Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/load.php on line 926 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 June | 2012 | Will Adams Blog Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798 Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Drop and give me 50 – minutes in prayer.

Lord, please give me something that I’ve never worked for or deserve even though I had ample resources and opportunity to obtain it for myself.

People don’t actually pray like that do they?

Oh, but we do.

If I were to pray to God that I suddenly gain physical strength, I wouldn’t expect him to grant me my request. First off that’s not the purpose of prayer and God doesn’t work like a genie, but mainly because that’s ridiculous. I have access to three different gyms that have both free weights and other exercise machines. And though I have seasons where I don’t have free time during the day, most days I have at least a spare hour.

God has provided me with the opportunity to exercise, if I choose not to take advantage of those opportunities – that is my fault.

If I were to pray that God gift me with knowledge when I haven’t studied, I wouldn’t expect him to fulfill that prayer either. Say I chose to fall behind on researching in one of the areas in my field, say broadcast engineering. Suppose I decided to not bother researching it for months – then when a problem arose I asked God to just show me how to fix the issue – why would he want to grant my request? I had the opportunity along and along to do the research and I chose not to. I should pay the consequences.

“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” Luke 12:48

In spite of the fact that it’s crazy to ask God to give us something we haven’t worked for in the physical or mental realm, we do it all the time when it comes to spiritual discipline. We pray for patience, peace, and knowledge of God’s will. Yet we don’t want to exercise patience. We don’t want to practice peace. We don’t want to study scripture and gain knowledge of God’s will.

Spiritual disciplines are just like other disciplines. It’s absurd for me to walk into a difficult situation asking for God’s will when I haven’t spent time in prayer and time studying scripture, discerning God’s will. It’s foolish for me to ask for God to give me patience in an especially difficult situation when I haven’t practiced patience in the easy situations. God gives us time and opportunities to exercise, it’s up to us to take advantage of the grace he’s given us.

Scripture promises us mercy and grace for sin. We’re not told, however, that we’ll receive more grace when we’re irresponsible with the grace we’ve already been given. In fact we’re told the opposite. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of the talent which contains one of the most ungracious sounding quotes from our savior.

“So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Matthew 25:28-29

To me it’s clear – the amount of grace that God will bless us with in the future is directly contingent upon whether we’re responsible with that we’ve already been given.

This is what I hear from this scripture:

Don’t squander grace. Be students of scripture and prayer warriors. Be exercising patience and practicing peace. These are things that take hard work to develop. If you don’t invest time in these practices, you’ll never be all that your father wants you to be. Don’t squander grace, exercise it.

Tagged , , ,

Tomorrow Television Will Change Forever.

A couple of years ago I wrote an entry about the future of TV. One of the major players in the prediction is the Apple TV. A device that is currently a separate box with WiFi and an HDMI connector for TVs. The catalyst of this proposed future is a device and or TV that simplifies the process of developing apps, monetizes it, and rolls it out in an ecosystem that works for the US.

Most of the major networks have an app for iPad and iPhone already whereby you can watch all the most recent episodes of their current shows. If only there was a way to access the same content on demand on TV in an similar fashion while still being able to stream live events live when the time arrives.

a mock-up of Apple's new TV set

Tomorrow is Apple’s annual Word Wide Developers Conference. At the conference Apple is rumored to announce an updated line of Mac computers and an upgraded operating system for their mobile devices. Mac rumors, a website that tracks patents and leaked news, got wind of the fact that Apple will be announcing a new operating system for their apple TV device, which will presumably be the same operating system that’s used on their fabled TV set, rumored to hit the market sometime this year. Steve Jobs’ supposed final revelation was in regards to this device. Shortly before his death, Jobs talked about the new TV with his biographer, saying that he “Finally cracked it.”

We stand on the cusp of an enormous change to the way we receive television. Tomorrow at WWDC Apple will be announcing that developers can now write apps for their upcoming TV Set. What this means is that NBC, ABC, CBS, TNT, TBS, Fox and most importantly – Disney will all be able to create apps for your TV that allow you to interact with their content as they see fit. If they want a world premiere to run live – it will. If they want to make it available for a week after it showed – they can. If you want to email a friend and have them pull up a clip of a TV show right to their TV set and watch it – shebang.

Other cool features like Skype on your TV and the ability to send video messages to friends are possible as well. Advantages like being able to have a live video chat while watching a live event are also feasible. Re-airing classic shows and movies with video commentary or live chat with the stars and creators. Imagine being able to watch something on your iPhone or iPad, pause it and then resume it in full HD on your TV.

And of course let’s not forget the gaming potential. Developers can write games that can be downloaded right to your TV. Using a bluetooth or WiFi connection you can use your iPod as a touch screen controller. You can use voice activation to command the action. You can use your existing Apple game center profile to connect with friends and play co-op games. Oops! Did Apple just merge the computer and console gaming industries – I think they did.

Perhaps most intriguing in this brave new world of TV is the fact that hierarchy will soon be gone. Much like the recording industry has become obsolete in the post-modern era of internet-based marketing and delivery, soon everyone can develop an app that can deliver TV content to the world. Youtube stars and non-profits can create a an app that can sit along side your ESPN app so you can receive new content from them the same way.

When it comes to mainstream content, thought Disney is going to be the Key. I wasn’t joking earlier when I said they were most important. Disney owns the station that most men would pay a premium to have – ESPN. They also own ABC, Disney, Disney XD, ABC Family, ESPNU, 2, 3, Classic Deportes and all associated radio stations and print media. This could be a big outlet for them so long as they can monetize it. And if there is one thing that Apple is good at – it’s making money. Plus Disney and Apple are intertwined as Apple owns the majority stock in Pixar and Pixar and Disney merged a few years back.

After that comes Time Warner and News Corp. Once CNN and Fox News are on board, all of the most watched stations currently only available on cable and satellite will be available through Apple TV. Though, I feel confident that regardless of whether they make the transition cable news stations are going to see a sharp decline over the next few years as most people under 40 get their news from social media. If they don’t adapt it’s entirely likely that CNN and Fox News could both die a slow death over the next ten years.

The biggest opponent to this change is Comcast which is about as big and evil as a media corporation gets. They’ve been under investigation by the FCC constantly for questionable network neutrality, data throttling and for their efforts to block any a la carte offerings by cable stations. Unfortunately Comcast owns 51% of NBC. The fact that NBC is the lead steak holder in Hulu.com is an encouragement, but Comcast is currently the biggest cable/internet company in the States. They might try to hold out in an effort to keep cable as king. If they withhold NBC’s content that would create a large gap in the programming. Even worse if they throw their digital weight around as such to make it harder for people to use their network to access on-demand content. (They’re already suspect of such in regards to Netflix.)

At the same time NBC has been in fourth among the major broadcast networks for several years now. And all of the broadcast stations have been in decline of viewership despite over all TV viewership being on the rise. They’ll all have to follow the audience if they hope to stay relevant. It’s questionable whether stations of any kind will be needed in this new form of TV. Studios could skip the middleman and present their content right to the audience. The structure remains to be seen, but undoubtedly there will be those who adapt and those who don’t survive.

Microsoft already announced their plans to open the Xbox platform to developers in hopes of creating a similar experience – so there is competition which will drive prices down and quality up.

Believe me when I say tomorrow marks the beginning of the end for traditional television, and the dawn of something way cooler.

Tagged , ,

A life without God

Westboro baptist church is, as you may know, an organization that claims to be a Christian church located in Topeka Kansas. I say ‘claims’ because their actions clearly show that there are large portions of the Bible that they ignore. WBC is best known for picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers and people who were openly gay. They often sport extremely hateful slogans that have no Biblical foundation and they teach their children to do the same. In the past ten years I’ve seen this church shown on national TV at least four times and I don’t even watch the news very much. It’s likely that they’ve shown up on TV much much more.

What is the significance of this? Westboro Baptist Church reports its membership at 40. The church that has probably appeared on national news more than any other single church has just 40 members.

I work at a church with seven thousand members. In my four years here we’ve made national news zero times. We’ve helped hundreds, if not thousands of people in need and we’ve seen people being healed of addictions and marriages being saved. We’ve seen people called to go work in other countries and poor neighborhoods. We’ve seen miracles take place and yet we haven’t made national news mainly because it’s not as interesting as hearing about a group of 40 really hateful people. But also because that’s not the way Christianity is depicted in the media.

In TV, film, news, books and popular music Christians are almost always shown to be ‘fundamentalists,’ ‘bigots,’ and ‘extremists.’ When statistically the average church-goer is more likely to be a nominal Christian who doesn’t know enough about their own faith to have strong thoughts on any controversial subject. That’s a problem unto itself, but it is not the one being depicted – instead we’re shown as unstable and hateful.

I haven’t heard any news stories about Mama Maggie Gobran who is living in the slums of Cairo, Egypt and working with the children there. Even Bono’s foundation to feed helpless children has gotten far less press than Sean Penn’s humanitarian efforts – the main difference between to two is their worldview. (It certainly isn’t their ability to get drunk and start fights, as they are both equally talented in that measure.) I haven’t heard a news story about Katie Davis who graduated from high school and immediately went to africa to work with diseased, disabled and otherwise less fortunate children. I don’t hear about the fact that Christianity is being persecuted more violently around the world than any other religion and that every day Christians in countries like Iran, Ethiopia and China put their lives on the line by witnessing to the truth of the Gospel. Because it’s more convenient and easy to place us all in the same box – along with these 40 hateful people.

It’s easy to take a cheap shot at Atheism and point out that almost all of the most terrible dictators have been proud Atheists. Joseph Stalin wanted to get rid of religion in the Soviet Union. Mussolini and Mao Tse-Tung wanted the same for their countries. All three were genuine monsters – killing their own people and anyone who would oppose them. At the same time one can bring up the crusades and the inquisition in relation to Christianity. So instead of basing an argument on unbalanced political leadership I’d like to look at more contemporary leadership right here in the old US of A.

In 1963 Madalyn Murray O’Hair won the landmark court case that removed prayer from public schools. It’s pretty interesting to look at the state of the public education system since then, but that’s another blog entry. O’Hair fought for her son’s right to not have the Bible read nor prayers prayed around him. Her son’s name is William Murray and he’s written a book about his life. You see, he’s a Baptist pastor now and his book entitled My life without God is all about the way his mother tried to raise her children to hate God. Aside from seeing that prayer was removed from schools Madalyn Murray O’Hair is perhaps best known as the founder of American Atheists – an organization that seeks to advance the cause of Atheism – rallying people to the cause of believing in – well, nothing.

O’Hair stole, she cheated, she lied. She broke the law on numerous occasions. She never paid taxes. She abused her children emotionally, manipulating them into unhealthy lifestyles. She and her children (and later grand children) were all morbidly obese. She believed in living ‘high off the hog.’ There wasn’t a charitable bone in her body. Before they were killed, O’Hair, Her Son Jon and William’s Daughter Robin (her granddaughter) all lived together and never separated. Jon never married – he never left his mother’s side. Robin, like her grandmother took to a decadent lifestyle and became severely overweight. None of them ever spoke to William who had become a Christian. When he first told them, they ridiculed him and called him a traitor.

O’Hair was proud of her lawless lifestyle and said she believed that the only law should be ‘do what thou will.’ She hired unrepentant convicted felons who were known for their violent crimes. She claimed that she supported their lifestyle. Ultimately this is what led to her death. A former employee kidnapped her, her son and granddaughter. All three of them were brutally murdered by one of her fellow Atheists.

William Murray said

My mother was an evil person … Not for removing prayer from America’s schools … No … She was just evil. She stole huge amounts of money. She misused the trust of people. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company.

This happened all within my lifetime and yet I don’t remember hearing about it. Maybe you did, but I didn’t.

I say all this because these aren’t some obscure people on the outskirts of the Atheist movement. These were the leaders – and yet it is the Christians that are depicted as foolish and hate filled. When I encounter this kind of hate I get angry. Then I get sad. Then I get energized to show the world the love of Christ.

In reality the difference between the Christian life and a life without God is quite simple.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:18-23

 

Tagged , , ,
Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/4/1/5/williamhadams.com/httpd.www/wp-includes/formatting.php on line 4798