IMG_0001-0.JPG

Failure

Wow, did I ever fail on the goals I set up for myself. My goodness, it’s really sad. I would love to be able to blame my new job for it, but as I can see from my last post more than 2 months ago, it’s really not just that. It’s just my own procrastination.

And so, here I am making a new start. I’ll be a little more careful though on what I choose…

First, is something that really is a new start, memorizing the book of Philippians. I feel better about it this time, though because I’m doing it with a friend, Neil. So I’ve pulled out my old Partnering to Remember book and I’m giving it another goal. For 16 weeks, starting tomorrow (actually I started yesterday but don’t tell Neil), I’m gonna memorize Philippians!

Second, for half of that time (8 weeks), I’m also going to do a read through of the Bible. Man I really need to be able to do a full year. Or maybe should I just stick to these short bursts? Bleh! We’ll, 2014 is already out so I’ll give a full year another try in 2015… But as for now, I’ll do it in 8 weeks, then maybe do a 3 month plan to finish off the year strong.

That is all… Not giving up on a Korean or Japanese or getting my pilots license… But for now, these are the only goals I’m going to blog about.

20140529-221958-80398620.jpg

May Cigar of the Month

Mmmmm…

I’m writing this a couple of days earlier than I’m actually posting it. So I might have smoked the last one by now. Here are the May Cigar of the Month. I cancelled my April one because I was in between jobs and I couldn’t afford it. But now that I’m fully employed again, I’m actually thinking about upgrading. Anyway, here are the cigars…

  1. Bolivar Belicoso Finos (5 1/2 x 52)
  2. Diplomatico No. 2 (6 1/2 x 52, which is a Pyramid)
  3. Cuaba Exclusivo ( 5 3/4 x 46, which is a true torpedo, albeit a small one)
  4. Romeo y Julietta Short Churchill (4 7/8 x 50, a robusto)

I pretty much smoked them in that order. I really enjoyed the Belicoso Finos. But the Diplomatico No. 2, I was smoking just after Eman and I bought the Kia. So it was hard to focus on it. I really didn’t like the Exclusivos, even though it smelled the best out of all of them. And as I said, I haven’t smoked the RnJ yet, but I’ve smoked Short Churchills before, and I’ve generally liked them.

20140529-221132-79892264.jpg

Oh man another month went by…

And suffice it to say, I’m behind on EVERYTHING. But I’m trying to catch up! What’s going on….

  1. I started my ministry as an Associate Pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church here in Fort McMurray. I’m almost 3 weeks into it, and things are going pretty well.
  2. I’ve started learning Korean. I’m not sure yet if it’s instead of Japanese (at least for now) or in addition to Japanese. Most likely in addition to, because I just started watching Fairy Tail, and it’s given me a boost in my desire to learn Japanese, and right now I’m kind of in a slump in terms of Korean Dramas. So we’ll see how that goes…
  3. I started learning how to drive a standard with Eman. SWEET. We bought a car (a 2006 Kia) just to do  this.
  4. I won’t be doing anything extra this summer… That is, not the flying lessons, or getting my firearms license. The Flying Lessons is still a priority. So I might do ground school over the year or something. But things are just too busy for me in the evenings to attend ground school (held on Tuesday and Thursday nights).
  5. I’m trying to figure out what “professional development” I’d like to do. Apparently, I’ve got $1200 for that, so I want to make use of it. Just not sure if I want to do that for like office skills (like accounting) or for pastoral skills (like counselling).

Ok that’s about it. I also started journalling more private stuff. Really stuff I can’t publish online.. Like personal (not to me) matters. But I find that I really need a way to decompress like that.

20140421

I’m Still Alive!

Oh cool. I totally thought it was still March, the last time I posted something. But it was just April 3… which is just over 2 weeks ago. It also looks like I mentioned what was going on: I was sick. Bleh. That was pretty bad. As in, I actually went to see a doctor bad. Which, for anyone who knows me, I never go see doctors. Anyway, soon after I got better, I also went on a long weekend vacation to Edmonton with the guys. And here I am. My output should pick up again soon because… I’m almost done at my current job! 2 more shifts (after a day off tomorrow), and I’m officially done. Better yet: I’ve got 3 weeks before I start my new job as Associate Pastor for Communication, Administration, and Leadership Development at Fellowship Baptist Church, Fort McMurray. Phew. Long title, I know. I’ll probably abbreviate that.. Associate Pastor for CALD. Or CLAD… no that doesn’t work. DLAC? LOl. meh.

Having said all that, I suppose now is as good a time as any to update my progress on my year’s goals. It’s not good….

  1. Japanese learning is at a complete halt right now. I’ll resume next Monday, and hopefully get really motivated to work hard on it. Maybe I’ll register for the JLPT N5 exam in August to get me motivated.
  2. I’ve been doing my devotions, although I’m  just a little behind on it (like only about a week, which can be caught up pretty quickly since I’ll do 2-a-day until I catch up). But, I haven’t been blogging about it. I count 12 blog posts from the beginning of the year, and I should have 16 done by now. So I’m a little behind on that too, but again, not too hard to catch up.
  3. Have not touched Greek or Hebrew at all yet. But I hadn’t planned on doing anything about that until later on in the year anyway.
  4. Weekly memory is not going well either. I’m not gonna catch up on it, so technically it’s a failure. But I’m going to restart where I am now, and go from there.
  5. Same goes for New City Cathechism. I haven’t done anything since January. So I’ll have to see if I can actually do it this year or if I need to postpone it until next year.

Now for some other kinds of updates… Or at least, addition to goals (I know, weird, given that I’m really behind on some of them). But this has been a long standing goal of mine. And it’s something I actually have to seriously invest in (as in, money-wise). So I definitely need to complete it if I start it: I want to get my pilot’s license. It has to do with the featured image above… I’d been watching a bunch of Korean dramas recently, and one of them is that one, called “Take Care of Us, Captain” (Because I’m officially in love with Ku Hye Sun, the girl in the picture). So watching that Drama, I got to thinking about this dream I’ve always had of getting my pilot’s license. And I started researching it… And, well… Mostly because I’m actually got a real income now for the first time in my life, it’s actually possible. So starting in June or so, I’ll start ground school, and pretty much do the flying lessons throughout the summer and fall. I’ll only go for the Recreational License this year. And next year, upgrade it to the Private Pilot’s license. Who knows, maybe I can even upgrade that further to a commercial license… But we’ll see how it goes.

Concerning Philippians 1

Well, I’d been sick for a few days. Like, in bed all day sick for all of Sunday. Would have been Friday & Saturday, too, but I was working. I went to the Doctor on Tuesday. But that really didn’t help that much (apparently it’s not an actual infection). So I just spent yesterday resting as well (since I had the day off from work again).

Anyway, this puts me even farther behind. But like I said before, no worries. I was slowly catching up with my Bible Reading, but I of course got set back a little with being sick. Nevertheless, I’ve only got another week or so of double readings to catch up.

So, today’s reading is still actually from last month: March 27, concerning Philippians 1. I was struck with D.A. Carson’s explanation of a verse that I had probably read hundreds of times before (literally, because I once tried to memorize all of Philippians): Philippians 1:29-30. “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” Carson writes:

What a remarkable notion! Paul does not say that these Christians have been called to suffer as well as to believe, but that it had been granted to them to suffer as well as to believe – as if both suffering in Christ and believing in Christ were blessed privileges that have been graciously granted. That, of course is precisely what he means. We often think of faith as a gracious gift of God (Eph. 2:8-9), but suffering?

(D.A. Carson, For the Love of God Vol. 2, Kindle Loc 2094)

Man, do I ever have things to say about that. The least of which is to explain the conduct of some Christians that I know in how they’ve faced their suffering. One of these examples is Matt Chandler (lead Pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, Texas), who famously dumbfounded journalists with how he responded to a diagnosis of brain cancer. Here’s the video of his announcement to his church…

God grant me the courage to respond with joy like this in face of the grace of suffering that you may grant in my life.

20140326-040330.jpg

March Cigars of the Month

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted. As I mentioned in my previous post, I went on vacation to Toronto. And I got crazy lazy… Meaning I’m behind on EVERYTHING. Wow. I’m trying to get motivated to get busy. The Bible Reading will be the easiest, since that’s built into my schedule already. But I do have to take care, especially an upcoming major overhaul of my schedule (more on that to come), I need to make sure I can overcome such a schedule change again, and not just drop my Bible Reading because my schedule is different). As for Japanese, man it’s getting really hard to resume. It’s been hard to get motivated to do my Pimsleur studying at work… Bah… I’ll get on to learning the Kana and Kanji again, maybe that’ll help.

Anyway, my March Cigars came, and I’m pretty excited about them because I get to smoke them in weather over zero degrees! haha. This month we have…

  1. Sancho Panza Belicoso (5 1/2 x 52, which is about standard for a Belicoso)
  2. Ramon Allones Allones Extra LE 2011 (5 5/8 x 44, typical Corona)
  3. Bolivar Royal Corona (4 7/8 x 50, which, despite the name, actually makes it a Robusto)
  4. Montecristo Open Master (4 7/8 x 50, als oa Robusto)

I already smoked the Bolivar. I was originally going to save the Ramon Allonnes for last because it’s the most exclusive of the bunch, I think (since it’s a limited edition). But the Montecristo is the most expensive… so meh, we’ll see how it goes. I do think I’m going to upgrade to the next level for next month, the Diamond (currently on the Platinum), which has bigger or more expensive cigars on offer. Again, since it’s starting to warm up outside…

20140104

Concerning Exodus 16

Kind of a little behind again (though I’m catching up today), so this is from yesterday’s reading. This is a problem with a lot of Christians today. The kind of grumbling occurs when you have a really warped view of God. This is what D.A. Carson has to say about why the Israelites grumbled about not having meat despite just witnessing God’s miraculous salvation through the plagues and through the parting of the Red Sea…

Why should people who have witnessed so spectacular a display of the grace and power of God slip so easily into muttering and complaining and slide so gracelessly into listless disobedience? The answer lies in the fact that many of them see God as existing to serve them. He served them in the Exodus; he served them when he provided clean water. Now he must serve not only their needs but their appetites. Otherwise they are entirely prepared to abandon him. While Moses has been insisting to Pharaoh that the people needed to retreat into the desert in order to serve an worship God, the people themselves think God exists to serve them.

(D.A. Carson, For the Love of God Vol. 2, pg. 34)

20140104

Concerning 1 Corinthians 16

It’s a new week, but I’m still a little behind on my Bible Reading. This comment is concerning readings from 2 days ago, but I wanted to post this quote because it really speaks to the heart of issues concerning men of my age and situation: the inability to act. That is, the inability to act without any “spiritual guidance”. It’s such a prevalent issue that a book was written about it. It’s called “Just Do Something” by Kevin DeYoung (I’m sure there are other similar books).

Anyway, in the comment concerning 1 Corinthians 16 in particular, D.A. Carson talks about how much of Paul’s ministry was made up through “planning, instruction, pastoral judgements, even uncertainties – much like our own ministries” (Loc. 1495). This is despite the many “dramatic moments” in Paul’s life that seemed to lead him in a concrete direction. And so that’s really something that I am learning to trust God about. I don’t need some huge sign to find out his will for direction in my ministry. Sometimes, as is the case right now, what’s required is some careful planning, and a whole lot of uncertainty, before things get moving in a direction which I am sure is ordained by the Lord. Here’s what D.A. Carson has to say:

Today there is a form of ethereal “spirituality” that wants to wait for explicit guidance for every decision., that regards a phrase like “if the Lord wills” as a sanctimonious cop-out. That was not Paul’s perspective, and it should not be ours.

(D.A. Carson, For the Love of God Vol. 2, Kindle Loc. 1511)

Major Catching Up To Do…

Well, another week short on posts has passed by. And that can only mean one thing: I’ve fallen behind on, well, everything. *Sigh* things got especially busy this past weekend with the arrival of my cousin in town. Starting off with an early morning airport pick up (as in, 1AM pick up), I’ve been helping to settle him in the past couple of days. All is well though. It looks like he’ll have a job fairly quickly. So that’s a load off. And I myself will be starting work soon, though pretty soon after that, I’ll be on vacation! So I’m not too worried that I’m a little behind.