Saturday, December 31, 2005

Yes, I love technology.

Yes, I love technology
But not as much as you, you see.
But I still love technology
Always and forever.

Tonight (CST) we will have a "leap second" added to our year. Ergo, our day/year will be one second longer.
"There have been 22 leap seconds added - and no subtractions - since the first one on 30 June, 1972."
From the article inserted below, technology and its advances in issues chronologically related have helped us to see that our earth is actually slowing down. It is actually taking the earth longer than 24 hours to make a full rotation.

I'm not sure yet of the theological/providential implications of this, but I do indeed find it somewhat fascinating. I look forward to observing that extra second tonight right after dinner time.

How will you spend that extra second this year?

How to Use Your Extra Second of Existence (AP)
Friday, December 30, 2005

If life is often a matter of split seconds — the train door that closes in your face, the chance encounter with the love of your life, the near-collision with an oncoming SUV — then the universe is about to bestow upon us a generous gift: the leap second.

On Saturday, at exactly 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, one second will be added to our official record of time — Coordinated Universal Time, kept by a series of atomic clocks, housed in environmentally sealed vaults in about 80 timekeeping laboratories around the world and certified by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris.

The reason for the extra second is simple: The earth is slowing down.

Since the days of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists have understood that the time it takes for the earth to make a full rotation is getting longer.

The gradual deceleration is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon. The same force that brings the tides is putting the brakes on the earth, albeit very slowly.

And because time is a function of planetary movement, our days are getting longer and, depending on how you look at it, time is slowing down.

This discrepancy is something we have only recently become able to measure. That happened in 1958 with the advent of atomic clocks, which measure time using the resonant frequency of a cesium atom.

When a 24-hour day, as measured by the world's atomic clocks, becomes more than 9/10ths of a second shorter than a solar day, those in charge add the leap second.

Eventually, the 24-hour day as we know it will become a few minutes longer, although it will take millions of years. After hundreds of millions of years, the day will grow an hour longer.

The rotation of the earth and its orbital path around the sun (which is engaged in a perpetual gravitational tug of war with Jupiter) are inconsistent and always vary slightly.

"If we think of all the ways we're being jerked around the universe, we'd probably be hurling in the street," joked Geoff Chester, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

These cosmic forces matter little in the lifetime of any single person until, eventually, a day in the life gains one second.

Most of us will not pause to notice the extra second. But our machines will.

Our computers, and mobile phones, and global positioning devices will all rest for one second at the appointed time as they calibrate to Coordinated Universal Time.

"All this stuff depends on precise time," Chester said, "and the problem that you have if you don't get all the clocks synchronized when the leap second occurs — you could have potentially interesting effects — is that the Internet could stop working, cell phones could go out."

The official timekeeping devices of communication companies the world over, television stations, newspapers, indeed The Associated Press, also will hold their electronic breaths for one second.

Perfect time is critical to our technological infrastructure, some of which operates at the speed of light. Measured this way, one second represents two-thirds of the distance between the earth and the moon.

For the average person, observing the leap second requires focus and effort. Most cannot feel the extra second of sleep to which we will be entitled. No ball will drop. The leap second will not be observed with a countdown broadcast live from Times Square.

But for those wishing to witness the event, the process is relatively simple and requires a stop watch and a common cell phone with a time display.

At the precise moment the display reads 6:59 p.m. (EST), start the stopwatch. When the display changes to 7:00, stop the watch. It should read 61 seconds.

There. Your extra second will have been spent.

[What time is it? Find out here.]

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas! O Come, Let Us Adore Him!

I was glad when they said to me,
"Let us go to the house of the LORD!" (Psalm 122:1; ESV)

I can honestly say, I really enjoyed spending Christmas with my extended family (i.e., the body of Christ).

I might not get a lot of positive feedback from the "Amen Corner," but I wouldn't be against having Christmas on Sunday every year. You get the best of both worlds ... family, gifts, AND fellowship with the brethren & corporate worship of the incarnate Christ.

This morning at church we sang "O Come, Let Us Adore Him."

We came ... and we did.

O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

For He alone is worthy, For He alone is worthy,
For He alone is worthy, Christ the Lord.


Christmas Thought on the Incarnation of Christ:

The Maker of man became man that He, Ruler of the stars, might be nourished at the breast; that He, the Bread, might be hungry; that He, the Fountain, might thirst; that He, the Light, might sleep; that He, the Way, might be wearied by the journey; that He, the Truth, might be accused by false witnesses; that He, the Judge of the living and the dead, might be brought to trial by a mortal judge; that He, Justice, might be condemned by the unjust; that He, Discipline, might be scourged with whips; that He, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; that Courage might be weakened; that Security might be wounded; that Life might die. Saint Augustine

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Isn't it IRONIC? Dontcha think?

I came across this brief story with an unknown source. The irony is hard to miss:

Two women who were having lunch in an elegant hotel were approached by a mutual friend who asked the occasion for the meal.

One lady replied, “We are celebrating the birth of my baby boy.”

“But where is he?” inquired the friend.

“Oh,” said the mother, “you didn’t think I’d bring him, did you?”

What a picture of the way the world treats Jesus at Christmas.

Never have I thought that was more accurate than this Christmas, which just happens to fall on a Sunday.

Now, I'll be the first to make a suggestion with regard to the scheduling of Christmas. Since we don't know the actual date of Christ's birth (though we're pretty confident it wasn't in December/winter), we're not really bound by the 25th of December. So ... my suggestion is to do what is done with Thanksgiving. Why not have the observation of Christmas fall on the last Thursday or Friday of December? (Ever notice that we don't celebrate the resurrection on a prescribed date?)

People could plan a longer vacation like Thanksgiving and you'd always know when it will be (i.e., what day of the week). I'm not sure who I need to talk to about that, but it makes more sense to me. Tradition, however, will be hard to overcome ... though it's not necessarily a biblical tradition (i.e., 12/25).

In the meantime, Christmas IS on a SUNDAY this year and there has been more than a little controversy about how to respond. Some churches (typically the bigger ones) have cancelled services on Christmas morning. Others (including ours) have not.

[For the record, I will issue this caveat that I am much more disappointed with churches canceling services than I am with individual Christians missing worship, some of whom are not able to meet with their congregation because of said cancellation. The leaders set the tone and they have set the tone that church is not that important, because they have a low ecclesiology (i.e., a low view of church). In other words, the local church is not that important. This epidemic (low ecclesiology) will have to be the topic of another post, however.]

Tom Ascol of Founders Ministies has some great insight on what these closings indicate about the state of much of American Christianity. Indeed, there is a dramatic IRONY involved in ceasing to gather together to worship the Lord Jesus Christ because it's not convenient to worship the Lord Jesus Christ because we're going to be opening gifts and won't be able to drag ourselves to worship the Risen Lord with God's people by 11AM.

Before you answer, isn't inconvenience the primary reason for anyone to neglect the gathering together for worship on the Lord's Day? The lake calls. Football pregame calls. The yard work calls. More sleep calls. Say what you want, but we make time for that which is important to us.

Yet, many Christians will find something of greater value than worshipping Christ with His people on a day commemorating HIS birth. One might argue that the intent is still to worship Jesus ... just at home, with family. But, when did Christmas become a family day as opposed to a church holy day? Have even Christians become too busy with Christmas for church?

Perhaps irony is the flavor of the month. Christians are more upset that stores are minimizing Christ this season (e.g., "Happy Holidays," etc.) than they are that churches are minimizing Christ (i.e., no corporate worship).

What I find most ironic is that Christians are happy enough to abstain from a biblically grounded practice (God's people gathering together on the Lord's Day to worship the Risen Lord) in favor of an extrabiblical practice (no examples whatsoever of Christians celebrating Christ's birthday as church holy day).

Am I the only one who sees the irony? Of course not. However, some will go further and see it as outright hypocrisy. The world loves to see Christians look silly and hypocritical. I think this is one of those instances where the church has fueled the fire.

Brit Hume of Fox News picked up on this (making the accusation of "secularizing Christmas", and he's not alone.
Closed for Christmas
It seems even places of worship aren't immune to secularizing Christmas. Some of the country's largest churches are shutting their doors on Christmas Day
so that staff and volunteers can spend time with their families. So-called megachurches near Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Detroit, where thousands of people worship each week, are closing for Christmas, despite the fact that the holiday falls on a Sunday. What's more, pastors at the churches report that the decision hasn't generated much controversy. One Kentucky pastor says Christmas is no longer sacred to many Americans, adding, "It's viewed more as a holiday than a holy day."
So ... Christian ... What is Christmas to you? Is it a holiday or a holy day? I have a hunch that where you are tomorrow morning before lunch will go a long way to answering that question.

Remember, Jesus (and not family getting together) is the reason for the season.

24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. - Hebrews 10:24-25

Friday, December 23, 2005

Plus, no bicycle.

There's going to be a bit of a somber mood competing with the season to be jolly.

My cousin passed away this morning. Robert Lincoln Kent III was just 22 and this will hit the family hard, particularly his mother, Aunt Georgia, who has already lost her husband, RLK, Jr.

But is it the season to be jolly, as opposed to other times of the year? It seems to me that for a Christian (self included) there is a joy we can have year round. In fact, it's part of the Fruit of the Spirit. In other words, Christian joy is not dependent on circumstances.

Christians have Christ in their lives regardless of what happens, even the tragically unexpected death of a family member. Don't get me wrong, we still mourn, but not as the world as though we had no hope.

But there is comfort for the mourning Christian, only for the Christian, a comfort found in our relationship with a loving Father through Christ.

I'll be officiating the funeral up in Illinois sometime next week. It will not be easy to give words of comfort to those hurting. I'd welcome prayers as I attempt to mourn with those who mourn.

For me, this is the season to be sober-minded, remembering the fleeting nature of human life and our pressing need for forgiveness through Christ. God the Son was born in a feed trough, but rose from the dead after having lived a holy, perfect, and sinless life. He came into the world, taking on human flesh, to save sinners, who might have His righteousness through faith/trust in Him and His sacrifical death on the cross.

Each of us will die and face judgment. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. If you are a Christian, by God's grace, prasie God and pray for those you love who are not.

If you do not have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, please believe/trust in the risen Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved from the penalty of your sins. There is salvation in Christ alone, for He alone is the way to the Father and life everlasting.

May God be gracious enough to us this Christmas to realize our need for the gift of forgiveness, Jesus Christ, in whom we must believe. Feel free to contact me if you would like to dialogue further on the blessing of having a loving relationship with the Heavenly Father through faith in Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to all ... and to all a good night.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Semper Bow Tie

I am an unashamed advocate of the greatness that is the bow tie, ever since, Chris J. Cote' first made me covet by sporting his and Stephen Brown taught me how to tie one at DTS in the men's room.

In fact, I have only transgressed by wearing a "long tie" once since 1995 (that being at graduation from seminary, but under my "gown" so as to not be seen).

Let me try to indoctrinate you, sway you to the few, the proud, the bow tie guys.

Reasons you should switch to the bow tie (in no particular order):
  • You can have some fun and interesting experiences when your identity is mistakenly assumed (e.g., television weatherman, member of the Nation of Islam, worker at restaurant or grocery store, Chippendales dancer, etc.), most of which I have experienced firsthand.
  • You don't have to worry about getting the tie length just right so as to not look like an out of work used car salesman.
  • You don't have to worry about spilling food on your tie or throwing it over your shoulder to avoid such.
  • It helps when applying for a job as a professor at an institution of higher learning.
  • Fellow bow tie guys: Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Vito Corrleone, the Cat in the Hat, and Troy Dungan.

Here's a picture of bow tie discipleship ala 2 Timothy 2:2 style.

Click here or here for HOW to tie a bow tie (no self-respecting Christian would ever attempt to deceive by wearing a clip on).

Places to order bow ties:
The Bow Tie Club
Beauties Ltd of Vermont

Finally, when you wear a bow tie, you're one cool cat.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Picture for 2005

Here is the Hartman family, all decked out in holiday attire.

The story behind the picture? We got dressed up late one afternoon and got in the car, not knowing where we were going to have our picture taken or by whom. Plus, we were losing daylight ... rapidly.

We landed at the gazeebo at Haggard park (I assume no relation to Merle) in downtown E. Plano and God provided two random teenage girls who could be taught the intracacies of the digital camera on the fly.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Theological Perspective

Though I reserve the right to comment outside of the realm of Christian theology, it's only fair to disclose my theological perspective up front (i.e., Reformed Baptist).

I am a Southern Baptist committed to biblical theology, as was expressed so eloquently by the Protestant Reformation.

For example, I hold to Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, and Soli Deo Gloria (as described in The Cambridge Declaration, 1996). [See below for excerpt.] In short, our ruling authority is Scripture alone which informs us that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone to the glory of God alone.

I subscribe to the so-called Five Points of Calvinism (which Charles Spurgeon labeled a nickname for the gospel), although some of the terminology may not be the clearest or most effective expression of those truths. (Also, I am not a Hyper-Calvinist and would be offended if called such.)

In light of the above doctrinal & ecclesiastical allegiances, I am aligned with Founders Ministries, a group striving for reform within the SBC to get us back to our more Calvinistic theological roots. For more further information, see: From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention: What Hath Geneva To Do with Nashville?

EXCERPTS from The Cambridge Declaration ...

We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.

We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.

We reaffirm that our salvation is accomplished by the mediatorial work of the historical Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification and reconciliation to the Father.

We deny that the gospel is preached if Christ's substitutionary work is not declared and faith in Christ and his work is not solicited.

We reaffirm that in salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life.

We deny that salvation is in any sense a human work. Human methods, techniques or strategies by themselves cannot accomplish this transformation. Faith is not produced by our unregenerated human nature.

We reaffirm that justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. In justification Christ's righteousness is imputed to us as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice.

We deny that justification rests on any merit to be found in us, or upon the grounds of an infusion of Christ's righteousness in us, or that an institution claiming to be a church that deni
es or condemns sola fide can be recognized as a legitimate church.

We reaffirm that because salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God, it is for God's glory and that we must glorify him always. We must live our entire lives before the face of God, under the authority of God and for his glory alone.

We deny that we can properly glorify God if our worship is confused with entertainment, if we neglect either Law or Gospel in our preaching, or if self-improvement, self-esteem or self-fulfillment are allowed to become alternatives to the gospel.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances.

I thought it might be wise/helpful to establish my ethos, explaining who I am, where I've been, and what I'm about (including my weirdness and the nickname "Gunny").

First, I am a sinner saved by grace to be a child of God. Consequently, I am now simul iustus et peccator, simultaneously justified and sinner. (Read more on my theological perspective.)

  • Married: Mary Ellen Hartman (1993)
  • 4 Children



*Full Resume* (pdf format)

One of many QUIRKS: I enjoy & use movie quotes.
As such, I will more often than not use movie quotes as blog entry titles. There are extra points if you can guess the origin (and I encourage you to be the first to post such in the comments section). As a hint I will list all referenced movies below (in alphabetical order). Note, citation doesn't necessarily entail endorsement of the movie, but more often than not it will.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • 12 Angry Men
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Across the Universe
  • Airplane
  • Airplane 2: The Sequel
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
  • Anger Management
  • Animal House
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • As Good as It Gets
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
  • Author! Author!
  • Back to School
  • Back to the Future
  • Batman
  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Ben-Hur
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Blues Brothers
  • Braveheart
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Bring It On
  • Bull Durham
  • Caddyshack
  • Casablanca
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • The Chronicles of Narna: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • City of Angels
  • Clerks
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • D.C. Cab
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Dead Poets Society
  • The Deer Hunter
  • The Devil's Advocate
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Dirty Harry
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • Dutch
  • Excalibur
  • Falling Down
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  • A Few Good Men
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Field of Dreams
  • Finding Forrester
  • First Blood
  • Forrest Gump
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Excalibur
  • Fight Club
  • Gladiator
  • Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Godfather I, II, and III
  • Gone with the Wind
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
  • The Green Mile
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Guns of Navarone
  • Hardball
  • Heartbreak Ridge
  • Heaven Help Us
  • Helter Skelter
  • High School Musical 2
  • Holy Grail (Monty Python)
  • Hoosiers
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
  • The Incredibles
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Jaws
  • The Jerk
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Jurassic Park
  • Karate Kid
  • Knute Rockne: All American
  • Kronk's New Groove
  • A League of Their Own
  • Legally Blonde
  • Liar! Liar!
  • Listen to Me
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Major League
  • Master and Commander
  • The Matrix
  • Meet the Fockers
  • Meet the Parents
  • Men at Work
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Mr. Deeds
  • Mulan
  • My Blue Heaven
  • My Cousin Vinny
  • Nacho Libre
  • Naked Gun 2.5
  • Name of the Rose
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • A Night at the Museum
  • Night at the Roxbury
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Office Space
  • One Hour Photo
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales
  • The Outsiders
  • Pay It Forward
  • The Planet of the Apes
  • The Princess Bride
  • Psycho
  • Rain Man
  • Raising Arizona
  • Red Dawn
  • Remember the Titans
  • Reservoir Dogs
  • Return of the Jedi
  • Revenge of the Nerds
  • A River Runs through It
  • Rocky, II, and III
  • The Rundown
  • The Sandlot
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Say Anything
  • Scent of a Woman
  • School of Rock
  • Sergeant York
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
  • Signs
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Slap Shot
  • Sling Blade
  • Smokey and the Bandit
  • So I Married an Axe Murderer
  • Some Kind of Wonderful
  • Sound of Music
  • Spaceballs
  • Spider-Man
  • Spider-Man 3
  • Spies Like Us
  • Stand and Deliver
  • Stand By Me
  • Star Wars I (The Phantom Menace)
  • Star Wars II (Attack of the Clones)
  • Star Wars IV (A New Hope)
  • Star Wars V (The Empire Strikes Back)
  • Star Wars VI (Return of the Jedi)
  • Stranger than Fiction
  • Sudden Impact
  • The Ten Commandments
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • The Three Amigos
  • Tombstone
  • Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Tommy Boy
  • Top Gun
  • Trading Places
  • Troy
  • The Truman Show
  • Undercover Brother
  • The Untouchables
  • The Usual Suspects
  • V for Vendetta
  • Vacation (National Lampoon's)
  • Valley Girl
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Varsity Blues
  • Veggie Tales: Are You My Neighbor?
  • Wall Street
  • War Games
  • The Warriors
  • Waterboy
  • Wayne's World
  • The Weather Man
  • Wedding Crashers
  • The Wedding Singer
  • What a Girl Wants
  • What about Bob?
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • While You Were Sleeping
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • You, Me & Dupree
  • You've Got Mail
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Young Guns

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