Monday, October 16, 2006

Imperial History of the Middle East

Here is a cool 90 second flash presentation of 5,000 years of the imperial history of the Middle East. You can view full screen or download the 1 MB presentation at Maps of War.

Gospel Study Update

Here is an update of an in-depth study of the Gospel I am leading.

We moved the study to Fridays from Tuesdays due to conflicts some were having with their university class schedules. There are four coming to the study, all of them are attending universities here in Brasov. There names are Alex, Andreea, Daniela and Silvia. Please pray for all of us as we study the Gospel, that the Lord would open our minds and hearts to all He wants us to learn from this study.

In addition to meeting on Fridays we have a study group on Google where we can interact on-line. I decided to try it out and see how it will work as when I go to the States I hope to be able to continue the study in some fashion. There are all kinds of new on-line collaboration websites so maybe we will end up trying something else if Google group doesn't end up meeting our needs.

As part of the study those coming have to do some reading, research and writing in order to be prepared for the study each week. So far I have had them write out a one sentence definition of the Gospel, a longer version around a half a page and an outline of the key parts of the Gospel. For this coming Friday they are suppose to spend time researching, thinking and praying about how to improve their outlines.

Here are our group's one sentence definitions of the Gospel.

The Gospel is the good news of the great gift of a new life offered to us by God in his love and it's available to us if we repent of our rebellious ways and receive by faith what his Son, Jesus Christ, did on the cross for our sins.

The Gospel is the good news that we can receive eternal life and be called children of God by faith in the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son.

The Gospel is the good news of God's love for all of us, it is the way we can be restored in our relationship to God by receiving Jesus his Son into our lives as Lord and Savior.

The Gospel is the 'Good News' that Jesus Christ came into the world and paid the penalty for what we have done wrong against God so that we can be reconciled and restored in our relationship with God both now and forever.

The Gospel is the good news that we can be restored to a meaningful love relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross for us.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Best Alternatives to Windows Explorer

Here is a link to an article about a comparison made of alternatives to Window's Explorer file system which is what comes with Windows OS and another link to the best rated free program mentioned in the article.

10 Windows Explorer Alternative Compared and Reviewed


Newsboys - Shine

Here's another Newsboys music video. I first saw this video many years ago. While the video itself is pretty weird the music is great.

Newsboys Video - "He Reigns" [LP]

Reason to Live Music Video

Here is a powerful music video using clips from the "Passion of the Christ" movie. I really like this video so I added Romanian subtitles so I could share it here in Romania.

Another Music Video About Jesus and the Cross

Here is another worship music video I came across on YouTube using scenes from the "Passion of the Christ" movie.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Future Watch - Personal Tech & SuperBus

Here are some links to articles on possible personal tech items in the future and a futuristic "super bus" that may show up at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. I call it the "Batman bus". Checkout the video on YouTube to see why.

HP's Crystal Ball Gazing - Personal Tech of 2016

SuperBus goes 155 mph, comes when you text

SuperBus video on YouTube

Shared the Gospel on the Train

On the train down to Bucharest the Lord did provide me with an opportunity to talk with a young Romanian man, Robert age 26. He is from Bucharest but working in Brasov at a construction site for a hotel. He does metal work.

He told me he believes in God but doesn't go to church. I was able to share my testimony and talk about what it really means to be a Christian and how one becomes a Christian. He seemed interested and I think I left him with some things to think about. He asked me where we meet for church as his girlfriend, who lives in Brasov, doesn't believe in God. So I gave him a card with info about our church.

So please pray for Robert. That God would water the seed I planted.

On the way back to Brasov I didn't share with anyone as those around me didn't speak English but I was able to be Christ-like to a couple. Their seats were not together so they asked a guy to change seats with one of them but he said no. I saw that so I offered to change my seat so they could be together.

It was not a big deal but you would be surprised at how often people in Romania are rude and selfish. Especially when it comes to driving a car or waiting in line. Sometimes it makes me really mad and in my mind I think of teaching them a lesson but thankfully I don't follow thru though there have been a few times I have said something.

Lately I have noticed this rudeness and selfishness a lot more. Maybe it has always been there but I haven't been paying attention to it. I don't know. I'm not saying everyone is like this but sadly a lot of people are.

But it has caused me to think about why it is this way. I may be wrong but I think it goes back to the the impact communism had on people and after it collapsed how most people were in survival mode only thinking of how to get through each day and not looking or thinking of the long term consequences of their actions or how what they did impacted other people. Survival of the ruthless so to speak.

Another negative influence is their lack of respect for law because they grow up in a very corrupt system. When almost every part of Romanian life is touched by corruption and the politicians, judges, police, governmental employees, ecetera don't respect and live by the law what can motivate people other than the threat of jail?

Wherever people have turned in their hearts back to God you see change for the good like less crime. I have read of times when, after a revival, cities have had to let some of their policemen go cause the amount of crime had gone way done. May this kind of problem come to Romania! May the Lord shower His love, mercy and grace on the people of this beautiful land. To His glory. Pray for the people of Romania to turn their hearts back to God from religion, legalism and sin.

Got My Plane Ticket

I had a good trip to Bucharest. Got my plane ticket (actually an e-ticket) ok late Tuesday afternoon but at the travel agency they couldn't reserve a seat for me so Wednesday morning I went to the KLM office and reserved an aisle seat.

I wanted to get a seat near an emergency exit as they have more leg space but the nice lady at the KLM office told me I have to wait until I go to the airport for departure.

After I got back to Brasov with my e-ticket number I was able to check the plane I will be flying on from Amsterdam to Seattle and if I wanted I could have changed my seat but I had as good a one as was possible for me. All the seats in the front rows were taken and the ones near emergency exits are give first priority to those in their frequent flyer program.

I will try and get a seat with good leg space since I will be flying a long time but realize that may not be possible.
Before departure I wonder if is it possible to negotiate to upgrade for less than what they usually charge if there are available seats going unused. Does anyone know?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Going to Bucharest Today

I'm going down to Bucharest today on the train to pay for my plane ticket for my trip back to the States then I will stay over so I can go to the classes of the School of Ministry this evening. I will come back to Brasov tomorrow morning after the prayer time at the ministry building.

I am so thankful for the Lord's provision to pay for the ticket. I reserved the ticket a few weeks ago in faith as I had no money at the time and then less than a week later one of my gracious supporters sent to my church in Boise more than enough to cover the cost of the ticket. While things have been really tight financially for some time now I always have what I need. The Lord is so good to me though I don't deserve it. Praise be to him in all things.

Please pray that I will have a safe trip, for opportunities to share the Gospel on the train trip there and back, and for my time in Bucharest. Thanks.

Brrrr... It's Cold Inside

Here in Romania a lot of us, especially those that live in blocks (apartment buildings), have what is called "central hot water". That means that the water is heated somewhere else in or out of town then piped to apartments, ecetera.

Until I came to Romania in 1997 I had never seen such a system. In a lot of places the hot water system is broken down or in need of repairs. This summer in Brasov we went without hot water for over a month as they made a major repair to the system. It sound worse than it is. Over time you get use to it and adjust. For me I have a large pot which I fill up with water and heat up on my gas stove.

Slowly people are converting to having their own heating system in their places as there are limits as to when you have hot water in your place. But it is expensive for the average Romanian and sometimes there are other problems that have to be overcome.

Those of us with "central hot water" have two different hot water pipes in our homes. One for hot water in the kitchen and bathroom and one to heat the apartment. The one to heat the apartment is turned off from about April to the middle of October so when it gets cold outside it is also a bit cold inside.

I could heat my place with an electrical heater but on my budget that is not an option so I wear more clothes and put more blankets on the bed. It is not a big deal, like I said before you adjust and life goes on but I'm looking forward to the heat coming on.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Top Three Things People Are Searching For

According to John Stott the top three things people are searching for are transcendence, significance, and community which are exactly what the church was created for.

Check out Dr. Larry Taylor's article The Top Three Searches

Here are a few quotes:

"Transcendence is the longing for something bigger than self, something pure, intelligent, beautiful, glorious. As believers, we know that that something is God...The church is designed by God to meet that hunger for transcendence by connecting people to God in worship. Real worship is contact with the One who is “wholly other,” infinitely beautiful, awesomely intelligent. We cannot ever fully understand God, but we can authentically worship Him."

"Significance is the longing to have importance, meaning in life, love, and labor. Without significance, life is meaningless, hopeless, disjointed, and drifting; but with it, life is worth living, has vitality, purpose, and focus. God likewise designed the church to meet the hunger for significance by teaching His Word."

"Community is the longing to love and be loved; to find someone or some people, who will accept me just as I am, love me in spite of all my idiosyncrasies and faults, spend time with me, enjoy my company, and allow me to love them in my own imperfect, faltering way. When the church is operating as God intends, it produces genuine community."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Firefox Browser Add-Ons

I finally have gotten around to using Firefox on a regular basis. What I really like about it are all the extensions, plug-ins and search engines that give it much more functionality. In the upper right hand of the Firefox browser is it's search engine. You can add lots of different useful search engines to it like Wikipedia, Amazon,, etc.

Check out the add-ons page here- Below are some of the add-ons that seem to be the most useful to me.

Tab Mix Plus - Enhances Firefox's tab browsing capabilities (must have IMHO)

Fasterfox - Performance and network tweaks for Firefox

FlashGot – Download Mangager

ErrorZilla Mod - Implements a useful error page when a website cannot be reached

VideoDownloader – Download embedded videos like youtube, google, etc.

Hebrew Calendar - very small, located at the bottom right of the browser

Cacheout! – When webpages are down that you want to look at you can load them up using Google's caching service and – look up meanings, etc. right on the web pages
you are viewing

GTDGmail – Getting Things Done - GTD - time organizing system that works with Gmail

Google Calendar Notifier