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Author Archives: Kenn Anderson, Jr.

About Kenn Anderson, Jr.

Kenn Anderson, Jr. grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, graduated from Lackawanna Trail High School and Keystone Junior College, served in the United States Navy, and is a man of many diverse interests. Professionally, he is involved in many aspects of information technology including web design, managed services, system administration, and project management as the Director of Managed Services for Ethixa Solutions. Personally, he is devoted to his wife, Marcia, and three children – Marilyn, Samuel, and Melanie and they live in Marcia’s childhood home in Scranton, PA. Spiritually, Kenn trusts in Christ alone for salvation and is involved with Hope Church, PCA in Moosic, PA as an elder. Recreationally, Kenn enjoys reading, movies, gadgets, and many other things. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

There Be Dragons…

Voyage of the Dawn TreaderMany of you are probably aware that a movie version of Voyage of the Dawn Treader from The Chronicles of Narnia has been released. I have not been able to see the movie yet but the release prompted me to reread the book, something I hadn’t done since I was a boy. Being as young as I was, I mistook the book for a simple adventure story when it is so much more than that. I have come to find that it is my favorite of the Narnia books and is filled with insights into Christian living.

As for the story, the main character of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a young boy who wasn’t in the previous books and he is introduced like this:

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

That should give you an idea of the type of boy he was if he deserved a name like that. Lots of things happen throughout the story and he, of course, gets pulled into Narnia along with Edmund and Lucy where they sail on the Dawn Treader with Prince Caspian. At one point in the story, while visiting an island, a miserable, self-pitying Eustace wanders off from the rest of the group and comes to a cave where this happens:

At the bottom of the cliff a little on his left hand was a low, dark hole – the entrance to a cave perhaps. And out of this two thin wisps of smoke were coming. And the loose stones just beneath the dark hollow were moving just as if something were crawling in the dark behind them.

Something was crawling. Worse still, something was coming out. Edmund or Lucy or you would have recognized it at once, but Eustace had read none the right books. The thing that came out of the cave was something he had never even imagined – a long, lead-colored snout, dull red eyes, no feathers or fur, a long lithe body that trailed the ground, legs whose elbows went up higher than its back like a spider’s, cruel claws, bat’s wings that made a rasping noise on the stones, yards of tail. And the lines of smoke were coming from its two nostrils. He never said the word DRAGON to himself. Nor would it have made things any better if he had.

Later it goes on to say this:

Most of us would know what we should expect to find in a dragon’s lair, but, as I said before, Eustace had read only the wrong books. They had a lot to say about exports and imports and governments and drains, but they were weak on dragons.

This started me thinking and questioning… what I am reading, studying, spending my time with? I tend to spend a lot of time reading – learning all kinds of things for work and doing some reading for fun also. While I do spend time in study of the scriptures and related books, I need to make sure not to lose sight of what is truly, eternally important. The things that we read, listen to and watch are important and there are dragons out there that we face.

I ask you to ask yourself – What are you reading, learning, watching? Are you weak on dragons?

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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Christianity

 

A Christmas Calamity

fallingsignBeing a person who enjoys looking at Christmas decorations but disdains the act of decorating itself, my contribution each year is to retrieve our boxes of decorations from the attic as well as the Christmas tree. This year, as I staggered down the stairs with one of boxes, I was reminded of a previous year when the attic expedition didn’t go quite smoothly. Before I tell the tale, I should set the scene. The boxes that we keep our decorations in are quite large and if I hold them at my waist I can barely see over the top. In addition, we have some very steep steps. If you ever need to climb our stairs, you might want to bring some climbing equipment. At any rate, I was backing down the stairs with a giant box of decorations in front of me when the heel of my foot got caught on the cuff of my pants and I tumbled backwards down the stairs. As I was falling, my first thought was not about getting hurt… the only thing I thought of was the decorations. As I fell backwards, time seemed to slow down and I somehow managed to get my feet up in the air and catch the box with them. My head hit the floor and I crumpled to a heap at the base of the stairs with my feet above my head, box on top of them but the box was none the worse for wear. Unfortunately, as I tried to stand up and pulled my feet in, the box came the rest of the way down the stairs and a corner of it hit me in the eye. All in all, it was a rough start to decorating but at least we have a funny story to tell now.

It did make me wonder about that box. Why did I care so much about that box? The fact is that I didn’t really care about the box at all. I didn’t care about the box or the decorations inside. Marcia did. Marcia loves those decorations and loves decorating. Since I love Marcia, that means that those decorations are important to me too. This brings me to the main point… allowing injury to myself demonstrated my love for my wife. I need to be able to go even further in demonstrating my love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Neither fear, injury, embarrassment, nor expense should prevent me from sharing my love for Christ with His children. Christmas, in particular, is a time when we celebrate giving, and having received the greatest gift of all, it should be an easy thing to be generous to others not necessarily with money and “things” but with our time, hearts, and spirit.

1 John 5
1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Christianity, Personal

 

Camp Catastrophe

cover12Recently, I came across a letter that Sam wrote to us during a week he spent at camp. We really missed him while he was gone, but thankfully he was able to take a little time to write us a letter that eased all of our fears about him being away. His letter is below:

Dear Mom and Dad,
    Our camp counselor told us to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and were worried. We are OK. Only one of our tents and two sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up the mountain looking for Josh when it happened. Oh yes, please call Josh’s mother and tell her he is OK. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search and rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it wasn’t for the lightning. Our Counselor Clark got mad at Josh for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Josh said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him.
    Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blowup? The wet wood didn’t burn, but one of the tents did. Also some of our clothes. Michael is going to look weird until his hair grows back.
     We will be home on Saturday if Counselor Clark gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Counselor Clark said that with a car that old, you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance. We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the fenders. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the state policeman stopped and talked to us. Counselor Clark is a neat guy. Don’t worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Michael how to drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up here is logging trucks.
     This morning, all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Counselor Clark wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim, and Josh was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Counselor Clark isn’t crabby like some Counselors. He didn’t even get mad about the lifejackets. He has to spend a lot of the time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble.
Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Wade and I threw up, but Counselor Clark said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken. He said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he got out and became our Counselor. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time. By the way, what is a pyromaniac? I have to go now. We are going to town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.

Love, Sam

PS: How long has it been since I had a tetanus shot?

Obviously, Sam didn’t really write that letter and when he was at summer camp, they took excellent care of him while he was there. This is just a funny letter I found on the internet and modified a bit – and while it gave me quite a chuckle it also made me think about worrying. There are so many things in this world that we can worry about – things that will happen, things that could happen, things that might happen, things that we want to happen but might not, things that should have happened but didn’t. There is certainly more than enough worry to go around and we can become a slave to it. If we sent our son to camp and then worried that all of those things written in the letter might happen, it would have crippled us. The point is… we need not worry – let me rephrase that – we need to not worry because we aren’t in charge anyway. We need to be prudent and alert, but worrying causes us to forget that God is in control.  As the saying goes, “Don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff (for God).

Philippians 4 (The Message)
6Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. 7Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

1 Peter 5 (ESV)
6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2010 in Christianity

 

Jesus and the NFL

EagleHelmetI have been keeping a secret… a secret that I am sure you will all find surprising.  I am a football fan!  Shocking, isn’t it? Is there anyone who knows me surprised to find out that I actually like football?

OK… maybe it isn’t all that surprising. Why didn’t it surprise any of you? It wasn’t a shock because I’ve made it rather obvious. If you have known me for any length of time, I have probably talked about football, or you have seen me in a football jersey, or heard me discussing our fantasy football league. Many people have even watched football at my house or seen me wearing one of my football ties. Not only is it evident that I like football, it is also obvious that my favorite team is the Eagles. In addition, the Eagles happen to be the favorite team of my entire family (not that they were ever given a choice.) If you see them, you’ll see them dressed in the appropriate attire for a football fan on the first Sunday of football season. Yes – I’ll confess, I am an Eagles fan.

Why does any of this matter? It matters, because as I thought about how obvious I have made it that I am an Eagles fan, I wondered how about how obvious it was that I am also Jesus fan. After all, what have the Eagles ever done for me? Sure, they have given me many hours of entertainment and lifted my spirits. But… there have been plenty of occasions where they have let me down too. Jesus, on the other hand has done everything for me. He created me, sustains me, guides me, and died for my sins. All my hope is in Christ. That being the case, it should be even more evident that my life is dedicated to Him than it is that I like a football team. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being an Eagles fan (being a Cowboys fan on the other hand, that’s different – someone should invent a pill to cure that), and the NFL has its share of solid Christian leadership – Reggie White was a powerful evangelist, both coaches of the past Superbowl are professing Christians, etc.  Enjoying football isn’t wrong, but I do find myself searching my heart to make sure it isn’t something that I am putting ahead of God. Do I need football – certainly not. Do I need God – absolutely.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2010 in Christianity

 

Hello Grand Canyon, Meet My Crazy Wife!

61692_435482273493_574873493_5326591_4450694_nRecently, my wife and I had the opportunity to make a trip to Las Vegas for a mini-reunion with some of the folks that I had been in the Navy with. We an enjoyable time looking at the many attractions that Las Vegas had to offer and saw some amazing things. Everything in the city is built to impress. The Paris casino has a replica of the Eiffel tower out front, New York New York has replicas of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and the Statue of Liberty. The Bellagio has an 8-acre lake and a choreographed show with fountains that shoot water up to 460 feet in the air. The Venetian has canals inside the casino with gondolas and gondoliers as well as incredible ceilings designed to look like something that Michelangelo might have created. Each casino tries to outdo the others and everything is designed to call attention to how spectacular it is. I must say that as Marcia and I walked around, we were quite impressed. While there, we also got to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. I initially debated as to whether we should go, because we were only in Vegas for a few days and it is such  long drive out to the Canyon and back that it would consume an entire day. We did, however, decide to make the trip and nothing could have prepared us for what we saw. We saw the best that man had to offer in Las Vegas and then… standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and looking out everything previous seemed insignificant. I had seen hundreds of photos and heard stories and thought that I knew what to expect. I was wrong. The sheer size and beauty of it is staggering. Over 270 miles long, 18 miles wide at spots, and over a mile deep with amazing rock formations and beautiful colors. I couldn’t help but think, “OK, God… you’ve made man to be capable of some amazing things, but you win. This blows everything else away.” Nothing I say can truly describe it properly, even photos and videos don’t come close to conveying the scale properly. The Grand Canyon was the unquestionable highlight of our trip.


DSCF16821While we were at the Grand Canyon enjoying the view, Marcia frightened everyone in the group. For some reason, she insisted on walking out the edge of the cliff face and then she balanced on one foot and leaned out to look down at the canyon floor 4,000 feet below. I wish that I had taken a picture of it but I was too busy yelling at her to step back. The rock at the edge was crumbling and there were high wind gusts but that didn’t matter to her… she just leaned right out over this thing and looked down. She wasn’t concerned in the slightest about what could have happened to her. You might think Marcia is just fearless if it weren’t for the following incident. The next day, while we were walking around on the strip in Vegas, we came to a nice fountain at the Monte Carlo and thought it was a good opportunity for a picture. I, being the goofball that I am, suggested that Marcia climb onto my shoulders for the picture. She took a little convincing, but she did it. During the 30 seconds that she was sitting on my shoulders, she was hanging on for dear life and shaking like leaf in tornado. Picture this – leaning out over a 4,000 foot high precipice, no problem. Sitting on my shoulders 4 feet off the ground, and she’s petrified. When I considered this, I thought… this makes no sense. Of course, I do basically the same thing with God. Marcia wasn’t scared at the Grand Canyon because she was under the illusion that she was in control, whereas she had to rely on me to keep her safe when she was on my shoulders. I am the same way. I make plans and follow through under my own power oblivious to the danger that is all around because I am in control. When I come to my senses and rely on God for help, I get nervous because I have to rely on Him. Let me ask you, where could I possibly be safer than sitting on God’s shoulders?

Isaiah 26 (New Living Translation)
4Trust in the LORD always,for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock. 5He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. 6The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it. 7But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. 8LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in Christianity, Personal

 

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“The Cloud”

Delivered to Hope Church on September 12, 2010

The-CloudIf you know me, you know that I spend much of my daily life submerged in technology and things related to technology. Being that my predilection for technology is fairly common knowledge, I frequently get asked about the latest gadgets, computer software, phones, trends, etc. Yesterday I was asked about “The Cloud”. The Cloud is the latest trend in computing and if you haven’t yet heard about, rest assured that you will. The Cloud is an intentionally nebulous term that references the internet. In its broadest sense, The Cloud is the internet. Cloud Computing is becoming the new way to use computers, phones, tablets, etc. and basically means that your data or your computer programs, or both are not on your physical computer. The live on the internet somewhere, in the cloud. You never see them but always have access to them. There are some tremendous benefits to working this way:

  • Tremendous processing power is on hand instantly, any time you need it.
  • Managing your computer becomes much simpler since nothing needs to be installed or updated.
  • All of your applications and files are available no matter where you are, even if you use a different computer.
  • Your computer can be smaller and cheaper because it no longer needs to do the processing.

After describing this new paradigm that we are transitioning to in the computer world I thought that there are some interesting parallels to the conversion we undergo as Christians. As non-Christians, our lives tend to be complicated because of everything we have to be worried about and in control of. Our lives need constant maintenance, updates, patches, antivirus, etc. When something in our lives breaks, we scramble to find the fix anywhere we can – medication, psychiatrists, self-help books, etc.

A Christian’s life is supposed to be much simpler and closer to the ideal cloud computing environment –

  • We have tremendous power at hand any time we need it. We just need to ask.
  • Our lives aren’t problem free by a longshot, but the solution to our problems should be more evident and accessible.
  • God is always available, no matter where we are.
  • Our lives should be more streamlined as we rely on God for direction and support.

Of course, our God is far more capable and mighty than any cloud computing solution we could even imagine. He knows our hearts and minds, our fears and desires and loves us and desires for us to have a relationship with Him. Truly amazing!

Psalm 139 (New Living Translation)
1O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. 5You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! 7I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— 12but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. 13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2010 in Christianity

 

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Why?

1165446_38770408Many people that know me are most likely aware that I don’t spend much time writing. I don’t write letters to people, don’t have a journal, and any emails I send are usually quite short and concise. I have the ability to write in a competent manner, but I don’t do it often. The idea of me writing a blog may seem a bit surprising and to tell the truth, it is somewhat surprising to me as well. Recently, I have found that I have become more introspective and thoughtful as I have gotten older and have ideas that I’ve considered writing down and tasks have also been assigned to me that require me to write on a more frequent basis.

It is my hope that by writing in this format, even though it may be somewhat infrequent, I can stimulate discussion, improve my writing skills, and perhaps even provide something useful to others on occasion.

I encourage comments, criticisms and conjecture to anything I post provided it is presented in a constructive fashion.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2010 in Personal

 
 
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