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Category Archives: General Discussion

Everything that goes on here.

I’ve officially migrated this wordpress blog to it’s own domain.

http://lotekness.net

That is all.

thumbs-up-haruhi

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As is the case with everything it starts with God.

I’m speaking to believers here of course, but take the time to really reflect on God and who he is.  Infinite, immutable, omnipotent, righteous, perfect in every way.

Really get in there, think about this.  Sovereign, in control of everything.  Knowing the end from the beginning, working all things to his glory and to the good of those who love him.  The only thing in existence worthy of praise, because through him all things are made.

Now, stop and look at yourself.

Whoring ourselves out to anything that can offer you a quick fix to your immediate pleasure.  Even in our most righteous state, we are still unimaginably self centered and dirty.

Really get in there, into the darkest recesses of your mind where no one but you can hear the most intimate desires of your heart.  Really focus on that for a second, is that desire for God?  Is that desire wholesome?  Is that desire a desire you honestly believe God looks favorably upon?  Sin, is in the heart, not the act.  By sheer desire for a thing, apart from God, we have committed idolatry.  Like disobedient children, we choose our own way, completely defiant and ignorant to the right punishment we deserve.

The wages of sin is death.  There is no other way to look at that.  Now hold that thought for a moment.

Perfect God, compared to fallen man.

Focus on this now for a moment.

We deserve nothing, nothing but wrath.

Really stop and be honest with yourself, innocence vs. guilt.  The guilty should die no?

Yes, by all rights we should die.  Yet, instead of wrath, instead of death, instead of destruction, we receive mercy?

Not only mercy, but we receive God himself, as a living sacrifice to atone for our sins.  To not only die for us, but to live the life we couldn’t possibly live.  One of perfection, of righteousness, then obediently take death on a cross, and separation from the perfect communion with the God head.

We not only received this INCREDIBLE salvation, but we also received a place alongside God as co-heirs to the throne.

We are not worthy.

We will never be worthy.

We owe our everything to God, for his mercy, for his steadfast love, for his promise, for his good nature, for himself.

So how do you love your neighbor?  The same way it began with God, and ends with God.  You love them the way God loves you.

Unendingly, sacrificially, mercifully.


On a more regular basis I’d like to keep a stream of technical write ups, gaming news, theological thoughts, and or general “what’s going ons” with me and my family.  However with a work trip to Houston last week and general slap busy nature of my work since returning home; I’ve not had any time to collect some thoughts and formulate them into a blog post.  I want to hit some high points, and perhaps elaborate on them more in future posts.

High point #1 Samba DC

Ok, so people who have known me for any extended amount of time (from the age of 16 to 30) knows that I’m a Linux fan.  My work and lively hood mind you thrive around a Microsoft world, but I will never sell Linux short, nor fail to marvel at the amazing things that a thriving community of passionate individuals can create.  I also maintain a Linux server out of my home to manage DNS, DHCP, VOIP (TeamSpeak) and File sharing (NFS, iSCSI, and SMB).  I will also, on occasion, bring up outward facing game servers.  Just recently I decided to convert that server into a SAMBA DC for my, primarily, Windows 7 environment at home.

I run CentOS as my server distribution, which is a downstream of RHEL.  I’m running Samba version 3.5.4, at the time of this writing 3.6 is the latest stable release but didn’t offer enough improvements for me to go outside of my natively distributed yum version.

Also, aside from a few changes to the registry and local security policy that had to be made on the client side of the machines, the migration was fairly painless.

The first change resolves the issue of Windows 7 being able to find the domain for insertion, and the security policy solves the issue of Domain Trust at login.  It’s also wise to disable the password reset of the machine to DC to avoid potential relationship issues.  I’d not seen this issue myself, but until I see a confirmation it’s resolved (supposedly coming in samba 4) I’ll err to the side of caution.

My next step will be to integrate Open LDAP functionality into the DC, and an Apache http server.  I assume these will be fairly painless projects, but for risk of breaking my current domain environment I’ll need to wait till I have the time to deal with a potential ldap migration failure.  I also don’t have a strong enough list of pros for it since this is just a home network.  Mind you it’s more sophisticated than the average home network, it just seems a bit over engineered.  As for the Apache server, I really want to get back into some web development so I’d like the internal server for development purposes….

 

service httpd start

Ok, so now I’m running an Apache server off my server as well.  Linux is so hard.

 


 

High point #2 Admin Studio 10

So I was in Houston last week.  I’m now “officially” trained to use Admin Studio 10 for package (msi, app-v, xenapp, and thinapp) development, repackaging, and migration.

So what does that mean?

Well as most of you know I work with a product from Microsoft called SCCM.  One of the primary features of SCCM is application deployment.

So what is application deployment?

Simply put, it’s installing applications to multiple machines over a network.

Ok, I think I see.  So why would you need to do package development to deploy packages?

Well, you don’t have to.  One could feasibly shoehorn an installer given by a vendor, but ideally you want to build out a standardized installer or load for your company.  For us that means I’ll be building MSIs, MSTs, and App-v packages.  As well as isolating application installs that might otherwise break functionality of OTHER applications they share hard drive space with.

Wait, what?  Isolate, break, huh?

Almost all applications rely on libraries.  Think of them as a set of shared instructions that applications go to when asked what to do.  Well in most cases these libraries are shared by multiple applications.  And, sometimes one application wants a vanilla library, and another wants a chocolate.  Well these apps will fight, and one of them will win and another one will lose.  By isolating them I can give them what they want so they don’t break the system, or each other.

Our company will also leverage App-v packages which are essentially virtualized installs of these applications that, although they run locally on the machine, they are actually virtualized (or encapsulated) and are separate from the actual operating system.  Xenapp and Thinapp do the same thing.  I’m particularly excited about application virtualization, it can come with a bit of overhead, but it’s nice and contained.

Ok, I stopped caring somewhere around chocolate and vanilla.

Yea I figured as much.  Either way, it is a tangible notch to my hard skill set and I’m glad that I was able to get it done.

 


 

 High point #3 Gospel in Life

What does a Gospel centered life look like?

What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world?

Is the Gospel as narrow minded to culture as people often proclaim it to be?

What does a Gospel centered community look like?

These are part of the current bible study I’m involved in with my brothers and sisters in Christ called Gospel in Life by Timothy Keller. It’s a great study that forces you to take a look at your heart, your life, and your community and compare it to what and how it is defined in the Gospel. I would recommend this study to anyone who is a believer. Even if the information isn’t new to you, as most of it hasn’t been for me, it’s still food for the soul. A reminder of the higher purpose we are called to as Christians.

Truthfully, I’d encourage non-believers as well to read this study. If for nothing else, than to hold Christians accountable to the teachings that we claim to believe.

 


 

High Point #4 Ignoring my Family

I’ve taken way to long to blog this, and my wife has informed me that I should blog about how I’ve ignored my family, to blog.

When she’s right she’s right.  Thank God for her gentle reminders.

 


/begin spill

I’m not really sure where to start on this, but I feel compelled to talk about how incredible my wife is. 

She consistently supports me when I feel like I’m in over my head.  She allows me to lead, and remains respectful in her dissent.  She maintains and controls what would other wise be anarchy in the home.  She’s an amazing mother, nurturing, and disciplining in equal and proper proportion.  Selfless in her service to her family.  She seeks to find what it is that brings myself and her children the most joy, and works towards those ends.  Her love is a beautiful and humbling thing to behold. 

My wife has a bead on me, and is truly my best friend.  She challenges me to push beyond what I would normally settle for, and is continually used to temper and humble me.  She’s the one person I want to go to bed with, and the one person I want to wake up next to.  I can’t imagine being apart from her, or trying to face this world without her.

Do we fight?  Yes.  Do we always agree?  No.  Do we both love God and trust him to lead us?  Yes.  Do we face trials? Yes.  Does that matter?  Yes. 

God knows what he is doing, and he knew what he was doing when he brought us together.  It pains me greatly that knowing joy through my wife, and my children, I would so quickly have (and did at times) settled for less growing up.  It also makes me realize, this joy pails in comparison to that which I will feel when in the presence of our father.

/end spill

As a Systems Engineer/SCCM Administrator I spend a lot of time parsing through data, and assisting support technicians in tracking down failing assets.  Now mind you, I have plenty of reports that give me the information I need to identify the machine and users and techs responsible etc, but what happens when I get a random list of employee names from a project manager that has 0 access to user ids or asset numbers for machines?  Well, I have to find that information, then spend time later pointing them to resources I’ve made available for them; but that’s another topic….

Anyway, I face both problems, I’ll receive a list of userids or usernames and have to resolve them one against another.  Well thanks to powershell I’m able to do so quickly and easily through profile functions.  Now, I’ll explain the benefits of profile functions after the code below:

 


Import-Module activedirectory

#——————————————————————–
Function Get-UserName {
[CmdletBinding()]

PARAM($USERID)
Get-ADUser $USERID | select name
}
Set-Alias gun Get-UserName
#——————————————————————–
Function Get-Userid {
[CmdletBinding()]
PARAM([string]$NAME)
$NAME = $NAME + “*”
    Get-ADUser -Filter {Name -like $NAME} | select samaccountname,name
}
Set-Alias guid Get-Userid
#——————————————————————–

 


 How do I use profile functions?!?

Powershell, much like the BASH shell in Unix/Linux, has a profile “script” so to speak at startup.  There is a global one found at:

  • %WinDir%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Profile.ps1
  • %WinDir%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Microsoft.PowerShell_Profile.ps1
  • %WinDir%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\Microsoft.PowerShellISE_Profile.ps1

The same filename syntax is used for the user profile versions:

  • %UserProfile%\My Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Profile.ps1
  • %UserProfile%\My Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShell_Profile.ps1
  • %UserProfile%\My Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Microsoft.PowerShellISE_Profile.ps1

See a pattern?  Simple enough right?  None of these profiles exist by default though, they must be created.  The names are fairly indicative of what they control, but here’s a breakdown:

  • Profile.ps1
    • This governs startup of both the standard powershell, and the ISE.
  • Microsoft.PowerShell_Profile.ps1
    • This governs startup of the standard powershell console only.
  • Microsoft.PowerShellISE_Profile.ps1
    • This governs startup of the ISE powershell console only.

Simple enough right?  Now, for the sake of simplicity, lets build a current user version of the profile.ps1 and save the above code to it.  Make sure you’ve installed the activedirectory cmdlet module provided with windows 7. Now launch powershell and viola you should now have the cmdlets:

  • Get-UserName
  • Get-UserID

and their aliases:

  • GUN
  • GUID

Ok, now what?

Here’s the thing about profile functions.  You can treat them like cmd-lets now.  That also means that you can script against them.  Consider them a static variable for every powershell session that you have configured with this profile.

Pretty cool huh?  One of the most powerful features of the shell is it’s configurability, and profile functions and aliases are the tip of that spear.

In the case of user name capture, or id capture, I’m but a simple gc and for-each statement away from processing the list given to me.

I hope this helps broaden your practical understanding of profiles, and gets your creative juices flowing for building your own administrative tool kits.  Happy scripting.

The job market continues to dwindle, government spending continues to rise, and people continue to go hungry.  Marriages crumble, lives are shattered, and hearts are broken.  Wars continue, and families fear for the safety of their loved ones.  Housing market falls, your monetary value shrinking with it, and your bills increase.  Traffic’s at a stand still, gas cost way too much to refill, and it’s all starting to make you feel ill.

So, let me ask this.  What is going right?

Two things we discussed yesterday in church, and it’s wholly gospel related.  Sovereign God, and God Centeredness.

As we see what is falling apart around us, failed machinations that our own sin filled hands have wrought, do we see what he is building?  If God is good and His will is perfect for the good of those who He has called to His purpose (glory); why aren’t we lamenting at his great work in us and around us?  If God is sovereign and we profess his sovereign nature, why don’t we get excited about the possibilities of what is to come when those derailments happen?  Why do we worry so much when we know that He is enough, and that our needs will be met. 

The answer?  God is not enough.

At least that is what our actions and our thoughts cry out as we fight and worry and complain about what is upon us, as if it were something we could control to begin with.  The chief end of man at that point becomes, survive at any cost.  Your focus is you and you’ve abandoned the God who made you.  I’ve abandoned the God who made me.

The truth of that statement is so simple, yet so profound, to realize that you continually fail.  That thought should invoke inside the Christian a heart of repentance and an awe for the grace that has been bestowed upon us.  To realize that we are incapable of saving ourselves, of being righteous and as God centered as we should.  We should be bursting at the seams with joy, to know that we are truly loved and forgiven.

So why aren’t we?

The only answer I have for that is one I find through prayer and scriptural meditation.  I’m designed to worship, but my sin nature drives me to seek immediate gratification.  I want the next best thing, not the one right thing.  My heart is fickle and prone to wander; and love like anything important, requires work.  I have to continually seek his face, to focus on what was done for me, and take stock of what is being done FOR me, and shift the perspective away from done TO me.  We also need to break away from our relative view of what is best for us and understand that we can’t know all angles.  Our God is good, and what is in store for us will be of like nature, and that is something we can rest in.

I haven’t written a scripting post in a while, but I’ve wanted to.  So in keeping with the spirit of my stick to the script posts lets look at something that is common among all scripting languages (even if the syntax isn’t).

Let’s talk about strings…….

 kitty-yarn

Awwww, but no.  These kind of strings.  In the case of scripting, I think the best way to think about it is, text, what you are reading or able to read.  They aren’t used mathematically (usually), but can and will be a huge component in your scripting.  Especially when automating things around a desktop or server environment.

Oh really?  Yes, really.  General uses for strings in a script are:

  • User messages
  • Reporting or logging
  • Comparisons
  • Explicit paths
  • Application execution
  • Conditionals

Ok, so maybe that list doesn’t look that impressive, but when you consider how much of that is done within a script, it becomes obvious the importance of string values to scripting.  It’s also important to recognize that in certain scripting environments, it’s important to define a string value as such so that it can be properly used. 

(Powershell for instance, requires you to properly define a value type to use the relevant functions… but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

So wait?  There are more than strings in a script?  Yes; Strings, Integers, and Booleans are your standard value types. Integers are numbers (math!) and Booleans are True or False.  So given those value types, perhaps it is a bit more obvious how frequently you will use string values?

So lets get into some sample code and evaluate strings some shall we?


VBScript:

strTest = "Hey, I'm a string value"

wscript.echo strTest
'Shows the string value
wscript.echo strTest&", and I've been concatenated to the value."
'& operator joins values
wscript.echo lcase(strTest)
'Lower case
wscript.echo ucase(strTest)
'Upper case
wscript.echo strReverse(strTest)
'Reverses the string
wscript.echo len(strTest)
'Gives the total length of a string
wscript.echo mid(strTest,10,8)
'Returns fix number of characters in string
wscript.echo left(strTest,11)
'11 chars from the left
wscript.echo right(strTest,13)
'13 chars from the right
'----------------------------------------------------------------
wscript.echo inStr(strTest,"a")
'Returns position of string from left to right
wscript.echo inStrRev(strTest,"a")
'Returns position of string from right to left
'----------------------------------------------------------------
a = split(strTest)
'Splits strTest by it's spaces
for each item in a
    wscript.echo item
   'echoes each dimension from the split array
next

wscript.echo a(3)&" "&a(4)

'echoes the split arrays dimensions 3 and 4
'---------------------------------------------------------------

strReturn=inputbox("Here, you try!")

if strReturn = "" then
   wscript.echo "Fine, don't play along"
else
    wscript.echo "So you said: "&trim(ucase(strReturn))&vbcrlf _
    &"Sheesh, no need to shout!"
end if
'---------------------------------------------------------------


Running the above script will give you a better understanding of what I’m about to explain.  I wanted to show some common functions in vbscript (syntax is different but these will be universal functions you will use).  The above are common string manipulation tools

 

Code explained… line by line

First we are defining our string to a variable strTest.  Now “in the wild” as it were, this string could be pulled from an object property, read from a file, registry, user input, output from another application, etc.  It’s best to define a string to a variable though, no matter the method for input.  This of course is the most direct way to do it for our example

Now we begin with the simplest string usage, output.

Now we raise the stakes a bit by joining an additional string value to our current strTest.  This action is known as concatenation.  This is a very common thing with string usage and manipulation.  Building complex values/messages/logs from various predefined and/or dynamically pulled string values.

Our next two examples have to do with manipulating case between upper and lower.  This is fairly self explanatory, and in the interest of string comparisons it’s usually a good practice (and often necessary) to force a case set, especially if the comparison function is case sensitive.

String reversal, this may not seem important initially, but makes a huge difference when you are forced to chop strings up.  The ability to reverse a string can go a long way for string chopping.  Especially if you are dealing with filenames.

The length function is another that may seem arbitrary to some, but allows for great flexibility as well in chopping up strings such as file names.  If you have a fixed number of characters to remove it’s sometimes simpler then splitting the string.  (so I wasn’t completely honest about the math stuff and strings)

Mid, Left, and Right.  These 3 can be used in conjunction with length to return a fixed number of characters from the left right, or middle (specified) of a string.  Here’s a quick easy example:

test="I am 18 chars long"
wscript.echo test
count=len(test)-4
wscript.echo right(test,count)

Very simply, we take the total length of Test and subtract it by 4, then return the sum of remaining characters from right to left of the original string.  In this example we, had a fixed value to subtract, be mindful you could use the length value of multiple strings to achieve the same type of results.

Now, InStr and InStrRev, or “In String” and “In String Reverse”.  These two functions make for great conditionals.  They, along with strComp, are excellent for determining like strings and taking action.  Especially when parsing through files and directories looking for specific returns. 

One of my favorites, especially in PowerShell, split.  Split takes a string, looks for a delimiter (space by default) and breaks the string up into an array.  Why do I like it so much?  Put simply, it allows you to quickly whittle down long path names into a single filename.  It also allows you to quickly and efficiently modify lists of data into manageable formats.  And last but not least, it can easily turn files like csv’s into an array for manipulation.

Finally, user input.  This is pretty self explanatory.  Prompt for input, receive and control input, use input.


In PowerShell, string functions are called like this:

$a=”This is a string value”

$a.ToString()

$a.ToUpper()

$a.ToLower()

$a.Replace(“a “,”my “)

$a.split(“ “)

$a.contains(“string”)

$a.StartsWith(“t”)

$a.EndsWith(“e”)

$a.Length

$a.CompareTo(“this is a string value”)

$a.Length.Equals(22)

$a.CharArray()

$a.PadLeft(“30”)

$a.PadRight(“30”)

$a.Trim()

$a.TrimEnd()

$a.TrimStart()

Given the previous examples in vbscript, you should be able to easily adapt your knowledge to using these in PowerShell.  The idea and purpose is still the same, again, the syntax is just different.


String manipulation inside Bash is, admitedly, a bit more convoluted so I won’t be touching on it in this post.  However I’d highly recommend an online source like: Mendel Cooper’s guide.  Again, the methodology will still be fairly the same, but the syntax will differ.  The largest issue with Bash is the myriad of ways of performing the string manipulation.

 

Anyway, I hope this has been informative for you.  Good luck, and happy scripting!

So over this holiday weekend I beat infamous 2 as hero, with full blast shards, and dead drops.  Outside of the hard difficulty setting and the infamous trophies I’m well on my way to earning the platinum one in this game.

I really enjoyed the first Infamous, so I’m kind of kicking myself that I waited as long as I did to grab this one, but I digress.  I wanted to take a minute or two to sum up my impressions of the story continuation, gameplay, and overall aesthetics.  So let’s dive in.

infamous2bx

 

The story does a pretty decent job of picking up right where the first one left off.  Cole is aware of the risk and is working a former NSA agent named Kuo to increase his powers through the help of Dr Wolfe in New Marias (think New Orleans).  As we are loading into the boat, who else should appear, but “The Beast”.

I was pleased that they would throw together a large set piece like this to open with and really kind of prepare you for the game.  It was also a good, narrative, piece to resetting your character a bit.  I mean Mario’s princess has to be in another castle, and no hero can STAY an end game powerhouse at the start of their sequel right?  So a minor tick back after a massive, yet futile, battle with the beast and a short boat ride later we are in New Marias searching for Dr Wolfe who is under siege by an anti-conduit militia.  Long story short, the lab explodes, blast shards you need to power up are spread everywhere and it’s time to start working on earning respect through love or fear begins anew. 

So instead of continuing to explain and spoil the entire story I’ll briefly touch on some things I really enjoyed about this that’s new, or part of what I enjoyed from the storytelling in the first game.

  • Dead drops are still present, I’m a storyline nerd, so these little insights into back story and character development leave me foaming at the mouth. (29 total)
  • The story twists and turns, although no startling revelations like that from the first infamous, still some interesting shifts in the story dynamic.  Game Informer accused the story of being convoluted and losing sight of the primary focus, I could see where they would get that impression, somewhere in the middle of the game the beast becomes less a concern, but still serves as the major tie in towards the end.
  • 2 new conduit partners to kick it with, good and evil as would be expected, but even that serves as a surprising plot twist for you towards the end of game.  I’ve learned not to expect a game developer, aptly titled, Sucker Punch to give me a straight shot. 🙂
  • Multiple factions, not that you can CHOOSE between the factions, but at the start of the game I was a bit afraid the militia would be my only enemy choice.  It didn’t take them long either to start introducing the additional baddies either.

Infamous-2-Review-Artwork

 

Now lets discuss the gameplay.  If Cole was a beast in Infamous, well in Infamous 2 he’s a titan.  The introduction of so many varied skills, ionic abilities, and mobility options; you’re never really left to one option.  The combat (especially later in the game) manages to stay fresh, and for me, something you look forward to.  I didn’t like riding trolley lines as much as the train, or the inability to drain while grinding, but these are minor concerns.  They did add vertical rails to grind, and that’s a change I’ll take gladly.  I’m also looking forward to seeing what and how they are going to branch the skill sets for the evil faction on my second play through (I saved evil for my second option since I was going to play on hard, AoE and reckless abandon make that far easier to do). 

The exploration vertical as well as horizontal is still in tact, and towards the end of the game especially becomes increasingly more fun to see how fast you can zip around New Marias.  I’ll never get tired of the insane speed from grinding and flying around the city.  Which was good, because you will be doing a lot of that.  It’s an open world game, so exploration is just as important to the full experience as completing the missions.

The User Generated Content is a nice addition for fun that they added, and as would be expected, ranges from really impressive to “how do I abort this mission?”  The creator is simple enough to use, and well, the rest depends on how creative you are feeling.

infamous2behemoth

Now, the aesthetics.  I’ll say this first, I did miss the vertical nature of empire city.  I even missed the junk yard type environment, initially.  However what I found offered by New Marias was more style, and character, with considerably greater environmental hazards.  These also work towards the gameplay challenge and in some cases combat creativity (flood town, water, lightning, bad guys).

They did a great job of taking a dreary environment and splashing it with color to keep it appealing, as well as to incorporate huge set pieces and a larger more destructible environment to create a greater sense of power. 

Yes, and the obvious, Cole looks different, and he sounds different.  5 minutes into the game and I had forgotten what the original Cole looked or sounded like. 

Speaking of sound, between the music, sound effects, and ambient sound in the game it’s as much a game to hear as to see and that also goes a long way with me. 


In the end, if you own a PS3, there is no excuse not to have this game in your library.  The added UGC, and enticement for secondary play through really helps add to the value of the investment.

image

Yup…

First I want to define a few things up front before I begin.

 


Grace: Mercy, forgiveness, freely extended to individuals who deserve only wrath.

Belief/Faith: Treasuring Christ above everything, and living in a manner that reflects outwardly the inward Joy of that profession.

Weight: Value or cost of something. Not necessarily a burden, although the cost or value to one might seem burdensome given it’s elevated cost to the one who assumes that weight. (it will make more sense as you read)


 

Recently (this past Sunday) I began a discussion with a friend of mine from church regarding God’s Love vs. His Justice.  I want to outline this briefly to provide a basis for further development.  We know that God’s Justice is perfect, and that our trespasses against an infinitely worthy/innocent/glorious God carries the penalty of death and eternal separation from God.  We also know that by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary we, upon accepting and having faith in him, have his righteousness imputed to us.  This is a legal action, nullifying our transgressions before God and allowing us to be in his presence in fellowship forever.  The question this raises is, why? 

Why would God in his perfect justice offers us, horrible sinners (yes all of us), a free pass?  This we define as Grace, and is fueled by one of God’s other characteristics, his Love.  Stick with me, this isn’t a Rob Bell moment.  We know that Hell is real and not all will receive this pardon or Justification.  So it’s safe to assume at this point, that there is a weight to Grace.  Freely extended, but not freely applied?  Yes, I believe that. 

It all sounds so simple, say a prayer, make a profession, and I’m safe.  True believers know this isn’t the case.  Like the man who finds the treasure in the field and gives away everything so that he can have that treasure.  Did he get more than he gave?  Did he make these sacrifices in sadness?  No, he assuredly received more than he gave, and did so gladly and without regret.  The faith runs deep, is transformational, and works in an equivalent manner.  No, our faith is not works based.  Yes, our works are faith based, and faith is the price of our salvation and reception of this imputed righteousness.

So lets evaluate Faith, and I will keep it very simple here.  Faith as I stated above with belief is placing Christ above everything, including yourself.  The truth is, this manner of living is not unlike living in servitude.  You seek to please your master, with love, through service in accordance to His Will.  You also, were bought and paid for, with his blood which he in turn paid lovingly for you.  Now to a non-believer this cost seems amazingly high.  Both the fact that Christ had to die, and the idea that servitude is the path to freedom.  The truth of the matter is, you are already in slavery before becoming a servant.  If you weren’t, no cost would have been paid for you.  We were all slaves to sin.  That sin drove us to place ourselves above that which deserves Glory (God) and heaps it upon ourselves.  I liken this to slavery, because in this scenario, we are not truly accounted for.  We are another slave, fighting for our own portion, which is maggoty bread compared to what rests on the masters table.  Yet as a servant, we are at the table with our master.  In servitude one is looked after, their best interests met in order for them to greater serve.  It’s a bond of love, and fellowship, sealed in service.  It is symbiotic in a sense, and provides what Sin so readily destroys, harmony or shalom/peace.  (do not read that God NEEDS us so much as he WANTS us)

So what is the weight of Grace?  That isn’t so easily defined, but one could surmise, the weight of Grace is:

The most heinous act in history; which merits the most glorious freedom for the believer.  That price was paid at Calvary, and the price for the believer is: Love, faith, and service for the one who died, and glory for the One who sent Him. 

As John Piper said in a sermon once, (an excellent sermon if you have an hour to listen) and it rings true here.

“We get the savior, He get’s the glory.  We get the great Joy, He get’s the honor.  Is that ok?  Good knight that’s ok!  It can’t be any other way if there is a God and a sinner like me.”

 


 

Parting thought on being a servant…

Lets take a moment to address something else for those who find the idea of being a servant repulsive or indignant. 

In our western culture the idea of “servitude” seems like something that devalues an individual.  We as believers are called into adoption, as heirs, to the throne.  We are not equal, but, part of the family.  How often do you cringe at the thought or service to your parents?  Siblings?  Cousins?  Children?  These are intimate relationships and fellowship, just as the relationship that is formed with the believer and Christ. 

You are cared for, provided for, and loved; but your worth does not exceed the worth of your master.  That does not diminish a thing.  I fully believe that every human is built with a desire to serve, it’s intrinsic to our nature and our happiness.  I do not think this is a coincidence. 

So with that; who or what are you serving?