Communicating Christ Incarnate


New Site: TrevorBuehler.com!
17 October 2010, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Nonsense

Hey Readers of CCI!

Thanks for your patronage to this site, even though most of you only care about Muslims and Bono. Your readership and comments are valued.

I wanted to officially encourage you and direct you to my new hosted site at TREVORBUEHLER.COM. I made the leap to paid blogging, having found purpose in trying

to write a book, and the fact that I have accumulated about 5 separate blogs for varying purposes. I decided to put them altogether and take advantage of WordPress’s Categories feature to separate them.

 

TrevorBuehler.com is built on the Standard Theme, which is an awesome theme if you have your own blog to skin-up. My site consists of Reviews, memorable Quotes, Leadership, creative Ideas, along with my book work under Everything Is Permissible, and other Miscellany.

So I encourage you to check out my new site… SUBSCRIBE!… and I’m thankful for your continued readership.

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Parking Lot, Cash, $50, Crack!
31 August 2010, 7:36 pm
Filed under: Miscellany | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I finally settled on purchasing a 32GB iPhone 3GS this past weekend. And I NEED to tell you the adventure that it was to get it into my pocket.

I’ve been saving up for the iPhone 4 since Christmas 2009, agreeing with my wife that I could purchase it as my birthday present this year, as my birthday is in June. So June comes, Apple introduces their brand new, beautiful peace of art in the iPhone 4 and I’m set to win my prize. However, amidst the waiting I had to suffer as I waited for iPhone 4 to be released here in Canada, I had a change of heart.

I have a cousin who bought the original iPhone when it was first released in the US, the one that was never released in Canada. He was looking for a 3GS to buy himself with the iPhone 4 now available. He didn’t want the 4 because he does not want to pay for data, same as he has not done with his existing original iPhone. After finding out how he gets away with preventing any data usage and how easy it is to do, I was convinced I wanted to do the same, as I find my data plan to be an unnecessary luxury at this point in my budget.

So I set out to find a 32GB 3GS instead. eBay didn’t have much to offer. Apple was only offering the 8GB brand new for $550, and 32GBs were priced around $500 on Kijiji. So I kept an eye on available black iPhones on Kijiji. I’m not big on buying from Kijiji sales as there’s very little accountability from sellers and you normally have to pay cash. But to get a 32GB for that price, I didn’t have much choice.

Well, I found a phone that seemed decent enough. It was purchased in February, so there was 6 months still left on the warranty, and the seller was selling it because he bought an iPhone 4. (The hope being in making such a statement that the phone isn’t stolen.) I sent a message to the seller, he called me back and we set a time to meet up.

We met in a Fresh Co. parking lot. We was a young guy driving his father’s Cadillac around. He seemed legit and was friendly. Julie and I took a look at the phone, trying to see if there was anything physically wrong with it. I couldn’t check its functionality as the phone had been reset to factory already. That seemed a bit shady, but wasn’t completely unreasonable as of course he wouldn’t sell it with his personal info on it. He also offered it at a good price too, much lower than what was generally on Kijiji, and he reduced it even further because he thought I was a nice guy, asking him where to meet instead of demanding he meet me somewhere for this.

So we agreed to buy it. I followed him over to a bank so I could get the cash and he waited in the parking lot. I brought the cash out to him, jokingly saying “You got the stuff?” as I brought it to him. I counted it out for him so he knew it was all there, and we made the exchange. I went back to my car, and he went on his way.

When we opened the box however, we found the phone had a crack in the screen on the lower corner that we never saw before. Your ultimate concern suddenly appears reality–did he swap the phone while he waited in the car? I was freaking out, feeling as if I had been had.

I quickly called the seller back, telling him about this crack we didn’t see. He said he didn’t know it was there either, and he said he would come back to us. We waited for a few minutes, wondering if we were waiting for nothing, wondering if we had been “had”. Sure enough, the seller came back! I showed him the crack and I wasn’t sure what his response would be. He felt bad about it, as he had not seen it before. You could only see it if you moved it a certain way in the light.

I was going to tell him to forget about it, but waited for his response instead. He said he had a friend who had his screen replaced for $50 and said he could do that for us. I told him I would go get it fixed myself, and he could just give me $50 off the price. That way he doesn’t have to worry about it and I get it cheaper. He agreed to that. He gave me the money, and we parted ways feeling a little better about it all.

I got in and started my car, when a policeman walked up behind the car and knocked on the trunk, asking me to turn the car off and step out of the vehicle. Having done nothing wrong, I got out without argument.

The policeman asked me if I knew “that man,” pointing towards the guy I just bought the phone off of. I said, “Yeah, I just bought an iPhone off of him. Is it stolen?!? Please don’t tell me it’s stolen!” (I was afraid my biggest concern was coming true.) The policeman said, “What??” I told him, “Kijiji! I just bought an iPhone from him.”

He turned his head and laughed with a big smile saying, “Are you kidding?? Someone called us saying there was a drug deal going on! Carry on.” And he walked away.

So that was the exciting experience of buying an iPhone 3GS. The seller called us on our way home, asking us what happened. We found it pretty funny that we had been talking about $50 and crack for 10 minutes before they showed up. Haha.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the phone works great! Hopefully I won’t have to buy from Kijiji again any time soon.



Book Review: “Plan B” By Pete Wilson
29 August 2010, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , ,

I just finished reading Plan B by Pete Wilson, and I wanted to give a few impressions of the book. If I had stars, it would get a 3 1/2 out of five. It was a good book. The first four chapters were a bit slow, and uninteresting. But then there were a few chapters that hit home more with my own life experience.

The book reads like a sermon. Each chapter starts off with a story of someone who has experienced loss, and then Wilson adapts his next point around it. I would recommend the book to those who are seriously doubting their faith in God, as Wilson offers up a lot of hope for those who just aren’t sure.

What I appreciated the most about Plan B is that Wilson doesn’t claim to have all the answers. Instead he reminds the reader of the God whom they serve, and the kind of faithfulness He has shown throughout Scripture, and that we can have that same hope in God, even if things don’t work out as expected.

I would recommend this book to those who are feeling like they have somehow missed plan A and have been forced to move on to plan B.



Book Review: “Mind Your Own Mortgage” by Robert J. Bernabe
9 August 2010, 6:49 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve now been married for 9 months. Considering how long I intend to be married, I suppose this isn’t a long time. Nonetheless, since we are still renting, I have had the future prospects of mortgages on my mind since tying the knot. (A man’s gotta provide a roof for his family!) So the opportunity to read and review Mind Your Own Mortgage by Robert J. Bernabe was an easy one to accept.

While this is another book taking advantage of the cultural subject matter at hand–reflecting upon the housing boom and resulting crash of the past ten years, the book was both incredibly informative and invaluable for a newbie like myself who is new to the housing market, and I don’t doubt it’s usefulness for those looking for some practical advice for something they may have many years of experience from.

Bernabe spends most of the book peddling his MYOM formula, which is a good formula by the way. But most of all I appreciate the time he spent in encouraging the reader to be a responsible spender, repeatedly reminding the reader that when you have a mortgage, any other unessential purchase you make is costing you much more in the end due to the option of using excess cash to pay down your mortgage, and thus paying less interest through amortization. I look at this as the best possible viewpoint I can have as a future new homeowner.

Bernabe also stresses the importance of shopping based on cost, instead of interest rate and payment. I’m actually excited to apply the knowledge he provides and the system he’s developed aided by the extras made available on MindYourOwnMortgage.com. But having completed the read and wanting to apply what I’ve learned, I’m in an unfortunate position now to see how these American rules might be similar to the Canadian rules of mortgages I find myself in. Most of the ideas will be very similar, but of course, it was the Canadian market that did not crash as hard. So I am anticipating differences in the process.

Now I am left to search for a Canadian equal to Bernabe’s excellent homeowner’s guide. Any suggestions?



Having trouble sharing Christ with your
30 April 2010, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Miscellany

Having trouble sharing Christ with your friends? Try starting with:
What did you do this weekend? When they ask you what you did, tell them!



Review: “The Voice: New Testament”
24 April 2010, 7:06 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Bible is a unique collection of books… obviously. Language as a whole is incredibly complex, commenced with the tower of Babel itself. So when it comes to translating a language that is 2000 years old (for the New Testament), it’s a great challenge to try and translate, not only words, but idioms, intonations, and known impressions. Perhaps that’s why Islam refuses to hold a translation of the Qur’an as valid, and why there are so many English variations of the original Biblical Scripture.

The Voice is another translation to add to the long list of English translations. Coming from circles including people like Brian McLaren, The Voice was bound to stir up some question or controversy over its validity as a theological source. Such an attempt echoes the controversy surrounding Eugene Peterson’s translation of The Message. So many felt it was not a valid translation of the original language, refusing to even call it a “translation.” “It’s a paraphrase!” I’ve heard proclaimed. Yet any scholar using the original language documents must translate the words into English.

I must say I’m impressed by The Voice. I think it’s a unique and original angle to take on Biblical translation, and in the overview given at the beginning of the book for why the Ecclesia Bible Society chose the methods they did, I could not see any questionable motives for what they have come up with. Turning to creative writers, rather than only theologians to come up with this new version raises some red flags, but it shows in the translation itself that they have tried to attain to the original language very closely. This is one way in which The Voice and The Message differ. While Peterson’s translation has its place among the many versions, it is a “loose” translation where whole sentences and paragraphs are translated as a whole idea. The Voice makes it very clear where they have added words by using italicization, giving it almost an Amplified Bible feel. Commentary is given within the scripture itself, but is clearly divided into text boxes to show the division.

The question then becomes for me, Is this a translation I would use to preach a sermon from, or read aloud in front of a congregation? The answer for me is no.

Anything outside of a small word variation when reading aloud would likely be quickly scoffed at, tossed aside as invalid and not true to its Scriptural origins. Too many would likely be offended and the purpose of using the scripture publicly would be lost. I do, however, think this is a great addition to anyone’s devotional life.

Perhaps this is why Thomas Nelson has clearly labeled this version as “Personal Devotional.” I would recommend The Voice for such purposes.



Book Review: “Where is God?” by Dr. John Townsend
23 March 2010, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

I think I began reading Where is God? with the wrong expectations. I am a sucker for anyone who attempts to tackle the hard questions that people ask, that Christians and the Bible don’t always have all the answers for. So to read a book tackling the question of where is God?, I’m all in, excited to see how another author may take a look at such a question, when it comes to suffering and hard times so many of us endure going through life.

However, I expected a methodical, theological and exegetical explanation of Scripture on suffering. Instead, I felt like I had paid the very cheap price of $22.99 to meet with a therapist to have him pat me on the back and “there, there, it will be ok,” rather than giving me any real concrete answers to the question of where is God? (Note: I received this book for free.) Now, I’ve never read any other Townsend books, so perhaps I’m simply not accustomed to his writing style, as I assume his other books are very similar in voice. But the book didn’t do much for me.

A few other things I really didn’t like about the book…

  • The book’s timing seems opportunistic. With the economic downturn we’ve experienced over the past 2 years, there are many people who have attempted to take advantage of the self-help genre, as so many people are looking for answers to the tough situations they find themselves in because of the economy. And I feel like Townsend saw an opportunity to take advantage of that. Does that make it wrong to right this book at this time? Perhaps not. But I’d have more respect for the book and the author if I knew it was stemmed from, for example, someone who has gone through a hard time, and wrote a book of hope to share with others.
  • Townsend at times implies in the chapter “The God who suffers with me” that God is in fact experiencing and enduring the same pain and suffering people endure going through abuse and hard times. However, this is not Scripturally true. And I don’t see the value in lying and telling someone God is suffering with them while they suffer… just to make them feel better. (p. 80-81)
  • Townsend’s overall interpretation of Scripture seems somewhat misled. For example, on p. 90 Townsend refers to the story of Joseph in Genesis stating, “There is no way Joseph could have foreseen God working behind the scenes at the time of his suffering.” But making such a claim that there is NO way Joseph could have had faith in God and believed God was working behind the scenes, even if Joseph had not yet seen any positive results from suffering… we simply cannot make such a suggestion based on Scripture, and in fact I believe the story implies quite the opposite–Joseph trusted in God’s sovereign plan for his life, and thus pressed on.
  • Another example on p. 95, Townsend states “The Bible affirms that God uses hard times to make us better, even going so far as to teach us to be happy about our circumstances,” then quoting Romans 5:3-5. When I first read this, my first reaction was to say, NO, in fact, the Bible teaches us to rejoice/have joy even while enduring suffering. But then a few sentences later, Townsend states, “…the verse doesn’t say that we must feel happy when we hurt.” So in fact, I agreed with him, but the way he decided to setup this idea was confusing, contradicting himself within a matter of sentences. As a result, I lost trust in the author as a reliable source on the subject.

A few things I liked about the book…

  • The Appendix Townsend includes in the back lists all of the books I thought this book would compare to on the subject of suffering and endurance. So I recommend reviewing the list for further and deeper reading.
  • Although I don’t like this book as an overall source on the subject, I would be free to give the book out to someone who was going through a hard time or some kind of suffering in their life to bring them some guidance along with my own words of encouragement.

Overall the book was just OK. Nothing to write home about. And very shallow, surface-level, fluffy content. But perhaps that’s what Townsend was going for.