The Brain Game

SERMON

MARCH 6, 2022

THE BRAIN GAME

Pastor Jean Owens jowens11@aol.com 607-273-5682

It was time to take the seven grandsons on another learning adventure. DESTINATION – NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration located at the Kennedy Space Center off the Atlantic Coast in Florida.
We headed to NASA from our rental early in the morning on February 21, 2022. Our mission, to see the SPACEX Falcon 9 rocket lift-off at 9:44 AM. It was carrying Starlink satellites to deploy in low orbit. Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX providing satellite Internet access coverage to most of the Earth. Starlink has been provided to Ukraine to maintain communications and internet as they fight for their Democracy.
If you have ever experienced, in-person, the launch of a rocket, you will know I am not exaggerating. The powerful force of the rocket on take-off vibrates through the ground and the air even from several miles away as it launches. The rocket is seemingly covered in a blazing orange fireball as it climbs into the sky speeding away from sight at a crazy rate of increasing speed.
Cool.
Then we travelled on the bus transport which took us for a tour of the Space Center. We saw the local wildlife including a few gators, many waterfowl and a bald eagles nest. We got off at the Saturn 5 – Apollo building. Here they saw a piece of history some of us have experienced first-hand. There in front of us was the original Launch Control room for the NASA Apollo Space Program. Looking down we saw in front of us six or seven rows of amazingly antiquated computer stations. There were basically trouble lights on all the panels.
Our goal, as declared by President Kennedy, was to land men on the moon and successfully return them to Earth. The launch sequence was demonstrated from t minus 3 minutes and counting and then there was the lift-off. Later, I told them about how my Dad and I stayed up late into the night to see the first men walk on the moon.
Then I told them about Apollo 13. I was in college at the time and cut all my classes to stay on top of the situation. Apollo 13 (April 11–17, 1970) was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo space program and the third meant to land on the Moon. The craft was launched from Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module (SM) failed two days into the mission. The crew instead looped around the Moon and returned safely to Earth on April 17. The mission was commanded by Jim Lovell, with Jack Swigert as command module (CM) pilot and Fred Haise as Lunar Module (LM) pilot.
A routine stir of an oxygen tank ignited damaged wire insulation inside it, causing an explosion that vented the contents of both of the SM’s oxygen tanks to space. Without oxygen, needed for breathing and for generating electric power, the SM’s propulsion and life support systems could not operate. The CM’s systems had to be shut down to conserve its remaining resources for reentry, forcing the crew to transfer to the LM as a lifeboat. With the lunar landing canceled, mission controllers worked to bring the crew home alive.
Although the LM was designed to support two men on the lunar surface for two days, Mission Control in Houston improvised new procedures so it could support three men for four days. The crew experienced great hardship, caused by limited power, a chilly and wet cabin and a shortage of potable water. There was a critical need to adapt the CM’s cartridges for the carbon dioxide scrubber system to work in the LM; the crew and mission controllers were successful in improvising a solution.
All of this was done successfully, not because of the antiquated equipment we saw a glimpse of in the Apollo Control Center, but because of the power of the human brain.
Isaiah 1:18: “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord…”
God wants us to think about things.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 “… Test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.”
God wants you to think about everything and test it in your mind. Albert Einstein’s career was his use of visualized thought experiments as a fundamental tool for understanding physical issues and for describing his concepts to others.
Your brain is one of a kind. It is as endless as the universe.
Your brain is a small lump of fat, about 1½ Kg, with some protein added and glucose and oxygen to keep it going. Yet, it referees your experiences of love, hate, pleasure and pain; and all you learn, think and feel. With it you appreciate the creation, beautiful art, music, theatre, sports, ideas, stories and other brains. It stores details of your past and drives you into your future hopes and dreams. It makes decisions in the present. It somehow processes your total life experience.
Your brain has100 billion neurons each with over 40 million proteins and up to 10,000 connections to other neurons. There’s 100 trillion to potentially 1 quadrillion connections in your brain creating an info capacity of 1,000 to 2,500 terabytes.
Five senses send info to your brain. Your ears detect 300,000 different frequencies. You have 500,000 taste receptors, more than 100 million optic receptors and a nose which can detect a trillion different odors. On your skin sits 200,000 temperature detectors, 500,000 touch receptors and 4 million or so pain receptors.
Your brain tells your body to get into action. It has the communication network outdoing a global superpower. It uses about 120,000 miles of nerve fiber to connect to every organ, muscle, blood vessel and receptor.
We struggle with important questions. What is consciousness? Where is the mind? Why does music move us? Why do we dream? What is the imagination? How can we imagine things that don’t exist? How do thoughts arise? Does God hear my prayers?
Take care of your brain.
Eat foods that are good for you. Protein and healthy carbs like fruits and vegetables including omega-3s, folic acid, and the other B vitamins.
Get plenty of exercise. Not only does exercise help to clear the mind and reduce stress, but it also helps the brain physically by boosting your heart rate and sending more blood to your brain’s cells. People who exercise regularly are at lower risk for memory problems and cognitive decline.
Get plenty of sleep. Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived are far more likely to have a hard time concentrating and remembering things. People who regularly get less than seven hours of sleep are also at higher risk for degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Avoid chemicals. It’s important for your brain health to stay away from harmful chemicals including drugs and excessive alcohol. Cigarette smoke has been directly tied to cognitive decline.
Exercise your brain. Learn something new every day. When you’re learning, you’re exercising your brain.
Romans 12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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