Friday, July 29, 2011

A Kind of Time Machine, Part II

Note: This is the second post in a series. Part I can be found here, and the final part of this particular series will appear next Friday.

Last week I mentioned the vast array of books that can be found inside of a library. I also mentioned how stepping inside of a library is much like stepping inside a time machine. You can pull many books off the shelf and virtually travel anywhere. Those destinations can include historical locations, modern-day locations, outer space, and even imaginary worlds.

Each book has its limitations, however. For example, history books look backwards in time while works of fiction might speculate on how the future might turn out. Likewise, a modern day picture book of Israel will only tell you what it looks like right now, as opposed to what it may look like in one hundred years.

So is there a book out there that is a kind of "time machine" that will let you go back and forth through time? Is there a book that will give you a glimpse of what a city looked like in the past and what it will look like in the future?

It turns out there is such a book.

This book contains historical narratives, fufilled and unfufilled prophecies, and can speak to a reader right where they are at in life. A reader can do side-by-side comparisions of how a city looked in the past and how it will look in the future (for example, Jerusalem). A reader can then go and look up archaelogical evidence to substantiate what is written in the book.

As Chuck Missler often famously says, this book is a message written to us from "outside our time domain." It's a book that goes both forward and backward in time at the mere flip of a page, and in many places, in a matter of few lines.

Here's the curious part, though. In several places, it's as if the Author relishes those moments when history, prophecy, and current events are converge in a handful of verses. For example, take a look at this set of verses from Luke 17:26-32 (NKJV):
[Jesus speaking] "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife."
Noah's ark? Lot's wife? Verse 32 is, of course, a reference to Genesis 19:26 when Lot's wife looked back at the destruction and became a pillar of salt. In a couple of paragraphs we go back in time (twice) and then look forward to the second coming...and all the while he is talking to a particular audience. Yet it all still applies to where we are at today.


But wait...there's more. The book is filled with these kinds of moments, and sometimes these types of verses appear in the most unusual places. It's as if the Author anticipated that the book would someday run the risk of being fragmented. What's remarkable is that the message still comes trough, despite potential attempts at "jamming" it.

Next Friday, we'll conclude our brief tour of "time machines" with some thoughts about how electronic reading devices may be affecting this message and this type of "time travel".

Photo courtesy of Gadgets N Gear.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fishing Rod or Lightning Rod?

Ever had one of those moments in a boat that made you wonder if you should get off of the water in a hurry?

A couple months ago when I was out fishing with some friends on a lake in the early morning. Several rainshowers had passed through the area, but towards mid-morning the rain stopped and the lake became relatively still. The fishing was decent, and we were only about 50-100 feet out from shore.

Then, the fishing line on one of the fishing rods began to arc towards the sky. Normally, when a line is cast into the water initially it tends to sink into a U-shaped pattern from rod tip to the lake surface. This line began to rise vertically in the air to the point that it curved into an upside-down U shape.

That's usually sign that lightning is about to strike nearby and it's time to hightail it off the water. I've read stories of fishing rods that started to buzz right before a lightning strike (or if the boat has electrical problems) but none of that appeared to be happening. In fact, it was simply overcast and a quick look at the radar loop on a mobile phone showed we were not in any imminent danger.

After five minutes, the line sank back down. I have yet to find an explanation for this.

Anybody else ever had this happen?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fishing in the Dead Sea, Part I

Nice lake, isn't it?

Well, it does have a few problems. No marine life, blobs of asphalt that bubble up from the bottom, and enough salt in the water to cause virtually anybody to float on top of the waves with no effort.

In other words, forget about bringing your fishing rod.

This "lake", of course, is better known as the Dead Sea, or, alternately, the Salt Sea. It is approximately 42 miles long, up to eleven miles wide, and 1,237 feet deep at the deepest location. The water has a salt concentration around 31.5%, which means it is over eight times saltier than the world's oceans.

There's more to this region, however, than just the basin full of hypersaline water. On the north end, the Jordan River flows in. On the southeastern shore, it is believed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah once stood, which were destroyed by fire and brimstone (see Genesis 18 and 19) in an act of judgment.On the eastern shore, there is also the remains of a fortified city (Bab edh-Dhra) that has a seven-foot layer of ash...which may later prove to be the ruins of one of these cities.

David also fled from King Saul to the nearby "wilderness of En-Gedi", which is on the western shore (see I Samuel 24:1-2). Additionally, we also have the caves of Qumram nearby where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

Nowadays, however, there is also another problem: the Dead Sea is shrinking in size. It may also look as if this place is in need of a massive toxic cleanup considering all the minerals in the water. If you're a resort, wouldn't it be nice to say that not only can you visit, but you can also go boating, swimming, and even take a charter service out into the deep to catch some nice fish for sport or dinner? Wouldn't it be great if several resorts got together to clean the place up?

Ok, maybe that would be prohibitively expensive, but it would be nice for those of us who like to go fishing. Yet despite humankind's limitations, God does have a solution for this place. And believe it or not, it involves restoration on a grand scale.

What do you think? Do you know of places that have fallen into disrepair and could stand to be restored? Have you have moments in your life when you've felt depleted, depression, or burned out, and are in need of restoration yourself?

Next Monday, in the final part of this series, I'll discuss what God's future restoration plan is for the "Dead Sea" and what that means for the rest of us.

Note: Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Kind of Time Machine, Part I

With the current technological revolution in e-books and e-reading devices, it's easy to wonder: will libraries someday disappear?

Not likely.

Some libraries have kept up with technology quite well so far. In our local area, for example, numerous public libraries have computer workstations, offer several downloadable books, and even allow you to access other library system catalogs across the state. You can easily go online at home, request books from a university library hundreds of miles away, and pick up your book a week later without any human interaction at all.

Yet despite the growing shift towards more and more e-books, there is still something special about holding a paper book in your hands. There is something unique about the experience that forces you to slow down, take in the patterns of words on the pages, and pause in anticipation as you come to the end of the chapter...waiting to see how the author carries the momentum forward.

Inside a library there is also the experience of being surrounded by an immense amount of collected knowledge. No one walking through the doors of the library will ever be able to read everything on all the shelves, but at least they know it is there. It is knowledge in a physical form...lined up on shelf after shelf that sometimes stretches as far as the eye can see.

Something is lost when an entire building full of books is condensed into a handheld device. Yes, the devices are amazing feats of engineeering, but the physical sense of interacting with books and libraries is lost as a result.

Inside a library, too, you can pull out several books at once, set them before you on a desk, and switch between them with ease. In many ways, stepping inside a library is like stepping inside of a time machine. You can shift with ease between the centuries, set foot in different lands and cultures, and even travel to distant planets. Each book you pull off the shelf is like pulling a lever, and in some cases, like Doctor Who, who knows where you'll end up.

What do you think? Do you think libraries will be going away anytime soon? How would you compare your reading experiences onscreen vs. spending time inside an library with a stack of books?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are Tornadoes Getting Bigger?

A couple months ago, I watched several clips of tornadoes from the huge April outbreak that occurred down South this year. I've seen several storm documentaries over the years, but two images always stayed with me: the giant Moore, Oklahoma, tornado in 1999 and a less destructive, yet impressive 1.25 mile wide tornado that came through Comfrey, Minnesota during March of 1998. The width of each tornado was significant and in the case of the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado I remember seeing footage of what looked like tiny objects flying around in the air around the main funnel. Those tiny objects, however, were cars and trucks. At the time, the Moore tornado was one of the largest and strongest on record.

After watching the footage of the storms that ravaged the South, I was surprised at how wide some of the storms were. Several of the twisters appeared to be around a mile wide. Was something fundamentally changing in our weather patterns to start generating bigger and bigger storms?

Climate change debates aside, I decided to do some basic research into tornado widths. Here is an incomplete list of what I found:

TornadoDate of EventWidth (Miles)Rating
Waco, Texas5/11/19530.33F5
Blackwell, Oklahoma5/25/19550.28F5
Udall, Kansas5/25/19550.74F5
Topeka, Kansas6/8/19660.5F5
Tracy, Minnesota6/13/19680.09F5
Lubbock, Texas5/11/19701.2F5
Super Outbreak - Xenia, Ohio4/3/19740.5F5
Super Outbreak - DePauw, Indiana4/3/19741F5
Barneveld, Wisconsin6/7/19840.25F5
Andover, Kansas4/26/19910.34F5
Chandler, Minnesota6/16/19920.75F5
Jarrell, Texas5/27/19970.75F5
Comfrey, Minnesota3/29/19981.25F4
Bridge Creek-Moore, Oklahoma5/3/19991F5
Hallam, Nebraska5/22/20042.5F4
Greensburg, Kansas5/4/20071.7EF5
Elie, Manitoba6/22/20071.1F5
Parkersburg, Iowa6/25/20080.7EF5
Greeley, Colorado5/22/20081EF3
April 25-28, 2011 outbreak - Smithville, Mississippi4/27/20111EF5
April 25-28, 2011 outbreak - Tuscaloosa, Alabama4/27/20111.5EF5
Joplin, Missouri5/22/20111EF5

Then I graphed the results:

This, of course, is not an exhaustive analysis of all F3-F5 (or EF3-EF5) tornadoes, but it gives you a basic idea of where this may be headed. Granted this is not scientific by any means, but it does make one wonder: are even bigger ones on the way? More twisters seem to be approaching and surpassing the one-mile wide mark. A one-mile wide tornado can do an immense amount of damage in a hurry...just look at what happened to Greensburg, Kansas in 2007 and Joplin, Missouri in 2011. For a small town, one of these storms could easily wipe it off the map.

I've also noticed, too, that the size of the hailstones seems to be growing. In this area, it used to be rare to hear about golf-ball size hail. Now, I'm hearing of more and more incidents where the hail is tennis ball, baseball, or even softball size. As a result, the property damage reports have increased quite a bit.

How about your area? Is the weather getting worse or more violent? What do you think is causing these changes?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Limits of Science, Part III

This is the last post in an ongoing series of Monday posts...Parts I and Part II can be found here and here. Also, today's post is part of the Christian Writer's blog chain for July, with the topic of "Freedom". (Next Monday I'll start a new apologetic series of posts).

In the last post I talked about science potentially finding chemical or genetic answers to mankind's problems...maybe even the moral ones. It's almost as if we are trying to come up with a scientific answer for what the Bible in some cases simply calls "sin".

Underneath it all, however, is this fact: in many fields of science, there is often a quest for truth. Many of these searches for truth rely on testing and discovery as a means of finding repeatable results that can be developed into laws.

When it comes to God, however, there is this growing perception nowadays that such tests are not possible, and to believe means you have to abandon your intellect or "check your brains at the door". Is that accurate, though? Can't we "test" God to see if He is real, and to see if the results are repeatable?

Yes and no.

In Luke 4:12 (NKJV), when Jesus is being tempted, He responds: "And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”" In some translations, however, it states, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test." Additionally, in Luke 20:23 (NKJV) it says, "But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me?"". In this particular situation, the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus on the issue of whether it was lawful or not to pay taxes.

But in Malachi 3:10 (NKJV) God tells the Israelites: "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it."

Hmmmm. In some cases it sounds like we are not supposed to test anything, and in others...we can? If you look closer at the passages you'll notice one crucial difference: the motive of the person who is asking the question. In the cases listed above, was the person asking the question in a sincere quest for truth, or just trying to trap Jesus?

The Bible is full of promises...too many to list in a blog post, of course. But there are some basic ones found in the New Testament, for example. Romans 10:13 (NKJV) states: "For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Sounds like something with a repeatable result, doesn't it?

Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV) states: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." I Corinthians 12 lists spiritual gifts that a believer may receive. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NKJV) reads: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Reading these passages, it sounds like there are some results that will consistently occur if you seek out God in a "quest for truth".

Yet there is something a bit different about this quest. Keep in mind that this is a relationship. Believe it or not, with this relationship comes an intellectual freedom unparalleled. In Isaiah 1:18 it is written: ""Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

When we open the Bible or enter a church, no where in Scripture does it tell us to abandon your intellect. In fact, in Acts 17:10-11 (NKJV) it states: "Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." In other words, the Bereans checked the Scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was legitimate or not.

Some of science's greatest heroes did not abandon their faith or their intellect in their quest for truth. Why should you? If you read through the Word and ask God for help, you will have abundant evidence of who God is, what His purposes are, and you will see how real His promises are. You will see God at work in various fellowships, Bible studies, and through answered prayer.

Yes, some faith is required. Yet in return for that faith, you are given evidence of God's existence and that His laws are the real deal. More importantly, you will find a new level of intellectual freedom. Remember, however, that in this quest for truth that we already have an instruction manual and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

How about you? Have you ever seen God's truths and promises lived out in your life or the lives of others?

Friday, July 15, 2011


Everywhere these days you are seeing Redbox kiosks appearing in grocery stores and fast food restaurants that allow you to rent and return DVD movies. So far, this has been an innovative way to pick out your movies, sort of like a combination of Amazon book browsing and a physical store combined into one...sans the clerks of course. Along with this has also been the demise of more than a few area chain movie stores, which is causing a shift in how movies are rented and returned.

What if such an idea was transferred over to an industry such as bookselling?

For example, let's create a hypothetical device. Let's call it the Print-On-Demand Box or PODBox for short. Inside this kiosk, there would contain several ink tanks, a great deal of paper stock and a few different kinds of cover material. The machine would be approximately the same size as a Redbox kiosk, and could be placed in many places, although putting it in a restaurant may not be most ideal situation.

The machine would be able to create books on demand, after the user browses titles with the touch screen interface, much like a Redbox kiosk operates today. Theoretically, the user could be allowed to choose books from some type of website (Amazon?) and the machine would generate a perfect-bound paperback in a matter of a few minutes. Yes, I know, e-books and Kindles are all the rage right now, but many people do still like to hold paperbacks in their hands.

The only drawback to this setup that I can see, though, is that if demand is heavy, the ink tanks would have to be quite large and refilled periodically. Paper stock would also have to be refilled along with glue for the book binding. Redbox machines tend to be more or less self-maintaining, appearing to depend on users returning movies to the same or even a different location (although I'm sure when new movies come out, somebody has to load them into the machine).

Once the machines are built, they could be put in many locations. Grocery stories, tourist locations, rest stops, and even bookstores themselves could get into the act. For example, you could have books related to a particular tourist location available in a kiosk. After all, if you can get a penny smashed and stamped with a logo from your tourist destination, why not get a book there, too? Why not go a step further and allow for some customizable elements of the book?

What do you think? Would such a machine be a feasible device? Would you purchase a paperback book out of a PODbox if it offered a decent selection of titles?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Limits of Science, Part II

(This is an ongoing series of Monday posts...Part I can be found here and Part III will be coming next week).

Last week I briefly discussed a series of amazing inventions that mankind has created over the past century or so. The list is truly incredible and far from complete.

At the same time, however, there also seems to be this growing belief that science can solve almost any problem...given enough time. Along with that belief is a growing effort to marginalize religion, and maybe more specifically, Biblical Christianity. After all, to a casual passerby, Christians pray to some invisible being who does not seem to answer back, gather in churches to hear bits and pieces out of a book that is chock full of contradictions, and follow all sorts of rituals because...well...people like rituals!

Or so it seems.

Let's back up. There are several well known scientists in history who were Christians. In many cases, their faith was a foundational part of their scientific pursuits...sort of like a starting point, in essence. Some of these figures included Max Planck, James Clark Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Michael Faraday, Blaise Pascal, Johannes Kepler and Charles Babbage, just to name a few.

So are we to believe that this list of scientists were merely deluded into believing there was some invisible being at the "other end of the prayer line" yet actively pursued truth in a wide range of fields? There is a well known modern day computer scientist, Donald Knuth, who is also a Christian. In computer science circles, he is widely known for his classic, yet challenging book series, "The Art of Computer Programming". Volume I of the series now contains this quote from Bill Gates "If you think you're a really good (Knuth's) Art of Computer Programming...You should definitely send me a résumé if you can read the whole thing."

Maybe the real issue is that science has not gone far enough yet. Perhaps when it reaches the point that it can reduce such human emotions as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control to a series of chemical reactions, equations, and laws we will then have the capability to solve mankind's greatest dilemmas.

Then, of course, some new, thorny issues would emerge: would science be the vehicle to deliver such a wonderful set of qualities? Would it be science's job to identify which human embryos are "on the right track" in terms of these qualities and which ones are not? After all, one could theoretically argue, we have pills that cure all sorts of diseases nowadays, such as ear infections, skin infections, etc. Perhaps there will come a day when scientists will find a "joy" gene or a "patience" gene or can medicate these qualities in people.

Or could it be that there really is something such as a concept of sin and grace, and a God who really does answer back? In Galatians 5:22 (NKJV) it states: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Now, which sounds easier...taking a pile of pills or merely asking God for help?

The other question that also needs to asked is if emotions can be reduced to equations, what about something so complicated as a relationship? Could you imagine the love between a husband and wife or the love between a father and his son being summed up by pages and pages of mathematical proofs?

In John 4:24 (NKJV), Jesus states: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." That sounds like a set of basic requirements. Is it possible that the scientists I mentioned above did this very thing? To say these scientists just did not know any better about their religious beliefs sounds like an insult to their intellect.

What do you think? Why is there this growing disconnect between believing in the Bible, conducting science, and having a relationship with God?

Next Monday: Can God be tested?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pac-Man Demystified

The other day I was playing Pac-Man on our Namco TV Classics system (found here) and besides bringing back lots of old school gaming memories, I was reminded of web page I found years ago that deconstructed Pac-Man on all sorts of levels. It's a fun and in-depth read on both a historical level and a gaming level.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Warnings - A Review

This book is the fascinating tale of how our modern weather warning system came into being. Part biography and part history, it details the quest to save countless lives in the face of poor communication systems, limited technology, bureaucracy, and of course, big storms.

The author, Mike Smith, is the founder of WeatherData, and he has a unique and pioneer-like perspective on the history of storm forecasting over the past several decades. Throughout the book, the reader is given great insights into how the technology was developed and what obstacles needed to be overcome along the way. Odd fact: in the late 1940's, weather forecasters were not even allowed to issue tornado warnings.

There is also a chapter on Theodore Fujita, developer of our modern tornado ranking system, that discusses his contributions to our modern understanding of tornadoes, downbursts, and microbursts. The contributions came at a price, however, as there was quite a struggle to get his work recognized and accepted by other scientists at the time.

Throughout the book, there are eye-opening accounts of several major storms of the past and their aftermath...not only from the standpoint of a weather forecaster, but from that of the survivors left to pick up after the destruction. There are several chapters on Hurricane Katrina, as well as a chapter on Hurricane Andrew. It was interesting to see how bureaucratic issues complicated warning as well as recovery efforts almost every step of the way. Some insight is given on how data is actually collected for use in hurricane modelling, and guess's not all science. Some of it is part intuition and part art.

Some great comparisons were made near the end of the book, when Smith found similarities between the destructive Udall, Kansas, tornado of 1955 and the one that pummelled Greensburg, Kansas, in 2007. Most striking was the structure of both storms, but also, the progress that has been made over the years in forecasting, along with the tools that took too long to implement (widespread usage of Doppler radar, etc.). Perhaps the most significant detail is that many lives were saved during the Greensburg storm.

Overall, this book was an engaging and informative read. Highly recommended.

Question: Do you think science has truly "tamed the weather" as the subtitle of this book suggests?

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Limits of Science, Part I

A few years ago, I put together a list of inventions for a Bible study I was teaching (Ravi Zacharias' "Deliver Us From Evil" video series). The topic that week had to do with relativism and philosophy, and so one of the things I decided to tie in was how much advancement had been made in the name of science.

The list went something like this:

1885: Automobile patent granted (internal combustion engine)
1893: Radio (Nikola Tesla)

1923: Television (Electronic)
1928: Antibiotics: Alexander Fleming (initial discovery of penicillin)

1935: Nylon
1937: Jet engine

1942: Nuclear reactor
1945: Nuclear weapons - Manhattan Project
1946: Microwave oven
1947: Transistor

1950: Credit card
1958: Communications satellite
1958: Implantable pacemaker

1960: Laser
1961: Human spaceflight
1967: Automatic Teller Machine

1973: Personal computer - Xerox PARC
1973: Genetically modified organism - e Coli (Stanley Norman Cohen and Herbert Boyer)
1975: DNA sequencing (bacteria), Allan Maxam and Walter Gilbert; Frederick Sanger

1982: Artificial heart
1983: Internet

1990: World Wide Web, computer networks in the 60's
1993: Global Positioning System
1999: GloFish

2000: The Human Genome Project (HGP)

I read off the list of inventions to the group, and then I posited the following question: "Is there anything man can't do now?" My main point was that frequently the argument is made that it is only a matter of time before science figures everything out. Along with this point of view often comes the implication that religion (usually Christianity) is no longer needed.

But is that really the case?

I was reminded of that question last night as I walked through a department store and looked at fish tanks in the pet section. There, in one of the fish tanks were some GloFish...which are genetically modified fish that were created by taking green fluorescent protein from a jellyfish and putting them into a zebrafish embryo. Nowadays they are being sold as pets. (I wonder if somebody is working on fluorescent minnows somewhere...and what game fish would think of them!)

So, with all the advancements being made in genetically modified crops, animals, bacteria, etc., does this mean that the world is truly being unlocked to us, as if we are just playing with a bunch of building blocks? Does this mean that our world truly is nothing more than a bunch of interacting molecules, atoms, physics forces, and that, given enough time, scientists will be able to solve any given problem and create any species they want?

I find it interesting that many inventions (especially flight related ones) were actually inspired by animals...for instance the airplane, helicopters, etc. This is a process that continues today, with scientists looking to the interaction of ants as a means of solving some very difficult math problems. In fact, with the Oriental Hornet, they recently discovered that such a creature may actually have a some type of "solar cell" mechanism in its body as a means of acquiring energy.

What do you think? Has science advanced to the point that we are on the fringes of solving almost any problem? Do you believe it is a matter of time before we can genetically modify anything?

Next Monday, I'll describe an alternate view of this subject and together we'll look at what the Bible actually says about this.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Take a Cue From a Hummingbird

A few weeks back, my wife and I went on a vacation to Canada for a week. The fishing was amazing, the weather decent, and even towards the end we were treated to a display of northern lights. There was plenty of wildlife to be seen also...including moose, foxes, black bears, eagles, and of course, plenty of fish. Up there, however, we were about an hour away from the nearest town, which meant no cell phone service, no internet, and no telephone. The bathroom consisted of an outhouse and what lights we did have in the cabin were powered by a generator that only ran a few hours of the day.

Hanging out in front of the cabin's living room window, however, was a hummingbird feeder. Several times a day a pair of hummingbirds would stop by and visit. If you've never watched one of these little creatures, they are truly amazing to see as their wings beat up to 80 times per second. Their wings often look like a blur, and they can change their direction on a dime, even turning 90 degress with minimal effort. But for all the work these birds seemed to do, I would see them fly back to their nest in a nearby tree to rest.

When I came back home, I returned back to a world filled with technology. I sat down in front of my computer to check my e-mail. The odd part was, part of me really didn't care. Part of me did not miss going online at all. It took a full day for me get back into my usual routine of checking the news, writing blog posts, checking e-mail, etc. and throughout that time I was wondering if I was even doing the right thing anymore.

The lesson I began to learn was that it had been a long time since I had taken a break like that and I was long overdue. The other lesson was that I needed to start scheduling smaller breaks on a regular basis or I would run the risk of "technology burnout". It was almost as if I had forgotten how to take a rest.

I think nowadays it is very easy to fall into a "busy" trap, by constantly running around, researching things on the internet, checking web stats, etc. Don't get me wrong...I love technology and especially programming. But I do know when I have reached my saturation point and my brain starts to go into overload mode. It doesn't help that numerous times I've found myself saying "can I have my five minutes back?" after clicking on a news article which really did not contain much substance but had a catchy title.

I'm relearning now that sometimes it's good to "unplug" ourselves from technology once in a while. Humans were never meant to spend all their waking hours inundating myself with all forms of media, most of which does not improve our lifestyle in any tangible way.  It's been proven, too, that when a person gets too tired, their productivity will often drop by half. In other words, periods of rest are essential to your longevity. Computers are great at multi-tasking and even doing multiple tasks in parallel, but for humans it can quickly become counterproductive and even destructive.

Do you ever sense the need to unplug from technology for a while? In Mark 2:27 it states, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (NKJV) What are some areas of life that you feel you might need a rest from? Why is that animals seem to know when to take a rest but humans are prone to overwork?