December 2008


This is the time of year when our emails are full of sweet and sometimes inspiring messages from friends and acquaintances who wish us well by sending us a story about some kind deed done somewhere that has had an effect on someone. As well-intentioned as these stories are, there is an impersonal element to them. The events didn’t happen to us, or to someone that we know, and although the story is touching, we can be forgiven for wondering to what extent it has been embellished. The story sounds a little too polished in the telling.

Here is a story, told by our son Jon, that has not been embellished or polished in the least. It is not about someone who later became famous, nor is it important that you send it on to ten friends. It comes with no promise of future blessing, but we think you will be encouraged to read it. And perhaps, if you go and do likewise, you likewise will be blessed.

See for yourself at http://www.jonandnic.com

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The is the final stage of our video effort. We tried – unsuccessfully – to upload to our weblog direct from our computer, but the file is apparently too large. So this is the best we can do. Thanks for your patience. Have a wonderful Christmas!

We are so sorry! To all of those who got our email and viewed our slides, we apologize. The music we recorded was imbedded in the slide show, honest! But somehow the sound got lost in the ether and didn’t make it across the Pacific. So we have scrambled to learn Movie Maker – which didn’t prove to be all that difficult – in order to put the sound in sync with the slides, and get this posted on Youtube.

We are sorry that the quality of this video is not what we hoped. We have spent a lot of time trying to overcome our deficiencies in understanding in order to get this to you, but there is obviously a lot left for us to learn. Despite all that, it is still a Wonderful World, isn’t it, and we both have a lot to be thankful for.

So if you don’t mind, have another look (we have added a couple of slides to better fit the music) and rejoice with us that the Lord is good to those who seek to please Him.Please see – and hear! – at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYV84kCUq94

 

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We hope by now that you have been able to see the Christmas slide presentation that we have prepared and sent out by email. If you have not received a copy, just give us a hit in our comments or email us at steve@spwise.com or pam@spwise.com and we will send you one.

We had a lot of fun putting it together and had a chance to reminisce about this past year. The hardest part was choosing just 30 slides from the hundreds that we have. We also learned some things about recording and embedding sound, and formatting pictures to maximize content and minimize size. Next year maybe we will be ready to send you something on movie maker!

We will miss seeing you at Christmas, but we hope our little slide show will give you a little visit with us. We wish you all a very merry Christmas.

briefhist1 A couple of weeks back I posted a weblog about creation that engendered some debate. One of the comments from a reader was about Hawking’s view of the creator. Stephen Hawking holds Newton’s chair as professor of mathematics at Cambridge, and his twenty year old A Brief History of Time is still one of the most readable books on an admittedly difficult subject: the beginning of our universe. I must thank my brother Wyn, who gave me this book on my fortieth birthday, for a gift that continues all these years later to confirm my faith in an omnipotent God.

My reader questioned my assertion that even Hawking, as brilliant as he might be, can not find a logical explanation for the creation of the universe that does not encounter God at some point, although he and others have been attempting to do so for centuries. I hated to bury the writings of such a genius in a response comment, so here are Hawking’s own words; he writes “Why did the universe start out with so nearly the critical rate of expansion that separates models that recollapse (hence, no creation) from those that go on expanding forever (hence, so widely dispersed that particles can’t coalesce to form matter), so that even now, ten thousand million years later, it is still expanding at nearly the critical rate? If the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hudred thousand million million (100,000,000,000,000,000), the universe would have recollapsed.” (p.122)

Hawking continues “The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but they reflect a certain underlying order. The laws of science contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electron charge and the ratio of mass between the proton and the electron. The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. For example, if the electron charge of the electron had only been slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would have exploded. It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as an act of a God who intended to create beings like us.” (p.127)

Lesser minds than Hawking’s dismiss God as if by not thinking about creation they can avoid the thought that there is a Creator. Hawking admits that he is uncomfortable with the concept of a loving creator. If I had half as brilliant a mind and I was trapped in his body, I would have doubts myself; that is only natural. But to dismiss the overwhelming scientific evidence for a Creator is neither natural nor smart. If you are reading this and you do not believe that God created the universe, and all life within it, then what do you do with the fact that the brightest mind on earth cannot avoid that conclusion?

Garden Plaque

One of the nice things about being a part of a team is the diversity of interests that each team member brings to the mix.

We find it very difficult to get into any sort of holiday spirit in spite of the decorations all over the malls in Malaysia. It is still hot here and without our family around, celebration is the last thing on our minds.

christmas08-008  christmas08-005

Not so for Beth and Craig who love Christmas and have even shipped their Christmas ornaments around the world. They threw a great Christmas staff party on the weekend with a real tree purchased from Ikea and plenty of traditional baked goods, all done in her toaster oven. With three guitar players and many enthusiastic vocalists, the music was great.

christmas08-009Frank, the current Program Director of ICPU is retiring, so it was also a nice opportunity to spend some time with him and his friend Cathy before he moves on.

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