Oops ... A Big Mistake I Made 

Let me just advise all of you out there who care anything for linux to never change the groups for the entire /etc folder, including sub-folders. Yup, this had some serious repercussions that made it to where I could not execute the sudo command or SSH, amongest a host of other commands. And on top of that, I couldn't get in to change the permissions because I had never set a password for root, so it wouldn't let me "su" into the console. So what I finally wound up doing was copying my password for my user account to root, got in and changed permissions back, rebooted, and it was all good, minus having to totally reinstall SSH, Shoutcast, and resetting permissions on /etc/sudoers. Just thought I'd share with all of you to never change permissions on the /etc folder. Leave it alone.
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The Good Shepherd and the Sheep He Purchased With His Blood 

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

In reading this, I was considering what a wonderful thought this is, that Christ knows His people just as the Father knows Him. But what does this mean, that He simply knows information about them? No, but that Christ initimately, infinitely loves them, just as the Father loves Christ. And consider how great is the love of the Father for the Son! And He loves us this much. Was this not demonstrated on the cross, where He bore the brunt of what we earned from our sinning and took the fruits of that labor upon Himself? And if that wasn't enough, He gave us His perfect record instead! What a wonderful God is this that would give His life as a ransom for many. What amazing grace this is ...
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Converting My Web Servers to Apache 2.2.3 and PHP 5.1.5 

I'm currently in the process of moving several of my sites off of IIS and onto Apache. Currently, this site, http://forums.westerfunk.net/, www.carmanallen.com, and a couple of other sites already run on Apache, but the rest are still on IIS. Westerfunk.net is now running on the new version of Apache, but the rest are not. If you see errors on Westerfunk.net, that's what's happening.

Update 9.15.2006 12:15 pm

All sites (with the exception of www.courtney.westerfunk.net) have now been converted to php and apache.
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Please, Tie our Hands so that we can get hit again ... 

Great, here we go again, some activist judge rules that warrantless wiretaps are "unconstitutional". Have these people any understanding that there are people who want to kill us? Do they realize how much red tape they are creating for law enforcement officials who keep terrorists attacks from occurring here? And it's funny how these are the very same people who cry and moan about how the CIA, NSA and FBI aren't doing enough to protect us when terrorists attacks occur (e.g. 9/11). Liberalism is going to destroy this country and we will get hit again because of people like this ...

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The Necessity of Prayer 

I continue to realize more and more the importance of staying in almost constant communication with God, but more specifically setting aside time everyday that is dedicated to prayer. I at times can feel sufficient in my walk with Christ whenever I read Scripture or read a theologically minded book, as if I check off things on a list that I have gotten done, but I don't always feel the weight of my guilt-burden lifted. And that's because I'm forgetting to just stop everything, everyday, and submit to God in prayer and experience the presence of God Himself, His Holy Spirit. I do indeed experience that in Scripture, but I must have time that is solely devoted to communicating with God, and I, like everyone else, seem to forget that, and can slump into my own personal misery that is a result of my own laziness in not going to God in prayer through the redeeming work of Christ. I just write this as a reminder to set aside time everyday that is solely devoted to communicating with Christ the praise He deserves, confess your sins, and lay down all of your needs to Him. Just as we have time set aside for work, sleep, eating, etc, how much more important is it for us to set aside time for the Creator of all these things? How much more important is He than food, work, money? Is He not infinitely more valuable than all of these things?
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Diplomacy Won't Work with Terrorists 

I just don't get how anyone can say the solution to our world-wide war on terror is more diplomacy. It doesn't work with terrorists! Just the notion is an oxymoron in this case. On a day when we realize terrorists plotted to blow up planes using liquid explosives kept in shampoo bottles (amongst other mediums), how can we possibly say the answer is diplomacy? These people actually want to kill all of us. They keep devising of ways to kill us, and they're getting pretty darn good at it. And they won't stop, not now, not in the future. If you were a U.S. official, and you went to try and have a diplomatic meeting, it's very likely they would ambush you and your entire group. They don't try and workout their issues. They have resolved to kill us. And they will not stop until it's done. All of you out there who want diplomacy to be the solution, just remember, they want to cut your head off too and kill your family too. They don't negotiate and neither should we. They need to be killed, not tried in our courts. This is war. War is ugly. But we must persevere in order to win it. They won't stop coming and neither should we stop pulverizing them until this thing is over.
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One of my main servers took a nose-dive this morning when a hard drive crashed on it. Just thought I'd let everyone know ...

Let me revise that ... It appears there is a problem with my power supply on that server. I got the hard drive to show up, so that's good.

Update > Aug 7, 2006

Okay, well, after more investigation of reading event logs, etc, it appears the hard drive is failing on that server (i.e. bad sectors on the drive), but I was able to backup all the data so whenever it goes south, I'm good to go (at least as far as I know :) ). I may still need to put a new power supply in it, but I can't tell after finding out that it's the drive that's the problem.
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What a Profound Verse 

And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself."
> Acts 2:38-39

Who is the promise of salvation for? "Everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself." Peter offers forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ to all who were there. The offer is genuine. But who is the promise intended for by God? For those whom He calls to Himself. This could not be clearer from what Peter says. And taking it to the level of the whole world, if the promise was effectually (meaning the benefits of the promise will indeed be applied) to every single person who ever lived, then would it not follow that the promise must be followed through to every person by God, and that every person would be saved in the end? Otherwise, what kind of promise is that? It would be null and void, would it not? We know how the story ends though. The promise is true because God made it and He is true. And sadly, people reject the Gospel and will indeed perish, just as we are told in Revelation. So if the promise of salvation is effectual for everyone in the world, why are there still people who will be damned? It's because the promise is for people God has foreordained to inherit salvation, not based on any foreseen works or faith, but simply because God was pleased to graciously give them the gift of life. The offer to all is genuine, but for the most part, it falls on unrepentant, deaf ears of people who reject the Gospel. And the only reason anyone accepts the message is because the Holy Spirit went before them to open up their minds, ears, eyes, and hearts to the message of the Gospel in order that they could not help but believe it.

Someone may disagree and say, "But Peter says, 'For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off.'" Yes he does say this. This is the call to everyone that they may be saved. And I affirm it with him, all of you repent and believe in the name of Jesus Christ and you will be saved! However, he qualifies this statement by adding the phrase, "Everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." So people are saved by being called by God. Is this not so? In essence he's saying, "The promise is for all of you, all of you whom the Lord calls to Himself." So he makes a general statement in offering salvation, and then qualifies it to say everyone whom the Lord calls to Himself. This is a very important qualification to the statement, because so many people simply want to stop and say the promise is for all, but Peter is very clear here. The promise is genuinely offered to all, but no one will believe unless God does a work to first replace their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. God's ultimate intention is to save specific people whom He has foreordained. Predestination. This is a scary and frightening word to many of you ...

But the foreordination of God of certain people to salvation answers a question that all of us should and must ask. We all know that none of us can boast in the fact that we believed while others didn't correct? So here's the question: when two people, side by side, both attentively hear the same Gospel message, why does one believe while the other rejects it? If you say the other guy just saw the message to be true, I ask you, why did he see it to be true? Prior to this individuals conversion, do you not agree that he had a heart of stone, as the scriptures attest? And what is a heart of stone? An unrepentant, unbelieving, faithless heart, right? So again, why did he believe? Can he boast that he was more spiritual, more knowledgable, wiser than the other guy? No! They were both wicked sinners, just as the scriptures say about all of us. This would be exalting himself above the level of God for his own conversion! How dare he ever do this! His conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. The Spirit worked in His heart to open his eyes and ears to the message of the Gospel. Otherwise, he would have rejected it just like every other unbeliever, because that's our nature to reject God and deny His glory. The reason you and I are believers, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, is not because God thought you were a better person in any manner, but because God chose to move in your heart to change your nature, in order that you would be inclined to Him and believe in His Son Jesus Christ for salvation. Grace alone saved you, and even now, grace alone changes you. We are not saved by Grace + Faith Alone. But we are saved by Grace Alone through Faith Alone in Christ Alone. And this grace was decisively purchased on the cross on your behalf. His blood effectually and actually secured your pardon from wrath. How wonderful this is! We can boast of nothing in ourselves, but it is simply God's mercy that you are saved, for the sake of Christ's glory.

Let us fall at His feet in adoration for His mercy poured out on us by His Holy Spirit!
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Been a while since I've posted a real blog entry ... 

For one, I needed a break from blogging just for a time. But also, I've changed jobs at work and have been working on other various things that have all added up to not giving me much time to think through what to write. I will soon be writing something with content.
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High School Guatemala Mission Trip - Update 6 


Yesterday was another busy work day for us. The groups flip-flopped sites again and worked hard. The students at The Colony also took a tour of the mudslide area. I have included some pictures today from the tours. You can see the mudslide down the mountain. There is also a picture of the mass grave that looks like a field. We were actually standing on mud that is covering homes and dead bodies. About 350 people are still living in temporary shelters (many provided by the US) in the area we walked through. The government began building permanent housing nearby (to replace the temporary ones) but after some studies of the terrain declared that area a "red zone" because of the potential of future mudslides. So construction on the new permanent housing ceased and they are considering where in the city they can move those folks.

You'll also notice pictures from a few things we did yesterday. A group of our students played a group of people from the Alfa y Omega church in soccer (in the middle of a corn field). The score was tied 7-7 at the end of regulation. The US lost to Guatemala on the very last PK. A rematch is scheduled for this afternoon (weather permitting).

Also, a group of about 12 folks went to the prayer service that was at the church at the Colony. Pastor Abraham's brother Jose is the pastor there. Our group participated in the service and prayed for Jose and his wife Maria as well as the other folks that live in the Colony. Our group was blessed by the sincerity and generosity of the people they worshipped with and humbled and challenged by their commitment to prayer.

There is an immense amount of laughter at the Posada and on the work sites, sometimes due to practical jokes. At Campamento David some of our folks taught Chelsea Inman how to say, "I am very, very excited" in Spanish and kept encouraging her to speak those words to the Guatemalans. When she finally did, she got some weird looks from the Guatemalans. The group had intentionally taught her to say "I am very, very pregnant" (which Chelsea is not) instead of "I am very, very excited." Also, we print common Spanish phrases in our students' workbooks. One we printed was the translation (or so we thought) for "Only faith in Jesus can save you." Chris Cole, however, informed us that what we had printed actually says, "Only faith in Jesus can save you money."

Last night Brent Kesler continued our teaching on missions and did a great job. He taught on the Great Commission, Matthew 28:16-20. "Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.,"

A few folks have stayed in sick this morning. Pray for their health and that none of their illnesses spread to others.

I have throughout the week referred to the Gospel a number of times and have not really defined that word yet. And since I don't know who is receiving this email (Richard keeps the list) I recognize that some of you may not know what the Gospel is. I am including at the end of this email a copy of the Bad News/Good News presentation of the Gospel that our students often use to share the Gospel with folks. It would be their desire (and mine) that all of the Guatemalans we meet and all of you who read this email embrace and believe this amazing news (if you have not already). We are so grateful for what Christ has done for us. And we want all people to receive the blessing of getting to know and be amazed, now and forever, by the person of Jesus Christ, to the glory of God. He is our delight.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Kathy Harrelson
High School Director at Christ Chapel Bible Church
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