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Evernote Amazing-ness (Or, My Brain) – New Evernote Resource Page

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I’m a Neek.

That’s a combination of Nerd and Geek.

Ok, so I just looked up the definition of Nerd.  Here it is:  “a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious.”

Yep.  That fits.  Foolish.  Contemptible.  Lacks Social Skills.  Boringly Studious.

Anyone up for a discussion on which dead Russian author best captures the nuances of social relativity and masters character development in such a way that makes the literature as relevant today as it was back when they were not dead?

But, I’m also a Geek.  Dictionary:  “..an unfashionable or socially inept person.” who “engages in or discuss computer-related tasks obsessively or with great attention to technical detail.”  Yep.  I’m unfashionable.  Socially inept.  And I like technology.  Probably too much.  Except when it comes to eReaders.  They are of the devil.

For example, my boy is in IT school right now.  He is learning about proxy servers and Active Directory and Domain Controllers and so many other cool things that I work with every day at my job; and I love having geeky conversations with him about it all.

So, I’m a Neek.  A Nerd and a Geek.

And that’s why Evernote is perfect for me.

But, for other reasons as well:  It is my brain.  My filing cabinet.  My to-do list.

I’ve been digging a bit deeper into Evernote lately; investigating how I can use it even more efficiently, in an attempt to get my brain back on track.  I thought I’d start sharing on occasion some of the very cool things I’ve found.

 

I’ve created a new Page dedicated to Evernote Ideas, Tips and Tools.  You can find get to it two different ways:

  • At the very top of this page, you will find 4 tabs (above the Header):  About Me, Writings, Resources and Contact.  Click on Resources to access the drop-down menu.  Hover over “Productivity Tools and Apps”, and a side menu will appear with the Evernote Page.  Click on that and there you go. Or…..
  • By clicking on This Link, if you are lazy. Like me.  (But the other way is cooler, mainly because it took me forever to figure out how to make it work right–NEEK.)

 

Waterslide (Psalm 126)

Sometimes–sometimes, we become paralyzed.

We can be doing so well–cooking along at life, enjoying success after success (whatever that means, sheesh, how ugly and prideful!!!)–progress.  Forward Movement.  Firing on all cylinders.  Meeting goal after goal.  Impressing everyone.  Inspiring everyone.  (UGH)

Making the world laugh.

And then, things start to slide south.

No reason for it, really.  At least, none that is clearly discernible.  No real tragedy.  No disaster, per se.  In fact, life can be really good.  Which can make it all the more bewildering.

And that’s what makes the slippery slope to depression so absolutely frustrating and irritating and maddening.

And culminates in this overwhelming sense of tremendous failure.

And we find ourselves a bit paralyzed.

When my crew was little, I used to make waterslides for them in our backyard–we had a huge hill in both Kansas City and Hawaii, so this was one of our favorite things to do.  To make it even more fun, I’d coat the slide with a mix of baby oil and soap bubbles.  It was treacherous though.  We flew down those hills.

Such is the slope toward depression; and the magnetic pull toward things that only add oil and soap bubbles to the slippery slope.

We know what has to be done.  But kicking ourselves in gear to do the things that need to be done—well, it’s hard to walk back uphill on oil and soap and through mud.  I’ve tried it.  Several times.

But there is much truth in these words from John Piper, referencing Psalm 126:

May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy!
He that goes forth weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)

…I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done even when there are things in life that make us cry. The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter we must get out in the field and sow the seed whether we are crying or not.

If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that “you will reap with shouts of joy.” You will “come home with shouts of joy, bringing your sheaves with you.” Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing…..

‘Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written). I know you will wet my face several times today, but I have work to do and you will just have to go with me. I intend to take the bag of seeds and sow. If you come along then you will just have to wet the rows.”

….But I believe (I do not yet see it or feel it fully)—I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And your tears will be turned to joy.”

It doesn’t have to be tears, necessarily.  It could be a just a sense of extreme failure.  Or irrational fear.  So, then, one could say this:  “Failure and fear, You make me want to quit life.  But there is a field to be sown…..a bed to be made, a document to be submitted, a meeting to attend……I believe, even though I do not yet see it or feel it fully….that joy will return based on scripture that is truth.”

Scripture is truth.  Scripture is truth.  Scripture is truth.

And sometimes, we just have to make the bed.  And mop the floor.  And attend our meetings.  Do the things we know to do.

And pray for mercy.

~~Excerpt from Essay “Tears, I Feel You” by John Piper

 

 

 

Church, What Will We Do With the 15-Year-Olds? (Response to the Planned Parenthood Videos)

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So.

The Planned Parenthood videos.

The ones that I can’t bring myself to view or listen to.

I’ve read bits and pieces, though.  And commentary from people I respect and trust—Russell Moore, Tim Challies, Tim Keller, to name a few.

What I have read, though, in respects to the actual interviews themselves–written “soundbites”, if you will–have wrecked me a bit.  Made me ill.

Maranatha.  Come quickly, God.  Please.

What do we even do with this new (but not new) information?  We knew it was horrific.  But now we know.  On a deeper level.

We cannot stay silent.

And so, on Saturday, protests were held across the United States.  I saw pics that friends in New Mexico, and Missouri, and Kentucky.  And I saw some posts where John Piper attended and prayed at a protest in Minneapolis.

Across the US, the cries were–as they should be–for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.  The end of daily murder.

Absolutely.  This must be our cry.

But that can’t be our only cry.

No, as Christ-followers, as churches, we must do more.

Because, when that 15-year old girl finds herself pregnant, I can guarantee you these things are true.  Guarantee.

  1. There is fear.  Terror, even.
  2. There is shame.  Deep shame.
  3. And there is a crazy mix of other things, as well, depending on the situation.  And every, single, situation is different.  Unique.  And can only be viewed in the context of that young girl’s story.

What do we do with that?

I don’t have any answers, really.  I wish I did.  I don’t think there are any easy answers.  Sure, we can open Pregnancy Centers and form committees and provide tests and counseling and assistance and all of that.  All of that.

But we have to provide more.  At the soul level.

We have to be places of safety for young women–teens, college students, young women.  Places where they know that they will not be shamed further; places where they can find love that is not dependent on what they have done.  Or what they decide to do.

They need love.  First and foremost.

And time.  Time is a precious commodity, I know.  Maybe harder to give, than love even.  But that is what it takes.  Much time.

And support.  Financial.  Good prenatal care.  Wise, biblical counseling in all areas.

And a willingness to be family to them, if necessary.  And family never abandons.

And above all, the news that they are loved more than they could ever know, by the God who sees and knows.

So, yes.  Protest Planned Parenthood.  Call for not only their defunding, but for their obliteration as an organization.

But let us also be the kind of people, and our churches the kind of places where young girls and young college students think of first, when they find themselves bewildered by that positive pregnancy test.

And when that 15-year old girl walks through our doors with that positive pregnancy test, lets wrap our arms around her and tell her “We love you.  Let’s talk.”

 

“Ah, stubborn children….” ~ Isaiah 30

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious

“Ah, stubborn children…..”

Yes.  Israel was.  Yes we are.

We are the epitome of God’s description, in Isaiah 30:

“…..who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
    that they may add sin to sin;…”

We carry out plans that are not His.  We make alliances, but not to Him.  Alliances to money.  To fame.  To escape mechanisms. To the praise of men.  To work.  To a million things that are not of His spirit.

We go this way and that, “….without asking for [His] direction…”

Or, we ask….and when we don’t like his direction, we go the exact opposite.

We turn to things that do not help us, much like the Israelites who turned to Egypt instead of God.  The analogy is poignant:

Egypt’s help is worthless and empty;
    therefore I have called her
    “Rahab who sits still.”

We each have our favorite “Rahab’s who sit still”, be it sloth.  Or pornography.  Or alcohol.  Or praise.  Or busy-ness.  Or fill-in-the-blank.

I would say that we are prodigal sons and daughters, spending lavishly in direct opposition to what our Father desires for us—but the prodigal returned home.  We, sometimes, do not.

Yet.

It is in the returning, that we are saved.

But what are we returning to?

Rest.  And quietness.  And trust.

Rest.  And quietness.  And trust.

Rest.  And quietness.  And trust.

“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

This is our salvation.

Yet, even if we lock ourselves away in some isolated location, away from likes and pings and emails and phone calls and needs and work and bills and even church, if we remain un-repent-ive and stubborn and hard-hearted and PRIDEFUL; there is not rest.

And, when that happens–when our unwillingness happens–we are pursued swiftly:

But you were unwilling, 16 and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
    therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
    therefore your pursuers shall be swift.

Is there any hope for our sinful, rebellious selves?

Yes.

But only because of this:

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

He is gracious.  Because He is grace.

He longs to show mercy upon our hard-hearted, cynical souls.

He longs to show mercy upon our souls that are cynical out of habit.  And pride.

And He is a God of justice.  Too.

Truly, are there any more wonderful words than these?:

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.

Oh, God.  Our eyes long to see you, our gracious and patient teacher.