Mark R Lindsey

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Blessing God who Blessed us In Christ. Interrogating Ephesians 1:3

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2015 at 3:57 am

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… (ESV)

1. How can we be said to have EVERY spiritual blessing?

…aren’t there some blessings we’re waiting for, like a redeemed body?
— perhaps this refers to the way we’re collectively one body, members one of another and made into a unified working body (eph 4:16, rom 12:5, 1 Cor 12:12)

2. What good does it do us to have a spiritual blessing “in Christ?” 

— our life depends on us being in Christ. John 15:2,5
— our belonging in Christ is essential to the world believing God has sent Jesus (and thus praising Jesus!). John 17:21

2.5 what good is it to have a spiritual blessing in the “heavenly places”?

— 1 Peter 1:3-5 says to praise God because of the inheritance KEPT IN HEAVEN
— Jesus explained it was good for him to go away John 20:16-19; possibly because our blessings are in Him, and He needed to be on the seat next to God the Father, and in display against the powers and principalities.
— God made heaven and earth and deserves praise just for that. (psalm 134:3). But beyond just making them he blesses us!
— Ephesians is full of references to the heavenly places:
—- eph 1:20 God seated Jesus in the Heavenly places
—- eph 2:6 God seated us with Jesus in the heavenly places
—- eph 3:10 The church is God’s appointed way to inform heavenly rulers of the wisdom of God
—- Eph 6:12 we wrestle against spiritual powers of darkness in heavenly places
— So if that’s where all the action is, we want our blessings there!

2.7 blessed US in Christ. In Ephesians 1:13 “you also” seems to mean Gentiles. How does this relate to the blessing of Abraham (Gen 12:2-3) and blessing of all nations IN Abraham?

— The first-person-plural here is all believers in Jesus; the concept changes to “we who were the first to believe” in eph1:12 and doesn’t extend back to here. So this “us” includes the Jewish writer and the Ephesian gentile believers.
— AND it’s an example of fulfillment of the promise to Abraham to bless Abraham’s line and to bless all nations.

3. “Blessed us IN Christ”: Could we have a spiritual blessing not in Christ, or apart from Christ?

— John 15 says no; apart from Christ we’re fruitless and ready to be burned.

4. Couldn’t we have a spiritual blessing here, and now — I.e., not stored away in heavenly places?

— apparently some spiritual blessings do come here; e.g., the Ephesians experience with prophecy and tongues when they accepted the gospel (acts 19:2)
— and Paul doesn’t exclude the presence of spiritual blessings here and now, though it’s not the focus of his discourse.

5. Are we blessed in the heavenly places because that’s where Jesus is? (Ephesians 1:20)

— probably yes; see #2.5

6. Ephesians  1:2 says grace and peace come FROM The Lord Jesus Christ. Now what does it mean that God the Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN Christ?

?????

7. Isn’t grace and peace (from Ephesians 1:2) a spiritual blessing?

— yes; these would be two of the spiritual blessings we have here and now. See #4

8. What is the provocation for blessing God? What’s especially praiseworthy?

…in 2 Cor 1:3 we praise God because his work brings us comfort
…in 1 Peter 1:3 we praise God because of the confidence of salvation that we have
–Perhaps here it’s praise for our blessings, and our link to the heavenly places

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Both Sainted and Faithful: Interrogating Ephesians 1:1,2

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:1, 2, ESV)

Paul combines his apostle status “by the will of God,” with the Ephesians believers’ history of exercising faith: those who are saints AND are faithful.
Why two clauses to define his audience? Who could be a saint and not faithful,
Or not a saint, but faithful?
— “saint” has the idea of being consecrated
— faithfulness includes being consistent in the responsibilities and duties.
— So Paul is writing to folks who were both consecrated to God through Jesus, and also consistently following God’s doctrine.

Is there some special purpose in that opening?

— Col 1:2 has a similar idea. 
— Faithfulness, like of Abraham, is a really key attribute God wants in his people
— A single experience of dedication isn’t qualification to be a follower of God. It takes a life of faithfulness.
See also ephesians 2:10 — faithfulness = created to do good works prepared for us
Ephesians 1:2 
Grace
Why wish grace to his readers?
Didn’t they already have a large measure of grace? (Eph 6:1)
— this was a favorite greeting of Paul
— A standard Greek greeting would use a different word that meant only “greetings”
— Paul seems to be emphasizing that grace comes before peace.
Peace 
— especially cessation of war or civil conflict.
— why wish peace to his readers?
— Ephesus was the home of Artemis, goddess of war
— Matthew 10:34, Jesus said: I did not come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword
— greeting to other books also brings peace: Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Timothys, etc.
Grace comes first; and it makes peace.
In later letters, grace and peace are wished along with Mercy, but not here. Why not?
From God the Father and Jesus — but why not grace and peace from the Holy Spirit also?
— perhaps the Spirit only does as directed by the son, so that the Spirit is implicated in any wish or will of the son?

Every Programmer Has a Five-Person Jury

In Uncategorized on February 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm

When you’re building software, you are judged by a Jury of Five.

Jurist 1. The problem itself. We write code to actually satisfy the requirements of the problem.

Jurist 2. The machine. We have to make something that the machine (compiler, cpu, memory and all its limits) can execute.

Jurist 3.  The future programmer who would like to change or extend something about our software.

Jurist 4. The future programmer who needs only to understand our software.

Jurist 5. The nemesis, i.e., the intelligent being who would like to make our software malfunction.

Amazon Kindle: Don’t use it for serious note-taking

In Mistakes of Others, Uncategorized on June 30, 2011 at 3:35 am

From: Amazon.com
Subject: Kindle Title The Holy Bible English Standard (ESV) (ASIN:B001EOCFU4) has an available update

We’re writing about your past Kindle purchase of The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) by Crossway Bibles. The version you received had typos that have been corrected.

An updated version of The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) (ASIN:B001EOCFU4) is now available. It’s important to note that when we send you the updated version, you will no longer be able to view any highlights, bookmarks, and notes made in your current version and your furthest reading location will be lost.

So if you buy a book, and the figure out the book was defective, then you get to choose between keeping your notes with the defective version, or losing your notes but getting the book bug-fixes. I suppose this isn’t much different than a print book; if you get a new edition with corrections, all of your old notes are in the old print edition. But it’s still disappointing.

Six Ways to Make Yourself Easy to Hire

In Uncategorized on April 1, 2011 at 5:27 pm


I’ve been searching for folks to work with lately. In particular, we bought access to view résumés using monster.com’s resume search. For $700, I can see all the details you’ve uploaded to monster.com.

I’m a programmer, not a “Human Resources Person”. But I’ll bet I’m similar to many other folks looking to hire these days, so I’m playing the role of “hiring manager” even though I don’t manage anybody. I’m just trying to find more peers that I want to work with. These are my opinions on how to make yourself easy to hire, especially if you’re in technical fields.

1. List every skill in detail

People are searching for resumes based largely on keywords. So you need to be sure your resume includes the keywords they’re seeking. Because the online resume is a long, searchable document, there’s no downside in making it long.

Ideally, list everything you’ve ever known how to do, and then indicate what your current level of familiarity is with it.

B. Make your resume, transcript, and evidence of certifications easy to get.

When you’re emailing a “hiring manager,” email a PDF of your resume, transcripts, etc., to that person. Don’t make the hiring person have to dig around through files to find these details. And there’s no downside to sending along a scanned copy of your diploma if you’re going to have to provide it later.

On monster.com, along with your resume, post your college transcripts, certifications, to monster — or provide links so people can easily get them.

By providing evidence of these certifications easily via email when you contact them, making it very easy for the hiring manager to get them, you’re reducing the risk. If somebody sends me their diploma today, on the first email contact, I’m less concerned that they’re not going to be able to provide the college transcripts after a job offer is made.

III. Send examples of your work

Provide examples of the sorts of things you’re able to do. In software, send along software examples. If the job involves writing, send along writing examples. If the job involves network designs, send along examples of network design documentation. If the job involves troubleshooting, give examples of troubleshooting scenarios.

100\sub{2}. Make your online resume look good

Monster.com shows an HTML-rendered view of the resume. I’ve seen some that were obviously converted automatically from MS Word documents, and the result was just barely readable. I’ve also seen clear evidence that the candidate was working hard to make their resume look good in the online view.

I usually don’t even download the MS Word resume file; I just save the HTML view. I hate having to start up MS Word anyway.

0x05. Be more funny!

Everybody wants to work with friendly, fun people. So you might as well be friendly and fun right from the start. Unfortunately, “professionalism” (i.e., being nondescript and unexceptional) prevails.

sqrt(36). Be active

I can’t imagine why a person involved in networking or software could be idle, even if they’re not employed. Get involved in some projects, such as open-source projects. If nothing else, improve their documentation. Or start a new project to write a paper for a conference. And then, if you’re not fully employed, list that activity on your resume as what you’re doing now.

Live News Video for iPad, iPhone, iPod

In Uncategorized on March 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’d often like to see live news on my iPad, but sources are rare. Here are the ones I’ve found:

  • The CNN App for iPad has a “Live Video” feed. This has been a useful source for live news during the news from Japan.
  • NASA TV for iPhone shows live streaming of NASA TV.

I’m most interested in coverage of current events, in English, that I can watch from within the US. If you can recommend other options, please post them below.

Three-Way Handshake — why and when?

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2011 at 4:57 am

I've been pondering why some protocols need a “three-way handshake” when others do not.

For example, TCP requires a three-way handshake. I.e., A to B (syn), then B to A (syn and ack), then A to B again (ack). Then data can flow in both directions.

The SIP INVITE transaction requires this as well. I.e., A to B (INVITE), then B to A (response code like 200), then A to B (ACK).

I did read some Knowledge Theory stuff in my Distribute Algorithms class. It seems like I ought to know this.

It seems like it has something to do with one of these:

(1) The purpose is to BEGIN a flow (and not to do something idempotent).

(2) A is making a request of B, but B must also make a sort of request of A.

Of course, these two options may both, or neither, be involved in the true answer.

The Better to Control Your Mind, My Dear.

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 at 3:01 am


I taught one of my largest training classes ever last week, at the offices of a largish telephone company in Alabama. The class was planned for 12 students, and 17 arrived!

I got to skim-read a new book on cognitive research for teachers, called “Why don’t students like school?” by Daniel T. Willingham. It was fun to apply new techniques to better manipulate my students brains.

These are some reflections on my most recent training experience.

0. Learn their names.

My wife, Hayden, suggested using the video feature on my phone to record each student introducing himself. It worked well, and watching the video a few times helped me to know everybody. That helps me feel more connected, if nothing else.

1. Force the students to consider their level of commitment.

One reason the class went well was that the students worked hard and focused on the class. This isn’t always the case. The students in my class are often key to the operation of their ISPs and telephone companies. The students often struggle to keep up with work while learning new material. There’s a drawback to splitting your attention like this: you stink at both, but you stink the worst at the task that requires the most original thought.

So before I even introduced the class, I had my students fill out a survey (using a Form in Google Docs). The questions asked about their daily job and their levels of expertise in various areas. The last question was this:

———

How much time will you be able to give the class this week? *

This class will require your full attention and concentration to be effective. If you are distracted by other ongoing projects, emails, etc., then you will be frustrated and may not learn much.

[  ] I will be completely focused on this class, and will ignore all distractions. I will delay most work requests until after the class finishes each day, or until next week.

[  ] I will be periodically emailing, texting or instant-messaging, but mostly I’ll be focusing on this class.

[  ] I will be in and out; I have some ongoing projects that will require my attention and that cannot be delayed. I may need to leave the class at times.

[  ] I have a lot going on right now. No promises!

———-

Perhaps it was just coincidence, but I had an unusually high proportion of my students’ attention. I suspect that forcing the students to consider the options and make a commitment affected their behavior for the week.

2. Use an iPad, and be liberated from the whiteboard.

Many classrooms have no whiteboard. In some cases, the whiteboard is covered by the projector screen. But I need both a drawing surface and the projector screen to show my slides and other demonstration. So the projector was attached to my laptop computer.

I found an app for iPad called “Air Sketch”. I draw on the iPad, then view the live drawing in a Firefox or Safari browser window on my laptop. Of course, to show the drawing to the students, I just put the browser window on the projected screen.

This made it easy to have a whiteboard-like drawing for the room. I could also draw from the back of the room to verify how readable it was from the students’ position.

I now prefer Air Sketch with a stylus over a real whiteboard.

3. Test early; test often.

During my training, news came out about the value of taking a test when you’re trying to learn something. So I quickly wrote some additional quizzes using Google Docs “forms” feature, and made the students take those tests with a time limit.

They say that taking a test helps you to remember the material.

4. Grade often and record the score.

I’ve learned long ago to grade the students’ work during the course. I provide live feedback, so they can go fix the parts they did wrong. And it sends the message that I genuinely expect each student to do all the assigned work. And it gives me a chance to interact directly with each student. If I didn’t grade their work, I’d never have a chance to talk one-on-one with some students.

I used Docs To Go on my iPad to grade student material. Students do the exercises on paper in their book, so I walk around the room to look at each book. Docs To Go has a passable spreadsheet feature that I used to record grades.

It’s a lot of work, but the payout in increased student effort is big.

5. Give substantial rewards for hard work and performance.

Throughout the class I gave an award each day for the hardest-working student. This is because progress depends heavily on intelligence, background, AND level of effort.

A student in my class cannot change his intelligence or his background knowledge, but he CAN work hard. So I look for the students who are working the hardest. That often means that he’s struggling but he’s also continuing to work until he gets the right answers.

This time, I had some little $9 metal keychain flashlights. I gave one or two as an award each day.  My point is that the prize each day was really worth having. I’ve tried using candy bars, and it just doesn’t seem to work. Everybody wants to claim to be on a diet.

In addition, I gave a  Starbucks coffee mug and a Starbucks gift card at the end of the class to the person with the highest overall score.

6. Declare and keep to the daily schedule.

I like to specify the daily schedule in advance. I do 75-minute chunks of work and lecture, with 15 minute breaks. Lunch is also 75 minutes, and I do a shorter period after lunch because everyone is sleepy anyway.

But the hard thing for me us sticking with this schedule. I’m not a very punctual person normally. However, it helps a lot to get people back in the classroom if they know I’m really going to start after an exact 15 minute break.

7. Maximize student thinking on the Right material.

Students remember what they spend time thinking about; as Daniel Willingham put it, “Memory is the residue of thinking.” So I put some effort into ensuring that students really spent time thinking about the right things.

This led me to drop a few elements of the class. For example, I usually have students manually configure a SIP IP Phone to register with their VoIP system. But the students spend a lot of time fussing over the silly menus on the phone when they should be focused on the four key elements of SIP registration. The menus on the phone are good to understand, but they don’t need me there to do that. So I reworked the exercise so that they spend time studying a packet capture of SIP registration.

I also learned that people are especially good at remembering stories. I wanted my students to remember the SIP call-setup process in a realistic environment. So after studying the process for a few hours, I had them write a short story where the plot is the SIP call control in a realistic carrier environment. I hope they forced the students to really ponder the SIP INVITE transaction, B2BUA’s, and redirect servers. And hopefully remembering their plot will help them troubleshoot failing phone calls.

What King Solomon had to say about the "Partner" page on your web site

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 10:24 am

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.

In my current industry of telecommunications, many firms loosely attach themselves to one another through “partnerships”. In a typical partnership, some managers from the two companies get along well, and see one another as providing complementary products. For example, one company makes equipment, while another company is good at installing the equipment and making it go.

Too often, these relationships don’t carry much weight. There aren’t many barriers to creating new loose partnerships, and they’re typically not binding. Years ago, I learned that my employer was an official Cisco Systems partner — but Cisco wouldn’t put anybody on the phone to answer questions about my product. Sometimes I wonder if the only meaningful inter-company partnership is when one company is a customer to the other: (“You do work and send invoices, I send you money. That makes us partners.”)

The text above, from the 11th chapter of the ancient Jewish book of Proverbs, gives some interesting clues about these arrangements between companies. With texts going back to around 1000 BC, Proverbs was one of the earliest “wisdom books” ever written. It has been meticulously maintained by Jews, who moved it (and the rest of the their sacred texts) from format to format to keep it alive. Other cultures in the same area also had wisdom literature in the same timeframe; for example, Egyptians also had wisdom texts in similar format. Proverbs is a part of current-day Jewish and Christian sacred texts. (Proverbs 11:12, 13 and 15)

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. By living near your neighbor, you know some secrets about them; perhaps even things that would be harmful. It’s stupid to reveal those secrets openly. In close working relationships, employees from both companies work in close contact with one another. Each company learns some of the weaknesses of the other. Advertising these facts gained by the close working relationship isn’t smart.

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. Are you considering a close working relationship with a company that gives you all the dirt on everybody else? Try to do business with folks who are “trustworthy in spirit”. One teacher I’ve had said that he’s glad to sign paperwork, but if he has to make someone sign paperwork to get people to keep their word, then he’d rather find someone else to do business with.

Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure. “Puts up security” is similar to co-signing a loan; the security is collateral. The loose business partnerships rarely involve actual bank loans, but business relationships often involve lending goodwill. “Striking hands in pledge” is like a handshake.

For example, if you’re an expert in Linear Defrobnicator installation and maintenance, and you strike up a business partnership with a Linear Defrobnicator manufacturer and begin to recommend their Defrobnicators, then you’re really using your goodwill earned through previous good recommendations and service. Your customers listen to you because you know how to make Linear Defrobnicators go.

This proverb is teaching that it’s smart to avoid such interaction — with strangers, especially. Unschooled business managers in highly-technical fields often don’t understand just how bad or how immature other technical products might be. It takes real skill and background and time to really know whether a company’s technical products are worth recommending.

Thanks Given

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm

“for Grace of God through my bride, and for this body, and the way you've shown love to us. And for Larry Trotter ” [pastor]

“for Christ, who has allowed me to do my thing — but this year for the last three weeks, has been roundhouse kicking me. Sometimes like Jonah you get tired of running. For a wife, and beautiful kids. For a church family loving on me. For a pastor teaching God's words.”

“for this Service”

“for a church praying, and for pregnancy support services, and a daughter in church this morning”

“for God showing me that I need to follow Him, even if there aren't big miracles and mountains falling. And for softening my heart.”

“for Jesus dying on the cross for our sins”

“for a roof over my head and clothes to keep me warm”

“after a rough year, with my husband having two heart attacks in eight days, for a church being there for us and praying for us.”

“for the Lord directing my steps through all of you, the body of Christ”

“for God, though He doesn't do things the way you think He's going to do things, he's always faithful. For my daughter and grandson all here and doing well. For your prayers.”

“for my family, especially my Dad.”

“for a home to live in.”

“for a pastor, who was once my student requiring much supervision.”

Thanks given in the 10:45 am meeting at North Wake Church, Wake Forest, NC.