Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Easily Distractible

In the teachings of "The Sermon on the Mount", a couple of things have always stuck out to me. First: The whole thing ends with the admonition to do the things written in it and not just hear them. We sing the song about wise men, foolish men, building houses, and tell each other to "build our house on the Lord Jesus Christ" but the verse has narrower application than just being like Jesus. Specifically, we are told to DO the things just mentioned in chapters 5, 6, and the previous part of 7. We can't have a life with a firmly built foundation if we don't love our enemies, if we don't control our senses, if we constantly worry about everything. This Sermon isn't meant to be known, or merely heard, it's meant to be practiced.

The second big thing that has always stuck out to me has to do with how we handle the non-believer's favorite passage of scripture: Matthew 7:1-5.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
--Matthew 7:1-5, ESV.

We're not to judge, but the focus, instead of being externally non-judgmental, is placed on becoming internally holy. We are not to condemn others, because we know what to do, and we don't do it, so start doing what Jesus has commanded, then we might understand how sin has trapped people. We all have a problem. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has that plank Jesus talked about in Matthew 7:3-5. Believers, non-believers, back-slidden and "Saint", our sinfulness has distorted our perception to the point where we are ever seeing but never perceiving. Further, our lack of discernment in our own lives can influence how others receive our message. People refuse to believe that the grace of God saves us if we never show grace. People don't accept God's love, because they don't see God's love in us. Furthermore, if we ourselves don't take care of the sin in our lives, it cheapens the Gospel in the eyes of those still caught up in the world, the pigs and the dogs.

Because we are crippled in our ability to perceive our flaws, we are susceptible to casting our pearls before swine. That's why Jesus' command to not judge is immediate followed by a command to be very judging.
6 Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

--Matthew 7:6, ESV
The Gospel is for everybody, Jesus' love is for everybody, but there is a difference I think between the believer and non-believer. The great temptation of modern Christianity is to presume that since everyone wants to be "Good Boy" that everyone's way to God is equal, and able to save. It's a common human way of thinking. In the field of computer programming, we have an expression: TIMTOWTDI. Pronounced "Tim Toady", it means "There Is More Than One Way To Do It", and it encapsulates the idea that a problem can have more than one solution. This is true when we consider things to which we can equally relate. Our reality flattens our relationships, so there becomes more than one route to along the same plane. Our relationship to God isn't like that though. There is a limited interchange between our existence and His. This is where TIMTOWTDI breaks down. There is not more than one way to get to Him because he is transcendent. We do not exist There until such time as we die, are buried, and raise again. First in baptism (Romans 6 talks about this), then in the future, when we die physically, and are given a new body in the resurrection. Finally, as we die to ourselves each day, sanctification takes us a little bit there each day.(SEEMINGLY RANDOM SIDENOTE CONNECTION: What will happen to us in the future is given greater precedence to what's happening now, what is happening now is directly related to what God did in the past, and what happened in the past was the plan all along. This is essential to my worldview)  We live for a different purpose. This is precious knowledge, and our best efforts at sharing this with others can be met with opposition because let's face it, people can be pretty horrible. Out of the same mouth comes both blesses and curses.

Sometimes it's very frustrating to deal with people who have things "Figured out man," who have deemed themselves experts in the field of religion. They quote Matthew 7:1 without hearing Matthew 7:5, much less with any consideration that they may be the pig or dog of 7:6. As we're sharing the gospel, we need to know our audience. How do they hear us? Are they dogs? Are they pigs? Many times a dog is pleasant to be around, and pigs are smart. Dogs hear without understanding, pigs eat without being filled. When you tell a dog a thing they don't understand (something like "Jesus is the only way to God"), they bark and attack: MATTHEW 7:1 YOU HIPPOCRITE! Try and give a pig real food (Jesus, after all, did say "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink."John 6:53-56), and they will turn on you "ZOMBIE/VAMPIRE JESUS IS A LIE! I FOLLOW SPAGHETTI MONSTER, HE IS THE YUM!" They mock us because they have to.
Don't give them what's sacred.
Their destruction awaits them. Until them, keep the faith you show simple: ask, seek, knock for the opportunities to share faith. Pigs and dogs are easily distractible, lead them toward God's goodness. Let them find the way, and they will remember they walk on 2 legs not 4.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Randomly Yours

Life is funny you know.
Several things are going on right now.
Happy New Year!
Here's a brief run down:
I got new Glasses


  • I got some new eyes!
  • We just got done with some great Christmas shenanigans. Earlier this year, we decided to surprise my parents at Christmas eve service. I wanted to make my Momma cry at Church, and we did! Only my Grandma, and one of my cousins knew. The kids had a great time, and it was good to see my Brother, my Sister, and their children. 
  • I'm planning something very interesting for Church, it's called Project VOLTAGE. More about that on the BASIC blog later on.
  • I'm always watching birds, check out  The Birding Biker for the latest news on that front.
The Bike has been Refurbished
  • By the end of February, I'm going to have my old radio shack empty. Then, it will be torn down, and replaced with something newer, weatherproof, and air conditioned. Until then, most radio projects are on hold.
  • New Tubes, New Shack, New fun!
  • We've got some awesome family plans for this summer, I can't wait to share what were up to next!

I hope your new year sees you happy, healthy, and wise!




Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Always

Always

I am always becoming
Shedding my skin
Wearing another
Losing my life

I am always becoming
Turning away
Casting out fear
Breathing in life

I am always becoming
Leading the way
Staying behind
Bringing new life

Life gave me a job
Taught me courage
Made me new
I am always becoming
Only what He will make me to be

Monday, February 19, 2018

News, Podcasts, Gaggle of Google RADio stations.

February is exciting this year!
Lots of things are happening in my life.
I don't even know where to start.

1. Most exciting thing right now, Is that I got a chance to preach this last Sunday! I'll post some notes and maybe even embed a youtube video later.
2. The Podcasts I'm listening to sum up my life well, birds, radio, programming, and religion. I probably should post a review on each one I'm listening to right now, and how it's influencing the directions I'm taking in life. There's some intersections across several lines I'd like to share, The radio and programming podcasts will go here, because they serve (interestingly enough to me) as the point of intersection. Here's a partial list of what I'm finding really interesting:

I'm listening to more than this right now, mainly while at work, doing chores, or running. It gives my brain something in the background.

3. Life moves fast when your a father of four, you'd better be ready. My oldest turns 13 this year!
4. I'm planning on running another 5k in March, the Carillon Classic. Hee hee hee. In preparation, I'm running at least three days a week now. I'm also trying some dieting to put me into Ketosis. I'll try to update as I go along with that, if for any other reason than to keep myself on track.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Post Irma Debrief

Irma affected me more than I know just yet.
First there was the lead up to the storm
Then it CAME.
Finally, was the aftermath.
I know now I'm not done processing it. There was a lot of stress.
It seemed almost immediately after Irma came Maria.
Maria,
Wow.
So  much destruction in Dominica and Puerto Rico.
Ham radio has been called upon to help.
I've been deeply moved by it, I admit. I got into ham radio, in part, to help others. I've worked special events where ham radio has played a role in helping others. Mostly I've used ham radio as an escape.
Today I am convicted.
I thought I was through with ham radio for a while, but I don't think I can be. They needed operators, and this time it couldn't be me. That's not right, it's not who I am.
So I'm coming back to the radio table, better this time. I'm going to focus on operating as efficiently as possible too. My plan is to initiate the following station improvements:
Operating Location:
1. Improve my station with the addition of a narrow filter for CW to cut out QRM/QRN
2. Provide for backup power with the addition of a high amp hour deep cycle battery.
I'm looking at several options Including Deep cycle marine batteries, Gel Cells, and LiFePO batteries.
3. Initiate a protocol for quickly deploying post disaster antennas that can operate independently of tree supports at frequencies that can support sustained in state communication.
4. Long Term: Rebuild the shack. Make it a place that's easy to operate. Right now, it has no AC, no Heat, and can be a pain to be in sometimes. Time to change that, eventually.
Ham Education:
1. Continue to plant the radio bug in my kids, see if they pick it up. I've got four, surely one of them wants to get "radio active"
2. Over the next six month learn more about simple to make gain antennas out of wire and ladderline.
I'm starting with a variation of the G5RV cut for 15 m, and a 20m loop.
3. Teach a local class of some sort in the next year, prepare others for their ham radio license.

I'm putting a reminder on my calendar to revisit this post in January.
We'll see how it goes.

Friday, September 8, 2017

That Last Minute Ham Radio Thing to Do...

...Before tropical storm force winds take down the antenna farm...
Yes, this is a Post about the W3EDP antenna.
In roughly 36 hours tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Irma will be affecting my area. I only have one HF antenna deployed right now, my W3EDP. I keep another one handy, just in case the first one gets damaged in the storm. If you find yourself wanting a quick antenna project to have ready to deploy "Just in Case", but find yourself working last minute, here's an idea.
1. Prep work: You'll need an antenna tuner with a "Balanced line" input. If you don't have one right now, you're not entirely hosed, just design your antenna carefully, use low power, and use the principle of tuning by maximum racket (The louder the static/noise you receive means your antenna is working more better). If you can cobble together a tank circuit to use to tune the antenna, all's the better!
2. Go to Radio Shack (if it exists in your area) , and buy a 100' roll of speaker wire. I prefer the 18 gauge stuff with clear insulation. Size doesn't matter at 100 watts or less, as long as you can create two legs by pulling the wire apart. It will also help if you can get some banana plugs, one red, one black (color not critical as long as you pay attention.) Also acquire some sort of string, fishing line, small rope, for deploying the antenna
3. Once home, take the speaker wire, and pull about 5" apart, tie an electricians knot. This is your input side to the tuner. The knot is not critical, but it can help keep the wire together. That might not be what you want to do, so after you build the antenna, you can untie the knot if you want.
4. From the point of the knot, measure 17' of speaker wire. The parallel strands of wire are usually marked, one side a solid color (or no color at all) and the other side has a stripe. Sometimes, this mark isn't done with color but with texture molded onto the insulation. The important thing is that you want to be able to tell one side from the other. Cut one strand of the speaker wire at 17'.
5. Continuing from the knot, measure 85' of speaker wire, and cut both sides. You now have one short leg, and one long leg with some extra wire attached. Pull the extra wire apart from the long leg of the antenna. Save it! Doing some math (85-17) You'll realize that you have about 68' of speaker wire now. After the crisis is over, you can play with that wire by building an End Fed Half Wave Antenna for 40m.
6. Improvise an end insulator for the long leg of the antenna. I prefer using buttons from old milsurp BDUs.
7. On the input side, strip the insulation off of both wires, about 2"-3" and attach the banana plugs (if you have them). Red on the long side, black on the short. If you don't have them, no worries, just remember that you want to attach the long side to the "Antenna" side of the tuner/transceiver, and the short side to the "Ground".
8. Deploy your antenna. I try to use at least two supports. How isn't important, just get it in the air, with as few bends and turns as possible!
9. Tune and enjoy. You may have better results pulling the short leg apart from the long.

One final warning:

DO NOT EXCEED 100 WATTS TRANSMITTED POWER WITH THIS ANTENNA WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

There are some funky voltages generated by this antenna at certain loads, so please be mindful. I'd suggest staying off of 30m entirely until you can play. The antenna works really well on 40 and 20. It's decent on 15, and poor to outstanding on 10. For 80m you will need to detach the short leg (black plug) and work the antenna against the station ground. This technique may also get you better results on 10m, especially in the technician class voice portion of the band (28.300-28.500).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Feather or Focus (Humpday Haiku)

Feather or Focus

Is consistency
humanity's greatest trait
or greatest weakness?

Perhaps it becomes
a useful crutch for coping.
We do what we must.

To master your life
you must have it or chaos
closes around you.

No consistency
is precarious floating,
on unstable breeze.

To master your life
you must also recognize
hunters follow paths.

Enemies know you
so you must become unknown
but not disgusting.

Have a good fortress.
You grow in quiet places.
Hear His soft whispers.

Fight in the chaos
Embrace inconsistency,
the sign you need growth.