Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Don't Worry 8 - Do What's Right (However You Feel)

8. Do what is right however you’re feeling, including your everyday duties.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

Our calling is to work hard at whatever we’re called to do. Not only is this a command of Christ, but if we do it, then we’ll find it takes our mind off our worries.

You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time. (Pat Schroeder)

As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey. (Thomas A. Edison)

Friday, 23 May 2008

The Ants Are Coming

A flood of voracious ants is heading straight for Houston, taking out computers, radios and even vehicles in their path. Even the Johnson Space Center has called in extermination experts to keep the pests out of their sensitive and critical systems.

The ants have been causing all kinds of trouble in five Texas counties in and around the Gulf Coast. Because of their sheer numbers, the ants are short circuiting computers in homes and offices, and knocking systems offline in major businesses. When IT personnel pry the affected computers open, they find the machines loaded with thousands of ant bodies.

"These ants are raising havoc," said Roger Gold, professor of entomology at Texas A&M University in College Station. "They're foraging for food and they'll go into any space looking for it. In the process, they make their way into sensitive equipment."

The ants have been dubbed Crazy Rasberry ants after Tom Rasberry, owner of Budget Pest Control in Pearland, Texas. He first tackled this particular type of ant back in 2002. Since then, the problem has only escalated.

Rasberry said the ants have caused a lot of trouble for one Texas chemical company in particular. Not wanting to name the company, he said the ants shorted out three different computers that were running a pipeline that brought chemicals into the plant. The ants took down two computers last year and one in 2006, affecting flow in the pipeline each time.

"I think they go into everything and they don't follow any kind of structured line," said Rasberry. "If you open a computer, you would find a cluster of ants on the motherboard and all over. You'd get 3,000 or 4,000 ants inside and they create arcs. They'll wipe out any computer."

The Johnson Space Center called in Rasberry a month or two ago in an attempt to keep the ants out of their facilities. Too late. Raspberry said he's found three colonies at the NASA site, but all have been small enough to control.

'With the computer systems they have in there, it could devastate the facility," said Rasberry. "If these ants got into the facility in the numbers they have in other locations, well, it would be awful. I've been in this business for 32 years and this is unlike anything I've ever seen. Anything. When you bring in entomologists from all over the United States and they're in shock and awe, that shows you what it's like."

The Johnson Space Center referred all questions about the ants to Rasberry.

The ants, which are tiny and reddish, aren't native to Texas. Officials believe they came off a ship from the Caribbean, said Paul Nester, a program specialist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. They were first spotted about six years ago. Gold said in the last few years they've spread in a radius of about 50 miles. And now they're moving into Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country.

"Fifty miles might not seem like a lot until you realize they're moving into Houston," said Gold. "It could really affect a lot of people's lives."

A big problem here, noted Nester, is how quickly their numbers are multiplying.

A queen fire ant, long a problem in Texas, can lay as many as 1,000 eggs a day, he said. The Crazy Rasberry ants are thought to be as prolific. However, an ant mound normally has one queen. The new ants have many queens so they're able to multiply their ranks that much more quickly. They also don't go to the trouble of building ant hills. They simply nest under anything they can find -- a log, a tire or a pet's water bowl -- and then they quickly move on as they spread further into the state.

Nester said the ants swarmed into trucks at a shipping company, shorting out the radios and even the vehicles themselves.

Gold said the ants got into an engine compartment at a sewage treatment plant and shorted out the pumps so they couldn't move the sewage out. He added that they've also overrun a subdivision and caused a lot of electrical damage to houses there.

Part of the problem is that exterminators have found it nearly impossible to kill the ants. Oh, you can kill some of them - the first wave, maybe. However, there are so many more ants coming behind them, that the first wave falls dead in the insecticide and the subsequent waves merely walk on the dead bodies, keeping themselves out of the poison and safe from harm.

Gold warned people not to spray pesticide inside their computers and to simply call in the professionals to prevent mixing up poisonous concoctions or storing the potentially harmful partly used insecticides.

Originally posted on the Forum On Risks To The Public In Computers And Related Systems, quoting from IT Business.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Administration: Better than Tongues

Being something of a process-geek myself, and knowing something of the charismatic mind-set, I was amused by this piece from Team Tominthebox:

Church planningST. LOUIS, MO - Riverside Spirit-Filled Assembly is fairly typical as far as charismatic churches go. If you attend one of their services, you will experience lively worship, Bible reading, testimonies, and a happy church family. You will see a choir, praise team, ushers, and several pastors. They even have Children's Church. Things will also be very well-organized.

There is one thing, according to the Apostle Daniel Morris, senior pastor at Riverside, that does make his church unique. Morris told TBNN, "As with most charismatic churches, we heartily believe in the second blessing of the Holy Spirit. However, at our church this does not take the form of speaking in tongues. At Riverside, our second blessing comes in the form of administration."

Fellow Apostle Samuel Baker informed us, "We take I Corinthians 12:28 very seriously. Paul writes, 'And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.' We believe the word of God is inspired and infallible. In our church, the Spirit always manifests Himself in administrative gifts."

When you first walk into the church, the leadership and organization stand out. From the moment you arrive on the scene in the parking lot, someone is there to assist you. You are immediately provided with a map, calculator, and pager. No questions are left unanswered. No detail is too small to be ignored. When we at TBNN attended Riverside for a service, we noticed that all aspects of the performance ran very smoothly. Even the puppet ministry and youth drama teams performed seamlessly.

According to Apostle Gregory Nixon, "When people first join our church, they appear a little confused and don't always know what is going on. However, after a few weeks they are filled with the Spirit and it is amazing to see what happens. They begin giving orders to people they hardly know. They begin scheduling meetings and forming committees. They begin organizing every little thing that they see. No matter what ministry they are a part of, all the details are taken care of. We may not be the most spontaneous church around, but we sure have a chain of command. No detail is too small for us. You should see our bulletins."

Apostle Morris admitted to one problem, "We do have a few people in our church who remain disorganized. We keep praying for them to get saved."