Some of my favourite illustratio

 

 

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Some of my favourite illustrations and stories...

 

 

The Rescue Society

Along a reef-ridden, rockbound coast, a small group became concerned about those who were losing their lives in the shipwrecks that took place on the reefs and rocks. They formed the Rescue Society for the purpose of saving those who had been shipwrecked. For years they risked their own lives for the sake of others, but hundreds were saved who were otherwise would have been lost.

As a new generation entered the Rescue Society, they decided to perfect their techniques for rescue so that even more could be saved. They began to attend rescue workshops, to bring in consultants on the latest rescue techniques, to entertain salespeople who touted the latest in rescue equipment. Before long, the maintenance and perfection of the rescue station, its techniques, its equipment became the focus of the Rescue Society.

One night, while the entire Rescue Society was attending yet another meeting to perfect their rescue skills, a great passenger liner struck on the reef and sank. Hundreds of people were lost because there was no one to go to their rescue. The Rescue Society has come to exist for its own perfection and not for the sake of others.

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The Paradox of Our Time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learnt how to make a living, but not a life; we added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learnt to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.

- George Carlin

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Are You Paying Attention?
by Rubel Shelly

Who was it who said, "If life isn't teaching you anything, you're just
not paying attention"? Hey, even if no one famous said it, it's still true!
And I have absolutely no clue who wrote a piece that came to me via the
Internet a couple of weeks ago. It lists some of the things its author
has learned just from the process of living. I've edited here and there –
and added a few things that have come to my own attention as well.


• I've learned that the best classroom in the world is simply to sit at the feet of an elderly man or woman and listen.
• I've learned that to ignore the facts does not change them.
• I've learned that I can always pray for someone, even when I
don't have the strength or resources to do anything else for him.
• I've learned that when you harbor bitterness, happiness docks
elsewhere.
• I've learned that when you hold a grudge against someone for a
real or imagined offense, you are only letting that person continue to hurt
you.
• I've learned that I can forgive, even when my enemy isn't asking
for pardon.
• I've learned that the Lord didn't do everything in one day, so
it must be all right for me to accept that I can't either.
• I've learned that I often can't choose how I feel, but I can
always choose what I do about my feelings.
• I've learned that life is tough but that God's strength is
sufficient.
• I've learned that no matter how serious your life requires you
to be, everyone needs a friend with whom to kick back and act goofy.
• I've learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.
• I've learned that money can't buy class or happiness or peace.
• I've learned that when you're in love, you can't hide it -- even
if you try.
• I've learned that a smile is the easiest and least expensive way
to improve your looks.
• I've learned that just one person saying "You've made my day!"
makes my day.
• I've learned that loving is more fundamental to happiness than
being loved.

So what has life been teaching you lately? If nothing comes to mind,
maybe it's because you're just not paying attention.

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OLDER......

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us
to get to know someone we didn't already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.
I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a
smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I
give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave
me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and
have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be
taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!"
she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate
milkshake.
We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would
leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to
this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.


Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made
friends wherever she went.


She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her
from the other students. She was living it up.


At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football
banquet.

I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to
the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her
three by five cards on the floor.


Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and
simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this
whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me
just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing
because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.


There are only four secrets to staying young:
*Being happy, and achieving success.
*You have to laugh and find humor every day.
*You've got to have a dream.
*When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!


There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.


If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do
one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven
years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn
eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea
is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.


The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for
things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with
regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."


She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our
daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had
begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.


Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the
wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all
you can possibly be.

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You Know You're Getting Old


Author and pastor Greg Laurie offers the following advice about determining whether or not you are growing old:

• You know you're getting old when you actually look forward to a dull evening at home.

• You know you're getting old when your mind makes commitments your body cannot keep.

• You know you're getting old when everything hurts, and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.

• You know you're getting old when you sink your teeth into a big, juicy steak—and they stay there.

• You know you're getting old when you dim the lights for economic reasons, not romantic ones.

• You know you're getting old when you've owned clothes for so long they've come back into style twice.

• You know you're getting old when you sing along to elevator music.

• You know you're getting old when you quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks in the room.


                                                                                                                                       Greg Laurie, "God's Cure for Heart Trouble,"

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Habitat for Humanity

Millard Fuller was on his way to becoming a self-made millionaire before he was 30 years old. But devotion to work was threatening his health and his marriage. He needed a vacation. So, Fuller visited a church community near Americus, Georgia, called Koinonia Farm. It was led by a man who believed in simple living and good works. Clarence Jordan, a farmer-theologian, inspired Millard Fuller with his philosophy and personal example.

Clarence Jordan was convinced that poor people living in nearby dilapidated shacks could improve themselves with a little support. "These people don't need charity," he told Fuller. "They need a way to help themselves."

Millard Fuller agreed. He began what today is a worldwide organization whose goal is the elimination of inadequate housing as a witness to the gospel. He called it Habitat for Humanity and says that it runs on what he calls, "the theology of the hammer." The group raises money and recruits volunteers to renovate and build homes, which are sold at cost. Mortgages are interest free. Buyers invest work time in their own and neighbors' homes. Habitat now builds or renovates 12 houses every day.

Running this massive operation is not without problems. "There have been troubles and there will be more," says Fuller. "Tired bones. Disappointments. Disunity. Not enough money. No land. But God has called us to this ministry."

Ward Williams, "Jesus' Vacation,"

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Pioneer Missionary Engages Culture

In an age of extraordinary people, Matteo Ricci was one of the most remarkable. Even today, if you ask a Chinese person to name a famous European from the past, they will as likely as not name Ricci.

He was a 16th-century Italian Jesuit scholar who arrived in Macao—a Portuguese possession on the border of China—in 1582. He hoped to work as a missionary in China. The mission was run by another Jesuit, Ricci's former teacher Alessandro Valignano, who believed that Christian mission shouldn't be about striding up to the "natives," telling them their religion was wrong, and instructing them in a new one. He believed that missionaries should be sensitive to local culture and treat the local people with respect, on the basis that they, too, had valuable things to say.

So, when Ricci finally gained permission to enter China in 1583 (the Chinese authorities generally didn't allow Europeans to enter at this time), he went dressed as a Buddhist monk, speaking Chinese and presenting himself as a humble seeker after wisdom. He wasn't very successful at first (the people of the area he arrived in, near Canton, didn't speak the Chinese dialect he had learned in Macao, and they didn't much like Buddhist monks, either), but he persevered and won the trust of the people.

In particular, Ricci made many contacts at the imperial court, where people were greatly impressed by his humble approach and his interest in Chinese learning. The emperor himself liked the gifts that Ricci brought him (especially a clock and a harpsichord), and Ricci sought to find new ways to express the Christian faith that made sense to the Chinese. He not only translated various Christian texts into Chinese, but in 1603 also wrote a famous book (in Chinese) called The True Doctrine of the Lord of Heaven, which presented Christianity in the form of a philosophical discussion in the Neo-Confucian tradition. The book was very well received.

Ricci was the first great Jesuit missionary to China. Many more followed him and became closely involved in all kinds of scientific and cultural pursuits.

Jonathan Hill, "Christianity's Cultural Contributions," Christianitytoday.com (5-03-2006)

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Angel and Different Types of Prayer

At the beginning of his novel based on the apocryphal book of Tobit, Frederick Buechner captures this wonderful insight on prayer through one of his characters, Raphael the archangel:

I am Raphael, one of the seven archangels who pass in and out of the presence of the Holy One, blessed be he. I bring him the prayers of all who pray and those who don't even know that they're praying.

Some prayers I hold out as far from me as my arm will reach, the way a woman holds a dead mouse by the tail when she removes it from the kitchen. Some, like flowers, are almost too beautiful to touch, and others so aflame that I'd be afraid of their setting me on fire if I weren't already more like fire than I am like anything else. There are prayers of such power that you might almost say they carry me rather than the other way round—the way a bird with outstretched wings is carried higher and higher on the back of the wind. There are prayers so apologetic and shamefaced and halfhearted that they all but melt away in my grasp like sad little flakes of snow. Some prayers are very boring.


Frederick Buechner, On the Road With the Archangel, (HarperSanFransisco, 1997) p.1;

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On Forgiveness
The other morning some of us were together in a church where the rector was saying Morning Prayer, and leading us in a guided silent prayer. He said, ‘Let us pray for those whom we love.’ And that was easy. The he said, ‘Let us pray for those we do not love.’ And there rose before me three men for whom I have to pray. They were men who have opposed my work. In this way they may have been wrong. But my wrong was in resentment and a feeling of letting myself be cut off from them, and even from praying for them because of it. Years ago, I read a quotation from Mary Lyon that recurs to me again and again: ‘Nine-tenths of our suffering is caused by others not thinking so much of us as we think they ought.’ If you want to know where pride nestles and festers in most of us, that is right where it is; and it is not the opposition of others, but our own pride, which causes us the deepest hurt. I never read a word that penetrated more deeply into the sin of pride from which all of us suffer, nor one which opens up more surgically our places of unforgiveness.

Samuel Moor Shoemaker And Thy Neighbour

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Whose Truth?

"Law as such do not make people better," said Nasrudin to the King; "they must practise certain things, in order to become attuned to inner truth. This form of truth resembles apparent truth only slightly."

The King decided that he could, and would , make people observe the truth. He could make them practice truthfulness. His city was entered by a bridge. On this bridge he built a gallows.

The following day, when the gates were open at dawn, the Captain of the Guard was stationed with a squad of troops to examine all who entered.

An announcement was made: "Everyone will be questioned. If he tells the truth, he will be allowed to enter. If he lies, he will be hanged."

Nasrudin stepped forward. "Where are you going?"

"I am on my way, " said Nasrudin slowly, "to be hanged."

"We don't believe you!"

"Very well, if I have told a lie, hang me!"

"But if we hang you for lying, we will have made what you said come true!"

"That's right: now you know what truth is- YOUR truth!" .

 

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The Influence of Small Decisions
by James C. Schaap

Jed's revelation came while sitting in front of the TV one Friday morning, his trusty java in one hand, the remote in the other. CNN featured the trial of a man accused of butchering his wife. The DNA from a single hair found in the truck was that morning's hot news. Why do I care, he wondered, and pressed the button.

ABC offered the teary confessions of a diva heartbroken by the end of a relationship the tabloids had accused her of terminating by way of another tryst. The thinnest strand of bright silver lay perfectly over her bronze chest. He pressed the button.

NBC featured the burned-out husk of an upturned Humvee. Two more GIs dead. One of the soldiers' father cried on screen, insisted there was nothing about Iraq worth his son's life. Jed had a long day ahead of him at work. He pressed the button.

The Jetsons on the children's network. Ozzie and Harriet. Bert and Ernie. Turner Classics: Humphrey Bogart. Exercise: three blonds on a beach, a man in front, two women behind, all three cut from the same bulk. A fur jacket for a low, low price. The 1994 Super Bowl. A candidate fund raiser on C-Span. Britney Spears' perfect belly-button on MTV. Little House. Teletubbies. The Price is Right. The 700 Club. Maury Povitch, featuring a 200-pound six-year-old. Regis Philbin. Click, click, click.

Tears on Lifetime. Hunting. Fishing. I Dream of Jeannie. WWF reruns. Some clown. A dog licking a child's face. More Britney Spears. That morning trio on Fox News segueing, so to speak, from some cheap shot at the French to the horror of steroids in the NFL.

And it's all in my hand, he thought, in this eight-inch chunk of black plastic, like a genie from a bottle. Amazing. Anything your heart desires.

The sound of his wife's house-slippered feet swished through the kitchen; the cup she drew from the cupboard chimed a bit when it bumped another. The tinny splash of hot coffee. A slight cough. "What'cha watchin'?" she said, walking in through half a yawn.

"TV," he told her.

"No kidding," she said.

"Do you realize how much power I have in my hand?" he asked.

She squeezed her eyes tight shut. "Jed, it's too early."

"No, really," he told her. "If I were to watch Britney Spears all morning, I'd go to work in a wholly different mood than if I watch C-span."

"Not so holy," she told him.

"With this remote," he said, pointing it at her, "I create my own character."

"You've been reading Ray Bradbury," his wife told him.

"Has nothing to do with science fiction," he told her. "Let me find Judge Judy."

"Jed," she said, "just put on the weather."

"Even that's a choice," he said. "Even that says something about who I am, about what I want to be. I'm serious about this."

"It's too early to be serious," she told him. "My toes are still cold."

"Then warm 'em up," he said, flicking to the beach workout.

She rolled her eyes.

"You and I ought to grow some pecs," he told her. "Get ourselves six packs like that." He pointed at the man's ribs.

"Dream on," she said.

"Here's what I'm thinking," he said. "What I select says something about who I am, don't you think? 'Garbage in, garbage out'—you know."

"You wait 25 years to tell me you're Amish," she told him.

"Okay, smartie," he told her, "you take this thing. Show me who you are." He tossed the remote on the couch beside her.

She looked at it as if it were alive. "And what exactly does that say about you—that you make your wife choose?"

"That I'm spineless," he told her.

"That's old news," she said, smirking.

"Seriously, so much depends on us that it's almost scary," he told her. He pulled himself out of his chair and retrieved the remote. "Even this," he said, "a little remote—ten bucks, no more." He turned it to CNN.

"And what you're saying is that every little choice you make says something about who you are?" she said.

"And makes us who we are," he said.

"Then put the dumb thing off and help me get my toes warm," she told him.

There was something in her smile, this wife of his for all those years—there was simply something in her smile that he loved. "Makes perfect sense to me," he told her, flicking the remote. He sat beside her on the couch.


By James C. Schaap. © 2001 - 2007 H. E. Butt Foundation. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Laity Lodge and TheHighCalling.org.

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Gone in a Flash
by Kristin Huffman

A few years ago during the Olympics, a TV report updated the lives of gold medal winners from years past. Story after story, after the shining moments of national anthems and glory, the world's best athletes stepped down into lives of depression, frustration, and sadness.

Such drive … such motivation to gain attention and stand out. Some people want to see their faces on a billboard; others just want to attend the popular girl's birthday party. The lie is that a person's importance hinges on fame, celebrity, or invitations.

In the Bible, Jesus tells his followers about the Kingdom life, an entirely new way to live. Fleeting glory can't supply our meaning, he says. In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus describes three situations in which his followers are not to stand out, but to be different: when they give money or do acts of righteousness, when they pray, and when they fast.

"But when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Matt. 6:5

Some people deliberately attracted notice to their spiritual actions for public adulation and honor. They received a reward limited to that moment. Once their audiences disperse, publicity seekers must look for the next crowd.

Jesus advises the followers, "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matt. 6:6.

The lasting reward, the one not fickle or dependent on popular opinion, is our relationship with God the Father. He knows and loves us and sees into our hearts. He knows we fear rejection and want attention. He knows we are lonely and desperately wish to be known and valued. He invites us to live for Him and His lasting reward. As we pray, give, fast, live our daily lives, He tenderly tells us that we belong to Him, our Father, and that He is proud of us. He offers us meaning and hope.

The world's gold medals will rust and lie forgotten in some attic trunk. People will forget our names. Life with Jesus is for eternity.


By Kristin Huffman. © 2001 - 2007 H. E. Butt Foundation. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Laity Lodge and TheHighCalling.org.

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The Idiot

SOMEONE CALLS YOU AN IDIOT. Then you start thinking, "How can they call me an idiot? They've got no right to call me an idiot! How rude to call me an idiot! I'll get them back for calling me an idiot." And you suddenly realize that you have just let them call you an idiot another four times.

Every time you remember what they said, you allow them to call you an idiot again. Therein lies the problem.

If someone calls you an idiot and you immediately let go, then it doesn't bother you. There is the solution.

Why allow other people to control your happiness?

Ajahn Brahm has a degree in theoretical physics. Disillusioned, he went to the jungles of Thailand and studied under the highly esteemed meditation master Ajahn Chah. A monk for over thirty years, Ajahn Brahm is a revered spiritual guide and abbot of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the southern hemisphere.

I have also enjoyed his speeches and his writings. Though we differ in some fundamental truths, I find that there is much he can teach me to be a better Christian.

 

 

 

 

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Potty about Harry Porter

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last book in J. K. Rowling's best-selling series, hit the headlines in Malaysian papers on July 21. No, it is not about the launch of the book but about how the megamarkets, Tesco and Carrefour is selling the books 'magically' at RM69.90 while the megabookstores, MPH, Popular, Harris, and Times was about to sell them at RM109.90. The four megabookstores decided not to sell the books.

Bibliobibuli, Malaysian's own premier literary blogger calls it, "This is the biggest local bookshop crisis ever, I think, and brings to a head issues that have been bubbling under for a long time." Raman, independent bookseller thinks it is poetic justice that the megabookstores which have been squeezing the independent booksellers are now crying "unfair pricing."

An interesting comment on how Rowlings got published.

Now for some comments from

As with the last six volumes and five films, there will be hand wringing and discussion not just over the quality, but whether it encourages witchcraft or Christian values. Since 1999, Christianity Today and its sister publications have been discussing the content of the books, along with questions of whether—and more importantly how—the books should be read by children and parents."

For and Against Potter

Why We Like Harry Potter

The series is a 'Book of Virtues' with a preadolescent funny bone. A Christianity Today editorial posted 1/10/2000

Matters of Opinion: The Perils of Harry Potter

Literary device or not, witchcraft is real—and dangerous. By Jacqui Komschlies posted 10/26/2000

Opinion Roundup: Positive About Potter

Despite what you've heard, Christian leaders like the children's books. By Ted Olsen posted 12/13/1999

Books & Culture Corner: Saint Frodo and the Potter Demon

The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series spring from the same source. By Michael G. Maudlin posted 02/18/2002

Weblog: Frodo Good, Harry Bad

Harry Potter has magic. Lord of the Rings has magic. Harry Potter has wizards, dark evil, and an unlikely hero who overcomes obstacles with friendship and courage. So does Lord of the Rings. Yet reactions from conservative Christian critics have not been so similar.

By Todd Hertz posted 12/28/2001

Parents Push for Wizard-free Reading

Bestsellers now under fire in some Classrooms.posted 1/10/2000

Let Harry Potter Conjure Up 'Gospel Magic,' Says Christian Magician

Andrew Thompson and others agree that some Christians have a false understanding of what Harry Potter is about. By Cedric Pulford in London posted 12/18/2001

Potter's Field

Harry doesn't always make money magically appear. By Ted Olsen posted 11/15/2001

Somewhat Wild About Harry

It's well nigh impossible to hate the warm-hearted Harry Potter. A review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. By Douglas LeBlanc posted 12/28/2001

Virtue on a Broomstick

The Harry Potter books, and the controversy surrounding them, bode well for the culture. A review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. By Michael G. Maudlin posted 9/7/2000

Books about the Books

Harry Beasts

The animal symbols in Potterdom are powerful pointers to Christian reality.An excerpt from John Granger's Looking for God in Harry Potter posted 07/15/2005

The Dick Staub Interview: Connie Neal

The author of The Gospel According to Harry Potter talks about leading a friend to Christ through the wizard hero. posted 11/18/2002

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a dark, grim, serious film, with little of the joy or whimsy that animated the first four movies. Review by Peter T. Chattaway posted 07/10/2007

The Sacrificial Boy Wizard

Harry Potter, reviled by many Christians, might actually be something of a Christ figure, as each of his adventures takes him through a life, death and resurrection. by John Granger posted 07/10/2007

Mad About Harry

Our readers seem to be absolutely mad about Harry Potter—both ways. They love him, or they hate him. by Mark Moring posted 11/22/2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Things get more emotional, and more intense, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Review by Peter T. Chattaway posted 11/17/2005

Redeeming Harry Potter

The initial Christian outcry against the boy wizard seems to be dying down. Maybe that's because more and more of us are discovering multiple redemptive themes in the series. by Russ Breimeier posted 11/15/2005

Has the Pope Condemned Harry Potter?

Cardinal Ratzinger's letters raise questions about whether the Vatican has a "position" on Potter. by Jeffrey Overstreet posted 07/18/2005

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps the most emotionally complex of the Harry Potter stories to date. Review by Peter T. Chattaway posted 04/23/2004

Film Forum: Christians Critics Split on Second Harry Potter

Harry Potter's return in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Re-ignites debate among religious press reviewers.by Jeffrey Overstreet posted 11/21/2002

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Christianity Today Movies did not review this film, but here's what other critics are saying …compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet posted 10/31/2002

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Is the big-screen Harry Potter as delightful as the one in the book? And should you be worried about his witchcraft? Critics and viewers respond. Review by Jeffrey Overstreet posted 11/21/2001 Film Forum: Wary About Harry

Is the big-screen Harry Potter as delightful as the one in the book? And should you be worried about his witchcraft? Critics and viewers respond to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.By Jeffrey Overstreet posted 11/21/2001

I Like Harry Potter

I was wondering about the Harry Potter movies. If I don't practice what is in the movies, is it OK to watch them just as entertainment? by Mark Matlock Campus Life, June/July 2003

Surrounded by Sorcery

10 ways to protect kids in an occult-filled popular culture by Connie Neal Today's Christian, September/October 2001

How to Handle Harry

Millions of Harry Potter books are dog-eared. Video games and fan Web sites abound. Kids are wearing the clothing and carrying around the merchandise. So how do we handle Harry Potter with our kids and their friends?

by Connie Neal Today's Christian Woman, Nov/Dec 2001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digging to a depth of 1,000 meters last year, French scientists found
traces of copper wire dating back 1,000 years.

The French came to the conclusion that their ancestors had a telephone
network centuries ago.

Not to be outdone by the French, English scientists dug to a depth of 2,000
meters. Shortly thereafter headlines in the U.K. newspapers read: 'English
archaeologists have found traces of 2,000-year-old fiber-optic cable and
have concluded that ancestors had an advanced high-tech digital
communications network a thousand years earlier than the French.'

One week later, Israeli newspapers reported the following: 'After digging
as deep as 5,000 meters in a Jerusalem marketplace, scientists found
absolutely nothing.

They thus concluded that 5,000 years ago Jews were using wireless
technology.'

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Real meanings

 

Cigarette:
A pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end & a fool at the other.
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Marriage:
It's an agreement in which a man loses his bachelor degree and a woman gains her master
***********
Divorce:
Future tense of marriage
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Lecture:
An art of transferring information from the notes of the lecturer to the notes of the students without passing

through
 

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Glenn Hinson tells of taking some seminary students on a field trip to a monastery in the hills of Kentucky. His primary purpose was to help these history students become aware of the communities that developed in the Middle Ages, not to learn about a life of prayer. The host, Thomas Merton, gave the class more than they expected. After talking about the rise of the monastic life, Merton asked if there were any questions. One student asked a question that Hinson feared the most. The student inquired, “What’s a smart fellow like you doing in a place like this?” Hinson said that he expected Merton to respond in anger or frustration that he’d not been heard, but Merton responded very simply: “I am here because this is my vocation. I believe in prayer

-Glenn E Hinson, Spiritual preparation for Christian leadership (Nashville, Upper Room Books, 1999), 151.
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The theologian Karl Barth was once asked to outline what he would do if, in the light of past experiences, he was only now beginning his work as a theological teacher. Barth graciously declined, saying his method had never been to work to programs but rather his thinking and writing and speaking had issued from living encounters with people and conditions that spoke to him. Barth said he felt like a man in a boat which must be rowed and steered diligently but which flows in a stream that he does not control. It glides along between new and often totally strange shores, carrying him toward the goal set for him, goals which he sees and chooses only as he approaches them. He said, “As I see it now, my theological career has been a succession of present moments.”

-Karl Barth, The Christian Century Reader: Representative Articles, Editorials, & Poems, edited by Harold E. Fey & Margaret Frakes, (Manchester: Ayer Publishing, 1972), 102–5.

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When author, Frederick Buechner, was asked to summarise what he has been trying to say throughout his vocation as a preacher and a writer he said, “Listen to your life; pay attention to what happens to you…. If God is concerned with the world.... If God is really involved with the world, then one of the most powerful ways God speaks to us is through what happens to us, which means keep your ears open, keep your eyes open for the often hidden, elusive word of God.”

-Frederick Buechner, ‘Whistling in the Dark’, 30 Good Minutes, Program #3305, 29 October, 1989.
www.30goodminutes.org/csec/sermon/buechner_3305.htm

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In his confessional style, Parker Palmer shared an experience in which he failed to listen to his life. He had been sounded out and had almost accepted the offer to become the president of an American College when he remembered that in his Quaker tradition there is a practice of calling a ‘clearness committee’ to seek God’s direction and peace through others. In his heart, Palmer had already decided the outcome of this process but he went through the motions because it gave him a chance to brag about the job offer. After some predictable questions, things got tough for Palmer who later gave this report and analysis:

They said, “What would you like most about being a president?” Palmer said, “The simplicity of that question loosed me from my head and lowered me into my heart. I remember pondering for at least a full minute before I could respond.” Palmer tried to give a glib answer but, with persistent questioning, silence and humour, his deceitful motives were exposed to the group and to himself. Palmer concluded that his desire to be president had “much more to do with his ego than with the ecology of his life.” It was so obvious that when the clearness committee ended, he called the College and withdrew his name from consideration. He concluded, “Had he taken that job, it would have been very bad for him and a disaster for the school.”

-Parker J.Palmer, Let your Life Speak (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000), 45-6.

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Robert McAfee Brown was frustrated by the little he felt he was accomplishing when protesting against the United States’ military presence in Vietnam. He was sharing a motel room with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Hershel, one of the few Jewish leaders who were in the front ranks of Vietnam protest. Brown said that to his expressions of inadequacy... [Herschel] put his hands on my shoulders and said, “My friend, let me tell you a story. . .”

“When the great Rebbe Zushya,” Hershel continued, “was on his deathbed, he lamented to his friends how little he had accomplished in his lifetime.” And so someone asked him, “Rebbe, are you afraid of the judgement soon to come?” And the Rebbe almost said ‘Yes,’ but he paused before doing so, and then he said, ‘No.’ For when I appear before the Almighty—may the Divine Name be forever blessed—I will not be asked, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I will only be asked, “Why were you not Zushya?”

-Terrence W. Tilley, Story Theology (Minnesota: The Liturgical Press: Collegeville, 1985), xiii-xiv.

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The novelist Chaim Potok faced this pressure over many years. From a very early age he had always wanted to become a writer but when he went to university his mother said: “Chaim, I know you want to be a writer, but I have a better idea. Why don't you become a brain surgeon. You'll keep a lot of people from dying; and you'll make a lot of money.” Chaim replied, “No, mama. I want to be a writer.” This conversation was rehearsed every vacation until finally his mother exploded: “Chaim, you are wasting your time! Be a brain surgeon. You'll keep a lot of people from dying; you’ll make a lot of money.” Chaim exclaimed angrily: “Mama, I don't want to keep people from dying; I want to show them how to live!”

-Rosemary Dibben, ‘Chaim Potok: Report of an Interview’, Southern College, Cal., March 1986.


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The author and management consultant, Charles Handy, wrote about his realization that he was failing to live up to the unexplored possibilities within him. Soon after he was married and working for the oil company, Handy’s wife engaged him in conversation that went like this:
‘Are you proud of your work?’ she asked.
‘It’s all right, as work goes.’
‘What about the people you work with, are they special?’
‘They’re all right.’
‘So, the company, is it really a good organization doing good things?’
‘I can’t complain, it’s all right.’

She looked hard at Charles and then said, “I don’t think I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who is prepared to settle for ‘all right.’”

Handy said, “It was an ultimatum of sorts and I resigned from the oil company the next month, but the conversation has always rung in my ears. ‘All right’ is not enough. I agree. We have only one life, we need to do more with it than merely survive.”

-Charles B. Handy, Myself, and Other More Important Matters (London: William Heinemann, 2006), 1.

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On the 20th July, 1969 the first lunar module touched down on the moon near the Sea of Tranquillity. When stepping down the ladder onto the dusty surface, astronaut Neil Armstrong voiced those memorable words: “This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

While the path toward this step appeared to have started seven years earlier, when Armstrong entered the space programme, in reality it began much earlier, for Armstrong said that from the time he was a child growing up in the 1930's in the American state of Ohio, he always knew that he would do something significant in aviation history. As a boy, he had a vision that he would be someone important and it was this vision that sustained him and spurred him on literally to those very great heights.

A few years after that momentous event, Neil Armstrong made an interesting observation. He said that of the fourteen men who had gone to the moon at that stage, eight of them had had a nervous breakdown after they had returned. When asked to explain he said: “One of our biggest problems is that it takes so many years for astronauts to train. We live the space programme and we breathe the space programme then we do it and after we've done it there's nothing left! Your vision has been accomplished.”

-Gordon Moyes, Be a Winner: How to Create a Positive Personality (Melbourne: Vital Publications, 1982), 56.
 

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The leadership guru, Stephen Covey, illustrates how acquaintance with people’s pain, often provides the catalyst for service. He was travelling on a train one Sunday morning in New York. People were sitting quietly and it was calm when suddenly a man and his children got on board. The children were loud and they instantly shattered the peace. The man sat down next to Covey and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. Covey could not believe the man could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild so finally he lent across and said: “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn't control them a little more?” The man lifted his gaze and said: “Oh you are right. I guess I should do something about it. We have just come from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don't know what to think and I guess they don't know how to handle it either.” Covey suddenly saw things differently, he thought differently, he felt differently and he behaved differently. His irritation vanished and his heart was filled with the man's pain. “Your wife's just died?” he said, “Oh I'm sorry. Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Understanding the man’s pain resulted in a desire to come to his aid

-Stephen R Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, London: Simon & Schuster, 1989; this edition Pocket Books 2004, an imprint of Simon and Schuster UK Ltd; London, 30-31.
 

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Heaven Came Down


The Montrose Bible Conference Grounds in Montrose, Pennsylvania, has been the sight of many wonderful Christian experiences, but seemingly none quite so far-reaching as in the summer of 1961.

John W. Peterson says:

“During one of the sessions an opportunity for a time of personal testimonies was given the audience, and Old Jim rose to his feet and told of his conversion experience. In describing that night when he met Christ, he used the phrase ‘It seemed like Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.’

“Right away I sensed that it would be a fine title for a song, so I wrote it down and later in the week completed the song. It became a favorite almost immediately.”

The song born that day in 1961 has blessed the hearts of people all over America as well as on the mission fields worldwide.

John W. Peterson has written more than one thousand songs and fifteen cantatas that have sold more than three million copies. But this song is one of the most beloved among Christians.



++++++++++

Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul


(1) O what a wonderful, wonderful day-
Day I will never forget;
After I'd wandered in darkness away,
Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend-
He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling,
He made all the darkness depart!

CHORUS: Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away
And my night was turned to day- Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

(2) Born of the Spirit with life from above
Into God's family divine,
Justified fully through Calvary's love,
O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made
When as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer Of grace He did proffer-
He saved me, O praise His dear name!

(3) Now I've a hope that will surely endure
After the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure.
There in those mansions sublime.
And its because of that wonderful day
What at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal And blessings supernal
From His precious hand I received.

 

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The story is told that Charles Spurgeon, the famous British preacher, once visited a prominent scholar from Turkey who was on the faculty at Oxford University. He traveled there with two of his deacons.

The man ushered them into his drawing room, opened a box of is prized cigars, and offered them to each of his visitors. The two deacons refused the cigars with great indignation while Spurgeon took one of the cigars, lit it up, and comfortably sat down and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with his host.

On the way back to London, as they rode on the train, the deacons scolded Spurgeon, claiming that he had comprised his testimony as a man of God; to which Spurgeon answered, "Well, one of the three of us had to act like a Christian."

quoted in  Campolo, Tony & Darling, Mary Albert. 2007. The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p. 33

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Soren Kierkegaard told this story:

Every  Sunday the ducks waddle out of their houses and waddle down Main Street to their church. They waddle into the sanctuary and squat down in their proper pews. The duck choir waddles in and takes its place, then the duck minister come forward and open the duck Bible. He reads to them: "Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! With wings you can mount up and soar like eagles. No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings. God has given you wings and you can fly like birds!"

All the ducks shouted, "Amen!" As the ducks left the service they commented on what a wonderful sermon it was. And they all waddled home.

-Campolo, T. Adapted from Let Me Tell You a Story. Nashville, Tenn: Word, 3000, pp. 81-82.

 

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It seems a certain dervish who had a plot of land on the outskirts of Lahore was approached by the tax collector demanding "Either pay your overdue taxes or perform a miracle." The story continues:

"What sort of miracle do you expect?" asked the dervish. "I am a poor man" . . . The dervish was perplexed. He thought to himself for awhile and then turning to the tax collector, he said: "Tell me what miracle you wish to see me perform!" Since there was a river near the village, the tax collector told him: "Walk on the river, if indeed you can perform a miracle!" The dervish set foot on the river and walked across it as if he had been walking on land! On reaching the other side, he asked for a boat to bring him back. "Why do you not return the same way you came?", they asked him. "One should not pander to the lower self," replied the dervish. "Otherwise it might think: 'At last I've become something'."

-Nizam Ad-Din Awliya: Morals for the Heart, translated and annotated by Bruce B. Lawrence (New York: Paulist Press, 1992), 237.

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Water in the Desert

When I think about the dramatic rise of popular spirituality in our world, I sometimes think about the flooding of a river in a desert landscape. When I was a boy growing up in the arid regions of central Australia, I occasionally witnessed a strange and miraculous phenomenon. After we had experienced significant rains near Alice Springs, the normally dry and sandy bed of the Todd River would suddenly be transformed into a raging torrent, and the people of the town would behold the mystery of a gushing stream rising up from what seemed like nowhere. The high school I attended stood on the banks of the river, and after storms we sometimes received an announcement from the headmaster that we were to walk quickly and quietly to the banks of the Todd, to watch the river coming into flood. This might occur only once or twice a year, or in periods of drought, the river might never flood for years.

We were told by our geography teachers that the Todd was actually flowing all the time, but mostly we do not see it. Just below the ground and beyond our sight, there were bodies of moving water or underground streams, and in times of flood, when sufficient new waters had been added by rain, the water-table would rise up from its subterranean depths, and become a visible river, observable to our sight. Students and workers alike would cheer, whistle and applaud when the wall of water was suddenly apparent to our disbelieving gaze. To the people of the town, Aboriginal and European-descended, this was something of a mystical experience, a kind of apparition, and a dramatic event that brought excitement, interest, and unity to the district. You would almost not believe that a dry river bed could be transformed into a raging torrent unless you had seen it with your own eyes, and unless others had been there beside you, bearing witness to the same event.

-David Tacey, The Rising Interest in Spirituality Today

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thanks to my friend, Punna who wrote this

The doctors were sitting around the dining table discussing life after the usual CME talk. One doctor, a very successful private Consultant, decided to explore the problem of the poor pay of teachers. He reasoned,

"Firstly, how much can one MAKE as a teacher? You need to do procedures, interventions, etc to be financially successful. How much can one make as a doctor teaching medical students?" To stress his point he said to another diner;

"You're teaching, ...... Be honest. What do you make from teaching?"

silence......

The medical school tutor answered "You really want to know what I make?

Well, I make young minds work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make restless young boys and girls go through 120 minutes of discussion on diagnosis and patient care.

I make them amazed at the beautiful art of diagnosis.

I make them question every decision they make.

I make them realise that every illness has a Real human face behind it; they are patients NOT cases.

I make them have respect and responsibility for their actions.

I teach them to think like a doctor and then I make them feel that all of them can be great doctors if only they want to badly enough.

I make them read, read, read the science of medicine.

I make students feel proud to wear a white coat and to be in the lineage of a great and noble profession.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can all succeed in life, for success is NOT necessarily measured in dollars and cents, but definitely in how much we can help our fellow men."

"Then, when people enquire what I make, I can hold my head up high ... You still want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Now what do you make?"

picture source

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A long time ago in China , a girl named Li-Li got married & went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn't get along with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law's habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly. Days passed, and weeks passed. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting.

But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li's poor husband D great distress.

Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-! law's bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it! Li-Li went to see her father's good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all.

Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, "Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you."

Li-Li said, "Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do." Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs. He told Li-Li, "You can't use a quick- acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving.

Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspect you, when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. "Don't argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen." Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what
Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother.

After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she
almost never got mad or upset. She hadn't had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and
easier to get along with.

The mother-in-law's attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in- law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.

Li-Li's husband was very happy to see what was happening. One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again She said, "Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law. She's changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her."

Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. "Li-Li, there's nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were
vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the
love which you gave to her."

HAVE YOU REALIZED that how you treat others is exactly how they will treat you? There is a wise Chinese saying: "The person who loves
others will also be loved in return."

 

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A mother bird and her three fledglings came to the bank of a river, too wide for the young ones to cross on their own. Taking the first fledgling onto her wing, the mother bird began to carry him across, and while over the middle of the river she asked him the following question: “My dear son, when I am old and too feeble to fly far, will you carry me across?” Promptly and respectfully, her son replied, “Of course, mama,” whereupon the mother bird dropped him into the water below to drown. Repeating the test on her next fledging, she elicited the same response, and so dropped him, too, into the waters below. Gathering up her last fledgling, the mother bird administered her test one last time: “My dear son, when I am old and too feeble to fly far, will you carry me across?” Unlike his brothers, the last fledgling slowly but thoughtfully replied, “No mother, I will not do it for you, but I will do it for my own children.” The mother bird, now happily assured of her future, flew her son across the river and lovingly deposited him on its distant shore.

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An ancillary fable from the teaching of the Hasidic the master Menahem Mendel of Kotzk, as recounted by Martin Buber in his Tales of the Hasidim: The Later Masters (Schocken).


Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorki knocked, entered Rabbi Mendel’s room, and said in greeting: “Peace be with you, Rabbi.”
“Why do you say rabbi to me?” grumbled the rabbi of Kotzk. “I am no rabbi! Don’t you recognize me? I’m the goat! I’m the sacred goat. Don’t you remember the story?


“An old Jew once lost his snuff box made of horn, on his way to the house of study. He wailed: ‘Just as if the dreadful exile weren’t enough, this must happen to me.’ Oh me, oh my, I’ve lost my snuffbox made of horn.” And then he came upon the sacred goat. The sacred goat was pacing the earth, and the tips of his black horns touched the stars. When he heard the old Jew lamenting, he leaned down to him, and said: ‘Cut a piece from my horns, whatever you need to make a new snuffbox.’ The old Jew did this, made a new snuffbox, and filled it with tobacco. Then he went to the house of study and offered everyone a pinch. They snuffed and snuffed, and everyone who snuffed it cried: ‘Oh, what wonderful tobacco! It must be because of the box. Oh what a wonderful box! Wherever did you get it?’


“So the old man told them about the good sacred goat, and then one after the other they went out on the street and looked for the sacred goat. The sacred goat was pacing the earth and the tips of his black horns touched the stars. One after another they went up to him and begged permission to cut off a bit of his horns. Time after time the sacred goat leaned down to grant the request. Box after box was made and filled with tobacco. The fame of the boxes spread far and wide. At every step he took the sacred goat met someone who asked for a piece of his horns.


“Now the sacred goat still paces the earth—but he has no horns.”

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WIRED MAGAZINE: 16.12

How Comics Can Save Us From Scientific Ignorance

By Barry Harbaugh 11.24.08

What's the solution to America's crisis in science education? More comic books. In December comes The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA, a remarkably thorough explanation of the science of genetics, from Mendel to Venter, with a strand of social urgency spliced in. "If there was ever a time that we needed a push to make science a priority, it's now," says Howard Zimmerman, the book's editor and, not coincidentally, a former elementary-school science teacher. "Advances in treatments for disease cannot take place in a society that shuns science." Zimmerman works with the New York literary publishing house Hill and Wang, which discovered Elie Weisel and has been creating a new niche for itself as one of the premiere producers of major graphic "nonfiction novels" like the war on terror primer After 9/11 and the bio-comic Ronald Reagan.

read more

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The Real Superman

How comic books take Jesus to the world

By Laurie Fortunak

For the average person, the term "comic book heroes" brings to mind names such as Spider-Man, Batman, and Superman. But for Nate Butler, it's Jesus. Yes, the Son of God is a comic book hero.

The Real Superman

Butler is president and founder of COMIX35, which trains individuals and ministries around the world in the production and effective use of comics-style literature to share the gospel.

Throughout Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, billions of all ages avidly read comics—manga, manhwa, bande dessinée, historietas, foto novela, fumetti, or some other term in their own language and culture. Comics are the most-read form of popular literature; in Japan alone, 2.1 billion comics are sold every year.

No need to conjure images of Jesus in a cape or as a masked crusader. Butler and others use comics to present theologically sound and biblically accurate, yet graphically attractive and dramatically engaging, images of who Jesus Christ is. And God is using this medium to draw men, women, and children around the world to himself.

One Hong Kong publisher worked with COMIX35 to create Manga Messiah, a Japanese-style comic book version of the four Gospels in which Jesus is called by his Hebrew name, Yeshuah. That publisher tells how one woman and her husband had been reading Manga Messiah to their young children each night. One night, after the father read the story of Yeshuah's midnight conversation with Nicodemus, their 4-year-old said, "Daddy, I believe in Yeshuah. I want to be born again!" The parents immediately prayed with her to receive Yeshuah as Lord and Savior.

COMIX35 has worked in 42 countries and trained more than 700 people to create and use comic books as evangelism and witnessing tools in various cultures. The "X35" in COMIX35 refers to Exodus 35:30-35, where the Lord calls artisans whom he will fill with his Spirit.

Today, God is using the artistry in millions of copies of Christian comics to reach men, women, and children in ways that other print literature cannot.

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One day Mulla Nasrudin got lost in the jungle. The whole day he spent trying to find a way out, but he could not...
He was tired, hungry, exhausted, bleeding, and his clothes were torn apart because the jungle was so thick and thorny. It was getting darker, the sun was setting and the night was near.
The Mulla had not been attending the mosque and prayer lately, and feared his predicament might be a result of his neglect.
So he knelt down on the ground and he said, "Dear Lord, please help me find my way out of this jungle, and I will always worship you. I will start attending the mosque regularly. I will faithfully follow all the rituals of Islam."
"I promise you! Just save me. Forgive me. I apologize for my negligence. I was a fool, an utter fool!"
Just at that moment a bird passed overhead and dropped something in his outspread hands.
He said "Please Lord, don't give me any of that shit. I'm really lost!"

***

Nasrudin sat on a river bank when someone shouted to him from the other bank:
"Hey! how do I get across?"
"You are across!" Nasrudin shouted back.


***

Nasrudin returned from the imperial capital, and the villagers gathered around to hear what had passed.
"At this time," said Nasrudin, "I only want to say that the King spoke to me."
All the villagers but the stupidest ran off to spread the wonderful news.
The remaining villager asked, "What did the King say to you?"
"What he said - and quite distinctly, for everyone to hear - was 'Get out of my way, Imbecile!'"

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This is from a good friend of mine who has given me permission to post this:

"How heavy is a glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." "And that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden." "Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can." Don't pick it up again until after you've rested a while.

  • Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
  • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  • Always read/see/surf stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  • Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled.
  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply be kind to others.
  • Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  •  You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons... some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

 

picture source

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The Lord's Day is a mystery of the knowledge of the truth that is not received by flesh and blood, and it transcends speculations. In this age there is no eighth day, nor is there a true Sabbath. For he who said that `God rested on the seventh day,' signified the rest [of our nature] from the course of this life, since the grave is also of a bodily nature and belongs to this world. Six days are accomplished in the husbandry of life by means of keeping the commandments; the seventh is spent entirely in the grave; and the eighth is the departure from it.

   

                                                                                                                                                                                          St. Isaac of Syria, The Ascetical Homilies.
 
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the story of Charles Spurgeon’s conversion. Here it is in his own words. The day was January 6, 1850. Spurgeon was not quite 16 years old.

I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist chapel. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. . . . The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last, a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. . . . He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth [Isaiah 45:22].”

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus: “My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It ain’t liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just, ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to college to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look.

“But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me’. . . . Many of ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. Ye will never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the father. No, look to him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some of ye say, ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin’.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.’”

Then the good man followed up his text in this way: “Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ and great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin’ at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! Look unto Me!”

When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I dare say, with so few present he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart he said, “Young man, you look very miserable.” Well, I did, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, “and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.”

Then lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a primitive Methodists could do, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but to look and live.” I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” What a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could have almost looked my eyes away.

There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to him. . . . And now I can say—

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
    Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
    And Shall be till I die.

(C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography, Volume 1, 87-88)

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Returning Blessing for Evil
 
I came across a very good illustration from the book Rewards of being reviled by Bill Gothard:
 
Ten-year old Elena lived at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where her family ministered to the Native American Indians. One night a bark scorpion crawled onto Elena's leg and stung her. She screamed, waking the entire family.
 
Elena's mother knew exactly what her daughter was facing, because she, too had been bitten by a bark scorpion - the most poisonous scorpion found in Arizona. She had experienced excruciating pain and numbness, then swelling, physical weakness, dizziness, tightening of her throat, and tingling in her limbs.
 
However none of these symptoms occurred in Elena, because after the mother's experience, the family discovered a remedy for just such an emergency - a little-known electrical unit that contains batteries which produce a high-voltage, low current electrical charge.
 
When electrodes from this unit are placed in the area of the sting or bite, they send a positive charge into the victim's blood-stream, this, in turn, neutralizes the venom, which have a negative charge, and renders it harmless. After applying this remedy to the spot where the scorpion's poison has entered Elena's body, she experienced only a mild soreness for a short time and a small mark where the scorpion has struck.
 
When we feel we have been accused, judged, reviled, even to the point of being cursed, the words of accusation are very much like the negatively charged poison that enters our lives. Returning evil for evil or simply suppressing it will not neutralize the poison that is still inside our body.
 
The way to neutralize the negative charged venom is by using the positive charge from God, "not returning  evil for evil, or insult for insult, but instead a blessing instead" (1 Peter 3:9)
 
from Lim Yoke Wong, Campus Crusade Malaysia Today, Issue 9/June 2009
 
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Mexico HijackingSuch was the case with Jose Flores Pereiras, a Bolivian ex-drug addict pastor, who hijacked Aero Mexico’s flight 576. He threatened to bomb it unless he got the ears of President Felipe Calderon of Mexico. Jose Flores had “heard from God” that a great earthquake is about to strike Mexico City. It was an earthquake “like none there has ever been”.  Having tried for six months to contact the President without success, he had in desperation, resorted to a liquid laden receptacle with lights on it.  It took a pilot to persuade the pastor to release the 107 passengers unharmed. When the SWAT team arrested him, a few other passengers were mistakenly taken into custody too because Jose said there were three persons working with him. It later turned out  that Jose was referring to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit working with him on this unholy venture. And why did he chose 9/9/09 to hijack the plane? Because 999 turned upside down is the Satanic 666! By God’s mercy, he was not hurt. This story underlines the importance of discernment of God’s voice and the interpretation of apocalyptic scriptures.
 
HT: Blogpastor
 
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45  Lessons for Life
 
Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio


"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written."


My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone...
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it..
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you, really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone, everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift



Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.
 
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