June 13th, 2011 | Tags: , ,

I’ve been using Olive Tree’s BibleReader Soft­ware for a few years now. I really enjoy BibleReader’s abil­ity to orga­nize and tag user typed notes for easy retrieval — as well as col­lect­ing them in one place. How­ever, I’ve recently improved my note-taking strat­egy by using a sec­ond hand­writ­ing app. Now, I have a two-app-workflow using BibleReader and UPad.

UPad is a very nice hand­writ­ing app. I’ve tried sev­eral. I find this app’s accu­racy in repro­duc­ing strokes to be fan­tas­tic! (Some over-smooth, while oth­ers intro­duce noise when mag­ni­fied.) Not only that, but this app has some fan­tas­tic high­lighters as well.


The work­flow is simple:

  • Open the BibleReader app to the ser­mon text.
  • Take a snap­shot of the screen.
  • Load the image into UPad’s Photo Edit­ing Mode.

Dur­ing a ser­mon, it’s eas­ier to write notes with a sty­lus, as opposed to typ­ing them with a key­board — you’re bet­ter able to focus on the speaker. UPad’s Photo-Editing Mode allows writ­ing on a photo. In the image above, my photo was sim­ply a screen-grabbed page from my favorite Bible app. I enjoy using this work­flow with the BibleReader app, but this same method could be used with any read­ing app that pro­duces a page — Kin­dle, Inkling, InstaPa­per, etc …


Advan­tages to this approach.

  • Free to Cap­ture Thoughts with­out Word­ing Sentences
  • Because your writ­ing paper has been cre­ated from a sim­ple screen-grabbed image, there’s a greater free­dom to jot down the main ideas — not wor­ry­ing about a final draft of your note. The final ver­sion can be edited later in the Bible app.

  • Bet­ter focus on the speaker.
  • Typ­ing on an iPad requires a cer­tain amount of con­cen­tra­tion; with extra time allot­ted for cor­rect­ing errors. When typ­ing, you tend to lose focus on the speaker. Writ­ing is second-nature — and bet­ter atten­tion can be given to the sermon.

  • Notes are now sharable.
  • Because your notes can be out­put as either an image (PNG) or doc­u­ment (PDF) for­mat, they are eas­ily share­able. Email, Face­book, Twit­ter, etc … are pos­si­ble forms of sharing.

  • Final Elec­tronic Ver­sion of Notes are Bet­ter Organized/Worded.
  • After the lec­ture is over, one can step back and review the ser­mon as a whole. Extra time can be given to edit­ing the final elec­tronic ver­sion of notes, and their orga­ni­za­tion (word­ing and applied tags) in the Bible app software.


Dis­ad­van­tages to this approach.

  • Does Not Work When Jump­ing From Book to Book
  • Right now, UPad does not offer any “append” oper­a­tion to the Photo-Editing Mode that we’re using for this tech­nique. I have emailed a request to be able to “append” to an exist­ing photo-editing doc­u­ment. We’ll see what the devel­oper says.

  • Requires Post-Sermon Time to Enter Elec­tronic Ver­sion of Notes
  • This is not a big deal for me. But we do not want to lose the advan­tages of elec­tronic ver­sions of notes (search retrieval, col­lect­ing sim­i­lar top­i­cal notes, etc … ) Thus, a lit­tle more time is nec­es­sary if you fol­low through with elec­tronic data entry.


Vec­tor­ized Strokes.

I was tempted to list this in the advan­tages sec­tion above, although it’s not really an advan­tage in method­ol­ogy. It is a nice fea­ture though! Because UPad’s strokes are vec­tor­ized, you may mag­nify them as large as you like, they’re never get pix­e­lated! There­fore you can write as small as you like, mag­ni­fi­ca­tion can be done while writ­ing the note, as well as in a PDF, after the note is been created.

After export­ing notes as PDF, and crop­ping a 200% mag­ni­fied page, pix­e­la­tion occurs in the back­ground images — but hand­writ­ten notes dis­play smooth strokes. Zoom­ing the page is pos­si­ble in UPad before the notes are writ­ten as well. This allows notes to be fit into space beside the scrip­ture being comm­nented about.


Room for Improvement

Right now, UPad’s Photo-Editing Mode that’s key to this work­flow only allows one image to defined in the doc­u­ment. I have requested the devel­oper to con­sider “append­ing” another photo to the end of the doc­u­ment. This would allow a “book” to be cre­ated from the pho­tographed “pages.” I have received a reply that my request is being con­sid­ered. If you also enjoy this fea­ture, you may want to drop an email to the devel­oper as well.

Thanks for reading.

April 19th, 2011 | Tags: , ,

This is a very clean 2008 PT Cruiser for sale, with 61Kmiles.

[album: http://richimages.net/Albums/Car/ ]

Be sure to click on “Full Screen” above, and max­i­mize your browser to full size to see clear­est images pos­si­ble! :)

March 23rd, 2011 | Tags:

There’s a term going around — called “Easy-Believism.” Have you heard of it? If not, just take a look at the results that you get from google-ing that term. It’s a term that’s mostly used in a neg­a­tive way to fight a pop­u­lar trend here in the US. Easy-believism deals with the age old ques­tion: “What must I do to be saved?” It seems that over time, many have boiled the answer down to accept­ing a set of beliefs. Is this all there is to it? — Just accept­ing a set of truths taught from the Bible?

Con­sider this short arti­cle a wel­come to share your views in the com­ment thread below.

Assump­tions:

  • The Bible is true.
  • Mankind has a seri­ous separation-from-God prob­lem. That prob­lem started in the Gar­den of Eden with the rebel­lion of man in dis­obey­ing God. As a result, our nature has become one that goes against God as evi­dent by our con­tin­ued nat­ural behav­ior today.

(1). An Impor­tant Issue to Consider:

Are we made right in the sight of God from accept­ing some a set of spir­i­tual truths? Are we adopted into the fam­ily of God based on men­tally under­stand­ing and agree­ing with a cru­cial set of beliefs? If some­one has a cor­rect under­stand­ing of Bib­li­cal teach­ings, is this all that is required in order to enter into the pres­ence of God after death?

–or–

Can some­one, who even believe cor­rect doc­trine, not meet the require­ments of God nec­es­sary to enter heaven?

(2) Sup­port­ing your opinion.

If accept­ing cor­rect beliefs alone is all that is required, what scrip­tures can you find that sup­port this view?

If accept­ing cor­rect beliefs alone are not all that is required, what scrip­turs can you find that sup­port this view?

March 12th, 2011 | Tags:

Justin and Rachael get hair­cuts … I think they look great!

[album: http://richimages.net/Albums/haircut/ ]

March 4th, 2011 | Tags:

Mark your cal­en­dars for April 8th, the release date for Soul Surfer, an encour­ag­ing movie about Bethany Hamil­ton, a pro­fes­sional surfer with an incred­i­ble story behind her. Born in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany, demon­strated remark­able surf­ing tal­ent as early as age 8, win­ning a light Quick­Sil­ver con­test. Later that year, she won her first major com­pe­ti­tion for both long board and short board events in her divi­sion. How­ever, at age 13 in 2003, she expe­ri­enced a 15 foot tiger shark attack, suf­fer­ing the loss of her left arm. This heart warm­ing movie for the whole fam­ily, offers inspi­ra­tion and hope when life can be messy. Best of all, it’s not some Dis­ney made-up against-all-odds plot, it’s totally true!

Diane and I wish to extend a very spe­cial thanks to the Soul Surfer Screen­ing Team for their spe­cial invite pre­view this fan­tas­tic movie ahead of it’s sched­uled release date. This was quite a treat. Here’s a trailer.




Many of those warm-and-fuzzy movies claim­ing to be “based on a true story,” are only loosely accu­rate at best. In regards to this move, a quick check of Bethany’s biog­ra­phy on Wikipedia, and, after view­ing actual footage over the years of Bethany’s life dur­ing the clos­ing cred­its of the movie, I was pleas­antly sur­prised to find that the move is remark­ably accu­rate to the actual story. No embell­ish­ing was needed — plain and sim­ple, the story is just that incredible!


While search­ing through many related YouTube videos, I ran across one that I just had to include in this post. Dur­ing this inter­view, con­sis­tent with her story, Bethany attrib­utes her suc­cess to Christ, and shares that the great­est thing we can do in life is to reach out to oth­ers in love.

I hope you’re get­ting excited to cel­e­brate all that life can be when free­dom is found in the power to give your life away for the sake of reach­ing out to oth­ers. That’s exactly what this movie is all about!




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Soul Surfer /sohl serf-er/ – noun; 1. A term coined in the 1970s, used to describe a tal­ented surfer who surfs for the sheer plea­sure of it. Although they may still enter com­pe­ti­tions, a Soul Surfer’s motives go beyond winning.




Take the time to write a quick com­ment and let me know what you think.

March 3rd, 2011 | Tags:

Diane and I received offi­cial let­ter­head from the Office of the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of the State of Mis­sis­sippi yes­ter­day. As the let­ter below states, the Mis­sis­sippi Sen­ate hon­ored the life of Mrs. Flo­rene Baker by a spe­cial motion to adjourn in her mem­ory. We were amazed to learn that Mommy’s life reached lev­els of the Mis­sis­sippi Senate.

Truly, Mrs. Flo­rene Baker, affec­tion­ately called “Mommy” by her chil­dren, lived life to the full in a way that touched us all; her fam­ily and many friends miss her dearly.


The Mis­sis­sippi Sen­ate Adjourned in Mem­ory of Mrs Flo­rene Baker.







February 26th, 2011 | Tags:

Here’s a few pho­tos of First Bap­tist Church, Booneville, MS, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a hand­bell con­cert at Camp Gar­away. The group is directed by FBC Booneville choir direc­tor, Mrs. LuAnne. We are very thank­ful for won­der­ful pro­grams like this that pro­vide invalu­able oppor­tu­ni­ties for future musi­cians. Justin can be seen towards the left end.

[album: http://richimages.net/Albums/HandBells/ ]

February 25th, 2011 | Tags:

            Day One   |  Day Two   |  Day Three   |  Day Four   |   Day Five






Day Five




The True Heart of the Elder Son Revealed


Don’t miss the real rea­son for the elder brother’s intense dis­plea­sure. As we will see in the chap­ter that fol­lows, all this pout­ing fury was not so much aimed against the prodi­gal son. Instead, it was focused directly against the father. The first born son clearly had no affec­tion for his younger brother, but the father was one he most resented.

He could tell from the servant’s report that his father had made peace with the prodi­gal. The father had not only “received him safe and sound,” but he had “kill the fat dead calf,” too (v. 27). The mean­ing of such a ges­ture was clear. The father had already fully for­given the way­ward boy, and their rec­on­cil­i­a­tion was complete.

Worst of all, the father was spend­ing resources that would right­fully belong to the elder brother as soon as a father died – in effect, dimin­ish­ing the value of the “faith­ful” son’s inheritance.


The elder brother was every bit as self-seeking and devoid of a true appre­ci­a­tion for the father as the prodi­gal son was at the begin­ning of the para­ble.


This elder son didn’t care at all about the father’s joy. All he cared about was his own rights and pos­ses­sions. The elder brother was every bit as self-seeking and devoid of a true appre­ci­a­tion for the father as the prodi­gal son was at the begin­ning of the parable.

But, for the first time in the story, the Phar­isees were say­ing to them­selves, Yes! That is exactly the right atti­tude! That is pre­cisely what any self-respecting per­son ought to feel. He is right to be out­raged. We are out­raged. This whole story has described one atroc­ity after another, and it’s about time some­one in the story spoke up and said so.


Now the tax col­lec­tors and sin­ners were all draw­ing near to hear him. And the Phar­isees and the scribes grum­bled, say­ing, “This man receives sin­ners and eats with them.

- Luke, chaper fif­teen, verses one and two, ESV


This is an exact mir­ror of the real life sit­u­a­tion we saw at the very begin­ning of the chap­ter, noted above. The scribes and Phar­isees remained out­side the cel­e­bra­tion. They resented it. They were out­raged by it. It was a scan­dal and an affront to their dignity.


Read the following:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. … And from his full­ness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

- John, chaper one, veses 14, 16, and 17, ESV

Fill in the blanks with words you think best com­plete the fol­low­ing state­ment.



The Phar­isees resented Jesus so deeply because he was all about
_____________________________________________
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_____________________________________________.

In con­trast, the Phar­isees them­selves were they were all about
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The elder son is a per­fect emblem for the Phar­isees. He had no appre­ci­a­tion for grace because he thought he didn’t need it. As we shall soon observe, he fig­ured he had earned his father’s full approval with­out need­ing any spe­cial grace or mercy. If he didn’t need grace, and had never even thought to ask for any, he didn’t see why grace should be offered to any­one else. The truth is, he didn’t really even believe in grace. He had no con­cept of unmer­ited favor. The very idea of free for­give­ness was repug­nant to him.

That was pre­cisely the spir­i­tual state of the scribes and Phar­isees who crit­i­cize Jesus for con­sort­ing with sin­ners. It was exactly the kind of self obses­sion and ego­cen­tric reli­gious fer­vor their sys­tem fos­tered. Jesus likened them to fancy bur­ial vaults – bright and shiny on the out­side, but full of death and decay on the inside (). They were reli­gious hyp­ocrites who stayed near the house of God for the sake of their own pub­lic image. But they secretly enjoyed all the same evil things as any unbeliever.

Even all the Phar­isees’ reli­gious activ­ity was really only about their own self-promotion. They may have truly thought that they were earn­ing the good will of God. But the truth is that they were com­pletely alien­ated from God. They had no sin­cere desire to honor Him. They had no vital inter­est in heaven’s joy – in fact, they could not even tol­er­ate that joy because it was joy over the repen­tance of sin­ners, and they refuse to con­fess their own need for repen­tance. So they openly spurned the joy, and they deeply resented those who did repent.

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Read the fol­low­ing and Under­line the Phar­isees motives for their reli­gious activities.





“Beware of prac­tic­ing your right­eous­ness before other peo­ple in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

- Matthew chap­ter six, verse one, ESV





“And when you pray, you must not be like the hyp­ocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the syn­a­gogues and at the street cor­ners, that they may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

Matthew chap­ter six, verse five, ESV





“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hyp­ocrites, for they dis­fig­ure their faces that their fast­ing may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

Matthew chap­ter six, verse six­teen, ESV


As Jesus con­tin­ued with the para­ble and the Phar­isees began to rec­og­nize them­selves in the elder brother, they’re mur­mured expres­sions of dis­plea­sure must have begun to rise in the deaf­en­ing crescendo. The les­son the Lord had been lay­ing the ground­work for, from the start of the para­ble, was about to become very, very clear – and by now they might even see it coming.






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27 “Woe to you, scribes and Phar­isees, hyp­ocrites! For you are like white­washed tombs, which out­wardly appear beau­ti­ful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all unclean­ness. (ESV)

February 24th, 2011 | Tags:

            Day One   |  Day Two   |  Day Three   |  Day Four   |   Day Five






Day Four




A Boy­cott Only a Phar­isee Could Appreciate


If this son’s heart were right, the text would say, “He ran to the house to see what all the joy was about.” In fact, if his heart had not been com­pletely devoid of all nat­ural fil­ial affec­tion, he would have run directly to his father, embraced him, and asked, “What glo­ri­ous news are we cel­e­brat­ing? What’s going on?” Then his father would have said, “Your brother’s home,” and they would’ve embraced and rejoice together with tears.


Read .
What indi­cated that this reli­gious lead­ers, unlike the elder brother and the Phar­isees, was not far from the God’s kingdom?

__________________________________________________________
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But the elder brother did not respond that way. He remained out­side, delib­er­ately keep­ing his dis­tance from the cel­e­bra­tion. He demanded to know what was going on before he would even think of join­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties. says, “he called one of the ser­vants and ask what these things meant.”

The Greek word trans­lated “ser­vant” in that verse sig­ni­fies a young, pread­o­les­cent boy. All the adult ser­vants were inside, of course, tak­ing care of guest. But house­hold ser­vices liv­ing on a large estate such as this would nat­u­rally have their own fam­i­lies. Some of them were young chil­dren. They were them­selves called “ser­vants” by virtue of the fact that they were born into the ser­vants fam­i­lies. They might even occa­sion­ally run errands at the behest of the mas­ter, but they were still too young to be of much help dur­ing gala such as this. So they would play together on the outer fringes of the celebration.

A huge event like this with so much food and the oppor­tu­nity to stay up late into the night was obvi­ously a joy­ous occa­sion for them to. The chil­dren would have their own lit­tle party out­side, and in that way even the ser­vants’ chil­dren became par­tic­i­pants in the joy of this won­der­ful celebration.

That was appar­ently the first group the elder brother met as he came in the direc­tion of the house. Of course, he was a per­son of the high­est rank in the house­hold, so he was not some­one the ser­vant chil­dren would talk to casu­ally. They may have even low­ered their ani­mated chat­ter to a whis­per as he approached. But he sum­moned one of them over and asked what was going on. Actu­ally, the lan­guage Jesus employed sug­gest that he demanded an expla­na­tion, not from his own father, but from some­one who would be totally intim­i­dated by him. The verb tense in is imper­fect, imply­ing repeated action: “He kept inquir­ing.” This sug­gest that he inun­dated the boy with a bar­rage of ques­tions: What is going on? How is it that I didn’t know about this? Why wasn’t I ever consulted?

The ser­vant boy’s answer implies that he expected the elder brother to wel­come the good news: “Your brother has come, and because your father has received him safe and sound, he has kill the fat­ted calf” (V. 27). The Greek expres­sion trans­lated “safe and sound.” in the Eng­lish ver­sion is the same root from which our word hygiene is derived. It speaks of whole­ness, cleans­ing, and health. The ser­vant boy was not merely announc­ing that the prodi­gal son was finally home from the far coun­try, but also that he was dra­mat­i­cally changed for the bet­ter. More impor­tantly, the father had received him. Their rela­tion­ship was restored. That was what this party was all about.

But the elder brother was by no means pleased to hear the news. Given the cul­tural con­text, the seri­ous­ness of the younger boys sin, and the fact that the elder brother had not yet seen the prodi­gal or heard any expres­sion of repen­tance from his own lips, we might not expect him to rise instantly to the same full height of joy his father had. But if this son felt any gen­uine love for his father at all, he would not have reacted to his broth­ers return as if it were bad news. At the very least, he all to have been filled with some sense of relief to know his brother was safely at home. He had wit­nessed the prodi­gals rebel­lion. He knew very well what kind of wicked, self-destructive atti­tude to boy left home with. Wouldn’t it seem rea­son­able that he should be glad to learn that the boy was alive – and curi­ous to see for him­self how his younger brother might have changed?

But he was nei­ther of those things. Instead, his imme­di­ate response was extreme anger. He refused to go in.


Read .
What was Jesus telling the Phar­isees about their rela­tion­ship with God through the exam­ple of the elder brother?

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28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them dis­put­ing with one another, and see­ing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which com­mand­ment is the most impor­tant of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most impor­tant is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The sec­ond is this: ‘You shall love your neigh­bor as your­self.’ There is no other com­mand­ment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the under­stand­ing and with all the strength, and to love one’s neigh­bor as one­self, is much more than all whole burnt offer­ings and sac­ri­fices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the king­dom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more ques­tions. (ESV)


26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the pas­sage about the bush, how God spoke to him, say­ing, ‘I am the God of Abra­ham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (ESV)


26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the pas­sage about the bush, how God spoke to him, say­ing, ‘I am the God of Abra­ham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? (ESV)


20 If any­one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen can­not love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:21

20 If any­one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen can­not love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:21

21 And this com­mand­ment we have from him: who­ever loves God must also love his brother. (ESV)

February 23rd, 2011 | Tags:

            Day One   |  Day Two   |  Day Three   |  Day Four   |   Day Five






Day Three




A Home­com­ing of a Dif­fer­ent Sort.



Just as the younger sons flee­ing to the far coun­try serves to show how poorly he regarded his father, so this one’s being out in the field is a fit­ting metaphor for where he stood in terms with his own fam­ily. Both sons were far away from the father. In the end they both came home – but would totally dif­fer­ent atti­tudes and two very dif­fer­ent perceptions.


Read .

How would you describe your own prox­im­ity to the father?
______ I am in a far coun­try.
______ I look close, but my heart is far away.
______ I’ve been far, but I’m headed home.
______ I’m close and intend to stay there.


As the elder son approached the house, “he heard music and danc­ing” (). This was typ­i­cal at wed­ding feast and other fes­tive occa­sions. The smell of roasted meat would also per­me­ate the air. The elder son would eas­ily detect all the signs of a great cel­e­bra­tion in the air. He was sur­prised and under­stand­ably curi­ous. What could this pos­si­bly mean?

Of course there was no rea­son what­so­ever for him to make any neg­a­tive assump­tions. Any­one com­ing upon a scene like this ought to meet it with the high­est expec­ta­tions and an eager heart. All the music and danc­ing made it per­fectly obvi­ous, after all, that he was walk­ing into a cel­e­bra­tion, not a funeral. He ought to have been excited to learn what spec­tac­u­larly good news could pos­si­bly have unleashed an unplanned cel­e­bra­tion of this mag­ni­tude. You would think he would run to the noise and see it for himself.

But not so. The young man was clearly in a glass-half-empty kind of mood. He was sus­pi­cious. (Legal­ist or almost always sus­pi­cious, par­tic­u­larly when they ecounter joy­ful peo­ple.) He was stunned, con­fused, and clearly less than pleased to see such a party in full swing at his house but with­out his knowl­edge. After all, when he went out to the field that morn­ing, it was a day like any other day. He had now come home at a late hour, and with no warn­ing what­so­ever, he arrived to find the biggest cel­e­bra­tion he has ever wit­nessed, already under way, and under his own roof.

The elder brother’s sur­prise is per­fectly under­stand­able; his extreme indig­na­tion is not so eas­ily excused. His reac­tion sug­gest that he assumed from the get-go that what­ever news had pro­voked such deliri­ous joy on the part of his father was going to be some­thing he would resent. So “he called one of the ser­vants and ask what these things men” (v. 26).


Read .

In your opin­ion, why can’t legal­ist ever truly rejoice?

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And he said to them, “Well did Isa­iah proph­esy of you hyp­ocrites, as it is written,

“‘This peo­ple hon­ors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
(ESV)


25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and danc­ing. (ESV)


10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is writ­ten, “Cursed be every­one who does not abide by all things writ­ten in the Book of the Law, and do them.” (ESV)