Mar 102013

Village Church

The podcast sermons of Pastor Matt Chandler at The Village Church in Texas are some of my favorites. He not only handles scripture well but has a delivery style that is captivating. This sermon from Galatians challenges our preconceived notions of what God’s wonderful plan truly is for our life.

It is not cruel, unjust, or wicked of God to wound you in such a way that it knocks out from under you the props of self-reliance and puts your reliance completely on him.

It would be far more cruel of God to allow you to continue to prop yourself up by means of self-reliance because that makes you a slave, so God disciplines those he calls sons and scourges all of those who are his children. It is not cruel of God at all to take from you what might lead you into an eternity of sorrow, to give to you sorrow now that leads to an eternity of ever increasing joy. What you have is a lack of trust in the sovereign love of God. . . .

. . . I want to be real honest. In this fallen world, God’s primary goal for you is not happiness. I think he’ll gift you with seasons of it, but God’s not saying, How can I make them happy?

Listen to the sermon and be challenged in your view of God.

Source: Sons and Slaves - Matt Chandler, The Village Church, May 13, 2012
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Mar 102013

Gone Girl.
Gillian Flynn.
Google Books

I may not have got very far into this book if I was reading it instead of listening to the audiobook. The characters seemed to be acting out some kind of pop psychology cliches but they story kept me interested enough to keep hitting play.

As I hypothesized how the story would play out, a new twist would develop to shoot down my theory. When I came to the end of the story, I found out the book was only half done. Another twist.

Now I wait to see what the 2nd half of the story brings.

Book Info

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Published: 06/01/2012
ISBN-10: 0297859382
ISBN-13: 978-0297859383
Started: 01/24/2013
Finished: 03/27/2013
Source: overdrive audiobook
Reason: New York Times Bestseller Fiction
Format: audiobook

Publisher Synopsis

Marriage can be a real killer.
One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

Author Info

GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the New York Times bestseller Dark Places, which was a New Yorker Reviewers’ Favorite, Weekend TODAY Top Summer Read, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2009, and Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction choice; and the Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, which was an Edgar nominee for Best First novel, a BookSense pick, and a Barnes & Noble Discover selection. Her work has been published in twenty-eight countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

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Mar 092013

From what I read, most guns used in criminal homicides (already illegal) were stolen (already illegal) from law abiding Americans. Without banning all guns in America and confiscating guns from all Americans this fact will not change. Yet the gun-ophobes keep proposing laws that will not impact the very statistics they are citing.

Mar 092013

My Tracks - Google Android App

I have been using the android app, My Tracks from Google, to track my daily walks and other outdoor activities for a couple of months now. I have used my Garmin GPS to map my routes in the past but being able to use my phone is so much more handy. Just as we all use our phones as a handy camera, I want to be able to use my phone as a handy GPS. And just as my phone camera is not as ‘good’ as my large dSLR camera, my phone GPS only needs to be ‘good enough’ when I am out and about. So, what does a GPS app need to do to be ‘good enough’?

Background Mode Endomondo Pro had been on my Galaxy Nexus for a number of months and did a pretty good job but has a major failing; if you need to run any other app, it cannot run in the background and will close down as soon as it looses focus. So, if you need to take a call, answer a text message, or change up something on your android mp3 player, Endomond will silently quit running and you may not realize till you get home that you have no record of your activity.

Display Tracks on Google Maps We all want to see where we have been, especially if we took a nice hike. My Tracks can export your track to your My Maps at Google or you can share it on any of your favorite social media sites.

Export Tracks to a GPX Geo tagging photos allows you to place the location of a photo within the image so that you and others can see where the photo was taken. By using this on my last trip to San Antonio I could easily see where I was when I took each photo. Running the GPS constantly can be hard on battery life but I always carry 2 spare batteries when I plan to do this just to be on the safe side.

My Track Features

  • View your real-time location and where you’ve been on Google Maps for Mobile.
  • Monitor real-time speed, distance and elevation right on your phone.
  • Share your tracks with friends via Google+, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Want to remember that secret vista or running path? Mark it with a waypoint.
  • Record your heart rate and bike cadence to know exactly how you’re doing.
  • Export your tracks and stats to Google Maps, Google Docs, and Google Fusion Tables too.

All in all, I like the My Tracks app. I turn it on when I take my daily walks and have it set to ‘announce’ every 2 minutes how far and how fast I am walking so that I push myself. I have used it on vacations, hikes, and even Cross Country meets to geo-tag photos, that then can be plotted on Google Maps.

What apps do you use?

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Mar 092013

Umatilla County Courthouse

An Oregon Concealed Handgun License is required if you wish to carry a concealed pistol on your person or in your car when in the state. It is legal to ‘open-carry’ in Oregon (with some restrictions) but why take a chance of freaking someone out by carrying a gun on your hip in the home of Portlandia?

To get a Concealed Handgun License in Oregon, one must submit a completed application to the Sheriff’s Office in person along with $65 in cash or check for the background check and finger printing. Each Sheriff’s Office has designed their own application based on the state’s requirements. The information required on each is very similar but do have minor differences such as whether they ask for references or not. Oregon is ‘must issue’ state for Oregon residents who meet the state’s guidelines but for non-residents they are “may issue”. As a non-resident from Washington State, this is the part that concerned me since Sheriffs are free to deny a permit for any reason, including they just don’t want to issue them.

Oregon, unlike most states that offer concealed weapons permits, does not recognize permits from any other state. If you want to carry concealed in Oregon you must have their Concealed Handgun License and they will only issue them to residents of Oregon and the 4 states that share a border with Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and California. If you are from any of the other 45 states you are out of luck.

Part of the application requirements is that you have taken a “Gun Safety class”. I satisfied this by taking a class from Asher Investigations that was held at the Kennewick Ranch and Home on January 5th. The class cost $85 and included the 5 hours of instruction needed to get your Utah and Oregon permits, the applications required, finger printing and a passport-type photo to send in with the Utah application. (Why Utah will be the subject of another post.)

Once the gun safety class was out of the way, I needed to get an appointment with an Oregon Sheriff’s Office. Since the closest Oregon county to the Tri-Cities is Umatilla County, right across the Columbia River, I was glad to read on various forums and as well as from the class instructor that the Umatilla County Sheriff is 2nd Amendment ‘friendly’ unlike some Oregon Sheriffs who look for reasons not to issue Concealed Handgun Licenses to non-residents. Most of the eastern Oregon Sheriffs have been good about issuing concealed weapon licenses to qualified non-residents.

The following Monday I attempted to call the Umatilla County Sheriff Office a number of times but only was able to leave a voice mail. After waiting most of the day for a call back I found the office’s email address online ( and sent a request for an appointment at their next available time. Within 45 minutes I had a response and confirmed with them an appointment 6 weeks in the future in mid February. If I had been smart, I would have contacted the Sheriff’s Office for an appointment when I signed up for my class rather than waiting till after attending the class.

Now I wait for the license (or denial). They informed me that they are so far backlogged that it would probably be 90 days before I would receive my Oregon Concealed Handgun License. Oh well, I wait.

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Mar 082013


Issue: When preparing a new document for signature in DocuSign, the name of the first document included in an envelope is appended to the end of the email’s default subject line. We usually include a cover sheet in the envelope, so it makes no sense to ask them to “Please DocuSign these documents: Cover Sheet”.

It is more problematic when you are just sending one document printed from your computer and it now include’s the cryptic file name such and asks “Please DocuSign this document: crazyname-1342.pdf.pdf”

To solve this I found that the subject line is configurable from within the DocuSign_SendResources.xml file found in Branding Resource section of DocuSign. This default subject line is:

<data name="Message_EnvelopeSubjectDefault">Please DocuSign this document: [[DocumentName]]</data>
<data name="Message_EnvelopeSubjectDefaultPlural">Please DocuSign these documents: [[DocumentName]]</data>

Solution: To fix this I changed the lines to read:

<data name="Message_EnvelopeSubjectDefault">Please DocuSign this document</data>
<data name="Message_EnvelopeSubjectDefaultPlural">Please DocuSign these documents</data>

Wishlist: I have tried to figure out a way to include the recipient’s name in the subject, but so far all attempts have failed. You would think that you could include [[Recipient]] just like it now has [[DocumentName]] but nope. I also wish it was possible to create a default email text but all my attempts to find or guess at xml tags to do this have failed.

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Mar 082013

Pilgrim Theology.
Michael S. Horton.
Sound theology, then, does not start with something else, something more basic and universal, and then add the gospel later on. Even when evaluating a wider horizon, the Christian is wearing “gospel” glasses. C. S. Lewis put the matter well: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”

Page: 22

The study of theology is the study of God which is, in reality, the study of the gospel, the good news of God’s self revelation to us. Without the light of the Gospel, any musings about theology would be similar to studying the sun at night, you could see some of its reflected glory but never get a true picture of it.

Mar 062013

N.T. Wright walks me through Christ’s passion using the Gospel of Luke thanks to a review copy of the book from NetGalley.

Book Info

Lent for Everyone: Luke, Year C: A Daily Devotional
by N.T. Wright
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Published: 10/25/2012
ISBN-10: 0664238955
ISBN-13: 978-0664238957
Started: 03/06/2013
Finished: 04/25/2013
Source: NetGalley
Format: e-book

Publisher Synopsis

Lent for Everyone: Luke, Year C provides readers with an inspirational guide through the Lenten season, from Ash Wednesday through the week after Easter. Popular biblical scholar and author N. T. Wright provides his own Scripture translation, brief reflection, and a prayer for each of the days of the season, helping readers ponder how the text is relevant to their own lives today. By the end of the book readers will have been through the entirety of Luke, along with Psalm readings for each Sunday. Suitable for both individual and group study and reflection, Wright’s Lenten devotional will help you make Luke’s gospel your own, thoughtfully and prayerfully, and your journey through Lent a period of rich discovery and growth.

Author Info
N. T. Wright is the author of numerous best-selling works, including the New Testament for Everyone commentary series, Simply Christian, and the Christian Origins and the Question of God series. He is Professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews.