Archive for August, 2009

The Truth is…

Posted in Devotions on August 17, 2009 by jaymallow

The truth is you cause the sun to rise and dance into my window. 

The truth is you order every step, including those I fear.  The truth is when you first made the stars my name was on your heart. 

The truth is the more I know of you the more my heart rejoices.

Oh how I praise you my God! Oh how I’m taken with your kindness! Oh how you could have dealt with me so difererntly! How you should have dealt with me, so differently…

The truth is you sent your only Son to ransom helpless sinners.  The truth is you show yourself to both the orphan and the prince.  The truth is that you’re pleased when we recieve and marvel at this love. The truth is that the more I know of you the more I know of you the more my heart rejoices…

Oh how I praise you my God!  How I’m taken with your kindness!  How you could have dealt with me so differently… How I praise you my God! How I’m taken wih your kindness!  How you should have dealt with me so differently…

Who is there like you in all the heavens?  Who is there like you in all the earth?  Who is there like you in all the heavens?  Who is there like you in all the earth?

How I praise you my God.  How I’m taken with your kindness.  How you could have dealt with me so differently.  How I praise you my God.  How I’m taken with your kindness.  How you should have dealt with me so differently…   

The truth is… by Kate Rockey Continue reading

Presuming Promises

Posted in Devotions on August 15, 2009 by jaymallow

How many times do we expect God to deliver on promises that He simply hasn’t given us?  God has promised that He will provide, comfort, be faithful and good, but He doesn’t promise sucess, prosperity, or even “happiness”.  We tend to start at the result, what we think the “blessed” Christian life looks like, and work backwards.  Be it job, marriage, school, we start from our expectations of “blessing” and work back thinking our faithfull obedience will procure these “promises”.  But God isn’t interested in results like we are interested in results.  We want progress, “progressive” sanctification, we think that sucess upon sucess means God’s favor.  However God might have a totally diferent paradigm.  It’s a wholly different thing to get a person to become like another person than to get them to become a thing.  The picture we carry around in our heads of the ideal “blessed” life is just that, it’s a “thing” to be accomplished.  Becoming more like a person means experiencing what they experienced.  Did Jesus escape a world full of suffering disease and death?  No He walked among it, touched it, and felt it’s weight more than anyone.  Did Jesus experience alienation, misunderstanding and rejection?  His own family misunderstood Him.  At the height of His popularity the crowds left, and eventually even His closest friends deserted.  Sinned against?  Dissapointed?  So what would it take for us to be like Him, perhaps betrayal, rejection, dissapointment and walking through a life touched by sin?  We shouldn’t be suprised when we experience these things for in fact this is just what God has promised we will experience.  When we attempt to tie our expectations and our faithfulness to what we THINK God has promised; it is the subtlest, and most insidieous form of legalism.  We think that our faithfulness procures not only God’s favor, but favor dictated by our desires.  Insideous mainly because what we live for is not God, it’s the blessings He gives.  Satan would gladly have Christians living for their marriages, churches, and children endowing them with satisfaction and personal worth.  The Enemy would gladly have us live for lives of appearance rather than for God.  Which is why I believe that God sometimes graciously ripps the mask away to reveal even the ugly sin of His children.  Why He would rather dissapoint than allow a false god of met epectation to rule the heart.  He will not have His blessings mistaken for Him.  Nor will He allow Himself or the universe to be blackmailed into our desires however noble they may seem to us.  Perhaps the faith God desires is obedience in the moment to Him simply because it is Him who asks us to obey.  Perhaps our struggle of faih day by day is to simply be faithful to Him and trust Him with the “results”.  That either good or ill in our perspective it is good, He is good, and will continue to be so even if His “goodness” is revealed in a way we didn’t expect…

Ipad??? Hmmm…

Posted in Randomness on August 11, 2009 by jaymallow

Articles like this one are popping up even now on major news sites: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,538919,00.html?test=latestnews

The long awaited but still doubted tablet from Apple might actually be coming.  This has been a rumor for years in the tech/Apple community.  Perhaps because of the failure of the Newton Apple has resisted the clamoring for a smaller laptop/PDA/touchpad.  However, there are reasons this might actually be the real deal.

1. The rise of Netbooks:  Perhaps the most surprising thing to happen to the computing world over the last year is that these little, cheap, under-performing, mini-notebooks made up of mostly left over parts have sold tremendously well.  It’s both an indicator of a down economy and a shift in how people use mobile computing.  People either unwilling or unable to spend the extra amount to get an traditional laptop have shown a willingness to sacrifice to have basic (but full) web browsing, email, and office programs.  Even those with a traditional laptop (like me) have been tempted by the smaller size and considerably longer battery life afforded by a netbook.

2. Kindle and eBooks:  Both the Kindle and Sony’s eBook readers have met with mild success but the detractors for both and the cost (again only slightly less than most Netbooks) have kept them from being a real success.  Really who wants to spend $300 on something that mostly only does one thing?  On the other hand, Amazon’s eBooks are on the rise and even with an Iphone app are a possibly huge source of revenue. 

3. Of course the Iphone and App store:  To say that these two things have been a phenomenal success is to put it mildly.  At this point both the Iphone and the App store are so far ahead of any other PDA/cell phone offering that it’s a valid question weather competitor’s will ever catch up.  That isn’t to say that the Iphone is the most technologically advanced device out there, it isn’t.  However in ease of use and marketing, with millions of apps, the impression Apple has successfully given is that the Iphone can do anything.  It might not do it as well as you would hope but “we’ve got an app for that”.  Of course the sucess of the Iphone and the App store bring up the biggest detractor for an “Ipad” why?

“It’s just a really big Iphone.”  If the Ipad is a reality the previous statement immediately comes into question.  The “Ipad” will have to have Wi-Fi, Mobile Broadband, and in some way be able to utilize existing apps from the App Store.  In that way it will be like a “big Iphone”.  However, Apple will have to show some difference between the two to get people to shell out an addtional two to three hundred dollars.  It’ll also have to differentiate a value for those perhaps looking at getting a traditional laptop or considering a Netbook.  Another question comes to mind in considering an “Ipad”, “Why shouldn’t I pay the same for a cheaper “traditional” laptop, or pay a couple hundred more for a low end Apple notebook?”

What an “Ipad” needs:  1.  Raw computing power:   Mainly the “Ipad” needs to be able to run the Internet, the whole Internet, streaming video and all.  Weather able to do this through mobile broadband or Wi-Fi is immaterial, it simply HAS to be able to do it.  Also the “Ipad” needs to display considerable storage capacity over existing Iphone/Ipod models.  After all one of the big selling points of a bigger screen is the ability to watch movies and TV shows and what good is that if you can only have five or six movies on the device at one time? 

2.  (This should be under computing power but I think it deserves it’s own point) A full Office Suite:  If Apple can modify/optimize the “Ipad” to create documents, spreadsheets, etc in a different and easy way they may have businesses half in the bag.  Either provide a keyboard separate from the tablet that connects via Bluetooth or convince people that they can do more that just write a quick email response with the on screen keyboard.  Apple made a huge mistake back when the Iphone was first launched branding it as an “entertainment platform”.  An “entertainment platform” is a novelty, a “business tool” is a neccessity. (it’s also the difference between individual orders and business orders of 500 units or more)  The applications for a “tool” such as an “Ipad” in the medical field alone almost make such a device worth producing.

3.  A Kick-ass book reader:  Developed with Amazon or not an “Ipad” book reader needs to be not just tolerable it needs to be exceptional.  Single page in protrait mode that converts to two page in landscape, the ability to highlight, take notes, add voice memo commentary, and of course cut and paste would be stellar.  Apple could also wow people with the swiping action necessarry to actually “turn the page” actually looks like turning a page.  They could say that studies have shown that the second that it takes for the brain to unfoucus and refocus helps retain information. (yes there are studies out there that seem to prove that)  And here’s a freebie to Apple, work hard at a textbook library/database.  The “Ipad” might become the number one back-to-school must have if students had the ability to download textbooks, or even better “lease” the textbook off a database or server.

4. Limited ability to file share/synch/connect with computers through a means other than Itunes:   You think of a typical college student working on a paper.  He/she uploads the paper onto their “Ipad” and head to school.  While at school that student makes a few changes at a break but has a longer period of time to work on the paper that afternoon.  At the break the student goes to the library or writing center, sits in front of a computer and transfers the file to the desktop, works on the paper, then transfers the file back to the “Ipad” when they leave.  In a perfect world that seems so easy, but in the nurotic world of Apple and Itunes it isn’t so much so.  (Oh and let me at this juncture suggest that Apple put at least ONE USB port on this thing, the abundance of USB storage devices and the proliferance of their use as file transfer devices almost demands it as well as the ability to print directly from the “Ipad” would be useful)  Excepting Apple’s Mobile Me service (which I swear they’ll force everyone to sign up for eventually), syncing multiple devices and computers is a hassle.  Sooner or later I think Apple will have to get over this hang up and realize that people have been “file sharing” on Mac computers for years and their OS hasn’t melted yet.

Final Verdict:  Do I personally think an “Ipad” is coming?  The answer is yes.  With the drop in Iphone prices if you notice Apple really doesn’t have any products in the $500-$700 range.  This is prime territory for those who want a little more functionality than an Iphone but don’t want to shell out another $300-$400 for a Macbook.  This also is where Apple is losing in the cheap laptop/netbook arena.  I could definitely see Apple bringing out a product that while not necessarily adding much functionality above a Windows powered laptop, would surpass in the Apple “coolness” factor.  Will it have such convenient things as a USB port, separate keyboard, etc, probably not. (especially since Job’s seems to have an unnatural aversion to physical keyboards)   Will there probably be qwerky, obvious to all, necessary functions that for some reason will be missing? Most definitely, this is Apple we’re talking about.  If an “Ipad” does come out I don’t think it’ll be the second coming of the personal computer that Apple will hail it to be.  However I think it will be a niche device for a niche market.  And more than likely I’ll be right in there.

A small reminder of sovereignty

Posted in Devotions on August 9, 2009 by jaymallow

Today I decided to head over to the Sovereign Grace church in Woodstock, Ga.  I simply had the desire to meet up with a friend and also connect with people I knew in the area.  Also sinc my life is turned completely upside down I’m finding any small amount of familiarity an enormous comfort.  After getting lost and getting there at the end of the service I finally saw and connected with both my friend Dave Stein and those who knew me when back in Virginia Beach.  It was comforting to be greeted with knowlege and genuine care.  But the surprise of the day was that David was going to be baptised this afternoon.  What an amazing privalage and blessing to be able to attend and participate in that!  More amazing (even to those in the church there) was that I had no idea.  I hadn’t contacted anyone and simply decided to show up this Sunday.  I meditated as I drove home on how kind God is to give me just a simple reminder of His sovereignty.  He knew what was going to happen and He wanted me there.  Jeremiah 29:11 was brought to mind, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  In the midst of so many questions and feeling so responsible for making the right decisions. (as well as fearing that I’ve made the wrong decisions)  God graciously breaks through my pride and reminds me that He knows ALL my days and has ordained them according to His will.

Yo Joe

Posted in Randomness on August 8, 2009 by jaymallow

Personally I don’t know what the flap over the movie being horrible was all about, nor do I know why Paramount only screened this movie to a handful of reviewers instead of the normal press.  Let’s be clear about something, this is a movie based on a toy line.  Anyone going in expecting to be wowed by plot developments and characters is going in not knowing what this movie is.  And what it is is fun.  Pure adrennilin end of the summer, go to the movies one last time before school starts and shut your brain off fun.  Perhaps it’s because Transformers 2 was so God aweful.  Perhaps because I expected the movie to stink I was pleasently surprised.  Or at least was not let down from my lowered expectations.  If. like me you’re basing your criticism of this movie juxtaposed with the origional cartoon you leave the theatre thinking that the movie came out on top.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of the movie/toy line there is a group of elite military types that are so elite that they don’t deal with normal wars and stuff they handle the ultra high tech threats that threaten the world.  One major departure for the movie is that the group is now made up of international team members because having an all American unit would be so Reagan era/Bush doctrine.  But before talking about the movie let’s think back to the cartoon for one second shall we?  First off, the cartoon was always about the battles.  COBRA’s plans for world domination and the Joe’s thwarting them were all just so you could see wierd looking planes and tanks blow up. Secondly the cartoon had, to put it mildly, flamboyant characters.  Thinking back if they weren’t running around shooting stuff you’ld think they were extras for the villiage people.  Shipwreck- Sailor with a talking parrot.  Gung Ho- A “Marine” who had an Eagle Globe and Anchor tatooed on His chest and wore only a vest to show it off.  Deep Sea- who wore a deep sea diving suit, ALL THE TIME.  (Let’s not mention Sgt. Slaughter and the Fridge shall we?) And those were the good guys.  And lets take a moment to remember the utter nonsense of implausibility found in the cartoon.  Don’t get me started that they had laser weapons that never needed reloading yet somehow always had shell casings flying out of em.  That no one EVER got hurt. (ok there was Scarlet that one time)  Oh and that Heavy Duty’s gun was a Browning .50 cal that He HAND FIRED.  Luckily I started to lose intrest once COBRA started being overrun with snake mutants. 

So here’s the thing with a movie, you can go one way and make a dark Dark Knight/Blackhawk Down type of movie and try to be realistic.  Or you can go another way and try to be true to the concept of the cartoon and possibly become so cheesy that it becomes a parody not an homage.  Or you can attempt to straddle the fence and do your best to recapture the sugar filled Saturday morning rush of explosions.  I think fortunately Steven Sommers got what glued little boys to the TV screen and delivers.  It won’t win any Oscars but on the other hand Michael Bay was no where near this thing to screw up really an easy task.  (something I will never forgive Him for with Transformers 2)  Perhaps the highest praise that I could give this movie is that it doesn’t attempt to win you over with the characters.  Much like Star Trek this movie simply presents the characters and trusts that either you’ll like them or you don’t.  (example Brendan Frasier as Flynt- nice cameo and another wink to those who know the Mummy movies but He’s just a little over the top.  But in a way I can’t fault Him)  One surprising turn of events in the movie was Marlen Wayans as Ripcord.  I fully expected His lines to be the groan out loud moments of the movie and He really comes off less goofy and more trying to prove Himself.  And yeah there are misplaced jokes that hit wrong but I at least give them the benefit of the doubt in trying to not make this as dark and sinister as it could be.  Again Sommers knows what kind of movie He’s making, it’s just light enough for us to forget that perhaps hundreds of people just died.  But that’s G. I. Joe’s universe.  There are nitpick things I did dislike, I would have preferred the Baronness in love with Destro explaining her “evilness”.   And there is the, “Why… Why??? WHY???” Of the new “Cobra Commander’s” “Helmet”. (what’s so wrong with the steel one?)  Quite frankly my feeling is that if you enjoyed Star Trek and could look over the enormous plot holes of that movie there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a few hours feeling like a kid again…

Response to Al Mohler’s Blog

Posted in Randomness on August 5, 2009 by jaymallow

I wrote this to Dr. Mohler in response to this:  http://www.albertmohler.com/blog.php  (It’s actually a really good article you should read it)

Dear Dr. Mohler,

First I’d like to say thank you for your leadership and insight. I’m responding to your recent blog post referring to Mark Regnerus’ recent article in Christianity Today. I am a single thirty two year old and am full aware of the irony of commenting on a blog post/article about marrying young. In fact I fully agree with the article and what you’ve stated both in the past and in your latest post. (God’s will for some of us is inscrutable in denying what has been desired and pursued) However being an “adult” single man involved heavily in the church for the past ten years perhaps I have an insight into a factor that drives the current abstinence/marriage culture of Evangelicalism. While I believe both Mark Regenerus and your points were excellent I believe there is a glaring point that was missed, that being, the idolization and preoccupation of the Evangelical Church in America upon family. As Mr. Regenerus writes the population of America is now 50% single, yet within the church the majority of the ministry focus is upon family. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with focusing on the family, but when the identity of the individual believer in a given church within the church is validated more or less upon their having a family or being apart of a family I believe there is an unintended side effect. Namely, that the concept of being a mature adult in Christ, and the responsibilities to Christ and the church that that entails is undefined. To put it in a blunter way, the Evangelical Church as a whole doesn’t know what an ADULT is, with or without a family, and unfortunately we’ve justified the extended adolescence of a generation through the guise of “family”. On the ultra conservative, courting culture side you have young adults living under their parent’s ”authority” well into their mid twenties. On the other hand you have permissive parents who wash their hands of bringing up their children, “let go” and simply accept juvenile and promiscuous lifestyles all the while “loving” them and waiting for their children to grow out of “it” and come back to them, I mean the Lord. Both extremes allow parents to continue to “parent” well into their young adults life and absolve the young woman or man from accepting their own responsibility before the Lord. My fear in this discussion is that marriage fits all to well into the idolatry of family. For many parents it isn’t functionally Jesus Christ that saves and keeps their children in the church its marriage. For too many singles what would ultimately validate them as a believer and give them a sense of belonging within the church isn’t Christ, its marriage, and for many women, children.

Perhaps what is most needed within American Evangelicalism is an understanding and focus on what it means to be a mature Christian in all the relationships, callings and responsibilities that entails. This goes for parents and young adults as well. Perhaps if the church really set about discipling young single men instead of putting them into singles groups that are really “youthgroup 2.0” there would be more young men answering the challenge of an adventurous life in Christ. (And it might help to not berate those that are at least showing up and trying to grow that they’re immature, in this society I believe the church has to face facts with what it’s dealing with) Perhaps if the church helped young women to become more mature and not encourage romanticized relationships looking for “the one”, there might be more women acting in faith and confidence instead of fear or despair. Perhaps if parents relinquished their hold over their young sons and daughters and didn’t strive to shield them from disappointment and pain, there might be young men and women learning how to love, forgive, and reconcile in Christ. Perhaps when the church as a whole begins to teach people how to live lives of faith in the seasons and callings He has given them, we might see younger marriages

Weeping for the book that never was

Posted in Randomness on August 2, 2009 by jaymallow

The beginnings of a book that was to be co-written by C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien have been found in the corner of a dusty Oxford library.  It was meant to be a disertation on language and meaning.    http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2009/07/CSLewis070809.html  Oh and don’t think I didn’t want to cry as well hearing the Oxford course on Lewis the finder of the manuscript does.