All content on this blog from Tim McGhee has moved to the Tim McGhee Substack, and soon, Lord willing, will be found only on that Substack.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Awana Prime Day

July 31 is the new July 17. Today was like Amazon Prime Day for Awana. For anyone who registered for the year early for the free shipping coupon code, today is the last day it's of any use. The Web site was slow, like teachers putting in grades on the last day of the quarter, or like cars waiting in line at the cheapest gas station. That's where all my energy has been going since the repainting project has finished. Time to sleep a little. My emails-to-handle count is much lower now, too.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Deadline = Extreme Focus

Sometimes I go right from one extreme focus to the other.

Usually an extreme focus is caused a deadline on a big project. 

This month I've had several big deadlines, first at home and now for church things. 

Hopefully in August I'll have fewer extremely short posts.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

“Why do you stand gazing up into heaven?”

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
I had always read this as the angels coming to stir up a sense of urgency about the Great Commission. “Why do you stand…” Recently I went back to look deeper into this text for what kind of direction they gave toward that end. I didn't find that. I found a far more loving message instead.

Friday, July 27, 2018

10 Traits of True Leaders

In cleaning things out recently I came across an a June 2013 issue of Inc magazine. On the cover is the headline “7 Traits of True Leaders.”

I got to thinking, without even opening the magazine to see what those things were, spiritually speaking, according to the Word of God, what would 7 traits of true leaders be? I ended up with 10.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Glorifying God in Furniture Arrangements

One of the most important things in cleaning and cleaning out is a willingness to throw things away. Hopefully this is easier when things are useless from now until forever anyway, but it still takes the will, sometimes a tool, and the exercising of that will to actually dispose of things.

I've been amazed how even getting rid of just a few things like old tax returns and work paperwork can make a huge difference in terms of opening up space. I'm probably still saving too much, but it's significantly—though not too significantly—less than it was before.

There have been several times where I have asked the Lord for wisdom in terms of furniture arrangement for things remaining, and I'm happy to report He has delivered. I now have one of the best layouts I've had in years. A friend of mine recently visited to check, and he was impressed. I give God the glory. It's much more open than I've ever had it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Self-Flying Cars

What happens when a Congressional committee chairman takes a walk on the National Mall and sees a kid playing with a cool toy? House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith had just such an experience and told the story yesterday.
Several weeks ago, I was walking on the Mall and noticed a boy operating a remote-control flying car—the first one I’ve ever seen. I immediately sent off for one and flew it recently with a young friend. It exceeded my expectations. In fact, I liked it so much that I ordered one for each of our witnesses today and for all the Members who attend this hearing.

I’ve been keeping articles about flying cars since I was in elementary school. … Just this week there was an article about flying cars in the Economist that also mentioned James Bond, so it covered two personal interests!
I've long thought flying cars were impractical as flying is exponentially more complicated than driving. My faulty assumption was flying cars would need a human driver.

The hearing yesterday points out that the concept of flying cars is completely different now with the advent of autonomous vehicle technology.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


I recently told a friend of mine that one reason he and I get along so well is because neither one of us has any idea what free time is. Active minds make for a full schedule.

Sometimes a mind can take lead one to take on too much, and the schedule gets overflowing. This month for me has been one of cleaning house, both physically and electronically.

Buying a shredder to dispose of old papers, and buying containers to hold and sort other things has been helpful for the physical clean-out.

Consolidating email and Google accounts has been helpful for the electronic clean-out.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Paid Family Leave

Paid family leave is not an issue or idea that naturally comes to conservatives.

In one sense, it's a form of paying people not to work. In another, it's a matter of paying people to remain available for work and later resume a normal employee role.

Shifting an employment relationship that doesn't already include this to later including it raises several questions. Is this another unfunded mandate on the employer? Is this a new tax-and-spend benefit from the government? The money would have to come from somewhere.

I would prefer less of a role for both government and employer in people's lives. Government should stick to punishing those who do evil and praising those who do good. Employers would do well to simply pay people out of the value they provide.

That understood, as long as this issue has traction, it's worth listening to what people are saying and what those with power are considering.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

“Lord willing”

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
Any time I use the future tense, I try to add “Lord willing” to that statement. This is true of things both big and small. Sometimes it's with fellow believers, and sometimes it's not.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Why Learn

Students ask, “Why do I need to learn this when I can just Google it?”

I see two flaws with that kind of thinking.

1. If you don't learn anything, how do you even know there's something you can Google?

2. Google and other search engines can only display information and point us to information sources that are available online. There are still wide and deep categories of knowledge that have existed well outside and before the Internet that have not made their way online yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

“A very dangerous word”

I had an interesting conversation with a Hindu today. It included a Stephen Colbert reference. We got to talking about Jesus.

Two ideas from him stand out from that conversation this afternoon.

1. I asked him about the caste system, and he said the caste system is not part of Hinduism. That came from the British and colonialism.

2. He said, “‘Belief’ is a very dangerous word.” It means you don't know, and you're trusting someone else.

“Belief” is certainly a powerful word.

Simon Peter told Jesus, “You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Words of eternal life include, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Daylight Light Bulbs

Have you ever tried daylight bulbs before? They're the brightest available.

I was once able to transform the hallways in a building by brightening them up with daylight bulbs. For some reason I never thought of doing this in my home until now. They're making huge difference.
  • It's much brighter.
  • They're getting me to clean more. 
  • I bought a couple new lamps to take full advantage of the clearness of the color. 
  • Brighter lighting opens up new options in terms of furniture arrangement.

Maybe they could change your life, too.

The light of the Son in a person's life can make a similar difference.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Shadow of Turning

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

I had cleared an lit an area where some painters would be repainting today. They actually found it to be too much light because it makes it harder to see the imperfections.

Perhaps that's a hint at what the “shadow of turning” means. When something is not as well lit, the shadows make it easier to see the imperfections. That may be especially true when there's movement (turning).

It's good to know God has no imperfections. Not only does light not cast a shadow on him, but He is “the Father of lights.” He is the Source of all light sources.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Family History-Keeping

When a family member is faithful to write almost monthly, certainly multiple times a season every year for years on end, that provides a significant amount of material for keeping a history of the family.

Perhaps this is unique to the closeness of the relationship and the geographical distance between those family members.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

$0.99 x 15+

In case you have not noticed the value of shoebox-sized plastic containers, they're quite handy. I've been using them for kitchen things, cleaning supplies, memorabilia, etc.

In going through a lot of old cards I had saved, I've noticed anew how much my parents love me and how much I'm on their minds. They are a huge blessing in my life.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Day 13

Little blog posts that give a progress report for the day were not my idea of writing each day, but this month has gotten busy.

Today was a combination of (a) apartment cleaning and item organizing in preparation for a couple painting days coming this month, and (b) updating a script to further streamline some work and provide additional options useful for and requested by people.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


40 years ago today my family left the United States for Venezuela to reach tribal people with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

My parents had been commissioned to spend their careers among those people learning their language and culture, showing the people that Jesus died for their people, too, and ultimately plant churches among the people that would in turn reach more people in Venezuela with that same Gospel message.

The preparation phase of that plan on the field never finished. It was interrupted with the death of my father very suddenly overnight May 4, 1979. My great-uncle, Dave Breese, preached his funeral. Another great-uncle, Bob Christensen, shared the following tribute.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Original Monday

Have you noticed in the creation account nothing was called “good” on the second day?

He did name something that day, but maybe that's because His accomplishments that day were not well defined. Maybe that's characteristic of when we're creating a space for things.

Whatever the reason, today feels similarly lacking in specific accomplishment. I reached Inbox Zero on one email account, and I need to do the same on another before today is done.

Nonetheless, this writing commitment was made to be kept.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Diet & Weight

When it comes to personal weight, there are three options: gaining, maintaining, and losing.

If you're young or an athelete, you may want to gain weight. The rest of us either want to lose weight or gain no more than we already have.

Some people think of eating healthy as being a way to lose weight. I don't. When I hear talk of eating healthy, to me that means maintaining weight.

It's certainly better than stress-eating which is a way to gain weight.

Losing weight is fundamentally about eating less. Why? Because you have to force your body to consume what it has already stored—the excess weight.

The fastest way to do that is to stop eating. It works, I promise.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Caves in the Scriptures

As the world awaits more news from the rescue efforts for the soccer team in Thailand, I think of caves mentioned in the Scriptures.

“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD; Lord, hear my voice!” (Psalm 130)

“I cried out to You, O LORD: I said, You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.” (Psalm 142)

Many of us are doing just that on behalf of those trapped, and those helping them escape.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Saturday Surround

My grandfather had my grandparents' home wired for sound in every room—even the pantry. It was surround sound for productive people.

I understand why. When you're listening to something, be it music or spoken word, it's nice to have continuity as you move around.

I've always lived in shared housing of some kind, so there's been neither much freedom nor need to have everything wired up like that, but it's still desirable at times.

These days you can get a similar effect without all the wires. Enter Bluetooth technology. The nice thing about having Bluetooth devices connected to the same player, is it's pretty easy to switch the output destination if you're going to be in another room for a while.

A while back I got a Bluetooth receiver to enable merging use of new technology with old technology.  (Bluetooth receivers have already gotten less expensive.) More recently I thought I'd try out having a JAM Thrill portable speaker.

Today, I was playing some epic music, and the sound went from filling a room to making my little portable speaker visibly bounce on the shelf. Fun stuff.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Itty Bitty Sites

I've been a fan of maximizing what one can do with a URL for a long time.
  • Sometimes one can get more out of another site than its original developers thought possible or fully used. 
  • On a simpler level and more common basis, I rarely visit a site so that I can do a search; instead I just use a search shortcut and do my search right from the address bar.
Well this week, Nicholas Jitkoff has taken Web development to another level. He's made a way to build an entire Web page out of nothing more than a URL!

Thursday, July 5, 2018


Today is the 20th anniversary of my first conversation with a hitchhiker.

Lately I've been reading Rocket Boys which describes a time in the mid-20th Century when thumbing a ride around town (or across the country) was a common mode of transportation. Perhaps this early innocence was due in part to the automobile not having been around all that long before then. By the late 20th Century, not only was hitchhiking uncommon, it was considered largely unsafe.

During the summer of 1998, I was doing an internship in Seattle which is at the opposite end of the country from my family and where I grew up in Florida. I still remember arriving that May in a city where I knew no one, and when I closed the door at the place I had arranged to stay, for the first time ever, I had a real feeling of “What have I just done?” That summer is a story for another time, but this post is about my trip to see family I tracked down and visited over the 4th of July weekend that year.

I had some cousins who lived in Yakima, Washington, and I arranged to come visit them and their family for the long weekend. I didn't have a car out there, so I took a Greyhound bus east for the two-hour trip to Yakima. The transition in terrain one sees over that span is worth describing.

For being as far northwest as it is, Seattle does not get particularly cold like other states directly to its east. Part of that is because of the warm water moisture coming in from the Pacific. The Puget Sound area has the Pacific to its west and the Cascade Mountains to its east. The Cascades block moisture from heading east, so that makes for a lot of rain with nowhere to go but down most of the year in Seattle—hence the proliferation of coffee shops and literacy. Demand for power-washing business is abundant.

The roads, however, make it further east than the moisture. I had been told there is a line along the Cascade Range that has trees on one side and desert on the other. That was close. There are actually two lines out there. As we drove up the mountains into the fog/clouds, there was one peak we went over that distinctly marked a transition between the area being full of trees and then trees becoming rather sparse. As we went on further, we crested another peak past which tree coverage virtually disappeared for our descent into the Yakima Valley.

I connected up with my second cousin and met his wife and kids. For the 4th, a couple of his siblings also came to visit, one from Boise (pronounced with an 's,' not a 'z.'). It was neat to see relatives now older that I had known from summer family reunions years earlier. Sunday we went to church. They had a really neat pastor who really enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know them. I think his name was Marc Peterson.

Later that day I took the bus back west. That's when things got interesting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Gospel Tracts

One of the defining characteristics of an evangelical Christian is that they believe in following the Great Commission by spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Practically for us, this includes wherever our Jerusalem is (our local area), Samaria (its larger region), and the uttermost parts of the earth.

There are varying methods of “making disciples,” but that starts with someone becoming born again and having eternal life (John 3). Peter once pointed out that it was from Jesus that they received “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Eternal life comes from words.

These are not just any words, but words specifically from God Himself—words Jesus spoke; words today we find inspired to be included in the Scriptures like, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31), and “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Communicating these words of eternal life to others is our mission.

Words are communicated to people in many ways. With the proliferation of technology methods are more abundant, portable, and disposable than ever. I don't intend to discuss every available method here in this post, except one—an old one.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Rhetorical Gray

For some of us, it's very easy to be black-and-white about things. Binary is our native language.

The classic example of this is: You're either pregnant or you're not.

The most important example of this is eternal salvation. Are you saved?

Not everyone, though, sees the world in such stark contrasts. There is often room for shades of gray to be discerned. To use the extreme example, one could ask, "How is your pregnancy going?"

There's one rhetorical tool I've found that helps tremendously in making the leap from black-and-white thinking to considering shades of gray.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Conversation Topic Options

In India, a common introductory question is, “How much do you make?”

Americans tend to be shocked by this. We shouldn't be. We almost do the same thing.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Creation Patterns

Have you noticed patterns in the six days of creation?

One of them is a pattern of two sets of three days.
  • In the first three days, God forms various environments of increasing granularity.
  • In the second three days, God goes back and fills those environments.
For instance:
  • The birds and fish (Day 5), live in the sky and the water (Day 2).
  • Land animals & man (Day 6), live on dry land, eat plants (Day 3).

The idea of environments first and then filling them is practical and useful in every area of life. First establish the purpose, principles, and parameters. Then operate within that framework.

Many problems can also be traced to getting these things out of sequence. If you have frustrations in life, check to see if there's something trying to fill or inhabit an environment that has not first been clearly established and named.

Blog Archive