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Be Careful What You Ask For

Be Careful What You Ask For

There are many worship songs where we ask the Holy Spirit to “break out” among us, to truly cleanse us and make us new.  I’m not too sure that the church is ready for this, or flexible enough to handle the change,  because that is usually followed with deep mournful repentance for sin, followed by major life changes; it’s called revival in the church.  Folks better be careful when asking God to shake up their church because He just may shake up the individuals and the church to the point they and their church won’t look like it did before, and they may not like the end results.  And I would say a hearty AMEN to that.  The Great Awakening, Jonathon Edwards and Charles Finney come to mind.  I’ve read a lot about Jonathon Edwards’ ministry, and read Charles Finney’s biography and autobiography, and what God did under their teaching/preaching is truly amazing.

(There are those who disagree with Finney theologically; I haven’t wanted to know why, I don’t care.  Until those who disagree with him can do what he did in the power of the Holy Spirit, then they have no place to complain.  It’s easy to challenge another worker from the bleachers.  Get dirty and maybe one will find that some of the stuff learned in seminary isn’t true.  Probably because God never went to seminary and neither did Jesus, nor Paul.  Shame on Them!)

Yes, there was a lot of uncontrolled emotion during that time, something that evangelicals are scared to death of.  But the emotion was from conviction of sin, not some ridiculous hyped-up fickle hysteria like today.  Hell was real for those people because it was preached like it was real and that real people go there if they do not repent.  Those that find they are headed for hell and then find there is a way to be reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus, how can that not raise deep emotion in the convicted heart?

How can one contemplate the Cross and what Jesus did there for the individual and not fall on their knees in thanksgiving for what was done for them there?  If the these truths don’t hit home real hard, then it’s because there is no preaching and conviction of the sinfulness of sin.  But God chose me, the wretched man that I am!  Why?  I don’t know, but it makes me emotional at times and makes me weep.  I have received the mercy of God, the Grace of God, all bought with the precious blood of Jesus.  He has cleansed me of sin and broken me for His use. The God of the Universe can use me!  Miracles indeed do happen!

When one understands that, when a pastor understands that, when a church finally understands it,  it should be enough for all to fall on their knees and worship out loud in very un-conservative, non-evangelical ways.  Shouting “Hallelujah” would be appropriate, “Thank You Jesus”, would be heard, there might even be soft weeping, and maybe there will be a few in the corner over there who would not even look up to heaven, but beat their breast and crying out for all to hear, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

I know this does not fit into the nice little “churchy liturgy” thing that has been concocted these days to keep the Holy Spirit at bay, or from even showing up at all: “You go help those natives in Africa; we got this all figured out.”  I’m all for order, but if God wants to show up, then we better make room for Him to do so, without forcing Him into our conservative American Christian mold.  Very little of what happens in churches today makes it conducive for the Holy Spirit to work in people’s hearts; in most places He isn’t even needed for the church to function day to day.

There’s a story about a deacon, who in the prayer huddle before the service, prayed, “And oh God, please make something happen during the service that’s not in the bulletin.”  A very un-evangelical prayer indeed.   May his tribe increase.





Wisdom for the Day

A major characteristic of a maturing Christian is how much you are growing to love others, especially the lost.

Are you conscious?

Christianity becomes idolatry when God is stripped of His Biblical attributes.  Theology matters.

Worry is an insult to God.

If you had to choose between the gifts and the Giver, which would you choose?  Would you willingly leave the benefits of Christianity to run to Jesus?

Jesus not only died for your sins, but He also died from your sins, which makes it a whole lot more personal.

How much time, money and energy do you spend managing other people’s opinion of you?

If you drive off the cliff morally, you crash and burn at the foot of the Cross.  Don’t waste the pain.

Wood Tips and Tricks….Epoxy

There is a lot of discussion about which glues to use.  There are different brands and types of white glue, yellow glue, monkey glue, animal hide glue, roo glue, etc.  Each one probably has it’s good points and bad points.  But one glue that is my “go to” glue is 5 minute epoxy by Devcon.

The two features that make this glue stand out is it is very fast setting and fills a gap.

The fast setting feature is excellent if you need to get on with a project and don’t want to wait, or the clamping is really complicated and time consuming.  It gets really thick in about 3 minutes so you can just stand there and hold things together for that short amount of time.  Regular epoxy is about 4 – 5 hours  until it thickens and then overnight to harden.

Just about all other glues shrink as they dry, losing the water or whatever other liquid was added to make it thin enough to spread.  If you have a chair leg where the hole is larger than the tenon that goes in in it, then if you use yellow glue (my main glue), when it dries, it will leave a loose joint.  Epoxy will not shrink and will fill all the gaps left by the oversized hole.

The main problem with epoxy is that you have to be really careful with squeeze-out.  Three things I do to combat this are:

Mask off areas with tape and if need be paper where it will ooze out so the glue will go on the tape and not on the wood.
Be fast with the putty knife as it seeps out.
If the piece is prefinished, like a chair that has broken, then take some furniture wax or better yet, some paraffin and rub it around where the damaged area.  Then if does get on these areas, it will just chip right off without pulling the finish with it.

This last week I had an upholstered chair that needed repair.  The leg had been completely broken off…twice.  The first repair actually did it’s job, the second break was next to it.  The second repair did actually nothing…not sure what kind of glue they used but all there was was residue on the 2 sides of the joint with no adhesion.  This was a slanting vertical joint (shear) along the grain and there was a huge piece that was about 3/16″ inch thick missing for about half the joint (every time I get something to repair, I always ask, “Do you have all the pieces?”).

The first decision was how to repair the joint to make it solid again.   And my main go-to repair for this type of break is to drill a hole about 3″ in both directions and glue in a 3/8″ steel rod.  If it breaks again, it will be above or below this point.  But aligning these 2 holes perfectly is just about impossible because the holes are drilled into the slanting surface.  So I drilled oversized holes, something you would not normally do.  I had to then adjust the hole directions several times before I could get the leg to come together in alignment.

I then prepped the joint with tape and paraffin as mentioned above.  I then epoxied the chair end only, using the leg to position the steel rod in the chair part.  I pulled the leg off often to make sure it did not glue in place and removed any squeeze out as it came out.  To do this right, you have to overfill the hole to make sure all the air is out when the rod is finally in place.  Don’t starve the joint of glue.

I then glued on the leg, again with lots of prep with tape and wax.  So now the leg is firmly in place and not going anywhere.  But what to do with the large piece missing, which was in front?  This chair was only going to be used at a photography studio for portraits and and the break was about 8″ from the floor on an inward swoop (curve?) of the leg.  So a perfect fix wasn’t necessary and if it had, the repair would have cost more than the chair was worth.  So I slowly filled up the hole is progressive steps with epoxy, putting a dam of tape on either side as the hole got smaller and smaller towards the top.  One tip is to not let the epoxy touch the tape directly as it will adhere to the tape and you will have a hard time getting it off.  Use waxed-paper with tape over it.  When the epoxy just starts to set up, you can remove the dam and see if the epoxy is where you want it.  If it has slumped out a little, you can now push it in, without fear of it running out.  Timing is everything, and the more you work with epoxy, you will learn when to do this.

So finally I had the joint full of epoxy.  I then used colored wax putty to fill small areas that the epoxy didn’t, and used brown-colored felt tip pens to color the epoxy kinda like the chair.    Not including drilling and prep time, the leg was glued on and completed in about 30 minutes.  If I had used yellow glue, every step would have been overnight waiting.  And at that, the thickness of the filled in area would not have been thorough.  I could have filled in the gap with wood, carved it just so, sanded and refinished, but the chair was not worth the effort; it was a photo prop.  So you can see the advantage of this glue.  The owner actually had to get down close to see which leg was repaired and at 5 feet away, you couldn’t see the repair.

One thing you should know is that the more volume you mix, the warmer it gets.  The warmer it gets, the faster it sets.  When I was done, the leg was actually warm.  So if you need to mix more than a teaspoon full, then be prepared to work really really fast, and that includes mixing time.  Have everything prepared and ready to go, because once those 2 parts come together, the clock starts ticking.

A note on which brand:   As I stated above, I use Devcon brand, 5 minute, 2 part epoxy.  I couldn’t find it one time, so bought Loctite brand and it was horrible.  Yes, it set fast, but fast is always relative.  It said 5 minute on the package, and it did sorta set up in 5 minutes but it remained pliable for several hours and finally got hard hard overnight.  I have gone through a lot of epoxy in the last 37 years and will only buy the Devcon brand.  I just did a quick search of the internet, there are other brands out there which I haven’t tested, but I know what the Devcon will do and won’t change.

There are also jell types which I have not used, which I guess are used where runny glue is a problem.  There is also a 2 part epoxy that comes in a stick, where you cut off what you want, knead it like putty and then put it in place.  I used some of this to repair holes in my dad’s shed metal roof.  Works great.

So if you have a project that needs a glue that fills a gap, or something you don’t want to wait on, use epoxy.  I know that the purists out there would be horrified that I would repair anything with a glue that can’t be reversed by some future craftsman.  Well, I don’t work on museum pieces where money is no object for the repair, and usually by the time I get it, the furniture either gets repaired or goes to the dump.  Those types of repairs are for TV shows and millionaires.

A further note:  do NOT use Gorilla glue to repair a chair.  Those guys have done a great job with their advertising and people believe it is the most versatile glue made today.  Well, it has it’s uses but chair repair isn’t one of them.  I did a test of this glue.  I glued 2 pieces of small plywood together with a 1/32″ space between the pieces and the gorilla glue failed.  Yellow glue will easily span this gap.  If the joint isn’t perfect, then Gorilla glue will not work.  AND the glue has to be activated with moisture, something that most people don’t read the label to find out.  If the wood is bone dry, then the glue will likely not set right.  If moisture is added to the wood first, it will foam out of the joint.  It if didn’t foam out, I doubt the joint will last.  So use the right glue for the job or you will be bringing it to me and I’ll fix it good.  I have repaired a lot of chairs where someone used Gorilla glue and had to dig all that stuff out before I could to the repair right.  I also repaired a chair where someone had used a Tinkertoy rod and silicone.  Nothing sticks to silicone so that was a bugger of a job to repair.  I had to dig out all the silicone just to get back to where I could start the repair.  What were they thinking?    It may have been a boost to the guy’s hunter/gatherer/provider instinct (“There, I fixed it.”) but it did nothing for his wallet.

AND squirting glue into the joint without taking the joint apart does nothing and only makes my repair job harder.    Bandaids are great for cuts and scrapes but do nothing for broken bones and only mask the problem.

Wisdom for the Day

God may withhold His blessings to see if your commitment is to Him alone or to His benefits.

It is better to descend the mountain yourself than to be forced off a cliff.

Only those who have seen great darkness can appreciate great light.

If you say, “Jesus is Lord of my life”, that means He gets the final say in everyday type decisions.  Is that true of you?  Really?

Debt is one thing that is guaranteed to steal your future.

Wisdom is not inherent and must be accumulated from other sources.  What well are you drinking from?

The place you trust God the least is probably the place He has gifted you most.

One of the most dangerous words a Christian can start a sentence with is, “Tomorrow…”.

Want to know where you are going in life?  Just look at your friends.

Book Quotes…Gods at War, by Kyle Idleman

More quotes from the book, Gods at War, by Kyle Idleman

Never in the history of humanity has there been so much entertainment and so little satisfaction.

“If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.”  C S Lewis

We were made for God, and until He is our greatest pleasure, all other pleasures of this life will be emptiness.

The more vibrant our inner lives are, the less we need from the outside – that is, the more active we are in mind and spirit, the less we need to fall back on external media and input…

“The present inordinate attachment to every form of entertainment is evidence that the inner life of modern man is in serious decline.”  A W Tozer [written in the 1950s!)

Do we seek to fill the spiritual vacuum inside us with empty entertainment, or is it the empty entertainment that is creating the vacuum?

What if you had a media fast? …I challenge you to eliminate God’s competition.

Once you know Jesus and passionately pursue Him, it seems ridiculous that we thought we could ever find what we wanted on a movie screen, website or playlist.

Wisdom for the Day

Before you complain, “How could a loving God allow such a thing to happen?”, ask the question, “How could such a helpless creature, one fully dependent on God, sin so easily and willfully?”  When was the last time you thanked Him for what He has done for you?

There is no secret discipleship.  Either discipleship will destroy secrecy, or secrecy will destroy discipleship.

God not only knows all things but also what could be.  He chooses the best of all possible paths to accomplish His ends, not yours.

If you had to choose between blessings and righteousness, which would you choose?  Your prayers say a lot about your heart.

Common sense is not a gift of the Holy Spirit and our lives may look to other Christians as if we have lost our minds.

Ungratefulness is a cancer.


Our Minds Need to go on a Diet

I don’t think I have ever copied a complete article here but this is just too good.  I would write on the concepts and make deeper application but the author does such a good job that I felt I would allow him to say his piece and you can take from it what you can.  He writes from a secular perspective, but we as believers can learn a lot from what he says.

He wrote this in 2010 but what he writes so applies today, with cell phone addictions, instant communication/24 hours news cycles, and all the horrific local (for me: fires in Santa Rosa affecting thousands of lives and the air I breathe), national (hurricanes, mass shootings) and international (earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, missiles in the air) news.  And that is just in the last few months!  I feel a compulsion to learn all I can about everything that is happening around me.  So I think finding this article in my files is very timely and I hope that you, with me, can go on an information diet without symptoms of withdrawal.

I wrote something here and here about my attempt to limit my intake.

On Distraction

Our minds need to go on a diet.

One of the more embarrassing and self-indulgent challenges of our time is the task of relearning how to concentrate. The past decade has seen an unparalleled assault on our capacity to fix our minds steadily on anything. To sit still and think, without succumbing to an anxious reach for a machine, has become almost impossible.

The obsession with current events is relentless. We are made to feel that at any point, somewhere on the globe, something may occur to sweep away old certainties—something that, if we failed to learn about it instantaneously, could leave us wholly unable to comprehend ourselves or our fellows. We are continuously challenged to discover new works of culture—and, in the process, we don’t allow any one of them to assume a weight in our minds. We leave a movie theater vowing to reconsider our lives in the light of a film’s values. Yet by the following evening, our experience is well on the way to dissolution, like so much of what once impressed us: the ruins of Ephesus, the view from Mount Sinai, the feelings after finishing Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich.

A student pursuing a degree in the humanities can expect to run through 1,000 books before graduation day. A wealthy family in England in 1250 might have owned three books: a Bible, a collection of prayers, and a life of the saints—this modestly sized library nevertheless costing as much as a cottage. The painstaking craftsmanship of a pre-Gutenberg Bible was evidence of a society that could not afford to make room for an unlimited range of works but also welcomed restriction as the basis for proper engagement with a set of ideas.

The need to diet, which we know so well in relation to food, and which runs so contrary to our natural impulses, should be brought to bear on what we now have to relearn in relation to knowledge, people, and ideas. Our minds, no less than our bodies, require periods of fasting.