Monday, July 8, 2013

God is Big!

I'm teaching at a camp this week. But why should my absence leave you lonely out here in the internet wilderness? I'm giving you pieces of my camp talks this week. As you read through them, you can either dream of being at the camp, soaking in extended cuts. Or you can pray that the campers aren't suffering too much. Your choice.

Night One - God is Big!

Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The marvel of this verse is that ‘heavens’ refers to all of the rest of this great big universe. So it is remarkable to think that in verse 1, God would list that He made the great big universe and secondly, the Earth. It is also remarkable that the focus then turns to the Earth and what He does here.
So let’s talk about the earth and the universe it is in. I’ve already mentioned a bit about distances. Let’s talk about the size of the Earth.
The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901 miles. We often think about how big Earth is. After all, we are fitting 7 billion people here. It’s a big planet with many parts still left unexplored and uninhabited. 
And then we get to space...
Most of the stars that populate space are smaller than the Sun, and certain exotic kinds are smaller than Mercury or the Moon. But others are incredibly larger.
Arcturus is about 25 times wider than the Sun.
Rigel is, a "super- giant" 50 times wider that the Sun,
Red supergiants are larger still: Antares is 700 times wider than the Sun.
Yet these monsters, like all stars, are so far away that they appear to us as points with no width at all.
God created the Heavens and the Earth. Solomon was very correct when he said the following:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11.
Stop and smell the roses.
How about considering just how amazing the universe is? When you consider how gravity works, or how the tilt of the Earth at just the right degree, and the way Earth spins and orbits the Sun, it is mind numbing to consider how many mathematical equations have to be just so for life to be able to exist here. If our orbit took us closer we’d burn up, and if it took us farther away we’d freeze. It’s amazing!
In fact, the very existence of our world and our life defies all mathematical calculations of chance. As a noted scientist once illustrated, it would be like numbering 10 pennies, placing them all in your pocket and then pulling them out in numerical order. Pulling out the number 1 penny would only have a 1 in 10 chance. Then to reach in and grab penny #2 would only have a 1 in 100 chance. To do this all the way up to 10? 1 in 10 billion! And yet here is the universe, in all of its splendor.(A Cressy Morrison, Man Does Not Stand Alone, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, pg122)
In all that is beautiful around us, it makes it hard to think anything special of ourselves. Yet, the truth of the next point is that God saved the best for last…in creation that is.
Stop and glance in the mirror
Here is where this gets really awe-inspiring. We have this amazing planet which, as we have seen, is not really all that big in comparison with the rest of the universe. And yet, we have this planet and it is amazing. It is big and wonderful and we are each but one person that takes up space here for 100 years or so. One of 7 billion living now, but compared to the countless lives throughout all of our history, we are but a speck of dust.
And yet, Psalm 139 tells us in detail that God knows about us. Not only is God knowledgeable about us, as if we are just an ant He noticed crawling on the floor, but we’re told He made us. And it was not just a ‘poof’ and there you are type of creation. David uses words like ‘knit together’ and ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’. God took time on us. I believe we should remind ourselves what God believes about us; Psalm 139:1-18.  
O Lord, you have examined my heart    and know everything about me.You know when I sit down or stand up.    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.You see me when I travel    and when I rest at home.    You know everything I do.You know what I am going to say    even before I say it, Lord.You go before me and follow me.    You place your hand of blessing on my head.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,    too great for me to understand!I can never escape from your Spirit!    I can never get away from your presence!If I go up to heaven, you are there;    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.If I ride the wings of the morning,    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,10 even there your hand will guide me,    and your strength will support me.11 I could ask the darkness to hide me    and the light around me to become night—12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.To you the night shines as bright as day.    Darkness and light are the same to you.13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.16 You saw me before I was born.    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.Every moment was laid out    before a single day had passed.17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.    They cannot be numbered!18 I can’t even count them;    they outnumber the grains of sand!And when I wake up,    you are still with me!

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