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Wisdom for the Day

God measures our gifts, not by the amount given but the surplus kept.

The greatest argument against the Bible is an unholy life.

Detailed obedience is the sweet evidence that the Lord has forgiven your sin.

The journey back home starts with knowing where you are.

The true greatness of life is to master yourself.

We try to teach our kids the different Christian disciplines.  But what about the most important discipline, silence, when we have no silence in our lives, much less providing it in theirs?

Faith, regardless of the consequences, must always result in action or it’s not faith.

Some soldiers come home with souvenirs.  Some are very heavy.


The Cracked Water Pot

The Cracked Water Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on one end of the pole he carried across the back of his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, while the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on every day for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots of water to his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and out of compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the wildflowers on the side of the path. The pot felt cheered.

But at the end of the trail, the pot still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.”


I didn’t write this but heard it given in a sermon by a pastor who was as broken as this pot.  He had tears in his eyes towards the end of this story.  So did I.  May we learn the lesson of the cracked water pot as we serve the Master in our brokenness.


Wisdom for the Day

When you run out of stuff, you still have time.  But when you run out of time, you’re dead and your stuff becomes really irrelevant.

The pastures of the Great Shepherd are wide but the sweetest grasses grow close to His pierced feet.

The Church needs to become the guard against the “Judas-kiss” of the world.

There is no university for a Christian like that of Sorrow and Suffering.

To know God without Jesus would be a most terrifying experience.

Is your sin a burden for you or is it just a bother?  Your answer reflects the true state of your heart before Holy God.

When God’s face is hid from His people, it is almost always behind the clouds of dust they have made themselves.

Generosity destroys the power of money.

Woodworking Tips and Tricks…Working with Formica (plastic laminate)

I have spent the last 40 years working with high pressure laminates-HPL (Formica, which is a brand, not a description) and during that time, have read a lot and watched vids on how to work with it.  It’s amazing to me some of what I have seen.  “That won’t work!”  “Really?!”

This will not be an exhaustive compendium, but a shortened version to let you know what I have learned from the miles of laminate I have put down.  I say shortened because as I started typing this, I found I could write on and on about this important subset of woodworking and still not cover it adequately.  It’s probably too long as it is.  Working with plastic laminates is a specialty in itself and not very many cabinetmakers know how to work with it.  It is a specialty of mine.  What’s really needed is for there to be a 3 hour video made so you can see the material, processes and procedures.  Videos are not my expertise, so I hope someone will do it.  Maybe they have…I haven’t looked.  What I have seen wasn’t too encouraging….

First of all what is HPL?  It’s essentially tissue paper that has been saturated with resin, heated and pressed under tons of pressure to laminate the layers of paper together.   There are a few pieces of thick brown paper for backing, then the layer of color or patterned paper (wood grain, marble, random) and lastly a thin layer of clear that is resistant to scratching.  This is pressed between polished steel sheets, or sheets that have patterns worked into the surface (how do that do that anyway and have it so uniform?) that gets pressed into the laminate when heated and pressed.  It’s usually about 1/32″ thick and tough but will crack if not handled right (a very bad and expensive day).

This is the same material that is used in laminate flooring.   Since it is laminated with plastic resin, it can be bent with a hot heat gun (hair dryers usually don’t get hot enough) which allows you to bend it around a radius, but also will bubble/burn when a hot fry pan is set on it.  That’s why you see so many chopping boards cut in next to cook-tops in apartments.  Those are put there as a cheap repair where someone messed up and blistered the top.

Do not laminate on plywood, even a good hardwood like maple.  Laminates are only has hard as what’s under it.  Use plywood, and the first time something with a hard corner hits the laminate, the plywood under it will dent with the blow and now you have a crack or hole in your laminate.  This becomes more of a problem when there is a void right under the surface veneer.   This is the reason they use tempered Masonite under the layer of laminate in flooring.  Use the best particle board you can find.  There are different grades and if underlayment is all you can get, then use that.  3/4″ thick is the standard. Don’t use OSB, as it does not have enough of a homogeneous surface and has voids.  If you use melamine (a good hard choice with a drawback in that’s it’s too hard..more about that later), belt-sand it good with a 60 grit belt to give it some grip for the glue, especially around the edges where it is most important.  If you look at the back of the laminate, it is super-coarse sanded for this reason.

Laminate is glued with contact cement.  If you have never worked with contact cement, it is NOT forgiving.  Once it touches, even a little tiny spot, it’s stuck and you have to do some ingenious fiddling to get it unstuck to start over.

First a lesson on contact cement:  This is a glue that you spread on both pieces and then let it dry.  Once dry (but not too dry – called “open time” – or it won’t stick), you place the pieces together and there is an instant bond.  Yes, instant.  So preparation for placing the laminate is of utmost importance.

Types of contact:  I prefer solvent based, as it dries in about 3 minutes and is ready to go.  And is the decades-proven glue for this application.  There are water based contact cement that some shops are required to use (especially in Calif.) but I have found that it’s inferior to solvent based.  I bought a gallon one time just to see how it worked and it never really dried and after I had routed the excess laminate off, I was gathering all those little chips on the bottom of my boots for days.  So if it’s all you can find, then do some experimenting with it to make sure you know it’s working qualities.  Just know that if you need to clean it off, it takes some doing to clean off the glue that will inevitably get on the edges.  Lacquer thinner and acetone work but not very well.  So mask off where you don’t want glue and it will be a lot easier to clean up.

If you can find the solvent based glue, then by all means use that.  It will depend on the state and sometimes even the county you live in.  Just make sure you use it with the garage door open or in an open area.  Large areas should not be done indoors and if it’s needed, make sure you open lots of windows for ventilation.  If it’s a small area, you can use 3M90, comes in spray cans.  I use it a LOT, especially on the job site where I need to add some edge banding. It’s also handy for quick glue up for temporary fixtures where clamps won’t work.  It dries very fast and so you have to be on top of it to make sure you don’t allow it to dry too long before contact is made.  This glue comes off with solvent, so clean up is a lot easier.  Masking tape is still a good idea because of the spray.

A comment about air temperature:  all drying things have what’s called a “dew point”, which depends on air temperature, humidity, and how fast the drying process is.  It’s what happens when you get water drops on the side of your ice cold glass of soda.  This will actually happen to contact cement under the right conditions.  Solvent-based contact cement dries so fast that the surface cools down to be cold to the touch, which can reach below the dew point.  This can cause water to form on TOP of the glue!  This only happens in the winter and I have to heat my shop up pretty good to make sure it doesn’t happen.  I have wiped my hand across a large sheet and come away with a very wet hand.  Then I have to dry it out before I can laminate the pieces.   When I first became aware of this phenomenon, I had pieces simply come off because of the water layer.  This happens more with the laminate than the substrate but both can be a problem.  A hair dryer works good dry the pieces.  But get them too dry and they won’t stick…you have exceeded the “open time” for how long the contact glue will work. So it’s best to do this in the summer, not winter.  After awhile, you can get a feel for this by just the color of the glue after putting it on.  The water causes it to appear a little darker than what the rest looks like.

The best way to put glue on is a quart spray gun.   You can buy cheap ones at Harbor Freight and if you have a lot to do, use this.  But you will need a decent sized air compressor to be able to have enough CFM for continuous spraying.   Waiting for the compressor to catch up just allows the glue to dry and maybe not work when it comes time to lay the laminate down. The other way to spread the glue is rolled on with fine nap paint rollers using a traditional roller pan.  Once the glue is on these, these are throw-aways.  Size the roller width to the size of project.  Small projects only need a 3″ and you can just put the glue on the PB and spread it without a pan.  Some use a paint brush, but I have found with solvent based, it just does not spread fast enough to beat the drying time; this applies to large areas.  A paint brush is good for small areas like edgebanding.  But don’t use a cheap brush, because the bristles may come off and have to be picked off.

Even with a roller, you have to really get with it, or you will end up rolling over what you did before and end up pulling nap out of the roller which then needs to be picked out.  When applying the glue, try not to make ridges in the glue as the laminate will sit on top of these ridges and not make contact on either side.  Try to make a surface that looks like you painted it.  I went to repair a laminate top one time and the laminate just pulled right off the surface because it was almost all ridges so there wasn’t enough contact to keep the laminate down.  Take extra care to get 100% coverage at the edges, as this is the most important area to cover and where skimping on the glue is disastrous.

Cutting laminate to size:  Cut the laminate 1″ or more oversize.  That will give you at least 1/2″ all around the edges.  Trust me, you don’t want to skimp on this step.  If you get your layup just a little off, then that extra will take up where you got it crooked.  It’s easier to route off the extra, than to end up with a bit of the substrate  showing because you didn’t position the laminate correctly.

Go here for part 2.


Wisdom for Today

In the spiritual realm, are you dangerous or safe?  You can’t be both.

Is God good “all the time”?  It depends on God’s definition of “good”, not yours.

Would your prayers over the last year have gotten the Gospel out of Jerusalem, and into the second century?

Whether you believe in supernatural creation or the big bang, what is believed about these events is believed solely on faith, no matter how vigorous the arguments.

The biggest trial and testing of your faith is remaining faithful during comfortable, good, and profitable times.

You’re not going to change the world with “Baby Jesus” prayers.

Would you be willing to forsake all the gifts of the Giver to gain the Giver Himself?

If all the prayers you prayed last year were answered, who would be better off, you or others?

Silence never killed anyone.

Quotes from Books…The Church Has Left The Building, by Jim Hayford..1

I just finished the book, “The Church Has Left The Building, An appeal for church leaders to get back to the basics”,  by Jim Hayford

His premise is that the church has slid either intentionally or unintentionally from what Jesus intended when He said, “I will build My church”.  What we have today has very little resemblance to what He wants (and the world needs) to meet the spiritual hunger of those around us.   Hayford does this by a detailed examination of the church in the book of Acts, comparing it the typical church today.  There is much to be learned from his analysis.

Hayford is a church planter, so there is a lot of “how to’s” and “how to not’s” in the book, with detailed lists in the text and in the various appendixes.  He shares from his experience the lessons learned  from trying to live out and lead a new church in the book of Acts model.

It’s a book and a manual at the same time. He seems to aim this book at those who are going to plant a church and who want to start over, reboot the church back to its roots and usefulness.  So this book is more for church leadership (as the title implies) but can also can be a good way to take stock of where our own churches have wandered away from being a useful tool in the hand of the Master Carpenter.  If you are in church leadership or have the ear of a church leader or are in a position to influence the direction of your church, then I recommend this book.  If you are sitting in the pew and wonder, “Is this really what Jesus suffered and died for?”, then this will help put into perspective some of what Jesus is looking for when we gather to worship and serve Him.

This will be a 3 part series of posts where I share some quotes from this book:


Organized Christianity continues to market the Christian faith as some kind of a commodity rather than a way of life.

Jesus did not die for real estate, liturgies, bylaws, or worship styles.

We want to decide whether we want to dedicate our lives to developing a “rational for impotence” or are we going to “contend for the authentic” manifestation of the power of God in His church today.

A church that is tightly wrapped in a restricting institutional definition tends to become maintenance-oriented and defensively postured.

Those who see the church as a place have the concept that church is a piece of real estate where people “come”.  When church is perceived  as place, then an inordinate amount of time, energy and money is directed at the care of the edifice and its environs.  Usually, more members are involved in ministries that take place “at the church” than those involved in ministry beyond the four walls of the building.  There is a tendency to conceptualize the mission of the church as being defined by the time-space definition of the church. [church meets at this time at this place.]

[Expressions of this are:] Constantly grasping for bigger, better, more fascination ways of getting people packed in rows in a building, and then complaining when overcrowding becomes an inconvenience to our worship experience.

We need to see the church as people.


Wisdom for the Day

The shortest distance between point A and point B is a straight line.  But it’s not God’s purpose to get you from A to B as efficiently and quickly as possible.

People pray small prayers because they have a small god.

2 Cor. 13:5  “Examine yourself as to whether you are in the faith.   Prove your self.”
When was the last time you did this?  Or do you think that because you said a prayer, have a baptism certificate and now go to church faithfully, you are exempt from this command?

A wise person knows when they don’t know, and then gets counsel.

Sometimes the circumstances you beg God to change are the very tools He is using to shape you or your loved one.

You can’t make Jesus, “Lord of your life.”  He is Lord – you just need to start acting like it.