgers. No, a budget is merely a tool whereby all the funds under your direct stewardship are effectively monitored. This tool should also be flexible enough to enable you to forecast where you'll be 6, 12 or even 42 months from now, if you desire.

Some of my friends resist the whole notion of keeping a (written) budget by denouncing it as a needlessly cumbersome practice. They say things like: "oh, I know about how much goes in and out of my accounts," or "yeah, we have a pretty good idea of where our money goes." Sadly, many of these dear folks fit the classic "paycheck-to-paycheck" profile. It's hard enough to track funds with the necessary tools, why make it an even more precarious situation by using only your head (or the occasional loose piece of paper).

Again, as stewards of the funds with which we've been entrusted (remember, it's not our money), I truly believe it behooves us to be a bit more organized than we generally want to be. After all, would you handle your boss's money that way?

If any of this makes sense to you, then I urge you to follow the link below to the YouNeedABudget web site. I doubt you'll regret it.



Said my piece on it. Now I'm done.

ibcarlos, Reformed thinker

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