Monday, October 31, 2005

More sleepless nights

Worked hard, studied for my crypto midterm, tried to fix a computer to no avail.

Had a cool time at a devotional on Friday and a halloween party on Saturday. I can't wait for the other folks to send me their pictures :)

I did realize this Sunday that I allowed myself to slip into a kind-of-bad spiritual shape. A big problem is that I let my bad sleep (2 weeks straight now) drag everything down.

I've been prideful like I have not been in months, at the very least. Some anger started popping up too...

So, because repentance is essential, I got to ask a lot of help from one of my discipling partners.
I took the decision that every time I'd play that one computer game, or even go on that website, that'd be 20$ out of my pocket into his. We'll spend more time together and really build a strategy.
I've gotten back to healthier Bible reading and prayer practices. And I decided not the eat after 7 like it suggests in that book on sleeping I got.
But, anyway, lets talk about the other nice things that happened.
On Friday, we had a Campus ministry devotional with a lot of people showing up. There was a message on excellence and there was some Risk being played too :)
On Saturday, besides studying for my Crypto exam, I went to a Bible study, and I was at the Halloween party at my place. I was dressed as a samurai. Those who know my martial arts background know that I didn't need to rent that stuff... I did study a little bit in the middle of the party (in my room with earplugs), but I did dance and so on. I had fun and our guests did too. There was some games that kept everyone laughing and so on.
On Sunday, I got to the service and then went to recharge my batteries. Once that was done, I helped a couple move in their new place. I love serving like that. Moving can be fun :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Graduation, one step closer than ever from happening

I got a letter from the Faculty with the details of the graduation. The official confirmation will be given in mid-November.
For the time being, I'll assume that I'll be attending it.

Its gonna be on Dec. 5th, at 3PM. I am afraid, however, of having an exam that day, in my Crypto class.
I don't want to miss out on this great moment, yet I don't want to endanger my grades either.
No choice but to leave that in God's hands, since this is beyond me in so very many ways...

OpenOffice 2.0 is out!

My favorite office suite is better than ever, and finally an official release.

Its been some time I was using the betas and release candidates, with the not-so-occasional crashes and all.

But this is not fully installed, with the dictionaries I need.

I deeply encourage you to use it, especially if you don't have Microsoft Office on your machine. If you already have it, give it a try anyway. They support the OpenDocument format, which is one of the real few standards for file formats, and it has real future.

Go now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More classical music ripoff?

I listened today to Jupiter, from The Planets, written by Holst and found it to ressemble quite a bit to music in Chrono Trigger (I think the faire theme). I'm far from sure about the legality of both sites.

I was shocked to be hearing the Lyrics of One Winged Angel (Final Fantasy VII) in many songs of Carmina Burana... it looks like that more great game music than I though was inspired by classical works.

I don't know if I should call it a ripoff, or if the composers acknowledged the practice... maybe the gamers could help me on that one?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Not a good week, but with good things nevertheless

I had 2 midterms. The biggest thing is that I wasn't sleeping well at last. Its now been 7 days in a row I sleep a few hours every night. This is killing me.

I never got drunk, but I do drink a beer every now and then with the roomates, and more this week than before. I read that alcool could upset sleep cycles. Combined with the stress inherent to exams, we have a bad mix. So, I'm cutting it off for the time being.

The exams went well, or so I feel. God is good to me. Prayer before an exam truly grants me peace.

I did a silly, escapist, thing, which was to install Battle for Wesnoth, which is a great open source game. A bit like Warcraft III, but turn-based. The timing was bad, and I so wasted many of God's granted hours through this.
On the + side, I got to sign my contract (finally!) and should earn money soon. I can't wait for a stabler form of revenue.
I saw the movie Unleashed (aka Danny the Dog), which was a great mixture of kung fu action and character design. The evolution was well-played. I loved it.
On Saturday night, I had a Bible study which went well, and I'm really glad it is so. I then rushed to go to the Botanical Gardens, more specifically, to the China Garden, to see the Chinese Lantern Festival feature they had there. I went through 2 sets of batteries with my digital camera. hehehehe. Pictures will come later.
On Sunday, we had a sermon on Romans 6 (still continuing that series) and our evangelist addressed the importance to keep friends outside of the church and the small group organization. I then went out to eat with some brothers and sisters, got home for a nap, then went to a huge Loblaws to do grocery shopping for the household with my roomates. Kilos of rices and couscous for little!
After eating, we went to a pool place to play a bit. We walked back praying together, under the light rain, and then I was right away in bed. Badly (and barely) slept for the whole night. We had a godo time for sure.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How to know when you printed a file...

This looks like this one will be justified by "a test mode that we forgot to disable"...

This means that anyone printing a ramson letter or so on will provide a lot of unintentional information to the cops...
It would've been nice if at least someone bothered to inform us.

A good rule of thumb in ethics is that if you are not ready to tell people you are gonna do it, you shouldn't do it...
At least, that's my take on it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hardcore weekend

Friday, Men's Forum, with Chris Broom (Syracuse church) preaching.
Saturday, study and study and study
Sunday, we had a powerful service, and tons of fellowship

The rest of my week was all about bursary applications and studying for midterms.

So, I managed to submit everything I due time for ny NSERC and FQR bursary applications. We'll see what happens.
That I get them or don't get them means little to me. I guess its a right start, but I should pray and build the faith that God will bless me with them.
Afterwards, on Friday, I joined the Men's Forum, organized by the church. The sharings were real, and the message powerful. Because sisters will be reading this, I'll pass on what was really said.
I was encouraged to fight in the battle all the more, relying on God's Spirit. Also, afterwards, I went at a brother's place and spent time with him. He needed encouragement (and I did too, actually) and it was a real good brotherly time. I slept at his place, as it was well after midnight.
On Saturday, I went to jog with a sister, then got home, had a D-time with the Campus Leader, and then went to have one other D-time with a bunch of brothers. Most did not show up, so it was real personal. Afterwards, I went to study at the library. The other students did not show up :( So I studied alone, lacking motivation (I HATE OS security, honestly).
On Sunday, I served at the book table all by myself (the other sister being gone to visit her folks), and I talked about "The Guilty Soul's Guide to Grace". You can read the review in my other blog, TheoThoughts. The message on Romans 5 was powerful, especially with the introduction, when our evangelist started saying "you feel that XYZ, the Bible says ABC" (fill in the blanks) with one example after another. The basic point: stop being emotional, and build faith that God has saved us and justified us out of His love for us. We had a good sharing, a short message before the collect, and, to crown it all, our evangelist taking some time to explain the recent changes in the Church, which was something that was well-needed, as not everyone was really understanding what was going on. Myself, I was about to give him a phone call about that, so it was timely.
Afterwards, I did my grocery shopping, went to a sister's housewarming party. She is a very courageous sister who, despite the pain of arthritis, leads a Bible Talk in her place, and stays faithful despite the fact that she can't even attend a service. And she loves classical music, and she lived in Switzerland for a few years. Awesome!
We had the leader's meeting, and we got a few versions on the study of the Word. We are to master all the basic principles, and I'm eager to answer that call, especially to memorize the Scripture referred to in each. That's my personnal objective for the time being :)
We went home and I discussed with my roomate. It had been a while I did not talk in deep of stuff going on, so I was glad of that. After doing some cleaning, I called a sister in Portland, then went to a poetry writing time at a sister's place. It was on women's safety, as part of the month of women. I wrote two pieces, one on the need for women in computer security, and one on the continous rapes that occured in Darfur. That's only one article. I saw a documentary on CBC, and I felt sick. In some villages, every single female raped at multiple times, every time a new gang moved in town (supposedly "liberating" the village...). I'll send them for the contest and eventually put them online.
For the In-Depth feature at CBC, click here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hitting a good bump

I had a great conversation with a brother yesterday, after the midweek. I was feeling drained, unstimulated, etc.

We talked about very many things (and focusedly, none the less) and it helped me sort through quite a bit of stuff. All that stuff is private enough, so I'm leaving you in the dark :P

Anyway, prayers for fulfillment in my relationship with God, and surrender, are greatly appreciated.

Ubuntu is Out

Ubuntu Linux is the hottest Linux distribution these days, and the newest version is now out.

I'm downloading it using BitTorrent, because I'm a good Internet citizen :)

So, this week's "me time" will be centered around installing this on my laptop and listening to some good music.
The sad news is that there is still no built-in WPA support for my wireless, which means I'll have to beat my laptop into submission to get it working. *sighs* Linux is still an imperfect world.

I'm not gonna complain too much, cuz I'm not investing _any_ time to get those features working... and, besides, computer issues should not rob God's-given gift of joy in my life (and I'm good at letting those pointless things effectively robbing it).

I'll tell you about my experience when I'm done with it :)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Firefox sweetness

I stumbled on the Firemonger Project, which created a "distribution" of Firefox and Thunderbird (+ plugins and utilities). They have a fairly good mix. You should give a shot to quite a few of those extensions and tools.

I just tried FireTune and I love it already! The load time is really lowered, and the option to replace the connection failure alert box with a page is really sweet. Anyway :D

Thanksgiving weekend

I had a cool weekend. My parents came to town (with them, a lot of my stuff), and I got to spend quite some time with them and with the church, which was awesome.

My parents arrived on saturday PM. We went to get my glasses from the store, and set on the walls some frames, my sword set, a new bookshelf, etc.

In the evening, we had a good meal together (Italian sausages, salad, potatoes, wine) and we talked quite a bit. Afterwards, we had a walk together, and I showed them a lot of the buildings of the Jewish community in my neighbourhood. We were wondering who was this "Ben Weider" dude for which a lot of buildings were named after.
Wikipedia had an answer.

On Sunday, we went to the service together. This was a special service, in the campus group. We read quite a few chapters of Mark, then had 3 sharings for the communion. I told a bit about the spiritual meaning of the communion, and then we had a few songs, and a big meal together! There was sooooooooo much more people than expected. The place was packed and quite a few were standing or sitting on the floor. Things were not moving as smoothly though, because of the large amount of people (especially when noone knows the songs...)

Overall, it was wonderful.

I spent more time with my parents, explaining them my convictions a bit. They then left back home. Afterwards, I joined back some brothers and I played my first game of Axis and Allies. We then had a thanksgiving supper with the roomates and the brothers who hosted us during the "moving crisis".

Some sisters invited us to join them afterwards, which we did. We talked about what things we were grateful for.
In my case: my academic success, my trip in Europe, the relationships with the brothers and the spiritual growth and about my prayer answered for my research.
Afterwards, we had some talk about appearances, social standards, etc. It was pretty cool to make the sisters discover that, indeed, there is some effort we do to look good for them, and to know more what effort the sisters do to look good for us. Bridge-building indeed.

I went home earlier than everyone else to rest. This morning, I was blessed to lead a study with a guy. Now, I have to go back to Studying, but I am happy to be blogging about this.
I couldn't have lived something like that 3 years ago. Amen.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Kossins, kossins, kossins

"Kossin" is Québécois slang to mean "things" and, for me, it means "annoying things you gotta do and that will steal a lot of your time".

So, still feeling sick, I went to see the Health Clinic at the university. I was looked by nurse, who told me I should be having my annual... which I did the same afternoon. The doctor told me to go get blood and urine tests, but had to go back to do that, because that closes a 3PM. (As a sidenote, I don't seem to be having anything really bad, so it will be acetaminophen to help with the lack of energy)
Then, I had an apointment scheduled with my dentist. Turns out I have a few caries to be taken care of... next month.
My glasses arrived at the store, didn't yet have the time to go get them.
Wasted a huge lot of time to go get my Accès Montréal card. Wasted a bit of time to go get my fair trade tea.
BUT, there's been some cool stuff that happened.
I managed to make some progress in my research. Still, we'll have to figure out better methods, because it is taking forever.
We had a first design meeting for my cryptography project. This will be cool.
I FINALLY made the first motions to start studying my midterms. I'll have to really focus on that now.
A sister gave me two SUPBERB tea infusers. One for home, one for the office. This is so awesome!
Another is about to send me a shipping of fair traded tea. (Side note: feel free to send me Irish Breakfast tea... not English, IRISH, that's the stuff). This is really really really cool.
I listened with my roomate to some more Baroque musique, and had two D-times that went wonderfully.
Moreover, I managed to have quite a few phone calls with brothers and sisters of other cities. This is something I wish I could do more.
My reading of Victory of Surrender is putting me at a ponit where I want to act. Your prayers are always welcome.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

The Reasons Christ Came... and Us

[Edit: improved the formatting]
Could you list your goals, your purpose in life? Keep it to yourself, be very honest.

Let us see for a moment why Jesus came on earth... and what this means for us.
1) Why Jesus Came on Earth
Reason #1: Accomplish God's will
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17)

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (Jn 6:38)
-> Jesus wanted to do God's will in everything. The Law was pervasive to every aspect of our lives, and Jesus was to fulfill it.(Extra reading: Jn 5:43)
Reason #2: Salvation of All

But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:13)

As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (John 12:47)
-> Jesus was interested in the people who are sinners and acknowledge it, to bring them to salvation.
[...]the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)
(extra reading: Luke 9:50-56)
Reason #3: Service + New Life for Believers
-> Jesus was here to serve. He washed feet, he took care of the poor and needy, he healed and served to make people's lives better in a way that was beyond his salvation mandate.
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. (John 12:46)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
(extra reading: John 1, 16:7)
-> Jesus came to bring people out of spiritual darkness. The light he gives us allows us to have a fulfilling life.
Reason #4: Persecution Because of His Teachings
I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49)
(see Mt 10:34)
-> Jesus knew that persecutions would come with the Church... and he was eager for it! Eager to see his teachings put in practice!
Reason #5: Teach us the Truth
"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37)
(see also Mark 1:38)
-> Bringing the truth to as much as possible was one of his objectives.

2) What it Means for Us: Renewal
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Co 3:16-18)
(Further reading Eph 4:11-13, Ro 8:28-29, Gal 3:19)
-> God's will for us is to become more like Christ.
-> There are many facets to this, but let's focus on this one
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (Jn 3:5-6)
-> We can do so only if we are born again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
-> If we are born again by baptism, we are a new creation. How new? How does God want to use that to shape us?
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, (Romans 6:17)
(Further reading, Romans 2:29)
-> Our hearts are changed so that we want to be obedient.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
-> Matrix example
-> Renewing of the mind.
-> We are able to think more like God

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise. (Ps 51:12-17)
-> God loves our submitted hearts, and our human broken spirits
-> Willing spirit after forgiveness
-> Transformation and Grace creates the desire to share our faith, to praise God.
3) Conclusion
  • God wants to change us so that we act, feel, think more like Jesus.
  • How much are we thinking like him?
  • Recap: Do God's will, Salvation of all, Service, New/better life to others, Persecution, Truth
  • Share about how we are on this

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Week with grey glasses

I have issues with my perspective.

Compared to the average Sahelian, I should just shut up and praise God 24/7.

Sadly, I do not tend to compare myself with the average Sahelian...
At least, I'll make every effort to talk about my week without crying anybody a river, and derive the positive side of things.

First of all, my cold persited and got draining. I slept in 2 mornings because I was too tired. And a few times, I did not sleep in and was braindead. Forget about productivity. The good side of that is that I did some practical "taking care of myself", in a way.
My team projects did not start too well... We have barely more than a month left, and I feel we are lagging behind, and that some are just not involved. The good side of it is that I am learning more when the others are not doing things for me.
The midweek was +-. We are reading "The Master Plan of Evangelism" as a group. I'm a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing, because we are, in a sense, teaching from something else than the Word. Doesn't mean its false, but still.
I got a list of the "counting of the cost" for Bible Talk leaders that got me crazy for a moment. Good thing I talked a bit with another brother, or I'd have gotten on a rampage.
On Thursday, the class was rough for our prof. He asked for our feedback, and the folks were none too nice with him. On one hand, what was felt by everyone was expressed. On the other hand, it did hurt _me_ to hear that, and I can assume it was worst for the prof than for me. Afterwards, I went to the debate I talked about in a separate entry.
On Friday, I went to a sister to get me new glasses. We found something good that was a little bit over budget, but nothing dramatic. It will lighten my look a little bit. Those should be ready by next week. We have a good relationship, but I did manage to say a comment she resented. We talked about it and got things sorted, but I was surprised by the whole thing. To me, it was a solved matter for months...
I guess there is much learning for me (hardly a new discovery)
Saturday, I had a d-time with some brothers, went to the lab to work a bit, and ended up wasting a few hours playing a silly game. Still, I got some work done. I got to the grocery store and bought some stuff I don't eat often to offer me a special meal, and a sister called for some technical help. Turns out she had nothing to do, so I joined her. We ate together, I tried to fix her DSL (to no avail), and we called in a few more brothers to watch National Treasure. Highly predictable on many levels. But did me well.
On Sunday, I gave myself some more time to pray, and arrived late at the leader's meeting. We shared good news (mine is that my Bible talk is having regulars now... highly unexpected but cool) and the short message was about the need to have loving leadership instead of insecure leadership. Being more loving is a challenge and a prayer request for me. After service, we went to eat to a restaurant in the east end, and a sister offered the meal to thank me for being encouraging to her. I personally would've used the word "evil", since I'm a tough personal trainer... when I am in action, I'm intense... getting into action is more challenging.
I got mail from a brother and it wasn't very positive. I need to pray and take the time to write him truly encouraging words, because he's going trough a lot.
I then treated myself to some more Baroque music and a siesta (I was sleep deprived). I slept more than I thought I would... lets just say I'll have to listen to the CD again.
With the roomates, we began the documentary "The World According to Bush", from the CBC's "The Passionate Eye". Badly titled, but very informative. We ate irish stew, wonderfully cooked by one of them.
Doing a recap like that shows that a lot of good stuff actually hapenned. In general I was under stress, sick and tired. I had the "how dare you ask more of me" kind of attitude. Falls in those generic "its obvious but I don't know why" kind of days.