Chosen for new clothes

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

– Colossians 3:5-15 (ESV)

There’s so much in this passage. I can’t do it justice. But there are some things that jump out at me:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you . . . Whoa. Paul goes on to list some of the things that constitute “earthly”. And it is, indeed, all very down to earth stuff. All the lusts, the wants, the desires that, unlike Godly desires, don’t fill us with eager anticipation so much as they fill us with frustration and anger. All this is “earthly” and must be put to death. Not reformed, not “set right”. There are no leaves to turn over here. We are to become new leaves.

We are to take the earthly in us out behind the barn and kill it with an axe.

It hits me: for someone who is not in Christ, all they have is earthly. It’s impossible to put the earthly to death, as there is nothing there to replace it with, outside of Christ. But in Christ? Yes, behind the barn, with the axe. Now.

It would be easy for some of us to look at the things Paul listed, “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire”, and perhaps feel a bit “safe”, skipping over that unfortunate little clause about covetousness (that pesky forgotten tenth commandment!). But the list goes on: “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another . . .”, and, I don’t know about you, but any leg I had to stand on has just been amputated, with extreme prejudice. These are all of the earth, they are foreign to Christ, and must be put away. For someone who is in Christ, these constitute all that is the “old self”, which must be stripped off like muddy clothes after a romp in the swamp. The clothes stick; they have almost become part of me. They are heavy and slimy and stifling. And they must be removed. New clothing is called for:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other . . .”

We are holy and beloved, and called with a calling that is high above “earthly”. It is heavenly, and we are called to be heavenly bodies, shining as the stars. These traits that shine through us, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and especially love, are not natural, just as royal raiment is foreign to one who has worn dirty rags all his life. But what more natural clothing is there, really, for a child of the King? Worn daily we will soon feel at home in these princely garments.

We’ve been chosen by God. Chosen for these new clothes!

TemplateModifiers and SnapOnDisplayFilters

I’ve been working on Bloo version 0.18 and definitely feeling the wind in my hair! In fact, I believe I achieved “nerdvana” on the bus ride the other day. Check this out:

On the ride in to work (approximately 40 minutes) I came up with the TemplateModifier architecture, which will facilitate mucho flexibility in the Overlay templates used by a SnapOn. Basically, a developer can add display functionality to a SnapOn without having to inherit from the SnapOn or create a whole new Overlay, and with no real concern for other TemplateModifiers attached to that SnapOn. And of course, the original SnapOn is fat, dumb and clueless regarding how it’s being morphed on the display. I plan on implementing a display filter for gravatars in comments in the next version.

On the busride home I came up with the SnapOnDisplayFilter architecture, which allows for filtering and morphing of the data rendered in a SnapOn. This also will achieve max coolness. I think it’s pretty cool that the Bloo architecture made it so easy for me to create these so quickly, if I do say so meself.

For what it’s worth, developing Bloo has been hugely enjoyable. I’m heading toward public domain release soon [Cue Kronk voice: “Riiiiiiight”].

Watch me for the changes . . .

“Complicated acronym, meaning LSD”

Out of the Bloo

n. complicated acronym, meaning LSD.

“What small Out of the Bloo you have, kid.”

As seen on the Infinite Teen Slang Dictionary

Well, that explains a few things . . .

This is fun! Let’s try another one. I’ll type in “Bill”.


n. a colourful or unpleasant girl.

“Want to slap that Bill, Billie?”

Heeeyyyy, wait a minute!

[Hat tip: A Picturesque Life (a few steps removed, as the generator she found amusing was one of the other ones on this site)]


Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

– I Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)

Paul wrote these words in the context of what our attitude should be (hopeful!) regarding the coming return of the Lord. But I believe the larger principle of general encouragement is contained within this verse.

It popped in my head a few minutes ago because I just received some great encouragement from a Christian brother. And I needed it.

I always need it, actually. Do any of you not need encouragement?

Encouragement – when spoken out of truth and not flattery – is golden. And it’s not hard to do. When spoken out of truth and not “for effect”, an encouraging word can change someone’s hour, their day, their life. It’s one of the most powerful forces on earth.

I need to encourage someone today.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

– Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)

Heartbreaking and glorious

Bob at Gratitude and Hoopla points us to this series of posts from Worship Madly (now on the blogroll). Read these posts if you get a chance. Greg’s story of his wife Denise’s death and the struggle of faith involved in that is heartwrenching, worshipful and God glorifying, all at the same time.

A few minutes before 3am I knew I had to get some “rest”. My sister agreed to keep watch and pray over Nece…and I stretched out in the chair…”I love you Nece”, but I knew there would be no reply this time…Oh how wanted to hear those words…my favorite words that I’d heard every single night for almost 8 years…”I love you too, Moshe…” but not this time…not ever again…

My sister swears that Denise was waiting for me to go to sleep…the instant that I started to snore, the strangest and most beautiful thing happened…Denise lifted her head and looked with her blinded eyes towards the door…and she smiled. My sister says it was the biggest, most beautiful smile she had ever seen…my Nece smiled…and she was gone. My sister woke me and she was half laughing, half crying…she was more excited than I’ve ever seen her. She was trying to be sensitive to me, but…she had just watched my wife enter into glory. She was allowed to watch as Nece heard her Bridegroom call her name…and she ran to Him. Before we got married, Denise wrote me an incredible poem that we had framed…near the end of it she said something like “A perfect man God made only once and His bride waits for His return. The perfect man for me He has brought to me and this bride waits no more”. I haven’t thought about that poem in a while…but indeed…her waiting is over…and she will never need medication again.

And His Bride waits…and longs…and moans. Even now I’m struck by the fact that when Denise & first met online, her email address was Rev2217…”The Spirit and the Bride say come…”

That was the cry of her life from the age of 13 when she met Jesus…on June 1st, 2005 He came…to her.

Poor in spirit

And he opened his mouth

and taught them,



are the poor in spirit,

for theirs

is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:2-3

Charles Finney, on what it means to be “poor in spirit”:

To have a realizing sense of our spiritual state. In this it is implied that we understand our own guilt and helplessness, and realize as a practical fact our own utter emptiness by nature of every thing good, and of any tendency to that which is good. It is one thing to hold this in theory, and another thing to be heartily sensible of the humbling fact. Most professing Christians admit in words that they are in themselves wholly helpless and destitute, but to know and feel as an abiding practical conviction that this is their true spiritual condition how few are able!

– December 4, 1844, BLESSED ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT, Sermon by Prof. Finney.

My spirit often feels rich, and in that I am deceived.

Blessed are the poor in spirit . . .

Jesus turned this world on its head, did he not? How could a natural man desire poverty? Yet we are called to that desire.

And, in truth, we aren’t called to become poor in spirit, I don’t believe. Because we already are poor in spirit. When we fell in the garden we fell into spiritual bankruptcy, debt, and destitution. We are called to recognize the fact of our crushing, desperate poverty. I live as if I’ve got money in the bank, when my spirit is, outside of Christ, absolutely pennyless.

But to be transparently, humbly, joyfully poor in spirit! My Lord, who I’ve never had reason to doubt, assures me that this leads to blessings, and, indeed, to the Kingdom of Heaven!

For the King has come, in mortal flesh, with his majesty and benefices veiled. He has come to the rescue, and he bids us come, we who are poor, to fellowship with him and to join in his labors and trials, and to cast aside all thought of our own sufficiency. He calls us to the joy of poverty recognized and – love him! – poverty cured forever, entering wide eyed and blinking into the light of a Kingdom we can’t fathom, and could never imagine.

The King has come. May we who are poor in spirit recognize our poverty and flock to him!


This is a strange blog, I know. I’m sure the three readers I have puzzle over it often. Is this a Christian devotional Godblog? A software-centric Nerdblog? A personal diary? All three?

I’m not sure myself. I started to write another paean to how much fun I’m having developing Bloo and Phoo, because I had some major breakthroughs this morning on the bus (coming soon!). But that post morphed into this one.

Godblog? Nerdblog? Separation really isn’t necessary. I am a Christian nerd with a weblog. And I was a nerd before being a nerd was cool. Yes, I carried the status symbol of paleo-nerddom, the stack of computer punchcards, down the halls of my high school back in the heady days of 16 honkin’ kilobytes of RAM, baybeh.

Somehow athletics melded with my nerdness in high school. Was I a good athlete? Well . . . no. But as far as nerds go, I was Jim Thorpe. If there were a nerd Olympics I would have been positively Mark Spitzian in my triumph. The geek athletic bar is pretty low and I held my own with the jocks. I played high school football; I played in every practice and had a great seat for every game. And it was good. I wasn’t that interested, really, in glory. Just in finishing. I faced many battles in high school; battles of a spiritual, physical, and social nature. And they made me tough — I am sometimes proud of the kid I was, because I persevered.

Music also was added to the mix, so the nerdlete also became art-rock connoisseur, budding guitarist and drummer. My band White Wolf (go on, throw up your rawk fist!) won the high school talent show and I threw my sticks and a spare drumhead out in the audience after we finished playing our song “Rock Bottom”. The head smacked Diane Coldeway in the face and I’ve always felt bad for not apologizing to her. What can I say, it was my rock the mic moment. But I digress — I was building what I hoped was a well-rounded personality and was edging ever so slightly into the upper echelons of the second-tier social strata. Things were good, or at least looking up. High school ended and I went off to college to pursue the only degree I ever wanted, a degree in Computer Science. Yes, things were looking up.

I realized in College that I wasn’t looking high enough. A suspicion began to sink into me. It went something like this:

”Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

What happened after this is a long story. I have not the time to write it down, and you would not have the time to read it, but I will tell you this: it’s been good. Even on my worst days, there’s no way I would change what happened. God simply reached down and took hold of my heart, and convinced me of my need, and of my inability to save myself. And he showed me his Son, lifted high. The light went on. I’d tried many things in my life, so I didn’t know if Jesus would “work”. But I’d seen him change the lives of others, like my older brother Jim (who played a huge role in my conversion), and so I was willing to take the step, though it seemed risky. What I didn’t know was that God was simply not going to let me go, not going to let go of me. He still holds me. I quit wondering a long time ago if he was going to leave me or forsake me. I know he won’t. He’s promised, and his promises are always true. There is no risk.

Fast forward to today. This morning was a normal morning. I woke up, got up, said hi to Andrew as he was coming in from an early morning jog, talked to Jill for awhile in bed, and spent some time hanging out with Bethany and Blake, who also decided to hop in our bed. There’s nothing like a bed full of kiddos in the drowsy early morning with my wife in her cute, warm, pink heart pajamas. We watched a soccer video on our Mac that my obsessed wife has been putting together for Blake’s team, the Cypress Fury. It rocks!

I had to roust our freshman Molly awake a few times to get her moving, and I drove her to school. I love those drives; we always enjoy good, unhurried conversation. I dropped her off and as she walked in the building I thanked God for my precious daughter, and my other precious ones still back at home. It was a moment of clarity. I’m blessed beyond what I could ask or even think.

I never could have arrived at this state of blessedness on my own, with my own wisdom and work. It’s been a long time since my heart first cried out to God in college, and I marvel at where he’s taken me, how he’s brought me love, and light, and the oasis of my family and the ministry opportunities he’s given me. He’s even redeemed my time before Christ, providing the answer to the mystery of my interests and longings of those days. They were for him, to be used for him when the time was right. I await what’s coming next with great anticipation.

Life isn’t always easy, and I know beyond a shadow that ahead of me are heartache, loss, struggles, and eventually the final goodbyes to those I love should Jesus wait to return. We live in a broken world groaning to be made right. Often times we join it in its groaning.

But into the brokenness that was me God intervened, 22 years ago, and he made things right. And he made them good. He rescued me and I know that I will never have to say goodbye to Him, and I know that in Christ all goodbyes, hurts, and sorrows are truly temporary.

He has made me glad. Yes, he has. And he has made everything good. Because he is so good!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

– James 1:17 (ESV)

“And You knew this day long before You made me out of dirt”

Well this day’s been crazy but everything’s happened on schedule

From the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt

‘Cause You knew how You’d save me before I fell dead in the garden

And You knew this day long before You made me out of dirt

– Caedmon’s Call, Table For Two

I used a lyric from this song in an earlier post. I love well-turned phrases.

And I’m having one of those days . . .


For those of you with an inner geek: I installed a Wiki for Out of the Bloo this weekend. You can get to the wiki here.

What’s a wiki? It’s a dynamic documentation space that will allow me to quickly and easily (in theory) document the Phoo and Bloo projects as they develop. This is a crucial step toward releasing Bloo into the public domain. So I’m getting closer.

Wizatch me for the chizanges [wiki-wiki-wiki]


And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

– Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV)

Oh yeah!

Paul swings for the fences here. Because, when you break it down, what higher goal can a person have for those he has ministered to than what Paul is praying here?

Abounding more and more in love. That means a love that overflows, and keeps overflowing. Picture it.

With knowledge and discernment (for knowledge without discernment is a scary thing. When I come in contact with discernment-less knowledge, I run away as fast as I can!).

Able to approve what is excellent. The NIV puts it this way: “so that you may be able to discern what is best”. Best! So many of us spend our Christian lives settling for “good”, or even “ok”.

For a brief time when I was in high school the word everyone used was “excellent”. Yes, just like Wayne and Garth (it’s scary how much I was like them when I was that age – heh). We would say “excellent” for everything. But few of us knew what excellence really was. To be honest, my idea of “excellence” at the time was to be the drummer for the rock band Rush. As good as they were (Wayne and Garth: “Excellent!”) there’s no way I’d trade a relationship with the Lord for all the riches and fame this world can offer. Because I’ve seen glimpses of what real “Excellent” looks like, in the beautiful spirits of some wonderful Christians I’ve known, and – rarely, and only for brief seconds – in my own heart as Christ has worked in me. But mostly, I’ve seen what excellence is as I’ve come to know Jesus better; for He is the only One who ever lived “Excellent” every day of His life.

Able to approve what is excellent! This is my prayer for those I love and long for, and for myself. Enough with trading God’s gold for the world’s wood and calling that “good”. Do I know what excellence is, as God defines it? May I have that discernment, and be able to discern what is best. “OK” makes for easy, but, well, excellent prepares us for eternity. And we all need a lot of preparation.

For this prayer from Paul is really a prayer for Christ to do the work only He can do: to fill those Paul loved and longed for with the fruit of righteousness. And this righteousness only comes through Jesus. And this righteousness is the only kind that brings glory and praise to God.

Read this passage again. Is this your prayer, for yourself and for those that you love? It is becoming mine:

And it is my prayer

that your love may abound more and more,

with knowledge and all discernment,

so that you may approve what is excellent,

and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ,

to the glory and praise of God.