In or not?

I was just thinking about this, and wanted to write it down, otherwise it would probably just pass on by like some other thoughts.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

What is the difference between believing in him and believing him?

Recently, I read through James, and a lot of it talks about faith vs. works, etc. I came to the conclusion that faith in God, real faith, is having faith enough that I believe what he says enough that I do it, and that is why works shows faith, and faith without works is dead. Is that right?

My question is this: is it the same thing to believe in someone and to believe someone? When we say we believe in Jesus and are saved, is that equivalent to believing what he says? Recently, because of my reading from James, I've felt that if I sin, its showing that I don't really have faith in God. Because if I did, I would do what he says, which is not to sin. Is that the belief in Jesus that causes me to be covered by his blood, which saves me? Is that what James says? Or is it just belief in his death and resurrection washing away my sin? Are the two inextricably linked faiths, actually the same thing, or two different types of faith "in" him?


Feeling thankful just in time for Thanksgiving

I went for a walk this morning, and was thinking about some things that are going on in my life right now, and started to feel pretty thankful. My parents had just called to tell me that they’d bought me plane tickets to fly home for Thanksgiving, so that probably kick started things off. I actually didn’t even realize that it is the Thanksgiving season, until I’d thought through a few specific things that I am very thankful for right now. When I realized “Hey! This is Thanksgiving after all.” I thought, I might as well share some of those things on this blog. These are not in order.

1. Great room mates. I’m not just saying that. I really live with some great guys. I love how we get along, and often do things together and are actually friends. When one of us walks in the door, we great each other, or say something funny, and often get involved in what everyone else is doing. We like eating together, going places together, having parties at our apartment, and even very rarely cleaning together! And joking and laughing. That happens a lot. So thanks Micah, Cory and Robert. You guys are ALL the best.

2. My church. Getting involved there has been one of the best things I’ve done, and one of the reasons I’m still in southern California. I really feel like I’m a part of the body there, and that people care about what is going on with me. We’re trying to figure out what God intends for us here in La Mirada. We don’t quite know yet, but there are a lot of people that do want to serve the Lord through and outside of our church, and I think that is great. And we like spending time together. My community group, men’s accountability group, and New Commandment Men’s Ministry are all very fun and encouraging. I think almost every Tuesday I come back from meeting with the guys feeling encouraged and refreshed, and having enjoyed my time immensely. Through all of the things there, the great worship, the great community, and our attempting a great mission, I have grown a lot closer to God, and become more excited about Him. Really, I think I’m not just saying that.

3. My Family. I’ve always felt very thankful for them. I know most people don’t have it nearly as good as I do in this respect. Having a family that loves each other is one of the best joys in life I think. We always look forward to seeing each other, and talk on the phone quite a bit. I have some of my best laughs with my family. If I had to pick people to be on a deserted island with, they would be in the very top spots. Along with survival experts. I’m quite excited to see them this Thanksgiving and Christmas. One cool thing is that I don’t mean just my immediate family, but also my extended family. Christmas and camping with them in the summer is always the most relaxing, fun, exciting and often meaningful time of the year for me. Not to say that my time in southern California isn’t any of those things, see the above for notes on that. I know my family loves me very much, and that makes life very good.

4. My other friends. I’ve got some good friends. They know who they are. In particular, I’m recently thankful for my friend Greg coming down to surprise me at our reading night this week. That was pretty cool. I’ve got a lot of people that enjoy doing stuff or just hanging out, and are also good for conversation and encouragement.

5. My job. I like it a lot. Its fun to work with people, and do something that I believe is helping people. I never dread going there. I get to have some fun interactions, and some difficult ones that are usually good in the end. My co-workers are pretty nice, fun to talk to, and so are the residents. I feel like I’m getting to know them a bit more, and trying to ask them more questions about themselves. I really feel that God led me to this job, and for that I’m thankful. Its nice to know you’re doing what He intends you to do (I think.)

6. God. Speaking of Him, I’ve felt blessed by Him a lot recently, especially in the above areas. I also think He’s been leading me personally and letting me come closer to him, though I’m not nearly as close as I would like.

7. There’s a lot more. I think I’ve been really blessed in almost every area of my life. I’m very thankful.



The Lord of the Rings

Yes, I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan. I've been re-watching them over the last few weeks with my friends William and Kerri and Robert. Last night Thatcher and Laura also joined us to finish things off with the Return of the King.

I think my favorite character in the movies might be Aragorn. In a lot of movies, I like characters because they're I can identify with them, or I can see their flaws and connect with them as a person. I don't know if I can do that with Aragorn. I think I really like him because he's not like a lot of modern characters in movies. His only real flaw is that he isn't completely confident in his abilities and destiny, and I don't really think thats a flaw.

The thing that stands out in my mind the most is just a random shot in Return of the King when he is fighting some orcs. Really its only because of his contrast with Legolas that I can pinpoint that moment. A little bit before, Legolas is single-handedly brining down a whole oliphant by swinging and climbing up the legs, slicing the supports for the mini-tower of enemies on its back, and finishing it off by sliding down the trunk and landing on his feet. That's cool, but he definitely looks like he knows its cool, and tat was part of why he did it. Soon afterwards, we see a shot of Aragorn battling several enemies at once. Even though he's the heir of the throne of Gondor, he doesn't have the pomp, or flashy moves. He actually looks really tired and kind of sad. He doesn't really want to be fighting, but he's doing it because he knows he has to.

Sometimes when I'm writing a blog post, I feel like I'm back in school, writing a paper. Just now I was sitting here, trying to think of a good conclusion, that re-stated my thesis, and really got at the heart of the issue. I couldn't come up with anything though. And thats whats nice about not being in school.


The Cloud

I think I know what is going to happen with computing in the next few years. I don't usually write posts like this, but I've been reading about it, and thinking about how much we use the internet and computers now, and it interests me a lot for some reason.

More and more our computer experiences are being routed to the internet. We do almost everything on here. Our pictures used to be locked away on just our hard drives, now we instantly upload them to facebook or that photo website I don't know how to spell. Some people still mostly use an email client (you can tell I've been reading) but others like me have switched to a browser based system like gmail.com. If you want, you can even write papers, make slide shows, keep track of your calendars all online, in the browser thanks to google's suite of applications like google docs and google calendar.

Speaking of google, I think that is where this is all going. Google is working on a new operating system, Google Chrome OS. According to them, its supposed to be really lightweight, and it is designed primarily to get you on the web. And it makes sense, most of the time when I, or any other casual computer users I know, turn on or open up their computers, it is to go online. I think they've got the right idea.

But I think Google Chrome OS won't just get you on the internet, it will be just the internet. I think when you open it up, it would make sense that you are instantly in the browser. No desktop where you have to click on the internet (I should write a post later about how impatient the digital age is making us) to open it up, it is just there. It might open to a home screen like Google's browser Chrome has right now, which would have your favorite websites along with any applications you might use. I say use, not have, because I think they will be all based on the internet eventually. Why have separate applications? There's really no need, if we've all got wireless, and Google has some really big servers out there somewhere to store all of our stuff. When you put your pictures online, they just go right to the internet. You save your documents there, play your games there, record your music there. The internet is getting fast enough that anything done on your computer could soon be done just as quickly online.

Most people probably still want a copy of their files and things on their own computer, just in case they're ever out of the range of the internet. I think the future operating systems will accomodate that, and still allow you to save your stuff on your own hard drive. But you won't even know you're doing it. The primary place you save them will be in the browser, and it will quietly also make you your own personal copy. If you're ever away from a router, you'll still go to the same place in your browser, but it will recognize that you're not connected, and bring up the local file instead. Any changes you make will be saved, and then the instant you're back online, they'll be updated on Google's server.

The whole point of the "Cloud" is that you'll be able to get all your stuff anywhere. If you don't want to bring your computer on the plane, no big deal, just use the one built into the back of the chair in front of you, and you'll be online with instant access to everything. The computer disappears, and the information becomes what is important.

I don't know why that makes me excited. I think I just like technology. I hope its not unhealthy. There are a lot of science fiction books in which something like the above scenario leads to a totalitarian regime where people aren't allowed to have feelings anymore. I don't think that is going to happen. If people don't have feelings, it will not be because the government is going to make them take pills every day to suppress them, it will be because they gave them up for a cheep laugh at a "fat kid gets pwned" video on youtube. I don't like the idea of that. I don't really like the internet at all sometimes. But for some reason, we all use it more and more every year.

I have other thoughts on where the internet will go in the more distant future, but I think Cloud computing is the next step. It may be a rainy day for humanity, or there might be silver dollars in that silver lining.


I really like Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Its really funny and exciting and pirates are pretty cool.

Something that I've been thinking about in the last few years, is why I like or do not like things based on the masses. I really liked the movie when it first came out, and so did just about everybody else. Then they came out with the other two movies, which weren't as good, but were really popular and made a lot of money. I don't think I mind that, but there's something in me that wants to be original and like things that aren't popular, and dislike things that are. Pirates of the Caribbean makes me swing all over those feelings.

I like the first movie a lot. But everyone else did too, so then I wasn't as big of a fan. Then the other two movies came out, and those were really big in the box office, so, even though I think there were parts of them I did like, I mostly said they weren' very good. But it quickly became popular to not like them, and that sort of makes me want to.

So I feel very mixed. I do like the first one a lot. I think it is genuinely a great movie. Most people tend to roll their eyes at it though, and part of me then thinks I shouldn't like it. But I do. I also like parts of the other two, just not as much.

I may still be operating under my popularity/uniqueness principal. It is really hard to tell sometimes. But I at least think that I like Curse of the Black Pearl for genuine reasons.


They mysticism of an orange light

I think about a few things a lot, things that don't have anything to do with what's going on around me. Little things out of my childhood. One of those is when this guy came to our house when I was 12 or so and tried to sell us a vacuum by showing us how it worked on our floor. There's also the time I pretended to plant corn with some cousins around a tree out back. Another is the orange light from the radio in my Dad's old rusty green Ford. I liked that light.