Appalled


For those that did not follow the news, Christchurch was hit with another massive earthquake again last Tuesday. This time the city is in complete shambles. Horrible as that all may be, again just as after the last time people see in this an opportunity to steal from others.

First we read about the house of one of the missing persons there had been a burglary while the family was waiting and hoping for some good news from the CTV building  here>>>

Or what to think of this message on voxy

Wellington, Feb 25 NZPA – Two men charged with stealing three emergency generators a day after the Christchurch earthquake face a month behind bars after a special Christchurch District Court sitting this morning to deal with criminal cases in the wake of the quake.

Jed Wilson-Calver,
22, unemployed, and Owen Anthony Jackson, a 23-year-old fisherman, offered to leave the city immediately if granted bail, but Judge Michael Crosbie refused, remanding them in custody until March 28, Christchurch Court News website reported.

Judge Crosbie told them: “Those who burgle, loot, steal, or impersonate officials at this time demonstrate that they are capable of anything.”

“Anyone who the courts deem a risk to the community can be expect to be remanded in custody.”

It was the fourth sitting of the court held at the police station following the suspension of regular court sittings since Tuesday.

Judge Crosbie said the generators, worth $6000, were set up to provide back-up power for essential communications. They were stolen between 7.30pm and 10pm on Wednesday.

“My job is to assess the risk,” the judge told both men.

They were charged with stealing vital equipment at a time when people were “dying around us”.

“What would possess someone to do that?” he asked.

The session dealt with other people charged with earthquake-related offences, including Nathan John de Seymour, 22, a hammer hand, of the southern suburb of Beckenham, who was charged with burglary of a house.

He was also remanded in custody to March 28.

Source http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/custody-remand-accused-quake-thieves/5/83591

I guess the Dominion Post coverage of the first two men tells it all:

The two men lifted their middle fingers to the courtroom as they were led back to the cells. Bail was denied, and they were remanded until March 28.

Or what to think of this:

In a separate incident, a looter was caught red handed by police stealing a pearl drum set from a music store in Blenheim Road in the early hours of this morning.

The thief had smashed the front window to gain entry. Police caught and arrested a man 15 metres from the store.

There have also been reports of at least two people – apparently of Australian nationality – presenting themselves to the fire service as both Urban Search and Rescue and Disaster Victim Identification staff. Enquiries showed these people are not credited to either role.

District Commander Superintendent Dave Cliff said as well as making arrests for burglaries and thefts, police had been dealing with cases of drunken disorder and people breaching cordons.

“We urge you to be vigilant, look after the property of your neighbours and if you see something suspicious don’t hesitate to call police.”

Police are continuing to patrol the city with the New Zealand Defence Force, Mr Cliff said.

“We are ramping up our reassurance patrols around the city,” he said.”In he next 48-hours you will see a radical saturation of patrols.”

Police have received reports of people imitating officials, such as aid workers and EQC staff, including one asking to see a resident’s personal possessions with the aim of returning to steal them.

“Please ask for ID, they will have it [if they are legitimate,” Mr Cliff said.

People who have officials come to their home can also call authorities to confirm the identity of the official.

In the rest of the article we read of the first incidents of scams related to the earthquake, people posing as victims that are in need of money. Online the anger about these people can be read on twitter and facebook. And the following initiative was but one that had to transpire:

Public Humiliation for the Looters of the 22/02/2011 Earthquake.

May the bold print of the names above be a small contribution.

 

The Google Art Project


Here you are trying to view a major work of art like a Van Gogh, a Picasso or a Dali to find yourself surrounded by so many others that the experience is hardly possible. All those around you want exactly the same that

The Google Art Project offers an alternative way to view some of the world’s most famous artworks, in greater detail and with a better view than you very likely would often achieve when viewing these works in real life.

Some believe Google’s Art Project will allow thousands more people to view and appreciate works that they may never get the chance to see in person. Others believe that no matter how impressive, technology can never replace the experience of viewing a work in the flesh and some commentators wonder what sort of implications this kind of project will have on people’s need to visit galleries or museums in future.

More about it in the video below

I think this is pretty cool and at the same time it will never be able to replace the real life face to face thingy. I so well remember, that after having looked at (detailed photos of) Starry Nights by Van Gogh, coming face to face with this painting was as emotional as reuniting with an old friend. No computer experience can in my view compete with seeing a Dali in larger than live size. It is in that experience that you get a real appreciation for his sense of detail.

At the same time I could imagine that the Google project is adding extra dimensions  because of its level of detail. Whatever the pros and cons, I think it is a great idea.

The links below feature some interesting views on the project:

  1. The Work of Art in the Age of Google
  2. Behind The Scenes At The Google Art Project
  3. The Problem With Google’s Art Project
  4. Google Art Project: the 7 billion pixel masterpieces (slideshow)

I from my side a curious what your thoughts are on this project and on watching art online. I’d be keen to hear what your thoughts are.

Dear Dad – Poem in Memoriam (via Neal’s Perspective Through 21 Years in Business…)


What a beautiful poem for a loved but passed away father.

Below is a poem I wrote for my father. He passed away exactly one year ago, feb 17, 2010. My 5 elder brothers, two elder sisters, myself and my younger brother (9 of us in total!) miss him dearly. My parents were divorced when I was around 8 years old. —————————————————————————————————————————————————— Dear Dad, Separated while young, we learned to … Read More

via Neal's Perspective Through 21 Years in Business…

Be Still: Psalm 46


A quiet moment at the waterfront

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

What an amazingly comforting verse this is. Read the whole Psalm and we are looking at the most incredible comforting word. The Psalm as a whole encourages us to place all our hope and trust in God, in His power and providence.  In our busy lifestyles of today, in a society that places us the individual in the center of the universe, where temptation is ever present, where economies and politics fail us, this verse is often easier said than done.

It is very easy to wonder whether God is still able to keep up with our fast paced, rapidly changing world and lifestyles. Well God is very capable of keeping up but are we able to be still?

It is very easy to call Him our Protector, our Comforter, our Father but just imagine this: what if your child called you all this but never got to spend any time with you. I know as a parent that I long for the special time with each of my sons, that I love our family time. I hate to think what it would feel like if time and time again my boys would say, sorry I don’t have time for you.

God wants a relationship with His creation not just collectively but individually, and because of that He gave His only begotten Son, who died on the cross for all of us, not just collectively but each of us individually. How do you think He’d feel when time and time again He’s being told ” sorry not now, I am too busy for you, I have other more pressing things on my mind right now, can’t you see I am trying to get ahead of things, do you have any idea what kind of trouble I am in right now, look Dad, my job is on the line, how am I going to pay for the mortgage, what will other think of me when I am jobless, come on guve me a break, don’t call me I’ll call you.”

In all this, I now realize we are actually shortchanging ourselves. It is in the “being still” that we remember His past, so that we can have faith in our now and future, I know I can. It is in the being still that I realize that I am not in control: He is! It is in this realization, that His history, also on an individual basis should be enough reason to trust Him with my here, now and future that I find the peace. Perhaps it may help some to turn the phrase around: know that I am God and be still.

Being still thus comes not from taking a break from our busy life styles, but from knowing who God is; from remembering what He has done, what realizing what He is doing in our lives right now, and from trusting our Father in whatever  He will do in our lives. Realize and embrace that God is totally in control, and will do everything He has purposed and promised to do! Then enjoy God’s peace!

Prayer

Great and glorious Father God, you are truly amazing. When I stop and think what you have done, what you are doing I find myself at peace, no matter what life is bringing on my path. Life may get hectic, challenging, my circumstances may be great of sorrowful but in all this I remember know that you are God. Write your truth on my heart, and in my mind and keep it right there so that I may indeed be still.

Autumn Leaves Chord Melody Arrangement Added to Renaissance Man Music


A suitable for beginners chord melody arrangement is added to Renaissance Man Music. Download it here >>>

Have fun

Guitar Tips for playing in a small worship group


Being a worship musician in a small group (just guitar and vocals or piano, guitar and vocals) is a challenging but very honorable role. If you are advanced on your instrument things may be slightly easier but what if you have but limited knowledge of and/or skills on your instrument. You may well be sort of like a beginner but, the music ministry/worship singers need you badly, not tomorrow, yesterday.

There’s a lot you can learn about music but for now there are some key skillsthat take priority.

Read the rest here >>>

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Thoughts on God, Faith and Transformation: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader part 3


In this final part I will discuss a third theme that stood out for me when looking at “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and reflecting on my own life: transformation.

You can read the previous parts here part 1 >>> and part 2 >>>

Transformation

If there is anything I can relate to personally, I guess it must have been the transformation of Eustace, first from a self-righteous little boy into the dragon he actually was and than back into a boy but a different one. The past forty five years I have lived a life turned away from God, thinking that secular humanism was the answer, that we did not need God if he existed at all. Very much like Eustace I guess I had turned into a dragon, that wanted to change for the better but no matter how hard I tried I just could not seem to “undragon” myself. Running around in circles, trying out the different self-help motivational stuff that market is bombarded with, looking at all the different belief systems, the new age thing to at least fill up the spiritual gap. All to no avail. I have had to learned the hard way what “The Secret” is. It has nothing to do with all the new agey stuff that is being presented in this best seller. THE SECRET IS THAT GOD WORKS FROM THE INSIDE OUT while all the self help stuff is based on the concept of from the outside in.  I guess very much like Eustace, the change comes when you first learn to see who you really are and believe me you do when God’s at work in you. And I guess that with my conversion the process of “undragoning” really started.

The boy that resulted from the undragoning by Aslan was different, yes it was Eustace again but a different Eustace. When asked what it was like Eustace describes the pain “but is was a good sort of pain.” Again I can relate to that, it hurts when you see yourself as who you really were and if you have to give up the  things that were so typical for your life. And that is what happened when I handed over the wheel to Jesus, when God and God’s became center of my life and focus.

In Matthew 6 we find the Lord’s Prayer:

 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us the wrong we have done
as we forgive those who wrong us.
Subject us not to the trial
but deliver us from the evil one.

 

Now there are different translations of this prayer but why I am putting it out here is for that one sentence that keeps on going through my head: “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Transformation so it appears to me now comes from the peace that comes from the freedom that is associated with a life in Christ and Christ in you. It is in doing His will, instead of your own that we find this true freedom. And Jesus was of course the best illustration of this truth.

If we look at Jesus, we see total freedom but at the same time in total dependence not of his own strength but of his Father. Free from sin, could not be tempted, free of death, free of the laws of nature (gravity, death, sickness), able to override nature (calm the storms, heal the sick, raise the dead), yet in all of his life Jesus focus was on his Father and His will and plan.

I have said it on many an occasion I seem to be better at failing to do God’s will than doing it. At the same time so it seems, the chance of heart we know as repentance does set in motion substantial change and while I regularly fail, I seem to be getting better at not failing. In the book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” we read how after the undragoning, Eustace was different and although there were relapses, A PROCESS OF HEALING WAS STARTED.

Sometimes I think salvation is not just about being forgiven for our sins but most of all about being saved from the illusion of sin: beginning to see past the self-centered and destructive pleasure and recognizing things for what they really are and what the real price is. Temptation does not tell you what the costs are, it just tells you about the benefits. Through God, we are learning to see and resist.

We are not left to our own devices: God left us a Holy Spirit to guide us through it all just like Lucy here in the picture above. He will show us what it is we are really doing. He loves us enough to not let us live out our mistakes.

In “Mere Christianity” Christianity C.S. Lewis presents God’s radical invitation to each of us:

“Make no mistake. If you let me I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in my hand, that is what you are in for, nothing less or other than that. You have free will and if you choose you can push me away. But if you do not push me away, understand that I am going to see this job through.

It is with this in mind that I understand Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians:

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

We are full circle in that through Aslan we are presented a highly balanced image of Jesus as being NOT SAFE BUT GOOD. It takes faith to embark on the journey, and it is through faith that we persevere in what He set out for us. It becomes all about His plan and will for us as opposed to our plans and will for Him. In all this I find that we are not just saved but actually taken by the hand to be transformed to become no longer the person we want to be (whether or not for God) but the person He wants us to be. Praise God for making His changes.