Thursday, April 29, 2004

Breaking the chain

Yesterday at CrossTrainers I heard testimonies of men who grew up under abusive fathers, but now make decisions ever day to be husbands and fathers that honor God. The power of Christ breaks the chain with the past. God be praised!

Are there any patterns from the past that God wants you to break? What new example are you setting today for your wife and children?

I wonder how many people refuse to carry the Cross, but willingly carry a grudge. Bitterness. Masks of unreality. Denial. Let's be men who lay down garbage that we were never meant to carry.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Marching on the Mall

I was one of the men who prayed on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1997. The news about the "March for Women's Lives" was distressing. One women said "I just had to be here to fight for the next generation and the generation after that." I agree with David Limbaugh -- which generation will these aborted babies belong to?"

Men, no group marching on the Washington Mall can accomplish anything compared to God's people calling on His great Name.

Help, O Lord! Hear the prayers of your people, and spare America the justice she has earned. Give your people backbone, courage, and boldness to save children. Give us tears and rend our hearts, so we can pray aright.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Hacking Matter

I just finished a fascinating book about the research done on quantum wells (condensed particle physics), and the implications for materials in the future. The book is named Hacking Matter, by Will McCarthy.

Imagine materials that were composed of arrays of namometer scale quantum wells. The quantum well's physical properties depend upon the number of electrons it holds -- each one is a big atom. You can manipulate the number of electrons in a quantum well through electrical current. So an array of these wells could behave like a thin layer of gold atoms, and then by shifting the current it can become transparent glass. The effect is matter that can be manipulated like a computer program. A wall becomes a window or a Peltier transformer or part of a quantum computer. A contact lens could be an information display device.

The implications are staggering. McCarthy does a good job in the book both explaining the physics and painting possible applications. Clarke's third law of technology says "Technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic." Hackable matter is magic.

So why am I writing about quantum wells on a blog meant to encourage Christian men?

Because it is critical that we help our children and our wives develop a thinking framework that has a God-oriented, biblical framework. The days are coming when it is harder and harder to explain what makes humans unique and special in the universe. Even today we have to really THINK about why we believe marriage between one man and one woman is correct, and what are the limits of man's dominion over the earth and one another.

Even as late as the 1500's it was possible for a learned man to master everything written in books. The amount of information is doubling about every 4 years now. Now we need to help ourselves and our families think from first principles. The information doubling rate is expected to drop to 1 year by 2015. If you can't think through issues from first principles, you'll be helpless against articulate fact-givers, however ungodly.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Our problems are not technological

"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the
Mount....The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is
a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants." -- General Omar Bradley

"No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love--like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do." (Ephesians 4:14-15, The Message)

Sunday, April 18, 2004

The Marine Recruiter's approach

Doug Giles challenge to call men to a man's task (see post below) reminds me of a Marine recruiter who visited my high school in 1979 in West Virginia. That day all the boys in the Senior class were assembled in the auditorium. There were recruiters there from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Each was supposed to take 15 minutes to describe the opportunities in their branch of the service. (I don't know why the Coast Guard wasn't represented.) We'd already been carefully instructed to behave like men and reflect appropriate glory on the school.

Each recruiter looked very impressive in their uniform. I remember thinking they all had terrific posture and short haircuts.

The Air Force guy went first. He had slides of gleaming jets sliding through blue sky. He took about 20 minutes.

The Army guy went next, and had slides of tanks, artillery, and how a rifle could be disassembled and reassembled in the dark. He took 20 minutes.

The Navy guy went next, and mostly had slides of a "Join the Navy, See the World, and get electronics training" variety. I think he took 15 minutes.

Our principal then introduced the Marine recruiter, and told us we would stay until he was finished, then there would be an opportunity to visit with the recruiters afterwards.

The Marine thanked the principal, then stood with his hands fiercely held behind his back, legs spread about shoulder width. He didn't say anything for 3 solid minutes, but just looked us over. I should say he looked through us. I swear he looked every one of us in the eyes. I distinctly remember feeling that his gaze penetrated my very soul, and looking down at my feet in embarrassment. There wasn't a sound in the room.

After his scan he said quietly, clearly, with great dignity, "There might be two you good enough to be a Marine." Every eye was fixed on him. He sat down after another 30 seconds of scanning us.

I don't need to tell you which recruiter was mobbed afterwards. IAbout twenty of my classmates went into the Marines after graduation. By this time I'd already decided I was going to be a molecular biologist and win the Nobel Prize for understanding cellular differentiation, so I didn't visit with any of the recruiters. But even today, I still wonder if I would be good enough to be a Marine.

Let's be men who call other men to a man's work.

The Church needs to produce strong men, not repel them

Doug Giles has a good column on men in the Church. Here's his main point:

"My ClashPoint is this: if concerned conservative Christians want to improve our nation biblically, then the Church has got to eliminate its effeminate drift and re-establish a masculine base. Our times demand strong men: the Church must produce them, not repel them. The Church needs men, who start a ministry, start a business; get involved in politics, the arts and education, and who are not afraid of the secular thugs and pimps who try to keep Christians marginalized in a religious ghetto."

Read the whole column here. Great stuff.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Carrying Easter Forward

My prayer for you is that the joy and amazement of Easter does not wear off. We celebrate the wonder of the living Christ in our lives every day! "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:2)

And what is Jesus doing at the right hand of the throne of God? Praying for you. "Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (Romans 8:34)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

He is Risen!

Have a blessed Easter.

"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God." (Romans 6:4-10)

If you haven't systematically examined the evidence that Jesus was resurrected from the dead, then I recommend you look at Lee Strobel's fine book, The Case for Easter.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

The Alamo

Consider seeing The Alamo with your teenage boys. It's well done, historically accurate as far I can tell from other sources, and is a great launching point for conversations with your son(s).

It's a wonderful story about less-than-perfect men who have to make choices with their freedoms. Both good and poor choices are illustrated. There are choices illustrated about caring for your family. You can talk about leadership challenges. You can use parts of the story to talk about expectations that men carry. David Crockett's line "If it were just little ol' me I'd be tempted to slip over that wall and take my chances. But everyone's watching Davey Crockett. He's been on this wall his whole life." hit me solidly -- our sons watch us, men! The movie is realistic about the costs of decisions, too.

The movie web site has some background history materials that would be useful to review before going.

There is a review at the Focus on the Family Plugged In site. This will give you some ideas of what to expect.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Sexual purity is a command, not a suggestion

Men, we need to continue to guard our hearts and strengthen our habits. Sexual purity is a requirement, not an option.

Randy Alcorn's short book The Purity Principle is useful. You can pick this up for $10, so it's cheap enough to buy copies for your fellow soldiers in this battle. The small size is perfect for packing on your next business trip.

Stephen Arterburn's excellent book Every Man's Battle is also a must for your library.

Both books are studded with practical ideas. These are both excellent to read together with an accountability partner or small men's group.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Just One Angel

One way to assess the power of God is to look at the power of His servants, the angels. I can only think of two places where the Bible describes a group of angels. The first is a heavenly choir to annouce the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:13) The second is when there is war in heaven (Rev 12:7).

The rest of the time it is one angel.

Consider three examples.

In Exodus 33:2 God tells Moses "I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites." An angel. One. Hmm.

Sennacherib led his Assyrian army -- probably the most brutal in the world at the time -- against Jerusalem. King Hezekiah cries out to God for deliverance. In 2 Chronicles 32:21 we read "And the LORD sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the leaders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace." An angel. One. The word 'annihilated' means 'grind into dust,' so this wasn't fairy taps and vulcan neck pinches. My son says "He's like the Terminator angel!"

In Revelation 20:1-3 we see one, ordinary, unnamed angel defeating Satan. "And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him..." An angel. One.

If the individual servants of the Lord can do these things, how much more can their Creator do? More than we can ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)