humble orthodoxy

Christianity Today has a wonderful (although lengthy) article on the reemergence of Reformed Theology in churches today. It focus’ on several teachers that I have admired for some time: John Piper, RC Sproul, and Al Mohler. I love the emphasis on teaching solid doctrine. So many of our church’s miss this. There is a description of Mark Denver’s church at the bottom that made me go — man! I’ve got to move to DC! Their “Sunday School” classes are more like seminary. But the best quote if from Josh Harris at the end of the article:

“If you really understand Reformed theology, we should all just sit around shaking our heads going, ‘It’s unbelievable. Why would God choose any of us?'” Harris said. “You are so amazed by grace, you’re not picking a fight with anyone, you’re just crying tears of amazement that should lead to a heart for lost people, that God does indeed save, when he doesn’t have to save anybody.”

What a crazy year!

This has been an extremely crazy year for me professionally. First of all, my company announced last March that it was going to look into outsourcing all of IT to another firm. This, of course, sent the entire department into a state of frenzy and a lot of people left. I decided to wait it out. Whether or not that was a good move is still up for debate, but it so far it seems that I made the right choice.

With the departure of so many people, lots of teams were left in shambles, with no real technical leadership in place. Because of this, I was offered the position of tech lead in another team. This meant that I was to receive a double promotion and move to an application area that I really didn’t know that much about. So, I took it, came here, and got settled in. All the while more and more of my coworkers began leaving the company. Eventually, even my new boss left. All this time the company is still investigating the outsourcing option.

Well, the outsourcing is now for sure and going to happen October 1st. I’ll become an employee of the new company. They are going to come in an, in the course of several months, mold us into the way they structure their teams and do business. There’s lots of apprehension here as no one really knows what that is going to look like.

Now, the team I was formerly on is in shambles and they have asked me to move back over there. I’ve decided to do it, but it’s not going to be easy. Almost all of the people that I use to work with are now gone, and they have a ton of work on their plate — include the complete reconstruction of both brands’ web site. Not sure exactly when this next move is going to take place — probable in the next couple of weeks.

So, to stay this has been a crazy year is an understatement. So far, I believe I have made some good decisions in the chaos, while I position myself for success in the new company, but there’s really no way to know until the dust settles and we see what things are going to look like. Some times it would sure be nice to be able to see things a year down the line before making a decision!! God has continued to bless me and my family and allowed me to provide a living for them, and for that I’m grateful. We are in His hands — and because of that I have peace in the midst of the storm.

Paper or Plastic?

This article was included in the weekly update from Plain Truth Ministries today, and it really grabbed me.

How often and I concerned with “paper or plastic”, or the jar of clay, and get my sights off of the treasure that is inside? I get so wrapped up in things like beginning of time or end of time debate and discussion that forget what’s really important — becoming more and more like Christ and being his body.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)

Focus on the treasure, not the jar.

Boardgame addict

My newest hobby has been boardgaming, mainly Euro games. My wife and I have always loved playing board and card games, but being introduced to these by some friends at work has opened up a whole new world to me. Some of my favorites so far are Ticket to Ride, Blue Moon City, Bang!, Citadels, RoboRally, Tikal, and Loot. I’m working on a couple of reviews of these games that should be online shortly.

I’ve recently being doing research on a couple more games to buy. This is the criteria I have been using to decide: 1) Since I mainly play with my wife, it needs to be possible for 2 players to play, 2) I often play in groups of 4 or more, so it is desireable for it to be playable with more players, 3) It needs to be fairly simple to learn, 4) needs to be playable in 90 minutes or less, 5) and it needs to have a 7+ rating.

My favorite place for reviews has been The Dice Tower and Tom Vasel. Tom is a missionary to South Korea and a game enthusiast. The game reviews he posts on his site and are very helpful. The Dice Tower podcast recently did an introductory episode in which they had 6 people give their top 10 games that people getting into games should buy. The most popular ones among all the lists seems to be Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan, Bang!, Carcassonne, and Lost Cities.

I already own Ticket to Ride and Bang! and they are great. The one downside to Bang! is that it cannot be played with 2 players. Settlers of Catan is also not a 2 player game so I ruled that out. That left Carcassonne and Lost Cities.

Carcassonne is a very highly rated tile laying game. I have played 2 other tile laying games (Tikal and Tongiaki) and they were very enjoyable. Carcassonne also has several expansion packs which should make it more enjoyable once we get use to the base game. Lost Cities is a two player card game by Knizia which I have heard several people say is their favorite two player game.

So, long story short, I have just placed a order for those two games. I’m guessing they should be here by the weekend and I can’t wait to give them a shot! I’ll be sure to post my thoughts….

Derek Webb is one of those artists that always challenge us by his thought provoking lyrics. Whether it is about how we view the church (as most of the songs on his debut solo album – She Must and Shall Go Free) or about how we view war and politics (as in his latest – Mockingbird), his lyrics are sure to get you thinking.

Well, good news for those who have not purchased Mockingbird, you can now download it for free! I believe he is only doing this during the month of September, so head over to today and grab it!

Free Derek Webb

IronPython 1.0 Released

It is interesting to me the amount of talk about dynamic languages that you are hearing from Microsoft these days. I guess that this is in response to all of the Ruby on Rails hype. But there do seem to be some interesting languages coming down the pipe.

When I was at TechEd last June I went to a presentation where Mahesh Prakriya presented IronPython and John Lam talked about RubyCLR. The concept sounds interesting. Long ago I, like much of the industry, abandoned dynamic languages in favor on compiled languages. But, with the ease of development that you see in a Ruby or Python type language, perhaps one day the industry will turn back that direction. I don’t know, I’m still skeptical. But, seeing that 1.0 of IronPython is now release, I think I’m going to have to give it a shot. I’ll post some comments here once I have done so.

For an interesting discussion on dynamic vs. compiled languages, check out this edition of Hanselminutes.

Leigh Nash: Blue on Blue

When I first heard that Leigh Nash was doing a post-Sixpence solo album, I was cautiously optimistic. I loved Sixpence None the Richer, but I was unsure about how this would be without Matt Slocum. Well, upon first listening to the Blue on Blue, all of my fears were put aside. It is just as good as Divine Discontent – the pinnacle of Sixpence’s achievement. I see two groups of Sixpence fans. One group is the long time groupies that love the deep poetic Slocum lyrics. The other group is the ones that came onboard during the Kiss Me craze and like the peppy love songs. This album appeals to both. On the one hand you have Nervous in The Light of Dawn (my current favorite) and on the other you have My Idea of Heaven. Give this album a shot – I think you’ll like it.