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Monday, September 30, 2013

From The Church Is Not A Building File


Monday Stuff

Great news for New York
"As recently as four years ago, nuclear power companies were planning to spend billions of dollars to build a new reactor in Oswego County, alongside three existing nuclear plants. Then the bottom fell out. Natural gas-burning power plants that benefit from a glut of cheap gas produced by hydrofracking cut wholesale electricity prices in half. Now the outlook for nuclear power plants is so bleak that Wall Street analysts say one or more Upstate nuclear plants could go out of business if conditions don't change. Two Upstate nukes in particular — the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County and the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in nearby Wayne County — are high on the watch list of plants that industry experts say are at risk of closing for economic reasons."

Remember how we first got introduced to a computer?
We did not know anything and were very cautious and worried that we would do the wrong thing. Then slowly we adapted to using computers, and along came the "Internet" and we once again had a learning curve. Most of us typically had someone that we thought knew a lot about all of this who guided us through the maze. Then we soon enough discovered that the net was a great place to find out anything that we wanted to know.

Well our young people are no different...

 "Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. Now Sam Sanders reports at NPR that less than a week after getting their iPads, high school students have found a way to bypass software blocks on the devices that limit what websites the students can use. 

The students are getting around software that lets school district officials know where the iPads are, what the students are doing with them at all times and lets the district block certain sites, such as social media favorites like Facebook.

 'They were bound to fail,' says Renee Hobbs, who's been a skeptic of the iPad program from the start. 'There is a huge history in American education of being attracted to the new, shiny, hugely promising bauble and then watching the idea fizzle because teachers weren't properly trained to use it and it just ended up in the closet.' 

The rollout of the iPads might have to be delayed as officials reassess access policies. Right now, the program is still in Phase 1, with fewer than 15,000 iPads distributed. 'I'm guessing this is just a sample of what will likely occur on other campuses once this hits Twitter, YouTube or other social media sites explaining to our students how to breach or compromise the security of these devices,' says Steven Zipperman. 'I want to prevent a "runaway train" scenario when we may have the ability to put a hold on the roll-out.' The incident has prompted questions about overall preparations for the $1-billion tablet initiative." 
Gee what could possibly go wrong? 

Personally, I think that money could better be spent on good old fashioned computer labs. A good student PC is a heck of a lot cheaper, and these kids need to learn to type on a real keyboard or else they're going to be at a huge disadvantage compared to their peers who do.

Crime sniffing rats are better then the Dogs?
 "Ratting someone out' just became much more literal. Dutch police are using trained rats to help
keep the streets clean. 'Detective Derrick and his rat partners cost just £8 each and are capable of being trained to identify an impressive range of odors—including drugs and explosives—within ten to 15 days. In contrast, a police dog costs thousands of pounds and requires a minimum training period of eight months. The training procedure is straightforward: the rats are kept in a cage with four metal tea strainers attached inside, one of which contains gunpowder. When the rat recognizes the smell, it is rewarded with a "click" and a small treat. Eventually the rat will learn to move towards the smell instantly. In a demonstration it takes Derrick just two seconds to locate the offending odor."

 "A group of scientists have confirmed a link between the sonar, used by Exxon Mobil to map the ocean floor for oil, and the death of melon-headed whales. From the article: 'A spokesman for ExxonMobil said the company disagrees with the findings. "ExxonMobil believes the panel's finding about the multi-beam echo sounder is unjustified due to the lack of certainty of information and observations recorded during the response efforts in 2008," spokesman Patrick McGinn told AFP in an email. He added that observers employed by the Madagascar government and the oil giant "were on board the vessel and did not observe any whales in the area."'"

The Next Billionares?
  "AdTrap." It's a white box that hooks up between your modem and wireless router and blocks data from ad networks before it can even reach your computer. Speaking of profit motive: Russell and Butkus' are offering their box for the low low price of $139.

 Shutdown or no shutdown, members of Congress aren’t worried about their own finances this week. Patricia Murphy on how the 27th Amendment protects the salaries of the House and Senate.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rain Down

So What Really Happened To Shekinah Fellowship?

What happened to Shekinah Fellowship?

It is hard for most people to believe in angels and demons.

If it can't be weighed measured and touched, it is not real. Our world has become extremly materialistic, we are skeptical of any experience that cannot be measured, weighed and verified by everyone else (consensis orthodoxy).

Therefore there is an ignorance about the spiritual world and the reality of demonic forces. We often assume that only the rational exists. We feel that things need to be understood inorder to be real. Our assumptions and preconceived notions about miracles need to be set aside. There is a kind of reationalism which kills miracles before they can begin. When miracles are dead, miraclous things cease to happen. We would receive more miracles, if we stopped insisting that miracles do not happen, and began EXPECTING them to happen.

Demons hate miracles. As we read through the Gospels we cannot help but be struck by the extraordinary numbers of refrences to Jesus confronting Satan and the realm of demons. A major theme in the New Testament is the clash between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.

God's Word tells us:

Ephesians 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Spirit beings, thousands of years old with a highly organized military hierarchy authority are constantly waging war against all of us. Even if we chose to ignore this fact it is still the truth.

The truth of God's Word.

Our rationalism tells us there is no presence of the activity of evil spirit beings. Most of us like to live a flat 2 dimensional reality. We want to believe there is no reality beyond the natural, material universe, thus ruling out the world of angels and demons.

When we read the Good news of Jesus Christ in the gospels we see Jesus interacting with these spirit beings, casting out evil spirits in full dimensional reality.

Jesus first act of ministry in Mark was casting out an unclean spirit from a man he met in the synagogue. This spirit "shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek." The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching- and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him."

Mark 1:26-28

This was a teaching, then, and not just an action to free a suffering man. The teaching was that the kingdom of evil, which up to this point had held sway over the human race was being destroyed and that the Kingdom of God was at hand.

Nevertheless, despite the clarity of this passage, many theologians and preachers profess a profound skepticism as to whether we should take accounts of people being tormented by Satan and other evil spirits in a literal way.

There are target assignments against Christian ministries by demonic forces. They do everything in their power to promote division and factions in the ministry.
In waging war the demons bring down the leadership first and the troops will scatter. This is a basic principle in the art of war.

Zechariah 13:7...smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered...
Matthew 26:31... smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Shekinah Fellowship was very effective at bringing miracles to the people.

Brant Baker the Shepherd was targeted by the demonic hordes and brought down through temptation of the flesh. And the sheep scattered. No more Shekinah Fellowship. The enemy goal against Shekinah Fellowship was accomplished.

The name Satan means the adversary, the enemy. He has many fallen angels in his army. This is a mysterious world of rebellious fallen angels and demons. Some feel demons are the offspring of that strange event that took place in Genesis chapter 6.

"When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal ; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. "
Fallen angels and demons war against Christians constantly. Some warfare is based on deception.

Hence the demonic strategy:

"When able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand."

The enemy fosters unbelief everywhere they go. Recall one of the saddest text in the bible.

"And He (Jesus) did not many miracles there because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:58

The root word for unbelief in this verse is "apistia," meaning literally "distrust."

Mark in 6:6 of his gospel account tells us:

"And He (Jesus) marveled because of their unbelief, "apistia."
Jesus used this same word when His disciples asked why they could not cast out demons:
"And Jesus said unto them, because of your unbelief..."
Matthew 17:20

Paul the apostle used the same word in Hebrews 3:12.
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an EVIL heart of unbelief..."
Paul says the Children of Israel could not enter in to God's rest because of their unbelief (apistia).
Hebrews 3:19

So you can see, a lack of faith and having distrust can and will rob us of God moving in our lives with His miracles and is regarded as evil by Him. Remember Hebrews 3:12.

We are not seeing New Testament miracles in this our day and age because of our apistia. 

We should turn off our cultural limits and biases and be open to the greatness and power of the Supreme in all power and authority.

The bible is telling the truth when we read about all the miracles that Jesus performed in the Gospels and in the book of Acts. You would not know that by looking closely at the church of today. We do not seem to allow Jesus to heal and perform miracles in our midst.

Jesus has not changed any since the writing of the bible. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. Then why is He not doing the same today as He did in the bible days? It has got to be us that are preventing Him!

Why do we not expect miracles? What is preventing us from believing?

Start to trust Jesus and believe Him for miracles in your life today. You can start by saying:

Dear Jesus I give You permission to work miracles in my life today. I believe in miracles and I expect them because everywhere you go and are, you work them. I do trust You.

The people of the New Testament lived in an age which expected miracles.

I believe in the miracle of the original sheep of Shekinah Fellowship coming back together  and sharing their stories of the miracles they have seen. Helping others to believe in miracles. They scattered because the enemy had taken down their Shepherd Brant Baker. I believe the Lord has brought you to this place that you may assemble with others and tell the story of Shekinah Fellowship and the miracles to others that they may also believe in miracles.

The enemy strategy was to take down your Shepherd and to cause bitterness and hurt to keep you scattered. Brant Baker was ultimately not the problem. The enemy targeted him with his weakness in the flesh and took him out. You still remain...

Now I ask you:
What are you going to do about it?

Some of us have gotten into textual~ ism in our relationship and lost the zeal for God we once had when we first came to Him. Sometimes we think that we know all about the things of God and think there can be no new thing. But there can and will be!

God is good and kind.
Psalms 121:1-2, 123:1-2

He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with FIRE...
Matthew 3:11

When we gather together we fan to a flame that which is inside of us for Jesus.
When we fail to meet together that flame goes out until only a small pilot light remains. Maybe your spiritual fire has been extinguished from neglect of the things of God. It is a very dangerous place to be. Remember Jesus says:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Revelation 3:15-16

You want to be excited for God but feel cold inside. Be of good cheer. It only takes a spark to get a fire going. Jesus turns up the heat.

When water sits with no outflow it will always get stagnant. Give out what you have, share the love of God. Then you will be restored, it's just that simple.

David Sloane

Shepherd Recalls

A Shepherd

 It was late summer when He and three other men first walked upon that road yonder. It was evening, and He stopped and stood there at the end of the pasture.

I was playing upon my flute, and my flock was grazing all around me. When He stopped I rose and walked over and stood before Him.

And He asked me, "Where is the grave of Elijah? Is it not somewhere near this place?"

And I answered Him, "It is there, sir, underneath that great heap of stones. Even unto this day every passerby brings a stone and places it upon the heap."

And He thanked me and walked away, and His friends walked behind Him.

And after three days Gamaliel who was also a shepherd, said to me that the man who had passed by was a prophet in Judea; but I did not believe him. Yet I thought of that man for many a moon.

When spring came Jesus passed once more by this pasture, and this time He was alone.

I was not playing on my flute that day for I had lost a sheep and I was bereaved, and my heart was downcast within me.

And I walked towards Him and stood still before Him, for I desired to be comforted.

And He looked at me and said, "You do not play upon your flute this day. Whence is the sorrow in your eyes?"

And I answered, "A sheep from among my sheep is lost. I have sought her everywhere but I find her not. And I know not what to do."

And He was silent for a moment. Then He smiled upon me and said, "Wait here awhile and I will find your sheep." And He walked away and disappeared among the hills.

After an hour He returned, and my sheep was close beside Him. And as He stood before me, the sheep looked up into His face even as I was looking. Then I embarrassed her in gladness.

And He put His hand upon my shoulder and said, "From this day you shall love this sheep more than any other in your flock, for she was lost and now she is found."

And again I embraced my sheep in gladness, and she came close to me, and I was silent.

But when I raised my head to thank Jesus, He was already walking afar off, and I had not the courage to follow Him...

Oh How We Love YOU O God!

The Jesus Film

Why does God test His children?

God had one Son without sin, but He never had sons without trials. It is not known what quality grapes yield until they come to the wine press. When we are squeezed what comes out indicates what's on the inside! When you came to "Marah" this week, what came out? Grumbling like Israel or crying out like Moses?

Pr17:3 The refining pot is for silver & the furnace for gold but Jehovah tests hearts (Mt Henry)
Ps 66:10-note For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.Spurgeon) (cf Isa 48:10 Spurgeon) (Job 23:10)

For additional insight on the "thorny" topic of tests, see Torrey's Topic "Afflictions Can Be Beneficial"

Other times of testing: Ge 22:1Ex 16:420:20Dt 8:2,1613:3 // Jdg 2:22,3:1,4Ps 81:7-noteJe 9:7,Jas1:3-note1Pe 1:6,7-note

When life gives you lemons make lemonade God's way -

Cry out to 

The beam kills living animals by the millions

Sundays Sort Through

In order to receive the major theme of God’s Glory in the Old and New Testament we must have spiritual eyes and an open heart. Once our eyes are open to the manner in which Father has chosen to make His Glory known, the Scriptures come alive and life takes on new dimensions because Glory and Agape work synergistically.

We know that God’s Glory consists of His hidden attributes: compassion; graciousness; slow to anger; mercy; truth; covenantal faithfulness; forgiveness. For whatever reason, this unfolding of His Person has not been understood as the content of His Glory. These hidden attributes can only be revealed to a hurting world by means of you and me. He has chosen to reveal Himself through His own people. We are His letters, known and read of all men. It is by the replication of His Agape that we are identified as sons of the Father.

Christ shared His Glory with us, but we need to make a careful distinction between the attributes of God that are intended to be communicated for the purpose of restoring the image of God in man as contrasted with the attributes of God that were never designed to be given to man such as uncreated, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal. “It is difficult to express in some languages the concept of he also shared his glory with them. This may be expressed as ‘he gave them part of his majesty,’ ‘he gave them some of the wonderfulness which he had,’ or ‘he caused them to be glorious in some way similar to the way he is glorious.’”

God’s Glory in the Old and New Testament is formed in us in a progressive pattern as shown in this diagram. In Numbers 14:21 Israel has transgressed badly, defeat and embarrassment had come because they had “come short of God’s glory.” In that circumstance and climate of failure, God states His intention with an oath: “as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.”

He uses the phrase “as I live” 26 times in the Old Testament. Similarly, in Isaiah, Israel has failed badly, transgressed the covenant and King Uzziah had died. In the midst of failure comes Father’s similar declaration regarding His glory: “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” His eternal purpose is still in the process of being settled and we progress towards the birth of Christ of Whom it is said in John 1:14, “We beheld His glory.” This glory resident in Christ is imparted to us through the mysterious Seed.

John 14:21 ---> Isaiah 6:3 ---> John 1:14-16 --->Galatians 4:19 ---> Ephesians 3:21 ---> john 17:21

THOUGHTS & QUESTIONS• What does “He also shared His glory with them” mean to you?• In what ways can you see God’s glory as progressive through the Old Testament?
Experiencing this glory leads us to knowing the Father the way He wants to be known. Jesus, as the Lord of the glory, along with the Holy Spirit, takes on the task of teaching us how to continually walk in God’s glory by leading us the way He went—up the Agape Road.

This is what Jesus meant when He said that if we follow Him, He will take us to the Father. God’s glory, as it was shown to Moses on the mountain, is revealed by every action and word of Jesus. When we see Jesus in the Gospels, we see God’s compassion, grace, mercy, truth, faithfulness, and forgiveness walking and talking on the earth.
"Whether its the Mayan calendar, a rough economy, or a fear of zombies, there are people who are currently preparing for the end of the world, coming, like, soon. And they can attract some fringe elements. So maybe those elements are worth a little truck marketing. Yesterday at the Texas State Fair, Chevrolet unveiled a "Black Ops" concept truck that it says will "explore the extremes of preparedness." The truck comes with a vault storage unit, solar power pack, gas masks, gloves, a military first aid kit, a folding shovel, a generator and some rope. Twinkies and guns apparently not included."

The power of "us."
 "Vulnerability management software company Rapid7 has launched an ambitious community project to scan the public Internet, organize the results and share the data with the IT security industry. The brainchild of Metasploit creator HD Moore, the overall goal of Project Sonar is to crowdsource the discovery and reporting of security vulnerabilities of affected software and hardware vendors.

 'If we try to parse the data sets ourselves, even with a team of 30 people, it would take multiple years just to figure out the vulnerabilities in the data set. It's ridiculous, really,' Moore said in an interview with SecurityWeek. To start, Rapid7 has released about 3 terabytes of raw data generated from scans across public Internet-facing systems.

 The data sets relate to IPv4 TCP banners & UDP probe replies, IPv4 Reverse DNS PTR records and IPv4 SSL Certificates. Moore's team also listed a set of tools used to generate the data sets. They include ZMap, an Internet-scale scanner developed at he University of Michigan; UDPBlast, a stand-alone UDP scanning utility; and MASSCAN, an Errata Security tool that claims to scan the entire IPv4 internet in three seconds."

We are/want omnisicence!
 "The New York Times is reporting on yet another NSA revelation: for the last three years, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans' social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.

 'The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such "enrichment" data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.' 

In a memorandum, NSA analysts were 'told that they could trace the contacts of Americans as long as they cited a foreign intelligence justification.' 'That could include anything from ties to terrorism, weapons proliferation or international drug smuggling to spying on conversations of foreign politicians, business figures or activists. Analysts were warned to follow existing "minimization rules," which prohibit the NSA from sharing with other agencies names and other details of Americans whose communications are collected, unless they are necessary to understand foreign intelligence reports or there is evidence of a crime.

 The agency is required to obtain a warrant from the intelligence court to target a "U.S. person" — a citizen or legal resident — for actual eavesdropping.'"

"A sensor previously used for military operations can now be tuned to secretly locate and record any single conversation on a busy street. [A] Dutch acoustics firm, Microflown Technologies, has developed a matchstick-sized sensor that can pinpoint and record a target's conversations from a distance. Known as an acoustic vector sensor, Microflown's sensor measures the movement of air, disturbed by sound waves, to almost instantly locate where a sound originated. It can then identify the noise and, if required, transmit it live to waiting ears. Security technologist Bruce Schneier says this new capability is unwelcome – particularly given the recent claims about the NSA's success at tapping into our private lives. 'It's not just this one technology that's the problem,' Schneier says. 'It's the mic plus the drones, plus the signal processing, plus voice recognition.'"

You could be a person tracked. Just posting this could be cause for tracking...
"With the U.S. trying to understand the domestic role of their foreign intelligence and counterintelligence services in 2013, what can a declassified look back into the 1960s and 1970s add to the ongoing legal debate? Welcome to the world of Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel and the work done by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Read how prominent anti-war critics and U.S. senators were tracked, and who was on the late-1960s NSA watch list, from Rev. Martin Luther King to civil rights leader Whitney Young, boxer Muhammad Ali, Tom Wicker, the Washington bureau chief and Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald, and Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.). The NSA was aware of the legality of its work and removed all logos or classification markings, using the term 'For Background Use Only.' Even back then, NSA director at the time, Lew Allen noted: "appeared to be a possible violation of constitutional guarantees" (from page 86 of this PDF). What did the NSA think about signals intelligence sites in your country? See if your country makes the 'indefinite' list on page 392."

 The hottest, stealthiest social network won’t be found in any Silicon Valley incubator. It’s up and running. And you may already be a member.

This need to know everything about us is spreading like a cancer through our society.
 "Pay-as-you-drive programs are all the rage in the auto insurance industry. The (voluntary) programs, like Progressive Insurance's Snapshot use onboard monitoring devices to track information like the speed of the automobile, sudden stops, distance traveled and so on. 

Safe and infrequent drivers might see their rates drop while customers who log thousands of miles behind the wheel and/or drive recklessly would see their insurance rates rise. GPS data isn't generally collected, and insurance companies promise customers that they're not tracking their movement. 

No matter. A study (PDF) by researchers at the University of Denver claims that the destination of a journey can be derived by combining knowledge of the trip's origin with the metrics collected by the 'pay-as-you-drive' device. The data points collected by these remote sensing devices are what the researchers call 'quasi-identifiers' – attributes that are 'non-identifying by themselves, but can be used to unique identify individuals when used in combination with other data.'

 In one example, researchers used a strategy they called 'stop-point matching,' to compare the pattern of vehicle stop points from a known origin with various route options. They found that in areas with irregular street layouts (i.e. 'not Manhattan'), the pattern will be more or less unique for any location. The study raises important data privacy questions for the (many) 'pay-as-you-drive' programs now being piloted, or offered to drivers – not to mention other programs that seek to match remote sensors and realtime monitoring with products and services."

 The world is advancing at an ever increasing rate when it comes to ability to understand other languages...
"Tomas Mikolov and others at Google have developed a simple means of translating between languages using a large corpus of sample texts. Rather than being defined by humans, words are characterized based on their relation to other words. For example, in any language, a word like 'cat' will have a particular relationship to words like 'small,' 'furry,' 'pet,' etc. The set of relationships of words in a language can be described as a vector space, and words from one language can be translated into words in another language by identifying the mapping between their two vector spaces. The technique works even for very dissimilar languages, and is presently being used to refine and identify mistakes in existing translation dictionaries." 

Quite a few years ago I heard of a joint forces exercise out in the ocean adjacent to Camp Pendelton in Oceanside California.  
There were Navy ships with no humans on board. There were Airforce jets with no humans on board. This was a mock war with no human present other than through cams and remote sensing apparatus. Everything was being controlled remotely from the base.

 Now civilians are doing it...
 "'Scout,' a 4-meter-long autonomous boat built by a group of young DIYers, is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It is traveling from Rhode Island, where it launched on 24 August, to Spain, where all being well it will arrive in a few months' time. Scout has now gone about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) of its planned 3,700-mile (5,900 kilometer) journey. Should it complete this voyage successfully, its passage will arguably belong in the history books."

This reeks of nefarious activity. How do you rid your nation of drug abusers? Experts are saying that this drug has migrated from Russia. You draw your own conclusions.
"Having spent the last decade wreaking havoc in Russia, a flesh-eating drug called Krokodil has arrived in Arizona, reports Eliza Gray at Time Magazine. The Banner Poison Control Center has reported the first two users of the drug which makes user's skin scaly and green before it rots away [Warning: Graphic Images]. Made of codeine, a painkiller often used in cough syrup, and a mix of other materials including gasoline, paint thinner, and alcohol, Krokodil become popular in Russia because it costs 20 times less than heroin and can be made easily at home. Also known as Desomorphine, Krokodil has sedative and analgesic effects, and is around 8-10 times more potent than morphine. When the drug is injected, it rots the skin by rupturing blood vessels, causing the tissue to die. As a result, the skin hardens and rots, sometimes even falling off to expose the bone. 'These people are the ultimate in self-destructive drug addiction,' says Dr. Ellen Marmur. 'Once you are an addict at this level, any rational thinking doesn't apply.' The average life span of a Krokodil user is two to three years, according to a 2011 TIME investigation of the drug's prevalence in Russia."

Silicon Valley is getting all excited again, in its Silicon Valleyish way, about the future of how we pay for things. The specific cause of excitement, this week, is the news that Richard Branson has made an investment in Clinkle, a mysterious startup that promises to revolutionise payments in some unspecified way, possibly by letting people send money from smartphone to smartphone using sound. (The company just put out a really strange advertisement that fails to clear things up.)
But predictions about the coming End of Cash have been around for years, growing louder since the arrival of contactless payment, of Square, and of Bitcoin. The other day, research from Tufts University gave the cause a new boost: cash, it revealed, costs US consumers, businesses and governments more than $200bn annually in everything from ATM fees and theft to lost tax revenue. Oh, and it helps spread disease. Could it be time, wondered Tim Fernholz at Quartz, to give up on cash entirely? The cashless society is coming!

Friday, September 27, 2013

The problem is that there is nothing common about common sense – its the rarest of commoditie

Finally Friday Fingerfinds Tapped Here

 They call it "Prism" when "They" wiretap everyone without our consent and they figure it is ok to do it to all of us. But they forbid anyone else from doing the same thing...
"In a declaration that could make Google very nervous, a U.S. federal judge on Thursday rebuffed Google's defense of its targeted ad system that scans the content of Gmail. Judge Lucy Koh — who also heard the Apple-Samsung case — found Google's terms and conditions and privacy policy isn't clear to users. Koh subsequently allowed a class-action suit to proceed against the company (official ruling). The plaintiffs in the suit allege Google violates federal and state wiretap laws by scannning the messages sent by non-Gmail and Gmail users."

 "What do you do with old public phone boxes hardly anyone uses? Convert them into a national network of WiFi hotspots is the answer in New Zealand. While others have converted their old phone booths into libraries, toilets, showers and even smoking booths, in New Zealand 700 hotspots will be live by 7 October with a target of 2000 by the middle of 2014. 1Gb of data will be free to customers of the incumbent operator, others have to pay for monthly access."

 "The New York times reports that the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Vice Chairman, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), are moving a bill forward that would 'change but preserve' the controversial NSA phone log program

Senator Feinstein believes the program is legal, but wants to improve public confidence. The bill would reduce the time the logs could be kept, require public reports on how often it is used, and require FISA court review of the numbers searched. 

 The bill would require Senate confirmation of the NSA director. It would also give the NSA a one week grace period in applying for permission from a court to continue surveillance of someone that travels from overseas to the United States. The situation created by someone traveling from overseas to the United States has been the source of the largest number of incidents in the US in which NSA's surveillance rules were not properly complied with. The rival bill offered by Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Udall (D-CO) which imposes tougher restrictions is considered less likely to pass."

Just a reminder that there's a THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD RUINED CITY in Missouri--the size of contemporary London.

 Early last week, I returned to the Toronto area after attending my second Burning Man — an annual countercultural festival set in Nevada's remote Black Rock Desert. Here’s the story of my remarkable trip — in photos.
 Chemtrail spraying geo~egineering of nano~particles is not factored in...

So...you like doing drugs? Well what if you did not know the drug you were given will destroy your flesh right off the bone? Would you continue to take that chance? Someone has created a drug that is highly addictive that will destroy the user. 
Krokodil, a highly addictive designer drug that aggressively eats through flesh, has reportedly arrived in the United States. Apocalypse Zombie Rising Soon?

"Wherever the drug is injected, the skin turns green and scaly, showing symptoms of gangrene. In severe cases, the skin rots away completely revealing the bone beneath. Other permanent effects of the drug include speech impediments and erratic movement. Rotting flesh, jerky movements, and speech troubles have prompted media outlets to tag krokodil the "zombie drug." According toTime, the average user of krokodil only lives two or three years, and "the few who manage to quit usually come away disfigured." Quitting is its own nasty business. Heroin withdrawal symptoms last about a week; symptoms for krokodil withdrawal can last over a month."

Hot Guitar Solo History In Six Minutes? The first thing that comes to mind is, "This guy is good, sign him up for our band!"

The hottest today?

IOS 7 Is Reportedly Making People Sick. No really!

Jerry Mathers

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER: He was 9 years old when the show premiered in 1957. It ended in 1963, and he later joined the Air National Guard and went to college. Now 65, Mathers is happy that he’s still being linked to the Beaver: "I can go anywhere in the world, and people know me."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I feel that I left a bit undone in my last message, so I'd like to 'touch it up' some..... I left an important question unanswered-

 "So how do we deal with all of this, both individually, and as the Body of Christ, in a practical, day to day manner?"

Referring to the problem of 'indwelling sin'. The problem is that we still see sin as something that we 'go out and do'. That's why it's so easy to 'see sin' in others. You see, some sins are more difficult to 'keep under wraps', as it were, than others, and we tend to take advantage of other believers who's sins seem more visible than our own.

 We also tend to define sin to our own advantage- you know, "Well, I may gossip a bit, but at least I don't go out and drink, like sister so and so does". Or, "you mean Bill is a Christian? Are you kidding? He's such a jerk!" (Shades of the self-righteous Pharasee in Luke 18). We also like to 'grade' sins, with our own not being quite as bad as others', but while we grade SINS, we cannot grade SIN, can we? And why not? Because we've got everything turned around.

As Billy Graham once said it, "We're not sinners because we sin, we sin because we're sinners." The Church has got to understand that sin is not simply something that we do. Rather, sin is a condition that we're all born into- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)..."For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all" (Romans 11:32).

Now, we claim to know this truth, but if we would really let it sink deep into our soul, we'd be much less inclined to pounce on others for THEIR sins, wouldn't we? Only when we can see that we are all in the same boat in terms of the sin issue, can we truly be instruments of healing in the Lord's hands.

Let's simply agree with God and realize that we are all sinners, that He nonetheless loves all of us very deeply, and has a glorious plan for each of our lives, if we would but believe Him. Our spiritual insecurities will vanish when we look at ourselves as God sees us, we will be willing to go where He leads us, and we'll encourage other Christians to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, and to be all that THEY were called to be as well.

 No jealousy here- We'll want all that God has for our own life, not someone else's! Churchianity will become a thing of the past- replaced by genuine agape love that only comes from our Holy God, and true Christianity will be evident to all who observe us, because we'll be REAL. The world of lost sinners will see a people who truly love their Lord, and will actually seek US out for answers to life that they know only a child of God has....

My prayer is that we will all desire to be HIS completely, and that we, as a body, would love one another. We can then go out and love the lost into the Kingdom. That, beloved, is what God has called all of us to.... 1 John 4:7 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God".

Jim Ewing

Jesus Christ is the answer


All that was involved in the judgment of Satan is not stated in Scripture. We do know that he was relieved of his high position; that he lost his nobility, privileges, and glory; that his character became unspeakably despicable, so that he was spoken of by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself as "a liar and the father of it" ( John 8:44). However, he retained access to heaven as an accuser of believers ( Job 1:6; Luke 22:31,32).

It seems evident that in the fall of Satan, many other angels were involved as well. These are described as "the angels which kept not their first estate" ( Jude 6). 

Many Bible teachers believe it is these who are referred to as "the third part of the stars of heaven" (Rev.12:4). This would mean that when Satan was driven from his high position, a third of the angelic host followed him in his rebellion against God and His authority.

Some Bible teachers think that these fallen angels are what are known as demons, who are still under the control of Satan, who do his will and war against the power and authority of God. Others seem to be mentioned as " the angels that sinned...delivered...into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" ( II Pet. 2:4 ).

Three expressions are used to describe the evil spirit beings who are some of Satan's main agents in his warfare against humanity. First, demon ( Greek, diamonion ). This is the primary expression. The second expression used in the New Testament to describe an evil spirit is unclean spirit. The third expression is evil spirit.

There are many demons but only one "devil". The original King James Version regularly translates daimonion as "devil". Diamonion is a derivative of daimon. The refrence to the original Greek indicates that there are two distinct entities: diamon, which is primary, and daimonion which is derivative. 

The english word devil is actually derived from the Greek word diabolos, which has no direct relationship with diamonion. Diabolos means "slanderer". In all but three occurrences in the New Testament, it is a title of Satan himself. In this sense it is used only in singular form. There are many demons but only one devil.

Satan is given this title because his primary activity is to slander- that is, to defame a person's character. First and foremost, Satan defames the character of God Himself. He did this in the Garden of Eden, when he suggested to Adam and Eve that God was not treating them fairly by withholding from them the knowledge of good and evil. Second, Satan defames the character of all those who in any way represent God. This is his primary weapon against the servants of God.

Demons influence people.

Jesus expeled demons from people:

At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demonized. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons, and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him. ( Mark 1:32-34 )

Believers expeled demons from people:

And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed [demonized]; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. ( Acts 8:6-7 )

This is New Testament evangelism: The Gospel is preached and the multitudes hear; they see the miracles and casting out of demons and they believe; they are baptized and the Church is established. A central element is the expelling of demons, which is often accompanied by noisy and disorderly manifestations. Other features of evangelism vary, but this element is central to evangelism as practiced in the New Testament, first by Jesus, then by His disciples.

What are demons? Demons are disembodied spirit beings that have an intense craving to occupy physical bodies. Apparently their first choice is a human body.

Some Bible teachers believe:

1. They are some of the fallen angels associated with Satan in his rebellion against God.

2. They are disembodied spirits of a pre-adamic race that perished under some judgment of God not recorded in detail in Scripture.

Scripture does not provide us with sufficient evidence to say which is correct.

It is believed that the earth was the scene of Lucifers first activity, being, as it were, his headquarters. So, say some scholars, as a result of God's judgment upon the sin of Lucifer, the earth was cursed, too. Those who hold this belief say that this is intimated in the opening statements of the Bible where, after it is told that, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," it is declared that the earth was "without form, and void" ( Gen. 1:1,2 )

It is unthinkable that God would create anything that was imperfect, formless, a desolate waste. His very nature is system and order. He is not the author of confusion. The difficulty is solved in the "substitution of "became" for "was" ( as allowed by the Hebrew), in Genesis 1:2. The thought is thereby conveyed that while the earth originally was created with all the beauty, precision, and perfection characteristic of God, something happened to it. Later, it was changed, possibly due to the fall of Satan.

Let us suppose for a moment that daimonions are spirits that once occupied the bodies of members of some pre-Adamic race who led ungodly and sinful lives. In their present condition, however, they have no way to give expression to the various lusts and passions and emotions they developed in their former bodies. It is conceivable that they could find some kind of vicarious release by acting out their lusts or passions or emotions through human bodies.This would explain one dominant characteristic of demons: their intense craving to inhabit and work through human flesh.

Jesus tells us:

"Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, "I will return to my house from which I came", and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept and put in order." ( Matthew 12:43-44 )

We need to remember that the Bible records only the history of the race descended from Adam. In this connection it uses the phrase sons ( or descendants ) of Adam. It was to redeem the members of this race that Jesus came as "the last Adam" (Corinthinans 15:45). If other races existed before Adam, the Bible makes no explicit reference to them.

It may be that neither of the two theories about demons is correct- that they are neither fallen angels nor disembodied spirits from an earlier race of beings. However demons do exist and they do exert influence over people. Demons manifest themselves through humanity under many diffrent names.

Although the problem of sin is universal, the problem with demons is not. Many members of the human race have come under the power of demons, but not all. There is a close connection between sin and demons. If mankind had never sinned, we would never have been vulnerable to demons.

And the remedy? Expel them. 

Jesus Christ is the answer.

All Sufficiency In Him

We as believers have got to understand the importance of yielding our minds to the will of God, both in terms of allowing Him to use us as He wills, and of simple obedience to the Lord on a day-to-day basis. Now, I'm not referring to any sort of legalism here- I've both seen, and been a victim of that for so many years that I get sick to my stomach at the mere thought of it.....

What I DO want to deal with here is our daily walk with Christ- in the power of the Holy Spirit. If we have problems in this area, it will be difficult to yield our members to Him in order to be used of Him in any significant way.

Read the 119th psalm. David is so desirous of fully following the law of God- verses 35 through 37 read, "MAKE me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for there~in do I delight. INCLINE my heart unto Thy testimonies, and NOT to covetousness. TURN AWAY mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken Thou me in Thy way."

David both craves the Presence and the law of God, and knows just how prone he is, left to his own devices, to wander from the God he so dearly loves.Re-read those words, "MAKE, INCLINE, TURN AWAY"...

He is asking- beseeching the Lord to cause him to look to Him, for he knows what a rascal he is in the flesh, despite God referring to him as "a man after Mine own heart".

This is something we must all learn, if we wish to be used of God- our utter helplessness, and the Lord's all-sufficiency.

Years ago, Phil Keaggy wrote and sang a song-( I don't remember the title, but) it contained the words, "I never had a selfless thought since I was born." When I first heard those lyrics, I thought to myself, "Finally- here's a believer that I can relate to, someone who knows the kind of struggles I go through!" .....
Realizing the importance of looking to Him, and not ourselves, on a daily basis, is so important because we tend, as David knew, to go our own way. When we follow OUR will, we quickly get into trouble. Because we're naturally attracted to the things of the world (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life), and its pull is far too powerful for any person to resist.
 God knows that our ONLY hope is trusting and depending upon Him, and that's what obedience to Him is. 
Once we begin to understand and walk in that truth, God can freely use us by His Spirit as He wills, and isn't that what we all desire in our heart of hearts? May He bring us all to that place!

God bless you.
pastor Jim Ewing

Chosing to forgive or not?

Even the world recognizes that it is important to forgive:

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
It is your choice, which side of these issues you will you be on. God does not make puppets, He makes people. People with a free moral agency who are expected to make choices. Life is choices and consequences of those choices.
 Have You Been Offended By Others?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Night Hen Pecks

"Microsoft has unveiled both the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, updating the former with a Tegra 4 processor and the latter with a new Haswell chip. Among the additional improvements are a more comfortable kickstand with two height settings, 1080p displays for both devices, USB 3.0 support, better battery life, and a higher resolution camera. Pricing for the 32GB Surface without a Touch or Type Cover is set at $449"

Complacent humans file.
 "Bruce Schneier writes that lots of people discount the seriousness of the NSA's actions by saying that it's just metadata — after all the NSA isn't really listening in on everybody's calls — they're just keeping track of who you call. 'Imagine you hired a detective to eavesdrop on someone,' writes Schneier. 'He might plant a bug in their office. He might tap their phone.' That's the data. 'Now imagine you hired that same detective to surveil that person. The result would be details of what he did: where he went, who he talked to, what he looked at, what he purchased — how he spent his day. That's all metadata.' When the government collects metadata on the entire country, they put everyone under surveillance says Schneier. 'Metadata equals surveillance; it's that simple.'"

 Big Brother is concerned...
"With an eye toward letting drones share the nation's common airspace, the Air Force has set out to find the technology that will let unmanned aircraft sense and avoid other airplanes in flight. The ability to sense and avoid — common on all manned aircraft that fly the national airspace — is one of the trickier issues for drones which do not support such technology. It will be a major hurdle to jump as drone vendors and others press for common drone access to national airspace."

They are relentless...
 "In a recent 56-page decision (PDF) in Capitol Records v. Vimeo, LLC, a federal court in Manhattan found Vimeo to be covered by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, rejecting Capitol Records' arguments that it was not entitled to the statute's "safe harbor". However, Vimeo is not yet out of the woods in this particular case, as the Court found factual issues — requiring a trial — as to 10 of the videos on the question of whether they were uploaded at the direction of Vimeo users, and as to 55 of the videos whether Vimeo had actual knowledge, or red flag knowledge, as the existence of an infringement."

 The juice of green vegetables when ingested will boost your immune system.
  "Scientists say they used the pandemic as a 'natural experiment' to discover how the body's immune system builds resistance to the flu. The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, showed how certain immune cells helped some avoid the severe illness. 'Our findings suggest that by making the body produce more of this specific type of CD8 T cell, you can protect people against symptomatic illness,' said study leader Professor Ajit Lalvani, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, in a statement. 'This provides the blueprint for developing a universal flu vaccine.'"

Every now and then I come across a link on this blog that no longer goes where it used to go...
 "Hyperlinks are not forever. Link rot occurs when a source you've linked to no longer exists — or worse, exists in a different state than when the link was originally made. Even permalinks aren't necessarily permanent if a domain goes silent or switches ownership. According to new research from Harvard Law, some 49% of hyperlinks in Supreme Court documents no longer point to the correct original content. A second study on link rot from Yale stresses that for the Court footnotes, citations, parenthetical asides, and historical context mean as much as the text of an opinion itself, which makes link rot a threat to future scholarship."

 Having grown up in the "hippie Generation" I have always been intrigued by the Burning man annual Birthday party event in the high desert of Nevada.
 Bennett Haselton writes:
 "While nothing can really 'prepare' you for your first time at Burning Man, there are a few simple steps that can eliminate a lot of the stress. Unfortunately it can be hard to get information out of the 10-year veterans about how to do things the easy way (some of them probably view the 'easy way' as 'ruining the whole point'). So here's some advice instead from someone who just got back from their first time, and who likes to take the path of least resistance."

 Keep reading for the rest of Bennett's Burning Man advice.
If you get nothing else out of this article:

  • You can fly to Reno Airport and take the Burner Express shuttle to Burning Man, instead of driving.
  • You can rent a bike from one of the other camps at Burning Man rather than bringing one yourself. (Bringing one might be the easier option if you're driving there, but not if you're flying.)
  • You can pay dues to a camp that will provide food, water, camping space, a place to store your trash (if you didn't know, there are no communal trash dumpsters at Burning Man), sometimes electricity, and sometimes access to a shower, rather than trying to arrange for all of those things yourself.
  • If you just need space for one person to sleep, you can buy and bring a single-occupancy tent. You don't need to build a home-made shade structure out of PVC and tarp.
  • If you have lower-than-average heat tolerance, buy ice from the ice vendors to make your own ice water, and carry a water spray bottle.
These points should be taken in conjunction with a more comprehensive guide to preparing and packing; I'm not writing a full guide to getting ready for Burning Man. These just happen to be the points where I wasted the most time going down the wrong path during preparation, taking advice too literally from the BurningMan.com website and/or grizzled veterans who thought that you honor the event's heritage by doing things the hard way, before realizing there was a much easier option. (I would have liked it, for example, if the Burning Man website had told me you can just rent a bike once you get there, instead of pointing me to a long list of other options that are much more hassle.)

Generally speaking, for more details on how to prepare, you should talk to someone who has been before -- but it's has to be someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously and will give genuinely usable advice. We all know people who give you the kind of advice that you can actually use because it closely corresponds with what people actually do; and we also all know people who give you the kind of advice designed to "make a man out of you" (regardless of gender) by steering you through an ordeal that will make you appreciate how hard they had to work, but which may not actually be useful. Burning Man attracts a disproportionate number of people from the second category, but you need to find and talk to someone from the first group.

In particular, one lesson learned the hard way: Do not ask a male Burning Man veteran how to do something, in front of a girl that they might be trying to have sex with later. Because you'll get an answer designed to impress her, not to help you -- something along the lines of hunting your own deer with a crossbow and then using the bones to construct a tent frame across which you stretch the fresh deer skin for shelter.

All right, I'm exaggerating, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that the first three people I asked about what kind of tent and shade structure I needed to bring, all of them suggested following directions from the Internet about how to build your own from PVC pipe and tarp from Home Depot, or how to build something called a Hexayurt. (Seriously, the Hexayurt sounds like an honest-to-God brilliant idea, but is kind of overkill, and realistically eliminated as an option if you're flying to Burning Man.) Really, you can get buy with a storebought tent.

A few other meta-points about how I got this information:

  • I'm sure some people think that making it "easy" for people to survive at Burning Man will ruin it for the veterans, but I think that the less time you have to worry about practical details (such as your week's food supply running low or your home-made tent blowing over in the wind), the more time you can spend actually participating. I'm writing this because I had a good time, and I'd like to make it easier for other people to go, and once they get there, to have more time to contribute using whatever special skill they happened to bring with them.
  • I'm erring on the side of paying a little bit more money for a little bit less hassle.
  • Notwithstanding the foregoing, I consider these fallback options which cost a little more money but are guaranteed to work -- for example, pre-paying to rent a bicycle at the event. If you know someone who can bring a bicycle for you in their truck, great; but you have to find someone who is driving there, who has room in their truck, who is willing to do you a favor or let you reimburse them, who is not going to flake out and sell their ticket at the last minute, etc. I've always found that when you are looking for cheaper alternatives, it's a lot less stressful if you have a more expensive option you can fall back on, that you know will definitely work if the cheaper options fall through.
So, back to my list:

You can fly to Reno Airport and take the Burner Express shuttle to Burning Man, instead of driving.
Now I did say that most of my "simplifying strategies" were hard to find through the official channels, but this is an exception to that general rule, in that this option actually is promoted prominently on the BurningMan.com website, not least because the Burner Express shuttle service is operated by the corporation that runs Burning Man. The Burner Express shuttle costs $60 each way and runs from the Reno Airport to Burning Man, allowing you to get from the airport to the event without having to rent a car or coordinate a ride. That might sound expensive if you were planning to rideshare from the airport for free, but you also get to bypass a five-hour line of cars waiting to get in to Burning Man through the entrance gate, and bypass another five-hour line again on the way out.

That works out to paying about $12 an hour to avoid sitting in a line full of hot cars, which sounds worth it to me. (There is also a Burner Express shuttle that runs from San Francisco to Burning Man.)
The major constraint that this creates is that you have to fit everything you're bringing into two suitcases per person, which is the maximum allowed by Burner Express, unless you pay extra to bring a third suitcase. (That's still plenty of space, but it does rule out things like the hexayurt.)

 You can use the extra-large luggage allowance to pay to bring a bicycle on the Burner Express bus, but that means you have to somehow get your hands on a bicycle at the beginning of the bus ride. That's not easy, since you would either have to leave Reno Airport, rent a bike somewhere in the city, and bring it back to the airport before the bus leaves -- or else fly with your own bike on the plane to Reno Airport, which is expensive.

Which leads to the next simplifying strategy:
You can rent a bike from one of the other camps at Burning Man rather than bringing one yourself.
I rented mine from Playa Bike Repair camp for $200. If I'd reserved it earlier it would have been $150. (I don't know how many camps there are that rent bicycles to burners, but Hammer and Cyclery is at least one other one.)

This was the one point on which I wished the BurningMan.com website had pointed me in the right direction and saved me a lot of aggravating time chasing dead ends, since their website has three separate pages about bikes at Burning Man -- what kind to bring, where to get them, how to transport them, how to return them -- without mentioning the option of renting them from other camps. (This seems like such a big omission, that it made me wonder if part of BurningMan.com shouldn't be organized as a wiki, so that users can submit edits if the organization doesn't have time to maintain it.

A link to the bike rental camps, is exactly the kind of thing that probably would have been added to a page about "bicycles at Burning Man", if it had been wikified.)

The Burning Man website does link to places you can rent a bike in Reno -- some of which are much cheaper than the $200 to rent from Playa Bike Repair -- but they were all booked out by the time I started looking a few weeks before the event. Also, if you're flying in to Reno and renting a bike from a shop there, you'd have to figure out how, after you arrive at the airport, you're going to go and pick up the bike to bring it back to the airport before the Burner Express bus leaves. All more reasons why I figured a bike rental camp was much simpler.

You do have to pre-arrange and pre-pay for a rental from a bike rental camp. Playa Bike Repair had no walk-up rentals available at the event, and I doubt the other bike rental camps would either, since they have to know in advance how many bikes to bring with them, based on reservations.

And speaking of Playa Bike Repair camp --
You can pay dues to a camp that will provide food, water, camping space, a place to store your trash (if you didn't know, there are no communal trash dumpsters at Burning Man), and sometimes access to a shower, rather than trying to arrange for all of those things yourself.
"Camps" at Burning Man are groups of campers who often pool their resources so that, for example, one person can drive in with a truck carrying a week's worth of food for everyone, instead of everyone bringing in their own food. Some camps have consisted of the same group of friends for many years and have completely closed their membership, so that even close friends of the existing members can't join. Others outright sell camp memberships to the general public.

 (My camp was in the middle of the open-ness spectrum; it wasn't open to the public, but two of the campers were guys that I had met a few times, so I got in by paying $200 and doing a share of the camp chores.)

One Burning Man participant, who had done more research than I did on the types of camp memberships that were open to the public, said that they varied widely in the value they offered for the dollar -- some charged up to $300 for almost nothing, while others charged under $100 for everything including food, water, and showers.

 He said that in order to find a suitable camp, he wrote up a "Burner Resume" describing his skills, and contacted various camps while putting out a request on the Burning Man forums. You might find some sweet deals that way, expanding your options beyond those camps which straightforwardly sell memberships to the public through a shopping cart interface right on their website.
Playa Bike Repair is in fact one camp that sells public memberships and gives you a discount on your loaner bike if you camp with them. (But read the fine print; they also ask you to work four 4-hour shifts (16 hours total) for the camp during the week.)

I can't vouch for any specific camp that has open membership; I'm just saying that as a general strategy, it's probably easier to pay money into a camp that will take care of these details for you, rather than worrying about everything yourself.

If you just need space for one person to sleep, all you need is a single-occupancy tent.
Originally, after reading the Burning Man Survival Guide for 2013, I was under the impression that you needed to bring a shade structure to the desert in addition to your tent. Basically, they recommend a tent to protect you from the elements, and then a separate layer on top of that to cast a shadow over the tent, to prevent overheating. (Obviously, the opaque fabric of the tent already creates "shade" inside, but if the tent is directly in the sun, the air trapped inside the tent will heat up like an oven.

So you need a second layer above the tent, to create shade while still allowing the air to circulate between the roof of the tent chamber, and whatever is above it casting the shadow.) And this is where I got a lot of Bear Grylls types telling me how to build my own shade structure out of PVC pipe and tarp.

It's probably simpler than that. Basically:
  • If you're sleeping in a single-occupancy tent and you won't be sleeping in it during the day, a regular camping tent is fine.
  • On the other hand, if you might be sleeping or resting in your tent during the day, you'll likely want a tent that has a built-in shade canopy, or a separate shade structure.
  • In either case, you should anchor it to the ground using rebar, rather than the stakes that come with the tent or the shade structure.
  • But, in neither case do you need to build anything yourself out of PVC and tarp, unless you really want to save money. You can get tents and shade structures at REI or Sports Authority, and I think it's worth it to have one more thing that is built by professionals and that much less likely to have something go wrong with it.
Now here's where I may have gotten away with an easy approach because of my particular circumstances. Originally I brought a 12-foot-square shade structure that I had planned to set up over my tent. But I either caught a cold on the plane to Reno, or was hit with dust allergies as soon as I got to Burning Man (I still don't know which), so I was taking heavy doses of Benadryl every evening. And that meant I was usually out cold by midnight, and that meant I was usually up by 8 am the next morning and well out of my tent before the sun started heating up the trapped air inside. So I didn't even need my shade structure and never set it up.

On the other hand, if you plan on sleeping or resting in your tent during in the day, then you probably need shade. You can buy tents which have an extra layer of fabric separate from the roof of the tent, to let the air circulate while still providing shade, or you can get a separate shade structure. Most experienced burners say that an EZ-UP shade structure is not suitable because it can be too flimsy and likely to blow away in high winds; a burner in your city can help you find a sturdier shade structure that you can buy.

Remember, a flimsy tent or shade structure might merely be crumpled by high winds, so it's up to you if you want to take that chance. A tent or shade structure that is improperly secured, however, creates a hazard to other people, so it's your obligation to other burners to make sure your tent or shade structure stays attached to the ground, whether it crumples or not. That's why you should use rebar instead of the standard stakes which come with the tent (which are too short to anchor securely in the desert sand), and then cover the cops of the rebar with bottlecaps or tennis balls so that people won't impale themselves if they trip and fall onto one of the stakes.

One final note on that: I didn't set up my shade structure, but I did bring an electric fan that I turned on full blast to circulate the air in and out of my tent the one morning that I did sleep in for a bit. If your camp provides electricity to plug in a fan, that may work just a well for you, and be a lot simpler than a separate shade structure.

If you have lower-than-average heat tolerance, buy ice from the ice vendors to make your own ice water, and carry a water spray bottle. 
Bags of ice are one of the few things that are sold at Burning Man, by the event organizers. Most days I would go to the ice vendors and buy my own 10-lb bag of crushed ice, bike back to the camp with it in my backpack, and empty it into my plastic water jugs. This got me only about two hours' worth of ice-cold water, before the ice was all melted -- but during the two hottest hours in the middle of the day, I considered it to be well worth it.

 On my definite packing list for next year: a cooler (small enough to fit in a suitcase) which I can use to store my own private ice supply and make it last all day, and a thermos to carry around ice water and keep it cold for as long as possible. (Almost everyone I saw was drinking lukewarm water from a camelbak or simple water bottle instead of a thermos; I'd gladly spend the extra 10 seconds screwing and unscrewing the thermos, to get ice-cold water instead of room-temperature. Besides, for hydration purposes, cold water is better for you.)

A water spray bottle, besides being a good way to deal with the heat, can also function as an icebreaker -- I didn't bring my own spray bottle, but many times I walked past strangers who said Hi and gave me a nice misting with water, sometimes scented with a flavor like lavender. Surprisingly, given how refreshing the spray bottles are, most people seemed not to have one, so everyone was always happy to see the person who had the spray bottle. Everyone at Burning Man is expected to contribute one way or another, and if you don't know how to juggle flaming chainsaws and you don't have boobs that you can walk around exposing everywhere, carrying around a bottle to mist people with is quite sufficient.

Of course spray bottles are not the only resource you can share for the benefit of the community. Next to every row of porta-potties distributed throughout the city at Burning Man, there was a wooden stake in the ground with two with two hand sanitizer dispensers attached to it, but the dispensers were almost always empty when I tried to use them, so I started carrying around my own hand sanitizer bottle.

 On my last morning there, since my personal hand sanitizer bottle was still 80% full, and since I had just spent a week snarfing up every piece of free food that was offered to me, I figured the least I could do was to stand by the hand sanitizer post for a few minutes and offer free hand sanitizer to anyone who wanted it, after they discovered that the official dispensers were empty. Nice way to give back to the community and say Hi to a few people, although not a great way to pick up the ladies since you're meeting them in the context of helping them wipe off bacteria from their own s--t.

 Have fun!