The UNC math professor said, "Now class, we know their are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 365 days in a year, so who can tell me how many seconds there are in a year?"
All the students looked baffled by the question except Rufus, who raises his hand and waves it excitedly. "Yes, Rufus, how many seconds are there in a year?" the math professor asked.
Replied Rufus, "Twelve, m'am. January second, February second, March second..."
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Look to the Heavens Jill Carattini
Some years ago, we saw, almost hourly, pictures of the rocky surface of Mars flashing across our television screens, upfront and in color. With the aid of the robotic "Spirit Rover," a combination microscope and camera, scientists were in awe of their recent successes and the media saw fit to thoroughly cover it.
As NASA searched for signs that told of water and life on Mars, questions began to emerge in editorials and intellects: "What is life?" "What if we find it?" "Where did it come from?" and "Where did it go?" It was a news story that seemed to dredge up interest not only from scientists, but philosophers, anthropologists, ethicists, and educators.
Carried within these age-old questions was a new sense of excitement. Along with the scientists themselves, we were looking at things never before seen. "Lift your eyes," cried Isaiah, "and look to the heavens: Who created all these?" (40:26). There was the sense that we were beholding in some of these images, things more wonderful than we could get our minds around. "When I consider your heavens," proclaimed the psalmist, "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, the son of man that you care for him?" (8:3). There was a contagious sense of awe. "We hit the sweet spot," exclaimed scientist Steven W. Squyres of NASA's successful landing in a crater on the surface of Mars.
But for some, there was also a sense, even in the midst of bright pictures and brimming scientists, that it was all, already, yesterday's news.
"Unlike the scientists behind the Mars mission," proclaimed one editorialist, "I felt neither shocked nor awed." The article was a lament over what often seems the growing dullness of life because of the ease of the instantaneous, because we have been awed into boredom, and lulled into indifference. Mourning a handful of instant gratifiers within our consumer-driven, resource-abounding culture, the writer argued, "What used to seem out of reach is now within easy reach... the world offers too much, too easily, and demands too little." It was a certain expression of what C.S. Lewis would have called "our horror of the Same Old Thing."
But the most fascinating thing about this lament was the author's conclusion. "I want to go deep, not far," she concluded. And she hastened back to a day spent on the beach with two children, examining sand in awe.
God has built into our hearts a desire to be awed, to stand in wonder at that which is worthy. "Did I not tell you," said Jesus beside the tomb of Lazarus, "that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). In these words to the mourning Mary and Martha, Jesus proclaimed the worthiness of God to bring forth our praise even in death. Indeed, as Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, "the dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. And Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go'" (John 11:44). The glory of the one who created life is seen in his triumph over death.
Whether we are looking at Mars and marveling at the sight or glancing away and wondering if there is something yet more, let us not miss all that we were meant to see. In John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Christian and the Interpreter along their journey come across a man with a muck rake in his hand. Steadily raking filth from the floor, the man "could look no way but downwards" and so, could not see the celestial crown being offered him from above.
"Lift your eyes," cried Isaiah, "and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name" (40:26). He is worthy of our wonder, for his glory is higher than the heavens.
Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias Ministries in Atlanta.
--------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) "A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day, tell them they can sign up on our website at http://www.rzim.org/publications/slice.php. If they do not have access to the World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
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Junior high band concerts are a test of a parent's love. I know. We got to support our kids by being at seven years of their junior high concerts. It's nice to see those young teenagers making a nice effort. It's not necessarily a memorable musical experience. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear those young musicians trying to play a major Beethoven symphony? What if you had never heard any of his great compositions? All you've heard is that Beethoven was a musical genius. Then you hear the junior high band play a Beethoven symphony. And what do you have to say about Beethoven? "Did you say this guy was a genius? I just heard Beethoven! It was awful!" You didn't hear Beethoven. All you heard was some people doing a bad job playing his music.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Choice You'll Never Forget."
Beethoven was a genius. Don't judge Beethoven based on how some people play his music. For 2,000 years, Jesus has been judged by how well His followers have played His "music." And sometimes, they have butchered it! And even the best of His followers has lived the lifestyle of Jesus imperfectly. And that's given many people a reason not to follow Jesus themselves. You may be one of those.
You've seen the hypocrites; you've seen the confusing divisions between people disagreeing in Jesus' name. Maybe your exposure to certain kinds of Christianity has given you reason to believe that it's mostly about money. And throughout history, and even now, there have been so many mistakes made and so many wrongs committed in the name of Christ. Maybe you've been personally wounded by some people who called themselves Christians.
But none of that was Jesus. Jesus wasn't a hypocrite. Jesus didn't come to start a religion called Christianity, let alone all the denominations that have come from it. And the wrongs done in Jesus' name were horrific things that Jesus would have no part of and for which He will hold people accountable.
Which brings us to the most important decision you will ever make. It was articulated by an unlikely spokesman; by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who tried Jesus. It's recorded in Matthew 27:22, our word for today from the Word of God. He asked the question that will determine your eternity and mine. "What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" Not what will I do with Christians. Not what will I do with Christianity. But what will I do with Christ? Jesus said to person after person, "Follow Me." He didn't say follow My followers or follow My leaders or follow My religion. He said, "Follow Me." It's all about Jesus.
And on Judgment Day, it will be all about Jesus and what you did with the Man who died in your place to pay for all the sins of your life. He didn't stay dead. Three days after He died, He walked out of His grave under His own power. So He's alive, and you will see Him at the end of your journey. The only thing that will matter at that moment will be what you did with Jesus. God won't care what you did with Christianity, but He'll base your whole eternity on what you did with Jesus.
If your trust is in anything other than Jesus, you're hanging onto a life preserver that simply will not save you. Only the Man who paid your spiritual death penalty can do that. Only the Man who has eternal life can give you eternal life. And that can only be the Man who conquered death Himself.
God may have brought us together today so you could have this opportunity to answer the most important question you'll ever answer, "What will I do with Jesus?" I hope, I pray that you will relinquish your control of your life and put your life in the hands of the Man who died for you. Because the Bible says, "God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son." (1 John 5:12) If you've got Jesus, you've got heaven. Without Jesus, there's no chance of heaven.
I'd be grateful to do what I can to help you answer God's life-or-death question about His Son today. At our website, I've provided a brief explanation of just how to reach out to Jesus and begin your relationship with Him. I invite you to visit us at yoursforlife.net. Or to call us for a printed version of Yours For Life at 877-741-1200.
One hymn writer puts this decision about Jesus in sobering terms. He simply said, "What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be. For someday your soul will be asking, 'What will He do with me?'"
If you're not sure you belong to Jesus, and you would like to make sure today, Ron would like to send to you a free copy of the booklet, "Yours for Life: How to Have Life's Most Important Relationship." To read it online, click here: http://www.yoursforlife.net/
OR, to request your free copy of "Yours for Life," click here: http://rhm.gospelcom.net/yours/yflorder.html
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"A Word With You" by Ron Hutchcraft is a daily radio challenge, with slice-of-life illustrations and insights - providing practical help on the issues that matter most. If your local Christian radio station does not air "A Word With You," please let them know how much you value this program. Over six years of transcripts are available online, at http://rhm.gospelcom.net/awwy.php