File Conversions

6 Nov

ZamZar logoHave you ever received a file in an email that you can’t open because you don’t have the right program to open it with? There is a free service online that allows you to convert files from one format to another. Whether it be audio, video or document files, you can convert almost anything. It sure beats purchasing a program for that one time you need to convert a file!

http://www.zamzar.com

Portable Applications

30 Oct

As an independent software developer, I often find myself using computers that aren’t my own. There are a lot of tools and utilities that I like to use that aren’t always on these computers and normally, can’t be installed on these computers. That is why I have a 6GB USB drive loaded with portable applications that run directly from the USB drive and don’t write anything to the host computer. For instance, I can always use the Firefox browser on my USB drive that has all of my short-cuts. It’s a great tool. On one of these posts, I’ll list all of the programs that I use. Until then, here is a nice list of Portable apps that you might want to try:

http://www.kikizas.net/en/usbapps.html

Ms. Dewey

18 Oct

Ms DeweyOne of my great little pleasures in life is watching GeekBrief TV. Cali delivers a short Videocast that keeps me up-to-date on some of the coolest – geekiest – gadgets out there.

Today, she talked about Ms. Dewey. Ms. Dewey is a search engine with attitude. It is a new way of searching and in my mind, could offer a future way of interacting with information. Right now, it has kind of a “neato” factor but it isn’t really useful. I’ll stick with Google for my searches. It is neat to imagine how searching in the future may work!

Think about it. In the future, we could just ask our computer a question and it would deliver answers most applicable to what you want. It learns about you by how you respond to the results and eventually, it learns to deliver information to you that you find most useful. That’s the future – Ms. Dewey is just the beginning….. This is why I love technology!

Too Good To Be True

5 Oct

DVD Rewinder This morning, on the way to work, I dropped off a DVD I rented. I hate rewinding fees and so I’m glad I found this time-saver.
The DVD Rewinder has saved me a lot of time and no more late fees! One of the best things about a blog is that I can share with others the great products and ideas I find on the internet.

Sometimes, things that sound like the real thing can be false advertising. In today’s post-modern culture, I hear things that have a ring of truth to them but can’t hold theological water. It isn’t even limited to post-modern thought. Some main-line denominations are spreading a dangerous theology where practicing homosexuals are allowed to serve as pastors, they embrace a feminine god and encourage interfaith pluralism.

As believers in Jesus, we need to always ask for discernment. Some “gospels” aren’t always what they seem.

Pimping Jesus

5 Oct

I just came across this post today. It caught my attention!

I was standing before 200 people at church when I said it: “Salvation is not a walk down the aisle, a prayer, and wham bam, thank you ma’am, you’re done.” Jaws dropped; some faces turned white; some turned red. I was clueless, so I just kept teaching. It turns out that the phrase, “wham bam, thank you ma’am,” meant something different to me than it did to the rest of the world. Afterward some of my listeners enlightened me. I was embarrassed. I didn’t intend to equate one’s conversion experience to some sort of sexual encounter in the red light district.

Over the last few years, I have pondered the statement, and despite the fact that I originally meant nothing so profound, I believe the statement to be true—we are tempted to turn conversion into something of an act of prostitution. We are the consumers, and we might as well say it—we’ve turned Jesus’ invitation into a seductive, greasy, trick-turning lifestyle. Doesn’t that make your blood boil?
[read the rest at Out of Ur: Pimping Jesus : Consumerism and the red-light gospel]

One of the problems I have had with many once-saved-always-saved proponents is that to them, all you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart and you will be saved forever – nothing else to do. There are many of those who believe in the existence of so-called “carnal Christians”. Someone who is “saved” but lives a life of unrepentant sin. “Sure”, they say, “they will still go to heaven but they just won’t enjoy as many rewards”. I have had long, long discussions with people who believe this. It saddens me. That theology, to me, cheapens the gospel of Christ. It cheapens the sacrifice He made for our sins.

Another theology that has saddened me is the thought that there are different ways to come to God. Someone close to me said that although he chose Jesus as his path to God, he believes that other ways (Buddha, Mohammad etc) are valid belief systems and those choices are just as valid as his choice. My big question then is why did Jesus have to die on the cross? If there are other ways to reconcile your sinful self to God, then why did Jesus have to die?

I’d like to hear your thoughts……..

Jesus Camp

22 Sep

** Update ** Please read the comments for further discussion of this post. -dip

I was a little disturbed when I saw a preview of a new documentary called “Jesus Camp”. I knew they weren’t talking about the type of Christianity that I know. The problem is that many people will look at this and conclude that all “Christians” are crazy. There’s a pretty good review of the documentary here. I pretty much agree with what he has to say. There will always be people trying to portray followers of Jesus in a bad light. Crazy people like this Becky Fischer don’t do much to help the cause. They miss the whole point of Jesus’ message:

We all have sinned. We will always sin. That sin seperates us from God. Since God is a just God, He demands a consequence for our sin. The consequence for sin (all sin) is eternal seperation from God – a spiritual death. But – and this is the good part – God is also a loving God. He wants a relationship with us and He knows that there isn’t anything thing that we can do on our own to reconcile ourselves to Him. So, he sent his son Jesus to this earth to be the one human on earth who was perfect. He was blame free. Then, in the ultimate act of love, Jesus allowed himself to die, to pay for the sins of every human being. He demonstrated the power he had over death by physically raising from the dead and after a few weeks, went physically into heaven.

What was Jesus’ message? To be saved from eternal seperation from God, we only have to admit that we are sinners, acknowledge that we are seperated from God, believe in what Jesus did for us. Our faith should be in the fact that Jesus’ sacrificial act is our path to salvation. As a result of placing our faith in Jesus, we now have the ability to have a personal, intentional relationship with God directly. We don’t have to go through anyone.

Do we become perfect? Of course not. We are all still sinners. But as we acknowledge our sin we also know that God is faithful and forgives our sin. Does that mean there are a bunch of rules to follow? Nope! Does it mean you become some crazed Jesus freak? Most likely not! But here is what it does mean. Jesus said the most important commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. The second most important commandment is similar – to love others like your love yourself.” If we strive to practice these two ideas – everything else will fall into place.

God and Culture

21 Sep

Next week, we begin a study on the book of Daniel. Pastor Bart will teach each Sunday on a chapter and I will write a daily study that will hopefully provide some daily food for thought. You can subscribe to the weekly podcast and daily emails at http://www.gracelearningcenter.com.

One of the ideas I get in studying Daniel 1 is that culture doesn’t have to be God’s enemy. If it does not violate His commands, it can aid in accomplishing His purpose. As followers of Christ, we are free to be leaders in our culture, but we are required to pledge our allegience to God first. Daniel and his friends learned all they could about their new culture so they could do their work with excellence. But while they learned, they maintained steadfast allegience to God and God gave them skill and wisdom.

Hope

20 Sep

Reflecting on hope…

If you hope something happens without a plan, it is just a dream.

If you have hope without something to base it on, it is false hope.

Here’s a couple of examples:

If I hope to make a million dollars, but don’t have a plan on how to acquire it, my hope is just a day-dream.

If I have hope that my house will stand up in a hurricane, it is a false hope if I live in a trailer.

If I hope to go to heaven and I haven’t accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, it is a false hope.

The Ultimate Doctrinal Question

14 Sep

I attended a church once where I was made to feel very unwelcome because I questioned why they believe what they believe. It seems that because I held different opinions on different doctrinal issues, they didn’t want me as part of their “Christian” community. So, needless to say, my desire has always been to be involved in a community of believers that understand that we can have differences in opinion when it comes to doctrine. I have found that at Grace. I know that I can talk to Bart about any issue and he won’t make me feel unwelcome.

So, what’s the answer to all the people who would rather argue about their doctrinal opinions? I just listened to Neal Christopher at Sandals Church and he has come up with the ultimate doctrinal question. A question so powerful and enlightening, that if you can answer this question, all other doctrines and beliefs will fall in place. Here it is:

Did God create homosexual dinosaurs, to choose to drink alcohol or is their alcohol consumption predestined?

Don’t spend too much time thinking about this. The point is, as believers in Christ, we need to spend more time loving others like Jesus did and not worrying about things that just don’t matter.

What’s in a name

13 Sep

Did you ever wonder how the cooking spray PAM was named? One guess in the office was “perfect arisoled margerine”. Well, according to the company website:

The first patent for a no-stick cooking spray was issued in 1957 to Arthur Meyerhoff, Sr. and Leon Rubin, who started PAM Products, Inc.-the name stood for Product of Arthur Meyerhoff. The men later founded Gibralter Industries and developed a new product: PAM All Natural Cooking Spray.

I guess we should be glad his name wasn’t Ichabod Gottlieb!