The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Bible Reading in 2007

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105 ESV)

They received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11 ESV)

Some use reading schedules to guide them through the Bible in a year. I am disciplined to be in the Word daily, but have never successfully used a schedule to get through the entire Bible in one year. One thing I do use, however, is a checklist. It has all sixty-six books of the Bible, with their chapters, and I put a slash through the numbers as a read. Feel free to print it for yourself and pass it on to others.

Reading schedules have their advantages and disadvantages. Of course one of the advantages of a schedule is that it takes the reader through the entire Bible in a given period of time, say six months, one year, or two years. A checklist can accomplish the same thing. One thing I like about the checklist is that it allows more flexibility. If I desire to slow down the pace for a while, I can. Additionally, if one gets behind on a rigid schedule, there is a risk that one will give up entirely.

My hope and prayer is to encourage you to be in the Word in 2007, and that your time would be richly blessed.

Kevin’s Bible Reading Checklist – PDF file (44 kb)

Grace and Peace


P.S. Here are some reading schedules for those who are more inclined in that way:

Navigators reading plans — various schedules to get through the entire Bible or just the New Testament in a year.

Through the Bible reading plans — Chronological, historical, beginning to end, blended

Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading schedule — twice through the NT & Psalms, once through the OT

More reading schedules

And more reading schedules

December 31, 2006 Posted by | Christianity | Leave a comment

Knowing God – Chapter 2 Quotes

Chapter 2 of Knowing God is entitled “The People Who Know Their God.” The focus passage for this chapter is the Book of Daniel, and here are some quotes:

A little knowledge of God is worth more than a great deal of knowledge about Him.

One can know a great deal about God without much knowledge of Him.

One can know a great deal about godliness without much knowledge of God. It depends on the sermons one hears, the books one reads, and the company one keeps.

Those who know their God are sensitive to situations in which God’s truth and honour are being directly or tacitly jeopardized, and rather than let the matter go by default will force the issue on men’s attention and seek thereby to compel a change of heart about it—even at personal risk.

Men who know their God are before anything else men who pray, and the first point where their zeal and energy for God’s glory come to expression is in their prayers… If, however, there is in us little energy for such prayer, and little consequent practice of it, this is a sure sign that as yet we scarcely know our God.

They may find the determination of the right course to take agonisingly difficult, but once they are clear on it they embrace it boldly and without hesitation.

First, we must recognize how much we lack knowledge of God. We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge about God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by how we pray and what goes on in our hearts.

Grace and Peace

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Christianity, Quotes | Leave a comment

Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Gifts

At the end of our Christmas program (see the previous post), gifts were distributed to the children in attendance. These gifts came from Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and evangelism organization. The gifts were wrapped in shoeboxes, and were marked for boys or girls, and with an age. I saw many children who were really excited about the gifts they received. To those of you who participate in such programs, thank you.

Grace and Peace

December 17, 2006 Posted by | Missions, Romania | 1 Comment

O ce veste minunata

Tonight (Sunday night) our church in Bucharest, Biserica Evanghelică Liberă Trinitatea (Trinity Evangelical Free Church), had its Christmas program. It was much like many Christmas Eve services I’ve been at in the U.S., with traditional Christmas carols and a short message. The candlelight carol was an old, traditional Romanian song, “O ce veste minunată” (“O what wonderful news”), and has an absolutely beautiful tune.

Here’s the lyrics, with my rather unpoetic translation:

1. O, ce veste minunată,
Din Betleem ni s-arată.
Că a nascut prunc
Prunc din Duhul Sfânt
Fecioara curată.
2. Mergând Iosif cu Maria
La Betleem să se-nscrie.
Într-un mic sălaș
Lâng-acel oraș
S-a născut Mesia.
3. Ce Domnul cel din vecie,
Ni l-a trimis ca să vie,
Să se nască
Și să crească,
Să ne mântuiască.
1. Oh, what wonderful news
Is shown to us from Bethlehem.
That a baby is born
A baby from the Holy Spirit
From the pure virgin.
2. As Joseph and Mary were going to Bethlehem,
in order to be registered.
In a small shepherds’ hut,
Close to that town,
The Messiah was born.
3. Whom the Lord, who is from old,
Sent to us, so that He would come,
To be born,
And to grow,
To save us.

Please let me know if the accented characters don’t display on your computer.

I’ve never heard this song in English. For those of you who are iTunes people, the song is available there for $0.99. Just search for “O ce veste minunata.”

Historical note: It was illegal to sing this song in public under communist rule in Romania, 1948-1989.

Grace and Peace

December 17, 2006 Posted by | Christianity, Missions, Romania | Leave a comment

Debris flows — concrete in motion

A fellow member of the Affiliation of Christian Geologists recently sent out a great photo of sediments deposited by a debris flow on the White River, near Mt. Hood in Oregon in November. The deposit here is up to 20 feet (6-7 meters) thick.

Photo by Doug Jones, USFS

A debris flow is a mixture of mud, rock, and or ash; with varying amounts of water. These often have the consistency of wet concrete, and form when heavy precipitation falls on easily eroded material.

Oregonian article on White River debris flows.

Debris flow movie (15 MB)

Another debris flow movie (3 MB)

Grace and Peace

December 17, 2006 Posted by | Geology | Leave a comment

Museum of science fiction spaceships

In Senior physics, we just finished a short unit on Einstein’s special theory of relativity. One of the implications of special relativity is that nothing can travel faster than light, which travels at 300,000 km/s (186,000 miles per second) in a vacuum. In fact, it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate an object with mass—such as a spaceship or even an electron—to the actual speed of light. I had my students write essays on this, and they did an excellent job.

This doesn’t stop science fiction authors from having their characters zipping around the galaxy, using hyperdrive or warp speed. The internet has a Museum of Speculative Fiction Inspired Spaceships, where you can see all of your favorite spaceships from Star Wars, Star Trek, and other series drawn to scale for comparison. The images I have here are not all from the same page, so they are not all drawn to the same scale:






Grace and Peace

December 15, 2006 Posted by | Science Fiction | 1 Comment

World Wind Mars

Google Earth is great for viewing the Earth, but NASA World Wind is better for viewing the Moon or Mars.

Here are some World Wind views of Mars:

Like Google Earth, World Wind must be downloaded to your computer. It can be used for viewing the Earth as well, but it doesn’t have as much detailed imagery as Google Earth does. Image files are saved to your computer, so once you have viewed an area, you have quick access to the files, whether or not connected to the internet.

Google Moon has inferior imagery, and when you zoom in as far as you can go, it gets downright cheesy:

Grace and Peace

December 14, 2006 Posted by | Astronomy | Leave a comment

Denominations in the U.S.

The Map Gallery of Religion in the United States has maps showing the distribution of various religious groups in the United States. To view any of these maps in more detail, you can right click on the image, then select “view image.”

Leading Church Bodies — this map shows the group that has the largest number of adherents county by county. In the red counties, the Baptists are most numerous; light blue is for Catholics, orange is for Lutherans, green is for Methodists, and brown is for Mormons.

Baptists — dominant in the south:

Lutherans — dominant in the upper midwest:

Catholics — along the Mexican border; also strong in the northern states:

Other maps at the site show the distribution of Methodists, Mormons, Mennonites, Jews, Moslems, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and other groups.

Grace and Peace

December 14, 2006 Posted by | Christianity, Geography, Maps | Leave a comment

Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador

NASA’s Earth Observatory web site has a good satellite image of the Tungurahua Volcano, which is presently erupting in Ecuador:

The description of this eruption from

Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador has been erupting or restless for the past several months. Lava flows and pyroclastics have blanketed much of the surrounding landscape, forced evacuations of many villages, dammed the Chambo River and caused numerous fatalities and injuries.

Tungurahua is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador, but many people decided to live on it’s flanks because of the rich soils and mild temperatures. The price for this has been abandonment of property and the risk of injury or death.

A few thoughts:

  • This could have easily been one of several Cascade Range volcanoes that are in a similar geologic setting: Lassen, Shasta, Hood, Rainier, Adams, and others. Some time in the upcoming decades, it will be.
  • Images such as this have transformed our ability to quickly assess hazards and damage from natural disasters.
  • There are real people in the villages around this volcano, experiencing loss of life, jobs, crops, livestock, and property.
  • A question for thought: are volcanoes evil?

Grace and Peace

December 13, 2006 Posted by | Geology | 1 Comment

Water on Mars

Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day shows two images taken by the Mars Global Surveyor. A comparison of the same crater in 1999 and 2005 shows that there is an active slope process occuring in a crater, and many interpret this to be a brief flow of liquid water down from the rim. Liquid water, of course, is essential for life, and this increases the chances for finding life on Mars.

A few observations:

  • There are alternative slope processes that could have caused the white scar, such as a simple landslide. A majority of workers think this is from water, but this could be because they want it to be caused by water.
  • Due to the low atmospheric pressure on Mars, water cannot exist for long as a liquid on the surface, even at temperatures above zero Celsius. On Mars, water will behave like dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) does on Earth. Rather than going from solid to liquid to gas as it is heated, it will go directly from solid to gas (sublimation). This is not to say that liquid water cannot exist on the Martian surface for brief amounts of time.
  • If there is life on Mars, it will likely be similar to bacteria on Earth.
  • If there wasn’t life on Mars before, it could be there now. Despite precautions, there is a chance that bacteria from Earth could have survived the journey on one of the probes that have landed on the surface.
  • Interplanetary contamination might occur naturally as well. We have meteorites on Earth that came from Mars; and Mars likely has meteorites that came from Earth. It is possible that bacteria could survive this trip.
  • There is no reason for Christians to be concerned about this type of research. There is no reason, Biblically, why there couldn’t be simple life scattered througout the universe.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day has offered a more convincing image of “water on Mars” in the past:

Grace and Peace

December 12, 2006 Posted by | Astrobiology, Astronomy, Fun | Leave a comment

O Chemis-tree, O Chemis-tree

It is that time of the year; time for chemists (and their students) to gather around their chemis-trees and sing chemis-tree carols.

Here’s one I wrote for the occasion:

(Tune: The Christmas Song)

Chestnuts roasting with an open fire
With a calorimeter
Chemis-tree carols being sung by a choir
And students dressed up with safety goggles

Everybody knows the specific heat of H2O
Is one calorie per gram degree Celsius
And though it’s been said, many times, many ways
Q=mC delta T

There are many more chemis-tree carols, of course, which can be found on the internet by searching for “chemis-tree carols.” After singing a number of chemis-tree carols, I ask my students to give their thoughts on “the true meaning of chemistry.”

To see the songs we sang in high school chemistry this year, keep on reading…

Grace and Peace

Continue reading

December 12, 2006 Posted by | Chemistry, Fun | 2 Comments

A deluded atheist and an honest atheist

Gene Edward Veith, at his Cranach blog, has a link to an intriguing review of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ new book The God Delusion. Dawkins has long been an evangelist for atheism, and is most famous for his books The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene.

The review, written by atheist Shannon Love, is found here, and is a fascinating read. Love dissects the typical historical arguments against religion that Dawkins uses, such as the inhumanity of the Crusades or the Inquisition. Love then points out the great evils that atheism thrust on the world in the 20th century: communism, nazism, and even the sexual revolution; as well as the great good done by contemporary religious people.

Here are some quotes from Love’s review:

Imagine my shock and even horror to discover that Dawkins’ book is trite, facile and just plain, well, dumb.

The entire scope of the facileness of the book will take several posts to address, but the most immediate flaw in the book is Dawkins’ uncritical acceptance of the idea that religion causes people to systematically make worse, i.e., less-humane or -accurate, decisions than does an atheistic worldview. I’ll tackle this argument first because it has long annoyed me, because empirically it isn’t true, and anyone with even a passing knowledge of history can discern the real pattern.

Atheists reflexively repeat the mantra that religion causes oppression, war and general cruelty of all kinds, while asserting or implying that atheism does not. Dawkins falls right into this mindless argument in the opening paragraphs of the book and never lets up.

Dawkins simply repeats the shallow and ahistorical version of history that any hip 19-year-old college freshman can regurgitate on cue. If Dawkins had approached the question from an empirical point of view, he would have readily determined that evidence for the degree to which religion does or does not promote inhumane decisions can only be found in the history of the last 300 years or so. Only during that time frame have atheistic ideologies gained any significant power to actually make good or bad decisions. Unfortunately for atheists, recent history shows that the more atheistic a political ideology, the more destruction it wreaks when it acquires power.

Moreover, Dawkins doesn’t appear to spend any time considering the positive role that religion has played in the last two-hundred years. I checked the index under “slavery” and found only three references, all of them complaining that religious people had not, throughout the history of mankind, always opposed slavery. Well, duh! Strangely, missing from Dawkins’ analysis is any mention of the role that Christian fervor played in virtually wiping out slavery worldwide. Indeed, slavery went from being a human universal to virtual extinction due to the efforts of individuals whom many people today regard as the trifecta of evil: Christian, capitalistic, white males.

Grace and Peace

December 8, 2006 Posted by | Apologetics | Leave a comment

Electron transport chain and ATP synthase animations

ATP synthase moves me to worship the Creator.

Every cell on Earth, from simple bacteria to human brain cells, needs a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate; pictured to the left) in order to do a wide variety of tasks. ATP is used as the cell’s energy molecule; the source of energy for everything from cell movement and protein synthesis to muscle contraction and transport of ions and molecules across cell membranes.

ATP is synthesized by a variety of means, but the most prolific source of ATP in your body is what is called the electron transport chain, which is part of the overall cellular respiration process in which food molecules are broken down in the presence of oxygen. I am currently teaching about cellular respiration—glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, and the electron transport chain—in my high school biology class, and have found animations on the internet that are useful for illustrating some difficult concepts. Even if you don’t know—or care—what glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, or the electron transport chain are, these animations from North Dakota State University are worth watching.

This second picture is of ATP synthase, a complex of proteins that is used to create ATP. Just as many can be moved to worship the Creator while walking under the stars on a moonless night, I am moved to worship God as I contemplate how complex these giant molecular machines are, and how they are integrated into a whole system designed to extract energy from our food one tiny bit at a time.
Electron transport chain animation

ATP synthase animation

More Virtual Cell animations

Grace and Peace

Question: How much ATP does a typical 70 kg (150 lb) person create and consume in a 24-hour period?Answer: About 70 kg. A human will produce and consume about his or her body weight in ATP during a 24-hour day. At any one time, your body contains on the order of 50 grams of ATP, and it is constantly synthesized and used as it is needed.

December 5, 2006 Posted by | Apologetics, Biology, Chemistry | Leave a comment

Baby Pictures

Check out the preview of National Geographic’s In the Womb: Animals.

Some links with more pictures:

Daily Mail

The Sun

Question: If an elephant is an elephant, even when it is in the womb; and a dolphin is a dolphin, even when it is in the womb; then what is a human even when it is in the womb?

Grace and Peace

December 2, 2006 Posted by | Biology, Ethics | Leave a comment

The Cambridge Declaration

Those who know me know that I am very concerned about:

  • Worship that is focused on what Christ does for us rather than on what we do for Christ.
  • Preaching that is focused on what Christ does for us rather than how to be a better ______________.
  • Evangelism that is focused on what Christ does for us rather than on what we do for him.
  • Not getting caught up in the latest fad.
  • Being connected to the big story of the Church. We have roots that many forget, expressed in the creeds of the early church and the confessions of the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s.

Along these lines, I’ve got one more link to an item from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The Cambridge Declaration begins with this preface:

Evangelical churches today are increasingly dominated by the spirit of this age rather than by the Spirit of Christ. As evangelicals, we call ourselves to repent of this sin and to recover the historic Christian faith.

In the course of history words change. In our day this has happened to the word “evangelical.” In the past it served as a bond of unity between Christians from a wide diversity of church traditions. Historic evangelicalism was confessional. It embraced the essential truths of Christianity as those were defined by the great ecumenical councils of the church. In addition, evangelicals also shared a common heritage in the “solas” of the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation.

Today the light of the Reformation has been significantly dimmed. The consequence is that the word “evangelical” has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. We face the peril of losing the unity it has taken centuries to achieve. Because of this crisis and because of our love of Christ, his gospel and his church, we endeavor to assert anew our commitment to the central truths of the Reformation and of historic evangelicalism. These truths we affirm not because of their role in our traditions, but because we believe that they are central to the Bible.

The Cambridge Declaration continues with an analysis of how much of evangelicalism has drifted away from the “five solas” of the Reformation:

  • Sola Scriptura — Scripture alone
  • Solus Christus — Christ alone
  • Sola Gratia — Grace alone
  • Sola Fide — Justification by grace alone through faith alone
  • Soli Deo Gloria — For God’s glory alone

This document steps on some toes, but it is a message that the Evangelical church needs to hear.

Grace and Peace

P.S. The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has a governing council made up of men of a variety of denominations: Reformed, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Independent, Evangelical Free Church (my denomination). Some of these men you may have heard of: John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, D.A. Carson, Gene Edward Veith, Albert Mohler.

December 1, 2006 Posted by | Christianity | Leave a comment

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Application

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy also produced a document called The Chicago Statement on Biblical Application. Article XVI of this statement is about the environment:

Article XVI: Stewardship of the Environment

We affirm that God created the physical environment for His own glory and for the good of His human creatures.
We affirm that God deputized humanity to govern the creation.
We affirm that mankind has more value than the rest of creation.
We affirm that mankind’s dominion over the earth imposes a responsibility to protect and tend its life and resources.
We affirm that Christians should embrace responsible scientific investigation and its application in technology.
We affirm that stewardship of the Lord’s earth includes the productive use of its resources which must always be replenished as far as possible.
We affirm that avoidable pollution of the earth, air, water, or space is irresponsible.

We deny that the cosmos is valueless apart from mankind.
We deny that the biblical view authorizes or encourages wasteful exploitation of nature.
We deny that Christians should embrace the countercultural repudiation of science or the mistaken belief that science is the hope of mankind.
We deny that individuals or societies should exploit the universe’s resources for their own advantage at the expense of other people and societies.
We deny that a materialistic worldview can provide an adequate basis for recognizing environmental values.

I heartily endorse this kind of thinking. It states the high value of creation without minimizing the importance of humans. Many in the environmentalist movement deny or minimize the value of humans. May we in the Christian community not go to the other extreme, only giving lip service to the value of the creation.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Application is also found at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals website.

Grace and Peace

December 1, 2006 Posted by | Environment | Leave a comment

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is a standard Evangelical statement of what is—and what is not—meant by the term “inerrancy.” In regards to science and the scripture, the statement has article XII, which says:

We affirm that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.

We deny that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

A regular theme on this blog is that “all truth is God’s truth.” God has revealed himself in Scriptures; he has also revealed himself in nature. When there seems to be a contradiction between the two, either we don’t properly understand the Scriptures, or we don’t understand nature. In the end, if we understand both, there will be no conflict.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is posted on the internet in numerous places, including at the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals website.

Grace and Peace

December 1, 2006 Posted by | Apologetics, Origins | Leave a comment