That’s a baby!

“There’s a baby in your belly!” Our two oldest shouted with joy as they ran over to my wife. They were simply mesmerized by the ultrasound’s image displayed on the large screen above them.  We told them to count the toes and fingers, which they giggled as they tried in vain to count as the baby wiggled and squirmed in the womb.

The measurements taken by the radiologist suggested an age of 14-15 weeks into my wife’s pregnancy.  As the radiologist continued to make observations, measurements, and document the images the ever-moving picture the screen captured all of our attention.

“When will the baby come out?” Asked our 4-year-old daughter.

“Not for a bit.  The baby needs a lot of special nourishment in mommy’s belly still,” said my wife.

This was the first time we have had the luxury of a level 2 ultrasound which features tremendous resolution as compared to standard ultrasounds.  What fine details and features we could observe and see of the little one!(1) 

Nevertheless, how is that children can immediately recognize the fact that this is a living child inside the womb of their mother while so many adults in our world seem to wish to remain deaf to the beating of that child’s heart?

This brings to mind the novel Ender’s Game when Ender realizes that he wasn’t playing a game rather he had just committed genocide, eradicating an entire species, and that had been making life-ending decisions.  Prior to that moment, Ender was led to believe he was only playing a game. The reality of the situation crippled him and led him to despair.

Let us not be hoodwinked into believing this is a game, that there is no life inside that womb, that it is just tissue, or more importantly that none of us are involved.


(1) Radiology and the subsequent inverse imaging “problem” has made revolutionary strides over the last decade, in large part to our understanding of inverse-scattering techniques. In other words, applied mathematics!  


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The Design of Mathematics

In large part the study of mathematics relies on the definitions put forth and what may be sowed from their birth.  A mathematician is an artist that carefully weaves mathematical theory from the underlying definitions.  Hence, mathematics becomes similar to a language where we have certain rules that must be followed in order to construct comprehensive, precise, and unambiguous statements.

A mathematician can not simply state that a particular number is positive while treating it as a negative number.  They must follow certain rules regardless of their likes or dislikes.  For instance, in general, (x+y)^2 is not x^2 + y^2, much to the chagrin of many students!

The axioms of mathematics provide the backbone that all mathematics flows from.  I marvel at the incredible utility and ubiquity of mathematics in all areas of science.  I hope you share that sentiment. Nevertheless, why does mathematics work so well? Why is it so reliable in its descriptions?  Why is the universal language mathematics? In other words, why is the universe so darn mathematical?

My children love playing with legos, just as I did as a child (still do!). They love to build and create.  Ships, houses, vehicles, etc.  Mathematics is analogous to legos, in that, we build and create.  Indeed, both were created.  However, were both created by man?

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Into the Tunnel and Out Toward the Light

A man was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a public audience.  A fellow in the audience passed a note to the speaker inviting him to a debate that Friday.  It was read to the audience and the invitation was accepted on one condition:

I want for you to bring along one person, who in their greatest despair, riddled with addiction, crippled by society, that through embracing atheism brought about a dramatic change and radically transformed them for the good.  Just bring one.  I shall bring 200.

This a wonderful video that offers a transparent view into a life adopting a secular worldview. I find too much in common to list here.


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The table is set before you
As you are guided to your seat.
The invigorating aroma of delightful food
Oh, how excited you are to eat!
The table is set formally,
But you frown as you have not dressed as such
Will you be given the same food?
Or just not quite as much?

You look around at some of the guests
With their façade of makeup and coverings
As pigs with pearls in their snouts
You know you aren’t as becoming.
Will you be moved to another seat, yet another place?
Is this seat a mistake?
Isn’t your place with the dogs
Who beg for food from plates?

However, you do not fear
For you know the owner of this table!
He does not play favorites, He loves us all
And welcomes the willing and able.
For He gave you a ticket,
An invitation,
To come to His majestic table.
And that ticket is your justification
So that you will not be mislabeled.

How many are here without a ticket?
Do they not know the hour is coming?
Or are they deaf to reason and logic
That this table did not come from nothing!

Oh, you try to bridge a conversation
To a person without a ticket
They respond,  “Oh, gosh! You are antiquated!
There will not be any condemnation!”
How do you know and are you sure?
That is what you ask
They respond, “Because there are no rights or wrongs!
It is just cultures that make moral statements.”
You ask, for which culture is forward, which one is backward?
Which one is going the right way?
They scowl and turn their face
And then tell you to go away.

Then the overhead light flickers
The owner has come home!
Some guests seem not to even notice
The majesty of His throne.
Nothing we do compares to His holiness
No grandiose coverings will due
For the Lord knows the depths
Of our moral turpitude.
So the meal is set before you,
It is the Passover lamb
Your invitation then turns to blood
And you know that you can stand.

But for those who are at the table
Sitting in their relativistic worldview stance
What will they say to the owner?
Are they willing to take that chance?


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On A Mission

John Wesley throughout his life preached upwards of 40,000 sermons!  If he had only preached on Sunday mornings that would have taken roughly 769 years!  Of course, he did not live that long.  He lived shy of 88 years and his ministry covered 53 years.  That means he preached approximately 2 sermons a day!  Every day.  At the age of 83 he became angry with his doctor.  His doctor had suggested that John should not preach more than 14 times a week.  Maybe he should be slowing down, and at the age of 86 he penned in his diary that he worried that he was:

“Laziness is slowing creeping in.  There is an increasing tendency to stay in bed after 5:30 in the morning.”

John had a passion that drove him which was instilled by his changed life brought forth by the power of Jesus Christ.  That passion was fueled by the guidance of his mother.  

As a young boy he approached his mother with the question: “What is sin?”

His mother, a godly woman, instilled a vision of sin that stayed with John for the rest of his life with these words:

“John, listen to me carefully.  Whatever weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes away your relish of spiritual things, in short, if anything increases the authority and power of the flesh over the spirit that is due to become sin, however good is in itself.”


Whatever increases that authority of your flesh, ultimately will rule over your life.  You will have sold yourself short to the fleeting passions of the day that you have concocted, warped to your pleasure, and adopted into your life, rather than finding the well-spring of true life where there are pleasures evermore.


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Course Policies

New faces.  New people.  A new semester.  The summer heat begins to wane and the nights begin to feel cooler.  The swimming pools are now emptier and family schedules become busier.  This is ever true for the typical college professor.

The beginning of a semester is an enjoyable, albeit stressful, time of the year.  The first day of classes is exciting and invigorating, but it can often be dry as it focuses on the course policy and syllabus.  These combined documents are a contract between myself as their professor and them as the students.  Over the years that contract has ballooned from a one page document to a whopping seven page document! Ugh…

Many students do not read it, yet they registered to attend the class and, subsequently, are bounded to it.  It offers the vision of the course in addition to a daily schedule.  Often it will contain all the assignment details and the due dates for them.  It always contains a grading policy, that is, how they will be assessed throughout the course.  It gives classroom and university policies, such as attendance, late-work, and academic integrity policies.  I am as much bounded to the contract as they are.  It is my way of showing my cards upfront.

The document communicates to students how to be successful in the course.  It provides information about obtaining help, time-management strategies, and essential tips to be a learner in mathematics.  The success of students does not hinge on their intellect or natural mathematical ability, rather their willingness to be coached and learn.  It may require difficulty and hardship.  It may require sacrifice to obtain a greater good down the road.  It may require being uncomfortable.  It may require more time than you thought. It may require the recognition that you can not do it alone.  It may require admitting that help is necessary.  It may even require being in class regularly!

In all, it requires their attention.

For the inattentive student, how is their attention gained? Their grade in the course.  No student wants to fail a class.  They all want an A grade. In other words, when given the option, it is reasonable to assume that all students want to pass rather than fail.

God has also given a course policy that details a grading policy.  And we are all registered for His course.  It states that perfection is the only way to pass the course.  Bummer. However, later in the course policy we find that a perfect score can be awarded to you if another classmate with a perfect grade wants to switch places.  You read on and it tells you the student’s name that will do this for you.  Oddly enough the student’s name is the teacher’s name!  Would you take that offer knowing you could not simply drop the course?  What would your reaction be?



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