Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Tiger Oak Project....

No. This is not about some famous golfer winning another tournament.
This is about why I haven't been around blogging much lately.

As if being "Alpha Dude" wasn't enough, I work a full time job, I am involved in Community Theater (more on that later), my wife and I are very much involved in various ministries in our church, I need to study for our Bible Study night, and I occassionally do woodworking projects in my garage.

Last year, I restored a 1964 Steinway Piano.

This time, I fully restored an Antique Tiger Oak Dining Table.

When I got it, it was in sevaral pieces, some of which needed to be glued back together or needed major repair.

So I stripped and sanded half of the top to see if the table was worth saving. That's when I discovered the table was made of Tiger Oak. Although the table was in pieces and some of those pieces were in pretty bad shape, it appeared to be worth trying to salvage.

So I kept going and stripped and sanded each piece. The claw feet took the most time, effort, and patience. Once all the old finish was stripped away, I sanded each piece and repaired and glued the broken pieces back together. I even had to repair the steel mechanism that clamps the two halves of the pedestal back together. It now locks into place and holds the pedestal together securely. (It had been held together with a heavy piece of wire).

Here's the pedestal as one piece after I finished staining it.

Notice the details on the claw feet.

I even installed felt pads on the bottom of the feet (someone had used waded up duct tape).

After all the pieces were stained, I put it all together and applied several coats (about 8) of a water-based Acrylic finish.

The table now sits in my kitchen.

The table top is 54 inches in diameter and can extend to over 10 feet long. (We just don't have any of the leaves that go with it.)

This table was originally built sometime between 1890 and 1900.
When I got it, it looked like junk.
Now...it looks like a brand new table.


Friday, April 18, 2008

It’s Nothing……

A few days ago, our training coordinator at work asked me for some information pertaining to a training class she’s helping me with.

It took longer than expected to respond to her request and I sent her an e-mail apologizing for taking so long.

She wrote back and said “No Problemo”.

Being the serious professional (smart aleck) that I am, I replied to her e-mail by saying “Gee, I didn’t know you were bi-lingual”.

Her e-mail response to that simply said “De rien”.

De Rien? I had no idea what this meant. I had never seen this before.

So I walked down to her cubicle and said, “Okay, I give up. I have no idea what that means. In fact, I can’t even pronounce it. So please tell me what your e-mail says”

She replied, casually, “It’s nothing”.

“I’m sure it’s nothing, and that’s okay, but I’d still like to know what it means”

“It’s nothing”

“Okay, so it’s nothing, but I’d still like to know”

“It’s nothing”

“Is it something bad? Is it a French swear word or something?”

“No, it’s nothing”

“Oh, come on, please…”

“It is pronounced Dye Wren (
rolling the ‘R’), and it is French for ‘It’s Nothing’ ”


Gee…..all of that for “nothing”.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Easter season has come and gone. But I was still reminded of this time of year yesterday as I walked through the grocery store. There remains a section of discounted Easter items the store is trying to get rid of. So naturally, my mind wandered to the subject of Easter and what it means (most likely because there was no chocolate left in the clearance section).

Why do we celebrate Easter? What is Easter really all about? No, not some stupid bunny running around hiding eggs (where did a rabbit get his paws on all those eggs anyway?).

It is about our Savior, right? So I typed the word “Savior” into Microsoft Word, then highlighted the word and selected the Thesaurus button, and learned a lot.

The words that appeared are…..
1. redeemer – He certainly is our redeemer, isn’t He.
2. rescuer – Jesus rescued us from sin by dying on the cross.
3. Liberator – He liberated us from the evil one when He stood up and walked out of that tomb. Yes, He is risen, indeed.
4. champion – He championed over the devil by conquering death and the grave.
5. knight in shining armor – He is our knight in shining armor. He is our Hero.

So then I typed in the word Hero and got these…..
1. brave man – Jesus is most definitely the bravest man in all of history. Not only did He go through all that torture and pain and suffering on our behalf, but He knew all about it ahead of time. And He still chose to go through with it. That is truly a brave man.
2. superman – Jesus is more than just a “superman”.
3. conqueror – Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for your sins and mine and conquered death and the grave and opened the way for us to also conquer the sin in our lives so it will no longer have a stronghold over us. We too can conquer sin simply by calling on the name of Jesus and trusting in His saving grace and power.

What comes to mind when you think about a Hero?

What does a “Hero” look like to you?
In the movies, or TV or in story books, the hero, or Knight in Shining Armor, is the guy who rides in at just the right time to save the day.
The Hero usually saves all the “good” people, and punishes or destroys the “bad” people. And the main character he saves is the beautiful damsel who will, by the end of the story, become his bride. And she’s always pretty, and is usually a princess. Someone of royalty.
The Hero never marries the ugly, dirty damsel. Always the beautiful princess.

My Hero?
He didn’t come to save good people. He came to save all the people, the good and the bad. He didn’t just come to defeat the villain, he also laid down His very life for his bride.
And His bride? She was dirty and ugly and had other lovers and repeatedly rejected Him.
Something else you should know is that His bride is the very one who killed Him.
But He gave His life for her because He loves her so very much.

Are you ready for this?

That bride, is us.

When you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you become a part of the Bride of Christ. Yeah, He left paradise to come here and save His bride, knowing full well who she is and what she is like. He loves you and me that much.

Jesus said, “Behold, I make all things new”.
When you become a follower of Jesus, you are made new. You are made clean in the eyes of God, you are “washed white as snow”.

What was once ugly, is made beautiful.
What was once dirty and filthy, is made clean.
What was once old and worn, is made new.
The weak become strong and the condemned become forgiven.
Through Him, we will know God and spend our eternity in Heaven, in paradise with Jesus.

Jesus said that there is no greater love than someone who will lay down his life for his friends.
Is Jesus your buddy? Are you a friend of God?

“Easter” just took on a whole new meaning for me.

So, who is your Hero?


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Crystal’s Questions....3, 4 & 5

Hi. Welcome back. In case you haven’t seen this yet, a 12 year old girl named Crystal in our church’s Alpha Sprouts program wrote out 19 questions that have her somewhat concerned. She’s rather excited that Alpha Dude would take the time to answer them (or at least try).
Some of Crystal’s questions are closely related, so when I can, I’ve combined them to try to give Crystal the clearest answers and explanations as possible.
We’ve already looked at the first two, so let’s move on to the next few questions.

More of Crystal’s Questions (there are 19 in all, so far)….
3. How much longer until the rapture?
4. How do we know for a fact that there will be a rapture?
5. Why do non-believers have to stay living while believers die at the rapture?

How much longer until the rapture? I believe that there is a real good chance that our generation will be around to see it. Of course, every generation since Christ’s ascension into Heaven has felt that way. Maybe we are all just hoping it will happen real soon. I have personally had days where I’ve looked upwards and said,
“Okay Lord, you can come right now and it won’t bother me one bit!”

But God’s timing is perfect and He knows better than me when is the right time for everything.
The Bible is quite clear on the fact that our Heavenly Father is the only one who knows exactly when the rapture will occur, and He’s not telling.
A lot of people think God is rather mysterious and keeps a lot of secrets, but actually, He has given away the ending of our life story by giving us the book of Revelation. In that, He tells us what the end times will be like. The only things that He does not tell us is who the Anti-Christ will be, and when those times will occur.
The Bible tells us that the Lord will come “like a thief in the night”, so it will happen quickly.
Followers of Jesus will hear the sound of Gabriel’s trumpet and then, in the blink of an eye, be gone.
Can you imagine, blinking your eyes, just like always, and then standing face to face with Jesus? I think that’s pretty cool. Or sleeping in your bed and waking up in Heaven? Awesome. I wonder if I’ll need to start sleeping with my toothbrush? Or if I’ll even need it in Heaven? I don’t know God said He’ll take care of everything so I guess I don’t need to worry about those kinds of things.

How do we know for a fact that there will be a rapture? Well, quite simply, because the Bible says so, and the Bible is God’s Word. So, basically, there will indeed be a rapture because God said so.
There was a saying as I was growing up that said, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”.
But you know something? It doesn’t matter if you or I believe it or not. God said it, that settles it. Period.

So Crystal, there will be a rapture because God made us a promise, and God always keeps His promises to us.

Why do non-believers have to stay living while believers die at the rapture? I love this question. Mostly because it shows a lot of thought and true concern for the pursuit of God’s truth. Crystal, when the rapture comes, non-believers will be left behind for a period of seven years until the second coming of Christ. During that time, they will have one last chance to accept Jesus as God’s Son and to invite Him to live in their hearts and be their Lord and Savior, just as you have. But it will also come with a price. Those people will endure the Tribulation and may experience the wrath of Almighty God. During that time, the Anti-Christ will make himself known and try to force people to take his mark, the mark of the beast as the book of Revelation calls it. Once a person takes that mark, that’s it. No Heaven for them.

But don’t worry, believers will not die at the rapture. In fact, they will become more alive than ever in the presence of Jesus and all the Heavenly hosts (angels). We will be with God in Heaven forever.

There was an old Baptist song I heard when I was a kid. It went something like this:
“If I know Jesus, I’ll live forever.
If I know Jesus, I’ll never die……”

But you know what? It doesn’t matter if you know Jesus or not.
You are never going to die. You see, human beings are immortal.
According to what the Bible tells us, you will either spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord, or you will spend eternity in Hell (in pain and suffering).
So the reality is this: You are going to live forever. You will experience eternity.

The question people really need to ask is this:
“Where do I want to spend my eternity?”

I know my answer.

Do you?

Note: The Spring Alpha Course is almost over. I saw Crystal at Alpha Sprouts on Monday night and thanked her again for her questions. Then I asked her about her first few questions and what she thought now, having been in the Alpha Sprouts.

“So Crystal, what do YOU think? Does God exist?”
“Oh my goodness, yes. Yes He does!”
“How do you know?”
“Oh, there are so, so many reasons. I just know.”

Ya just gotta love that kid.


Crystal’s next question:
6. How will we get to Heaven if we believe?

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14)