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Numbers

By Tim Butler | Posted at 5:32 PM

Kevin Hartwig has another really interesting piece over on the Sakamuyo Network. In it, he notes the over-emphasis of numbers in today's Church. I think he strikes on something that can be expanded to an even larger concept: placing goals ahead of the Gospel and of the Church body.

Too often, it seems, we are so worried about the goal, the means really do seem justified. However, the church should be careful not to alienate or hurt members on the way. At my church, during Stewardship month (November) we often use a plan and sermon series known as We are Family. That's important… we are family, and we shouldn't ignore that fact when working on stuff.

Whether its raising money, or finding new ways to promote the local church, we should insure that our attempts don't tear apart the existing family in an attempt to “adopt” new members. While no one would intentionally do this, it is something that still happens way to often.

Win(in)Modems Work pretty well in Linux....

By Tim Butler | Posted at 6:22 PM

…otherwise you wouldn't be hearing from me right now. :-) My cable modem is
unavailable since I'm getting new carpeting atm, so I went and got the lucent
winmodem driver yesterday. Guess what? It took two minutes (including
download) to install. I got the Mandrake 9.0 Package, installed it, and
started using my modem. No fuss, no muss (I can't upgrade the modem since
this is a laptop, and I don't want to use a PC Card modem).

Anyway, everything is slow at 49kbps, but at least it works…

Jesus is Life, yeah, Oh oh oh oh!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:09 PM
I just feel like doing as SCC did at the concert and saying “C'mon everyone - sing along - Jesus is life, yeah, oh, oh, oh!” And then there is this touching song based on Beyond the Gates of Splendor:
And the pain falls like a curtain On the things I once called certain
And I have to say the words I fear the most
I just don't know
[…]
God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He's painting
God is God and I am man
So I'll never understand it all
For only God is God

C'mon everyone - “Wake the neighbors, get the word out/Come on…crank up the music…climb a mountain and shout/This is life we've been given made to be lived out/So la la la la live out loud/Live out loud, yeah.”

This might sound like a happy go lucky lyric, but I think it has a deep meaning. We need to live out loud. To make it clear we are God followers, and to worship God because God is God - he knows what's going on even when we don't. We need to have that magnificent obsession.

See I could write a whole meditation all based on the titles of these songs. :-) Seriously though, SCC uses his gift in music to tackle some very serious issues - and we should do the same when listening.

I forgot to mention...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 4:45 PM

…my printer had been acting up, and I wanted to get a scanner, so last weekend I purchased the Hewlett-Packard PSC 2210 multifunction device. Everything works GREAT under Linux, I just love this machine, and recommend it to anyone interested in such a beast.

I wrote a review on Amazon.com, but it hasn't popped on just yet. Once it does, I'll link to it so you can see a bit more detail.

Nichole Nordeman

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:36 PM

The CD seems a bit Jewel-esque to me for some reason. I'm not exactly sure how, but it has some of the same lyrical qualities, IMO. Anyway, I really like this CD, and am anxious to get some time to sit back and listen through the whole thing again. The CD just flows together beautifully, and I was pleased to see the songs Nordeman did not sing at the concert were just as good as the ones she did. It also survived the fact that hearing the songs in a concert built up my expectations for the CD - yet I was not disappointed at all, infact I was thrilled with the CD.

Anyway, go get this CD. I highly recommend it. Nordeman's songs will definately go on my list of favorites.

La La La La Live out Loud...

By Tim Butler | Posted at 3:35 PM

Probably most folks reading this are going to know who Steven Curtis Chapman is, but just in case you don't… He's one of the most popular CCM/Christian Rock artists out there, up in the ranks with Michael W. Smith (Smitty is probably better known since he has done some stuff outside of the Christian genre as well). Anyway, SCC is apparently also the award winningist (is that a word?) Christian artist, nabbing 40+ Dove awards and numerous Grammy's as well.

The concert started out with Nichole Nordman, who I had never heard of before I got the ticket for the event. I'm certainly glad I heard her though - she is extremely talented in both singing and songwriting. This was someone who truly fit well opening an SCC concert. I really liked her songs “Holy” (from the new CD “Woven & Spun”) and “Seasons,” in fact, I now have her newly released CD sitting on my desk waiting to be played.

Things just keep getting better. After about 30 minutes of music from Nordeman, Chapman came literally bouncing out onto the stage singing “Live Out Loud” from his Declaration cd. He went on for about 45 minutes or so, going through “Speechless” (one of my favorite songs of his), Fingerprints of God (which the band “helped” him sing), The Change, and some other great songs. Then he took a small break in the music and talked for a bit. He talked about God, and his family, and adoption - all kinds of stuff, all seasoned with a light touch of humor. SCC is an extremely good showman, and all of the pauses in the music were almost as enjoyable as the music itself.

He did a few more songs, and then there was an intermission half way through the concert. After the intermission, Chapman did some more songs from his new CD, and then did something really different. As part of a tie-in with the new movie Beyond the Gates of Splendor, he told the true story that movie is based on, with music from his new CD.

In short, the spectacular story is that of five young missionaries who venture down to the Amazon to try to make contact with the fierce Auca tribe in the 1950's. No one had ever made friendly contact with the tribe, but after dropping off gifts for a number of days, the band of missionaries successfully established contact. Unfortunately, it was short lived, and a day later radio messages stopped being broadcast by the team. A few days later a U.S. Air Force rescue team dispatched to locate them confirmed all of the missionaries dead - implailed with spears, their bodies tossed in the river or left on the beach. Amazingly, the story doesn't end there - one missionary's sister came down and started to learn the fierce tribe's language. Three years after the original slaughter, the tribe invited her to come talk to them about her message.

The result is nothing short of spectacular: the tribe that has a 60% homicide rate rejected “their bad path” and converted to Christianity or the “good path” as they call it. They renamed themselves “the people,” renounced their former ways, and set out to follow God's carvings (the Bible). And the missionary then remained there, living with the people until her death in 1994. In the mean time, her nephew (Steve Saint) was “adopted” by one of the tribesmen that killed his father, and he too became good friends with the tribe. Fast forward to 2002: Mincaye, the Indian, and Steve Saint (whose father Mincaye murdered) are on the road together with Chapman. After Chapman finished telling the story in song, Steve Saint comes out and talks for a little while, and then Mincaye himself comes out and gives his testimony (which Saint translates to English). Very powerful, and all wrapped up by a moving duet with Chapman singing in English and Mincaye in his native tongue.

Anyway, after that SCC sang a few more songs (including his older Great Adventure and the one he wrote a few weeks ago for the 9/11 rememberance service in NY) and wrapped up the concert with a reprise of Live Out Loud. Then, for the encore, Chapman did three or four more songs, including my favorite - “Dive.” What an amazing scene - thousands of Christians in an arena singing with Chapman about diving into river (God's Holy Spirit). Finally, after a quite ending, Chapman closed the concert with a prayer.

In all, it was WONDERFUL. Barring the fact that my ears rang from the loud music until the next morning, it was fantastic. SCC was great, and both him and Nordeman did a great job of keeping the focus on God. The added testimony of Mincaye added something amazing to the evening. To use the words Chapman said “[the presentation will] make you leave this place different.” It certainly did - seeing the amazing power of God in such a visable way. Certainly Saint had to overcome the fact that he couldn't see the big picture that God could, or as one of the songs put it:
God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He's painting
God is God and I am man
So I'll never understand it all
For only God is God

UPDATE (21 April 2012): I happened to stumble upon this set list for the concert I wrote about just under 10 years ago. Interesting.

SCC Concert

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:27 PM

Well, I'm a bit too tired to describe it in length tonight (stay tuned for the full details tomorrow), but I attended Steven Curtis Chapman's “Live Out Loud” concert tonight - and it was GREAT! Anyway, tune in at 11 for the scoop. :-)

Religion and Science

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:42 PM

Isn't that the way it is with religion as well? As Christians, we must have faith there is a God. We must have faith that Jesus' death was enough to atone for us. However, just like science, our faith also applies reason. It is reasonable to believe abiogenesis is impossible, and evolution is a simply a device for Secular Humanism to displace religion. Natural revelation reveals a beauty in this earth that can only be from divine orgin.

So, the next time someone suggests that science is much more reasonable than religion…. Remind them that all science requires faith, and most scientists need a lot more faith than one needs to accept the Bible. The burdon of proof is on science - whether they admit it or not. Quite frankly, acceptance of God is the only truly scientific response to the evidence we have.

The Comments of Tired Tim

By Tim Butler | Posted at 7:30 PM

And, this week, an unexpected task took up a bunch of time. As mentioned previously, I run two mailing lists (with the help of my co-administrators) - ChristianSource FSLUG and OfB-Talk. Well, last week rumblings were going on that another one of my favorite lists - KDE-Cafe - was on the chopping block, since the KDE Project no longer wanted to be associated with it. So, Tink (the list admin) accepted an offer to bring it over to OfB.biz's server. That took some work, but the worst was still to come.

This week this server was upgrades to use suExec, which, among other things, made Mailman get a lot less friendly URL out of the box. So, I compiled a new version of Mailman (a tedious project!), and finally was able to get it going last night. So anyway, while these two list events weren't exactly connected, they both ate up time that should have been devoted elsewhere. Oh well.

Hopefully this next week I'll get more of my todo list done rather than unscheduled tasks…

Nine Eleven

By Tim Butler | Posted at 6:37 PM
Be still and know that He is God Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

     —Steven Curtis Chapman, “Be Still and Know”

I wrote up a small piece on 9/11 at Open for Business. You can find it here.

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