Monthly Archives: March 2008

What we can learn from Brian McLaren…

For those who do not know Brian McLaren, he’s described my most evangelicals as a heretic and unfaithful to the gospel. I disagree with him on a lot of issues. He is the front runner for the Emergent (not emerging) Church. The Emergent Church has become known for their desire to have conversations and steer clear of absolute truth that could be divisive and in so doing becomes unfaithful to the gospel, but that’s for another time and blog.

I recently read blog posts by him on Talking Points Memo which is a liberal political website and blog. Upon reading the articles, I was convicted that what he was saying was reality. He focused on the fact that most evanglicals completely ignore systemic issues (i.e. poverty, homelessness, environmental issues) and primarily focus on personal morality. Now we must not ignore personal morality or divorce it from systemic issues, but why have we ignored greater systemic issues?

I’m still wrestling with how we have gotten to the point that we ignore huge systemic issues, but one cause has to be a sinful self-focus that permeates our being and infiltrates the church by causing it to be inwardly focused instead of seeking the restoration of the world through the gospel of Christ.

I recently read Ministries of Mercy by Tim Keller and it’s an absolutely amazing book. It revealed sinful attitudes I held toward the poor that have been ingrained in me all my life. It was one of those painful reads that cause you to cringe because they force you to face sin you want to hide. I recommend it for everyone.

More to come on this topic as I wrestle with it more.

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My industry

I work in the transportation industry designing roads in Texas.  As a whole, my industry is not doing so well currently.  TxDOT is the main client for consultants who do transportation engineering and they have recently slowed down all work in the state. 

TxDOT’s fiscal year is from September to September. This past September they published their budget and it looked to be a good year for the whole industry. Then in November, nearly 60 days after publishing their reports, they published reports that they were essentially out of money and to make up for the lack of funds, they would cut the consultant budget by 60%. They began canceling projects that were under contract and forcing others to end early.  TxDOT indicated this would be the standard for two years.  This has hit many consultant firms hard, causing lay-offs and hiring freezes for an industry that had been doing well for nearly 4 years.

 There are many who are skeptical of TxDOT’s claims (http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/traffic/entries/2008/02/04/dewhurst_has_doubts_about_txdo.html) primarily due to the gas tax. For those who are unaware, 40 cents of every gallon of gas goes to taxes, half to the federal government and half to the state government for the purpose of building roads.  “Where is this money going?” is the primary question everyone is asking and the question is valid. In 1999, according to reports, Texas alone generated 1.2 billion towards the gas tax.

TxDOT and Gov. Perry now claim that revenue from the gas tax is slowing (March, 12, 2008) and claims that a large portion of this revenue is used for agencies other than TxDOT. They are also pointing the blame at the federal government not granting sufficient funds. Maybe the most encouraging part of the article is that the State Auditor is looking into TxDOT’s finances.  Which is good because in the article they admit to double-counting 1.1 billion dollars, which I’m sure we all have done at some point or another.

The slowdown has caused much nervousness for people like me, with families and a house, who depend on projects from TxDOT primarily. The slowdown has caused TxDOT to give some of its work to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) and they recently received RFQs (proposals) for a US 290E toll road job and my company was awarded a portion of the project. This is very good news.

I’ll keep you updated on the affairs of the largest state agency in Texas, my former employer, TxDOT.

http://www.acppubs.com/blog/1230000523/post/430023643.html (1.1 billion screwup)

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Song of the Week – March 23rd, 2008

Great Day of the Lord – Andy Melvin

This is a song by our worship leader on his CD – The Human Engine Waits. It’s absolutely amazing and fires me up.  It talks about the return of Christ, which Jesus promised when he ascended into heaven. It’s a song proclaiming the amazing things that await those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Check it out. It’s awesome. We sang it last week in church and it was so awesome to sing with our body about the return of our King. I can’t wait.

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A new blog feature…maybe…Songs of the week

Well, I’m hoping this will be a new feature, but it may not be seeing as I post in spurts, but we’ll see. I’d like to just post a few songs each week that I’ve heard, they may be new or really old, but just some awesome songs that I like.

 The songs recently that I’ve played over and over again are actually 2 hymns:

O, for a thousand tongues to sing by David Crowder Band on the Remedy CD and

Rock of Ages by the David Crowder Band on the Amazing Grace Soundtrack CD.

Here’s the lyrics for Rock of Ages:

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill the law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
Let me hide myself in Thee.

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Wheelchairs for Iraqi Kids

This is an amazing article worth reading.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/02/13/iraq.wheelchairs/

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The Gentry’s Christmas – Washington, D.C.

After we returned from Hawaii, we enjoyed one night at home, an afternoon with the Peeks and left again, traveling to Houston for 2 days and then on to Washington, D.C. to experience a huge Robinson family Christmas with Amber’s Dad’s side of the family. Here are the pictures:

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This is Eli having a blast with Aunt Ruthie.  The flags were a part of Eli’s stocking presents. It is a Robinson Christmas tradition to fill stockings for everyone with anything from magazines, ponchos, flags to gift cards, lip gloss (for Amber of course), and a toy car (sadly not for me, but for Eli). Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Craig joined the fun with Jason, David, and David’s girlfriend Sarah.

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Eli’s first hockey jersey (Go Caps!) courtesy of cousin Kenny, who is an amazing hockey player himself. Aunt Elaine graciously let us stay in their amazing home, along with Jimmy, Diane, Lindsay, Courtney, Jeremy, Uncle Bill, and Aunt Danae. It was a lot of fun being around the house where the family gathered.

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It was the first time for the extended family to spend time with Eli and he enjoying showing off his mad-clapping skills.

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Eli hi-fiving Aunt Elaine. If you look closely you’ll see the Sudoku book that I spent way too much time problem-solving.

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Aunt Elaine was cool enough to introduce the ipod to Eli. He was not pleased when the song ended, but danced with joy when another song would start. No word yet and what song was his favorite.

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Eli’s first subway ride as we went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in D.C. Eli loves the animals, invented dinosaur sounds, and wanted to play with the bones. Who would have thought?

The museum was great and the trip was amazing. We are hoping to make it a tradition.

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