Friday, August 25, 2023

The Scariest Passage In The Bible

Article by Justin Dillehay (TGC | January 7th, 2020)

"Christians may disagree over what constitutes the scariest passage in the Bible. But most would agree Jesus’s concluding words in the Sermon on the Mount rank near the top.

Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt. 7:21–23)

It’s frightening to think about going to hell. It’s even more frightening to find out too late that you’re going to hell when you thought you were going to heaven. And still more frightening to think that not just a few, but “many” will have this experience. Some people think they’re Christians, they call Jesus “Lord,” they even do mighty works in his name—and yet they’re not truly saved and never were." 

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Faithful Practice of Prayer

If you and I reflect the habits and beliefs of a lot of the western world's church members, then our prayer life is to put it gently, non-existent. 

We all fall short. We all, in our pride, set God aside. Yet to gloss over this failure is to relinquish the power of God in our lives. This week so many of us have been praying for our mission team in Vanuatu. And it is making a difference! But God desires that same level of passion and commitment in all the causes that He chooses to advance His Kingdom. 

So how can we pursue a more fruitful, consistent prayer life? The wrong solution is simply “to try harder.” God doesn't want us to turn prayer into another "To Do" item on our daily checklist —that approach misses the entire point of prayer itself.  

John Calvin, said that prayer is “the chief exercise of faith.” So if prayer is about faith, where does faith come from? It comes from hearing the word of God. If we desire real change in our prayer lives, then we must be consistent in our pursuit of God's wisdom and truth. The gospel of Jesus Christ and our faithfulness in prayer are tethered together, never to be torn apart on this side of eternity. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Six Things You Might Not Know About "Peanuts"

1. Schulz’s lifelong ambition was to be a cartoonist.

A Minnesota-born barber’s son, Schulz dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from a young age. He had a less-than-distinguished academic record, but outside the classroom, he drew constantly and read newspaper comic strips with his dad. When Schulz was 15, he published his first drawing, a picture of his dog, who later served as the inspiration for Snoopy. Following his high school graduation in 1940, he worked odd jobs and submitted cartoons for publication in magazines. However, Schulz received “nothing but rejection slips,” as he later noted.

2. Schulz wasn’t a fan of the name Peanuts.

In 1947, one of Schulz’s local newspapers, the St. Paul Pioneer, started publishing a weekly comic panel he’d created called “Li’l Folks,” which featured the forerunners of the Peanuts characters. In 1950, Schulz sold “Li’l Folks” to the United Feature Syndicate after being turned down by other syndication companies. Due to worries about potential copyright infringement, the syndicate opted to rechristen Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts, likely after the Peanut Gallery where the live audience of kids sat on “The Howdy Doody Show.” Even after Peanuts became hugely successful, Schulz said he never liked the name and wanted to call the strip “Good Old Charlie Brown.”

Friday, August 04, 2023

New A.I. Shows Signs of Human Reasoning

[From the New York Times article "New A.I. Shows Signs of Human Reasoning" by Cade Metz]

When computer scientists at Microsoft started to experiment with a new artificial intelligence system last year, they asked it to solve a puzzle that should have required an intuitive understanding of the physical world.

“Here we have a book, nine eggs, a laptop, a bottle and a nail,” they asked. “Please tell me how to stack them onto each other in a stable manner.”

The researchers were startled by the ingenuity of the A.I. system’s answer. Put the eggs on the book, it said. Arrange the eggs in three rows with space between them. Make sure you don’t crack them.

“Place the laptop on top of the eggs, with the screen facing down and the keyboard facing up,” it wrote. “The laptop will fit snugly within the boundaries of the book and the eggs, and its flat and rigid surface will provide a stable platform for the next layer.”

The clever suggestion made the researchers wonder whether they were witnessing a new kind of intelligence. In March, they published a 155-page research paper arguing that the system was a step toward artificial general intelligence, or A.G.I., which is shorthand for a machine that can do anything the human brain can do. The paper was published on an internet research repository.