So, as most of you know, in March I went on my first ever short-term mission trip to Hato Mayor in the Dominican Republic with college students from Penn State, University of Pittsburgh and a handful from other places.

It is almost a month later, and I've been meaning to write down things that I saw and experienced while I was there, partially so I don't forget them, but hopefully also to encourage you, the reader.  I have quite figured out the best way to write it all down, but I think going day-by-day will be the easiest, as I can categorize things chronologically, and hopefully not forget anything in the process.

However, the first "day" is a little hard to write about, since we left Pittsburgh on Saturday evening, and fell into our beds at 4AM or so on Sunday morning, and so I consider Sunday to be our first "real" day anyway.  (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on April 5, 2010, 10:49 pm | Read 104196 times | Comments (3)
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"The church exists by mission as a fire exists by burning." -- Emil Brunner
Mission very easily becomes one activity among others in church life.  It sits on the agenda alongside a list of other items bying for attention.  Or it is left to the enthusiasts to get on with it at the edge of church life.

How often have you seen a church where the evangelist is over there, and you should talk to him if you are interested in that kind of stuff.  Not that I am any better, most likely far, far worse than the average person sitting in the rows of chairs (we don't have pews), but that doesn't make it any less important.  (Just because there are always earmarks in the bills our legislature passes, doesn't make the next one right)  (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on April 4, 2010, 6:01 pm | Read 3365 times | Comments (4)
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Partly due to doing things with my family and partly due to catching up at work after last week of very little work, I haven't read much lately, and then when I did read, it was late at night, and figured I'd wait until I was in front of a computer to blog about it, rather than using the phone (and keeping Heather awake with the cell phone light, and the clicking of the keyboard...)

The next couple chapters weren't as gripping for me as the first few.

I did like a couple quotes though:

I was talking with a prominent evangelical church leader and asked him why more people are not open to a household model of church or to community groups meeting in homes.  The church leader was candid in his reply: "Because people like me come from professional backgrounds, and we want churches that reflect our backgrounds.  I don't want to be opening my home to people.  I don't want to get involved in people's lives.  I don't want needy people in my church.  Before people like me went into Christian ministry, we were lawyers, doctors, businessmen. And when we get involved in ministry, we bring those values with us."

I have wondered why some people seem to not want people in their home, at least not more than once or twice a year.  I have no idea what the reasons are, and if this guy represents a common thought.  BCF is always looking for homes to have various meetings in, and I think people have finally gotten the idea that our house is open whenever, and it isn't a burden at all. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on April 2, 2010, 9:30 pm | Read 10952 times | Comments (5)
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"Francis of Assisi is alleged to have said, 'Preach the gospel always; if necessary use words.'  That may be a great medieval sound bite, but it falls short of what the Bible teaches about evangelism."

I used to like that quote, and the evangelism models it leads to, and felt comfortable in thinking that the street preachers (and other more direct evangelism models) had no place in actually making a difference in people's lives.

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Posted by Jon Daley on March 23, 2010, 12:00 pm | Read 12416 times | Comments (22)
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I won't do a whole review, as I probably wouldn't do all that good of a job, but I'm re-reading it because a friend from church asked to borrow it, and I thought I would read through it again before I loaned it to him, so I could better recommend it appropriately.

Dave Skiles recommended the book to me, and added his own subtitle, What's Wrong with your Marriage, and Why it is Your [the husband's] Fault, and while some might end up in condemnation thinking about that title, I have found it quite good, and when I'm tempted to wonder why Heather is doing such-and-such, I can think back on this, and realize (or if I don't realize it, Heather can tell me, like she did yesterday) how my attitude and how I am leading the family is affecting everyone.

I read the chapters on "Effacacious Love" and "Keeping Short Accounts" this morning, and was thinking that there was so much good stuff that I should write a blog post about it, but now when I go back, I think perhaps there is too much to quote, and I'm having a hard time picking which things to mention.

He has a section on beauty and speaks about the bad tendencies in our culture to place focus on outward things (one example he gives is the difference between playing with dolls with the girl in the role of the mother versus playing with Barbie dolls with the girl playing the role of the doll) but goes on to say that some in the church react to that by saying beauty is only inward, and ignoring the outward beauty that God has created.  He quotes various Old Testament scriptures that speak of the outward beauty that the women had (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Abigail, Bathsheba, Tamar, Esther)  He humorously says that you may be saying, "Duh, everyone knows there are pretty women..."  But, he also says, "a man who marries biblically should expect his wife to be visibly lovelier on their tenth anniversary - and if she is not, he knows that he is the one responsible. But as the one responsible, he has to know where true beauty begins."  As Heather and I approach our ninth anniversary, I can say with confidence that Heather definitely is on the right track, despite my failings.

"When a woman is lovely in her spirit, that loveliness cannot be contained.  It enchants her husband."

"As he loves her, she bears fruit.  As she bears this fruit, it delights him.  In this delight he loves her more, and she bears more fruit.  The wife is to cooperate fully, receiving his love, but he is the one responsible to give it."

Another challenging and convicting quote:

"A husband cannot say, 'All my behavior notwithstanding, I still honor my wife, even though I never show it.' Husbands must honor their wives.  This is a demonstration within marriage of an attitude which we should see elsewhere in the church."

In the "Keeping Short Accounts" chapter, I found a good analogy in picking things up off the carpet and confessing sin immediately.  That while the end result looks the same, picking things up immediately, rather than letting them sit for 6 months is quite different.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." -- 1 John 1:9

He says that while our justification is not affected by confession of sin, "refusal to confess sin does affect the quality of a person's enjoyment of his justification."  And reminds us of Psalm 51, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation".

Posted by Jon Daley on March 22, 2010, 9:00 am | Read 39673 times | Comments (1)
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It's definitely a telling commentary on my life that the first chapter of Total Church, "Why Gospel?" was less exciting to me than the following chapter, "Why Community?".  I think the former is in my head only, where the latter is in my head and heart.

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Posted by Jon Daley on March 20, 2010, 10:31 am | Read 7604 times | Comments (3)
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I've just started reading a book I ordered from the library. I don't remember who recommended it - probably either someone at Jubilee, or else a blog I read.

Based on the number of things I've liked so far, and I'm only through the introduction, I suspect I'm going to really like this book. They start out by giving four people with different stories. I'll quote this one because it is exactly me:

"Cathy became a Christian in her first year at university. It was great. She spent hours hanging out with her Christian friends, talking through their faith, praying together, sharing the gospel with other students. But two years after graduation she feels spiritually flat. She goes to church each Sunday and attends a home group on Wednesday evenings. But she misses the intimacy of the relationships she had at university. She misses the discussions, the enthusiasm, and the late night prayers. She laughs to herself at how immature they were sometimes. But she can't help wondering whether 'grown-up' Christianity is any better. If only there were a different way of doing church."

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Posted by Jon Daley on March 16, 2010, 10:47 pm | Read 6417 times | Comments (7)
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I was telling my mom the other day about how strange it was that Pittsburgh is all but closed down after the snowstorm on Saturday.  Even the major roads (5th, Forbes, Negley, Penn) are not plowed, or rather, seem to have been plowed after one foot of snow fell, but then they didn't come around again for the next six to twelve inches. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on February 9, 2010, 10:45 am | Read 4540 times | Comments (5)
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Taxes weren't too bad to calculate this year, though last year we paid TaxAct, so apparently, they decided we aren't ever allowed to go back to the free version again, unless I sign up with a new username.  So, we ended up just doing them on paper, and discovered that in some ways, TaxAct makes it more difficult, since they require you to type in lots of extra information that isn't actually needed.  e.g. they make you type in all of the contents of the 1099-MISC forms, (and this year we have ten of them or something like that) and really all the IRS wants is a total number for all self-employed income, so the paper version is much quicker. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on February 9, 2010, 12:19 am | Read 2444 times | Comments (1)
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We've added our pictures for the last couple months, as well as adding a bunch of pictures that Stephan took at the Maggie P and at Thanksgiving - the delay was mostly because I hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to add a credit in the bottom right corner for Stephan's pictures. And I just realized that Stephan's camera is not in EST; we weren't really up at 3 in the morning.

I think my favorite (non-person) picture is of the stump I purchased.  I would have liked to see that "stump" prior to it being cut and split - it must have been gigantic. Note, also the nifty racks we got to make stacking wood easier (and safer - the wood is much less likely to fall on someone now, though I am getting better at stacking free standing wood as well.

If you aren't on facebook, you probably missed my recent picture (taken from my new cool phone - that has a higher resolution than our regular camera...) of a TV that a friend of a friend gave to us, since it was broken, and he was hoping I could make good use of it.  It turned on when I powered it up, so I haven't worked on it yet, and I figured it was as good a time as any to get our Apple IIe back up and running.  A number of the disks are bad, so that was disappointing.  But, I found an old data disk (after investigation, it turns out it wasn't as old as I thought - I guess we were still using Apples in the 7th grade) but it had some fun documents - some papers for school, and a couple interviews of some teachers from that year (Mr. Kelley and Ms. Cronin), as well as this gem, which neither Pat nor I can remember what it was for.

Other good pictures (since we've published so many at one go, I imagine lots of you won't look through all of them) are our time at the zoo - the sea lions are a lot of fun.

And who says kids have too much energy?

Posted by Jon Daley on February 2, 2010, 8:50 am | Read 11439 times | Comments (3)
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I figured I would post this here, since probably lots of you don't read our company blog.  Lime Daley is now a distributor for various electronic products (computers, memory, hard drives, batteries, PDAs, TVs, software, etc.)  The prices are sometimes better than what you can get elsewhere; it depends on what it is, and what deals they have going on at the time.  So, let me know if you are looking for something, and I can check prices.
Posted by Jon Daley on January 21, 2010, 11:44 am | Read 2491 times | Comments (3)
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There is a bizarre issue with AT&T and their latest phone - the tech support folks (even the second level) haven't ever seen one, and the scripts they have are made for the original Tilt, and AT&T somehow hasn't realized that while it probably is possible to do it the "old" way, there is a much easier method, and has a side benefit of being cross platform compatible quite easily. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on January 15, 2010, 3:51 pm | Read 66418 times | Comments (1)
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In continuing my tv watching and catching up on the news from the last year, I see that Verizon has been doing lots of ads about network speeds and comparing them to AT&T.  And I found out that AT&T rates lowest on consumer satisfaction surveys, etc.  My brother said he has never heard of anyone who is happy with AT&T...

Since I am the first one he has heard of, I figured I should write about it.  We've had AT&T cell phone service for the last eight years, starting with a prepaid phone ($8/month minimum).  When they doubled the monthly minimum, we switched to a $20/month plan, with maybe 4 hours of minutes.  Once I started my company and the CDMA phones were discontinued in favor of the GSM phones, I was forced to upgrade to $35/month, and more minutes than I could use.  I am still basically on that plan, though it was changed to include rollover minutes a year ago.  Two years ago, I added a second data-only device, and I use it while on the road, and at various places where there isn't wireless, or where people have forgotten their WEP/WPA passwords. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on December 29, 2009, 1:37 pm | Read 4610 times | Comments (6)
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Since I am in the category of people who is expected to see my health insurance double or triple, I wonder why people are spending so much on their health insurance.  I do see that since we are "poor", we'll likely get free or heavily discounted health insurance under Obama's plan.  It seems silly to me that you all should pay for my health insurance, but since that is the American way, I won't turn down taking your money.  (though I would vote against these silly bills - even if I was offered money for my state -- too bad the legislators sell out so easily; though they now know the right way to get more money for their state - publicly declare that you are waffling on the issue, and let it slip that if only there was $100 million in the bill for you, you might change your mind). (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on December 28, 2009, 11:09 am | Read 14626 times | Comments (18)
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Note: most links in the article are links to our pictures of the wood

As I've mentioned previously, we really like our woodstove, and since we've used the gas less than I thought, I decided to get some more wood, and so I found a guy on Craigslist, who had a decent price for delivering, and stacking, so we bought it, and it arrived today.

In the process of looking for that, I found a guy who cut up an old stump for someone, and he cut and split into large pieces, and then I cut and split it so it would fit in our woodstove.  The tree was a black locust, which turns out to be the hardest wood I've ever seen, and is near the top of the list for hardest known wood.  What that means is that it feels like a rock: when lifting it, splitting it, and when burning it. The picture shows the wood collected from the stump - it must have been the biggest stump I've ever seen - I estimate that there is about 28 cubic feet, around 1/4 of a cord, which is pretty good for an old stump.

But, I got the larger pieces of the stump split and cut (note the safety goggles when chainsawing in the picture...)  And when we burn it, it doesn't really light at first, but then tiny little pieces burn for hours.  The other day I tried to start a fire with tiny kindling pieces of locust, and one larger piece of cherry.  It took forever to get started, and the only reason it finally started was the large cherry piece caught, and then lit the kindling.  The kindling lasted for much longer than the log.  I am hopeful that now that we have locust, our fires will be able to make it through the night, as the cherry only burns strong for four hours, and then has a couple of hours of low burning, on its way out.

The wood we got today is approximately a third locust, a third maple, and a third elm, with some cherry as well.  The maple is softest we've had, so I am probably not going to like that as much.  And they tell me that elm makes lots of cresote, even though it is a hard wood - I haven't looked that up yet, but that doesn't sound good.  They also said the elm burns hotter than most woods.  The maple is supposed to light the easiest, so if we can keep track of which is which, maybe we can simply use the maple for starting fires, the elm for having nice hot fires during the day, and the locust at night.

The firewood guys were the first people that were surprised how little wood we've burned so far (under a cord); they said most people they knew were close to their second by now.  We do use a little gas sometimes, so that might make up for some of it, and since our stove is smaller, it probably takes us a longer time to burn the same amount of wood.  One guy guessed that we had good insulation, but this is the second house (two for two) that doesn't have any insulation to speak of.

They had a good price for stacking, so I got them to do that too (I helped too) and it is nice having four people stacking together - the 2+ cords we got this morning was off the truck and stacked in less than two hours.  And the final result:

In other wood news, we bought a gate that surrounds the woodstove, designed to keep babies away from it.  While all of our kids are careful with the woodstove (I think I'm the only one who has been burned (while putting logs into the stove)) when we had some friends over, the boys were rough-housing and were kind of close, and the mom was pretty concerned about it, and then a cheap/used gate came along, so we bought it, and my concerns (sticking out into the room too much and being a pain when adding wood) about it were unfounded.

Posted by Jon Daley on December 19, 2009, 2:44 pm | Read 19708 times | Comments (19)
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