Monday, May 30, 2005

Publication Rush, bring 'em on !?

My week at work has been focused on getting a paper ready for publication. Inasmuch as this was a major part of my week, there is still interesting stuff that happened to it, so here it is!

God is not letting me get away with pale excuses, and he's working on me and my character with no break. Good news it is!

On tuesday, things got back to normal. I went to my class at Polytechnique and then worked... the usual. I signed my lease too, so that is done! The place is great, and the landlady is as well... the first owner I know who's actually nice. I heard rumors that such things existed, and the good news is that the rumors are true!
On wednesday, we had a Bible talk with no guests, which is quite OK for me, because I did not feel ready. I was the one preparing the talk, and I was just not inspired... that happens sometimes. In the evening, we had a meeting of the whole church and our evangelist told us about his trip to Paris. It was of great inspiration. A part of me kept on saying "its thanks to you that this is happening, you're the connecting link", another said "see what you should've done when you were there". I know that both of them were Satan tempting me with pride and self-pity. I'm just happy to know that my brothers and sisters in Paris are now picking up momentum and, God willing, discipling and repentance will be back in the picture there. I keep on praying for them, I love these guys very much.
On Thursday, I had a discipling time with a younger disciple who started reading Purpose-Driven Life. So we discussed of where we were, our learning so far, etc. The reading of this book has been a MAJOR challenge for me as soon as I started the "serving" part. In the evening, we had a group D-Time that has been intense. One of the brothers has a LOT on his heart, and I'm glad to be there to listen to him.
I also did a quick survey "what kind of Jedi are you" on LiveJournal, and the conclusion: Yoda. Somehow, the showoff options were not my type ;)
Friday, I worked late. We were supposed to make a final review to our paper, in order to submit it on monday... that is, until we found out that the place we submitted to would not formally publish it :'(
So, we had to fall on our feet and find somewhere else to publish this paper. We found something good, with a deadline next Friday (the 3rd), so we can make our paper much better. I went home late, mentally exausted, and with a deep need to just talk with someone.
On saturday, I was on the phone with a very close brother, before joining other bros to play soccer. I managed to "waste" my afternoon by doing a lot of the very silly things of life, especially going through my papers and the like. I also realized that I forgot to take in consideration the cost of my studies in my budget... that's a major oops! I had a date set that day, but somehow was sure that it was happening on sunday instead, so I scrambled to make arrangements. A little miscommunication problem... But I nevertheless had a good evening, as I spent it with a couple of the church and someone who has been studying the Bible.
One brother sent an email about the progress of the Bible studies on Campus, and reminded us the importance of making friends with the guys studying the Bible. He said that we should use the "charisma guys" more... and I'm apparently one of them! I was surprised by that, to see my name popping up like that. Definitely, God does not want me to let my talents to waste.
I spoke with the Bible student a little bit when we were in the car, and many things fell in place about my way to handle Truth: I have a preliminary feeling/opinion, I ask people about it, I research it (I hope) fully, and then get myself a final opinion. This tends to happen only on things that nag me, that I have questions over. I feel that this is the kind of process the Bereeans had: listen to the teaching, validate on Scripture. I feel that I am at risk of just wanting to validate my opinion though... I need to pray to have an heart of seeking Truth when I engage in this!
On sunday, we studied Acts 6-9 at church, and I was amazed again at the first deacons. Deacons are servants, not leaders, but these guys would've beaten up most of modern day church leaders on zeal! We went to a Chinese restaurant afterwards, and then rented Star Wars episode 4 to watch with a guest and a brother who never saw that (what??? engineers who never saw the old star wars!). I went back home and tried to advance a Bible study and the rest of my ministry stuff, but with little success, as my body was complaining about the lack of sleep. I yielded in and, for a change, went to bed at a decent hour.
I woke up on monday with the worst case of bed glue in a long while... Bed glue is when you are so tired when your alarm rings that you are unable to pull out of bed ;) My day has been slow, as I felt tired all along, but we managed to make some progress on our paper. My guilt about productivity and amount of work is lowering, somehow, when I see the environment in which I work on. I don't have to exhibit a hyper-ultra-I'm-a-machine kind of productivity, which is the only kind of acceptable productivity in my mind. Lots of growth needed here.
I've started my paper for my Ethics class, but I feel I'm just a parrot for the Electronic Frontier Foundation right now. I need to get myself good sources from the entertainment industries to have a more balanced paper. I am quite certain that the 15 pages will be done easily.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Rediscovering Monopoly

I've played Monopoly with my folks today... something that did not happen in YEARS!

Also, more about my week.

So the first good news, is that we have a place to live! We found a nice place, currently under renovation, that was fitting everyone's wishes. The rent is signed and we're moving in on July 1st at the latest.
The work has been advancing good. Our supervisor wants to see a second supportive paper added to the one we have been working on... I commited to do my best to propose a draft by Wednesday. Its a challenge, but something very stimulating.
I spent my weekend in Québec City with my folks. I met an old friend from my CEGEP days and we had a tea together, before joining in the church for a Star Wars night: we watched Episode 1 and Episode 2 together. My friend had quite a few questions about the church... we'll see what happens.
On sunday, we had the special service about the men who dream. A brother from Montreal rapped for us, we had some musical composition and the like. I especially loved the brother to brother time I had beforehand and afterwards, as I got to know more my brothers of that missionary team. While taking the bus back, I got to share my faith. I met a teen who told me she was in the evangelical church, who has been disowned by her family. She was of jewish origin, and her family did not appreciate her conversion to christianity... It is the first time I met someone who lived a persecution literally like Jesus prophecized.
In the evening, we were in family with uncles and aunts for my father's birthday celebration. The conversation with most uncles is not really satisfying, but still, I was glad to be there.
On monday, we played monopoly, then I got my ride back to Montreal. It was 2 and a half ours of pure faith-sharing... One was a devout catholic who's working in a position like a chaplain, one was very much into oriental-like spirituality, and it was a challenge to be both adamant and respectful. Apparently, I managed to do both. I definitely would like to meet them again and deepen what was started.
The catholic vision about baptizing babies, based on the parent's faith that is later confirmed, brings little Scripture to my mind. One thing is certain, however, is that I need to deepen my knowledge of Scripture and of this practice. It is clear that I'll be writing a letter to the Québec City bishop to ask to be removed from their books, but that won't be a short letter, and it will be heavily doctrinal. I definitely will be publishing a copy for you guys.
There are major pride issues associated with this, but doing this research is too important. I need to be able to better respond to this doctrine that is very prevalent here as a normal part of my ministry.
There is a shadow in the picture: my Flesh has been very aggressive on me this weeked. I've very badly overeat at every opportunity, litterally loosing control of my eating. This starts a "domino effect" and sparks a few other sins. I am not going to go at length about this, but I see how weak I am and how much I need to put myself entirely in God's hands, for each and every aspect of my life, with no claim to control anything... a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Having a lot of self-control on most stuff and bingeing destructively is not good for me.
I felt I should mention that in my blog, because I want my brothers and sisters to have an idea of what is going on in my life in a non-rosy way. I do have various struggles and time management issues, and in all cases, I'm trusting God that things will work out.
On other (and better) news, I had the chance of attending a bible study on tuesday, and gave my first teaching to the Campus ministry about worship. The feedback was great, and kind of floored. I wasn't expecting that much good feedback. I was told stuff about how well balanced it was, and this and that...
There is no way I wrote this with those criterion in mind. God, I feel, has blessed me a LOT more on oral expression and teaching that I tought was the case. I was feeling down, in a sense, because this means a lot more of dying to myself for those gifts to be truly used by God.
My class at Polytechnique is OK, but the reading is painful at times. Philosophy is just not my thing. My brain can handle a lot, but that thing is apparently too much for it. We are having a team work to do on water privatization in Moncton. I've also submitted to write my personal paper on Digital Rights Management technologies. The topic excites me (especially that I've watched a few Cory Doctorow speeches recently... he's an evangelist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation). I've also found a web site that lists shops selling Fair Trade tea in my city, so I'm definitely gonna go for it! I'm still amazed that most people I talk to never heard of fair trade products and the reasons why they are there. Just talking about child exploitation is enough to score the point :D
So, if you are not buying fair trade goods, especially coffee and tea, and that your budget allows it, I'd avise you to get informed. All in all, however, the administrative issues about getting officially registered to that class have been frustrating and time-wasting. I realize that I did not even pray about it... silly me! One way or another, if things don't unblock, I'll have no choice but to put this matter to a higher authority, and to the Ombudsman if need be! But first, I'm putting this in God's hands. Better late than never.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fixed the link

The link to À l'assaut de Lausanne wasn't working... I did a very simple mistake with a symlink and we ended up with a problem.

Now, things are back in order, with a more trustworthy redirect.

Now... click, click click! Go there and see my travel diaries!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Under barrage fire

In the first world war, the military perfected the barrage fire... bombarding an area like there's no tomorrow, resulting in a no-man's-land.
I felt that way this week... starting a new job and a course, while things were left standing on other issues.

So I've put aside consulting and started research. The first bad news is that I won't be paid for 6-8 weeks, thanks to the wonderful administration and the overall useless complication that is required for a research assitantship.
Combined with the fact that payment from clients has not been timely these days, and I've got myself a sudden scare about finances... it takes very little to make me panic!
I've worked hard all week on our research, since we have an objective to publish by the end of the month. This is a crazy objective! I've been staying late at work every day, except for the mid-week.
I'm still squeezing in the time to start this course on Ethics applied to Engineering, for which I'll have to write a personal paper, as well as a team paper. The topic of the former is mine to choose, the latter will be about water privatization. I'm still trying to make the Concordia bureaucracy to move and approve the equivalency, but its inertia is hard to match!
Keeping up with my tradition, I lead a bible talk on campus, but with 4 guests... I never saw so many! I feel I'm beyond my ability to do anything, burdened by too many things to do, but God is telling me that I'm entrusted to share his Word with so many.
I'm still coughing, still sneezing... I feel like the antibiotics should've done their work by now... I'm holding to faith that it'll work.
In general, I feel out of my strength... I ran on monday for a minute before feeling lightheaded. I feel like not caring, like surviving. The fact is, when challenged with stress, I tend to pick the World, instead of picking God. I've decided to come in later at work so that I can give myself a good time with God in the morning.
I feel like studying in more depth about salvation, especially about the salvation of the ignorant. There was some preaching about it a few weeks ago, but I want to dig in Scripture to have clearer and deeper conviction.
I personally feel that God is putting me through a challenge of trust... will I trust Him to put aside the great line of work and give all my time for ministry? Will I trust Him that I'll have the money I need to survive? Will I make the micro-choices, every minute of my life, that makes a difference, that makes my life godly? Will I finally start to get the point about pointless worry?
I'm under the refiner's fire. I know I'll be glad.
When running a marathon, it is easy to feel like there is no point in running. All I know is that there's a point in keeping to run forward, so I keep on running. It'll make sense in the end.
The church was welcoming the McKean's on Friday and Saturday. I was only at Saturday's teaching. In short, I feel nothing reprehensible in anything that Kip taught the men. What deeply touched me is when he talked about David who hid in a cave... with every man joining in one after another. Out of these men came out the "Mighty Men". My personnal summary: out of those who felt left behind, who felt like loosers, were transformed by God into the strongests warriors of their time.
When coming in, that saturday, I came in seeking little teaching and a lot of talking with one of my discipling partners. I felt crushed by a tension with a sister, the financial worries, and the work. I left alleviated and happier. I spent the whole afternoon with a brother, and then joined my uncle and his daughter in the evening. I showed him pictures of Switzerland.
My biggest worries were solved by the end of the day: I negociated something to ensure some cashflow that was both satisfacory and biblical, and I was reconciled with this sister.
God is making it clearer and clearer how badly I need to let go and leave things in His hands. I'm not getting it, and not putting it in practice. I'm definitely praying for that to happen.
This sunday, we had service with very good preaching on giving and on evangelization, and then I got home to talk on the phone with two sisters. One of them is in France, kind of lonely, and I was very happy to talk to her, listen to her, and so on. I love her very much! She's really the sister the closest to me, and spending time with her on the phone is always good. We had a lot of issues recently meeting up on the phone, which caused a lot of tension, and we worked through it and things are all back to their loving state.
As I am writing this blog, I'm watching a teather play/movie, Les Guerriers, with Dan Bigras and Patrick Huard. Two ad executives lock themselves in for 10 days to find a great creative idea for an advertising for the army. The social commentary is... WOW!
It felt good giving myself time!

Monday, May 9, 2005

A Blah Week

Blah in how I've been feeling, more than anything else. I had the cold and felt somewhat weak all week, but it really got to its peak on Saturday. I got to see the doctor and she prescribed me antibiotics.

Otherwise, I have great news!

Our rent is signed, and I will thus be living with 2 brothers in a 6 œ. I also got an email confirming that I was accepted for the Master programme at Concordia. I also spent the weekend with my parents near Québec City, and we had a great lobster supper for the celebration of Mother's day and my dad's upcoming birthday. I gave my mom a book about flowers and my dad received a special treasure map. he had to find his gift, hidden in the house! His gift was a Family Bible, which aims to present the most of the Bible in a short and illustrated format. Lets call that an icebreaker!
The other great news is that my parents did come to church this Sunday! I was very happy for that to happen, you can bet. They did not look too excited about it afterwards, but I'll keep on praying for them. The kids gave flowers to all the moms, so my mother got herself a nice pot too!
I've had worries about one summer class that is required for the completion of my B.Eng., which I could follow at another school, but the class was full. I've wasted a lot of time trying to find an alternative, and this has been a test of "letting go" and trusting God in the end.
I've also started to work on my research project, even though I'm supposed to be starting this Monday only. All in all, I did not do as much work for my client as I was expecting, but things will work out in the end. I cannot afford to be doing the two jobs at the same time, but there is a way to meet my client's expectations this week, while I start working on the intense schedule in the lab.
What did I say already about me not knowing how to relax?

Sunday, May 1, 2005

High-stress, high-escapism week

This was a big week profesionally, with a new version of the product going on the market.
People who know me know that I don't deal with stress all that well.

So the first thing I'd say is that I haven't been faithful to jogging at all this week, doing so only twice.
I also made the worst decision-making by installing a certain game on my computer that has high addictive potential. I've finally uninstalled it and removed the saved games with a secure file shredder, just to make sure I wouldn't try to recover those files.
In short, a lot of time that could've been invested for the Lord was diverted in watching TV, a documentary, playing computer games, etc.
I've downloaded interview from "Uncovered" from Torrentocracy, which talks about the war in Iraq. I've seen only a part of it and, so far, not much I didn't know came up, except for very precise details about the inspections. The WMD thing was a major fabrication, everybody with a bit of critical sense knew it. The most interesting is that, last week, the administration gave up on the search of WMD in Iraq. Also this week was the leak of Britain's official legal position that the war was illegal, an you got yourself a good chance of not seeing Blair re-elected.
With all that happening the same week, I can't help but to have a firm opinion!
Still, as far as the documentary says, the US public still believes what the administration told them about the WMD and the terrorists in Iraq... We see Satan powerfully at work in the realms of mass deception, and I cannot help but to remember Ephesians 6. This kind of thing always wakes up an activist side in me, and I have to be careful not to let it grow too much, as bringing the Gospel must remain my #1 activist activity! :D
Something I forgot to tell you guys about is that I downloaded and viewed "Meet John Doe" , from the Internet Archive. I loved the social commentary: a homeless man is to impersonate a John Doe, who's an invention from a journalist loosing her job. He starts criticizing society and exhorting people to live by the principles of Christianity, all of it schemed by power-hungry men... the rest is up to you to see.
Enough worldly talk!
I've been able, despite the bits of time wasted in escapistic entertainment, to make a lot of progress for my work, and the new version is online as of Saturday. I did not have a deep sense of pride as when version 1.0 was out, probably because I felt there was too much last-minute "little fixes".
I lead a Bible talk on thursday about traditions, and the person was very interested. Lets hope that he'll make a decision to study the Bible. The mid-week meeting was focused on sharing about the conference, and fellowshipping for the departure of a sister.
On Thursday, we had a D-time together, and the Campus leader asked me to prepare and lead next week's meeting, as well as discipling someone... I felt an alert flag raising, as I generally don't feel mature enough for that kind of responsibility.
I've asked advice, and it looks like I'm being over-worrying about it. So I'll pull out my standard answer: we'll see :D
We visited a few places this Saturday, with my two future roomates, and found 2 very exciting spots. One was above our target budget, but was so nice that we applied for it. We also took a break at the "Honey Martin" Irish pub, and I tasted my first Black Velvet: 60% cider, 40% Guiness (or you can inverse the ratios...)
In the evening, I decreed that I would FINALLY take that "apointment with myself" and I listened to the Messiah in integrity. More than 2 hours of pure baroque music, on a good stereo, loud enough to enjoy it. It was soooooo good! Sometimes, I was thinking of Jesus in all that, praising him. The parts that I remember most are "Surely", "Halleluiah" and "The people that walked in the darkness".
We had a good fellowshipping time on Sunday for a brother and a sister's birthday. I spent a lot of time with Chinese guests.
I was out of energy when I got back home and really fell to my bed... that siesta was a MUST!
I gave a quick read at the first 5 chapters of 1 Macabees, the apocryphic book. So far, it just sounds like the book of Judges, with more detail and focus. I don't see why, so far, this has been used in weird theology in the past... maybe something near the end. What is very stricking, so far, is that God is out of the picture. You have zealous Jews purging the country and restoring the worship, but God's opinion or help does not resound... no prophet, no "the Spirit was with him" or anything, just that Heaven will help them beat up the baddies...
So, in short, I was able to repent (i.e. uninstall) those games that took time away from what mattered.
Things moved forward at work, and I am keeping in touch with folks from the conference. I still need to repent about the jogging and the personal studies I'm doing.