12.02.2007

What must I do...?

Pastor Nixon delivered an awesome message today at the Collegedale Church. It is the first in a series on salvation. We watched as he eloquently unfolded to us the story of Paul and Silas singing hymns in the prison, and how the jailer was converted that night, along with his whole family. The jailer asked a question that each of us at some time has wanted to know: "What must I do to be saved?" The answer comes in the very next verse, as Paul and Silas replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). This is something that most of us have always been taught, and maybe we run the risk of knowing it with head knowledge, but never applying it to our lives. We know that salvation is not by works, but by faith, but we still sometimes feel that we must "live good lives" to really be worthy. Pastor Nixon related to us a little experiment he used to perform when he was teaching at Oakwood and CUC: he would ask his class how many of them were baptized, believing christians. Almost everyone would raise their hand. But then he would ask, "If you died tonight, how many of you believe you would be with Jesus at the resurrection?" Invariably, only two or three of the 25 or so students would tentatively raise their hands. The problem here is that too many of us, though we know the answer to the question the jailer asked, do not actually apply it. We do not have the assurance of salvation that comes from truly believing in Christ. Jesus said in John 5:24, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." The operative there is not "might have", or "will have", or "has a good chance of having", but he "has eternal life." Here and now. All we have to do is believe. Jesus is everything we need, and He is the only path to salvation. I don't know about you, but sometimes I catch myself feeling unsure about whether or not I am saved. Now, I know that a life connected to Jesus will by default demonstrate his character - we will live a good life when He is living in us; I also know that awareness about one's condition is healthy, and to just blindly assume salvation without true belief is presumptuous, but we can have that assurance, if we can but believe in Him. The only thing left for me to do is cry out to Him. "Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief!"

11.04.2007

A Break from the Norm (and Dorm)

Disclaimer: This post contains an inordinate amount of pictures (and two videos!). Proceed at your own risk.
(Barry, you asked for a post!)

Thursday morning...we left at 6:30 am.

Stopped at the entrance to the mountains to get a map...

...only to find that the place wasn't open yet, and the only map was this rather useless one that was fixed in place.

We continued on, undaunted, Rand McNally in hand.

video
We stopped several times along the way to take in the awesome views. This time David and Joel were in such raptures that they had to jump out into the view to fully experience it! (Don't try this at home!)

Picking a random mountain, we proceeded to bushwhack up it and back.

Arriving at the top, we found a random mowed field...

and a signpost with no sign but plenty of bear hair!

After that excursion, we located a place by a stream to camp for the night, a 10 minute hike from the van. We were treated to an all night downpour, but thankfully it let up about the time we were starting to think about breaking camp in the morning.

That day (Friday) we met up with the rest of the group, and headed off on the backpacking trip.

One of several "balds" that speckle the mountain. Stopping for a rest.

We stopped several times to climb a few rocks... Phil here was the only one able to climb WITH his pack on.

Our campsite afforded a spectacular view!

After setting up camp, we poured over Alex's map to discover where we would hike tomorrow.

Cooking up a Gourmet Meal

Sabbath morning we were treated to an amazing sunrise...

When Morning Breaks Eternal Bright and Fair

Sun reflecting off the lake

One of the main activities on Sabbath, which I unfortunately failed to really document, consisted of crawling through dense rhododendron forest in search of a rocky crag we had seen. This is the only picture I took during that activity. Joel is climbing into the bushes in an attempt to catch a glimpse of our goal. (I am standing straight up, to give you an idea of the size of these plants.)

Later on, we arrived at a lookout point, and reveled in the view for a while.

Back at camp. This is the last of Sabbath...we did some slacklining that John has a picture or two of on his blog, and I didn't take any more pictures, sadly. We had a long hymnsing that evening around the fire, and then hit the sacks.


Sunday morning fog in the valley

video
On the trail...much thinner rhododendron forest. (you may not want to watch the second part of the video... some may think the semblance of a hideous albino mountain gorilla was captured)

The long road home... The last part of the trail follows a roadway for about 1.5 miles.


The troupe. First ones back to the parking lot...what does that say about our love for the woods, I wonder?

All in all, an awesome trip!

10.14.2007

Joy


It often seems hard to find joy in life, especially when life seems to be one long slog through labs, homework, exams, classes, rehearsals, practice, repeat above, etc. College life is hard, and keeping on top of the game can be an elusive goal much of the time. But I think if we can find joy in the simple things of life, such as an enjoyable lab assignment, a fun day trip with the choir, or a bowl of gourmet tomato soup, we can make it. God wants us to have joy, throughout each day of our life. It is one of the fruits of the spirit, after all! That is a really awesome thought for me: God is interested not only in leading me in His footsteps, but in giving me joy while doing His will! This week I am going to make it a point to find the things He has put in my path to give me joy in life. How about you?

9.22.2007

Wired

Hey folks!

Here, for a second time, I present a glimpse into one of the facets of my academic life. As an Embedded Systems major, I am taking three decently hard but fun classes this semester: Digital Logic, Digital Signal Processing, and Operating Systems. Since Digital logic is currently my favorite of the three, I am going to show you what one of my recent labs was.

The assignment was to build a circuit that would display the digits of my phone number - simple, right? Not so much. The way it would display them would be by taking as input the numerical position of the digit, in binary, and using a simple seven-segment display (like one digit of your digital watch) to show the number. This is how the input works:
Input Output
0000 => 2
0001 => 0
0010 => 7
0011 => -
0100 => 7
0101 => 5
0110 => 1
0111 => -
1000 => 1
1001 => 0
1010 => 7
1011 => 4
1100 => X
1101 => X
1110 => X
1111 => X

The last four places didn't need to be anything in specific, which made the logic easier to design than otherwise. I won't go into boolean algebra or Karnaugh maps, but suffice it to say, it takes a bit of manipulating to get those numbers to come out.

A little about gates:
Gates are the basic unit of any circuit. They are like dendrites in your brain (i think) - they actually manipulate the ones and zeros running around inside the computer. There are 6 different types of gates: NOT, AND, OR, NAND, NOR, and XOR. I was able to simplify my circuit down to using only two types of gates: NANDs and NOTs.
A NOT gate is the most simple of the gates. it takes a bit (a one or a zero) and "flips" it. If it was a one, it makes it a zero, and vice versa.

The truth table for a NOT gate looks like this:
Input
Output
0
1
1
0

A NAND gate is slightly more complicated. It takes two or more inputs, and if they all are '1' then it returns a '0', otherwise, it returns a '1'.

The truth table for a two-input NAND gate looks like this:
Input 1
Input 2
Output
0
0
1
0
1
1
1
0
1
1
1
0

Now, before I actually physically built the circuit, I first simulated it in a program that allows you to test your design for errors. This is what the circuit looks like in symbolic representation:



The five dots on the left are the inputs (four binary digits and one that is always '1', for certain reasons). The green symbols are the gates. The triangle with the little circle in front of it is a NOT gate, and the one that looks like a D with a circle in front of it is a NAND gate. You can see the 7-segment display on the right. All the lines are wires that I have to connect.

Now, here are some pictures of the finished circuit. Ivan and I worked on putting this together for about 2 hours or so.





The wires we used



You can see the 7-segment display on the top right




The input switches - we used the first four.
When the switch is down, it inputs a zero,
and when it is up, it inputs a one.



Close-up of circuit

The black things you see in the above picture are chips, each of which contain anywhere from 2 to 6 gates, depending on what type of gate is on the chip. We used NOTs (6 per chip), 2-input NANDs ( 4 per chip) and 4-input NANDs (2 per chip).

Here is a video of me switching through the numbers:
video

Well, hopefully this didn't bore you too much, I know at least Ivan and probably Joel would like it, maybe more. I had a lot of fun doing this project, and just wanted to share it with you! :)

Have a happy Sabbath, everyone!

9.07.2007

Diverting Foolishness

Recently a friend of mine came across this interesting calculation by google calculator...for those of you who don't know, google calculator is quite a useful thing, check it out sometime.
Anyway, go to google.com and type "number of horns on a unicorn acre in teaspoons per light year" into the search bar. It's quite interesting. See if you can explain why that conversion works. :)

8.27.2007

Summer's End

This has been a most amazing summer! Busy, because I worked nearly full time, busy because of all the outreach we were privileged to do, busy because of all the time we were able to spend with each other. It was awesome to have all the young people home, if only for a short time! I have many good memories of Ultimate Frisbee (twice a week! :), sailing, camping, canoing, hiking, boating (and waterskiing, wakeboarding, body whomping, etc.), Metallak! (volleyball, sand soccer, slack lining, singing, sailing, boating and the above additions, etc), playing multiple concerts, doing community service, worshiping together, and just all around having the time of my life! I thank each of you Mainers for helping to make my summer an incredible one, each one of you made it special in your own way! I thank God that He gave me such great friends here at home. Also, I thank Him for the many great friends I have made at Southern. Because of you, I am not too sad to leave Maine - though it is my favorite of the States - for I know I have many good times to look forward to in the coming year. So, Farewell, Maine! and Hello, Southern!


P.S. Be sure to check out the posts below "The ultimate Ultimate?" - I posted several at the same time...wouldn't want you to miss out! :)







8.10.2007

the ultimate Ultimate?

Hopefully only the penultimate or antepenultimate, but i digress...



Since I developed something akin to a pulled ligament in my left knee (no, not the surgery one), I sat out for part of the game last night, and, consequently, was able to snap a few rare pictures - usually all of us are playing, so no one is recording the event. Anyway, hope you enjoy!





Elissa making a pass




Barry gets it around John




John steams past




Julie reels it in




A stretch and a catch




A great catch by Julie




David about to hammer it




Adri pirouettes as she releases the disk




A quick directional shift by barry still fails to prevent John from making the grab




Jenn pulls a casual forearm right past David




Zero to Infinity: the Power of God

I recently read this very interesting quote, and thought I would share it with you:

“You know the formula: m over nought equals infinity, m being any positive number? Well, why not reduce the equation to a simpler form by multiplying both sides by nought? In which case, you have m equals infinity times nought. That is to say that a positive number is the product of zero and infinity. Doesn’t that demonstrate the creation of the universe by an infinite power out of nothing?”

-Aldous Huxley

Julie's senior recital

This past Monday (August 6), Julianne Penner gave her senior recital at the Bowdoin Chapel in Brunswick. It was quite an awesome performance, with three numbers making up the program. They were: Rumanian Folk Dances by Béla Bartók, Dedication by Robert Schumann, and the Allegro con brio and Scherzo from Trio 1 in B major, Opus 8 by Johannes Brahms. Jenn and David joined Julie on the violin and cello, respectively, for the trio. Here are a few pictures from that event:


The Stage is Set




Bartok




Brahms





Cue





The Trio