A Prophecy of Sorts

5 09 2008

I wrote the following linked post a little over a year ago: Regarding Public Transportation. I didn’t think I’d ever really get a chance to try my theory. However, I now live in Los Angeles(the #1 worst place to commute according to the Weather channel) and I ride a bus to work most days. I have found that I indeed have given up the benefits of personal transport for the greater rewards of public transportation! I have driven myself to work a few times. It saves a few minutes, but ultimately wastes time: I can read or concentrate on an audio book when I’m on the bus–in the car I usually just listen to music. (I’ve even taken a nap on the bus.) And I’ve indeed had some good conversations on the bus–it is by far the better way to go!

How to Fix Stuttering Audio in Vista

12 01 2008

I had a real problem with intermittent stuttering audio on my fairly high powered PC. I like to listen to music when writing so it was a real problem! It happened in ITunes, Pandora, Sirius, everything–a real annoyance. I scoured the internet looking for a solution. I started getting close when I found references to 802.11n network adaptors causing the problem: upon reflection the problem surfaced when I got the new network adapter. I never thought a wireless network adapter would mess up Itunes! But it did.

 This post gave me the solution interim fix      The fix is on a Linksys forum but it worked great for my DLink adapter. Good luck! Basically, you have to type a command using admin mode at the command prompt. It’s a pain, you have to do it everytime you turn on the computer. Here’s hoping to a soon release of SP2 for Vista!

UPDATE: I switched to Apple and have had so many fewer problems–that was the best solution of all!


17 12 2007

Check out the gigapan website! It is a collection of explorable panorama pictures.

 I was recently selected to beta test a robotic panorama camera mount. I’m looking forward to getting it! I’ll be able to share this region much more fully in a visual manner.

Basically, the image is made up of 200 or 300 zoomed in pictures. The technology lets you view all the pictures seamed together and then zoom into a point of interest–kind of like Google Earth. In fact this will be working with Google Earth.

I’m excited to be one of the first to use this technology, I’m so impressed with the beauty of this area. I’ll post links to the panoramas as I post them.

As it is now, you’ll find many of them to be interesting, check it out! If the concept intrigues you, the robot is supposed to be avaiable for general purchase in the spring.

Lutheran Carnival LXIV

3 12 2007

First, a Lutheran you don’t know, but probably should!

A Lutheran Chaplain, a man of action, Chaplain William J. Reiss saved many lives by simply praying the Lord’s prayer. It is my prayer that I would exhibit the same bravery if ever called upon. (This is from the book “They Shall Not March Alone”, a compendium of LCMS Chaplain stories no longer published by CPH).

Approaching Berlin, Germany: Early Spring 1945–Chaplain William J. Reiss shares an amazing story of the power of the Lord’s Prayer in a German soldier’s life.

I was with the 101st Airborne Division. We were in a small village and had suffered many casualties. A medical officer and I were in a basement with the casualties when the enemy began reattacking. Following orders to withdraw, the walking wounded left the collecting station, but 45 or 50 wounded couldn’t be moved. One young doctor and I decided to remain with these men and to chance being captured.

We heard the enemy advancing, throwing grenades into the windows and basements of buildings that were still standing. When I heard one explode nearby, I suggested we all pray the Lord’s Prayer. As we began to pray, I looked up and saw a German soldier with a grenade in his hand standing near our basement window. All the glass had been blown out. I closed my eyes and continued with the prayer, thinking “Well, this is it. God will be with me; God will help me and these wounded too.”

It seemed I had my eyes closed for an awfully long time. When we prayed “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” I looked up. The German soldier, instead of throwing the grenade, was on his knees, his head bowed. I could hear him say in German. “Vergib uns unsere Schuld so wie wir vergeben unsern Schuldigern. ” He stayed there until the prayer was finished. Then he got up, threw the grenade harmlessly aside, and walked on.

Later that afternoon our troops came back, retook the village and released us. Several months later, at a POW camp not far from Berchtesgaden, I visited some German chaplains. One lad there asked to see me. The guard brought him out. “You don’t remember me?” he asked.

“No I don’t.”

“Do you remember the soldier who fell on his knees before the basement window where you were with many wounded people? That was me. I learned the Lord’s Prayer when I was small, and I’d forgotten about it. But I remembered it in German. Something took hold of me and all I could do was kneel and pray with you. And for you. And now I would like to become a minister.”

I arranged for him to be released from camp, and he began studies for the ministry in the Evangelkche Lutherische Kirche.

God’s Word is powerful-very powerful indeed!

Now, the Carnival

(Some of the posts already have lively comment sections. I believe comments from blog readers greatly enhance posts–since it’s winter and we’re indoors a bit more, how about a flurry of comments?)


Sin is no longer a problem for me! Take a look a little further down in my blog to find out more!


Here’s one I accidentally missed. A new contributor, Inside Chris’s Head, gives a multi-media flair to the Carnival. He shares a podcast on Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. (I guess being in Silicon Valley helps in having a good server! I was able to download the 10mb podcast in 12 seconds–in Japan!)


I can see CLEARly now. Kelly Klages provides a post including three cards: baptism, Reformation Day, and General Purpose. Click here to see the cards, a brief discussion of how each was made and links to most of the materials used.


After reading her specialty blog above, also take a look at Kelly’s blog: “Kelly’s Blog” especially this post “Indeed? She examines the problematic assumpitons of a Christianity Today/Zondervan study. The study examined “5 Kinds of Christians”: including “active”, “professing”, and “liturgical”. Kelly especially addresses the assertion that those who don’t believe that “accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior” is the true heart of Christianity don’t have Jesus at the center of their faith. 


Pick up a smooth stone of truth or two or five over at Cyberstones. We have an excellent essay from Pastor Petersen on the meaning of life in which we read that forgiveness isn’t all it is sometimes made out to be. Also take a look at The Keeping of Cats and the Hiddenness of Christ. This post has generated one of the most entertaining “comments” discussion I’ve seen on a Lutheran blog!


“A sword in the hat is better than a foot in the mouth.” See why at the very active thinking out loud. We were referred to a post written  by Pastor Stuckwisch regarding the Penitential character of Advent. If you’ve ever wondered why the altar is decorated in purple for advent, you’ll want to click through!


Dan continues the discussion on Advent. He relates an explanation for the removal of Alleluia’s from Matins and Vespers for Advent. He spells it out at Necessary Roughness!


With all the talk in society about coming OUT of the closet. Why not consider going IN to the closet? We’ve been invited to Olin e-book e-publishing’s blog for a discussion about prayer closets.


Healing through Words provides a some healing words in a beautiful description of a cherished moment fishing in the post A Day With Dad.


Speaking of fishing, let’s join Weekend Fisher at Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength and a post (with a whopping 39 comments!) regarding Luther’s Odd Argument for Real Presence.


Wow! I’m done! This was an active Carnival–thank you everyone for posting! Perhaps we’ll see some active blogs over the next few days as the Midwest storm keeps people hunkered down. Stay safe!

Sin is not a problem for me anymore

2 12 2007

Sin is not a problem. I can’t resolve it! I can’t solve it! I can’t overcome it!  It’s not a problem. I need to be rescued from sin. I need a savior–sin is trouble.

Problems are issues that can be resolved/solved/overcome. We can apply our intellect and resources toward problems and make them go away. Problems can often be rather satisfying. We can show others how we solved a sticky situation and be proud about how we overcame it.

On the other hand, troubles cannot be solved. We need to be rescued from trouble. Trouble cannot be solved.

Some examples: Noah faced problems in building the ark, he faced trouble in the flood. Sailors face problems as they trim sails and navigate storms, they face trouble if the ship were to capsize. I saw a news story about some firefighters working a forest fire: they attacked a raging brush fire–that was a problem for which they were equipped; then conditions changed and they were suddenly surrounded by fire and had to get inside their protective shelters–they were suddenly in trouble and needed to be rescued.

Sin is not a problem–sin is trouble. We cannot solve sin, we cannot resolve sin, we cannot overcome sin. We must be rescued from sin.

No one likes to be in trouble, we’d rather deal with problems (problems allow some measure of control). So sin is often defined as a problem, if you just do certain things, you can overcome sin–make decisions, read books, complete spiritual exercises and you can overcome sin. But sin is trouble. We need to be rescued. And we are rescued by our Savior giving His life on a cross. We are rescued by the Holy Spirit awakening and sustaining faith within our hearts.

This is why we are to have no pride in our salvation. Problem solvers are proud. People who have been rescued are thankful.

When someone has been rescued, the typical response is to thank the rescuer. People will go through great lengths to identify anonymous heroes because they want to thank the hero.

People who have been rescued don’t show pride in themselves, you don’t hear, “did you hear how I screamed my head off until someone came? I was awesome!” Being rescued is a humbling experience–it hammers home the point that we do not stand on our own.

I no longer use the phrase “sin problem”, the phrase implies that we can do something to solve it. (Now from God’s point of view, sin is a problem, He solved it!) I use the phrase “sin trouble”, the phrase implies that we need to be rescued.

Official Opening

22 11 2007

Again, it’s been awhile since I posted–very busy! We had the official opening of the Airman Center named after the 4 Chaplains of the USS Dorchester. This led to another Stars and Stripes article! (This time we got a picture of some of the people who use the center–I was very glad for that!)

You can read the article by clicking here!

Things tend to slow down a bit during the holiday season so I’m hoping to have more opportunity to blog.

 I’m working on a piece about the difference between problems and troubles. The difference relates significantly to sin and categorizing sin under the wrong heading leads to decision theology. Stay tuned for details!

Snowy Thanksgiving

22 11 2007

What a day! We had about 25 Airmen join us at the chapel for Thanksgiving dinner–it was a lot of fun! Many of them are away from home for the first time. It was a great family atmosphere!

We’ve broken the record for snow in a 24 hour period. The old record was 11 inches. I think we’ve received the better part of 20 inches today. That’s in addition to the 8 inches we received on Sunday. And it’s supposed to snow tonight and tomorrow as well. We’ll see if we break the monthly record of 33 inches!

Our first year we received about 150 inches of snow over the winter. Last year was disappointing as we received only about 75 inches. I think this year will prove to be much more satisfying!

 Here’s a picture out the window during our Thanksgiving feast:

Winter Thanksgiving

Fun stuff!

One Day, Two Festivals

29 09 2007

Japan is a nation of festivals! It seems that every weekend brings a new host of opportunities to celebrate a facet of life. Yesterday, we found two such opportunities (and I had 3!).

I began the morning delivering an invocation for a breakfast honoring our local military retirees. (There are a few hundred in the area–even a Coast Guard retiree!)

Immediately following the breakfast , I met my family and several young people at the Four Chaplains Center. From there we caravaned to a Garlic and Beef festival in Tacco Town. It was a 90 minute drive and we only got misplaced once. (I won’t say lost because I knew how to get home at all times! When we first arrived here we always worried about getting lost as Japan was very foreign to us. I since realized it is an island and it’s pretty much impossible to get lost for long.)

The festival was very interesting–we had pre-purchased tickets that, when redeemed, gave us a bag full of meat and vegetables. This food was designed to be self-grilled in a community grilling area. We had a lot of fun! A Japanese man dropped a bunch of bright red peppers on our grill. It took a little while for anyone to get brave enough to try one. Finally, an Airman and I decided to try one simultaneously–they were very good! (Not too hot at all.)

Since we didn’t get lost on the way to the festival, I decided to try my luck and take a different route home–through a very scenic area known as Oirase Gorge. We didn’t get lost, but we did get misplaced once–I tried to stop at the Tomb of Christ. (I found the correct road, but it would’ve been an additional 54Km and that would’ve been too much time, we’ll get there another time.)

We got home in time to rest for a few minutes and then off to the Base Club for Octoberfest! I’d been looking forward to it for awhile. We can get many types of cuisine in Japan: Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, even Russian. The one I haven’t found is German. Even my German neighbor says her family always ate Thai when she was growing up so she doesn’t cook German food.

The food at Octoberfest was excellent! Plus one of my kids got brave and participated in some games on stage and danced up front. I’d never seen him so willing to get involved in that manner–he was pretty hyper earlier in the day so I’m sure his participation helped him go to sleep afterwards!

Four Chaplains

13 09 2007

Recently, I’ve been very busy opening a center for our Airmen to use for character development. It’s been a lot of work! Finally, almost everything is ordered and many items have started to arrive. (We got most of our furniture today.) Best of all, we have a lot of young people gathering for Bible Study and other great activities!

The center is named The Four Chaplains Warfighter Center of Excellence. “Warfighter” is the best term to use as it denotes members of each branch of the military.

It is named the “Four Chaplains” after the chaplains of the USS Dorchester in WWII. If you aren’t familiar with their story, check out this video:

Also, here’s a local story about the center (Stars and Stripes has interviewed me and I expect a story in that newspaper soon also): News Article

UPDATE: Here’s the Stars and Stripes article! Article (Bonus: Anyone recognize the excellent commentary I’m holding in the picture with the article?)

All that and pulling together all the details of a visit by the author Gary Chapman have kept me busy!

Will It Blend? | Presented By Blendtec

13 08 2007

Okay, here is something value added! This is an excellent website. This guy takes a bunch of different things and throws it into a pretty high power blender and sees what happens. The most recent one on the website is actually an I phone. Everyone I’ve showed this to actually laughs out loud at one point in the video. Want to see what happens to a $500 piece of electronics in a blender? Check it out.

He also blends a bunch of other things. Some of my favorites: golf balls, light sticks, Bic lighters, and light bulbs.  on the Willet blend blog, there is a link to a video site that shows a lady actually blending a diamond engagement ring. It’s interesting to see what happens!

Quoted from http://www.willitblend.com/:

Will It Blend? | Presented By Blendtec