Wednesday, June 14, 2006

We Have MOVED!!

Please Note:

CREEations has move to our new home:

Please update your bookmarks and favorites.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Moving is Stressful!

OK. So last night I spent several hours working on moving the blog over to my new home. I get things situated well enough that I thought I could just bite the bullet, make a grand announcement and send everyone over there.

I had about an hour to fiddle this morning before I go to a church leadership meeting then down to Jacksonville for about 12 hours of work.

And I can’t even access my new web site!!!

It’s like it doesn’t even exist. I can’t bring up the hosting control panel, log into WordPress, or even see the blog from the outside.

I must have done something wrong last night. I put a support request ticket in with the help desk but I don’t know if they will get it back up at all today.

This just in…

Oh, I just got a response from the help desk (less than 30 minute response time!). They said, “The server has been experiencing some kernal errors.”

Don’t have a clue what kernel errors are (sounds crunchy!). But they assure me they are working on it and the site should be back up soon.

At lest I didn’t mess things up on my end!

So enjoy the new site (when they get it back up…)

P.S. I still have a whole lot of unpacking to do over there at my new home!


UPDATE: Just passing through after my meeting on my way out of town for work and they've updated my trouble ticket to tell me they had a hardware failure. They are waiting on a part and expect to have the server, and my new blog, back up sometime today.

Don't know what a RAID controller is, but it sounds serious. (My guess is it has something to do with the war on terror somehow!)

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Friday, June 09, 2006




We are moving this blog to our NEW LOCATION.

Please update your bookmarks, favorites and bring along any links you may have as you come and visit the new location of our home. You can enjoy the same great ponderings in a fresh new format.

If you are subscribed to our feed, do not fret. With a little bit of skill we should be able to continue feeding your reader with no difficulty via Feedburner. You shouldn’t have to change anything on your end and you won’t miss a beat. Hopefully! :)

Please be patient with me as I unpack all my boxes in our new home. It is going to take a bit of doing to get organized in our new surroundings. Things will most likely change from day to day as I learn and figure out what I am doing.

But I promise you this move will allow for a much more feature rich blog reading experience on your end.

Thank you for your patience.


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A Time for Everything

Most of you who are 40-ish and up, or maybe even if you are a child of a Baby Boomer and heard their 8-tracks growing up, have probably heard the song by the Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!”.

But did you know they took their lyrics straight out of the Bible?

See for yourself what Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has to say:
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
I guess my version today would be there is a time for using the free Blogger service and a time to move up and pay for your own blog.

Last night I stayed up late and got a hosting account set up with A Small Orange. For some reason I had the urge to keep my site in state and everything I’ve been able to find out about these guys says their customer service is second to none.

That means I’ll be moving the blog over to a new domain this weekend, and learning a new blogging platform with WordPress with all the challenges that entails.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m first on call this weekend at work? So it’s going to be Sleep Deprivation City for me, baby!

All I can say is Bring it ON!

Where’s my coffee?

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Interesting Coincidence

I find it very curious that Blogger has been running painfully slowly the day after the Official Google Blog has a post urging folks to lobby Congress to Support Net Neutrality.

Is this an untimely coincidence, or shades of things to come? Are the big phone and cable companies putting the squeeze on Google for speaking up on the "wrong" side of the issue?

Here is what the Blogger Status Blog says, "For many users, Blogger will have been extremely slow or down for most of the morning. We continue to work on fixes for this problem and hope to have it resolved as quickly as possible."

Of course I'm also told by some who are more exprienced than I am that Blogger is notorious for having outages, so maybe I'm just being cynical.

But I've never had a big problem with them in the 6+ moths I've been with the service. And I'm not one to complain about a free service that has as much to offer and is as easy for a beginner to use as Blogger has been for me! As far as my (limited perhaps) experience goes, Blogger is a great platform that I'd recommend for anyone starting out. It is an exceptional low cost way to try blogging out and see if it is a good fit.

Just the same, perhaps it is now officially time to move CREEations to a more reliable and robust (and yes, more expensive) host.

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Time to Get Preachy About the Internet

OK guys. It’s time for me to get a little preachy. If you are in the US, and most of you stopping here at this point are, you need to know there is something big happening in Congress in the next week.

It will affect everyone. Globally.

Do you support any non-profit charities? How would you like it if their information could no longer be accessed?

Congress will be voting on the issue that has been labeled “Net Neutrality”. The outcome of this vote will have lasting repercussions that affect your access to information on the internet and ultimately how everyone in the world can access information flowing from the US.

Congress may decide to keep things the way they have been for years by passing a new law. Or they may vote to give the giant phone and cable companies complete control of the internet so they can convert it to their own private network.

If Congress gives control to these corporate giants, these companies say they will choose what information their customers can and cannot access.

And it is already happening.

For example Craigslist is being blocked by Cox Interactive.

What can you do?

First – Get Informed.

You can read my previous posts on the issue here and here.

Go to the advocacy sites It’s Our Net and Save The Internet.

Read what Google says about the issue in today’s entry at the Official Google Blog.

Liz over at Successful-Blog has a whole page of links devoted to Net Neutrality. She’s been tracking this issue for a long time.

And you can read what Mark has to say at R-Web Designs. He was targeted with a comment spam attack because of his advocacy.

Then – Contact Congress.

Make your voice heard. Send an email. Make a phone call. If you don’t speak up now then you are allowing Congress to be swayed by the multi-million dollar marketing campaign that the corporate giants are using to tell their side of the story.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

We Are Passionate People

We are incredibly passionate creatures. We are hardwired to care about things. Passion is the fuel that drives us forward. Without it we stagnate and can get depressed.

Did you ever wonder why one person excels in a given area while at the same time someone else, who might even seem more qualified, never seems to gain any ground?

A difference in passion between the two might be part of the answer.

Everyone has passion. There are no passionless people out there. Some folks have chosen to numb their passion and may have a hard time remembering that they ever had them. But they did.

Need proof? Look at any child between two and five years old. There is so much passion and energy and enthusiasm that some of us wish we could bottle so we could tap into it as we get older. Of course then after that age, kids get shoved into school and their passions are “redirected” which can be a fancy way of saying they are suppressed in the interest of conformity.

Did you know that God cares about your passions?

A lot of folks know that He does. But they think He only cares because He wants to squash all passion out of his followers and make people into uncaring zombies.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible tells us
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
You see, not only does God know about your passions, the desires of your heart, but He wants to see you get them. God knows what your passions are because He wired them into you before you were born.

The danger comes in when we lose sight of those passions we were given. Gorgeous is reading a book, Pathway to Purpose by Katie Brazelton, and I want to share a paragraph from it.
A lack of passion can quickly turn into a serious problem, especially if we attempt to fill that void with unhealthy passions. There is no denying that the compelling attractive force of passions for gambling, alcohol, pornography, overspending, overeating, adultery, or drugs. Even innocent-sounding intoxicators like television talk shows all day long, constant shopping, perpetual telephone conversations or obsessive-compulsive house cleaning can be destructive ways of feeding an unmet need for real passion. If we want to truly experience the desires of our heart and discover God’s purpose, we must guard against the seductive power of these unhealthy passions. (page 157)
What’s the best way to fight against these unhealthy passions?

Fill your time with healthy passions! It is so much easier to not do something if we are doing something else in stead.

The military has a saying, you’re better doing than thinking. And there’s some truth to it. Just simply stopping a destructive passion is nearly impossible unless the void is filled and that time and energy is filled with something constructive. Otherwise we’ll find ourselves right back where we started.

Have you lost sight of your passions? Is it holding you back?

Find them again and excel like the overcomer you were made to be.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Persecution is Alive and Kicking

Most of us have head the stories about how the early followers of Jesus were persecuted. Tradition holds that all sorts of nasty things were done to believers throughout the first few hundred years after Jesus walked the earth.

The Bible even records how the Apostle Paul, before he changed his name from Saul and converted to follow Jesus, went around arresting believers in an attempt to destroy the church.

But did you know that followers of Jesus are still being systematically persecuted in all kinds of different places throughout the globe today?

Let me take you on a little tour around the world to give you a taste of what can happen to you today in some places simply because of a choice to follow Jesus. The tour is compliments PersecutionBlog, which is the blog of The Voice of the Martyrs.

Just last week a house church was brutally attacked in Vietnam. Imagine getting together for a work day to do some much needed repairs on your church and having a mob show up and attack you. The police stood by for a while before arresting 11 of the believers and hauling them off for a few more hours of beatings and interrogations. Oh, yes. Then the mob partially tore down the house that the believers were trying to repair in the first place.

Last month a mob stormed a church in India, beating believers and breaking furniture. Then they hauled off the pastor to the police station where he was immediately arrested.

Then there’s Somalia where believers are beaten and killed by people who are taught that killing a follower of Jesus is a sure ticket into heaven. Believers can’t even register in refugee camps because of their religion. Or you could be a western relief worker and get murdered in front of your family by a mob that then burns your house and forces themselves on your wife after you’re dead.

Be glad you are not in a Pakistani prison where you might get tortured simply for holding a Bible study with your fellow prisoners and then locked in solitary confinement.

Or maybe you buy into the Myth of Chinese Religious Freedom. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you register your church with the government or not. The Chinese Public Security Bureau surrounded and raided a church that was registered with the government, and arrested several of the leaders on the grounds that theirs was an “illegal evil cult” meeting.

Have there been horrible things done by people claiming to operate in the name of Jesus Christ? Unfortunately the answer is yes, and way too many.

But I thought you should know that in many parts of the world today the cost of following Jesus is much more than simply getting dressed up for an hour a week while you try to stay awake during some preaching.

Think about that.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

What is Peace?

I’m having an interesting discussion over on Reddit with someone who objects to my previous post on the grounds that the only reason I could have experienced a peaceful moment is because I am not living in abject poverty.

People make that mistake a lot. We often think that peacefulness comes from an accumulation of wealth and things and if we could just get that raise or be able to buy those new things then our problems would be over.

If that were the case then there would be a whole lot fewer celebrity suicides. We’d also find that psychiatrists and counselors would be out of work. Wealthy people would not need their services and poor people who would need them wouldn’t be able to afford them.

The truth is that personal peace is not at all related to the amount of wealth a person has. Wealthy people can be peaceful or tormented. People living in abject poverty can also be peaceful or tormented.

I did an 8 part series on Peacemakers a couple months back. Part 6 looked at the source of spiritual peace.

Here’s what it boils down to:

Peace comes from a closeness to God. It has nothing to do with how much stuff we have or don’t have.

Am I always close to God? Nope. I often go wandering off on my own because I can be stubborn, willful, and feel I need to be in control. That’s why moments like last night are so precious and get my attention.

But here’s the best part. In spite of how screwed up I am, God still makes the effort to get close to me just like He makes the effort with you. God took concrete steps to make a close relationship with us possible. He cared so much about you and I that He traded His most precious possession for us.

He willingly gave up the life of the one closest to Him, His own son Jesus, so that we could experience that peace.

There is nothing I can do to either add to or subtract from that. No matter how much wealth I accumulate or even if I gave it all away and became dirt poor I would still not find peace unless I got close to God. Because it’s not about me, it’s about Him.


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Sunday, June 04, 2006

All is Right in the World

There are occasional moments when I have this overwhelming feeling that all is right in the world.

Now before you get all hot and bothered, I know there is still war, murder, starvation and all kinds of evil and suffering happening. I don’t live in la-la land.

But every once in a great while I just know that it is going to be OK.

This evening Gorgeous had a conference call so I went out to the store to get some milk, eggs, and other needful things. As I walked out the door to the car there was a surprising absence of gnats. I could hear the chuk-chuk-chuk of sprinklers in the neighborhood as the sun was starting to go down. A lawn mower was running a few blocks away.

It was peaceful.

It was like God was telling me, “Everything’s under control. Enjoy your evening. Have a good night’s rest tonight. I’ll keep an eye on things. In the morning we’ll talk.”

Gorgeous and I still have the same stresses in our lives. We still tons of problems and gobs of unknowns.

But it’s like God told the prophet Jeremiah
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Life is messy. Jesus himself said that we will always have problems. I like the way The Message puts it
I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.
It is reassuring to know that God has a plan. And if He’s the planner then I bet it’s a pretty stinking good one! Couple that with the fact that Jesus conquered the biggest problem I can ever face when he came up out of that tomb that first Easter morning and you begin to see why I can say it.

All is right in the world.


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Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Mission Makes A Difference

I was given a tour of the Old Savannah City Mission this morning. Talk about and educational experience!

Walking in I sort of figured it was simply a homeless shelter. While it is that, the shelter is only a part of what they do there.

The Mission serves daily hot meals to inner city children. They help families in crisis with food and clothing distributions. They operate a thrift store.

But the thing that got my attention is their Urban Training Institute which is a year long residential recovery program. The program teaches life skills to men and gives them an opportunity to build a life as well as helping them get free of their addictions.

Their approach uses High Standards, Strong Boundaries, and Clear Direction. They call it Discipline with Grace. Students who are further along in the program help and mentor those who are in the earlier stages.

The really cool thing is that what they are doing is working. Lives are being changed. Men are learning how to be men and families are being healed. We heard some powerful stories from people such as Curtis and Randy about where they came from and how they’ve changed since they arrived at the Mission.

Here are some things I learned today:
  • 75% of all men who are released from prison end up back there

  • For women it’s 85%

  • Americans would rather build more prisons than actually do the messy work required to see these folks able to re-integrate into society

  • God is still in the life changing business

  • A little bit of help can go a long way.
There is probably a mission organization doing something similar in your city. You can check some on this interactive map. And here’s a partial list.

Make a difference in someone’s life. Get involved.

You will likely find you are the biggest winner if you do.


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Friday, June 02, 2006

Evidence I'm Getting Older #458

Summer is no longer my favorite time of the year.

When I was growing up I couldn’t wait for summer every year. Since I was an only child and we lived in the country outside a (very) small town, my childhood was a very Calvinistic experience. Well, without the intellectual stuffed tiger sidekick, but I was allowed to run amok on my own. Yes, it was a different world then. We often didn’t lock our doors at night either.

But I digress.

I would endure the final few sweltering days of the school year with as much patience as I could muster. Our school building had been dedicated by Eleanor Roosevelt and didn’t have air conditioning. But I could deal with it because I knew it meant summer with all its adventure was right around the corner. I’m sure it didn’t help my grade point average at all to be taking finals with my brain frying from the heat but somehow I muddled through.

These days it seems I have to endure much more than a few sweltering days. There are vast stretches of the year of what I call Summer. I broaden the scope out a bit beyond the calendar season.

My definition of Summer is any day the temperature gets above 75F (24C). I figure my definition on the fact that we keep our air conditioner set at 74 in the summer and if it gets above that we have to close the windows. I know it’s not at all scientific. But it works for me.

Down here in the Southeast we not only have the heat, we get the humidity smothering us like a wet wool blanket. There’s nothing quite like breaking a sweat just walking the 35 feet across the parking lot to your car. I suppose that part’s not so bad though because you know when you get there you are going to climb into a blast furnace. And it will take approximately 18 minutes before there is any noticeable temperature difference in the flow coming out of the a/c vents.

If you’re trip happens to be over 45 minutes long the interior might actually get cool enough for you to stop sweating. But the a/c probably won’t be able to dry out your shirt until after the sun goes down. By that time you’re bound to notice some interesting smells are following you around.

It must be a sign of aging. Something I so looked forward to when I was a kid now fills me with a sense of dismay.

Thank God for air conditioning!

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Attention Fellow Bloggers

Dr. Nora Barnes of U-Mass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research is conducting a study about bloggers and is doing something smart – asking for input directly from authors of blogs.

Are you tired of the misconceptions that persist out there about blogging? Now you have an opportunity to help set the record straight. Take a couple of minutes to fill out the survey and return it to Dr. Barnes.

This study was brought to my attention by Liz Strauss over at Successful Blog who first heard about it from Diane Ensey at A List Review.

(We now return you back to your regular blogging program…)

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Inside Out

In my business I am on and off a lot of ships. It can be interesting because you never really know what you are walking into when you board a ship. A really rough looking, poorly maintained ship may have a very competent crew. But maybe their owners won’t pay for proper maintenance. At the same time a really good looking vessel may have an inexperienced crew.

Of course sometimes when the ship looks rough the crew also doesn’t know their business.

The point is you just can’t tell until you get on board what you are walking into.

The same is true when I have to inspect individual containers. There is no way to tell the condition of the cargo inside until the seal is broken and the doors are opened. The nastiest looking rusty container may be full of high dollar cargo. And a pristine brand new box may be mostly empty.

People can be like that too. Some folks are really good at putting up good fronts so that the outside doesn’t match what is really on the inside.

Those people can fool us for a while, but ultimately they will let us down.

The Bible tells us that God is not fooled by appearances
The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's thoughts and intentions.
It’s a good thing that God isn’t fooled. And maybe you’re thinking, “Duh! He’s God. Of course He wouldn’t be fooled.”

But I appreciate that He came right out and said it so that I don’t have to guess. And He made point right in the middle of a story to drive it home.

Take a look at that story and you’ll see that character counts. Who we really are on the inside, our driving thoughts and intensions, matters a whole lot more in the end than whatever image we present to everyone else.

Image is not everything!

Being real with folks can be scary. But ultimately it is better in the end because we don’t have to worry about the “what ifs.” What if the image cracks? What if they find out who I really am?

I try to be genuine, a Popeye person. You know, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am and I ain’t no more.” What you see is what you get. It works for me.

How’s keeping that image in place working for you?

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