Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Delight of a Father When His Children Learn to Read

Today, Paton and I finished his reading book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Paton is the fifth child I have taught to read using this resource. It is phonics based. Every day Paton would hold me accountable to teaching him when I got home from work. Usually before he even said, "Hello," he'd be asking, "Daddy, can we do reading now?"

I love seeing the progress of the children as they make their way through this book. This is really the only formal reading curriculum that we give our children. After that, the assignment is to read, read, read. Brittney, my oldest daughter, has heartily embraced this assignment. She is a voracious reader. Her younger brothers Michael and Justin, and her younger sister Brianna have also made great strides in their reading since finishing this book. I remember, in 1998, a friend of mine from work asking if he could buy this book from me when I got done with it. His, then four year old, son would be needing to learn to read. I told him I didn't think I'd be done with it any time soon. Eleven years later I'm still using this book, with two more children "in the queue" before I'm done (and that's if God does not bless us with any more children). I sure hope that father bought his own copy and gave up waiting for me to get done with mine.

By teaching your child to read, you give him a wonderful gift. In reading, a child can travel to far away places where he may never actually be able to go. By reading, he can even travel back in time to relive world or American history. By picking up an old book my children can learn theology from great men of God who died hundreds of years ago. But most of all, in learning to read, a child can read the very Word of God that He has preserved for us in the Holy pages of scripture.

Each evening we read the Bible together as a family during our family worship time. Paton took his turn reading two scriptures tonight. As he improves, he'll read more and more until eventually he'll take his "normal" turn reading two scriptures at a time until our entire two chapters for the night are fulfilled. To be reminded of this blessing I need look no further than Justin, who at age seven easily reads from the Geneva Bible each night.

Paton, my son, read the Word of God. Devour it. Memorize it. Teach your own children to read it someday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't Mess with the Special Olympics!

I had to smile when I read the following after I posted my blog entry on Obama's blunder earlier:

Apparently Special Olympics participant Kolan McConiughey, who is mentally disabled, has bowled five perfect games since 2005.

I think we should have a televised competition between Mr. McConiughey and Mr. Obama. Let's see who has the last laugh.

From the article:
"The 35-year-old McConiughey has been bowling since he was 8 or 9. His advice for Obama? Practice every day."

I think the President needs to practice more than just his bowling.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
(Jas 3:2-8)

Commander in Chief Maligns Americans With Disabilities

Some of the most special people in the world are those individuals who go through life bearing the challenge of Down Syndrome. My sister-in-law, Lori, was just such an individual. She passed away in 2002 due to cancer. She is sorely missed by her parents, her brother, my wife, my children, and myself, as well as many others whom she touched in her brief 26 years. Lori was much more like a cousin than an aunt to my children. She used to sit down at the table and color in her coloring book or draw pictures along with my three oldest. My second son, and fourth oldest child was a baby when we lost Lori, and Lori loved him.

One special memory I have with Lori is showing up to watch her run in the Special Olympics. If you've never been to such an event, I would highly recommend going. It is a day full of competition, but also full of love. It's a time when you stand and cheer the person who comes in last place and congratulate them for finishing the race. It's not uncommon to see participants stop to help a fellow competitor if they fall down. At the end of the race everyone gets hugs.

Though we are all born with a sin nature, the sin nature of precious souls who have Down Syndrome are often the same type of sin nature you observe in your toddler. Yes, they are selfish at times. They may cry on a whim, but they are some of the most loving people you will ever know.

So you can imagine my shock when I read the following news story out of the Washington Post this morning:
Click here for the story

Flippantly commenting to Jay Leno on his poor skill at bowling, President Hussein remarked, "It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something." How dare he insult Americans with disabilities like this?!!! To make such a trite remark shows his utter disregard for human life. It emphasizes that his pre-election comment that determining when life begins is "above his pay grade" truly reflects his core beliefs.

What more can I say? The American people have truly elected a despicable, evil person for a commander in chief. I used to think Bill Clinton was the worst modern president we've ever had. But the Democratic party has outdone themselves with this character. They are going to have to work really hard to find a lower low life than this guy next time around.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Witherspoon Introduction Message

This is my review of the Introduction message from the 2008 Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy. The speaker is Doug Phillips of Vision Forum.

Very appropriately, Doug begins by describing just who John Witherspoon was. He is described as a “son of the cross.” Witherspoon was an educator, a clergyman, and a mentor. He personally trained one sixth of all our founding fathers. Yet, it’s surprising that you rarely, if ever, hear his name mentioned in history text books. You’ve never witnessed a motion picture made about John Witherspoon. There is a clear reason for this. John Witherspoon is considered very politically incorrect by today’s standards. He unapologetically declared the Christian God to be the one, true, God, and the source of all our law. Witherspoon was a Scot. He came to the shores of this country with two foundational books; “Lex Rex” by Samuel Rutherford and “Aaron’s Rod Blossoming” by George Gillespie. Doug expounds on Witherspoon much more eloquently than I have given here in this brief review. I came away from this lecture with a much better appreciation for our largely forgotten “founding father,” John Witherspoon.

In this introductory message, Doug proceeds to introduce the many excellent speakers that will appear in this conference, along with a short preview of their topics. Some of the speakers that he mentioned are as follows: Jordan Lawrence, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, Hon. Howard Phillips, Bill Einwecter, Col. John Eidsmoe, Don Hart, Bob Renault, Jerome Corsi, and Larry Pratt. I have listened ahead to a few of these speakers, and I can say without a doubt that it has been outstanding information. I’ll save my comments for the reviews I will offer on each of the speakers, but I can tell that this is an excellent resource to add to my library.
Though I’ve heard Doug present the story of Josiah uncovering the lost book of the law, he did a great job declaring it again in this lecture. He also exposes some of the errors that we face as a country, including a quote by evolutionist Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who stated:
“The sacredness of human life is a purely municipal ideal of no validity outside the jurisdiction.”

Doug spends some time exposing the threat of feminism on our country. Written before the November elections, he theorizes how former President Bill Clinton would fulfill his congressionally defined duties as “first spouse” should his wife win the presidency. Though humorous, but not funny, Bill would have been in charge of flower arrangements in the White House. He would have selected the china pattern for the White House dishes. All the while his wife met with heads of state discussing foreign policy.

Doug identified a vulnerability that we have in the Church. There is a tendency for us to be divided against each other. Yet, when we look at the actions of the namesake of this conference, we will learn that John Witherspoon was able to have much greater influence by unifying Christians under a common cause.

There were three separate questions that Doug posed. I’ll leave it to you to get the CDs to find the answers. These question take us to the root of our epistemology, or our process of thought. The first question is, “What is law?” Next, “Can man legislate morality?” Finally, he asked the following: “Which of these men is the most religious, Charles Darwin, Billy the Kid, Billy Graham, or Billy Clinton?” He polled the audience, and Billy the Kid is the only one that got no votes. If you haven’t heard Doug ask this question before, the answer may surprise you.
All in all, I can tell that I’m really going to enjoy listening to these messages. I look forward to offering reviews on each message.

I do have one suggestion for Vision Forum, if they are reading this review. I absolute love my Jamestown Quadricentennial CDs. In addition to the excellent information there, I also appreciate the fact that the very last CD in the set is a compilation CD of all the messages given in MP3 format. This makes it very convenient for me to load all the messages onto my MP3 player. I’m one of those guys who doesn’t have a CD player in my car. But I do have an MP3 player. So, in order to listen to these Witherspoon messages I ripped them all to MP3s. The problem is that each CD is made up of several tracks. So I have a whole lot of individual files that I haven’t taken the time to name. I’ve got “Disc 1 – Track 1,” “Disc 1 – Track 2,” etc. all loaded on my MP3 player. I may take the time at some point in the future to look for software that could combine all the files from a particular CD into one MP3. However, I haven’t had the time to do that so far.

So, my one “constructive criticism” of these CDs so far is simply a technical one. This little issue is minor, and I certainly wouldn’t let it stand in the way of acquiring this set. I think you’ll agree with me that it is an excellent addition to any library. Order your copy by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2008 Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy

I received my copy of the 2008 Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy last Thursday night. There is a wealth of information packed into these CDs! The Introduction CD was very good, giving a brief history of John Witherspoon and introducing who the speakers are on the rest of the CDs. I've had the time to listen to a few of them so far. I can say that there's is so much good information that I will need to devote a blog entry for each message. To cram it all into a single review would be an injustice. Click on the hyperlink in this message to order your own copy of this fantastic resource. Over the next few weeks as I post reviews of the individual messages, I invite you to listen to the recordings yourself and leave your own comments in the comment section. The topics covered are things that mature, Christian men need to know in order to have an "understanding of the times." Order your copy today and join me in reviewing these time sensitive messages.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Error Installing Visual Studio 2008

In addition to being a homeschool dad and a Reformed Baptist Christian, I am also a Systems Engineer. In my "day job" I have been stumped on an issue since last week, and found the answer this morning.

I was trying to install Visual Studio 2008 on a machine that I inherited when I got this job. Yet everytime I tried the install, it would fail with an error message about not being able to install the Microsoft Document Explorer.

This morning I found a solution that got me past that roadblock. There is a file called rgstrtn.lck that is located in the following directory:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft Help\

In my case the file was zero bytes and it had a date time stamp of June 2008 (before I started working here). After deleting that file and rebooting I was able to progress.

Now on to the next issue...a digital signature problem... Computer programming is just one challenge after another. It's a big puzzle. It's up to programmers to find the solution.

Monday, March 02, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Robert Leever of Lebanon, OR. Thanks to all who entered. Robert answered my question:

"Why do Christians need to have a firm understanding of our United States Constitution?"

He won a copy of The 2008 Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy.

Here is his well thought out reply:

Here's a bit of the passage (NIV) I used for my conclusions: Romans 13:1-71

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Of course, the dilemma in our country today is what to do when the authority is not acting according to the AUTHORITY of the land (not to mention the LAWS of nature and of nature's God). We actually live in a day where people turn their backs on the LAW thinking it is for our own the law is an inconvenience to GOOD governing...

If we are honest with ourselves we see it is just the same old sin problem--us wanting to be God and have others submit to our whims instead of the other way around. So, I believe, the only way for a believing Christian (strange I have to phrase it that way) to be truly adhering to the passage from Paul, is to submit to the Constitution since it is the SUPREME law of the land. How can one do that, if he knows not what the law is? Indeed, how can one understand his freedoms without studying from whence they come? If we do not know our freedoms, we are DOOMED to loose them.

Indeed, our elections reflect this problem in a larger and more personal sense. Our government was devised by the most intellectual and God fearing men of their day. Today, our government is being "run" by the least intellectual and least God fearing people of our day. Is it any wonder when you ask the question, "What does it mean to be an American?" No grade school student can give an answer...and college students begin to quote our Nation's misdeeds...even to the point of tears and anger.

Why should we learn the Constitution? God clearly demands obedience and how can we obey Godly authority when we cannot obey earthly authority? How can we obey earthly authority if we don't learn how and what it is? Our American authority is NO single governing body or individual. It is a unique Document. Devised by the most brilliant of minds to ensure that no governing body (oligarchy) or individual (dictator/dictating king-earthly, that is) could easily take over and control this nation...indeed, it has take over 200 years for this to begin to happen...The more intriguing question is, Can we again regain what our Constitution meant? I'm hopeful, but doubtful.