Thanks to everyone who emailed me that they are interested in our morning Bible study / devotional times at MMS again this year. Sorry that I responded to so few of you…really I don’t know that I responded to anyone…it’s been a very busy couple of months! Here are the final details for those who are interested.
We will meet from 7:15-7:45am Monday through Friday this week. Rod Trent was able to get us a room, and he posted details on the room location on his blog a while back. Follow that link to see where we are meeting.
Similar to the last few years, we aren’t doing a formal in depth Bible study this year. Consider it more of a devotional and prayer time to help us set the tone for the day. Looking forward to seeing those of you who have been a part of our group for a few years as well as the first timers. As always, this is by no means a closed group. Feel free to just show up.
See you in the morning bright and early. We will finish in plenty of time to hit the attendee breakfast before the keynote.
Every year at MMS for the last five years a group of us have met each morning before breakfast for a short time of Bible discussion, prayer, etc. The last couple of years, Rod Trent has helped us get a meeting room at the event…am expecting he will be able to do so again this year. I will post more details about the location and specific times closer to the event. In the past we have met for about a half hour while allowing time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting. Probably will end up being something like 7:15-7:45 or 7:30-8:00 Monday-Friday. Might need to adjust a bit this year since both of my speaking sessions are currently scheduled for 8:30am!
Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.
Just a brief update on the MMS Bible Study that I posted about a while back. Rod sent me the info on the room that he was able to nail down for us. We will be meeting in Marco Polo 702 at the Venetian before the conference breakfast. The plan is to start at 7:30 and be done no later than 8:00 each morning to allow time to have breakfast before the first meeting. Rod has a map on his blog post to show where the room is…check it out.
It’s been cool to hear from several of you that are going to be meeting with us for the first time, and a bummer for those who have met with us before that aren’t able to come to MMS this year. Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas!
It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the inaugural MMS Bible Study. Every year at MMS for the last four years a group of us have met before breakfast each morning for a brief time of Bible study, prayer, discussion, etc. The first three years we met in someone’s room…most of the time in Rod Trent’s room. Last year Rod helped us actually get a meeting room at the event to meet in which worked out really well. Rod came through again this year!
I’m still nailing down what the time will look like this year (content that is), but we will be meeting Monday-Friday from 7:30am-8:00am in Marco Polo 707 at The Venetian. We will be wrapping up no later than 8:00 each day to allow time to grab breakfast and get to the first meeting.
Look forward to seeing you there. If you are planning on coming, please leave a comment below or email me via my contact form.
Here’s a pic of the fifteen of us that were there on Wednesday of MMS 2011.
A few nights ago as my wife was finishing up the nightly Bible reading with our daughters, my eight year old asked my wife about the trip to Israel that our local radio station (KTIS) has talked about. One of the things that the station mentioned about the trip was something about “walking in the footsteps of Jesus”. My daughter was skeptical…knowing that there is no way that footprints could survive two thousand years. Julie explained that they were just meaning that you could visit Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee and other places that Jesus visited.
Marybeth thought for a second then very seriously asked if the cross was still there. I explained how the cross that Jesus died on was very likely used many times before Jesus…and many times after Jesus because of how the Romans used crucifixion as a means of execution.
Without missing a beat Marybeth sing-songed one of the more morbidly funny things I have ever heard:
Three years ago I started leading a brief morning Bible study at MMS. I’ve had numerous emails from people over the last few years who were very encouraged by this event. Every year up til this one Rod Trent has graciously offered his room for a meeting place. Because it was being held in his room, I’ve never posted the location on my blog to protect his room number. This year Rod’s room was too small for the group to meet in, so he contacted the MMS event staff and got us an actual meeting room. We met this morning and had a decent turnout…in spite of me not getting the meeting room info out to my email list til late last night.
If you are interested in coming, we will be meeting each morning for the rest of the week at 7:15am in Reef D on Level 2 at the convention center. If you are interested, we’d love to have you join us. We will be wrapping up no later than 8:00 each morning to allow time to get to breakfast and the first session of the day…Reef D is only a short walk away from the meal room.
This is a message for anyone going to MMS 2011 in Las Vegas who would be interested in coming to a morning Bible study/prayer time. This will be the fourth year running that a group of us have met before breakfast on Tuesday through Friday mornings at the event. The group has varied from year to year based on who was able to come to MMS, but we’ve had a good turnout and some good connection time every year. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of the “regulars” as well as meeting some new folks.
This year I will be leading the study time again and will be taking us on a brief tour of the book of Romans. My current plan is for the first day to be a high level overview of the book and the other three days to specifically look at Romans 12. I’m early in the prep though, so that could change!
If you would like more info on the study, please email me to let me know. Same as every year, I won’t be posting location on the blog to protect the privacy of whoever is hosting the study…I will be emailing specific location information to those who email me.
Looking forward to seeing you there. Two weeks and counting!!!
This announcement is a bit late this year because I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to come to MMS. I got the clearance to go last week, so I’ll see you in Vegas!
For the third year running we will be having a morning Bible Study/Prayer time. Details are still being nailed down, but plan on meeting with a group of us to get the day started on the right note. This year I have asked a very good friend of mine (Tim Benjamin) to lead the sessions.
If you are interested in coming, please use my Contact Form to send me a note. I’ll email specific location and times to those who are interested (I won’t be posting the specific room number on my blog in order to protect the privacy of whoever is hosting it.)
Okay…it has been entirely too long since I’ve posted…over two months. Life has been a little crazy, but I finally cleaned up the rest of the Rod Trent interview to prepare it for posting. Hope you enjoy it. Also…I expect to post the next interview within another week or so…it is with Tim Mintner of the Microsoft Deployment product team!
Wanted to put out a final reminder…if you are interested in coming to the 2nd Annual MMS Bible Study, let me know ASAP. We will be meeting in Rod Trent’s room again this year. I will be sending location info via an email to anyone interested, but I will not be posting that to my blog…to protect Rod. Either email me directly or use my contact form. The Bible study will be Tuesday through Friday mornings before breakfast…probably 7:00-7:30am.
See you in Vegas…very soon!
April 19, 1984…25 years ago. A date that has been one of the primary mileposts in my life. That is the day that my Dad died of cancer. I was twelve. To say that it had an impact on my life would be a massive understatement. To no small extent my identity to that point in my life had been very much tied to being “Sam Davis’s son”. He had been one of my few friends. We hunted and fished together. I worked for him during the summer (he was a plumber, electrician, AC, refrigeration, etc). My relationship with him was very much the foundation of my life.
Then he died. It was early in the morning. It was almost time to wake up to get ready for school. My Mom came to get me saying she needed help…my Dad wasn’t feeling well. We tried to call the local doctor…no answer. It was a small town, so she called the doctor’s dad who lived near the doctor. I don’t remember exact details, but the doctor’s dad showed up at our house to try to help us get my Dad to the doctor. He was already dead by then. The rare cancer (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) had finally won. We later heard that the doctor was addicted to something and there was suspicion that he was high at the time. Was there anything he could have done had he been able to get there sooner? Probably not but, we will never know.
When the doctor did show up to pay his respects a few hours later I was sitting outside. I still remember that he drove a Jeep with no top. I remember walking over and seeing a Hall & Oates cassette in the front seat. From that point on, I refused to listen to anything by Hall & Oates.
That morning I remember wanting to get away. To be at the farm…in the woods hunting…for that matter I wanted to be living in the woods. To run away from all that was going on that day. My Mom had the guy who had been working for my Dad, Ellis Nasif, take my brother and I out for a drive so that we wouldn’t be there when the hearse showed up. We went to what seemed like the most natural place in town to go to on that day…the local sporting goods store owned by a friend of my Dad where we had spent a good bit of time. We bought pellets for my pellet gun.
The next few days were all a blur. The funeral, the burial. His pallbearers were the men he had gone elk hunting in Colorado with. One thing that I remember is taking my Dad’s 35mm camera and taking pictures that day. I barely knew how to operate it, but the pictures turned out perfect. I’m still amazed at how those turned out…I never took pictures with that camera again that turned out worth a flip. I wrote a couple of times (here and here) before about the effect that the burial had on me…it was one of the most difficult moments of my life. Perhaps more so than the death had been at that point. Seeing my uncles shovel the dirt into the grave was simply gut wrenching.
Little did I know the effects that this would have on me. I mentioned that my relationship with my Dad had been the foundation of my life. With that foundation gone, there were some significant aspects of my life that crumbled. I retreated into a shell. I spent a lot of time during lunch and recess sitting in a corner on the top row of bleachers in the gym. As far away from people as I could possibly get. I was empty and lonely.
Another result of this was that I started stuttering. It was frustrating and humiliating, and I had no control over it. I hated being asked to read in class…I knew that I couldn’t do it.
People who know me now are likely unaware that I ever stuttered. I haven’t since I was sixteen. I had another life changing experience then. I had been going to church for a couple of years, and had learned bits and pieces of what Christianity was about, and I had recently put it all together…realizing that I had made choices that were contrary to God…choices that caused me to be separated from God. The only solution to that separation was the sacrificial death of Jesus that was the only way to bridge that separation. God freely offered it to me…I just had to accept it.
The church that I was going to had an event called “Youth Week” where all of the activities at the church were run by the teenagers. That Sunday night a guy that I knew in passing at church named Chris Kennedy had the job of preaching the sermon. I don’t remember much of what he said, but what nailed me to my seat was when he talked about how God offers us the opportunity to have a relationship with him that can never be broken. A relationship that nothing can break. I remember him reading a section of the Bible from Romans chapter 8.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
Did you catch that? Even death can’t break this bond? The finality of separation that death causes had been unbelievably real to me…I was never going to see my Dad again. The hope that there is a relationship that even death has no power over was a very bright light in the midst of a very dark cave. That night was the first time I let people know that I had made the decision to accept Christ as my Savior. That night I also prayed for God to take away the stuttering problem. Two weeks later I volunteered to speak at a school assembly. I had not stopped stuttering yet. Just before getting up to speak I prayed again…”God, if you don’t come through in a very big way, I’m about to make a fool out of myself.” Moments later I got up and spoke without stuttering, and haven’t had a problem stuttering since. God answered that prayer in a very very big way, and to this day I remind myself before I am speaking publicly that my ability to speak clearly is a gift from God.
One regret I have is how for years I was privately critical of my Dad for one of his failings and didn’t fully appreciate the very good things that he did do. My Dad was not a spiritual leader in our family. My Mom has told me that in the months before he died that he had talked about making that more of a priority, but he didn’t live to see it through. For many years, that failure overshadowed everything else in my memory. I still loved and missed my Dad, but I had lost some respect for him because he didn’t have a positive spiritual influence on our family.
In the last five to ten years I have come to have a better appreciation for what he did do well. Much of who I am today can be traced back to the influence he had on me. The time I spent working for him instilled in me an ability to tackle nearly any problem…there is very little that I will not try to fix myself. He gave me a strong work ethic. He gave me a love for the outdoors that continues to beat strongly. He had started to pass the torch of “manhood” to me before he passed away. I remember hunting with him and field dressing the last deer that he killed (part of the antler is viewable in the picture above). At one point during that, I looked up from my work on the deer and saw him standing there holding the flashlight for me. He was looking with a sense of pride. I look back on that moment as him inviting me into a path towards manhood.
Five months ago, my wife gave birth to our son. We named him Sam in honor of my Dad. I hope to have as positive an impact on the lives of my children as my Dad had on mine.
The pain has lessened over the last 25 years. For a long time, I dreaded April 19th every year. This is the first year in a while that I have done any serious reflecting on that day. I still love and miss my Dad. I wish he could have met my wife and kids. I wish they could have known him.
Tonight I had the honor of baptizing my six year old daughter. She has been asking spiritual questions for a few years now, and my wife has been doing a great job of answering them at my daughter’s level of understanding. About two years ago (when she was four) is when she first clearly understood the meaning of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection…that is when she chose to accept His payment for her sins. We have been amazed at her level of understanding of spiritual things and the way she is able to articulate spiritual truths.
The video below is from her baptism tonight. It took place at the church we have been attending in Minnesota, The Church of the Open Door. It was a really neat experience for both of us. Most of our words that we spoke are pretty clear, but I have transcribed them below so that all of the words can be understood.
Marybeth’s initial statement:
At Florida, my teachers at Sunday School told me Jesus died on the cross to get rid of our sins. And then I started thinking about him, worshipping him, then we got together.
My statement before baptizing her:
In case you can’t tell, she’s a little bit excited about this.
Marybeth, it has been a joy for me to watch you grow both physically and spiritually. I am so glad that when you learned about what Jesus did for you that you chose to accept his payment for your sins. You are not just my daughter…you are also my sister in Christ.
And now, because you have acknowledged Jesus as your Savior and want to obey His command to be baptized, it is my honor and pleasure to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
It was the pastor who made the statement at the end, "Is she for rent."
Last year before MMS, I put out a call to see if anyone was interested in doing a Bible study during the week of MMS. I got a lot of very positive response, and so last year a group of us met in the morning before breakfast and spent some time studying the book of Philemon before the day started. Rod and Megan Trent volunteered to let us use their room to host the study. Around Thursday of that week, someone in the group mentioned that being the “1st Annual MMS Bible Study”.
So…who’s ready for the “2nd Annual” study? We are going to change the format up a bit this year. We’ll probably spend a bit more time in praise and worship than we did last year. Also…last year I intentionally chose a book of the Bible that people were likely to be unfamiliar with…this year we will be looking at a book that people are more likely to have read…Philippians. Specifically we will be looking at what that letter has to say about the way we treat those around us. I also plan to do a similar Bible Study at TechEd in LA this year.
So…who’s interested? If you are, please either send me an email or use this blog’s contact form. Let me know which of the two (MMS, TechEd or both) that you are interested in.
Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas or LA!
The Realm of the Verbal Processor has been on mute for the last week. We got an early morning phone call on Sunday June 29. Julie’s grandmother died. We were able to get reasonable flights to PA the same day (and Julie’s grandfather offered to pay for the flight). Grandma was 85. She and Grampa had been married for 64 years. They had been dating since they were both 14 years old. Needless to say, this had been really rough on him losing his sweetheart of the last 71 years.
In a brief conversation with Grampa this week, he mentioned that they had grown a lot closer after they retired to Florida 25 years ago. What struck me was that after 40 years of marriage (25 years ago), they grew significantly closer in years 41-64 of their marriage. That is really cool…something that Julie and I aspire to. For that matter, we have a great marriage legacy in our families. Thinking about that prompted me to write the post just below this one.
Grandma will be missed. It is only just becoming “real” to Julie. It hit pretty hard yesterday…capped off by a birthday card last night. My birthday is June 30…the day after Grandma died. They had already sent me a birthday card…it was in Grandma’s handwriting. With our traveling to the funeral over the last week, I didn’t open it until last night. Seeing her Grandma’s handwriting on my card tipped things over the edge for Julie last night. It’s very possible that this was the last birthday card she mailed.
That Sunday morning when we told my five year old that Grandma had died, she had this very brief look of shock and horror and then quickly recovered and said, “We won’t get to see Grandma any more til we get to heaven. So when we go to Grandma and Grampa’s house, we’ll only see Grampa? So now Grandma gets to see the fence?”
Julie was a little confused at first until she realized what Marybeth was talking about. “You mean the one with the pearls?” “Yeah…that one.” Then Marybeth started talking about all the things that Grandma gets to do now. She wrapped up with this (in what is a typical stream of consciousness conversation with MB): “It’s very sad for us that we won’t get to see Grandma for a long time til we get to heaven. We’ll get to see her when we go to heaven, but I don’t think God wants me to go to heaven when I’m five…when I’m a grown up. Then some day we’ll all get to go be in heaven, and there won’t be any more earth, and it will be great because no one will have to die any more.”
She just had a perfect balance of appropriate sadness because we will miss Grandma mixed with appropriate joy at recognizing that death is not the end of things. She even got the end of things right. I’m not sure how she knew this because I haven’t been teaching her any lessons from Revelation, but she nailed it.
Here is part two of my interview with Wally Mead. This section is a bit shorter than the first one…in the flow of the questions this just seemed like the best place to break it up. I plan to post the third and final part of the interview next Tuesday, so be sure to check back for the final ten minutes.
My plan is to do some more of these personal type interviews, so I posed a question yesterday…who would you like to see interviewed? Joey started off a fantastic list of people. (He also emailed me offline saying that he would be impressed if I got his whole list…heck…I’ll be impressed if I get half of his list! Although I do already have one of those lined up!) I’d love to hear from you who you would like to know more about. So…go to the post and leave a comment voting for who you would like. If the person is already mentioned, feel free to throw in another vote for them.
But…without further rambling by me…heeeeeeeerree’sss Wally!
Over the last several months I’ve developed a relationship with Wally Mead. Wally is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft where he works with the System Center Configuration Manager product team. He handled a bug report that I submitted about SCCM (here and here…bug was fixed in SP1) and we connected offline afterwards. He had seen in the bug submission that I work for Campus Crusade for Christ, and he has had interaction with CCC in the past.
This week Wally has been in Orlando at Tech-Ed, so I invited him to come out and let me take him on a tour of CCC’s headquarters. After the tour we sat down and Wally allowed me to interview him. Below is the first portion of the interview. I will post parts 2 and 3 sometime next week.
I’d like to also offer a public thank you to Wally for taking the time to sit down with me. It was a very enjoyable time, and if Chris ends up coming to UCF, I look forward to seeing you more often!
Another thing…who else would you like to see interviewed? Let me know on that page and I’ll see what I can do.
Part 2 of the interview is live now…
[Update 6-22-08: It was brought to my attention in the comments below that if you don’t have the Adobe Flash Plugin on your computer, you will not see the audio player that is just below the “Enjoy!” line. You can get it here if you don’t already have it.]
Over the years I have done a lot of Bible memorization. Mostly a verse here and there…dealing with specific issues that I wanted/needed to improve in my life. At one point in college, I listened to a sermon from a pastor in Texas named Tom Nelson (link and link). Tom was talking about Scripture memorization, and related how after college he memorized a huge section of the New Testament…basically Romans through Jude. Just looking at the Bible on my co-worker’s desk…that is approximately 170 pages. If you quoted him a verse, he could paraphrase the verse before it and the verse after it. Wow.
So, I set up a challenge for myself in college…to memorize a book of the Bible. I choose the book of Philippians…partly because I had already memorized several verses in it, and to memorize the book I would just need to learn the connecting sections. It took me about three months, but I eventually nailed it.
Many people have commented that they would like to memorize Bible verses, but it’s hard and they struggle to do it. Over the last year, I have been memorizing Bible verses with my five year old. She memorized one verse a week for each week of last year. You can read more about that on the Bible Memory Page.
Here is the process I have gone through with her. It should be easily transferable to you. Heck…if my five year old can do it…so can you. But then again…my five year old can also deploy Vista, Office 2007, Acrobat, etc to seven computers in 30 seconds. :-)
- We break the verse up into five sections that we memorize one at a time over five days.
- I read the nightly portion of the verse (starting with the reference) to my daughter five times, and then have her quote it to me until she gets every word perfect.
- Once she has it perfect, I have her quote it perfect five times. We repeat that every night, and by the end of the five days, she can nail it easily.
- The other two days of the week we spend reviewing the verse of the week as well as a lot of the other verses that she has memorized.
The Bible Study at MMS was really good. We spent four mornings going through the book of Philemon. We met in Rod and Megan Trent’s suite at the Venetian. It was a really good time to start the day off with a song or two, a bit of prayer, and some time in the Bible before heading into the crazy MMS schedule. Over the course of the four days we had about fifteen different people in the study. There was a core group that was there every morning. Some people flew out early or were unable to come on certain mornings. It was really neat to be able to connect with people on a personal/spiritual level in the midst of a massive IT conference in the midst of “Sin City”. The picture below was taken Thursday morning. As a group we agreed that this was the “First Annual MMS Bible Study”. Very cool.
From left to right…the “Redfly Guy” (don’t know his name), Brian Leary, Tim Benjamin, Matt Dewell, Joey Gleason, me, John Nelson, John Hendricks, Rod Trent, and Megan Trent. Someone gave Megan the nickname of “myITforum Den Mother”.
Thanks to all of you who responded that you are interested in the Bible study that I will be leading at MMS. There are currently ten of us that I know about. I’ve heard possibilities of others who are interested, but they haven’t let me know. If you know of others who are interested, and especially if you know of others who are planning to come, please let me know who they are. I need to make sure that we have a place big enough to meet.
The Bible study plan is to meet in the morning before breakfast for a max of a half hour. I know the schedule is busy…especially for one of the presenters who is hoping to come to the study. I will hold us to ending on time. We will meet Tuesday-Friday mornings from 7:00-7:30.
Where will we meet? Rod and Megan Trent have graciously offered the living room of their suite at the Venetian for us to meet in. I’m not posting their room number on the blog…if you want to come, you need to contact me!
The plan is to spend four half-hour sessions on the book of Philemon. It’s a book that I taught through in the LIFE group that I lead at my church. It’s a short little book…only 25 verses, so it is very doable to cover this book very well in that timeframe. I will be taking an “onion” approach to the book. Each day, we will peel back another layer. You will learn something deeper about the book each day.
What can you do to prep? Read Philemon a couple of times. It only takes about five minutes to read it. Get a feel for the book. If you are like most people, you’ve never read it. If you wanted to refer to some of the material that I’ve gone through with my class, you could look at this page, but it is not required at all.
Looking forward to meeting you folks face to face. It’s going to be a fun time.
After my post earlier in the week about the possibility of having a Bible Study time at MMS, I got some great responses, so the Bible Study is on! For those of you who have let me know that you are interested, I will be sending you details later about what/where/when. If you are interested, but haven’t let me know so yet, please do. It will help me make sure that we have a place to meet that is adequate in size.
I want to give a big thank you to Rod Trent for mentioning the Bible Study on his blog and featuring it in the myITforum.com Daily Newsletter on April 9. That definitely helped get the word out faster than my little blog!
So…if you are interested or would like more information about the Bible Study, send me a message. If you know of others who will be at MMS and might be interested in the Bible Study, please let them know about it and have them contact me.