Month: August 2004

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside…

Spent August Bank Holiday down at West Wittering with old friends and new friends from churches across London. Although the appointed starting time was rather early, at a rather unpalatable 10am, we got down there at around 11am, which seemed a little more palatable. During the course of the day, I got to chat with friends, both old and new, whilst consuming lunch, playing boules, volleyball and various other things whilst on the beach. (Although, not necessarily all at the same time!) The weather remained dry throughout the day, as well as having some very fine periods. A thoroughly enjoyable day, if not slightly exhausting!


a.m.: John 15:9-17 p.m.: Ephesians 4:17-24

In John 15, Jesus is saying what the hallmarks of a Christian are.

  1. We should love God, not in a sentimental shallow way but showing this love by doing what he commands. By being committed to doing his will.
  2. We should love others as Jesus loves us:

    1. We should be self-sacrificing, putting other before ourselves, “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus put us first when he went to the cross, if we are to imiate him, we should put others first.
    2. We should be providing for the needs of others.
    3. We should be purposeful in our love, not being do-gooders and getting in the way, but being truly useful.

Only by doing these things, by putting God and others first, can a person have real joy.


The 3 laws

Saw I-Robot this evening, what a cool film. It presented the usual philosophical sci-fi questions, questions such as, “What is life?” “What is the soul?” “What is free will?”, but also came up with some interesting unusual questions such as, “Are humans fit to exercise dominion over creation, including themselves?”
It certainly had enough to keep the intellect busy and combined with faultless special effects this film is one of the best this year. Well worth seeing.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the three laws of robotics, according to Isaac Asimov, are:

  1. A robot may not harm a human or, by inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law

Fun fun fun

Went to Halfords this afternoon to get a new headlamp bulb for the car, as the previous one had ceased functioning (looked like the filament had gone). After finding the bulb section and scanning through them, I came across a bulb suitable for the car. I picked one up and looked at the price – £18.99(!) For a moment I thought I’d picked the wrong bulb, as it wasn’t one of those blue lights or anything but sure enough, when I took it to the till, the cashier confirmed the price. At least both headlamps are functioning properly again…

Spent the evening at the church for the final meeting of this year’s Holiday Bible Club – the family evening. I was amazed by how many children there were, accompanied by their parents, and the vast amount of excitement and enthusiasm which filled the air. Throughout the evening, the parents were told what their children had been up to over the past week, including what they had been taught from the Bible, what games they’d played and what crafts they’d taken part in. From my perspective of an outsider just there for the evening, it sounded like they had a very fun week and had learnt a lot at the same time. Well done to all who took part and helped out. Ah well, I stuck around afterwards to clear up and the church building now looks like the holiday club had never happened, with all the chairs back in formation for the Sunday service, all the bunting and banners packed away for another year and all the crumbs and crisp fragments swept up.


The remedy for sin.

Q: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A: God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.

(Question XX from the Westminster Shorter Catechism)


Service Pack 2

Finally decided to install SP2 on my Windows XP box. I must admit to wondering what might happen, given the news coverage it had received, with reports that several major applications ceased to function once SP2 had been installed. I guess it wouldn’t sound so bad if these applications were old and obsolete, but a few in Microsoft’s list were mainstream applications, with one or two even published by M$ themselves! Anyway, I figured I really only use my XP box for games, so I went ahead. After waiting a while for 79MB to download and install, I watched intently as my machine rebooted, with messages such as “Please wait” popping up periodically until, finally, the familiar log in prompt appeared and everything looked just as it did before the install. All seemed to be painless until I started clicking on web links for some reason, the computer had returned to producing a click sound every time I followed a web link! After rummaging around the “Control Panel” for a good ten minutes, I finally disabled it. Other than that, so far so good…


Mark him…Mark him!

These days, I actually seem to enjoy these Monday evenings running around the five-a-side football pitch. Gone is the painful wheezing, the severe disorientation and general symptoms of being unfit, and I actually appear to be able to play the game with some degree of competence. Now this isn’t to say I’ve suddenly become good, but I’m better than I was. 🙂 Only a couple more weeks and then I get to sit in a piano stool once more, slowly but surely becoming unfit again. Maybe I should take up something to maintain a reasonable level of fitness?


a.m.: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:13 p.m.: Romans 1:1-17

The apostle Paul likens the living the Christian life to running a race. In his analogy are three main points:
1.Direction. Just as an athlete runs towards a goal, rather than running aimlessly, a Christian should aim for the prize set before him by God, rather than aiming at nothing.
2.Drive.An athlete needs to be determined to not only complete the race, but to prepare for it. Before we become Christians, we are unable to be motivated to do the will of God, but by faith, God’s grace by his Spirit gives us the power to do his will and to work through our salvation.
3.Discipline. You can’t just turn up for a race and hope that trying hard will enable you to win. An athlete needs to undergo regular, disciplined, training in order to be able to win. Similarly, to live the Christian life, a Christian needs to mature, by regularly communicating with God through prayer and his word, and by learning from trials.


Hot hot hot…

Finally got round to sorting out my computer’s overheating problems. For the past couple of rather warm summer months, the processor has been running at about 80°C(!) at idle. This would mean that any prolonged Quake III session (or any other processor intensive activity) would result in the processor overheating and the motherboard monitor shutting the system down. I figured that I’d do everything in one go so I wandered off to PC World and bought a Jeantech 450W PSU which had a 120mm fan, 2 80mm case fans and a Coolermaster Jet 7+ heatsink and fan. Got home, assembled everything, and now my processor runs at 64°C at full pelt! Mission accomplished. Only slight niggle is that all the bits had flashing LEDs and neon strips embedded in them, so now my PC glows in the dark, rude boy style…

Went for a couple of frames of snooker with Robin in the evening. Lost 2-0. I blame it on lack of practice for the past month. 😉 Went to the Lahori Karahi in Hounslow West afterwards for a Tandoori – very good, if slightly warm!


Went out for a meal with my cousin, his family and a friend, at the Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater. The food was very good, with fresh scallops (in shells), and pork and tofu soup for starters, and then the main courses were lobster, chicken and squid, together with noodles and rice noodles in soup. The conversations bounced around between English and Cantonese, allowing me to see if I could remember any Cantonese from childhood. I think I managed to half-understand about one in four of the Cantonese conversations, although sometimes I don’t understand conversations in English! It was good to see them before they headed back to Hong Kong. Maybe the next time I see them will be in Hong Kong?


Here, there and everywhere

I seem to have spent the past few weeks driving all over the place and the past couple of days have been no exception. One of my cousins, his wife and and their two children have been visiting my parents as part of their holiday in England, so I bounded off down to my parents place for a couple of days.
It was good to see everyone – the children seemed to get on together really well, with the two youngest likened to my brother and sister when they were younger – not sure where that leaves me. I also finally put a face to my cousin’s wife who I’d heard a lot about, but never actually met. Spent quite a bit of time catching up with my cousin and deciding I should probably visit Hong Kong some time in the near future to see how things have changed since I last visited.
During the course of the two days, they managed to see quite a few of the sights of Bristol, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Cabot Tower, from which most of the famous landmarks could be seen (albeit from a distance!) A very good, if slightly tiring couple of days.


You told me Jason Bourne was dead.

Karen organised a trip to see The Bourne Supremacy this evening. Not a bad film, even with the intense shaky-cam. The plot took a few twists and turns, but not as many as the first film, so was much easier to follow. Worth seeing, but not quite as good as the first one.


Goalside! Goalside!

Another fine evening running around after an air-filled leather ball with eight work colleagues. I think the last week away did some good, as I actually managed to run around for the whole game and score multiple goals (for my side I hasten to add!) Whilst not a blinding performance – I hoofed a few balls into orbit – it was good for me. Went home a happy bunny.


a.m.: Luke 12:13-21 p.m.: John 4:1-42

He who dies with the most toys…still dies.
A man asked Jesus to arbitrate over the allocation of his inheritance. Jesus responded with a parable about a farmer who had missed the point. The farmer had missed the point in three main areas:
1. He had made provision for his body more important than providing for his soul. With this wealth, he had made provision for his body, so that he could “eat, drink and be merry” and yet provided nothing for his soul.
2. Providing for his life within time was placed above providing anything for his life in eternity.
3. Not only had he broken the tenth commandment, but he also broke the first commandment. He had not had any thoughts for God in his plans. It was all me, myself and I.

Yet, God called him to account at a time he didn’t expect as he will everyone. Do we spend our time accumulating the things which will pass, or the things which will last for all eternity?


Aberwiswis

Well, once again, I’ve spent a whole week away from the computer. In Wales again! This time it was in Aberystwyth for the English speaking conference of the Evangelical Movement of Wales.

The main theme of the conference this year was on the Holy Spirit and his role in revival as well as the times of small things, causing Christians to spread the gospel, through word and deed, and causing non-believers to see their need for salvation, that they become believers.

In addition, there were addresses in the evening focussing on the gospel, reminding us that a sinful world needs the love of God by the saving power and work of Jesus Christ, if it is not to receive the just punishment for sin from a holy God.

There was also plenty of spare time, which was spent doing such things as bowls(!), sitting on Ynyslas beach, various seminars, as well as card and board games and general socialising and chilling out. Photos can be found in my online photo album.

A thoroughly enjoyable and instructive week, with ones spiritual and temporal batteries given a recharge.

Just a small footnote to wish Dave and Wendy a happy and blessed life together as they were married today.