18 Feb 2009

Can I light a fire?

Submitted by Paul Brown

February has been a slow month for posting here at pdb.homelinux.net. I think that with my getting married at the end of the month, I have had such a mish-mash of thoughts and emotions in my head that it has been difficult for me to articulate any thoughts other than simple facts and to-do lists. I have noticed this especially in my teaching responsibilities with the youth and at Regen over the last month. It seems like I can put together a reasonable outline in my mind, but when it comes to delivery, everything seems to come out all jumbled up. This last week has gone better in that regard, I think mostly because I have become aware of the difficulty and gave extra prayer and effort to overcoming it.

And now for something completely different!

A warm fire on a cold day

Here is some simple information that may be helpful to those of you who live in the Denver metro area: How to know if air quality conditions allow you to have a fire in your fireplace or not.

First, the regulation: If you live in the seven-county Denver metropolitan area (including Denver, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas, Jefferson, and areas west of Kiowa Creek in Adams and Arapahoe counties), you are subject to mandatory residential burn restrictions during "red advisories". Unfortunately for us, the same cold weather that often makes us want to light up a nice, warm fire also brings with it the atmospheric conditions that tend to make our smog worse and thus bring on a red advisory.

To know if a mandatory residential burn restriction is in place, you can check the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advisory page or call the Air Quality Advisory hotline at 303-758-4848. What I did, to make it even easier, is I created a Denver Air Quality widget (click to add) that I added to my Google home page. Now all I have to do to see if Holly and I can light a fire is pull up Google in Firefox. Could it be any easier?!

28 Jan 2009

A Prayer

Submitted by Paul Brown

This past week and the next few weeks have me preaching twice at Regeneration and once for the Sunday morning youth service, all of which is much more frequent teaching than I have done in the past. It also comes at a time that the anticipation and emotion of getting married soon is increasing day by day. Last week as I felt weak to go before Regeneration and teach on the incarnation, I lifted up this helpful prayer from The Valley of Vision, entitled "A Minister's Bible":

O God of truth,
I thank thee for the holy Scriptures,
     their precepts, promises, directions, light.
In them may I learn more of Christ,
     be enabled to retain his truth
     and have grace to follow it.
Help me to lift up the gates of my soul that he may come in
     and show me himself when I search the Scriptures,
     for I have no lines to fathom its depths,
     no wings to soar to its heights.
By his aid may I be enabled to explore all its truths,
     love them with all my heart,
     embrace them with all my power,
     engraft them into my life.
Bless to my soul all grains of truth garnered from thy Word;
     may they take deep root,
     be refreshed by heavenly dew,
     be ripened by heavenly rays,
     be harvested to my joy and thy praise.
Help me to gain profit by what I read,
     as treasure beyond all treasure,
     a fountain which can replenish my dry heart,
       its waters flowing through me as a perennial river
       on-drawn by they Holy Spirit.
Enable me to distil from its pages faithful prayer
     that grasps the arm of thy omnipotence,
     achieves wonders, obtains blessings,
     and draws down streams of mercy.
From it show me how my words have aften been unfaithful to thee,
     injurious to my fellow-men,
     empty of grace, full of folly,
     dishonouring to my calling.
Then write thy own words upon my heart and inscribe them on my lips;
So shall all glory be to thee in my reading of thy Word!

Though perhaps specially relevant to those who are entrusted to teach the Word to others, it is a great prayer for meditation on Scripture in general.

8 Jan 2009

More borrowing??

Submitted by Paul Brown

Although the current economic downturn has been largely caused by years of excessive consumer and corporate borrowing, our government, with Barack Obama already leading the way, appears ready to attempt to mitigate the crisis by borrowing yet more money. The Congressional Budget Office predicts budget deficits of upwards of a trillion dollars next year, and Obama seems to be angling for a massive "economic stimulus package" that will borrow yet more mountains of money to hand out amongst ourselves.

At the consumer level, I think we are starting to see people realize that borrowing is not a long-term solution to financial woes; instead we are turning to sound financial principles like budgeting and saving. Why is the Federal government going the other way? Do they think that they can keep borrowing forever, propping the economy up on foreign money? Sooner or later the piper will come to be paid, and there will be no one to bail us out.

6 Jan 2009

Reading the Bible in 2009

Submitted by Paul Brown

At the start of 2009, I decided that it would be a good idea to follow a Bible-reading plan this year. Since I was busy last Fall teaching at Regeneration and at youth small group, most of my study and meditation on Scripture ended up being related to whatever teaching assignment I had next. While I'm not sure that this is necessarily wrong, I think it does tend to limit the parts of Scripture that I look at and tends to make my reflection more focused on getting what I need out of the text rather than simply reflecting on it and letting it speak into my life for itself.

The reading plan that I decided to use is the M'Cheyne plan as modified by D.A. Carson. I found a PDF that I was able to print two-sided on a single sheet of paper to fold and stick in my study Bible. It will actually work out to be a two-year plan that will take me through the New Testament twice and once through the Old Testament.

For other Bible-reading plans, see Justin Taylor's roundup. When I went through a plan before, several years ago, I used the Discipleship Journal plan, which, interestingly enough, John Piper has decided to use this year.

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