Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Immensity and Heritage of God's Love

Here I sit with tears in my eyes as a new understanding of the immensity and heritage of God's love permeates my thinking. I don't think that love was necessary......God surely could have made us without it. There must have been other ways for Him to accomplish His purposes, but He chose the way of love....because that is who He is.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. I Jn 4:16 ESV

I'm deeply grateful for the deep veins of love in my life: family, wife, children, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, even random strangers....all joined together and over arched by the eternal love of God.

And how do we respond to this great love? With love. Jesus said it this way: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matt 22:37b-39 ESV
I love you, Lord.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Evernote: Multi accessible notes, records and more

I have become a fan of Evernote in just a few days. I need multi-platform and multi-site access to notes, documents and other records, and this classy little PC/Mac program / iApp works like a champ.

iStockphoto.comGoogle Documents is my preferred multi-site documents and spreadsheets solution, and I use it several times a day on average. It works well for simple or even medium-complex word processing documents and spreadsheets. I access it from the office, I access it at home and I can view it from my iPhone in the coffee shop. It works on the PC and the Mac, and it works on my iPad. I even share some documents with colleagues and friends.

What Google Documents does not do well is simple notes, audio, pictures, PDFs and other records, and this is the need that Evernote fills. Like Google Documents, Evernote is free, at least up to 40 mb of uploads per month. A souped-up version is available for $5 per month, and I can see myself shelling out before long.

As an example of what I am doing with Evernote, my wife and I are planning a couple of out-of-Alaska trips in September. As I gather information items for the trip, I am saving them as PDF files and dragging them into an Evernote "notebook" labeled travel. Or I could easily make a web clip and bypass the PDF stage, but I like PDF for printouts.

I have another notebook for my office notes, and I just started another for some health related materials. Other notebooks will follow, I know.

Here's the part I like about Evernote: I can see my notes and records on: 1) my main home workstation, 2) my iPad, 3) my iPhone, 4) our Mac Mini that we use with the large LED monitor on our "entertainment center", 5) on my office computer at the office and 6) any web browser.

I have shared my travel folder with my wife so she can see it in her iPhone, or on her laptop or a web browser.

Now, I don't have to look through piles of travel related emails to find the confirmation information; it's all in one place. If I need to show something to an agent, I can just pop open the iPad and display it....whether or not I am connected to the cloud. So long as I have synchronized documents between devices, I have the data where I need it.

I already have many work-related notes already in my Evernote notebook, and I have been using this for less than two weeks. I keep a running note of what I want to talk to my boss about so that when we have some time, I can pop it open, no matter where I am.

Recently I started a note in my office notebook about budget items for mid-year consideration. I also have a couple of PDF'ed handwritten notes from staff meetings so that I can refer to them later. Today, I snapped an iPhone picture of something in the building that needs repair and saved it to Evernote to remind me to get it taken care of. I know at least one user that takes meeting notes on his iPad, and saves them to Evernote. I'm going to try that, too.

Here's a video that tells more about it. The Evernote website has a great video library showing other uses.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Crossover of Faith

Nearly every Christian parent has dreams for the life of faith that his child will follow. No matter whether we are evangelicals, mainline protestants, Catholics or others, we want our kids of follow Jesus.

According to a 2008 Pew Study nicely summarized by Michael Bell here, most do, but there are interesting changes along the way for some of them. What really makes this information really accessible is a fascinating graph he developed that accompanies his review:

The "spaghetti diagram" (see a clearer image here) shows movement between Christian faith traditions very clearly. At the top is the faith tradition in childhood, and at the bottom the same people as adults.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

A Moment of Hope

Hope drifted gently on the wind on a sunny Anchorage summer day recently. Hope in this case was encapsulated in millions of cottony seeds filling the air and sky from thousands of cottonwood trees. I sat suddenly awed by the meaning embedded in that commonplace annual event.

The tiny seeds of the cottonwood are surrounded by feathery material. They almost float. With a little dry warmth that breaks open their natal seed pod they burst into the wind carrying the hopes of the cottonwood tribe.

I doubt that trees have a soul, but could they be intelligent? They are certainly aware -- trees can alter their growth and turn their leaves to the sun. Could it be that there is something akin to a very slow neural network in the intricate array of moisture and nutrient pathways within plants?

Are trees capable of praising the LORD? The prophet David thought so:
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
Linda and I once arrived on the scene of a foaling minutes after a young colt was born. The mare was exhausted, but the geldings were beside themselves with excitement, even having had nothing to do with the conception of the tiny horse now bathed in early April sunlight.

Are cottonwood trees excited in their own treeish way about the hope that floats away from them as their seeds are released on the wind? Are they filled with joy and peace that they have accomplished an important part of their purpose?

It is tempting to think that we are like cottonwoods, full of joy...and hope....and fulfilled purpose as children come into the world. And it is true that children is part of the purpose of mankind. But if we put our hope in children, or parents, or spouses or friends or institutions or things, we will be disappointed. They fail. Like the seeds of the cottonwood, some take root and grow, but others fail in various ways.

The seeds of the humble cottonwood are a lesson in hope. But we are created by God at the very pinnacle of creation, and while we may delight and even hope in children, family and friends, there is for us a hope that will not fail. The apostle Paul put it this way: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. We can entrust our hope in Christ, because we know he cares for us.