I saw the sunrise twice this morning!
How did you manage that, you ask? No, I wasn’t in a plane; I didn’t pass through a time warp; It was a clear morning. I was on my way to Band of Brothers in Irvine, CA.

Before I explain how I experienced this priviledge let me share a few of the quotables from this morning’s Band of Brothers:

A visiting missionary to Muslims said: “Many people know we are Christians, but few know why we are Christians.”

Sam Parsons, in his prayer: “You are Lord and we are not. It’s taken some of us a long time to figure that out.”

Pete McKenzie:
“We live in a honkin-at-your-own-tail-lights culture.”
“‘Hanging in there’ is good theology.”
“Lord, help yourself to my life.”
“Winners take responsibility. Losers blame others.”
“The bad thing about a pity party is that God doesn’t show up.”
“When the crisis comes and courage is required, God expects His men to have such confidence in Him that they will be the dependable ones.” (Oswald Chambers)

OK – the Double Sunrise: Traveling south down the 405 freeway, passing by John Wayne Airport I noticed the sun rising just to the north of the Saddleback mountains (Santiago and Trabuco Peaks). From my perspective as I continued south, the sun set behind Saddleback, rising a second time along the south edge of Trabuco Peak. So I got to experience the sunrise twice this morning. Cool, huh? (Well I think so.)

Lynda – Five Years Cancer Free!

Today Lynda and I are celebrating five years of her being cancer free. Five years ago today she had a malignant tumor removed from just under her left ear in the parotid salivary gland. She underwent six weeks of radiation following that.
Praise the Lord!
She took a vacation day today and we took cards and cookies to her surgeon and dental oncologist. Quite a day!
Gary

3-Month Check-in

Tomorrow will make three months since my last post – and five months since “retirement” from Boeing!
By now anyone who had been checking my blog with any regularity has likely given up on me.

I’ll not try to detail the entire quarter. Instead, I’ll skim over a few recent events.

Most significantly, our most recent grandson was born a week ago. This brings are grandchild count to five. Their parents are saying that will be the final count. Family and friends can contact us for a link to pictures. We’ll get to see him in person next month.
Two weeks ago Lynda and I were in Grants Pass for a family reunion on my mother’s side. It was a whirlwind trip for just the weekend. We left Thursday evening from Huntington Beach and returned 1545 miles later on Monday morning. We had a good time while we were there and I even got to sing with my brother Allen (“The Spider and the Fly”), one of our Dad & uncle used to sing with their quartet.

Here’s a quick overview of other activities over the last three months.
  • Bethany’s Web Site
    • Moved the site to another host with greater space and options
    • Updated and expanded sermons to include evening messages and provide ability to download as mp3 for playback offline.
  • Tipping Point Life Group
    • Completed study of The Da Vinci Code
    • We have good leadership from within the group. Dayle has been giving some good scriptural applications to a study of the secular Tipping Point book and will, in our next meeting, summarize and guide discussion seeking ways we can use its principles be used by God to start biblically accurate epidemics.
  • Reading
    • Stolen Identity, by Peter Jones
    • The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Unveiled At Last, by Bob Sjogren
    • Miracles, by C.S. Lewis
    • Why People Believe Wierd Things, by Michael Shermer
  • Bible Study
    • Concentration recently on the scriptures written by the Apostle John
    • Lynda and I are working our way through The Acts of the Apostles
  • Yardwork
    • We recently had a large tree in the back yard removed and a block-wall fence replacing a falling-down wooden one.
  • Web Site Technology
    • RSS – still trying to get this figured out
    • Set up two web based communications boards
  • Notes for writing, some of which I plan to post here.
    • “You Can’t Get Here From There” stressing the importance of our preunderstandings and presuppositions. If God is ruled out before the investigation it should be obvious that He won’t be found in the conclusion.
    • Some thoughts spawned by Lewis’s book Miracles.

Ok – So How Am I Spending My Time?

Here I am nearly two months after retiring from Boeing and I’ve been silent here for a couple of weeks. I guess it’s time I gave a report. I had intended to be more frequent with my posts but obviously have not been. I tend to be overly cautious about my words and how they might be interpreted (read ‘misinterpreted’). I also want my paragraphs to be grammatically correct and come acrosss as reasonably intelligent. So it takes me a while to complete a sentence. This realization becomes an inertia that must be overcome before I can convince myself to place my fingers on home row and just start typing. Usually the inertia breaker takes the form of guilt over how long I’ve gone without writing.

To avoid dragging this out all day I’ll continue in outline form.

So, what have I been doing?

  • Reading
    • Scripture (currently reading through the Gospels)
    • The Da Vinci Code (see below)
    • 20/20 Vision, Bill & Amy Stearns – great description of what God is doing around the world
    • Breaking the Da Vinci Code, Darrell L. Bock (skimming)
    • Secrets of the Code, Dan Burnstein (selections)
    • The Habits of Highly Effective Churches, George Barna
  • Listening to sermons
    I download these to my MP3 player and listen while doing manual stuff
    • Da Vinci Code series at Southwest Church, Indian Wells (Bob Thune, Senior Pastor)
    • Core Doubts series at Rock Harbor
    • The Theology Program at Bible.org
  • Researching
    • Emerging Church
    • Gnostic gospels
    • Early Church
  • Thinking & note taking
  • Tipping Point – This is the new “Life Group” for post-college age adults
    • I’m taking on a role as a resource, mentor or catalyst
    • We have just begun a six week discussion of The Da Vinci Code
  • Bethany Web Site
    • I’ve met with several of the team members and reviewed the process of posting to the site
    • Ephesians Sermons on line
  • Celebration Videos
    • Currently developing an approximately 9 minute DVD for a 50th birthday
  • Exercise
    • Yard work
    • Walking
  • My To Do List
    • Reading stack (not necessarily in this order)
      • Wild at Heart, John Eldredge
      • The Barbarian Way, Erwin Raphael McManus
      • Velvet Elvis
      • Global Partnerships, Hank Paulson
      • Unveiled At Last, Bob Sjogren
      • Finding God in Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey
    • Bethany Web Site
      • Needs major cleanup. Over the years its file arrangement and the page formatting have evolved rather
      • Needs to be moved to more versatile server
      • Add podcasting of sermons
      • Add leader & member communication tools
      • Add more efficient calendar
    • This Blog
      • Post my thoughts on various topics
        • Search for Truth
        • Theology
        • Marriage
        • Science
      • I may just start posting what I have with minimal editing, just to get it out there.

I know there is more, but I need to get to work on some of it now. I’m resisting the probable need to review and edit what’s here before sending it.

Gary

First Month’s Highlights

It’s been more than two weeks since I’ve given an update and that has brought me into my second month since ‘retiring’. It has certainly not been a lazy month.

Reading: I have read, or am at various stages of reading several books.

  1. Breaking Tradition to Accomplish Vision by Paul R. Gupta and Sherwood G. Lingenfelter. This is a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in missions. Bethany Bible Fellowship has copies available at a reduced price ($10). I have only a few pages left to finish.
  2. The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. I finished this one. I highly recommend it. Yancey was recommended to me by a young man at Bethany and is now one of those authors whose works I want to devour.
  3. The Habits of Highly Effective Churches by George Barna. Another good one, but it has been set aside for the others.
  4. Discussing the Da Vinci Code by Lee Strobel & Garry Poole. This is more of a workbook to go along with a discussion group I’ll be mentoring with the 20’s at Bethany (see below).
  5. Exploring the Da Vinci Code by Lee Strobel & Garry Poole. “Investigating the issues raised by the book & movie.” This is also part of the curriculum for the group.

Research: I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the Internet looking up stuff on the Gospel of Judas, other early Christian writings, The Da Vinci Code, Tiktaalik Roseae, and how to do stuff on the Internet.
Jury Duty (described in 4/18 update): This has started me thinking about all the judical terminology related to Christianity and apologetics. I hope to comment on some of these elsewhere on this site.
Men’s retreat at Verdugo Pines, near Wrightwood, CA and atop the San Andreas Fault.
See www.bethanybiblefellowship.org/images/Men/06MensRetreat/index.html.

20’s ministry: Last Sunday morning we held our first meeting with key leaders of a new 20’s ministry being started at Bethany. One of our first topics will be a discussion of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This will give us an opportunity to discuss the reliability of the Gospels, the role of women in Christianity and whether Jesus is the Son of God.

Moved from earlier Blog start

Updates

4/18/06. Well, jury duty was interesting. I had the opportunity to visit with a former team mate from Boeing, who also got on a case. Mine was the fourth criminal case I’ve heard. (I’ve also been on two civil cases.) I consider myself a lightning rod for jury duty — one that will probably attract even more strikes now that I am ‘retired’. This most recent case was over $1.32 worth of nails. Since this is on the World Wide Web, I won’t discuss the details here, although I might be able to keep myself off future cases, were I to do so.

I read the ‘Gospel of Judas’ last weekend and find all the hype rather silly. It is quite clear in my mind why it never made it past the first cuts in the early church’s determination of which of the early writings were scripture. And it has nothing to do with claims that Jesus instructed Judas to betray him. It is quite clearly a Gnostic document. Gnosticism was an early offshoot of Christianity that is well known and was considered heresy by the early church. The Gospel of Judas was not unknown, though it had been lost. It was dismissed as heresy by Iraneus (A.D. 180). To read it for yourself go to http://www9.nationalgeographic.com/lostgospel/document.html. I strongly suggest that you download the pdf and compare it to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. To read Biola’s comments check out Biola Responds to the Gospel of Judas.

More thoughts later on Tiktaalik roseae, The Da Vinci Code and other topics, as I have time.

4/11/06. My first week hilights: new lawnmower, 1/2 day of prayer, Children’s Network International (Bible drive), meeting with Pastor Leckie, meeting with focal for a new 20’s ministry, weekend with grandkids. This week I have jury duty and am on a case.

In the news were stories about Jesus walking on ice – not water, Tiktaalik and the ‘Gospel of Judas.’ I’m working on comments about each of these to put into the “Topical Links” on the left.

I’ve moved the explanation of our step of faith to a link on the right.