Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Salt & Light Blog: TO Harris Faulkner - WE WANT NEWS NOT CLEAVAGE!

The Salt & Light Blog: TO Harris Faulkner - WE WANT NEWS NOT CLEAVAGE!


Fox News can no longer stand on it's own? You need to use sex to attract viewers? Harris, you are way better looking than Sheppard Smith - all you have to do is show up and you have our attention because you are, by any standard, a beautiful woman. But beauty aside, you are an excellent newsperson.
So why do you need to wear a top that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination? We want to hear you report the news NOT ogle your exposed anatomy! COVER 'EM UP, HARRIS!
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happines VS True Joy

We all know what it is to feel happy about something. You're happy you got that new Wii controller for Christmas or happy your team won their most recent game or tournament or you're happy you beat the computer at a game of scrabble. Happiness is determined by circumstances. Happiness is fleeting, even changing moment by moment.
Joy, on the other hand, is NOT created by circumstances nor destroyed when those conditions change. True joy is from a heart right with God, one that is wholly surrendered to Christ in a loving relationship with The Almighty, The Creator of heaven and Earth in a state of grace known as salvation. This joy cannot be shattered, altered or taken away. Although some Christians allow their joy to be overshadowed in moments of weakness, the key is to walk in it so that while sadness may endure for a night, joy will come in the morning. Psalm 30:5b
Joy comes from the assurance that God will never leave us or forsake us, and that we are in His hands and no one can snatch us out of His hands, not even we ourselves. How does one receive that gift of joy that not only surpasses all human understanding but endures forever? By accepting the only Gift we truly need this or any Christmas: God's gift of salvation from our sins through Christ whose birth we celebrate each December 25th, whose life we read about in the Gospels, whose death we mourn on Good Friday and whose resurrection we celebrate each Easter morning.
The fact is, we live in a fallen world and we all have sinned. Sin separates us from God. This is a condition we cannot work our way out of. There is NOTHING we can do to earn a reprieve from the penalty of our sin, which is death and eternal separation from God. However when He was crucified Jesus Christ died in our place, taking upon Himself all the sins of the world. He died in our place so that we did not have to. When He rose from the dead He completed the work He was sent to Earth to do - to conquer sin and death on our behalf.
God offers us the free gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. It is a gift, something we did not work for or earn. However, we must accept this gift. To accept this free gift, we must truly believe the Gospel story of salvation and pray to receive Christ into our hearts. If you wish to do this we are pleased to direct you to some resources where you can learn more and hear what you need to do. Please follow the link below and click on the banner in the lower right corner of the page called "The Story".  Another link on that page which will help you understand this is called "The Facts of Life". Either of these will direct you to receiving God's Gift and entering into the life God intended for you.  It is ONLY by receiving Jesus Christ as your savior and making Him Lord of every area of your life that you can have True Joy.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sharing Your Faith - "by Faith"

Read Hebrews 11:1-39...
Isn't it interesting how fearful we can become when an opportunity arises to share our faith? Have you ever experienced that knot in your throat, that dry, cotton-mouth feeling or the nervous jitters? Right as you're about to speak, does your mind race, running through a thousand scenarios of how you could crash and burn, or how you might really stink at witnessing? Does your voice go hoarse just before you begin to share or while you're in the midst of talking? Does your mind play tricks on you - "What if they heard me slip last week when I lost patience with that customer and muttered a complaint after I put them on hold to ask the boss yet another dumb question?"
Now consider the saints of old mentioned in today's reading. They were all flawed, fragile humans when they were called upon by God to do extraordinary things. If we read the whole story of each of their lives we see sins and failings which make some of our shortcomings pale in insignificance. Yet they all stepped out in faith "and it was accounted to them as righteousness". So don't worry or let fear take hold when you act in obedience to share Christ with another. Instead, ask God for strength for the task and remember His promise in 2 Perer1:3-8, that He has given us everything we need for the task and to live righteously.
So what is the "So what"? - It's this: the saints of old were moved by the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit was UPON them, but you, as a born-again believer have the Holy Spirit dwelling WITHIN you. Allow Him to guide you as you share your testimony or speak about Christ to that friend or co-worker and leave the rest to God. Remember, worry is down payment on problems which have not occurred yet and in an account you do not want to draw interest!
Trust Jesus and share with boldness.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Official Google Blog: Our new search index: Caffeine

This is a re-post of a blog post on

 The Official Google Blog - Insights from Googlers into our products, technology and the Google culture
Official Google Blog: Our new search index: Caffeine
Today, we're announcing the completion of a new web indexing system called Caffeine. Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and it's the largest collection of web content we've offered. Whether it's a news story, a blog or a forum post, you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before.

Some background for those of you who don't build search engines for a living like us: when you search Google, you're not searching the live web. Instead you're searching Google's index of the web which, like the list in the back of a book, helps you pinpoint exactly the information you need. (Here's a good explanation of how it all works.)

So why did we build a new search indexing system? Content on the web is blossoming. It's growing not just in size and numbers but with the advent of video, images, news and real-time updates, the average webpage is richer and more complex. In addition, people's expectations for search are higher than they used to be. Searchers want to find the latest relevant content and publishers expect to be found the instant they publish.

To keep up with the evolution of the web and to meet rising user expectations, we've built Caffeine. The image below illustrates how our old indexing system worked compared to Caffeine:

Our old index had several layers, some of which were refreshed at a faster rate than others; the main layer would update every couple of weeks. To refresh a layer of the old index, we would analyze the entire web, which meant there was a significant delay between when we found a page and made it available to you.

With Caffeine, we analyze the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published.

Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale. In fact, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles.

We've built Caffeine with the future in mind. Not only is it fresher, it's a robust foundation that makes it possible for us to build an even faster and comprehensive search engine that scales with the growth of information online, and delivers even more relevant search results to you. So stay tuned, and look for more improvements in the months to come.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Best Coffee in the Grocery Store

OK friends, this is one of my less spiritual posts, but you know what they say about variety being the spice of life and all, so bear with me.
Cindy and I just left Jewel Osco on the corner of Hovey and Cottage in Normal

where we just picked up my favorite coffee: Chock Full O Nuts. Never heard of it? Well you must try it. Not only is it the best coffee you can buy at a supermarket, but it is the best value. The cans are 39-Oz, not wimpy 33 or 34.5-Oz cans like Folgers and Maxwell House, and it's LESS EXPENSIVE. Plus, I am delighted every time I brew a pot of "New York's Coffee Since 1932" because it is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to brew a bad pot of this wonderfully smooth and consistent java. There's a reason they call it "The Heavenly Coffee" because it nearly is just that - heavenly.
I used to get Chock Full O Nuts coffee in Michigan when we lived there but when we moved to Arizona we could not get it. So I struggled along with the other brands and put up with inferior coffee for years. After we moved to Illinois, I had all but forgotten about Chock Full O Nuts since it had been so long since I had seen it in a grocery store. It was a few years ago, on a trip to Chicago for work (when I had a "day job") that I found Chock Full O Nuts once again, and picked up a can. It was just like I remembered it! Not wanting to have to buy it in bulk on my monthly Chicago trips, but desiring to find it locally, I began a campaign to try to convince stores in Bloomington Normal to carry it consistently in the large can (much better value than the small can)! When I could get it here, I could only find it in the tiny can, and that is depressing since I go through those really fast. Praise the Lord that Jewel-Osco heard my cry and brought in some of the large cans. It's on sale now, also, for $ 8.99 (Sometimes in Chicago, I could get it for as low as $ 6.00!)
So PLEASE go out and get some Chock Full O Nuts from the Jewel Osco at the corner of Hovey and Cottage or any other store you find it at. (HINT: They do NOT stock it in the big cans at Krogers or at Meijers!) I am convinced you will love the flavor and aroma of it as much as I do.
THANK YOU Jewel Osco for stocking my favorite brand!
OK now to any of you who thought I was nuts, your suspicions have been confirmed. I am "Chock Full O Nuts" - LOL!
Have a blessed evening.
P.S. If you try it please post to this column and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Lord is Faithful

Today is the first work day of 2010. While thinking about what we want 2010 to be not only for us personally but for our marriage and our businesses as well, trusting in God and His faithfulness came to the forefront of our conversations. We spent too much of 2009 relying on ourselves, our resourcefulness and our resources to give God much of a chance to work (although work He did work in our lives in and through others!). We did, by any definition, take the wheel way too many times and let the Lord take the wheel way too few times. 2010 promises to be, if we are able to hold fast to the ideals Cindy and I discussed, a year of renewal, a year of promises kept, a year of more trust in the Lord and an even greater commitment to serving Him above all.
Each morning I start out the day reading a devotional. If I mentioned the name of it many of you would recognize it. The title of today's daily devotional is "Our Constant Friend" and references 2 Timothy 4:16-18. The heading of that section of the passage (in the bible I read along with for my devotional time) is "The Lord is Faithful". As I thought about the times we have gone through trials in life, and I look back, I can see that indeed He is faithful and has always been with us through every circumstance. We have seen it many, many times throughout our lives. One of the most notable was when He preserved us from certain death when our car spun around 360 degrees in the middle of a busy highway outside of Indianapolis. When a strong wind hit the U-Haul trailer containing all our worldly possessions as we moved from Michigan to Arizona, and we lost control, we thought "we're goners". When it was all over, we recognized that He saved us because when we looked around (after the car came to a rest) there was not only no damage to the car or trailer but we did not impact anyone around us. In fact, once the car and trailer stopped, the highway was clear! None of the cars surrounding us when the spin began were even there! This was the most dramatic time that God rescued us, and it prepared us for growth in our faith we could not imagine back then. I could go on and on, but it would not further the point.
"At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." 2 Tim 4:16-18, ESV © 2001 Crossway Bibles (find an ESV bible now), a division of Good News Publishers.
Just as Paul was rescued from the lion's mouth, we were rescued from death that August day in 1980, so that we could go on to do great things for God. Some of those things are behind us but we believe that way more of those things the Lord wants to accomplish are before us as we walk with Him daily. We want 2010 to be the beginning of even greater accomplishments for Christ - not in our strength, but in HIS power.
What great and wonderful things is God preparing for you to do in 2010?