Gizmodo Has Gone a Bit too Crude for Me 

Lately, it seems Gizmodo has started upping the ante on the amount of crude and course titles and bloggage on some of the latest tech gadgets coming out. So I'm now taking them off my blog list on the left and no longer recommending them as a site to visit. I know they could care less about some Christian saying they are ceasing to visit and recommend the site, but there it is. It's unfortunate because I enjoy some of the content they have on there, but I guess that's the way they want it.
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Obtaining our Presuppositions from Scripture 

When coming to the Scriptures, at least when we first start reading them, we all in some way read them through our cultural lens or the lens through which we want reality to exist. By nature, we all have assumptions about reality, human nature, the attributes of God, that are shaped and formed by the culture in which we grow up in. We also can just have personal presuppositions that may not be shaped by the culture, but are just thoughts we have about the way things are. Regardless, we have all of these preset beliefs through which we view the world and through which we view and read Scripture itself. It is very easy to go to the Scriptures with these assumptions and find passages (taken out of their respective context) that support these preset beliefs. However, the Scriptures themselves challenge every single one of our natural presuppositions.

For instance, some people have the presupposition that all mankind is basically good and can perfect himself. Therefore, based upon this, the person will make choices, make judgments, endorse political policies, and will think in such a way that supports this particular understanding of man. In addition, this person, when reading or preaching the Scriptures will ignore all of the hard, difficult, negative passages that cut against this presupposition, because that is what they have pre-decided about the nature of man.

However, Scripture is emphatic that we are depraved from the inside out. Jesus said Himself that it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean but what comes out of him, meaning from his heart. Our natures are radically depraved, more than we can even believe. Romans 3:9-18 nails this on the head. When compared to the glory of God, there is no one good, not even one. This passage is the thesis statement of the Scriptures commentary on how sinful we really are.

Another example is predestination. Some people have pre-decided (no pun intended) from the very beginning that God in no way predestines some to salvation while justly leaving others to condemnation, though it is clearly written out in Romans 9. Therefore they will either ignore the passages that have the word "predestined" in them as something that was not intended in the English language, something we just can't understand at all, or as something written only to the particular group the letter was intended. But more commonly, I've found, people will acknowledge that God predestines and then make a qualification that puts God in our debt: He chooses those who choose Him. That way it just sounds Biblical.

They say, "God chooses those in eternity past who He foreknows are going to choose Him." Is that presupposition from Scripture though? The proponents would say of course. I ask, Where? They usually reply with Romans 8:29 which says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." And I ask, Does that text say anything about the concept of God choosing those who choose Him? No. But they say, Yes, the word "Foreknow" says it all. Ah, but is that a presupposition your bringing to the text, and in particular to the word foreknow, that is no where to be found in Scripture, and definitely not in this verse?

The right thing to do in this case would be to study, research and understand the Biblical meaning of the word "know" throughout the Scriptures: God intimately sets His affection upon particular people. He says to Israel, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." (Amos 3:2) So those whom God "fore-loved" is the best way to read Romans 8:29-30. The passage does not say, "For those whom he foreknew [would choose Him] he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son," but rather simply, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son." The word foreknew here is a verb as opposed to an adjective, it is something God does (rather has done). God foreknows specific people. God doesn't just know data about people in the Scriptures (of course He knows that, He's all-knowing!). Rather, the meaning of this is that He knows particular people, intimately, and those He knows intimately, He predestines to conformity with Christ. So now our presupposition is that God has fore-loved particular people and that can be found all over the Old and New Testaments, whereas God choosing those who choose Him can in no way be found as a stated, written-out presupposition in Scripture.

These are just a couple of examples why it is important for us all to obtain the fundamental beliefs we hold from Scripture and not our own thinking. We should always be challenging our assumptions in light of Scripture to see if they pass the test. Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." Lord help us, by Your power, to do exactly that. We must read Scripture to know what it says about how we should think about ourselves, God, and redemption. It is how we conform ourselves to what it says, in order that we may be conformed to the image of Christ.
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Authors@Google: Tim Keller 


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Why Do We Cheat on Our Spouses? A Today Show Expert Has the Answer 

As I was walking out the door this morning, the Today Show (no I don't watch regularly) had a piece pertaining to cheating spouses and why it is or isn't acceptable. The reason this was even brought up on the show was because of the new NY Governor (replacing the former governor who has been criminally indicted for being involved with a prostitution ring) admitting extra-marital affairs earlier in his marriage. In addition, his wife cheated on him as well. According to the "expert" they had on this morning, we need to be honest with our human nature when it comes to cheating. Is it really all that wrong? We need to understand that in the West we are in the minority of cultures around the world who do not accept adultery as morally correct. Therefore, maybe we should reconsider was the implication I gathered.

The only way to understand this response though is to understand the worldview it stems from: evolutionary secularism, we just exist, not because of anything creating us as it were, but we just are a bunch of chemical responses. So really what is right and wrong other than what the culture deems it to be? I noticed that he didn't really give a fair representation of the different ways to understand cheating (secular vs. religious), he simply stated it as if it were an absolute law out there that just is what it is: the morality or immorality of multiple partners is based upon the culture. Where does he derive this from? If we are just the by-product of a bunch of random incidents making us who we are with no design behind any of them, no real purpose, then our understanding of monogamy vs. polygamy will be based purely on the culture in which we are raised because in his worldview there are no absolute moral truths governing the universe outside of ourselves, just like gravity governing that what goes up must come down.

So for us as a culture in the West, we come from a predominantly (though fast-fading) Christian worldview in which adultery is wrong and committed marriages are praised. Yet for this expert, that needs to be questioned on the basis of his premise, that morality only stems from the culture. Why is cheating wrong? Well, who says it really is other than the culture itself, he says? Hmm, maybe God Himself who exists outside of all cultures and dictates moral reality based on Himself and His character? This won't do though for him though, on the basis of Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." The expert would position his argument that we need to question the morality of adultery as an accepting view of reality that is relativistic and holds to no one view. Yet his view is an absolute position and a view, according to him, we should all take. But there is no way he can account for his worldview to begin with, other than the fact that that is his personal preference (John Hendryx). But this still doesn't account for the legitimacy of his worldview. We say our worldview is based upon a good and holy God who we've offended, who now offers redemption and restoration through His Son offered for us. And from where does he base his secular worldview?

So why do we cheat? The expert would say it's built into our DNA and only the cultures' morality dictates whether it is right or wrong. If the culture accepts this wholeheartedly, we will be even more devastated from the inside out than we already are. And in many ways, the culture has accepted it. Think about the moral train wreck the "free love" of the 60's has cost us. Consider yourselves how many of your parents are now divorced. Most people in this country are single, divorced, cheating, with multiple partners, etc. People say it's freedom, but really, it has made our culture utterly miserable and left a trail of moral collateral damage in its wake.

The Scriptures say we cheat (or sin period) because deceitfulness, vile, selfishness, and lawlessness are all built into our natures as fallen, depraved humans who are turned away from the glory of God. We need our natures restored in the glory and image of our Creator. This is our only hope. And this is exactly what Christ came to do. He came and lived the perfect life, (particularly in this instance, not once did He commit adultery) in order that He could take our punishment for our many adulteries (mainly against God) upon His shoulders on the cross and give us His perfect moral record through faith alone in Him and His work. This is the only way to truly change from the inside out. And it is the only way to get back on track with His absolute morality and to cease suppressing it in unrighteousness. Only when we have been finally, eternally accepted before the only One in the universe who ultimately matters will we desire to live according to His rules (that is really the best thing for us anyway).

If you want freedom but think freedom is really only obtained by being free from all constraints, including God Himself, then God can let you have that for eternity, apart from His goodness which is expressed in everything you experience that is good and beautiful. All that will be taken away and God will finally say to you who reject the Gospel, "Alright, have it your way, be free from Me." Turn to the Lord and seek salvation through the cross-work of Christ. This is the true freedom: to be bound to the glory of our Creator in seeing what lengths He has gone in Christ to save those who come to Him through His power and strength.
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Jim Hollars Has Passed Away 

I just wanted to inform everyone that Jim (James) E. Hollars went to be with the Lord this past Saturday. He was a source of inspiration to so many people all over the country (including me), both in endurance and perseverance despite overwhelming trials. Primarily though, he was an excellent example of God's grace working in one of His saints moving him to persevere until the very end in faith, love, devotion, and trust in Jesus. I had the privilege of working with Jim to get his website going a couple of years ago and am so glad the Lord brought him into my life for the few years I knew him. Every time we met to discuss the website, he would always buy lunch for me, even when I insisted, and the conversation would eventually turn toward Christ. That was the kind of man Jim was. He loved the Lord and wanted everyone he knew to know Him and love Him more. The time that I knew this godly man, he was like a grandfather to me. I've never seen someone more determined to keep running (literally, in marathons!) despite being diagnosed with Parkinson's a number of years ago. His outward physical perseverance though was a great picture of what was going on in his heart in pursuing Christ. And I would say he finished well in his final race. Jim, you will be sorely missed and I mourn your loss, and yet rejoice that you are now in the presence of our Savior! It is bitter-sweet to see you go as it is with every one of those I've known who loved the Lord before you. See you soon my brother!

Here is a list of sites pertaining to Jim:

Obituray:
http://www.legacy.com/dfw/Obituaries.as ... =105824805 (Original)
http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/pers ... 0Obituary/ (Archive)

Jim's Blog:
http://www.didntquit.com/ (Original)
http://didntquit.westerfunk.net/ (Archive)

Fort Worth Cats site (Archived page, because it will change in the near future):
Their site: www.fwcats.com
http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/pers ... 0-%20Cats/ (Archive)

Star-Telegram Story on Jim:
http://www.star-telegram.com/obituaries ... 33349.html (Original)
http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/pers ... -Telegram/ (Archive)
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CNN Interviews Alledged Chinese Hackers 


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Installing NoMachine (FreeNX) on Ubuntu 7.10 

After dragging my way through an attempt to get NoMachine virtual desktop software running on my Ubuntu 7.10 server from these instructions, I read down through the comments and came to a comment on how to install it the simplest way: use the instructions on NoMachine's site. Literally, it was that simple. Unfortunately, when searching for the keywords "install nomachine ubuntu 7.10" on Google, the UbuntuForums site comes up near the very top of the list and so that's where I started. But it's literally this simple:

1) From a terminal window, browse to a directory where you want to download the necessary .deb files on your Linux machine.

2) Then, run the following commands one at a time to download the necessary packages (from the same terminal window of course):
wget http://64.34.161.181/download/3.1.0/Linux/nxclient_3.1.0-6_i386.deb
wget http://64.34.161.181/download/3.1.0/Linux/nxnode_3.1.0-6_i386.deb
wget http://64.34.161.181/download/3.1.0/Linux/FE/nxserver_3.1.0-5_i386.deb

3) Next, we are going to run the the commands to actually install the packages we just downloaded:
sudo dpkg -i nxclient_3.1.0-6_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i nxnode_3.1.0-6_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i nxserver_3.1.0-5_i386.deb

After you run these packages (and IF each one finished successfully!), you should now be able to connect to your NoMachine server. Since I am personally running Xubuntu 7.10, in the NX client on my Windows machine, I had to set a specific command to startup my XFCE desktop. I went into "Configure" then in the "Desktop" section, I left the left-hand box at "Unix" and then in the right-hand box dropdown, I set it to "Custom". Then I clicked "Settings" next to Custom, and under "Application", I clicked the "Run the following command" radio button, and entered "startxfce4". I saved the settings and then I was able to connect with no problems. Not bad at all compared to what I was trying to do before to get it to work.
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Christian Heresies Throughout the Ages 

http://www.carm.org/heresy.htm

On CARM.org, an excellent apologetic resource defending historic orthodox Christianity, they have a section of heresies that have come along in the history of the church with very short explanations of each. Even nowadays, you will find some form or strain of these heresies in, sadly, most of Protestantism (which has now in many ways radically departed from the Gospel recovered during the Reformation). But you will also see them in deviations of Christianity like Mormonism and the JW's.

It is not good to absorb these merely for intellectual stimulation, but rather, absorb these in order to defend the Gospel before a dying world (especially within the church, seeing as how that seems to be one of the biggest mission fields in some quarters now) and grow personally in your knowledge of that which is true in the Word of God, to His glory and for your joy in Him.

There is one heresy that they maybe should have included, and that is legalism, which Phil Johnson hits on in this MP3.

Also, I thought this was kind of interesting ... Are You a Heretic? - Quiz Yourself
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ModSecurity 2.5.0 Now in Place 

I have now setup the latest version of ModSecurity. So if you experience any issues viewing content, posting on the contact page, or posting comments, please let me know ASAP via email @ webadmin<at>westerfunk.net. I need to make sure this thing works well because I would prefer to have a web application firewall in front of the sites I host to keep bots and hackers out. However, sometimes, in order to get all the sites working as they did before without the app firewall in place, you have to tweak a few things. I have made a few adjustments on several rules that were set that I saw right off the bat in the error logs, but I can't monitor that continually to find every possible problem. So keep me informed.
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Apache 2.2.x Windows (Win32) Memory Leak, Network Performance Resolutions 

Update: Well it appears this has not totally resolved the issues. It seems to have just slowed the rate at which the memory grows, not sure exactly how, but over about a week of time, the httpd.exe process still expands to rather large amounts, which I then in turn have to just restart the service. Frustrating issue ... oh well, it's not nearly as bad as it was.

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After a long, long effort to research this problem (try over a year), I have finally found a solution that works to keep the HTTPD.exe child process from growing too large within Windows, which in turn causes inevitable performance issues on the Apache server. Now, I know that the Linux-nerd answer to these problems is to run Apache under, well, Linux instead of Windows. However, I have other functions on my servers that are specific to Windows only, and I don't want a thousand servers sitting at my house. So I had to come up with another solution. I have not really found a solution to actually solve the memory leak issues themselves often associated with running certain modules (like Mod_Deflate, Mod_SSPI, Mod_Proxy, and others) within Apache in a Windows environment, but this definitely alleviates the headache. In addition to the max memory parameter, I have included some other parameters that have helped increase the network performance of my servers:

MaxMemFree 128
EnableSendfile Off
EnableMMAP Off
Win32DisableAcceptEx

In particular, MaxMemFree makes it possible for you to set the limit on how big you want the HTTPD.exe child process to get before it calls the free() function to clear out the overhead associated with the process. You can decide how big you want the process, I just set mine to 128 to try and keep it as low as possible, but if you want more overhead, that is up to you. If anyone out there knows of any issues associated with using this threshold parameter, please let me know as I do not want to cause admins any headaches. So far on my Apache servers though, especially the front-end reverse proxy server in particular, all seems to be running well and the process stays at an estimated 132 MB without getting any larger. Finally! Before, I just had to setup an automated Apache service restart early every morning to keep the overhead down. But now the process does it itself. Very nice.

Here is what the Apache documentation says about the MaxMemFree parameter:
The MaxMemFree directive sets the maximum number of free Kbytes that the main allocator is allowed to hold without calling free(). When not set, or when set to zero, the threshold will be set to unlimited.

And here is what the Apache documentation says about the other functions shown above:
EnableSendfile:

This directive controls whether httpd may use the sendfile support from the kernel to transmit file contents to the client. By default, when the handling of a request requires no access to the data within a file -- for example, when delivering a static file -- Apache uses sendfile to deliver the file contents without ever reading the file if the OS supports it.

EnableMMAP:

This directive controls whether the httpd may use memory-mapping if it needs to read the contents of a file during delivery. By default, when the handling of a request requires access to the data within a file -- for example, when delivering a server-parsed file using mod_include -- Apache memory-maps the file if the OS supports it.

Win32DisableAcceptEx:

AcceptEx() is a Microsoft WinSock v2 API that provides some performance improvements over the use of the BSD style accept() API in certain circumstances. Some popular Windows products, typically virus scanning or virtual private network packages, have bugs that interfere with the proper operation of AcceptEx(). If you encounter an error condition like:
[error] (730038)An operation was attempted on something that is not a socket.: winnt_accept: AcceptEx failed. Attempting to recover.

you should use this directive to disable the use of AcceptEx().

Documentation for Apache 2.2.x available @ http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/
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