Reasons to Believe

Staying Connected 2004 February

 

* Due to copyrights, original graphics and tables do not appear in these articles


What is Staying Connected? What about Connections?

Introducing—Reasons To Believe’s newest publication! Staying Connected is designed to give you—our friends and supporters—brief highlights of the ministry including testimonials, current news items, events and opportunities, apologetics insights, and more. Published eight times a year, Staying Connected is a quick way to stay in touch with what God is doing through RTB.

Our familiar Connections newsletter will still come out quarterly (the next one in March). From now on it will focus solely on scientific and theological articles and resources. After you have read your copy of Connections, please pass it along to a family member, friend, or coworker. Our desire is that Connections reach skeptics and believers alike with compelling evidence for faith in our wondrous Creator, Jesus Christ!


A True Tale of Twin Sisters

Bonnie and Cindy grew up in a conservative Jewish family, with an orthodox Jewish grandmother who lived with them. Bonnie believed people were born into a religion and that no religion was greater than any other. One clear night when she was 17, she looked up into the vast sky and wondered about the meaning of life. She carried that wonder for years when, finally, at 29, she prayed to God (not sure there really was a God) and asked Him to help her understand creation, life, and what it meant to be Jewish.

Through time her prayer was answered. Bonnie met Christians who were dedicated to discovering truth from the Bible. They mentored her and encouraged her to read the Bible for herself. As she read, she found that the Bible explained Messianic prophecy, which was fulfilled in "Yeshua" (that's the Hebrew name for Jesus and it means salvation). Eventually, after more study, she acknowledged Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah and prayed to receive Him as her Savior. Her life radically changed. As a growing believer, Bonnie heard Hugh Ross on the radio. His words strengthened her faith as he described how he came to faith in Jesus Christ through careful study of science and Scripture.

Bonnie's twin sister, Cindy, was not at all interested in the new Bonnie. Cindy felt the new belief was a betrayal to her family and to their identity. She finally told Bonnie that she did not want to hear anything about Jesus anymore. Bonnie agreed on one condition—that Cindy would read The One Year Bible and pray for truth. During this time, Bonnie gave Cindy publications from Reasons To Believe. Cindy's skepticism began to change. She was impressed by what she read and ultimately became convinced that the Bible is the true Word of God. By God's grace and in His time Cindy joined her sister in this newfound faith. At first Cindy struggled to tell others, especially family. Today she works for a Christian organization and worships the Messiah she learned about in the Bible. Both sisters value their Jewish heritage and hope to point others to the Messiah they have been awaiting.

Thank you, supporters. Your gifts allow RTB to produce materials God uses to move people from skepticism to faith!


Fun With Science

In my astronomy class I will stand up, clear my throat, and ask my students, "Can you see me as I am now?" They give me a strange whaddayameanbythat? sort of look and suspiciously answer "Yeah… we see you… now."

"No, you do not," is my reply, "you see me as I was." Now that they are a little more focused on me I attempt to explain my trick question.

They don’t see me as I am, they see me as I was - just a fraction of a second ago. Why? Because what they "see" are the photons that bounced off me from the lights in the room. And photons need time to travel from me to their sleepy orbs. By the time they receive and process all the information, what they see is history, how I used to look.

And the farther away I am, the longer its light takes to travel to their eyes, and the deeper back in history they see me. Do you see?

Light travels fast, to be sure, about 186,000 miles in a second - but it takes time to do so. And that is precisely what allow us to see history now.

When you go out and look at the Moon, you are seeing something over 200,000 miles away. But you are seeing it as it was over a second ago. It took light that long to reach us from its surface.

The sun is over 8 light minutes away; it took light over 8 minutes to get here, so we see it now as it was before you started reading this.

And now maybe you can see the one big advantage astronomy has over the other sciences. We get to see the past as it happens!

We can see stars now, in action, as they were hundreds or thousands of years ago. We can see nearby galaxies spinning as they did millions of years ago.

And we can see the farthest galaxies in their infancy as they were over 10 billion years ago, not long after the creation of the universe itself.

The sky is our living history book, waiting to be read and understood.

And part of what we’ve learned already by reading this book of brilliant things is that of all the long history of this beautiful universe of ours, our time and our place is the perfect page for us to be on.

Someone say "Amen!"

Contributed by Mark Ritter, www.swordandspirit.com

Compassion Needed for "The Passion"

Spirited discussion about Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" (to be released Feb. 25) affords Christians with a ready-made opportunity to present the Gospel to nonbelievers. Set in first-century Palestine, the movie portrays the last twelve hours of Christ’s life, including a vivid and brutal depiction of his crucifixion.

Some people have protested that the film is anti-Semitic—an improper interpretation of the movie’s purpose—and may fuel hatred toward Jews because of their involvement in the death of Jesus. Christians can help ease the tension by explaining that in the crucifixion of Christ, all people find the culmination of God’s plan of salvation for fallen humanity. Christ laid down his life in payment for the offenses of sinners and secured redemption for those who put their trust in Him. A dramatic portrayal of this event on film offers a humbling, gut-wrenching opportunity to consider the agony and significance of Christ’s atoning sacrifice. In the crucifixion of Christ, the Christian sees God’s great love and justice together, and the cross remains a symbol of hope for humankind.

Reasons To Believe offers two excellent resources to enhance your understanding (and discussion) of the Crucifixion. One of our board members, medical doctor and physicist Alex Metherell, has written a booklet, Like No Other Man, in which he examines how and why, from a physical as well as spiritual standpoint, Christ died. In the video, Behold, the Man, Dr. Metherell joins Hugh Ross in describing the specifics of what happens to the body in this form of execution. Both resources will provide powerful reasons to worship Jesus as Savior and will fuel motivation for evangelism.


RTB Executive Influences Exploration on Mars

The successful landing of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) on January 3 has been of particular interest to Dr. Dave Rogstad, RTB’s Executive Vice President. Dave, who still does consulting for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), worked there for 27 years as a senior member of the technical staff. He supervised the group of scientists, engineers, and programmers who designed and built two types of specialized receivers used to support the MER project in critical ways.

The first type of receiver was used to navigate the spacecraft as it traveled from Earth to Mars. The navigation technique is called "delta-door", which stands for delta-differential-one-way-ranging, and uses a radio astronomy technique to accurately measure where the spacecraft is in the plane of the sky. This system was rebuilt after the Mars Climate Orbiter was lost due to navigation problems. The new system has proved so accurate that it has become the primary instrument for navigating all spacecraft missions, and it allowed the reprogramming of the MER mission to land in the middle of the Gusev Crater.

The second type of receiver served to detect the "semaphore" tones transmitted by the lander package as it went through "entry, descent and landing" (EDL). If you had the opportunity to watch the landing event on NASA TV, you will recall that at certain times in the EDL scenario, the mission controller would announce the detection of "signal number 3", or "signal number 5", etc. and at each announcement everyone in the control room would cheer. What you were observing was the detection of each of the semaphores, indicating success of a certain phase of the EDL. It was the receiver Dave’s group designed that made those detections. (If there had been a failure at any point, the mission engineers would then have had in hand some information about what went wrong.)

Dave Rogstad earned his Ph.D. in Physics from Caltech doing research in radio astronomy. Dave led the team that developed supercomputers used by the Department of Defense to simulate "Star Wars" scenarios. He also supervised a team to develop components credited with saving the Galileo Mission to Jupiter. He is the chief editor of Antenna Arraying Techniques in the Deep Space Network, a book on the technological aspects of antenna arraying. Dave serves as an elder at his church in Glendora and leads a Sunday School class there.


Reasons To Believe Chapters on a Roll

RTB Chapters are popping up everywhere. There are over 50 locations around the world that are in one stage or another of chapter development. Here are some exciting things happening with some of our chapters.

  • The Charleston, South Carolina chapter has 10 people taking the Science & Evangelism Course.
  • The San Diego chapter has scheduled over 20 local events between the months of November 2003 and March 2004.
  • Members of the Portland chapter have appeared on a local TV program "A Thirsty World" talking about the Anthropic Principle.
  • The Seattle Chapter has over 500 people on their mailing and 30 people taking the Science & Evangelism Course.
  • New chapter start-up locations include Grand Rapids, MI, Los Angeles, CA, Portland, OR, Knoxville, TN, Quincy, CA, Cincinnati, OH, Colorado Springs, CO, Chicago, IL, Virginia Beach, VA, and Sydney Australia.

For information about a chapter in your area, contact Chapters@reasons.org.


The Problem of Evil

Why would a loving God allow evil to exist? Is hell compatible with God’s goodness? We invite you to become a Message of the Month (M.O.M.) member so you can listen in as our scholar team discusses this perplexing problem of evil. Message of the Month is a two-way giving program. M.O.M. members provide $30/month of critical ministry-sustaining support and in turn receive monthly faith-building, outreach-equipping messages from Reasons To Believe. To learn more about M.O.M. or to receive a free sampler CD, please call 1-800-482-7836, or e-mail MOM@reasons.org.


In The Beginning…

For years naturalistic theories have monopolized academia as the only possible scientific explanation for the origin of life. But there’s something many people don’t know—the facts just don’t support such theories.

In Origins of Life, biochemist Fazale Rana and astronomer Hugh Ross reveal a model that shows how perspectives on first life’s beginnings can be tested—as a creation event—with astrounding results. Rana and Ross explode the myth that scientific evidence supports naturalistic theories and show how research corroborates a transcendent Creator who formed and nurtured the initial life forms and more.

Available April, 2004
Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
(800) 482-7836


RTB Calendar of Events

  • February 9th - 11th
    • Simpson College
      2211 College View Drive, Redding, CA
    • Hugh Ross will be speaking at the Simpson College chapel in the mornings from 9:40am to 10:30am. The topic will be Beyond the Cosmos: Evidence for God's Extradimensional Capacities. For more information contact Don Foor at Simpson College, (530)226-4174.
  • February 21st
    • Rancho Bernardo Presbyterian Community Church
      Poway, CA
    • Fazale Rana will be speaking at the Rancho Bernardo Presbyterian Community Church in Poway, California. For more information, check the RTB website events page: http://www.reasons.org.
  • February 25th
    • Newsong Church
      945 West Covina Blvd., San Dimas, CA
    • Fazale Rana will be participating in the APU/CRIS lecture series. For more information, go to the APU/CRIS website: http://www.apu.edu/cris.

RTB Resources

Apologetics Hotline (626) 335-5282

Discuss your science-faith questions with a trained apologist. Available daily from 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. (PT)

Creation Update Webcast

Listen live through our Web site on Tuesdays, 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. (PT)

Other options: Listen to archived broadcasts at reasons.org or purchase programs on tape or CD

RTB Chapters

RTB chapters provide fellowship and opportunities for interaction and outreach based on the latest scientific developments. To find a chapter in your area or get information about starting one, call Ken Hultgren at 1-800-482-7836.

Prayer Team

Prayer on behalf of Reasons To Believe is a precious gift. A hearty thank you to all who pray for us! If you would like to join the RTB prayer team, please contact us at PrayerPraise@reasons.org.

Science and Evangelism Training Course

Learn the facts behind the compatibility of science and the Bible and gear up for evangelism through this in-depth course. You can earn college credit if you wish. Please call Bob Stuart at our toll free number for more information.

Web site: www.reasons.org  |  Toll Free Number: 1-800-482-7836