The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

May you come to know the God who became man.

Merry Christmas.

manger

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Great Big Stupid World – Reaping What We Have Sown

On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, and then massacred 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before taking his own life.

The staggering loss of innocent lives has left many asking, “Why?”

People blame everything from lack of gun control, to CIA conspiracies, to lack of treatment for the mentally ill, to video games and rap music, to media coverage and copycat murderers.

I believe our culture is simply reaping what it has sown.

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

God in SchoolsAmerican society has learned to mock God. We have largely thrown God out of our schools, our media, our government, and our lives. God has been relegated to a few church pews, a couple of days a week, for a few hours, for a handful of people who are considered by most as relics of the past.

Most children are taught in school that they are accidents of nature and nothing more than animals, albeit somewhat more evolved than most, rather than being created in the image of God, Who loves them. Then we wonder why they act like animals.

Much of our modern music and many video games glorify killing, drugs, sex, and death. Then we wonder why teen pregnancy and abortion rates are so high, and why someone would walk into a school or mall and start shooting people.

Television portrays God as a myth, Christians as intolerant bigots, fathers as idiots, and the traditional family as irrelevant. Then, we wonder why Godly values are ignored, and why our kids are out of control.

As our culture has sown, so has it reaped.

The problem is not gun violence, drug abuse, rap music, abortion, greed, suicide, the education system, the Democrats, or the Republicans. These are just symptoms of a deeper problem. The real problem is that our culture mocks God. We have lost our foundation; we have rejected our Creator.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

The United States was once blessed, because we were built on a Biblical foundation. That foundation is gone, and has been replaced by a humanistic foundation that says mankind can choose whatever he wants about right or wrong. When human beings decide what is right and wrong, we invariably choose wrong, and call it right. And in the process, we mock God.

Why do people like Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and Seung-Hui Cho kill people? Psychologists will debate the causes, but from a Biblical perspective, I believe they simply act in a manner consistent with what society teaches them. Our culture taught them that human life is basically meaningless, that we are animals, and death and killing are glorious – a lesson they learned well.

Our culture is reaping what it has sown; the culture mocks God, then wonders why God doesn’t intervene.

How do we fix the problem? Not through politics, or social programs, or public education:

8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

God help us.

Geocaching 102 – Geocaching Variations

In a previous blog, I introduced geocaching – the world-wide GPS hide-and-seek game. In this blog, I will take a look at the many variations of the game.

The Websites

geocache

Geocache

By far, the largest and most popular geocaching website is Geocaching.com. Established in 2000, Geocaching.com currently has nearly 2 million active caches listed, and over 5 million registered users. Groundspeak, the parent company of Geocaching.com, also operates Waymarking.com, where one can “catalog, mark and visit interesting and useful locations around the world;” and Wherigo.com, which features “GPS-enabled games in the real world;” and Earthcache.org, which lists sites where one can “learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth.”

Geocaching.com is not the only site with geocache listings. One of the earliest competitors was Navicache.com. Established in 2001, Navicache grew fairly quickly as an alternative to Geocaching.com, but has faded greatly in popularity in recent years. Another 2001 competitor was Scout’s GPSGames.org. GPSGames was the first site to offer other GPS-based games in addition to geocaches. These games include Geodashing, Shutterspot, GeoVexilla, MinuteWar, GeoPoker, and Geodashing Golf. Buxley’s Geocaching Waypoint is a site that collects, compiles, and lists geocache data from multiple sites. Due to a legal battle with Groundspeak, Buxley’s stopped listing caches from geocaching.com in January, 2006.

Hidden in a stump

Hidden in a stump

In response to dissatisfaction on the part of many geocachers with Geocaching.com, Terracaching.com was created in the fall of 2004. Terracaching.com features less restrictive policies regarding the types of caches that could be hidden, a decentralized cache review system, and a rating / scoring system. Terracaching took off quickly, and is still the second-most popular alternative to Geocaching.com.

In the last few years, some additional geocache listing sites have been created, including Opencaching North America and OpenCaching.com, which was started by Garmin, a GPS manufacturer. Both of these sites were launched in 2010. Opencaching North America is actually part of a worldwide network of Opencaching sites (Opencaching.com is NOT part of this network, however.)

This list is not exhaustive, as new sites and variations pop up from time to time.

Cache Types

There are many different kinds of geocaches:

  • The most basic type is the traditional cache. Traditional caches are simply a container, a logbook, and sometimes trade items, hidden at the posted coordinates.
  • A multi-cache involves two or more locations. The geocacher visits one location to get the information to locate the next location, continuing until they find the final location.
  • A puzzle cache involves solving some sort of puzzle, deciphering clues, working equations, or some other challenge in order to find the coordinates for the actual cache location. The puzzles can range from very simple to extremely complex.
  • A Letterbox Hybrid cache incorporates elements from Letterboxing into a geocache. Letterbox caches always contain a stamp used to stamp that visitors can use it to record their visit.
  • Event caches are gatherings for geocachers. These can include small gatherings of just a few cachers to mega-events with thousands.
  • Virtual caches are caches that do not have a physical container, but rather involve finding an object that already exists at the posted coordinates. Some of the variations of virtual caches include webcam caches, Earthcaches, and Whereigo caches.
  • “Locationless” caches (also known as “Reverse” caches) involve finding an object that meets a specific objective, then recording the coordinates where it was found.
  • BIT caches are a tag with a code and sometimes a QR code – no container. BIT caches are logged by inputting the code on the online cache page.

Not all cache types are supported on all geocache listing websites. For example, Geocaching.com no longer lists any “locationless” caches, but Terracaching.com does; and Geocaching.com will not list any new virtual or webcam caches, but existing ones have been “grandfathered” and allowed to remain. Whereigo caches and Earthcaches are only listed on Geocaching.com, and BIT caches are only on Opencaching North America.