Christian Nuclear Fellowship
Email Vic Uotinen Vic@Rivermont.org

 

 

Meeting at American Nuclear Society events since 1976
The Christian Nuclear Fellowship (CNF) is an informal, interdenominational group of evangelical Christians who work in the field of nuclear science
and technology and who want to encourage each other to faithfully follow Jesus Christ in both their private and public lives (including in their professional activities).
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Celebrating God's Faithfulness, By Carl Mazzola

 

REPORT: Scientists & Engineers, "Things That Matter the Most" NOV-2014

CNF TALK: Salt & Light NOV-2014

Trusting God in an Uncertain World JUN-2014

REPORT: CNF Reno JUN-2014

PAPER: Bob Wilson, JUN-2014

PAPER: Christ the Hope of the World, Mazolla 2008

PAPER: The Reason for God, Review of Keller's book JUN-2008

CNF BREAKFAST: Howard Shaffer NOV-2007

REPORT: Journal Article, Howard Shaffer 2006

2012-Vic-UotinenTalk-at-CNF-San-Diego

 

Why did Science and Technology Develop?

Prepared by Dr. Robert Wilson, Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, for CNF Discussion Group 11/11/13

Modern (experimental) science and modern technology is a remarkable and recent development since the 17th century.  Humans did not recently become more intelligent, so how did Western Europe change.  The key change was conceptual.  In prior centuries:

Universe is stage for cosmic conflict (Order is opposed by chaos)

Tampering with nature will unleash destruction (Floods and Plagues are result)

No good can come from experiments

One of the fortunate results of the Reformation was the view that one god was firmly in control and     neither Nature nor the Devil could overturn providence.  From the writings of early researchers such as    Robert Boyle and George Berkeley, we learn that the Creation is orderly and dependable.  From other writings of early scientists as Decartes, Boyle, Huygens, and Newton that It is safe and proper to experiment.   Further Pascal, Bacon, and Boyle taught us that Progress is possible and History has a goal and direction.  One can infer that science and technology derive from a world view that can answer the questions:

Is the universe under control?

Does history have a direction?

Behind these questions:  What is God like?

We know that in 17th & 18th century Europe the ferment of the Reformation meant the Bible was widely read and the consensus of the academy and the general populous was to answer these questions positively.

From Theologian Leslie Newbigin: "Studies in the origin and development of modern science have led historians to ask why the brilliant intellectual powers of the ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, and Greeks, in spite of their achievements both in observation and in pure speculation, never brought forth the dynamic, self-developing science of the modern era.  It has been very plausibly argued that the decisive factor is to be found in the biblical vision of the world as both rational and contingent.  For to put it briefly, if the world is not rational, science is not possible; if the world is not contingent, science is not necessary." (Foolishness to the Greeks, 70)

Many recent historians affirm this view.  H. Butterfield attributes birth of scientific method to the emerging Christian world view in Origins of Modern Science (1957);  R. Hooykaas attributes advances in science primarily to reformed theology and Calvin’s view of creation in Religion and the Rise of Modern Science (1972); E. Klaaren agreed with Hooykaas but saw less influence of Calvin in Religious Origins of Modern Science (1977); while S. Jaki developed reasons that science did not develop in other religious climates (Babylonian, Hindu, Moslem, Maya, Ancient Greek) in Science & Creation (1986)

Act justly: Always seek fairness even when you have to give up some prior advantages that you have attained. Always choose honest and trustworthiness, be dependable and honor your commitments. Avoid the temptation to cover up your mistakes. Always seek the truth and trust every outcome to the Lord (Romans 8:31). Be absolutely and meticulously honest and trustworthy on the job. No one would argue with you if you stated that we live in uncertain times. In all areas of our life uncertainty exists and it seems to be increasing at an alarming rate.

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How Big is Your God?  (Talk for Christian Nuclear Fellowship)—
June 19, 2013, by Herbert W. Massie

First of all - giving honor to God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am glad to be here with my fellow Christian brothers and sisters this morning.  I would like to dedicate my message to my brother, Minister Douglas Massie, who is a minister in Pittsburgh, my home town!

The subject of my talk is:  How Big is your God?  The main scripture for my talk today is Psalm 97.  Today I am not talking to you about Bible prophecy (as I did before) but I am still studying it.  First I have a short story to tell you!

I was standing in the parking lot a few years ago at the nursing home where my father was and talking to my brother, Minister Douglas Massie.  We had just left visiting my dad, who has since passed away…in 2010…God rest his soul.  My brother who is not a technical person said something to me that really grabbed me.  He said something like he was amazed at the fact that there are billions of galaxies out there each with millions or billions of stars.  Since I am an engineer this really struck me that my brother, who is no way a technical person, had realized this! 

When I got home I looked on the internet to check the latest facts on this.  I hadn’t thought about it in a long while.  I went onto Google, of course, and I found out that based on work using the Hubble satellite we have over 125 billion…that is billion, galaxies in the universe, each with 100 billion stars.  Think of the shear magnitude of God’s universe…it is huge.

Genesis 1:1 states that: In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth…

Just think how big that Bible verse is.  Think about how God created us.  Each of  us has trillions of cells in our body that all have to work together.  It’s an amazing thing when you actually sit down and think about it.  So how big is your God?  My God is so big that even the universe can’t contain him.

After I got born again in 2004, I was watching a minister on TV, Dr. James Merrittt, who has a church just north of Atlanta. Dr. Merritt gave a talk called Thank God for God. This message had a big impact on my life; I listen to that tape every so often even now, and when I do, it always rejuvenates my faith and my understanding of just how big God really is. Last month I listened to it three times as I was driving up to Pittsburgh for my sister’s ordination on May 21. He based his sermon on Psalm 97. In it he mentions the Supreme Preeminence of God. Psalm 97 verse 9 states, “For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.” God is supremely preeminent and He is preeminently supreme. My talk today is a take off from this. 

What I want to discuss today is that I just think that sometimes we just forget how big God really is.  God is so big that the universe can’t contain Him.  Yet God is kind enough and forgiving enough to forgive me of my sins and to be in my heart.  But God does come down to earth.

Proverbs 15:3 says:   The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.  So God is everywhere and in control of things everywhere.  In other words, God is omnipresent.  Only, a BIG God could do that!  Is God controlling the day-to-day events of the world and in our life?  He is of course controlling the events leading toward the end times and towards The Day of Our Lord.  But we know that God gave us free will.  As He did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden…well we all know that is how sin got into the world.

In Matthew 10:29, 30 Jesus says:  “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”  This is an incredible-incredible thing!  We see that God the Father is in control.   Someone once said that God does not will every circumstance but he has a will in every circumstance.  God is aware of everything that happens.  Nothing happens without God’s awareness.  I believe that God sometimes intercedes at points in history to make his will known.  For example, God is aware right now of what is happening in Iran, in Iraq, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in Syria.  The more I study Bible prophecy the more I am convinced that something strange is going on.  Only God knows when the end times will be here.  Look at what is happening in the world today.  We have unrest all over the world, here in the United States, and over in Egypt - clearly a place of historical significance in the Bible.

What is further evidence of this?  Look at Psalm 97:1.

“The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad.”

God made the world and the universe and he rules over the whole earth as well as the universe.  Also, remember God has these incredible angels at His disposal.  Each angel, and there are likely millions of them I believe, has tremendous power as you know.

One of my favorite examples of God’s power comes thru His son, Jesus Christ.  Isn’t this why we are here?  Because of Jesus Christ?  Remember when Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to go to the other side of the lake.  Luke 8:23 to 25 says:

Luk 8:23  But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.

Luk 8:24  And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

Luk 8:25  And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

 

Hey, this is the power of God thru His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Now let’s look at the first part of Psalm 97:2:  “Clouds and thick darkness surround Him.”

This refers to the mystery of God.  God is a mysterious God.  We can’t know everything about God.  If we did, he wouldn’t be God.  I have been a born-again Christian for about nine years and I know very little about God.  But I know that he has greatly changed my life.  He had the power to touch my heart and change me from the inside out.  My Pastor said one Sunday:  “When you can’t trace God’s hand, you can trust God’s heart”  I like that.  And I have heard this before [Rev. Merritt’s sermon] and it helped me to know through the Holy Spirit, that I was on track for this message.  Thank you Lord for that! 

How big is your God? 

The second part of Psalm 97:2 says:  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.  God is a righteous God.  He always does the right thing.  We may not know what that is but in the end , things work out the way God wants.  My pastor preached one week about Job and how he was faithful and did not curse God.  In the end Job got all of his wealth back and new wife and kids but he had faith and patience.  God allowed Satan do anything he wanted to to Job except take his life.  God in the end is a just God.  We have free will to do things, but in the end God’s purpose will reveal itself.

For example in 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  In other words God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, but God allows it thru our free will.

We also know that God is omnipotent having unlimited authority… he created the world and the universe in the first place.  So Psalm 97 verses 4 and 5 shouldn’t surprise us:  

95:4—His lightnings lit up the world; the earth saw and trembled.

95:5—The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

This reminds me of the Book of Revelation when God starts to destroy the old earth and wipe out billions of non-believers.  This is how big and powerful God is.  For some it will be too late to be saved.  Like in the time of Noah when the rains came and others were washed away.  God is just, by giving us time to get saved by believing in His son on the cross.

How do we get saved or born-again?  We know that the only way is by believing and confessing that Christ is our Lord and Savior.  We have to, of course, repent of our sins.  We must go thru Christ to get saved.  Another one of my favorite passages is Matthew 7:28-29 right after the Sermon on the Mount.  It reads:

Matthew 7:28—When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching.  Matthew 7:29—for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as scribes.  It’s clear to us now that Jesus’ authority is from God the Father.  That’s how big God is…to have his son crucified and wash away our sins by His blood, if we believe in Him.

God is omniscient, having infinite awareness and complete knowledge.  He knows everything about everyone.  He knows what is in our hearts…in spite of how big the universe is.  He has the ability to change our hearts.

How big is my God?

The big question I have with how big God is, is this: How and why did He reach down on February 27, 2004, and save a sinner like me.  My mom use to always repeat Romans 3:23 on the phone to me which says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!!

Very simply, I was saved by God’s grace 

By God’s grace I stand in front of you today.  By God’s grace, I enjoy teaching Sunday School…something I never thought I would do.  Now I am teaching MasterLife which helps to make disciples of Christ after I finished the 8 ½ month course last year.  And by God’s grace I continue to work in the small-group cluster ministry. 

I would like to close my talk with you by reading Psalm 150: (KJV)

Psa 150:1  Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

Psa 150:2  Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Psa 150:3  Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

Psa 150:4  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Psa 150:5  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

Psa 150:6  Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

 

Brothers and Sisters, that’s is how big my God is!  How big is your God? 

 

He is worthy, worthy to be praised.

Amen! Amen! Amen!

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ASSUMPTION SORTER

 

BELIEF SYSTEM TYPE 1

BELIEF SYSTEM TYPE 2

BELIEF SYSTEM TYPE 3

What is really real?

 

God and nature (Spiritual & Physical)

Only nature

(Physical)

Only impersonal divinity (Spiritual)

Where does everything come from?

God made

nature

 

Nature made nature

Everything is divine – Universe is an illusion

How does everything work?

God operates the universe

 

Natural laws operate the universe

Evolving toward unity with the universal spirit(s)

Where is everything going?

Life with God in new heaven & new earth

Annihilation/

Death

Nothingness/unity with the divine essence

What is a human being?

 

A free living person in God’s image

A highly evolved animal

An expression of impersonal divinity

Where does knowledge begin?

 

God

Independent Self

 

 

Divine Self

What is good?

 

God in His person and character

Whatever I/We decide–reduces to power

Good and evil is an illusion

What is humanity’s basic problem?

People are not good

People are unequal

 

People lack knowledge

Where do people look for answers to the above questions?

Outside self, system & universe (God decides) ← OR → Inside self, system & universe (We decide)

Copyright David W Richardson, Jr. 2011 (Version Theta)

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The Challenge of Living by Christian Principles in the Workplace

by Carl Mazzola

Presented to the Christian Nuclear Fellowship, Chicago IL, June 27, 2012
 

Isn’t it relatively easy to live a “Christian life” when we wake up on Sunday morning? We first either teach or attend a Sunday school class and fill ourselves with the only offensive weapon of God’s spiritual armor - His Word - and then we sing praises to Jesus at worship service.  All of this is topped off with a spiritually-focused message from our pastor. The afterglow of the spiritual high we have experienced may even last deep into Sunday evening , provided that no one cuts you off on the way to Sunday brunch or your children won’t stop whining in the back of the car, “Are we there yet?” However, it’s not until you enter the workweek on Monday morning that the real challenges begin. The Christian is now positioned to navigate as an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ in a secular jungle where Biblical principles are not only ignored, but generally scoffed at. We are to be in the world, but not of the world.

So what are some of the common issues faced by a Christian in the workplace on a daily basis? Many come to mind, including managing or working with obstinate and difficult personnel, being treated unfairly with sometimes harsh criticism, constant temptation to compromise ethics by hiding mistakes, padding expense reports, charging time to projects not worked on, becoming comfortable with the underlying culture of cheating, calling in sick when you are not, slacking off at the end of the workday, gossiping about fellow workers and the boss, someone stealing the credit for your hard work, etc. The list is much greater than these examples and all of these challenges result in a very stressful work environment. We desire to be like Jesus, for we are His 24/7 ambassadors, but the world does not provide us the platform we need to consistently let people see Jesus through us. At times, since we all fail to some extent, we resort to responses that are laced with anger, sarcasm and vindictiveness.

One of the biggest misconceptions in the Christian world is that we can separate ministry work from “secular work”, like somehow being in the ministry is better, or you’re more spiritual. Well, nothing is further from the truth. These issues will be faced no matter where you are or what you are called to do, because the world is a depraved place. Paul told his Ephesian brothers of what they were before Christ rescued them from their depravity in Ephesians 2:1-3. Thus, we must understand that we are to effectively represent our Master no matter where He has called us to be and no matter what time of the day it is. Clearly, this is not only very difficult, but also very stressful. However, we need to be mindful that when stress seems unbearable, the Sovereign Lord is still in charge. He, and He alone, provides us resources to enable us to live His Kingdom in a depraved, lost and dying world. These are the fruit of His indwelt Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the book that has all life’s essential answers, the Bible, an acronym for Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. Scripture provides us the principles we should live by and the Holy Spirit provides us the power to live these principles.

I would like to share with you this morning, some of these principles and how they can ensure that we can be a successful (from a glorifying God viewpoint) ambassador for Jesus Christ in the workplace, so that our light will continually shine and attract others to the Kingdom of God.

After we are born again and receive Jesus, God leaves us on Earth for a short period of time (compared to eternity), essentially to do two things: (1) enjoy His grace; and (2) enhance His glory. This principle is focused on the latter. Most Christians have no trouble with the “enjoy His grace” part, it is the enhancing His glory in difficult circumstances which brings trouble.

The first step in enhancing His glory is to learn how to live the 4 Kingdom principles that Jesus spoke about in Luke 9:50-62, and we can only do this by walking in the Spirit. These four principles are:

  1. Exercise mercy not judgment: Seek to positively affect company policies and expectations and move them toward accordance with Christ by being merciful to everyone in all situations.
  2. Always be ready to sacrifice your self-interests: Exercise your servant’s heart and be volunteer first in every situation. Take an interest in others needs at work and care about your co-worker’s burdens;
  3. Make Jesus the priority in any situation: Show everyone how you trust Him for everything and that you do not seek fulfillment of self; and,
  4. Wholeheartedly follow Jesus: Consistently follow His principles in everything you do. Go to work utterly dependent on God for without him you can’t breathe, move, think, feel, talk or be spiritually influential (John 15:5).

These overarching Kingdom principles undergird every one of the seven (7) implementation principles which I would like to share with you now.

The first implementation principle: Do everything to glorify the Lord:

And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men: Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Colossians 3:23-25.

Whatever we do, we should do it heartily as unto the Lord.  We’re not doing it for the company we’re working for, nor doing it for a rude boss. We’re doing it for the Lord!  He is the one you’re working for and He is the One that you will receive your reward from, and His benefit package is out of this world! If you work hard and the boss steals the credit, the LORD is still the one that will bring the reward, and there is a future payday for the person who stole your work as well.

This is a reminder we need to keep in front of us every day.  We’re working for the Lord, and our reward comes from Him. We have partners, employees, and customers.  But we’re not really working for them; we’re working for the Lord.

Each of us is called to whatever God has created us to do and no one is greater than any other because of their calling.  No matter what your job or business, you are there because you are working for the LORD.  My first responsibility is to the LORD and I’m not allowed to “just do enough” to get by.  I must seek excellence since He is my boss. I must be holy because He is holy and has called me to be holy.

Moreover, work is where you make money. However, it is all God’s, not yours. You are a trustee. Turn your earning into the overflow of generosity in how you steward God’s money. Work to earn to have to give and to invest in Christ-exalting ventures.

The second implementation principle: Follow the 3 Micah 6:8 precepts:

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.

These 3 precepts are a distillation of the 613 precepts of the Mosaic Law. Habakkuk later reduced it to one precept in Habakkuk 2:4, the just shall live by faith. These 3 precepts also line up with the 4 Kingdom principles that Jesus taught in Luke 9:50-62.


 

Walk humbly with your God: Walk in the footsteps of Jesus in full humility. The world constantly lies to us telling us we have “rights”. With respect with what we bring to the table with our Adamic fallen nature, we have no righteousness. Therefore, seek to put on the Mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) and be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2). Do what you believe Jesus would do in all situations, and again trust God for the outcome. Always give thanks to God for life and health and don’t be among the complainers. Let your thankfulness to God overflow in a humble spirit of gratitude to others. Be known as the hope-filled, humble, thankful one at work.

The third implementation principle: To accomplish the goal of Romans 12:18.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”. Romans 12:18.

Paul even acknowledges with the qualifier, “if it is possible”, that there may be some people that will not get along with you. Certainly the unregenerate Jews and Lystra and Derbe who almost stoned him to death were individuals that were very uninterested in living at peace with him. Our tendency, once someone becomes our adversary, or if we are wronged by someone, is to seek vengeance; or at best, to seek avoidance. But the second qualifier in this Scripture identifies the responsibility of the Christian, “as far as it depends on you”. You have the responsibility and accountability to restore that relationship before it spirals out of control.

Jesus tells us to confront the person who has wronged you in Matt. 18:15 with a focus towards reconciliation so you can gain a brother. Without forgiveness and reconciliation, it will be impossible to live at peace with that person. Their anger and meanness is no license for you to not live at peace with them in a “love your enemy” fashion. Haven’t we felt great joy when we reconcile with an old enemy? Some of my best friends today are those who I once had sharp words with. This is the Kingdom of God working in us and through us.

The fourth implementation principle: Practice Philippians 4:8.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable…think on these things”. Philippians 4:8

We know many good things about our associates and we also know many bad things about them. Jesus wants us to always focus on the good attributes. Since our actions and even habits have their formulation in our thought life, it is vital to think on good things so it will lead to good responses and behavior. However, our flesh, constantly prodded by Satan and his demonic principalities (Ephesians 6:11), frequently focus us on the faults of people around us rather than on their virtues. The good news is that we have a choice as to which we emphasize. We can choose a focus on faults or we can choose a focus on virtues. It seems that when someone has wronged us, a literal library of their fault profile suddenly pops up in our mind, perhaps as a defensive mechanism, and prepares us to hurl judgments against that person. So how does Jesus instruct us to respond?  

Well, Scripture clearly tells us that since we have no righteousness of ourselves, we should not always expect righteousness treatment from others. We need to be mindful that we have been forgiven and our righteousness is not our own but the imputed righteousness that Jesus’ death on the cross gave us. Therefore, we should not hypocritically expect righteousness in others all of the time. God wants us to meditate on the good things of any person we meet and place our continual focus on that despite all distractions. This enables us love that person as Jesus loves us, forgive that person as Jesus has forgiven us, and to persevere through difficult relationships until we have an opportunity to reconcile them.

Always work to help your company have an impact that is life-enhancing, not soul-destroying.

The fifth implementation principle: Live Proverbs 15:1.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,  but a harsh word stirs up anger”. Proverbs 15:1.

When in a confrontational situation you have the option to escalate or de-escalate when it is your turn to respond. Proverbs 15:1 tells us to choose de-escalation so that the confrontation doesn’t escalate out of control. I have a personal testimony on how well this works. When living in Plymouth, Massachusetts about 30 years ago, I left home late and had very limited time to catch my carpool mates who lived 12 miles away. If I missed them, I would have to drive another 34 miles to Boston. Two miles into my dash to Duxbury, my gas warning light came on and I needed fuel fast. Of course, the gas station attendant literally crawled to my car and in frustration I loudly told him to fill it as fast as he could. He yelled back “What’s your hurry?” and I was faced with a de-escalate/escalate decision. The Holy Spirit moved me to take my focus off my time pressure problem and I apologized and told him why I was in a rush. His countenance changed immediately and he apologized back and indicated he had just worked 2 shifts and was exhausted. He filled my tank as fast as he could and we shook hands. I got to my carpool with 2 seconds to spare. Anyone want to guess the outcome if I chose to escalate?

The sixth implementation principle: Be timely in all you do.

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation”. II Corinthians 6:2b

Scripture tells us to respect everyone’s time and when you have a deliverable or an appointment, you need to honor the other person’s time. Therefore, be disciplined and learn to be efficient in all you do, which will lead to greater productivity. In addition, do not procrastinate, especially with work items that are not very easy or pleasing to do. Ask the Lord for strength to work on difficult things and you will receive it.

Motto of Procrastinators of America: Procrastinator’s unite! Tomorrow!!

The seventh and last principle of Christian living: To persevere through all circumstances.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

The daily living challenges that the LORD gives are never too difficult if you involve Him and His power. The fleshly response is to give up and seek a believable excuse for why you didn’t persevere. Resist that pathway and put in the hard work to complete the task. The most meaningful accomplishments in our lives all required hard work and had many points before completion where we could have given up. Work hard all the time as the Proverbs 6:6 ant.

Let me cite two other Scriptures that help us live as a Christian in the workplace before I close:

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts”. II Corinthians 3:2-3.

“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host…. will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat. Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.” Luke 14:8-9.

If you find Christian living a boring thing, then you probably are not living a life that is centered in Jesus Christ. In contrast, Christian living is dynamic and meaningful as we follow our LORD one thought and one action at a time. Therefore, put on the Mind of Christ and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then, and only then, will you be able to be a successful ambassador for Christ in the workplace.

After our meeting ends, go forth into the mission field and let the light of the Lord shine through you everywhere you go.

CARL MAZZOLA is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist of the American Meteorological Society, has worked in the nuclear industry since 1973 and is currently a program manager/senior scientist with Shaw Environmental. He has published 45 technical papers associated with atmospheric dispersion, consequence assessment, environmental compliance, and risk management. An ANS member for more than 30 years, Carl has presented numerous technical papers, chaired topical meetings, and chaired two professional divisions. He is an officer of the nuclear non-proliferation technical group, Vice-Chair of Professional Divisions and Membership Committees, Chair of the Nuclear Facilities Standards Committee, and serves on the Christian Nuclear Fellowship Advisory Committee. Carl has been active with CNF since 1988.  

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SEEKING WISDOM IN THE TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY

Carl A. Mazzola

Presented at CNF Power Breakfast, Washington, DC, November 16, 2009

Introduction:

The political stability of the world is being threatened by tensions in the Middle East, actions of North Korea, and the disintegration of the power and force of the United Nations and the IAEA.

The tensions surrounding Israel with neighboring Iran, Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon are strong and no solution is in sight. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan are still fluid and far from resolved.

Nuclear non-proliferation is fighting an uphill battle. Seemingly unsolvable issues exist in North Korea and Iran with strong saber rattling and threats of nuclear confrontation. 

Our global economic situation, although somewhat stabilizing, has a long way to go before employment prospects improve and the housing market makes a sustained recovery. The positions of economic “experts” have a half-life of two days.

The moral character of the United States continues to decline with the January 2009 reinforcement of abortion laws under the guise of woman’s rights to her body, and attacks on public display of anything associated with Judeo-Christian core beliefs.

The threat of worldwide terrorism is ever present as seen by recent arrests in plots to harm United States cities and suicide bombings in other parts of the world. The assassination of the 12 soldiers and 1 civilian at Fort Hood had terrorism undertones.

Tsunamis and earthquakes kill tens of thousands and no one has the ability to know when they are going to happen.

Solutions to these and many other problems require more than human capability can muster. Wisdom from a heavenly supernatural source is needed for successful day-to-day living.

My talk this morning, “Seeking Wisdom in Times of Uncertainty”, involves the following four points: 

1.  We live in a technologically complex world with ever more complex issues;
2.  As much as we hate to admit it, we have significant human limitations, and the world system doesn’t help us very much;
3.  We have an omnibenevolent omniscient omnipotent omnipresent God who freely provides wisdom to those that want it; and,
4.  Receiving and effectively implementing God’s wisdom results in abundant living.

Point I: We live in a technologically complex world with ever more complex issues
Technological advances breed a multitude of new questions to answer. The more that we learn, the more we learn what we don’t know.
The macrocosm and microcosm is vastly complex. Every scale of reality from the quark to the distant galaxies is highly complex. There are 42 orders of magnitude in the physical Universe that we have so far detected with our 5 senses and tools we developed to extend our senses.
Global internet capabilities have linked the world and make us aware of the enormous problems without solutions that is out there.
Each year, problems seem to grow more complex, in part, because the world is linked by Internet communications. There seems to be less time to make harder and harder decisions.
To effectively approach and ultimately solve these present issues requires great wisdom, the right kind of wisdom, and the right source to access such wisdom.
See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." Deuteronomy 4:5-6.
God showed the importance of wisdom to Israel and then delivered it to them to solve complex problems they would face 3,450 years ago! When they followed that wisdom they flourished and when they didn’t they faced grim consequences (Deuteronomy 28).

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WISDOM IN THE BIBLE

Bob Wilson

Wisdom in the Bible – Notes prepared by Bob Wilson for CNF Meeting in Washington, DC 11/16/09

What do the scriptures say about obtaining wisdom?

Psalm 111:10      “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding”

Proverbs 9:10    “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.

Job 28: (18)         “”… the price of wisdom is beyond rubies; the topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with gold.  (23) God understands the way to it  (28) and He said to man ‘The fear of the Lord-that is wisdom…’”

What, pray tell, is ‘the fear of the Lord’.

The fear of the Lord is a pervasive biblical image that we have honored by calling a faithful follower a God-fearer.   An apt summary of its meaning in the passages above is:      “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees” . (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)

An example of a god-fearer is Abraham:  “Now I know that you fear god, because you have not withheld from me your son”.  (Genesis 22:12)

Do we fear god?

Is our god a tame deity-or the Lord of the universe, creator of life and matter and the final judge?  (Annie Dillard quote)

How does one recognize wisdom?

From the many references to wisdom and the wise in scripture, it is exhibited in the making successful decisions.  Kings showed wisdom (David, Solomon, and the promised Messiah).  Shipbuilders and navigators showed wisdom.  It is especially evident in distinguishing between good and evil.

Where is the source of wisdom?

Job 12:13             “To God belongs wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”

Wisdom, in the fullest sense, belongs to God alone.

Are there other types of wisdom that should concern us?

I Corinthians 1:17-25.  Read

Attempts at wisdom, when divorced from revelation, are impoverished and unproductive.

How does Jesus’ declaration to be the ‘light of the world’ relate to wisdom?

What is the role of the Holy Spirit in wisdom?

John 14:25.26

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The Reason for God - Belief in an Age of Skepticism

CNF Group Discusses "The Reason for God"  -  At the CNF Monday evening discussion meeting, the group discussed Dr. Timothy Keller's new book, The Reason for God - Belief in an Age of Skepticism, which has been on the New York Times bestsellers list in recent months. Keller, who pastors Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, presents a refreshing, creative approach he has used effectively to explain the reasonableness of the Christian faith to thousands of skeptical young professionals in Manhattan over the past two decades. Through Keller’s ministry, literally thousands of such skeptics/doubters have been led – gradually and respectfully - first to recognize the beliefs on which their doubts are based, secondly, to critically examine their beliefs, and thirdly to discover that those beliefs are based indeed on a very shaky and questionable foundation.  Keller draws some 5,000 young followers each Sunday, many of them having come to faith in Christ already, and many others in various stages of becoming convinced and of “being converted.”  A review of Keller’s book is attached.

The Monday evening group also discussed some thoughts about the benefits of Bible study and prayer groups in the workplace. Several shared reports of what such groups have meant to them during their professional careers. The meeting was closed with a time of prayer, led by Andrea Pepper (a member of the CNF Advisory Committee).

"Christ, the Hope of the World"

CNF Prayer Breakfast Hears Message of Hope Our speaker at the prayer breakfast (also known as the CNF Power Breakfast”) was CNF Advisory Committee member, Carl Mazzola (Shaw Environmental Inc.), who has been an active ANS member on the national level for 27 years. Carl is not only a distinguished engineer and a recognized nuclear power expert. He’s also a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and an active lay leader in his home church.  Carl's topic at the CNF Prayer Breakfast was “Christ, the Hope of the World". Acknowledging that we live in a fallen and dangerous world filled with many kinds of suffering, pain and disappointment, and where hopelessness characterizes the lives of multiplied millions, Carl presented Jesus Christ as the only one who can give sustaining hope to both individuals and to the world as a whole. Carl has provided a copy of the outline of his talk, which is attached to this report. Others who participated in the prayer breakfast program were Charley Rombough, Steve Binney, Nolan Hertel, Jim Hardeman and Vic Uotinen (CNF Coordinator). 

“The Great Nuclear Debate – and a Christian.” Howard Shaffer

Howard was appointed as a 2001 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Congressional Fellow, serving on the House Committee on Science, Energy Subcommittee. He did his undergraduate studies at Duke University and his graduate work at MIT. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Nuclear Engineering in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Illinois.

"The Downside of Nuclear Power-by an Advocate", Howard Shaffer

The following essay discusses the Origins of the Conflict; the Downside, including the Opponent’s1 Case; Policies proposed by the Opponents and Mistakes of the Advocates; an Analysis of the Debate; and Future Paths, which are the author’s predictions.

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Is Yours a Calling

William H. Hannum

13 November 2012

Intro

When Vic called me asking if I would speak at this gathering, I asked Vic what I should talk about, and he said that I should talk about 15 minutes.  Some years ago before giving a talk, I asked for a quiet office to prepare my thoughts.  On the wall was a prayer: Lord, may my words be sweet and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them.

With such thoughts in mind, I thought long and hard as to what I might say that might be of interest to this audience.  I thought about listing my accomplishments and my failures.  I could list my accomplishments easily enough, but there was not enough time to try to list my failures, so I had to think of something else.

Lacking anything better, I decided to share a few thoughts on how I came to be involved in nuclear power, and a few of the things I learned along the way.  Perhaps there are some lessons that are worth sharing.

Why am I involved in nuclear power?

I was raised to understand that we are each put on this earth for a purpose, and that we should try to leave the world better than it was when we got here. In high school and college, I found math to be fun, and physics to be interesting.  This was the time when the secrets of the nucleus were being uncovered.  Near Christmas of my senior year in college, I got to thinking about what I should do when I grew up.  How could I explore the exciting world of nuclear physics, and still do something useful.  The life of an academic did not appeal to me; in fact, my mother thought I should be a handy-man, because I liked to fix things.  While mulling this over, I heard a voice saying nuclear power.  Well, let me not be overly dramatic; the voice came from the radio.  It was President Eisenhower giving his Atoms for Peace speech.  That seemed to fit, so I went on to grad school, and then off to work on nuclear power, and 60 years later, I’m still involved with nuclear power.

Is this sort of work a calling?  Have I been doing the Lord’s work?  I hope so.  I ask for the Lord’s forgiveness on a lot of things, and I will rely on his mercy if I have misunderstood what he had in mind for me.  Most of you, I am sure, are familiar with the story of the three bricklayers.  Susan Eisenhower made allusion to the story in her call for cathedral thinking.  In the story, each of the bricklayers was asked what he was doing.  The first said he was laying bricks; the second building a wall; the third, building a cathedral to the glory of God.  The way I tell the story, it was the third bricklayer who was fired.  He was supposed to be building a brewery.  I don’t claim that a nuclear power plant is necessarily a cathedral; perhaps more like a brewery, or at least a wall; a part of something larger.  Building this wall to me is a response to Jesus’ instruction to Peter: Feed my sheep.

What are some lessons I have learned along the way?

My first job was with one of Admiral Rickover’s labs.  The basic mission of his labs were to design submarines and later surface war ships, but I was assigned to work on the Shippingport reactor, his demonstration that nuclear power had non-military potential as well.  Aside forn learning what was involved in designing nuclear reactors (this was before the time when there were any academic nuclear engineering programs), I was impressed with the commitment of the people to accuracy and to timely completion of tasks.  If you were going to present material to the admiral, you knew it had to be correct, not out of fear of his wrath, but from the realization that he might accept your work, and your mistake could be fatal for men on a submarine (or nuclear power plant).  The work you did was important, and had to be correct.  So you regularly sought out others who were smarter than you to check your work.  I keep that commitment to accuracy and completion of tasks as symbolic of our responsibility to God, and for some of the same reasons.

This obsession with safety and accuracy has morphed into Quality Assurance and Safety Assurance, where outside reviewers try to set rules and procedures that will guarantee safety, and then they play gotch-ya games when you don’t follow the rules.  Sorry, that doesn’t work.  I’ve regularly found myself with safety and QA responsibilities, and have been regularly criticized for emphasizing personal responsibility, not rules and procedures.

Lesson # 1:  If you are going to treat you work as a calling, you need to take the job seriously. 

_____________

Another lesson I learned fairly early in the game is that the boss doesn’t know what he is talking about.  I found it surprising that I had to explain things to my boss, but was really taken aback the first time I briefed the general manager, and realized he had no idea as to how a nuclear reactor worked.  In Washington, the situation is even more extreme, where your boss’s boss is a political appointee.  We used to have a name for the political appointee: We referred to him as Old Digestive. We keep feeding him good ideas, and you know what is left when he is done with them.

When I moved into supervisory positions of one sort or another, I realized that this insight was still valid.  I really didn’t understand what most of the people working for me were doing, but you learn to trust them, and you hope that they really are smarter than you.  As the boss, the best you can do is steer and direct the work, and support and encourage those who appear to know what they are doing.

I find it useful to listen to critics; even the professional anti-nuclears.  Much of what they say is propaganda, but every now and again, there is a lesson to be learned.  They  frequently know what they are talking about, and it is always a mistake to underestimate their dedication.

The most interesting assignment I have had was as Director of the West Valley Demonstration Project.  For those of you unfamiliar with West Valley, this was a commercial nuclear reprocessing plant some 35 miles south of Buffalo, NY.  It operated some 6 years in the 1960s, but was closed as unprofitable, and plant was turned over to New York State.  The State, not knowing what to do with it, left it abandoned until locals made enough noise about the contamination, leakage, and risk presented by some 700,000 gallons of high level nuclear waste, that Congress was persuaded to do something.  The result was the West Valley Demonstration Project Act, whereby DOE was directed to show how to clean up such a mess.  And I was put in charge.  A few details helped to make the job interestin

                     The waste tank had been designed for a 30 year life, was 25 years old, and not been maintained or inspected for 15 years;

                     The technology to treat the waste did not exist;

                     The site was badly contaminated, so access was difficult;

                     The Project was jointly sponsored by DOE and the State of New York, who had diametrically opposing views on the manner in which the project should be run.

But I had one overriding advantage: My boss, my headquarters handler, Congress, New York State; everyone wanted the problem to go away, and noone wanted their fingerprints on the problem in case things went wrong.  So all I had to do was to keep the contractor focused on what we were supposed to be doing, and let them do their thing.  Within a couple of years, the technology was in hand, equipment designed and built, the waste form approved, the site pretty well cleaned up, all at a cost about one quarter of the original estimates.  It took few more years to actually process all the waste, but the (political) problem had gone away. 

Lesson # 2: It pay to listen.  As the boss, you may not know what you are talking about, but hopefully you can steer things in the right direction.  Listen to those around you.  They probably know more than you do, and may help you avoid making a mistake.  This is almost as important as listening for guidance form your conscience and from God.

__________

Turning to lesson number three:  Even the most reasoned conclusions may not be correct. In the early years, I was involved in the studies that concluded that nuclear power was doomed by limited uranium unless the breeder was fully implemented by the year 2000.  It didn’t work out that way.  I observed the British make an all-out commitment to nuclear power in the 1960, but reversed course when North Sea gas and oil became available. The British are still evaluating when to expand their nuclear capacity. 

In my formative years (I still consider that I am in my formative years), I ended up as a bureaucrat here in Washington.  My first assignment was as Chief of the Reactor Physics Branch, Reactor Development Division.  It seemed appropriate to me that if I was to direct a technology development program, I should try to figure out what the needs were, and develop a plan to address those needs.  I was promptly advised by one of the more experienced bureaucrats: For god’s sake, don’t DO anything.  Some years later, I finally understood what Marty was telling me.  By then, I had been sent to Idaho as Deputy Director of the DOE Operations Office there, with specific instructions to finish a key safety facility (the LOFT project, for any of you who have been around as long as I have).  This facility was planned as a quick, two year project to demonstrate what would happen if an LWR had a catastrophic coolant pipe break.  The facility had been within a year of completion of construction for over each of the preceding   20 years.  I delegated the problem to a competent man and provided him political cover.  The facility was completed in a year.  After doing a number of (highly significant) experiments, the job was done.  The facility was no longer needed, and the Lab lost a major source of funding.  Conclusion: As a bureaucrat, it does not pay to finish a job.  That just leads to the termination of funding, and you have to find a new task to justify your existence.

I draw a somewhat different conclusion from these examples:  Lesson # 3: Trust the most elaborate arguments, and the advice of others only if it makes sense.  My wife accuses me of having selective hearing, and this is not all bad (except when listening to your wife).  If we believe that the Lord provides guidance and answers prayers, it is wise to remember that Satan is also not above giving us advice (i.e., tempting us).  In listening to others, I often think of what Elijah found: The Lord was not in the wind; He was not in the earthquake; He was not in the fire; but in the still small voice.

__________

Final comments

I said at the beginning that I was taught that we are put on this planet for a purpose.  Now, I expect to be around for a long time yet, because I don’t think I’m doing too well in doing those things that I suspect I am supposed to have accomplished.  But I do believe that by working to make nuclear power available as a safe, reliable and economic energy resource, I have been doing something that will leave the world a better place than it was when I got here.  I leave it to others to decide whether this is doing the Lord’s work; but it has been interesting.

I will conclude by suggesting that, as you go to the technical sessions, or the hallway discussions, or wherever you go from here, remember to listen.  You may learn something, or you may find an occasion to help someone else.  We are here as a society, and our goal for today should be to learn, and to help.

Go in God’s speed.

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Report on Nuclear Fellowship Events at the 2013 Winter ANS Conference at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, DC

The Christian Nuclear Fellowship (CNF) met in mid-November at the Winter Meeting of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Once again, it was a joy to gather as Christian professional colleagues to discuss our work in light of Christ's Lordship over our lives, and to encourage one another in our witness for Christ within our profession. The CNF is one of many Christian groups in many different professional fields that work to help professioanls integrate their work abd their faith.

In keeping with the special theme of the conference, i.e., celebrating the 75th anniversary of the discovery of nuclear fission and the 60th anniversary of President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" talk at the United Nations, the topics discussed at the CNF events in Washington reflected on these significant milestones in the field of nuclear energy, from a uniquely Christian perspective.

(1) God's Sovereignty the Focus of CNF Roundtable Discussion Group - The CNF group had a stimulating discussion on the topic, "Have scientific discoveries over the centuries come about merely through human efforts, or have they been planned and directed by a sovereign God?" We reflected on the rich biblical teaching concerning God's sovereignty over all that happens in His creation and acknowledged also that noted theologians have pointed out persuasively that the many scientific advances following the Reformation grew out of (and were stimulated directly by) the biblical world view that was articulated during the Reformation period. That biblical world view affirms that the universe is totally under God's control and that therefore natural phenomena always follow certain "laws" established by the Creator; it also affirms that all of history has a purpose and direction determined by a sovereign God, a direction God has had in mind since before the world was created. In other words, history, in all its many aspects, is His Story. History is an unfolding of God's master plan for His created universe.

The Bible makes it clear that it is God who determines the boundaries of all nations and raises up rulers and puts them down. In other words, He rules sovereignly over the geopolitical events of this world, as history unfolds with time. Similarly, he rules over the events of "nature." Thus, we can logically conclude that the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938 did not happen accidentally, without God's involvement. Rather, it is reasonable to assume that it occurred according to God's master plan at precisely the point in history that God saw fit to reveal this aspect of His creation to mankind.

Therefore, we should thank God for this discovery, and for the many benefits of nuclear fission that have been a blessing to mankind since its discovery in 1938. Of course, as with all technologies, nuclear technology can be used by sinful humans for good or for bad. We came away from the discussion group also with a renewed sense of our vocational "calling" (from God) to study and to work in the field of nuclear science and engineering....for His glory....and for the good of mankind. As has been our long tradition, at the close of the evening we had a time of spontaneous prayer for our industry and for various needs made known by those present. (The attached handout prepared by Bob Wilson of the DOE was distributed to participants.)

(2) Dr. Bill Hannum Focused on Our "Calling" at the CNF Prayer Breakfast - At the CNF Power Breakfast, Dr. Bill Hannum of the Science Council for Global Initiatives, gave a talk in which he reflected further on our God-given calling to work in the field of nuclear technology. Dr. Hannum was inspired to work in the nuclear field when as a college student he heard on the radio President Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" talk in 1953. God used that talk, as well as several other influences, to lead Dr. Hannum to pursue a career in nuclear technology. Hannum shared in a very personal way how he has had a sense of "calling" to be engaged in the nuclear field ever since his college days. Many of us share that sense of calling as well, and we thank God for reminding us of this through Dr. Hannum.

Dr. Hannum also reminded us that the work we have been called to do is extremely important work. Therefore we must, especially as Christians, give our absolute best to the work God has called us to do. As we thank God for His good gift of nuclear energy and for the many ways it has benefited mankind since its discovery 75 years ago, let's remember that we must always perform our work for God's glory, with the utmost diligence and care, as we work as stewards of this amazing technology that God has blessed us with.

An additional note about our speaker: Dr. Hannum is a globally respected senior nuclear technology expert, educated at Princeton and Yale, who has held key management positions with the Department of Energy, served as Deputy Director General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency in Paris, and as Director of the West Valley Project (high level nuclear waste processing). He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society. We were honored to have Dr. Hannum as our speaker.

We hope to see you at other national meetings of the ANS in the future. In the meantime:

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." - Colossians 3:23

Vic Uotinen

CNF Coordinator


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