Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ted Haggard scandal

Please pray for the tens of thousands of Christians around the world
whose lives have been influenced by Pastor Ted Haggard and New Life Church
in Colorado Springs. Pray that they will not get disillusioned and backslide.
Pray that their faith will remain fresh and that they will not be disciples of men,
but disciples of Jesus. Pray that the gay marriage ban vote will not fail because of the
scandal.

I read today:
"I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."
(Acts 2:25)



This has been the biggest shock of my life. If I consider myself a charismatic, it is because
of Pastor Ted's influence. We were not members of New Life (later I wished I had been), but
visited often.

One of his principles in his sermons and books which I have tried to live by has been, "Live
your life as if there are no secrets".

In fact, when I had an offer from Sprint, in the New Life parking lot on Easter Sunday 2001,
we felt the Holy Spirit telling us to move here - even though I didn't want to.

It is ironic but the basic idea for the software I wrote and have been unsuccessfully trying
to build a business around (http://juwo.com), came to me when I would listen to Pastor Ted's and Ravi Zacharias' sermons on the internet while we were looking for a church in 2001.

thanks,
Anil Philip

Friday, December 29, 2006

What is the purpose of life?

May 2006

Here is the Purpose Of Life - which I realised by myself over the past two years (since 2005):

  1. Seek God (Jesus) continually.
  2. Tell others about him - not just by speaking, but living and behaving the same way that he would.
  3. Keep your vessel clean. If you keep your vessel clean, God will use you.
  4. If God uses you, your life is not a failure.

The above seems simple or silly, but it has taken my entire life to find out this truth.

Need more explanation?

  1. Seek God (Jesus) continually.


"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you" (Psalm 42)

"you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13)

Seeking is Actively Searching.

This will keep our hearts fresh and young even when we are disillusioned by:

  • God

Many times, we, as people, get angry with God when we see tragedies in our lives, in the news, or people we know. Why could not an All Powerful God prevent or fix it? For me, it is hard when I look back at my life and see things I could have done which would have made my circumstances or even myself a much better person - why didn't God nudge me toward or open my eyes to those choices?

  • Christians

When men and women of God fall, we get disillusioned because we did not know that they were in sin. If they can be like this, then why should I bother? Or maybe I can also have some 'fun'...
When Christians or even our church misunderstands us, our hurt can make us bitter and angry.

  • Circumstances

Why do I have such a hard life? Why do people who are not God's children, have an easier life? So many of them have happy, healthy, prosperous lives.They have more money, I.Q., talent, health, good looks, children, families.

*****

Since our God is a living God, Seeking is two-way. When we seek God He will commune with us, on His terms. When we read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate it for us, a sentence or phrase will leap out at us, off the page. That is God speaking to us. When we pray to God and our spirit is yearning without words or even sound (not tongues which I believe is probably different) then I believe that we are communing with God.

"No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord' because they will all know me from the least of them to the greatest" (Jeremiah 31:34)

What God shows to you will be a main dish for you, but a side dish for others. Similarly, what God shows another person will be (to use American terms) meat to him, but trimmings for you. For example, my understanding of the purpose of life was 'meat' to me, but may be obvious and trivial to another person. This will keep you from chasing after gurus. (Note: I am not referring to learning doctrine from a teacher which is necessary).

2. Tell others about him - not just by speaking, but living and behaving the same way that he would.

Jesus' last command: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15)"you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem... and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8)

3. Keep your vessel clean. If you keep your vessel clean, God will use you.

Since God is the Creator, He will use everyone from Pharaoh in Egypt in 5K BC., to Saddam Hussein in 2003 AD. to meet His purposes. In the book of Exodus in the Bible, we read that Pharaoh would not let the Israelites out of Egypt as God commanded. So God said, "I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!" (Exodus 14). So God will use us, whether we voluntarily wish to be used or involuntarily - even when we refuse to be used. Important point: the blessing will come to us only when we are voluntarily used.

When we pick up a vessel to use, we first ensure it is clean - if it is dirty, we clean it.If it cannot be cleaned, we discard it.

"Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these [things], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work". (2 Timothy 2:21)

I have been realizing that our thoughts are the starting points of strongholds of sin. As it progresses, the same thoughts can hide strongholds of sin. It is difficult to recognize a pattern of sinful thought, but easier to label sinful behavior. By the time it is visible, it has a strong root, been growing,burying, entangling itself and difficult to dig out. A stronghold has a strong hold!

4. If God uses you, your life is not a failure.

Men everywhere, define their lives by achievement. No one wants their life to have been a waste of breath. At the end of my life, I want to be able to say, it was good that I was born. I do not wish to be a failure.

Growing up in India, I remember that my father hoarded 'how to be successful' books. Life was hard. Life in the middle class was marked by competition and survival. Every issue of the Reader's Digest was read, word for word because of the large number of American self-help articles it contained. We stopped reading the Bible as it was replaced by the Readers' Digest. If I have learned one thing, it is that God will overthrow our idols. Needless to say, we became failures. So then, what is achievement? People often define it as money, creating a legacy, inventing something,becoming a leader, establishing a dynasty.

I disagree.

I say: You are achieving if you are voluntarily being used by God.

In the Bible (Luke 2:25) Simeon (and also Anna) was used by God for a specific purpose for perhaps only 10 minutes out of a probable lifetime of 80+ years. He dedicated the baby Jesus in the temple. Even though he had a short period of 'use', it was preceded by a lifetime of preparation, a long period of waiting, but his achievement has lasted through history.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Flatface Musings - Java has harmed Unix but helped Windows win

Java has harmed Unix but helped Windows win

(November 2004)

There is an unusual reason why I believe that Unix is losing and Windows will win the battle - the Java programming language. I woke up this morning in Masterji’s cube and had a revelation. I realized that I no longer see the ubiquitous black xterm windows on most software developers' desktop screens.

For decades, it used to be that a programmer would do a remote login from his desktop PC to a Unix system for his daily work - to code, test and deploy his application. At first, the Windows PC was used only to connect to the mother-ship, the Unix box. On the Unix box, there were also programs for email, word processing, and surfing the internet. Then gradually with an improved suite of applications from Microsoft, the PC began to take over. But Unix was still indispensable.

No longer. Java was designed to be portable, to work the same on Unix, Windows and Other. So one can simply code and test now on his desktop using the version of Java for Windows! Unix is reserved only for deployment in production but with the larger population seated on Windows, I believe it is only a matter of time before Windows also takes this space. The crack has imperceptibly grown into a chasm. Heavyweight products like web servers, application servers hitherto in the Unix domain are now released for Windows. The code should work exactly the same on the Unix box as it did on the programmer's Windows desktop, and this is effectively guaranteed by the makers of Java.

The irony of this is can make one laugh loud in amazement - Java was birthed at and owned by Sun Microsystems, whose battle horse is Solaris, the high end flavor of Unix!

Indeed, the Sun is slowly setting because it believes its Solaris workstations are losing ground to Windows and Linux. It does not realize it is slowly being killed off by what it gave birth to, with much labor and pain.

Java encompasses a panoply of software technologies, from databases to distributed computing and web servers, from cell phones to transactional systems and more. This means that these technologies are now brought to the desktop, where Java will also run.
Indeed during Masterji’s college days in the late 80's as a Computer Science student, he says, “I never even once switched on a Windows PC. All of our work was done in Unix. DOS/Windows was a laughably primitive system. Now it is sobering, and a watershed moment for me to realise that I have not logged in to work on a Unix system for over two years, except to push code for deployment to production. This weekend, I shall delete the Linux partition on my aging dual-boot desktop at home - I do all my programming in Java in the Windows environment now”.

What can halt this slide? The answer is obvious and simple. Sun has enormous leverage over its creation and so can simply stop releasing the version of Java that will run on Windows. IBM, HP and Sun must simultaneously push the Linux desktop to the consumer. This must be done as a sudden shock and not gradually. Programmers will rush out to install Linux/Unix on their PCs in order to continue working. More applications will run on Linux/Unix. The balance will then shift away from Microsoft and open up competition. This will once more bring diversity back to the world of software.

Copyright Anil Philip 2004, 2005