A new cello, and a Rachmaninoff performance2011 Nov 12
Recently I purchased a new cello. This had not been in my plans, and was a surprise to me.
One weekend I was at a guitar store, and I tried out their good acoustic guitars. I realized that I didn't find them to be significantly better than the guitar I already had.
Later that day, Melanie & I were passing another music store, and I remembered that she wanted to buy a flute stand. So we stopped in. While she was picking it out, I wandered over to the cellos and asked if I could play them. That was an interesting experience because I found out I didn't know what kind of sound I wanted in a cello.
So I started trying out cellos from multiple shops. Did you know that the better string (instrument) shops will let you out their door with a borrowed multi-thousand dollar instrument even though you did not pay them any money? At one point I had three borrowed cellos in addition to my old one at home.
Our Obedience2011 May 25
Chuck Swindoll made a good point on the obedience of the Israelites.
"My personal conviction is that our greatest struggle is not in the realm of understanding the will of God; it's in the realm of obeying the God whose will it is."
However, what the Israelites were to obey isn't what we are to obey. Jesus changed the rules (John 15:12). We no longer are required to be obedient in our behaviors.
How are People Saved?2011 May 15
Throughout all time, people have been saved by trusting in a loving and merciful God. And since Jesus came to earth, we understand more about how God accomplishes this through the gospel.
The word Gospel means "good news". Jesus came teaching the good news of a new kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23, 9:35, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 8:1, 20:1). This kingdom is very unusual for it is the means by which we are saved.
Jesus taught extensively about the kingdom because it was so different from any earthly kingdom. In fact, this new kingdom wasn't an earthly kingdom at all (John 18:36, Romans 14:17, 1 Corinthians 15:50). It was a spiritual kingdom that was established by Jesus' death and resurrection. This made it quite difficult for humans to understand.
Why was the kingdom good news anyway?
The news of Jesus' new kingdom was good because it solved a problem we could not fix:
Our Adventure on the Sammamish River Slough2011 Apr 19
Melanie & I have taken up kayaking. It an outdoors activity that is not limited by her flat feet, and we live in a place with lots of interesting places to see by boat. And it is good exercise!
We purchased a used tandem sea kayak from a tour outfitter last year. This year we have been out four times, with our most adventurous trip at last weekend.
Seattle is dominated by the Lake Washington water system. Its largest feed is from Lake Sammamish to the east. I have often biked the Sammamish River trail, and the river is calm and generously sized all the way. However, there was one section that I didn't know about.
State Edwards Seminary Tour2011 Feb 5
One of my favorite places to go walking is the St. Edward State Park (and map). It is a large (316 acre) undeveloped park of mostly trails, and has the last undeveloped waterfront on Lake Washington.
It also has a large historic building that had been the St. Edward Seminary of the Catholic Church. Boys entered during high school on the path to becoming priests.
The building is a poured concrete building that was constructed in 6 months by the same builder that built Seattle's Northgate Mall, the first indoor shopping mall in the United States.
I have often thought it would be very cool to see the inside of the building, and look out from the tower.
However, this time I saw a new sign on one of the entrances indicating severe response to unauthorized entry. That was not in my mind, but it made entry seem all the more remote.
And then I realized that I had never asked if I could be taken inside. So I went to the ranger office and asked if they ever had tours. "Not really, but... Well, why don't you take him on one now?" So a ranger gave me a full tour!!