In January I picked up a Mossberg 500 and finally got a chance to shoot it this weekend. Dave & Melody (and their puppy) came along and showed us a great shooting spot not too far out of town. This was Kris’s first time firing a gun and she did very well, even hitting the targets! We also got to try some of Dave’s guns, including a Taurus .40.
Anyway, the Mossberg 500 performed well, it’s a great multi-purpose shotgun and can be used for home defense or hunting anything from small fowl to moose. A few observations / thoughts:
The two most popular pump-action shotguns are the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. They are both great guns, I went for the Mossberg because of the ambidextrous tang safety (I’m left handed).
12-gauge is very versatile and you can get shells for just about any purpose from bird-shot for waterfowl to refiled slugs for Moose hunting.
I wanted a pump-action because they’re extremely reliable (and also a lot cheaper) compared to semi-automatics. The action can be worked very quickly.
It’s designed to work under harsh conditions; built with loose tolerances like an AK-47, it will fire in just about any condition even if it gets dirty and wet.
Magazine holds 5 shells and can drop a sixth round directly into the chamber. Mossberg also sells tactical models with a shorter barrel and extended magazine that holds 7 or 8 shells but that more than doubles the price in the current market.
The kick isn’t bad with #7 target shells, but both Kris and I had sore shoulders after going through 40 rounds. If I was only going to target-shoot all day I’d probably go for a 20 gauge, but I think 12 gauge is the best for an all-purpose gun.
Last Sunday our Scripture Reading was Psalm 23, it is a solemn reminder that we constantly live with death. There isn’t a second of relief from the possibility of loved ones or ourselves dying at any moment. But it also is a comforting passage, as Christians we are comforted by Jesus Christ. Because of Christ’s death on the cross we will receive goodness and mercy, and our ultimate fate after death is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
As I meditated on Psalm 23 last Sunday it reminded me of our recent experience of losing a son last December 23rd. …which I’ve been meaning to share on my blog. One of my sisters, Noelle, started a Christmas tradition where on each day of Advent we email each other what we did that day and how it relates to Christmas, so I sent this letter to my family: On Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM, Benjamin Bryan wrote:
The 23rd Day of Advent was sad for us, Kris had a miscarriage and we had to go into the emergency room and spend most of the day at the hospital. I called Dave (a friend from church) to come watch Eli–I broke down crying…somehow he gathered I was at the hospital and came to pickup Eli. The doctor and at least one of the nurses were Christians, I really couldn’t have picked better people to get us through this, and being in a small town we pretty much had them to ourselves. A few hours later Kris and I held our son. He would fit in the palm of my hand and I could see his fully formed hands, feet, ears, eyes, nose…. while we were crying I asked Kris what we would call him, she didn’t know so I said, “how about Paul?” So I named him Paul Bryan. I told Kris I was going to let God give him his middle name. God has probably given him a much cooler name than Paul by now anyway. I was amazed at the support our local church gave us, Jess (one of the pastors) came by to visit us immediately following the church service and Jim (another pastor) got me in contact with a grave place and told me the church would pay for the cemetery plot and service. And since Kris is supposed to rest for awhile Andrea the farmer lady arranged for people to bring us gluten free food. So at least we won’t starve while Kris tries to rest. …our church also offered us much more help that we declined, they’re doing far more than we need already!
I know people try to find reasons for things like this, and I don’t know if it’s possible to know what that is. The reality is we live in a fallen world and so death happens. I have some comfort that God’s divine providence works out for our good, but that doesn’t mean things are supposed to be this way. Our world should be perfect the way God created it, but it isn’t. That’s why God sent His Son, the reason we celebrate Christmas, to die for our sins so that we might be saved. Because of Christmas we’ll one day live in the presence of God in a world where there will be no death, no sadness, and no sin.
After Eli went to bed (and he barely noticed we were gone all day, he didn’t want to leave his friends when we went to pick him up) Kris and I watched the Making of Charlie Brown Christmas (thanks Mom!), which happened to be on YouTube. Then we went to bed, it took a long time for me to fall asleep, but I finally did.
Current U.S. Debt: $16,800,000,000,000 (as of 4/7/2013) 
Earlier this week I calculated out how much national debt we have per employed person (155,500,000 employed people as of Feb 2013 ) in the U.S.: $108,039. Add in the all the state and local government debt  and it’s $115,756 per working person.
I have a plan to fix it. Assuming we balance the budget now, and I’ll assume only the highest earning 50% of working people can afford to help pay off the debt because a lot of people are only part time or minimum wage so that leaves $311,152 of debt per “rich” working person … I have a plan to pay off the U.S. debt in two generations. If the Feds keep interest rates on bonds around 2% and the top 50% of wealthy working persons pay an extra $10,000 (it’s like having an extra mortgage) in taxes per year we can pay off all the debt in 50 years. (so by the time my kids are retired they would live in a debt free United States). We could even pay it off faster if we made government smaller and more efficient.
I also think in exchange for paying off the national debt those people should get some perks after they’ve paid off a certain amount, like tax free distributions from their retirement accounts and property tax exemptions.
If we are to become serious about paying off the U.S. Debt we need to stop spending money on anything unnecessary. Even local city and state taxes need to stay low while people have that extra burden. Fixing potholes and building roads where they’re needed and making sure our infrastructure is safe is still important, but spending money to narrow the roads and put in new sidewalks and make parks look prettier isn’t really needed until the U.S. is out of debt.
Think what you do when you run in debt: you give to another power over your liberty. — Benjamin Franklin
The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (Proverbs 22:7, ESV)
Our U.S. debt is a moral issue. If we don’t make a plan to fix it, consider that we are enjoying entitlements and benefits for ourselves while we sell our children and grandchildren into slavery.
Christian family seeking asylum; Obama wants to deport
Here’s a German family, the Romeikes, that believe in homeschooling their children but in Germany that means jail-time and their children will probably be taken away. So, they came to the United States, the land of Freedom, seeking asylum.
If you believe raising your own children is a right, then sign the petition. It doesn’t guaranty a favorable response, but 100,000 signatures does mean the Obama Administration will respond. Currently it was 84,144 (as of April 8, 2013) and needs another 15,856 by April 18th.
Andro12C – This is the best HP 12c emulator for Android that I’ve come across. The HP 12c is now 30 years old, and also happens to be my favorite financial calculator. I use it to calculate interest on loans, mortgages, investments, depreciation schedules, etc.
QuickRegister – Record cash transactions then export QIF file into Quicken.
Reading This has been a good year for Bible apps, YouVersion’s Bible app continues to improve and offer more free translations. Also we also saw the introduction of Logos Bible Software, which links your commentaries and books with scripture references. Logos Bible Software – The best Bible Study app. It can do word studies, translation comparisons, but where it really shines is if you own one of the Logos Base Packages it will synchronize with your library so you have access to any commentary, hymnal, book that you own are licensed to access, and can run a Passage Guide which will pull up every commentary entry related to that passage. Logos did a good job.
Bible (YouVersion) – Best free Bible reading app. It can read to you, most popular Bible translations are free (including NIV, ESV, NLT, NKJV, AMP, NASB, CEV, NET, WEB, NCV, TNIV, HCSB, as well as translations in foreign languages). For publishers that allow it the Bibles can be downloaded for offline use. I’m not interested in the social stuff so I haven’t tried it but it also does social interaction during a service (I guess you can comment and ask questions to other people with the app at the same event) with YouVersion Live, and also has hooks into Facebook, and Twitter.
Kindle (Amazon) – Can’t go wrong with Amazon’s Kindle App. Free classics (G.K. Chesterton, Lewis Carroll, etc.)
Weather Most weather apps could still use some improvements, typically what people want to know is what it’s going to do and when… and most require too many taps to get there. One weather app did it right… but what I’d still like to see is what will today be compared to yesterday so I’d know to prepare for a warmer or colder day.
Calendar Business Calendar – ($4.99, I got it for free from the Amazon App Store) – Much better than the stock calendar, especially since the month view can show text entries instead of colored blocks.
HandyCalc – The most powerful calculator. Graphic calculater, currency converter, unit of measure conversions, fraction calculations, formula solving.
Communication Google Voice – Transcribes your voicemail, intercepts dialer to make outgoing calls as your Google Voice number, free text messaging.
Tasker ($6.49) – What is there that this app can’t do? I use it mostly for location based actions. Walk into church and my phone goes to silent mode, if I have a meeting scheduled at work phone goes to vibrate during that meeting.
CSipSimple – The best SIP client for the Android. It’s sort of like Skype in that you can make phone calls over the internet but unlike Skype, you’re not locked into any particular provider (like email). It’s pretty useless since I’m the only one who has it.
GrooVe IP – Make VoIP to POTS through Google Voice/Chat for free.
Barrack Obama just won the election. You and I know some of the reactions we’ll hear from Christians—and they won’t all be Christian (I know this from the Clinton years). So let me take this as an opportunity to remind you (and myself) that all authority comes from God. This is clearly explained by Paul in Romans 13:1-7 (ESV):
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
We are to submit to governing authorities. Paul says here that all authority is established by God (Even leaders like Pharaoh were brought into that position for God’s purpose—Romans 9:17). John MacArthur says that God has instituted 4 authorities on earth1
government over citizens
church over believers
parents over children
masters over employees
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Disobedience to the government is disobedience to an institution established by God, which will result in punishment by the government. The government has the right to inflict judgment on those who do evil.
5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
Not only should we be submissive because of God’s authority to avoid punishment, we should do it because it’s the right thing to do.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Taxes should be paid, even to evil governments. We should pay, respect, and honor those in authority over us. Paul also says in 1 Timothy that we should pray for our rulers:
1. First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
So what should your action be when Obama becomes president?