David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Category: Events Page 1 of 4

A Takeaway from the PCA General Assembly 2019

After my time at General Assembly this week, I’m hopeful for the future of the PCA. There are differences in how we desire to engage in debate with culture and communicate to our world on the major issues of our day (human sexuality being the main item at this assembly). There was some disappointing discussion and debate that occurred late Thursday night around human sexuality and responses toward those who struggle in their sexuality that I had hoped would go better. And yet I’m still hopeful, because this is the Lord’s church, we are His people, and He is for us all.

SharePoint Conference 2012 – Some Highlights of What’s Coming

Here are some highlights from the conference. There’s a lot more detail, but this is the good stuff I’ve gathered.

  • SP2013 RTM was released.
  • Drag and drop documents into document folder; preview documents in pop-up window (including the ability to scroll through, it’s not just an image). Really cool.
  • Drag and drop does work cross-browser. Really great news.
  • One of the coolest functions for developers and designers in SP2013: automatic HTML to master page conversion.
  • SP2013 is backward compatible with 2010 … in almost every way, from back-end to front-end (this was contradicted later as I’ll show, however for the most part, I believe it’s accurate)
  • SP2013 central admin UI is different but structure/taxonomy is the same for the most part
  • Said in keynote: custom solutions work just the same in 2013 from 2010. (Yeah, we’ll see 🙂 )
  • New: Search-driven navigation. Intriguing and powerful.
  • Your own profile in MySites has a news feed that looks almost like Facebook and Twitter combined. You can follow certain sites or (what were once called) document libraries and it will all show up in one feed. You can then interact with others’ posts and conversations.
  • Client and server-side, they made significant reductions in I/O (on the back-end) and bandwidth (via the front-end); 40% reduction in bandwidth usage over-all; 50% reduction in SQL I/O by eliminating redundant queries and limiting the number of queries a single page makes; image compression is now 4X what it was.
  • eDiscovery: not just for SP, but also Exchange and other apps (like Project Server). You can freeze a file in its existing state, without affecting the file itself (meaning changes can still be made, but it doesn’t change the copy you’ve frozen), without user knowing it, in case of audit.
  • When versioning items, now only the delta is saved as opposed to the entire item each time. This significantly reduces SQL content DB growth.
  • Web analytics is now rolled into search. Very cool.
  • Down side: you cannot do an in-place upgrade. Only database attach. Not many people were happy about that apparently (maybe it was just me; that’s how I upgraded 2007 to 2010).
  • Down side: Office Web Apps now exists on its own, you no longer install it within SP as a service application. If upgrading, you would need to install Office Web Apps on its own server(s).
  • OWA bolts into Exchange now. Interesting.

Some pictures:

For whatever reason, I got an upgraded hotel room at Mandalay Bay; a suite, very nice:

Keynote time!

It’s amazing these are still allowed in hotels. Wonder how much longer that will last. Even Vegas still holds out hope and truth though for now.

Mandalay Bay Hotel, Luxor in the middle, and THEhotel to the left.

ClubLAX, aka ClubSPC (since M$ bought it out from 6-8pm one night); the decibel level was astounding. I’m getting old.

Bumblebee, of course.

One of the many meals where 10,000 people were served two full meals a day. Quite a serious logistical operation. Mandalay Bay pulled it off. Very impressive.

Waiting in line, for 40 minutes, with 10,000 people for Jon Bon Jovi and a lot of food; the SPC Beach Party. The lobster tacos were killer. I was too full after those to try anything else. I had to bolt early to make it to the next event …

This was the highlight for me: The @RBAConsulting Sky Party. 34th floor of the Palms Casino Resort, overlooking the strip. I overheard that this loft/suite was $40,000 a night? Good grief. Cigar rolling, drink, food, music, all overlooking Vegas. The pool went out over the edge, suspended. It was by far the coolest event I went to.

Cigar Rolling

Best shot I got …

DJ, mixin’ it up! He never did get around to the Snoop Dogg song I requested though 🙂

Oh yeah, and looooots of SharePoint sessions 🙂

T4G 2010 Audio and Video

Session 1 – Mark Dever – “The Church is the Gospel Made Visible”

MP3 Audio

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Happy New Year!

Yet another year has gone by. So much has happened on so many fronts and the world is changing at lightning speed. God is the sovereign King who reigns over all of it. Nothing catches Him by surprise … something to remember for the next year. Have a good one! Take care …

How To Respond To The Economic Crisis

While there is a plethora of bad news that continues coming out concerning the economy, and the fog of  economic uncertainty (and in some cases dire certainty) continues to creep in amongst communities all over the country, something we believers need to make sure we’re doing is responding to these trials in a way that glorifies God. And using this as an opportunity to share the Gospel to those who don’t know Him.

Though things may certainly not get as bad as many of the top economists and investment advisers in the country are saying it will get, certainly people are already being impacted by job losses, monetary loss, all kinds of loss. Yet, it is in these very times that God’s power shines its brightest in our lives. The Gospel works great power in weakness. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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How Did the Economic House of Cards Fall? (MP3’s)

These two three four five six radio programs on This American Life do an excellent job of giving an on-the-street perspective from the Wall Street investors to the lenders all the way down to the individual home-buyers and finally the results of the recession in everyday life. In addition, there is a very good explanation of how banks work and why they are becoming insolvent. If you haven’t dug in to understand how we have gotten into this mess, you must listen to these programs. Excellent journalism.

More in-depth economic analysis can be found here:

(Update: 9.28.2009 – Though they don’t come to this conclusion in these shows, after much investigation and personal reflection on the events of the last two years, I have come to the conclusion that the Federal Reserve is ultimately at fault for meddling in markets, making money super cheap to obtain, and promoting an environment of pure moral hazard. Certainly, all those who took the bait, everyone from lenders, to consumers, to those on Wall Street, are all responsible in some manner. But ultimate responsibility for the over-arching cause of the crisis is the reckless policy decisions of our central bank over the last 30 years, starting with Paul Volcker (as I understand it), who is oddly one of Obama’s economic advisor’s. It is unfathomable to me that the same people who promoted reckless macro-economic policies are supposed to be the same people to get us out of this mess … by spending us even further in the hole. Unbelievable. And contrary to the assumption that “no one saw this coming,” think again … watch below.)

Choice Quotes During Obama’s Inauguration

Sometimes, quotes themselves speak volumes of information. Then again, sometimes they don’t. 🙂

“Those moments of good-will go away in a heartbeat when the reality of the challenges we face sink in.” (unknown MSNBC commentator)

“It looks like a cross between Woodstock and a religious pilgrimage.” (Keith Olbermann)

Muhammed Ali possesses “telepathy?” (Olbermann)

“Bitter sweet? I think they’re going to feel more like the Romanoff’s today.” (Chris Matthews, speaking of the Cheney’s) … good one

“It almost feels like there are elements of hero-worship at points.” (Rachel Maddow) … good call

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God’s Sovereign Reign Over Gustav

Knowing God is all-sovereign over all creation, that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge and involvement; and knowing that at any moment He could stay Gustav from causing massive damage, we must be willing to embrace that what God has ordained is being used for His glory and righteous purposes, and thus submit to His rule. He is righteous and holy. We are not. He knows what we humans need infinitely better than we do, as difficult as these circumstances may be.

At the same time, because we know God is all-sovereign and all-powerful, may we pray for mercy for those within the coastal region affected by this storm, that they may be spared sorrow upon sorrow, and at the same time pray they may see God’s mighty merciful hand working even in the midst of something so catastrophic, that ultimately they may see the glory of Christ and His power in salvation. If we believe God is not sovereign over this, we sever the only hope in it: that God has a purpose beyond what we mere finite, sinful humans can comprehend.

May the Gospel be displayed to those affected by this storm in which we proclaim the Gospel through word and service for their needs, because this is what we all need more desperately than anything in this world: the salvation and rescue of our souls, both now and for eternity. May the Lord use this to bring honor and glory to His name, regardless of what happens. May we submit to His sovereign Kingship over His creation, and particularly Gustav, knowing especially that for us who are saved, all these things are working together for our good and His glory. Lord, please be merciful, yet not our will but Your will be done.

Was Katrina Intelligent Design? – John Piper
Tsunami and Repentance – John Piper
The NPR Tsunami Interview (MP3) – John Piper

May we not dare put God in the dock as to what He is doing with this, as if He must give an account to us. We have no clue what we speak of … like Job, may we cover our mouths with our hands in awe at His sovereignty and power and the fact that as believers, He spared us when He didn’t have to, in the Person and Work of Christ.

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Update: 9/2/2008

Praise God for displaying His sovereign mercy in sparing New Orleans a direct hit …

Hurricane Dolly Chorpus Christi Webcam (Updates Every 5 Seconds)




Together for the Gospel – Day Three

The third day of the conference ended on a very challenging and encouraging note. As usual, Piper (as one college student in the guys’ bathroom put it), “dropped a bomb on everyone,” (to which there were then subsequent chuckles from the older generation in the bathroom hearing a younger guy put it in such a way).John Piper was the first of two speakers to take the stage that day (which ended at noon). His message was entitled (not terribly surprising 🙂 ), The Supremacy of Christ and Radical Christian Sacrifice. The primary text he used for his sermon was Hebrews 13:13 (though of course he walked us through several passages in Hebrews to bring us up to that point). The main thrust of his message was centered upon how the whole point of the book of Hebrews is to this end: giving ourselves away for the glory of God and the proclamation of the Gospel, and specifically how suffering fits into this, which has a great reward: Christ. The question posed that Piper sought to answer from Scripture was, how does the Gospel create radical Christian sacrifice?

The short answer from Hebrews (shown to be abundantly clear) is fixing your gaze, everyday, upon the final Great Reward that, for example, Moses sought after. As Hebrews 11:26 says, “[Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” What is this Great Reward? It is the blessing R.C. Sproul spoke of so eloquently in the fifth session, laid out in Scripture in Numbers 6:24-26: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” It is the enjoyment of the person and work of Christ forever, as laid out so plainly in Revelation in many places. That enjoyment does not start then. We enjoy it now and then it is perfected and never-ending when we go to be with Him. And it is the only way to be joyfully willing to radically give up our comforts for the sake of others’ souls and the glory of Christ.

In the panel discussion, the question was asked what that may look like for various people. Piper’s answer was that it could be in the form of “going outside the camp to bear the reproach of Christ” in loving on and witnessing to neighbors, giving up some things to invest in your wife’s and your children’s joy in Christ, investing more in studying the Scriptures and theology, or getting out of the study more to pursue people with self-sacrificial love. So the question is, what is outside the camp for you? Convicting, because I can make a laundry list of things. Piper made clear that Christ isn’t sitting there in the camp telling you to go out and bear His reproach while He sits there and gives you no strength, direction, or wisdom, hoping that by some miracle of your own doing, you can just bear it. Rather, He Himself is outside the camp bearing reproach saying, “Come to me, I’m out here bearing reproach in the inner city, in your neighborhood, in your workplace, in your church even! And I will give you what you need for joyful acceptance in suffering itself.”

To sum up, the essence of his message was that the way to go about becoming a person who radically sacrifices for the sake of Christ is to consider His reproach that you bear (your discomfort, whatever that looks like for you) greater wealth than the treasures of the American dream, or success, or even the mere accumulation of knowledge, because our reward surpasses all understanding and is in heaven. And that reward is the unending joy of Christ Himself. May we constantly be looking to that reward for the sake of His name, His kingdom, and laboring to bring people into it.

The final and most encouraging message of all (and yet at the same time convicting, driving you to the cross for mercy and joy) was from C.J. Mahaney, entitled, Sustaining a Pastors Soul. And while I’m merely a volunteer in student ministries at Christ Chapel, the things said apply equally to me as a lay minister. And even more than that, these truth-principles apply to all those who are not serving in teaching as well. C.J. spoke from Philippians 1:3-8 on the joy Paul displays and how that joy is not just something he worked up in himself, but how that joy is inseparably connected to theological understanding of Christ and His work to reconcile us to God. If you lack joy, it is because your understanding of the Gospel is either lacking in some way or it has not moved from your head to your heart as they way it should. C.J. shows this in how Paul unfolds the affectionate opening of his letter.

Paul makes his prayer with joy (verse 4) because of the Philippians partnership in the Gospel with him. And then after this statement, Paul makes clear that he is so joyful because he is, “sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” His joy in their partnership and knowing theologically how God worked in their salvation is absolutely inseparable. They are interdependent. You cannot have one without the other. There will be no joy without spiritual knowledge. And knowledge itself, if it does not move to your heart in love for Christ and others is a knowledge that merely puffs up. The more you know of God personally in communion with Him and also how He works in your salvation theologically, the more you will be certain that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Your confidence in Christ will rest in His sure promises.

One of the greatest convicting things for me in particular was the point on how grumbling, bitterness, anger, and an overall disposition of complaint is a lack of joy and an active opposition to the sovereign hand of God moving upon you to mold and shape you in His image of humility and eternal joy in God. To highlight this point, he gave an example that struck at my own personal issues in this area, which I’ll get to in a minute. My own struggle is not so much in the larger trials that happen. It seems the Lord has blessed me supernaturally in that area to deal with difficult, large, personal calamities when they come. Praise Him for His work and may He always continue to move in me when those things happen (and they will)!

My struggle though with sinning in this area comes in the little trials. I wake up and the small things eat away at my joy throughout the day. They then start to add up and take their toll, leaving me dry and unfulfilled. It is a constant battle and struggle for me to rely through faith upon the finished work of Christ to bring me joy in Himself instead of my circumstances. And this is where C.J.’s example struck me. He illustrated by talking about his journey from the hotel lobby to his room. He walked to the door, inserted the card, and, “red light”. He did it again, “red light”. Another time. He finally sat there and thought to himself (paraphrase), “God, I see no reason for this … this makes no sense. Why are doing this to me? I mean I’m in Your service doing Your work, have a lot of work to get done, and this? Really? I see no point to this.” In essence, “I know more than You, God, I am wiser than you, God. Therefore, this should not be happening. Explain this to me if You would.” Arrogance and pride flowing from our mouths that should in turn be justly, eternally struck for the way we talk back to Him. May the Lord have mercy on me for my error and its frequency.

And I began thinking about what he was saying with all of this because it sounded familiar and I quickly realized these are things I read in John Owen’s three classic treatments entitled, Overcoming Sin and Temptation. C.J. just brought those truths to bear on my own heart in a personal way and I realized how many times during my day, I’m a bitter, joyless person who is not pursuing Christ in what I’m doing. I’ve been here before, but the Holy Spirit awakened it afresh in my soul. My heart is so quick to slide away from the glory of the grace of Christ into self-pity and frustration at what I think God should be doing for me instead of what He knows is best for me. I say I believe in sovereignty intellectually, but if it really moved to my heart, Christ-humility would ensue.

Do we believe that He knows better? If so, why do we complain? Because we disregard His sovereignty and His love toward us in that sovereignty. Does his sovereignty not include all of the small little things that are really just minor inconveniences? We sin greatly in setting ourselves up as the final authority over against God. How desperately wicked and sick is our condition. My condition is not uncommon though it seems. Many guys I know (in particular) struggle with this very thing. God demands that we be joyful in the Scriptures. It is imperative that we find joy. But finding joy either in what we think we can provide ourselves (religiosity) or what the world provides (paganism) instead of Christ alone is slandering and dishonoring to the name of Christ and His work on our behalf to do exactly that for us: bring us joy beyond imagination by the experience of Himself. May we fall on our faces for our infinite affront against God.

This message really made me see the need (in a starker way) to consistently and frequently be pursuing joy in light of the work of the Gospel to bring me to Himself, considering all of the ways and manners and actions God undertook to make it so. From His eternal election, to His justification of His people at the cross, to bringing about our regeneration through that work, to conforming us more into the image of the Savior, to our final glorification at death or His return at the end of the age, it is these truths that we must massage into our hearts that our joy in Christ may be our souls’ final feast (as David Phillips used to say). Run after Him to experience His love, and thus joy, in prayer and communion resulting from what we now know about Him.

Mahaney’s message was a great bookend to the whole conference, in that it moved us toward the goal of studying and practicing correct theology in our lives: enjoying (and thus in that, glorifying) God forever, the primary aim for which God created us.

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