Decisions – Nokia 6300i

This looks enticing. A dear sister of mine has the 6300 version, and it really, really looks slick! I like the design and the form factor. BUT… it does not have a crucial component which I need for my next phone; WIFI connection. The 6300i (notice the i for ‘Internet’) solves the defeciency. It has everything now, except touchscreen.

Best part, it is only around USD270. That makes it within my ‘budget’ for a next phone. Hahahahaha. As if my financial controller would allow…. hmmm… to wait for Samsung’s Gphone or a future budget Gphone… or just get a Nokia (which has the reputation for sturdiness)?

Decisions, decisions….

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Forecasting Tutorial

It was not as fun as the great 80 quiz list of 2006, but it was still a refreshing change. Of course it was already a biased exercise, the number was surely influenced by the more obvious factors of the game itself and the day’s events. 6 students got the exact number correctly, more by sheer chance of ‘hentam’ing.

I owe them a gift! 😛

Part and parcel of lecturing sacrifices (laughter!)

Appreciation

It’s nice to be appreciated by the company. Embarassing… surely. But nice nevertheless.

This brings to mind what a good friend of mine warned me about; corporate enticements are like small pecks of kisses that eventually muddles your ability to do what you want, except to embrace her openly and fully.

Appreciation strengthens my resolve.

🙂

Terminator: Must Watch Series

ML and I highly recommend the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles series. It is only 9 episodes (courtesy of the recently concluded Writer’s Guild strike), but it really packs a nice entertainment wallop!

It’s worth the time. Suspenseful and with good characterisation. It also stars Brian Green Austin (I think I spelt that correctly… remember the youngest guy on Beverly Hills 90210?). Also the main lead is the wife of Leonidas from 300… a british lady who really packs a very powerful punch (real life boxer).

Go watch it already!

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Illustrative Explanation on Limited Atonement (I)

Had a few in mind for topics like election, God’s sovereignty and human responsibility and supralapsarianism which I have been thinking imagery-wise. Anyway, I’ll put this up first. These are of course systematic (need to be read in order of argument), but with my work load now, I’m actually doing more harm to my prep work if I am to finish this whole topic in one go.

Illustrative Explanation on Limited Atonement (I)

Enjoy!

Ineffectual Death? – Cheapening of God III

“Jesus Christ died for the human race.”

“Jesus Christ died for every single person.”

Easter was celebrated yesterday, on the 23rd of March 2008. We did not celebrate it in any elaborate day since every week is an Easter celebration for us, as we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord.

What most would not understand is that Jesus Christ died for sinners. The people whom the shepherd laid down His life for, were sinners. It spanned sinners from various walks of life, from varying generations and people types (world).

No better words would explain the simplicity of this truth than:

John 10:14-18  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  (15)  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  (16)  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  (17)  For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  (18)  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

For good reasons Jesus made it explicit for whom He died for, because if Jesus did (hypothetically) die for all mankind who has every lived and who will live, what happens for those who ‘reject’ the offer of grace then?

The logical answer is: the death which Jesus died was ineffectual. It did not guarantee the salvation of the man who ‘rejected’ the death. It is sheer blasphemy to think that Jesus’ death could be made void, and thus man is made to die TWICE. Is it not? Following this ‘queer’ line of thought, man is to die for their own sins, and then Jesus died for them to take away their sins, only to find that the man whom their sins have been paid for by Jesus rejects it, and therefore the man dies again (back to square one again) a second time.

Scripture is explicit about narrowing the salvation to the elect (and thus the death is effectually limited in scope). Other passages are like:

Isa 53:3-12  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  (4)  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  (5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. [who then is this ‘we’ and ‘our’ which is indicated? see following verses]  (6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  (7)  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  (8)  By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?  (9)  And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.  (10)  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  (11)  Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.  (12)  Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors [The sins of “many”. The ‘our’, the ‘us’, the ‘we’, is all pointing to the many whom Christ’s death is for!]

An Old Testament reference is apt here. The most well known passage on the Lord’s death which was prophesied much earlier contains the very essence of truth littered across the pages of scripture. Halleluyah! That makes perfect sense that Jesus died for His people whom only He knows (see reference below). What about the verses here and there that (apparently) makes claim to a general atonement? Well, you have to read them carefully to put it into the context of Scripture as a whole and not to your own choosing. Your choice of limiting the scope of scripture, will make it a reality what Jesus Himself says about those who do not understand the mystery of how “God’s People” are known ONLY to Him. Our inability to find solid certainty on who these people are “based on external actions” should make us plead to God for His wisdom and for us to peer through the deeper lives of merely ‘professing Christians’.

Mat 11:25-30  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;  (26)  yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  (27)  All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.  (28)  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (29)  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  (30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Our ignorance of who the final amount and actual people of God should not discourage us, but like Paul, it is an impetus for us to go all out evangelising in His name alone. And not to just cheapening the salvation by cheapening God. Has what God Willed ever been thwarted? Can His Death then be cheapened?

Scripture and Logic tells you the answer clearly.

May we be invigorated with the truth of His atonement for sinners! Oh Grace! Wonderful grace, that our Lord should ever have planned to save sinners at all! Amen.

Expelled – The Movie

I was well informed on the state of several Creationist scientists very early on in the early 2000’s. It was true, and I heard it from one of the top scientists himself, that there are scientists who are barred from any secular/contemporary scientific journals the moment you utter any hint of ‘intelligent design’ or ‘creationist theory’ elements. It is a very sorry state. The perpetrators behind this are just as bad as the people they are accusing from the past for ‘limiting or oppressing’ scientific advancement (namely during the rule or heavy influence of the Roman Catholic church). Again, my thoughts on this is simple; you cannot rely fully on ‘scientific experiments and hypothesis’ that is done in the present to substantiate historical evidences. At most, you are doing a very interesting/complicating assumption work. You’re applying things backwards to explain things that you will never see or be able to prove. The main assumption behind all the work of associating and application is this: what happened in the past is still PERFECTLY the same for the present.

Which of course is not what most people would want to say, they believe in 100%.

All the more, this movie “Expelled” makes for an intriguing watch when it comes out. I’m sure of it. The trailer looks good.

http://www.expelledthemovie.com/video.php

Dawkins is interviewed in the movie (yay!). Hahahaha, and yes, to make things clear, people who believe in God (the concept of it) is ridiculed much on the Net media. It does not matter. What does matter is to understand that most of them are often in a cloud of ‘herd mentality’ (evidenced in Digg site).

A good excerpt from the blog:

A rousing SRO preview on Tuesday of the new Ben Stein documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, brought a Kansas City audience to its feet.

And with good cause. Stein’s often funny, always engaging frontal assault on the oppressive neo-Darwinist establishment is arguably the smartest and most sophisticated documentary ever produced on the right side of the cultural divide, on any subject, ever.

As such, Expelled represents still another blow to the progressive orthodoxy of government-issued science in its winter of discontent.

The winter started early when in November two separate labs, one in Wisconsin, one in Japan, announced the breakthrough discovery that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed to mimic embryonic stem cells.

Just two years earlier, the elfin journalist Chris Mooney had likened adult stem cell research to creationism and assured the readers of his best seller, The Republican War on Science, that this “dogma” had been “resoundingly rejected by researchers actually working in the field.”

As the winter rolled on, and as all four major global temperature tracking outlets showed a precipitous drop in annual global temperature, and as snow fell in Baghdad for the first time in recorded history, only Al Gore remained in meltdown.

Meanwhile, on a seemingly daily basis, the neo-Luddites from the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front have been putting a distinctly left wing face on the “war on science,” in this case a real war on real scientists.

And into this breach, armed with his trademark tennies and bemused grin, marches Ben Stein, America’s only economist/ presidential speechwriter turned comic actor. The producers at Premise Media could not have recruited a better on-screen presence.

Although the role Stein plays has been compared to the one Michael Moore plays in his film, the Stein persona is conspicuously brighter and more benign.

Patient Changes

It can never be done in haste, lest the changes are but temporal in nature, which defeats the actual purpose.

Brick by brick, stone by stone.

It will take years.

If it is God’s Will.

On Limited Atonement

I find it better to use the words of others to explain the doctrine and truth on Limited Atonement and it’s implications rather than to explain it within the confines of my blog. Those who have done it better, we use their voice (there is no shame at this, except for those who think that they are so knowledgable that explanations must come from their own study otherwise it is void):

  • A good summary on the issue is available here.
  • Sinclair Ferguson on Reconciliation here, particularly in this excerpt:

It is effected in the salvation in all of the elect through the proclamation of the gospel. Sinclair was once sitting in a Baptist church at a Christmas service hearing an Arminian preacher and he was reading the Scriptures, but the way he read “He will save his people from their sins.” resulted in all the issues I had been grappling with for months over limited atonement fell into place. This passage in 2 Corinthians 5 is replete with universals – ‘all,’ and ‘the world’. Why should one hang on to limited atonement in the light of these universal terms? Because of Paul’s understanding of the nature of the atonement. It is effected by the substitution of Jesus Christ in our place. He has affected the atonement. So payment God cannot twice demand . . . The very nature of the atonement implies and demands that this atonement is effectual. Either the atonement would be incomplete, or God would be unjust.

  • John Macarthur (famously misquoted and beaten on this point) explains in a good, down-to-earth sermon here. The good excerpts that give a gist of his contention of the matter are:

But let’s start with some simple things.  If I ask the average Christian for whom did Christ die?  The traditional answer would be, “Everybody…everybody, Christ died for the whole world, He died for all sinners.”  And most people then in the church believe, and I’m sure many people outside the true church, many people associated with Christianity, believe that on the cross Jesus paid the debt of sin for everyone because He loves everyone and He wants everyone to be saved.” That’s pretty much the common evangelical view.  Jesus died for everybody, He paid the price for the sins of everybody.  And all we have to do is tell sinners that He loves them so much that He paid the price and He wants them to be saved and all they have to do is respond.

Now if that is true, then on the cross Jesus accomplished a potential salvation…not an actual one.  That is, sinners have all had their sins atoned for potentially and it’s not actual until they activate it by their faith…. [skipping to the end]

Now the sum of it comes down to this.  Is the death of Christ a work that potentially saves willing sinners or is it a work that actually provides salvation for unwilling sinners who by God’s sovereign grace will be made willing?  The only possible answer is that God provided a sacrifice in His Son, a true payment in full for the sins of all who would ever believe and all who would ever believe will believe because the Father will draw them and He will grant them repentance and faith and regeneration.  Jesus’ death then is to be understood as a full satisfaction to God’s holy justice on behalf of all whom God will save. 

I didn’t invent this, this doctrine goes way back, back to the Reformation, back to John Owen, and even back to Charles Spurgeon.  Listen to what Spurgeon said, “We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men or all men would be saved.  Now our reply to this is that on the other hand our opponent’s limited.  We do not.  The Arminians say Christ died for all men.  Ask them what they mean by that.  Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men?  They say no, certainly not.  Or we ask them the next question, did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any person in particular?  They say no.  They’re obliged to say that if they’re consistent.  They say no.  Christ has died that any man may be saved if…and then follow certain conditions of salvation.”

  • A slightly diplomatic view, which does not clearly tries to tie or make a clear connection between human responsibility and God’s sovereignty, from D.A. Carson is here. I thought the pastoral elements and implications are clearly and frankly summarised.
  • J.I. Packer’s introduction to Owen’s own treatment on the issue in “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” is here, while the full treatise of the latter is here.

In the end, I see that those who practice or believe in “Unlimited Atonement” to be defficient in their Christian beliefs. Not that they are not saved, no, no… for Grace is from God, and what is unified with grace is faith and the work of the Spirit.

What I suspect to be the ‘shock’ in which these people see the doctrine is mostly personal; if this “limited atonement” is true, then what about my initial profession? Was it effectual? Did God really save me? They are afraid of struggling with the issue of ‘assurance’ which naturally stems from this doctrine. One is saved by God’s Work, not mere confession that is de-void of the Spirit’s work. The comfort they had on mere intellectual assent is challenged!

On the other side, another group is afraid because they look at their wills and with the same mind, believe that it is possible to ‘unwill’ your faith. To lose salvation. Therefore, “limited atonement” is not possible (which guarantees full effectual atonement on the sinner saved – elect).

I pity them with much sadness. Mystery of certain things that are not available to the human intellect is necessary a humbling thing that brings us to awe at a mighty God who is almighty and is living not only in our space and time, but beyond also. Humbling that we know fully that it is Him who saves and gives us the will to cry out “Faith!”. More humbling for the one who cries out and find out even his cry was not from his own depraved will, but a renewing work of God.

Other alternatives really just doesn’t measure up to the Glory of God. Pure, sovereign, blissful Grace.

🙂

Openmoko Freerunner Pricing Confirmed!

Officially announced (well, sort of…) on Planet Openmoko (dot) Org

The price range for the Neo FreeRunner has been published, it’s going to be less than 400 USD — which is quite a substantial improvement over the estimated 650 that was published last year. Given the features (Wifi, GPS, GSM, BT, Accellerometers, VGA) and the openness (priceless!) I think it’s pretty decent price.

Can you believe it? A GPS, Wifi enabled (with Bluetooth) for a paltry sum of USD400? That’s unbelievable. Of course the downside is really quite huge: no camera on board.

Now, if only I can start saving up for this product! Hahahah.

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Easily the most anticipated product (for me!)