Fish Tank Experiment Week 4

The algae in the fish tank is still stable, possibly a little worse.

During the water change today, I noticed that the filter was not operating properly. It was running but no water was going through. That might explain why the Vibrant is not very effective. Also cyanobacter prefer still water so perfect conditions.

I cleaned out all the accumulated gunk from the filter and reinstalled it. It took a while to get the pump primed and running, but now it is doing well.

Foggy Morning

It was a delightfully foggy morning in Narrabri today. Fog is always good as it means there is plenty of moisture in the air.

The visibility was down to about 50 metres which is about as thick as fog gets around here.

Ephesians 2:16

Here is my commentary on Ephesians 2:16. I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site, http://www.new-life.org.au

Ephesians 2:16

… and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.

Christ has abolished in His flesh the Law so as to create one new man from the Jew and Gentile, making peace by reconciling us to God in one body.

God’s plan is to bring reconciliation of all people to Himself through Christ. This applies to Jews and Gentiles specifically, but to all people more generally.

If we are untied with Christ, then we must be one with each other. There can be no hostility between people who claim allegiance to Christ. That is the theory. The truth is that we are all still in the process of crucifying the old nature, and so we can find ways of developing and expressing hostility to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If Jews and Gentiles are truly reconciled to God through Christ, the walls of hostility must come down.

It is not clear from the words whether Paul is referring to the physical body of Christ on the cross, or to the church as the body of Christ. Both explanations are possible.

Jews and Gentiles, all the people who are saved, are reconciled to God through the body of Christ crucified on the cross. There is no way to sugar coat this. The cross was horrible and offensive, and people still try to minimise it, but it is the body of Christ that brings people to God. The price is paid for us on the cross. Our sins are forgiven, and we are brought back into relationship with the Father.

The body is also a metaphor for the church, which Paul uses often. In the church we see people of every tongue and tribe worshipping together and fellowshipping together. People with Ph D’s and people who never finished high school, men and women, all can come to the Body of Christ and fond peace with God.

Whichever way we choose to interpret the “one body” it is the cross that is at the centre of it all. Without the cross there is no forgiveness of sins for anyone. Without the cross we are still in darkness and heading for hell. Without the cross there is still the dividing wall of hostility between Jews and Gentiles.

It is the cross that changed things, that changes us.

Key points in this verse:

  • God wants to reconcile all people to Himself
  • We are reconcile in one body- Christ’s physical body or His metaphorical body, the church.
  • Without the cross there is no reconciliation.

Reflection on Romans 1:8-17

Scripture

I am not ashamed of the Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes- the Jews first and also the Gentile.

Observation

Paul thanks God for the believers in Rome, whose faith is being talked about throughout the world.

He prays often for them and for their needs. He especially prays for the opportunity to be able to visit them.

So far, Paul has been prevented from going to Rome, but he longs to go and work among them.

Application

The gospel is God’s mighty power at work, bringing salvation to both Jews and Gentiles.

Paul is clear in his writing that there is no distinction in the way God deals with people. There is not one pathway for Jews and another for Gentiles. We are all saved by faith in Christ.

This is the power of God at work. We are brought from a place of condemnation to a place of reconciliation with God. We know it is true because our hearts yearn for relationship with God.

God came into the world to reveal to us His great love for us. He died to set us free from death and sin.

The preaching of the gospel is powerful to change lives because it is empowered and endorsed by the Holy Spirit. The words of the gospel are brought to life by the confirmation in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

God’s mighty power breathes life into souls that were dead and washes away all of our sin, guilt and shame.

Prayer

Thank you Father for the power of the gospel. Thank you for sending Jesus into the world to pay for my sins. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 1:1-7

Scripture

The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Observation

The letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ set apart to proclaim the Good News to the Gentiles. The Good News is about Jesus Christ.

We are called by God to belong to Christ. We are loved by God and called to be His holy people.

Application

The Good News is all about Jesus Christ God’s Son.

Jesus was born into the family line of King David. He is the descendant of David of whom it was promised would reign on the throne for ever.

Jesus is both human- the Son of Man- and the divine Son of God. While He is forever part of the Trinity, He has also uniquely lived among us ad knows what it is like to be a person.

In that sense, Jesus is like us. He was tempted and tested just as we are. He faced every human weakness and overcame it all.

Finally the people nailed Him to a cross, seeking to remove His sinless perfection from them. His death on the cross became the sacrifice which takes away the sins of the world.

But death could not hold Him down. The resurrection demonstrated to the whole world that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for calling me into your kingdom and into the family of believers. Amen.

Fish Tank Experiment Week 3

This is week 3 of my test of “Vibrant.”

Each week I have been adding 10 ml of “Vibrant” to my tank when I do my usual weekly water change.

This week I think the growth of algae and cyanobacter has stabilised. As far as I can see, everything is similar to where it was last Monday.

I would have expected a much bigger growth of cyanobacter and the black “sticky” algae.

It appears that the Vibrant is having an effect.

Worms Love Cotton Trash

This is great news for the cotton industry and for wormkind!

From the ABC:

Cotton waste composter uses earthworms to turn waste into high-grade fertiliser

A long mound of white and brown fluffy cotton waste in a field.
Cotton trash can take years to break down naturally.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)
From afar, the Worm Tech composting facility in southern New South Wales resembles a run-of-the-mill domestic rubbish tip.

Key points:

  • Australia’s multi-billion-dollar cotton industry produces waste that can take years to break down
  • A NSW entrepreneur has created a composting business to turn the waste into fertiliser
  • The process uses earthworms to break down the tough cotton residue

Look closer and you’ll see lines of white, woolly material.

It’s cotton trash, the residue leftover from processing, and it has long been a problem for Australia’s multi-billion-dollar cotton industry.

But as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure.

To Adrian Raccanello, cotton residue is the backbone of his burgeoning composting business.

“It’s got a lot of properties,” the former viticulturist said.

A man in a high-vis jacket kneels on the ground, holding soil in his cupped hands.
Adrian Raccanello displays some of his millions of earthworms.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

“The broader the mix of organic material, the better the end product.”

In the past year, Mr Raccanello has trucked out about 50,000 tonnes of high-grade fertiliser.

Soon he expects to produce 200,000 tonnes annually.

Much of it is going back onto the region’s cotton fields in the form of fine, granular worm castings.

A spreader puts compost back onto a brown, bare cotton field.
Cotton compost is spread back onto a cotton field.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

Using an underground army

The business began as a bare field in a vast paddock adjacent to the Rivcott Cotton Gin at Carrathool, in southern New South Wales, in 2010.

The aim was to find a way to turn thousands of tonnes of cotton residue into fertiliser.

The secret was getting the right mix, one that could maximise a natural asset: earthworms.

A close-up shot of a man's hands holding wet soil with red earthworms in it.
The cotton compost mix promotes the growth of earthworms, which break down the materials.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

So Mr Raccanello won some contracts to process domestic organic waste from regional towns, such as Mildura and Wagga Wagga.

He blended the waste with cotton trash and carefully tended his rows of waste material to ensure optimal conditions for worms.

He soon found the perfect recipe, and so was born a unique compost product that will soon be available to the retail market as well.

“We basically just feed the top 4 to 6 inches [10 to 15 centimetres],” Mr Raccanello said.

“Then the worms work their way through it and just break it down.

A green harvester in a field of white cotton.
The cotton industry is now proudly part of what’s called the ‘circular economy’.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

From waste to valuable resource

Some cotton gins have their own composting programs in place for cotton residues, but in a good year, there’s simply too much to handle.

Local cotton grower Peter Tuohey is thrilled to see the Carrathool venture succeeding.

“The gin produces thousands of tonnes of the cotton residue and Worm Tech have been able to take that product and convert it into a very, very valuable commodity that we buy off them and spread back out on the land,” Mr Tuohey said.

A man in a cap and black jacket stands in front of a cotton bale.
Carrathool cotton grower Peter Tuohey is a keen supporter of the nearby worm farm.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

“So it’s really waste to resource,” added Mr Raccanello.

It’s rather startling what this unseen underground army of worms is capable of chewing through.

Cotton trash is fibrous and left out in the weather, it sets into hard mounds that can take years to decompose, between eight and 10 years in its natural state.

A mound of brown and white fluffy material.
Mounds of cotton trash have long been a problem for the industry.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

“We’re combining it with other waste to give it diverse ingredients and we’re doing it in about eight weeks,” he said.

His plan to dramatically upscale the business means he’s seeking more organic waste from municipal councils across southern Australia.

“We want to be a receptacle for untapped organic waste,” he said.

A yellow farm machine loads a brown, powdery material into a spreader.
Mr Raccanello’s cotton compost is now sought-after.(ABC Landline: Tim Lee)

Once, people thought he was mad when they saw him alone amongst the cotton trash heaps in the midst of winter. Others simply thought he would fail.

Now those same people are lining up to buy his organic fertiliser.

“I haven’t had to advertise, it’s all been word of mouth,” Mr Raccanello said.

Watch this story on ABC TV’s Landline at 12:30pm on Sunday, or on iview.