What Kind of Christian are You?

Picture of tasmanian devils arguing“Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.” — Jesus (John 17:20-23, WEB)

Being one with the Father, in perfect unity, just like Jesus Christ is one with His Father is exactly what I, like Jesus, pray for. That is one reason that I am not a big fan of denominational labels and doctrinal distinctions between different groups of believers is Jesus Christ. Group labels are a great way to encourage division. You see, once you label a group, such as a denomination, movement, race, nationality, tribe, clan, social caste, or whatever the grouping may be, it is easy to consider yourself inside or outside of that group. It is also easy to find fault with any group that you are not part of. It is especially easy if that group name is somehow derogatory. For example, many unkind “jokes” have been made at the expense of “Pollocks.” In time of war, propaganda is issued against the enemies that groups them together with such derogatory names as “infidels” or “gooks.” The crimes and sins of any member of the enemy group are attributed to the entire group, no matter if this is justified or not (and it usually isn’t). Even when conducting war against a nation, it is wise to remember that there are many people within the nation who are not responsible for or contributors to the war.

I got a telephone call from someone the other day wanting to know what kind of church I went to. He said that he wanted to know, because he couldn’t support anyone in certain groups (and he named some) because of the “excesses” he had seen in those groups. Apparently, he had seen our web site, and was thinking about financially supporting us. Or maybe he was just looking for an excuse not to. Whatever his motivation, he felt like it was important that he know which of certain labels applied to me. The funny thing about those labels is that many of them apply to me in one way or another, but none of them really defines me perfectly, except perhaps “Christian” or “believer in Jesus Christ.” Even those labels would probably be misunderstood by some unbelievers, who assume that all Christians are Roman Catholic and guilty of the atrocities of the Crusades. My loyalty is to Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, and not to a denomination. I was baptized in a Baptist Church, but I was baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and not in the name of a particular church group or denomination. I discovered that there are many Christians that go to churches with different names that are just as dedicated to serving the same Lord. There are also some people who go to churches with good names that are very religious, but show no outward signs of actually knowing Jesus Christ. I remember one time that I visited a church with the name “Baptist,” but I was shocked at the blasphemous speech that came out of the pastor’s mouth. I probably sinned by not leaving the service before it was over. I have also been to churches with the same name on the door where Jesus was sincerely worshiped and the Truth of the Holy Bible was preached. (Fortunately, the latter case has been more common in my experience.) We associate with many denominations and non-denominational churches, but there is just one Body of Jesus Christ in this world, the Universal Church. The original meaning of “catholic church” is “universal church,” a body of believers that includes both Catholics and Protestants. Some people like to make a distinction between denominations based on the Holy Spirit, as if some people “had” the Holy Spirit and some didn’t. That actually sounds silly to me, since the Holy Spirit is God, and we don’t own Him. Rather, we surrender to His will and allow Him to help us live right, or we don’t. The real question is if the Holy Spirit has me or you, not vice versa. God is not just a God of the Pentecostals and Charismatics, but He is the only real God for all Christians. I believe that He is alive and well, and just as relevant today as ever, and active in believers of Jesus Christ no matter what kind of church they may or may not attend. I also believe that He is a gentleman, and does not force Himself on us, and will be only as active in our lives as we let Him. My goal is to yield to Him completely.

We believe in Jesus Christ.

We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

We believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

We believe in the Holy Spirit; the one Body of Christ; the fellowship of believers; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

We believe in the absolute reliability and inspiration by the Holy Spirit of the Holy Bible. We believe that good doctrine comes from the Holy Bible, and that sound doctrine always agrees with the Holy Bible.

History of the World English Bible

WEB logoI just wrote and posted a brief history of the World English Bible. The World English Bible is a Public Domain (not copyrighted) translation of the Holy Bible into modern English. It’s main claim to fame is that it is an open-text free project that can be freely copied and published without paying royalties or even having to ask. The only thing proprietary about it is its name and logo, which are trademarks that may only be used to describe the unmodified text of the World English Bible as published by Rainbow Missions, Inc.

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Toshiba Lemon Retired–Long Live the MacBook!

MacBook running Ubuntu LinuxThe last time I wrote about computers, I was happy to have found and fixed a serious problem with my Toshiba computer. I expressed high hopes that it would provide long and reliable service. Those hopes were disappointed as the Toshiba computer froze up a couple more times, one of which cost me about an hour of work. To me, having a computer that is so close to working well, but so far away, is frustrating. Fortunately, there is a good solution. A dear brother in the Lord gave me a MacBook notebook computer. I really like it. It has become my primary working notebook computer. The MacBook is smaller and lighter than the Toshiba computer, but it runs faster and has more RAM installed. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it runs not only its native Mac OS X, but (with a little help from Parallels) Microsoft Windows and Linux, as well. This is important for the cross-platform Bible translation software development that I’m working on. Praise God! It works!
The Toshiba computer isn’t totally out of service, yet. It has been assigned to entertainment duty and for use in places where I don’t want to have my primary working machine, such as showing photos in a display booth or as a loaner for other people to use for less critical and less demanding applications.

Loose-brained Toshiba

CPU photoThe saga of the Toshiba Satellite P35 notebook computer woes continues, but this time I have high hopes that things have turned around such that we will get our money’s worth of work out of this machine, yet. Its warranty has expired. It was working OK most of the time, at least running Ubuntu Linux, but it still flaked out at times. It seemed to be thermally sensitive. The environment I’ve been running my computer in has been a consistent 20 to 23 C, which shouldn’t be a problem at all, but at 2,425 meters above sea level, which might challenge the cooling system a little. This model of computer is notorious for overheating due to the heat sink over the CPU getting clogged with dust. I found instructions for disassembling and cleaning it, but didn’t want to perform that major surgery until I had a viable backup plan and ALL critical data was off of the computer. All the important data is mirrored to an external hard drive at least every other night, but it wasn’t until I had Linux set up on my desktop computer with all of the same applications and had another notebook computer that I felt that I could risk disassembling the computer.

Box of partsWhat I found surprised me. The heat sink wasn’t clogged. The canned air treatments that I had given it had effectively cleared out most of the dust, dog hair, and other junk. However, when I lifted the heat sink up, the CPU just fell out of its socket with no resistance. The latch on the zero-insertion-force socket was set about half-way between “open” and “closed.” No wonder the machine had been flakey! It had a loose brain! I’m amazed that it had done as well as it had, to be honest. The top picture in this article shows the CPU properly latched in place.

More Toshiba notebook computer parts.After smearing on some fresh thermal transfer grease and attaching the heat sink, and putting all of the parts back together again, this computer has run flawlessly, so far, doing normal stuff like downloading pictures from my digital camera, reading and writing email, and and writing this article. I have high hopes that it will keep running well. 🙂

Praise God! It almost feels like getting a new computer!