Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Just sharing a neat blessing . . . yesterday our family took a town day for some personal errands and to buy stuff for youth group. We tried to make part of it a fun "summer" day for the girls, and included shooting over to Morro Bay to spend some time at the beach. Before we left Abigail asked if they could take their kites. We were running late getting out, and I wasn't sure where one kite was or the condition of the other, and I didn't know that we'd have a lot of time to fly them, so I said no and gave Abigail permission to bug me about the kites so that we'd do it another time this summer. They were cheerful about it and easy going.

So . . . we get to Morro Rock and the beach near it and walk out around the rock to show them the ocean on the other side of the breakwater. Then, coming back they picked the path down to the beach so they could wade and play. I get to where they were waiting for me (Dad had to stop and look at some of the rocks the sign claims are millions of years old) and I look to the left and there, laying on the sand with nobody around for probably 50 yards, is a brand new kite, still in its bag. We tried to see if we could see anyone whose it might be and couldn't. Before we left we even asked someone with a similar kite if it was theirs. No.

Needless to say . . . our girls flew a kite that day. One specially placed, I believe, just for them. Thanks God!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Heavens Declare — Part 5

Note: I debated about not posting this next part of this series today in light of the massacre in Colorado last night. But, as I reflected on it I thought that it is at times like these—at least for me, and maybe for others—that I actually need to be reminded of (and grounded in) how big God is. When the pain and horror and fear and evil that so many in the world are facing every day is brought more forcibly to our attention and closer to home—and when we face times of uncertainty, loss, and fear—it is then we most need to be reminded that God's love for us and our eternal life with Him as Christians is secure and bigger than the world's reach. It is at times like this that we must be reminded that God has defeated death and that nothing that happens to the body of a Christian can remove His eternal life. It is at times like this that we must be reminded that there is a hope for all men and women, and it resides in a God who spans the universe and who is not defeated by the presence of evil. It is at times like this that we must remember that God watched His Son die on the cross at the hands of evil and men, and He acutely knows the pain of loss and of watching loved ones suffer. If I misjudged and shouldn't have posted today, please forgive me. I was not trying to be insensitive.

Our Universe
There are an estimated hundreds of billions of GALAXIES (not just stars!) in the universe. One supercomputer estimates there might be 500 billion galaxies out there (all  diverse and unique)! The NASA web site says “Hubble observed a tiny patch of sky (one-tenth the diameter of the moon) . . . and found approximately 10,000 galaxies, of all sizes, shapes, and colors. From the ground, we see very little in this spot . . .” A large cD galaxy can be 10 times brighter than the Milky Way, and can have a diameter of 6 million light-years across—60 times larger than the Milky Way! (Remember from an earlier post that if our solar system was the size of a quarter the Milky Way would go from the east to west coast of the United States? Well, if I did the math right, a galaxy like this would wrap around the Earth about seven times using this same scale!)  IC 1101, the biggest galaxy we’ve found as of 2009, and is thought to have 100 trillion stars in it alone, and some astronomers are estimating there might be 300 sextillion stars in our universe (that’s a 3 with 23 zeroes after it)! Honestly, the numbers just keep getting bigger the better our telescopes get, which makes sense to me because since the Heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork, and God’s glory knows no end, it makes sense the heavens wouldn’t either! Astronomers don’t even know if our universe is finite (has an edge) or infinite, or if there are other universes, but one estimate puts our universe at 150 billion light-years in diameter—that’s 186,000 miles per second for 150 billion years to cross it!

God Thought #1: Hebrews 11:3 declares unequivocally that, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” By faith . . . not having seen it happen, we believe that God spoke and all the universe was. By faith, in times like these, we trust in His goodness, His power, His love, and His victory, though we don't always see it manifest around us—and at times it seems to be mocked by the world's circumstances. We also take heart that He did not require anything physical to make the universe from. His Word was all that was required. That means we don't need to see the physical building blocks for a solution to the problems we face. God can bring solutions forth from nothing!

God Thought #2: Psalm 8:3-4 says, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” The stars remind us how big God is, and the Bible reminds us He is mindful of each of us even with the universe measured by the spans of His hand. Even when it doesn't feel like it He is mindful of each of us, and there is great comfort in that!

Thank you, Lord, for your love shown on the cross and your power over darkness shown in the empty tomb. Thank you that you are far bigger than this world and Creation itself, and yet you love us and are mindful of us. Please comfort the hurting, heal the wounded, and turn hearts towards You and the gift of Your Son, Jesus, on the cross.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Heavens Declare — Part 4

In this fourth part of this series, drawing from a handout I made for our fellowship, let's travel out from our solar system and take a quick look at our Milky Way Galaxy.

So, then how big is our Milky Way galaxy our solar system calls home? Well, take this approximately 1.5 mile walk you just took representing our solar system (see The Heavens Declare — Part 3), and condense it down to the size of a quarter—picture our whole solar system in that coin. If a quarter represents our solar system, then, according to some web sites I found, the next nearest star to our sun (and any stuff orbiting around that star) would be another quarter, about two soccer fields away . . . and the edges of our galaxy would be the east and west coasts of the United States! To travel across it? If you traveled at the speed of light it would take you 100,000 years to cross just our galaxy . . . which is estimated to have in it 200–400 billion stars alone!

God Thought: Isaiah 40:26 says, “Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not one is missing”—He who guards the stars, also guards you. He who makes sure one isn’t missing, seeks you when you are lost. Read the entire chapter of Luke 15 for an amazing assurance of how precious you are to Him.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Heaven's Declare — Part 3

Continuing the series, and moving farther out from a few stunning facts about our earth and sun, the next part I shared about in my teaching (and the handout I later made that I am taking these from) is about our Solar System. Next post, our Milky Way galaxy. After that, our universe. 
   As with all these posts, I can't verify the facts, but I've tried to get them from web sites that seem to know what they are talking about (whatever that exactly means). Enjoy. Reflect. And be in awe. We have a mighty and awesome God, and the Heavens declare His glory. Don't forget the "God Thought" at the end of each post . . . He, and your faith and relationship with Him, is truly what this is all about, not just getting puffed up with some more knowledge. May He pour out revelation and a deep awareness of His love for you and His presence as you read this.   —Erick

Our Solar System
How big is the network of our sun and the planets orbiting it? Let’s use an example someone made up of a walk. Imagine each 3' step you take to represent 1,000,000 miles (yes, one million miles). Picture a football field and start at the back of one of the end zones and pretend you are where the sun is. Now walk forward, cross the end zone, past the 50 yard line, and continue in to your opponent’s side of the field. When you get to their 17 yard line you have reached the earth (remember, each step was 1 million miles!). Now, continue walking over 1.5 miles and you will get to Neptune, the farthest out planet if you don’t want to count poor Pluto (if you do you’ll need to walk over 2 miles from the back of the end zone where you started). The same site said that if you got on a jet and flew at 600 miles per hour from the Sun to Neptune, it would take 513 years. If you could drive the same distance, it would take 4,400 years.

Defining a Few Terms
Since we are starting from here out to get into some terms that represent some big numbers, here's a few simplified definitions and way of looking at things to help us try and grasp them.

Light Year: How far you would travel in one year if you traveled constantly at the speed of light, which is about 186,000 miles per second (or, around the world at the equator over seven times in a second).

Billion: If you typed the letter “a” on a sheet of paper 1,000 times, you’d need 1 million sheets to have a billion letter “a”s. Or, if you started counting now, it would take you 32 years to count a billion seconds.

Astronomical: We use this term to describe things really, really BIG! No wonder. It comes from the root “astro” pertaining to stars and celestial bodies.

God Thought: Ephesians 1:4 says that “. . . He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”—before He created one bit of this He already knew you, loved you, and had a plan to restore you to Him through Jesus’ death. You are truly precious! In fact, His entire creation of the universe was the opening act to His culmination . . . creating us!

Morning Visitors

Our morning view. God is so amazing!

This morning we awoke to saw wonderful coastal fog over the mountains—a welcome coolness after the heat of last week. As Mary Ann and I shared a quick cup of coffee with my mom in our garden we heard the screech that told us we had visitors. For the second time in a week a pair of Bald Eagles came to rest in the oak trees on the small knoll near our home. It was amazing! We got the girls and binoculars and went out to watch until they flew away, back in the direction of Lake San Antonio. I wanted to share the morning with you, my friends. Enjoy the photos and, if you imagine real hard, you might even smell the fresh ground coffee with the added chicory wafting out of your computer . . . wish you were here.
The tree behind our girl's
playhouse where the two birds
sat for about 20 minutes.

One of the two.

Goodbye. Come back soon!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Heaven's Declare — Part 2

Here's the part of my handout dealing with our "local" space—Earth and our sun. In Part 3 we'll look at our solar system, and in posts after that our galaxy and then the universe. At the end of each will be a "God Thought". I encourage you to read and meditate on them. After all, knowledge for the sake of knowledge simply puffs us up and makes us arrogant—we then become people who spout all the right words and arguments, but have nothing of the love, humility, and gentle service of Christ. And, without love, we have nothing. The point of this knowledge is to glorify God, strengthen our faith, and equip us for the work of ministry. May God bless you as your read these. (Note: Please remember the statement in Part 1 that, though I state these things as fact, I obviously can't personally verify them through observation or my own measurement, and I can't even tell you where on the internet I got them all. Not to mention that the numbers probably change with every new discovery or better telescope. I can say I tried hard to use facts I found in multiple places, and to not exaggerate anything to make a point.)

Earth—one of eight (or nine?) planets orbiting our sun, making up our solar system. Mostly covered in water, it is almost 25,000 miles around at the equator. It rotates on its axis fully once per day, which means we are spinning at over 1,000 miles per hour at the equator. At the same time we are spinning at over 1,000 miles per hour, we are orbiting the sun (which is 93 million miles away from us) at almost 67,000 miles per hour, all on this shell of rock and land and water that contains inside it a core with temperatures estimated between 7,000–12,000°F (to compare, water boils at 212°F, and human skin is supposedly not comfortable above 140°F). And yet, we can balance on a balance beam, sip coffee without spilling, play catch, experience sun and snow, and sleep peacefully.

Our Sun—our nearest star, has a diameter 109 times bigger than the earth’s. We could fit 1.3 million earths inside our sun. The sun makes up 99.8% of the mass in our solar system, with Jupiter and Saturn taking up most of the other .2% (the earth really doesn’t even register on the scale). The center of the Sun is approximately 27,000,030°F, and the surface of the Sun is about 9,932°F.
    And yet, our sun is rather tiny in comparison to other stars out there. For example, Canis Majoris, the largest known star in volume (not mass) has a radius that is estimated to be 1,800–2,100 times larger than our sun’s radius, and to be around 500,000 times brighter than our sun. One site said that if you were to make a model, with our earth a sphere of a diameter of .39 inches (less than half an inch), then, to represent Canis Majoris you’d need a sphere with a diameter of 1.43 miles! And, R136A1, the largest know star by mass (not volume), is estimated to have surface temperatures exceeding 72,000°F—seven times hotter than our sun’s surface temperature!

God Thought: Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” If these stars were brought forth by the word of the Lord and the breath of His mouth, what is going on in your life that is too big for you to trust Him with it?

The Heaven's Declare — Part 1

In early June I taught at our Sunday service a prelude to a Pentecost teaching. In lead up to the wonder and awe that God would come to dwell in His children I felt led to showcase first the size and majesty and power of God that is a part of what makes such indwelling so incredible.

For me the heavens are the place I turn to bring things back to perspective when I am overwhelmed. To look up at night and to start to grasp a fraction of the size and beauty of what I am seeing is, for me, a way to remind myself how big the God is who loves me, lives in me, and never leaves me. So, I spent a Sunday teaching on the size of the universe. When I was done I had shared so many breathtaking facts and ways of seeing the size of it all that I ended up making it into a handout. My hope is to have a website in the near future when I can upload both the handout and the paper I am working on about why I became a Young Earth Creationist, and why I believe the issue really matters. Then, anyone interested can simply download either in a PDF format and either read them onscreen or print them.

Until that website is up, I have decided to print excerpts from the handout in the next few blog posts. Since it is already written the will probably come fairly frequently over the next week. I think that you will be blessed and encouraged by the facts as you reflect on your God. I wish I could credit all the facts and examples in the handout, but I drew them from so many sources I just lost track. I apologize in advance to anyone not credited, and I thank them all for their internet postings from which I drew the information. Following this series I may post some excerpts from the paper I am finishing on my journey to Young Earth Creationist, and some thoughts I why I believe this is a truly critical subject for individual Christians and society as a whole. Of course, I reserve the right to insert some blog posts in between all this as God might lead me, that have nothing to do with either (smile!).

To begin, this morning I will share the introduction to the handout. The next blog post will look at our earth and Sun, and then we'll just start moving farther out post by post. I encourage you to reflect on each one not just academically, but by asking yourself what it means to you to have a God so huge who loves you personally, and who dwells within you as a believer.

These “facts” and illustrative examples came from various internet sources in May 2012 for a teaching I gave. I can’t verify them, and not everyone agrees with them. Because we have such a limited observation of the universe, so many are based on speculation and theories. But, even if they’re only close to reality, I am struck by the magnitude of what some scientist expect us to accept about how an “accident” with no Creator, designer, director, or agent of origin created these massive objects and sent them flying such inconceivable distances. As you reflect on this may God not be robbed of His glory, but may you be in awe as you get a sense of the heavens above and around us, and remember,“The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Many times, when problems seem huge and hard, I look to the stars and reflect on some of the following facts, and find things coming back into perspective as I am reminded how big and how glorious my God is. May these things help you, too, be in wonder and awe and peace as you reflect on your Creator.

If, as you follow this series, you want to share it, there are buttons at the bottom of each post to share them on various platforms, as well as a "Print Friendly" button to make them easier to print without all the other blog sidebars, header, etc. If you are reading this and are not subscribed by email to this blog and you don't want to check back over and over you can subscribe to it by email on the sidebar. If you are reading this in an email format you'll need to click into the actual blog to use the features I described. May God bless you and His Spirit pour out on you a deep, deep awareness of His love, power, size, and presence.   —Erick

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This blog was never intended so much as a place to teach—there are a wealth of fine teaching blogs and sites out there—as much as a place to share my thoughts, reflections, slices of life, things God is showing me, etc. That being said, last Sunday I had one of those moments that really affected me, and I wanted to share it with you.

During our fellowship's Sunday morning gathering I was in the back kneeling during one of the songs, reflecting on the words and the concept of following Jesus and of God as my King. Suddenly I had this realization that I often don't live as if my life is truly His to do with what He will, but I weigh His leading and decide if I want to follow or not. It struck me that, if I am really His, when I do this I am stealing what is His each time I take myself for myself. Hence the questions I left you with in my last post:

1. When was the last time you stole something?
2. When was the last time you looked at something that wasn't yours and gave serious consideration to taking it for yourself?
3. When was the last time you took seriously the idea you might steal, or do what you want, with something that was someone else's, without their permission?
4. How would you feel inside if someone accused you of stealing and said you were a thief who had no qualms about taking what wasn't yours for your own selfish needs and reasons?

Consider the following verses, the themes of which came strongly over me last Sunday morning during the music. They are verses/themes I am sure most Christians would intellectually agree with:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession . . .

Rom 14:7-8  For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.

Gal 2:19-20  For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

These verses (and many others) make it clear. As a Christian I am His. He bought me. He redeemed me from Satan's lawful ownership of me and made me a citizen of His Kingdom, a son of His. He paid for me with His blood and life, and when I, by choice, accepted that gift in faith, I became His. He owns me. Yet . . . over and over again I, who would not consider for a moment stealing another human's possessions or money, far too often feel a nudge from God or know something I should be doing and I don't. I hem and haw, delay, weigh, self-justify, and sometimes do it and sometimes not. When I do this I am stealing. I am treating another's possession (me, His possession) as my own to do with what I feel like doing.

I love God, and from His worthiness and my love for Him, which stems from His love for me, I want to please Him and be a surrendered vessel through whom He might live and express Himself. It really pierced my heart to see this whole thing in this way. I've often recognized that I sense His leading and don't always want to do it, and don't always do it, but it was never so blunt and so strong to me as it was last Sunday. I am a thief. I steal. And I do it from the One I love the most. I don't know if that affects you at all, but it sure has given me pause for reflection this week. I am so glad I am loved and forgiven by Him, and that I can, knowing I am loved, begin to process this reality and start to align my life more closely with His heart. After all, I am His, and I love the security of the part of that which means nothing and no one can take me from Him. May I become better at the other half of being His . . . letting Him do with me as He will.

God bless you.   —Erick

Monday, July 9, 2012

When is the Last Time You Stole?

Hello! I hope that this finds each of you well and blessed!

I had to laugh when I realized the last time I published a blog post was almost two months ago, and that was celebrating three years of blogging. A bit ironic, to me at least. I haven't disappeared, but I have always felt that this blog was a place to share as God led me and I've never wanted to force anything or come up with anything just to "be out there" in the blogosphere, or to keep readership up, or anything like that.

These last couple months my free time has been taken up with completing a paper I started last September. At that time a lady in our homeschool group asked how I'd become a young earth Creationist (she had a man in her church who had never heard of it until she'd brought it up, and was being challenged by some things she'd given him). I sat down to shoot her a quick answer and realized I couldn't—the different parallel, and at times converging, paths God took me down in my journey from God-mocking atheist, to Christian theistic evolutionist, to staunch young earth Creationist were so many, and so varied, it took me even by surprise. So, I started to write about it, and then to write about why I believe that stand matters and is critical in this culture, and about why I don't think we need to be ashamed of it or apologize for it . . . and it has turned in to quite a paper!

I am almost done with that paper (Mary Ann is reading it over and then I'll format it after I put in final changes), and when I am I'll put a link on here for a PDF copy of it in case anyone is interested. With that said, I'll probably be blogging a lot in the next few months about some things God has shown me in it, and in my study of the universe and its wonders, but for now I had a couple of questions (not for you to answer to anyone other than yourself) to ask, and I'll follow up with another blog post soon explaining them. I know they sort of overlap one another, but they are just to get you thinking about a theme.

1. When was the last time you stole something?
2. When was the last time you looked at something that wasn't yours and gave serious consideration to taking it for yourself?
3. When was the last time you took seriously the idea you might steal, or do what you want, with something that was someone else's, without their permission?
4. How would you feel inside if someone accused you of stealing and said you were a thief who had no qualms about taking what wasn't yours for your own selfish needs and reasons?

God willing I'll "talk" to you soon. Until then, God bless you and may you go through your day deeply aware of His love for you and His close presence.   —Erick


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