An Ode to My Personal Trainer

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For Steve Hernandez.

One day after the first workout:

I hate you.

You make me do things I don’t want to do.

My muscles ache.  My joints creak.  My steps are slow.

I feel ten years older.

One month after the first workout:

I feel ten years younger.

My muscles are stronger.  My joints flex.  My steps are springy.

You make me do things I don’t want to do.

I love you.

 

2010 in review

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 20 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 691 posts. There were 24 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 12mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 15th with 148 views. The most popular post that day was Kenneth James Sniecinski’s Personal Blurb.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, drernie.com, otpproductions.com, mail.live.com, and inthesunnyspot.net.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for jon andreas, scripture observation application prayer, soap scripture observation application prayer, a long obedience in the same direction – pdf, and purpose driven life chapter 26.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Kenneth James Sniecinski’s Personal Blurb November 2005

2

Growing Church Leaders March 2010
1 comment

3

Proverbs 3:5-6 SOAP (Scripture Observation Application Prayer) for LDT July 2007

4

What You Can Do to Help Those Behind Bars by Jon Andreas July 2007
18 comments

5

Demolishing Strongholds by Philip John October 2007

The Headship of Christ

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Slides from my sermon at Kingsway Community Church in San Jose, delivered on November 7, 2010. Also features very cute pictures of my new baby daughter, Anjali Ruth Prabhakar.
Meditations on the role of the head in relation to the body. Explores how the headship of Jesus impacts the Body of Christ as well as the human psyche.

Introduction: The Road to Holiness

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“Holy, Holy, Holy”: Growing Church Leaders

Introduction: The Road to Holiness

They [the four living creatures] do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,

Lord God Almighty,

Who was and is and is to come!” — Revelations 4:8b

I did not intend to write about holiness.  My goal was to develop a Bible study for training Christian leaders.
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Why Growing Church Leaders?

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It is time for a revolution in how the church nurtures new leaders.

As Jim Downing of the Navigators points out, Jesus trained his disciples by imparting:

  • Knowledge, through teaching
  • Character, by modeling and example
  • Skills, through guided experience

While knowledge can be learned anywhere, character and skills are best developed as part of a community that lives, worships, and serves together – i.e., a church.

That is why we developed Growing Church Leaders is a way for mature leaders to train the next generation of leaders in their churches to think biblically, live wisely, and serve faithfully. We encourage pastors to meet weekly with a small group of “faithful men and women, who will in turn teach others,” to lead them in:

  • Memorizing bible verses
  • Reading from classic Christian books
  • Leading devotions, typically from the Psalms or Proverbs
  • Studying entire chapters of the Bible, verse by verse
  • Exploring how Scripture applies to their lives
  • Responding with repentance, action, and worship

Our prayer is that every growing church will invest in establishing future leaders on a solid foundation of biblical truth, character formation, and spiritual discipline.  For that reason, this material is available as a free download at https://2transform.us/grow under a Creative Commons “share alike” license, as well as in book form. This allows you to adapt it to the needs of your church or denomination, as long as you allow others to do the same.

May God use His Word to build His Body for His Kingdom!

In Christ,

Ernest N. Prabhakar

Kingsway Community Church

San Jose, California, U.S.A.

May, 2010

 

Back Cover Copy for Growing Church Leaders

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Growing Church Leaders is a way for those who are mature to train the next generation of leaders in their churches to think biblically, live wisely, and serve faithfully. This course is designed to help senior leaders guide a small group of faithful men and women in:
* Memorizing Bible verses
* Reading classic Christian books
* Leading devotions, typically from Psalms or Proverbs
* Studying entire chapters of the Bible, verse by verse
* Exploring how Scripture applies to their lives
* Responding with repentance, action, and worship

Our prayer is that every growing church will invest in establishing future leaders on a solid foundation of biblical truth, Christian character, and spiritual discipline—i.e., practical holiness.

What Christian Leaders Are Saying

• “You have produced a Bible study magna cum laude.” —Luis Bush, Transform World.

• “Impressed with the quality of content and presentation … you are to be congratulated on a job well done!” —Barney Coombs, Salt and Light Ministries International

• “I really like the format, and it is well written for easy reading and good learning. I wish you well in this whole venture, which I believe will be of great benefit to the Body of Christ.” —Brian Watts, King’s Online Bible School

• “Ernie remained faithful to the teachings entrusted to him while presenting them in his own unique dialogue format. I enjoyed teaching the material in this book and look forward to our next class.” —John Isaacs, Kingsway Community Church

ERNEST PRABHAKAR is a ninth-generation Christian and second-generation immigrant from India. His ancestors converted from Hinduism in the early 1700s at the dawn of the Protestant missionary movement. His family immigrated to Chicago in 1967 a few months before he was born. He was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran Church, where his parents continue to be active in lay ministry.

Ernest holds degrees in physics from both Caltech and MIT, though for the last decade he has worked as a product manager for a large technology company in Silicon Valley. This book represents both the scientist’s desire to elegantly represent eternal truth and the marketer’s passion to communicate timely facts that engage the emotions and the will.

He and his wife Sandhya live with their two children in Santa Clara, California. They attend Kingsway Community Church in San Jose, where Ernest serves as a junior elder. You can often find him online at http://2transform.us/ and http://twitter.com/DrErnie/.

Immigrant, Physicist, Storyteller, Transformational Christian

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[Autobiographical Blurb for the book jacket of Growing Church Leaders]

Ernest Prabhakar is a ninth-generation Christian and second-generation immigrant from India.  His ancestors converted from Hinduism in the early 1700’s at the dawn of the Protestant missionary movement. His family emigrated to Chicago in 1967 a few months before he was born. He was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran church, where his parents continue to be active in lay ministry.

Ernest holds degrees in Physics from both Caltech and MIT, though for the last decade he has worked as a product manager for a large technology company in Silicon Valley. This book represents both the scientist’s desire to elegantly represent eternal truth and the marketer’s passion to communicate timely facts that engage the emotions and the will.

He and his wife Sandhya live with their two children in Santa Clara, California. They attend Kingsway Community Church in San Jose, where Ernest serves as a junior elder. You can often find him online at https://2transform.us/ and http://twitter.com/DrErnie/.

Marital Dispute Resolution Process

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The goal of this process is to help you build the habits and trust necessary to safely and consistently resolve conflict in your marriage. Please review this together, then sign and date it. You are of course free to amend this by mutual consent at any time, but I encourage you to try it exactly as written at least once, to get the ball rolling.
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About Growing Church Leaders

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Growing Church Leaders is a tool for pastors and others in active ministry who want to nurture the next generation of leaders to:

  • think biblically
  • live wisely
  • serve faithfully

Each of those three topics is covered in a separate module of twelve lessons each.   Every lesson includes:

  • scripture to memorize
  • assigned readings from classic Christian books
  • devotional time, typically from Psalms or Proverbs
  • interlinear bible study covering an entire chapter
  • discussion questions
  • RAW (Repent, Act, Worship) challenges

The goal of all this is to teach theology, character formation, and christian disciplines in context. Specifically, in the context of:

  • the whole counsel of Scripture
  • existing pastoral relationships
  • the local church
  • loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength

Our prayer is that existing leaders will use this as a vehicle to pass their values and vision on to the next generation, by meeting on a weekly basis for nine months with “faithful men and women, who will in turn pass it on to others.”

To that end, this course is also available for free at <https://2transform.us/grow> under a Creative Commons license, allowing you to customize and adapt it as needed (as long as you allow others to do the same).

Growing Church Leaders: Foundational Bible Studies for the Next Generation

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Thanks to Andrew and others for their feedback on rebranding the LEAD class.

My current best thinking is:

  • Title: Growing Church Leaders
  • Subtitle: Foundational Bible Studies for the Next Generation
  • Volumes:
    1. Think Biblically
    2. Live Wisely
    3. Serve Faithfully

I like the idea that we are encouraging existing leaders to teach a new generation that is “Biblical, Wise, and Faithful.”

My only regret is that it doesn’t have a useful “short name” or acronym. “GCL: FBS-NG” isn’t nearly as clever as LEAD!, though the title is much more searchable and self-explanatory.

Anyone have any better ideas?

Rebranding the LEAD Class

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While exploring publication options, one key piece of advice that jumped out at me was to choose an appropriate title, since that influences keywords, URLs, and everything else that people will use to find a book. I’ve never been entirely happy with “Leadership Enrichment and Development” because of its extreme generic-ness, despite the catchy acronym ‘LEAD’.

The two themes that I’d like to emphasize are:

  • Training Church Leaders
  • Interlinear Bible Study

The challenge is finding a viable name that isn’t already taken. Here’s what  I’ve found in use so far:

After naming the series, we also need to title the individual volumes, currently:

  • Theological Foundations
  • Christian Character
  • Skills for Service

Not bad, but somewhat unbalanced (not fully alliterative, or evocative).  For alliteration, we could change the first to “Thinking Theologically“.  Conversely, to pursue the construction metaphor, we could make the last two “Constructing Character” and “Sharpened for Service.” But that might be too cheesy even for me

Any suggestions?

Thoughts on Sleep Training and the love of God

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Dear brothers,

Long time no write.  I wanted to share some insights I’ve had about God’s Fatherhood based on what I’ve learned from doing Rohan’s sleep training, a la the Ferber Method:

We actually trained him (a couple times 🙂 last year, and he’s been sleeping great for over six months.  However, something woke him on Monday night, so this week we’ve had to redo it:

For those of you who don’t know, Ferber involves letting the child “cry it out” by himself in progressively longer stages so he learns to put himself to sleep, and thus get back to sleep by himself even if (or rather, when) he  wakes up in the middle of the night.

Many commentators (hi Gordon! 🙂 consider this barbaric / selfish on the part of the parents.  To a certain extent I did too, and had high hopes of getting him to sleep using one of the various “no-cry” methods.  While that may work for some, I fear we would’ve had to be more disciplined earlier on.  By six months, he was well established in a pattern of waking every 2-3 hours.  We finally weaned him off night-time feedings, but he continued to wake up and cry — and we continued to go in and get him right away, sleeping in shifts to survive.

What finally pushed us to do sleep training was a) the advice of our pediatrician, and b) the realization that this was bad for *him*: Rohan wasn’t getting a good night’s sleep, both due to the frequent interruptions and the discomfort of sleeping with me in a chair (or sometimes bed).  I finally bit the bullet and trained him myself while Sandhya was working late, to spare her.  It was the most painful 45 minutes of my life, but he finally went to sleep — and slept straight through!  It took about a week before he went to bed without any complaint, and a couple more before he could similarly handle naps.  But at the end (apart from brief regressions, like this week) he got regular, solid sleep — and even looked forward to bedtime!

Frankly, if it was solely about our own comfort, we would’ve kept on sleeping with him and picking him up rather than facing the mutual pain of sleep training him.  But this is what he needed to learn in order to achieve *his* best possible life.

So what does this have to do with God?

When I was in my teens and twenties, I often felt like God didn’t care about me — particularly due to my failure to have any romantic relationships. (cf. <https://2transform.us/2009/07/31/song-no-longer-alone/>) I believed He was real, and good, and had a purpose for my life — but that purpose didn’t seem to include my own feelings or happiness.  My prayers seemed fall on deaf ears.

I’ve worked through a lot of those issues since then — hence my blog <https://2transform.us/about/> — but it still is a “tender” area for me.

Fast forward to sometime last year, when I went in to check in on (but not pickup) Rohan during one of his “crying to sleep” sessions.  I offered to give him a hug to comfort him, but he pushed me away.  I suddenly realized that even though he was crying out to me, he didn’t really want *me*.  He wanted me to “fix” the problem for him, so he didn’t have to deal with it.

When I left Rohan, I got down on my knees and apologized to God.  For the first time, I had a glimpse of what *God* must’ve felt like all those years I was crying out to him. When He desperately wanted to comfort me, but could not because I refused Him, since I was so fixated on my idolatry and my perceived needs.  When He lovingly chose to let me endure — while sharing in — that pain, because it was a vital l lesson I desperately needed to learn, but was too blind and immature to see or understand.

I don’t how much sense this makes to all of you, but it has deeply impacted my understand of God’s character.  If it pains me that much to suffer my child’s crying apparently alone for 15 minutes, how much must God’s heart bleed for the enormous suffering we human inflict on ourselves and others every second of every day for millennia?  And how great a love must it take to *not* rend the skies and make an end to everything, but patiently and tortuously work through _us_ to bring redemption to all creation?

Even if it cost Him the dearest thing in all creation, His own Son.  A price that — now that I too am a Father — I literally cannot imagine paying.

Wow.

Yours in the Father’s undying and unfailing love,

— Ernie P.

Posted via email from Me Post Facto

State Estimation and The Meaning of Life

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My friend Leland Brown recently found an amazing mathematical theory book called Optimal State Estimation: Kalman, H_infinity, and Nonlinear Approaches, by Dan Simon. In addition to being a great resource for a math problem Leland is working on, Appendix C turns out to have some fascinating meditations on the Christian Life — inspired by math! See below for some excerpts.

There’s also an essay on Professor Simon’s website that touches on similar themes:
Christianity and Control Theory
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