Thursday, November 27, 2008


Ah yes, Thanksgiving. A wonderful holiday. A time to gather together with family and friends and count your blessings (over and above not being the poor turkey that is likely contributing to your happiness and gluttony this day). I know that I have many blessings in my life that I am thankful for and I'd like to list a few of them here.

I am first and foremost thankful to Jesus for being my savior and redeemer. I was in a pretty deep pickle fourteen and a half years ago when he reached down and scooped me out of the depths that I was in.

Then I'm most thankful for my wife and children. The delightful, lovely and absolutely gorgeous Sis. Geek is very forgiving and understanding of all my faults and foibles and I am thankful for that. As I tell my friends, I don't know why she married me but I'm very glad she did. Naturally, the geeklets are cute as well. Although, as I like to remind them, that's on account of me having picked them such a pretty mommy.

I am most thankful to my in-laws. I lucked out in the lottery that is the obtaining of in-laws and got some of the best that any guy could hope to have. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Oh, and my brother-in-law is a geek as well.

I am very thankful for our assigned congregation. While the Lord's calling for me to pastor this congregation caught everyone by surprise, they came behind us immediately and have been wonderfully supportive as we learn "on the job" about how to pastor. Sis. Geek and I love them all and they really do feel like family to us. We wouldn't swap them for anything. (Ok, perhaps one or two of them I might swap for a pony, but mostly I'd keep them. :-)

I am thankful for all of the wonderful ministers and saints of the fine district of the United Pentecostal Church International that I am privileged to serve in. I have been the editor of the district newsletter for seven years (wow, where does time go?) and now a pastor for a year and a half. What an honor it has been and continues to be.

I am thankful for the good health that the Lord gives me and my family. I do get a little stressed around the edges by work, but mostly when I don't let go and allow the Lord to go before me.

I am thankful for well paid employment. Especially one that involves nothing more strenuous than sitting at a desk tinkering with computers all day. I'd rather be full-time pastoring, but this will do until I get there.

I am thankful for the wonderful opportunities that I have had and continue to have. The Lord causes me to have far more favor with people than I think I deserve and I have been blessed to serve in both the kingdom of God and to have some interesting opportunities in the technical world. Professionally, I have spoken at several events (including a NFJS), have had an article published in two respected industry journals, ran a popular blog (the previous one, this one is just for relaxation and fun) and am writing a book on JUnit. This is all most agreeable and I am very thankful it.

I am thankful to live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth. I am glad that our founding documents recognize that I have inalienable rights bestowed upon me by my creator. I am glad to be free. Free to try as hard as I want to succeed in whatever way I want to define succeed. I love this country.

I am thankful for all of the Bill of Rights, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the second amendment was my favorite. I plan on dusting it off again this weekend and checking that it still applies in my state. (It still worked last week, but one needs to exercise rights on a frequent basis to ensure they keep working.)

I'm thankful for our military. We have the finest fighting force in the world and they do us proud wherever they go. Whether it's for their humanitarian efforts (building schools or installing water sources) or for their fighting prowess (recently 30 marines overcame 250 insurgents) they leave a strong impression upon those that they are liberating.

God Bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

National Ammo Day

I haven't finished my last box of ammo that I got from Cheaper Than Dirt yet, but hey, today's National Ammo Day, so it is my patriotic duty to buy at least 100 rounds of my favorite caliber. This is a duty I will gladly fulfill. Hmmm, I wonder if Sis. Geek will mind if I get another thousand rounds of 7.62x39 for the SKS, because I see that CTD has it on sale and bargains are always good, right? :-)

And may I take a moment to wish a happy birthday to Kim du Toit. In case you didn't know, National Ammo Day was started by Kim and is on his birthday. Kim doesn't know me and while I used to be active on his blog and forums, it was not previously under this SooperSekret Codename. Kim was my direct and primary inspiration to start blogging and to start shooting. I love blogging and while this blog is humble (by choice) I have enjoyed my previous time in the spotlight and have enjoyed the blogging culture that grew up around Kim and "The Mrs.". I also love shooting and am proud to be a member of the Nation of Riflemen and often wear my NoR t-shirt to the range in the warmer weather. I guess, I'd better buy another one of those before Kim posts his last blog post.

If everything goes to plan, I will also be buying a new (to me) gun this evening. One of our congregation, let's call him The Merchant of Death on account of his extensive personal armory, has a British Lee-Enfield 303 rifle that he has agreed to sell me for a small sum agreeable to both parties. I'm looking forward to holding such a fine piece of military history in my hands. I'm not looking forward to the cost of the 303 rounds. Now I need to find out if there is anything else that can be shot through the 303 chambering.

Edit: Ended up ordering from after seeing comments from others on Kim's blog.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Tee Vee

Tam, over at BooksBikesBoomsticks recently mentioned that she has no TV and suspects that people think she's weird. Not having met her personally, I can't say for sure, but I suspect not from what I've read of her writings.

This got me to thinking and if my memory works correctly today (never a sure thing), I believe that I have been TV free for about fourteen years now.

It was never a deliberate thing. I moved location to ReallyBigCity, here in the Mid-West of America. As I was traveling light, I dumped all kinds of stuff, including an entire record collection (showing my age there) and anything heavy, especially household electrical articles.

While in ReallyBigCity, I borrowed a TV and a video player and infrequently watched anything. This was a time of working long hours during the week and heading out of town on the weekend to court the lovely Sis. Geek. I was actually glad to be able to return it as it mostly gathered dust and got in the way.

When the time came to move to a different state, the TV stayed with it's owner and I never bothered to buy one when I moved into my new apartment. Not that I'm cheap or anything; what I didn't spend buying a TV, I spent on a nice music system. The music system still works and currently lives in the den where I can rock out or listen to the football games at this time of the year. A much better purchase.

Where I differ from Tam is in the reaction that I get from people when I explain that I don't have a TV. Certainly people are initially surprised, but mostly I hear some variation along the lines of "I wish we didn't have a TV in the house".

The TV, according to surveys that I hear about now and then, is one of the biggest time wasters in this day. I forget how many hours of TV per day the average child is reputed to watch, but it staggered me. If I lost even just an hour a day to TV, I think I'd be so far behind that I'd never catch up.

I'm busy enough as a pastor that I hardly even have time for regular bible reading. I spend much of my time in the bible, but often finding passages by word searches rather than just sitting down and reading it. It's got to the point that I have to read scripture, while car pooling with a couple of my co-workers, from the Bible program on my Palm TX.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Age of Miracles

One of my required reading books for my General License is a scholarish tome by the name of "A Short Life of Christ". It's an interesting book, but as scholars tend to the liberal end of the spectrum it periodically makes statements that are either unintentionally funny or unintentionally annoying.

Call me sneaky, but as I have to read this book for my next level of ministerial license, I am teaching it chapter by chapter at our mid-week services. There's nothing quite like studying a chapter to know it well enough to teach; it beats the casual reading it would get otherwise.

This week we are on the chapter about the miracles of Jesus. I foolishly thought that it would examine the miracles, but instead it discusses the metadata about the miracles. It spends time discussing the categories of miracles and their characteristics and the reasoning and motivation behind and the reception of them. All interesting material.

The annoying thing was the short dismissal made of the number of miracles since the time of the apostles. It was implied that we are in a time of no miracles and that there have been many such times, so we shouldn't be surprised to be in one ourselves.

For the record, we have noticed no shortage of miracles in and around United Pentecostal Church International churches. As the district newsletter editor, I get to hear abut many such miracles. At the church I pastor, we take prayer requests and praise reports most services and we have a very good track record of answered prayer at our churches. And if waiting a week or two for the answer to your prayer means that you're going to discount it as a miracle, then you need to revisit your definition of miracle. I have also seen (and experienced) instantaneous miracles and healing. There is no miracle shortage. If you think there is, then I suggest visiting a UPCI church as soon as you can.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

A salute to all the veterans out there. Thank you for your service to this country and your efforts to keep me and mine safe and well. This is not just a thank the veterans because it's the right thing to do (although it is) post. I have personal reasons for being thankful.

My father served his country for 22 years in the Navy. Often sailing to interesting parts of the world and reminding them to play nicely (with the implicit understanding that the next visit would be by the Marines!)

My father-in-law also served his country for several years and while he could have tried to claim an exemption as a licensed minister, he served in the medical wing of the Army, helping to patch up our brave soldiers who received on the job injuries.

I salute both Dads. I also especially salute both Moms, because being a military wife is hard work. (And for the record, being a military kid is no picnic either, but looking back I wouldn't swap it for anything.)

Not many people realize that there are other types of veterans; there are those who have fought in different wars.

Yesterday, I received a copy of a letter sent to one of the ministers in our district who had reached the incredible milestone of sixty years in the ministry. I have a massive year and a half of pastoring under my belt, so the thought of sixty years is fairly mind-boggling to me! Our General Superintendent, Bro. Hanney sent a personal letter to this minister thanking him and congratulating him on his service to the kingdom. (I got a copy of the letter as the district newsletter editor.)

I think this is a wonderful idea. The Army of the Lord may not seem dangerous to anyone outside of it, but for those of us on the inside, we realize that we are indeed in a war, even if the ammunition isn't in the form of lead bullets and the enemy isn't always human.

I am delighted that the United Pentecostal Church International is taking this step to recognize our veterans of the faith. These are people that inspire me and I'm sure they'd inspire you if you heard their story. So, as the editor of the district newsletter, I shall be making every effort to ensure that you do hear about it.