I’ve not been posting much, and that won’t change until sometime in mid-August. We have been in 17 states in the past eight weeks (all by automobile), visiting supporters, supporting churches, family, and friends. Most of the time we have had dial-up internet access, or no access at all. We have plane tickets to return to Bucharest, Romania on August 9th, and I hope to get back to regular blogging sometime soon after that.
Thank you to all who faithfully pray for us and support us financially in our work with the Evangelical Free Church of America International Mission at Bucharest Christian Academy.
Grace and Peace
Next time you are in Big Timber, Montana, stop at the Country Skillet Restaurant, where the back side of the dessert menu has a “Periodic Table of Desserts.”
Click on image to see details
Grace and Peace
As I reported earlier, bird droppings survived the July 4th launch of the space shuttle Discovery. It turns out that they survived the fiery re-entry as well! My oldest son suggests that perhaps NASA should start making their heat-resistant tiles out of bird droppings instead.
Grace and Peace
I was blessed today by being stranded while our minivan was in the repair shop. Being that we have only one car, I had no easy way to get “home” (we are staying with a family until we return to Romania and don’t really have a home) so I spent the day at the public library and Taco Bell. Just me, my Bible and journal, along with tacos and pintos ‘n cheese. How could this possibly be blessing? I was forced, by the grace of God, into having a long overdue personal retreat day: a day of reflection, prayer, planning, and extra time in the Word.
Here part of my entry from my journal for today:
I just looked over my “life goals,” which I wrote as part of my 2005 New Years Day evaluation and planning time. My life goals were (and still are):
- To follow Jesus.
- To love my wife as Christ loves the church.
- To raise my children as followers of Christ.
- To be used to build and expand the church.
- To be an effective science teacher, with broad and deep impact in students’ lives.
Numbers one and four apply to all believers, at all stages of their lives. The practical outworking of these may vary from person to person, but the calls to follow and serve are universal.
Number two—to love my wife—will be a high priority as long as we both live. The same with number three—raising my children—though my role will change as they mature and leave home.
Number five is a variable: it obviously isn’t for most, and it could change at some point in my life. But that is my vocation for now, and I want to serve the Lord with excellence in this.
All other goals in my life are subsets of these five goals. My life goals can be summed up as To live a disciplined, loving, God-centered and others-centered life. This statement flows out of the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).
Grace and Peace
For the first time scientists have observed in real-time evolutionary changes in one species driven by competition for resources from another.
In a mere two decades, one of Charles Darwin’s finch species, Geospiza fortis, reduced its beak size to better equip itself to consume small sized seeds, scientists report in the July 14 issue of the journal Science.
The finch once had its own kingdom on the Galapagos Island of Daphne Major. It had its pick of seeds to eat. But the arrival of another species of finch about 20 years ago, and additional food competition from a drought on the island in 2003, changed everything.
Here are a few observations:
- This is not the first time that natural selection has been observed among the famous finches on the Galapagos Islands. Finch beak sizes have been observed to change from year to year with variations in rainfall. What is significant this time is the competition between species that was involved.
- This demonstrates microevolution, but doesn’t demonstrate macroevolution. I’m not even saying that there is no such thing as macroevolution, only that this does not prove in any way the concept that micro + micro + micro + micro… = macro.
- This will be, in my mind, a non-issue in the creation/evolution/ID debates. As far as I know, none of the young-earth creationist organizations would dispute that this type of natural selection and microevolution occur.
Grace and Peace
NASA has videos of the July 4th launch of the space shuttle Discovery. Links can be found at
An interesting note: bird droppings survived the launch (but are unlikely to survive the fiery reentry). An interesting astrobiological investigation would be to take a sample of those in space, and to see if any bacteria survived. Astrobiologists have speculated that some bacteria might be able to endure long periods of time in space, such as on a meteor traveling from Mars to Earth, or vice versa.
Space shuttle Discovery with external fuel tank
Bird droppings on space shuttle Discovery
Images from NASA
Grace and peace
Shirley and I recently attended the Evangelical Free Church of America Leadership Conference in Denver, and were greatly encouraged.
- The teaching was excellent, with a focus on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we ever lose this focus on what Christ has done for us by his life, death, and resurrection, we will be in serious trouble.
- We were also blessed by the worship—a mix of contemporary songs and hymns—mostly centered on what Christ does for us rather than what we do for him.
- The fellowship was good. We saw people we know from a number of countries as well as from a number of churches.
- The time together as a couple was good as well. Shirley and I visited most of the way from Denver to Billings, Montana, sharing insights from seminars, the Word, and reading from a book I purchased.
We have been able to relax some while on our working vacation in Montana. This photo is of the glacial valley of Rock Creek, near Red Lodge in the Beartooth Mountains. This is a classic U-shaped glacial valley, featured in many introductory Earth Science textbooks (though usually from a different location). Note the hanging valley near the center of the image, where a smaller glacier joined with the the larger glacier. The Precambrian metamorphic rocks in this area are among the oldest on the earth, dated to over three billion years old by geologists.
We got to this location by mountain bike. Being on the edge of the almost million-acre Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, we had the valley mostly to ourselves.
Image © Kevin Nelstead
Grace and Peace
I noticed posts on several Christian sites today regarding a group that claims they have discovered Noah’s Ark in Iran. For example, World Magazine Blog had a post that said:
A group of Christian archaeologists have discovered what they believe could be the remains of Noah’s Ark. Climbing 13,000 feet up a mountain in Iran’s Elburz range, a team from the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute came across something that appeared to be made of wood and of a similar size and scale to what is described in the Bible. “We got up to this object, nestled in the side of a hill,” said Robert Cornuke of the BASE Institute. “We found something that has my heart skipping a beat.”
Here are my initial thoughts on this:
First, something positive. If it still exists, Noah’s Ark could be anywhere in the Mountains of Ararat—a large region that includes parts of Turkey, Armenia, Iran, and Iraq. Most of the searches for Noah’s Ark have focused on Mount Ararat itself.
Overall, however, I’m extremely skeptical of this claim.
First, look at the make up of the “research” team:
“Led by explorer, adventurer, and featured Worldview Weekend speaker Dr. Bob Cornuke, a fourteen man crew returned this week from Iran bearing stunning evidence that theirs is the long-anticipated even coveted discovery of the remains of Noah’s Ark. Bob’s team consisted of a Who’s Who of business, law, and ministry leaders including Barry Rand (former CEO of Avis), the author and Christian apologist Josh McDowell, Frank Turek (co-author with Norm Geisler of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist), Boone Powell (former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems), and Arch Bonnema (president of Joshua Financial).” (Quote from www.arkfever.com)
The research team (a “Who’s who of business, law, and ministry leaders”) included:
- A former police officer (“Dr.” Bob Cornuke. According to Wikipedia, “He apparently has no formal training in archaeology or any accredited higher education degrees.”
- The former CEO of Avis
- The former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems
- The president of Joshua Financial
- Josh McDowell (whom I respect, but I don’t think he’s qualified)
Where is the geologist? Where is the archeologist? Where is a scientist of any kind? Do any of the team members have the slightest idea what they are doing? Are they qualified to make the field observations regarding the rocks they claim are the remains of the Ark, or the relationship of these rocks to the surrounding rocks? Can these guys tell the difference between a natural formation and a man-made artifact? I doubt it.
They said “it looks like petrified wood.” Well, was it petrified wood, or wasn’t it? A geologist or archeologist would have been able to tell on the spot. They did bring some samples back with them, and a geologist commented that “the object appears to be a basalt dike” (Basalt is an igneous rock; one formed by the cooling of molten material). I strongly suspect that this is all it is.
The article at www.arkfever.com has some very unconvincing photographs.
The Bible is the Word of God. We don’t need this kind of pseudo-apologetics to support it. Unfortunately, many Christians have already looked at this report as evidence for the truthfulness of Scriptures. One risk of this, as I have said before, is that we set up our children and others in our churches for a fall when we provide them with this sort of “apologetics.” If they finally see that this “research” is faulty, they could throw out their faith in Christ as well.
Grace and Peace