A

ABORTION

ABORTION

ABORTION

Norma McCovey who sued the State of Texas under the pseudonym of Jane Roe, (leading to the 1973 landmark Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion) now wants the court to change its mind. "I would like to see children stop being killed and women maimed and dead themselves,"

—http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144752,00.html

Jeremiah 1:5 (NASB) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."


ABORTION

ABORTION

Doctors being sued isn't exactly news. Unhappy patients often spin the wheel in court whenever a doctor makes a mistake. But the April 25, 2005 edition of Medical News Today has a headline that caught my attention: "Twins survive abortion, mother sues."

Stacy Dow is suing England's National Health Service for £250,000 because one of her children lived after she had an abortion. Instead of being grateful for her 3-year old child, Dow blames the hospital for "changing her life."

—http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=23382

Isaiah 44:1-2 (HCSB) "And now listen, Jacob My servant, Israel whom I have chosen. [2] This is the word of the Lord your Maker who shaped you from birth..."

ABUNDANCE

ABUNDANCE

ABUNDANCE

Though 41 of percent, Fremont California's 209,000 residents earn more than $100,000 a year, wealth cannot ensure their protection. Prompted by too many false alarms and too little money, the Fremont police department says they will begin ignoring most of the burglar alarms they receive. The department says they will follow the example of police in cities such as Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and Las Vegas that have similar policies about alarms.

Fremont police estimate false alarms cost the city about $600,000 a year. The department says due to budget cuts, they will only respond if there is additional verification such as video feed of a crime occurring or an eye-witness report.

Fremont Police chief Craig Steckler said, "We had 7,000 alarm calls last year and 66 of those were burglary." He added, "What do you want us to do?"

—Reuters, Was that a Burglar Alarm? Nah., January 21, 2005 Submitted by Jim Sandell.

John 10:10 (NASB) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Super Bowl XLI made cultural history because it was the first time teams coached by African Americans faced each other in the big game. It was also a big day for Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy who became one of only a handful of men who have won the Super Bowl Title as both a player and a coach. Though Coach Dungy's teams had always been in the hunt, they had never made an appearance in a Championship Game until this year. The coach made it clear through football's post-season; his accomplishments took a back seat to another consideration.

Following the Colts 29-17 victory over the Bears, Dungy met Bear's coach Lovie Smith in the center of the field and hugged him. During the trophy presentation, Dungy expressed what was in his heart. He said, "I'm proud to be the first African American coach to win this. But again, more than anything Lovie Smith and I are not only African America but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that."

—http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/football/2020AP_FBN_Super_Bowl_Coaches.html. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

The most important thing we can do in life is to live true to our convictions.

Philippians 2:21 (CEV) "The others think only about what interests them and not about what concerns Christ Jesus."

ACTIONS

ACTIONS

ACTIONS

On Monday, September 12, 2005, electric power failed, plunging major portions of Los Angeles in darkness, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Elevators stopped, trapping people inside, and traffic came to halt throughout the city. The Los Angeles Police Department immediately went on "full tactical alert" meaning no officers were allowed to leave work when their shifts were over. Authorities initially feared the power outage might be the pre-curser to a terrorist attack. A videotape of a purported terrorist had aired the day before, making threats against Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia.

Soon, fears dissipated when the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced the outage was the result of a mistake. General Manager Ron Deaton said several workers installing an automated transmission system hooked up the wrong wires. Deaton said, "They connected it to another line that was not expecting that much electricity."

—Associated Press, Utility Worker Error Blamed for Blackout That Cut Power Across Major Portions of Los Angeles, September 12, 2005. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Though power was restored quickly, and there were no reported injures, this incident serves as a reminder that our actions can have a larger impact than we imagine.

Matthew 5:47-48 (ESV) "And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

ADOPTION

ADOPTION

ADOPTION

A lonely Italian man who had lived alone with seven cats since his passed away 12 years ago has been adopted. 80 year-old Giorgio Angelozzi advertised in the classifieds seeking someone to "adopt" him as a grandfather. The paper decided to place the man's plight on the front page, and he was flooded with responses. Though Angelozzi received offers from as far away as New Zealand, Brazil, and the United States, he decided to accept the offer of a family from northern Italy.

Angelozzi's new home boasts a garden with apple, cherry, and pomegranate trees and a beagle to replace his cats. The family of Marlena Riva adopted him. The Riva family says what they really wanted was a grandfather. Riva said, "This grandfather needs help and we need him."Their daughter Dagmara added, "I just want a grandfather, the rest isn't important."

As he prepared to leave for his new home, Angelozzi said, "I will become a grandfather—this was my plan. I will have the affection of this woman who is already calling me 'daddy' and the children who call me Grandpa Giorgio." When asked why he choose this particular family Angelozzi said, "I choose the woman whose voice sounded like my wife."

—Reuters, Lonely Italian Pensioner Gets Adopted, September 26, 2004. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Romans 8:23 (NIV) "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

ADVOCATE

ADVOCATE

ADVOCATE

A Swedish company has come up with a new way to deal with parking fines and speeding tickets. The company claims to be the first to offer insurance against common traffic violations.

For an annual fee of 850 crowns (about $112 US), Swedish drivers who register with the company are covered against three speeding tickets a year as long as they are not more than 30 km an hour above the posted speed limit. For an extra charge, drivers can also buy coverage against parking tickets. Sweden has one of the best highway safety records in the world, part of the reason may be the high fines charged for offenses. An average speeding fine in Sweden ranges from 800 to 2000 crowns, and 425 to 700 crowns for parking violations.

Dan Glimmeras, head of marketing at the insurance company, says insurance against speeding fines is not illegal, and repeat offenders could still lose their driver's license. He says "We believe drivers are under economic pressure and there is no room in household budgets to pay fines. We offer economic protection." Glimmeras says several thousand drivers have already signed up for the new insurance plan.

—Reuters, Sure, I was speeding, officer—I'm insured, August 10, 2005. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

1 John 2:1 (HCSB) "My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous One."

AGING

AGING

AGING

Martin Sheen, the 66-year old actor best known for his roles in Apocalypse Now and Wall Street has gone back to school. Sheen enrolled in the National University of Ireland, Galway and will take courses in English Literature, Philosophy and Oceanography.

—http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=609&id=1298322006

As long as a person is curious, he/she isn't too old to learn or accomplish great things.

Joshua 13:1 (HCSB) "Joshua was now old, advanced in years, and the lord said to him, "you have become old, advanced in years, but a great deal of the land remains to be possessed."


AGING

AGING

What two things do Michelangelo, Benjamin Franklin, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Martha Graham have in common? The first one, of course is easy, they were all creative people. The second thing may not be so obvious. All of them continued to create into their '70's and beyond. Michelangelo completed his work in the Vatican at 75. Franklin was 78 when he invented bi-focal glasses, something most of us need by our mid-40's. O'Keeffe painted well into her 90's, Wright worked on the Guggenheim Museum until he died at 91 and Graham danced until her mid-70's, and choreographed for another two decades.

Judith Salerno, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging says, "We need to begin thinking about late life as an opportunity for people to explore." Dean Keith Simonton, a psychology professor at the University of California Davis says, "Forget it if you want to take up tennis in your 50's and become a world-class player. But creating things is not a speed test."

—Newsweek, January 17, 2005, p 57-8.

Before you dismiss your potential to be creative in your twilight years, consider how old Noah was when he built the Ark or Joshua was when he led in the conquest. Who knows, your best years may be ahead of you.

Psalm 71:18 (KJV) "Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come."

ALERT

ALERT

ALERT

An Australian air traffic controller left some airline passengers up in the air. The controller overslept and arrived late to work. As a result the control tower at Canberra International Airport opened 20 minutes late, which forced an arriving Quantas Boeing 737 from Perth to circle over the city for twenty minutes because the only person on duty at the tower was not senior enough to issue a clearance for the plane to land.

Ben Mitchell, spokesman for Air Services Australia acknowledged the error. He said, "The guy slept in." Mitchell said the passengers were never in any danger and the plane was able to land only 12 minutes after its scheduled arrival time. Authorities have changed the roster to ensure that two senior controllers are present when the tower opens to eliminate the problem, assuming both wake up on time.

—http://abcnews.go.com, Sleepy Air Controller Causes Delay, September 1, 2005. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Romans 13:11-12 (NKJV) "And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."

AMBITION

AMBITION

AMBITION

Like many young adults, Kyle MacDonald had a dream of owning his own home. Besides the dream, he had two other things—he had a big red paper clip and he had a plan to parlay that paper clip into something bigger.

Utilizing Craigslist barter section, he asked people to trade with him, but he was clear that he needed to trade up. He traded the paper clip for a fish-shaped pen which he bartered for a ceramic knob, which quickly became a camping stove. After several more trades, he finally owned something of significant value—a year's free rent in Phoenix.

By this time his story made the talk show circuit and he got a big break. Corbin Bernsen, of LA Law and Major League fame, offered a speaking part in a movie he was writing and directing. But MacDonald wasn't willing to trade the year's free rent for the speaking part, because he didn't figure Bernsen really needed the house, so he began searching for something that Bernsen would really want before he closed the deal with him. MacDonald traded the rent in exchange for an afternoon with Alice Cooper of KISS fame, which he traded the time with Cooper for a Snow Globe depicting Cooper's band. Then he approached Bernsen with the snow globe in exchange for the movie part. Who knew that Corbin Bernsen had a collection of 6500 snow globes? Apparently, MacDonald had done his homework and knew.

MacDonald was able to trade the speaking part in Bersen's movie for a three bedroom house in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Which just goes to show you; if you have a dream and a plan, all you really need is a paperclip to make it happen.

—http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/internet/07/10/paper.clip.to.house.ap/index.html

Luke 14:28 (NIV) "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?"


AMBITION

AMBITION

You can't really blame Albert Malone for trying to get ahead in his military career. Wanting to get a better job, he went to law school and applied for the JAG (Judge Advocate General's) Corp but was turned down because of poor eyesight. Oh, did I mention that when he was in the Navy, his primary job was to "sight guns?"

—Reader's Digest, Nov 2004, p. 66.

1 Timothy 3:1 (HCSB) "This saying is trustworthy: 'If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.'"

ANGER

ANGER

ANGER

Record high gasoline prices after Hurricane Katrina stunned many Americans. As prices spiraled upward after the storm, many customers infuriated by the soaring cost of gasoline refused to pay and sped off after filling their tanks. Authorities say they believe most of these people feel they are sending a message to the big oil companies, but the real impact is to the local businesses.

Joe Hart, owner of Peterborough Oil Company in New Hampshire said, "We're just experiencing a wealth of drive offs." He added, "It's all shapes and sizes and ages of people, who, for some reason think they're shaking their fist at the oil-producing people, but it actually hurts us quite a bit." Nikki Richard, the manager of a local Shell station agreed, saying the number of drive-offs had climbed over the summer, but had really gotten out of control after the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast. Most gasoline retailers have begun asking customers to pay before pumping gas. Richard said, "This makes it easier on the cashiers. They were writing down every single license plate."

—Reuters, U.S. gas prices fuel "drive offs" by angry drivers, September 12, 2005. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

I think we can all relate to frustration over the high cost of gasoline, but anger does not give anyone the right to steal.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NASB) "BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, [27] and do not give the devil an opportunity."


ANGER

ANGER

A Connecticut man was arrested in what officials believe may be the first recorded case of "leaf rage."They say the man, 67-year-old Michael Peters, became angry when city employees told him they would not remove leaves from his property.He was arrested after confronting workers clearing leaves in his neighborhood.

Operations Supervisor Robert Gerbert was one of the workers confronted by Peters. He described the Peters as a "raving maniac."Gerbert said Peters grabbed his shirt and refused to let go. Gerbert added, "The guy was spitting and swearing—it was the most disgusting scene I've ever seen."

Peters later said he was frustrated that his leaves had not been picked up in the more than thirty years he had lived at his home.Officials explained that the leaves weren't collected because they were on Peter's right of way, and not the street where workers collect them. City Worker Jim Crabb said crews would likely have come back to Peter's home to pick up the leaves if Peters had asked politely. Crabb added, "We're not big, mean Ogres."

—Associated Press, Man Arrested In 'Leaf Rage' Incident, November 16, 2004. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Proverbs 29:11 (NIV) "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."

ANXIETY/WORRY

ANXIETY/WORRY

ANXIETY/WORRY

When 32 year-old Jennifer Willbanks vanished after going jogging days before her wedding, the ensuing hunt drew nationwide attention. While family and friends searched the neighborhoods around Duluth, Georgia, authorities began questioning her fiancé about the disappearance. On what was supposed to be her wedding day, Willbanks turned up 1400 miles away in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Although she originally claimed the disappearance was a kidnapping, she later recanted, admitting she had fabricated the abduction because she had gotten cold feet and "needed some time alone."

Albuquerque chief of police Ray Schultz said Willbanks "had become scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone." He said the woman traveled to Las Vegas before coming to Albuquerque. Schultz added.

"She obviously concerned about the stress that she's been through, the stress that's been placed on her family. She is very upset." Authorities said Willbanks felt the pressure of a large wedding and was having trouble coping. They said no criminal charges would be filed.

Willbank's friends and family were relieved to hear that she was safe. They had offered a $100,000 reward for information regarding her whereabouts and were planning a prayer vigil. Family friend Mel Larson, who planned the wedding said, "Having cold feet is a joy compared to what the alternative might have been." She said she thought the bride-to-be had no idea how much attention the disappearance would draw. She added,

"Sometimes things take on a life of their own, just like weddings."

—Associated Press, Police say Georgia Bride-to-Be Fabricated Kidnap Story, April 30, 2005. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Philip. 4:6-7 NTL "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. [7] If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

APOLOGETICS

APOLOGETICS

APOLOGETICS

When I was young in the Lord, there were times that I was abrasive or outright rude when I was trying to witness. My conversations quickly turned to confrontations as I set out to prove I was right and they were wrong. Whenever I shifted into "street preacher rude", I was never successful in bringing people to Christ. Oh, don't get me wrong, I won some arguments, but I didn't win souls.

In their book, "The Insider", Peterson & Shamy write, "The goal is not to win the argument. It is to help people see Jesus."

—"The Insider", p. 135.

Proverbs 11:30 (ASV) "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that is wise winneth souls."

APPEARANCE

APPEARANCE

APPEARANCE

Police in Baghdad Iraq had begun stopping drivers of black, blue, or dark gray BMWs after intelligence reports have indicated that insurgents in that country are using those automobiles in drive by shootings, kidnappings, and other attacks. Authorities recently set up roadblocks around the capital and pulled over hundreds of drivers to check their documents. Many drivers had their vehicles impounded.

BMWs were hard to get under the regime of Sadaam Hussein, but they have become much cheaper and more accessible since the US led invasion of Iraq. Mohammed Sulaibi who drives for a news agency said, "It's crazy, they're stopping everyone. Everyone in Iraq has a BMW."

Police authorities say they will continue to stop and impound the vehicles until the security threat is lifted. They confirmed they are targeting dark-colored BMWs.Sulaibi recognizes the risk to his own BMW. He says, "They're fast, they're comfortable and the air-conditioning is pretty good. But if they pull me over again, I may have to get rid of mine."

—Reuters, BMW Drivers Have Wrong Set of Wheels for Baghdad, October 7, 2004. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

1 Thes. 5:22 (KJV) "Abstain from all appearance of evil."

ARGUMENTS

ARGUMENTS

ARGUMENTS

A disagreement between the city council and a local business means that residents of the Pennsylvania community of Duncannon have a 4-foot potted Christmas tree instead of the 20-foot tree they have used for the past eight years.

The 20-foot tree had already been decorated when Kirk Nace, a local real estate agent who owns the property the tree sits on, raised questions about the city's use of the tree.Nace sent a fax to the city council advising officials that no one had ever asked permission to use the tree.The council responded to the fax by voting to remove the decorations and buy another tree.

About 100 people turned out for the lighting of the tiny tree located in front of a bank near the traditional tree. After the holidays, the potted tree will be planted in a local park. After the lighting, Nace said, "I never told (the borough) they had to take it down. It was easier for them to do that than ask for permission for use of the private property." Nace is the brother of the newly elected mayor of the borough and is currently involved in a dispute with the borough over a $6,000 sewer bill.

—Associated Press, Pa. Town has 4-foot Christmas tree, December 8, 2004. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

2 Tim. 2:23 (NIV), Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

ATONEMENT

ATONEMENT

ATONEMENT

Several Malaysian government ministers have accumulated a good number of summons and fines for traffic violations. One of them, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly has 67 unpaid summonses over the past 6 years totaling $2,142 U.S. dollars. When reporters asked The Deputy Prime Minister about the tickets, he said he was unaware that tickets for offenses including speeding had been issued on his car. Najib said, "I'll settle it. But it wasn't me driving the car."

—http://www.brudirect.com/DailyInfo/News/Archive/July06/150706/wn02.htm. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

I don't know whether Razak was driving or not, I'm willing to take him at his word. This makes me believe he is a remarkable man. Most people wouldn't pay a fine for something someone else did; they'd fight it and prove their innocence. Perhaps Razak has more money than time and it is easier to just pay the fine.

But imagine if someone was will to pay for a crime that everyone knew they didn't commit, just so the guilty would go free? That would be more than remarkable, that would be divine.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (CEV) "God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God."

ATTENTION

ATTENTION

ATTENTION

Twenty-one years and 7 million cars later, Ford will no longer make the Taurus. The last one rolled off the assembly line, Friday October 27, 2006. Recent financial losses caused the carmaker to abandon the vehicle that many people said was the most influential automobile since the Model T. When Ford introduced the Taurus in 1985, the fresh design moved America away from the days of Boxy V8 powered cars to more aerodynamic and fuel efficient vehicles with better handling. Taurus was so futuristic looking when it was introduced that it was called "jellybean" and "flying potato." Yet, the car equipped with 4 and 6 cylinder engines was an immediate hit. It became the best selling car in America in 1992 and held the top spot for five years.

Jack Telnack, one of the chief designers on the Taurus project said executives at the company challenged the design team to create something radically different that would make the company profitable again. Taurus was the result. Telnack credits the car's demise to a lack of attention. Telnack says Ford focused on trucks and SUVs for many years but saw the market turn south due to recent high gas prices. Telnack said the company had not refined the car for ten years, and had not invested money into advertising. He added, "They put no money into that product for the past several years. They just let it wither on the vine. It's criminal. The car had a great reputation, a good name. I don't understand what they were waiting for."

—http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,223177,00.html. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Without attention a leader in the automobile industry falls, gardens become overrun with weeds, houses become dirty and dingy, and faith diminishes.

2 Timothy 1:6 (MSG) "And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze!"

ATTITUDE

ATTITUDE

ATTITUDE

Scientists in the United Kingdom have proven that the people living in the small Irish town of Skibbereen do not have unusually good luck, but they do seem relatively happy. The small town near Ireland's southern coast had a reputation for the being the luckiest in the country after a series of lottery wins. Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire in England set out to prove that there was nothing particularly lucky about the town.

Wiseman bought 50 lottery tickets in Skibbereen and 50 in Dublin. He did not fare any better in the country town that the capital. Wiseman says that statistically proves that good luck is only a myth. He said the people of the town struck him as being very outgoing and optimistic which might account for the town's reputation.

Wiseman noted that optimism could be a blessing. Studies have shown that a positive outlook improves the chances of people suffering with cancer. He said, attitudes influence behavior, and thus people may create their own "luck." Wiseman added, "It maintains an optimistic world view which can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

—Reuters, Scientist disproves town's strange luck, September 9, 2005. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Philippians 2:5 (NLT) "Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had."

AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

In his book, "Revolution", George Barna writes, "—we are becoming a society increasingly focused on personal authenticity rather than excellence in performance. As the years go by, the balance of excellence and authenticity will gradually shift to the latter."

—"Revolution", p. 46.

Luke 12:1 (TEV) "As thousands of people crowded together, so that they were stepping on each other, Jesus said first to his disciples, 'Be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees—I mean their hypocrisy.'"


AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

In his book, "The Safest Place On Earth", Larry Crabb writes, "At its core the church is a spiritual community journeying together toward God. In a spiritual community people reach deep places in each other's hearts that are not often or easily reached. They discover places beneath the awkwardness of wanting to embrace and cry and share opinions. They openly express love and reveal fear, even though they feel so unaccustomed to that level of intimacy. When members of a spiritual community reach a sacred place of vulnerability and authenticity something is released. Something good begins to happen. An appetite for holy things is stirred. For just a moment the longing to know God becomes intense, stronger than all other passions, worth whatever price must be paid for it"

—"The Safest Place on Earth", p. 22.

Philippians 4:8 (HCSB) "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things."


AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

In their book, "A is for Abductive", Sweet & McClaren write, "Being a little messy profane or unrehearsed is part of the message saying, 'You don't have to be perfect or powerful or polished to be here, because we're barely holding it together ourselves.' Again this isn't the only legitimate way to do things, but it does have a certain resonance with a Savior who shows up in a makeshift crib with no fanfare, in prickly hay and in the presence of manure."

—"A is for Abductive", p. 60.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV) "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."


AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

Thousands gathered at Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia to say goodbye to television's "Crocodile Hunter." Steve Irwin died September 4th when a barb from a stingray pierced his heart while filming for a TV show on the Great Barrier Reef. He had said he wanted to be remembered for his passion and enthusiasm.

The hour long service gave the world an opportunity to pay their respects to the star and conservationist. The theme 'He changed our world.' Irwin's impact was seen through the crowds and through the people who eulogized him. Many of Australia's top leaders attended including Prime Minister John Howard. The Prime Minister said Irwin had touched the lives of millions around the world in a special way. Howard said, "He did that because he had that quality of being genuine, of being authentic, of being unconditional and having a great zest for life."

The program included video tributes from Russell Crowe, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, Hugh Jackman, and Kevin Costner. Costner summed up Irwin's impact by saying Steve Irwin put himself "out there" for everyone to see. Costner added, "He was fearless. He let us see who he was. That is being brave in today's society."

—http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/20/asia/AS_GEN_Australia_Crocodile_Hunter.php. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Matthew 16:24 (CEV) "Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me."

Steve Irwin touched millions around the world, because he was committed to what he believed in and was completely himself—he didn't pretend to be someone that he wasn't.


AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

In "Reimagining Spiritual Formation", Doug Pagitt writes "Authenticity is more valuable to us than slick productions or professional execution. We would prefer to have people speak, sing and create with sincerity than with polish.We are haunted by the image of the falsely friendly sales clerk who calls strangers 'honey' and acts like your best friend even as he swipes your credit card."

—"Reimagining Spiritual Formation", p. 37.

Proverbs 26:18-19 (KJV) "As a mad man whocasteth firebrands, arrows, and death, [19] So is the man thatdeceiveth hisneighbour, andsaith, Am not I in sport?"


AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY

Following trends and being novel isn't the same as being real. In his book, Reimagining Spiritual Formation, Doug Pagitt writes, "Since the beginning of Solomon's Porch, we have done things in a particular, and often peculiar, ways.But we have worked very hard not to be peculiar of the sake of novelty.We are more interested in creating authentic practices than interesting or trendy practices.When making decisions about what we will do we regularly ask the questions, 'Does this fit us?' and 'Are we acting in a natural way?' more of than 'is this something that will attract new people?'"

—Reimagining Spiritual Formation, p. 37.

Proverbs 14:8 (KJV) "The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit."

AUTHORITY

AUTHORITY

AUTHORITY

Football player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman always stood up for what he believed. His friend and Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer wanted to do the same, but NFL officials were not keen on letting him. Plummer finally agreed to adhere to the league's dress code and remove a sticker from his helmet honoring Tillman.Tillman was killed in Afghanistan after leaving football to serve his country in the Army.

To honor the former safety, all NFL players had worn a number 40 decal the second week of the season.The Arizona Cardinals will wear the decal all season.Plummer who played with Tillman at Arizona wanted to keep the tribute going past the second week.

Warned of possible fines, Plummer left the decal off for the next two weeks, but it reappeared in week five when the Broncos played the Carolina Panthers.After the game, Plummer said giving up the fight did not seem right. He added, "When it comes to honoring Pat, he is bigger than a sticker on my helmet.I don't like the fact I can't, but I understand what the league wants to accomplish with its rules."

Despite letters of support from Senator John McCain and Colorado Senator Wayne Allard, the League said they wanted to keep Tillman's legacy alive, but they have rules regarding personal messages on uniforms that need to be applied to everyone.

By the middle of the next week, an agreement had been reached between all the parties that honors Tillman and meets the NFL's rules.Though Plummer must remove the decal, the NFL will not fine him and will allow Plummer to tape announcements honoring Tillman, which will be played in all NFL stadiums the weekend after Veteran's Day. The League also donated $250,000 to build the first USO facility Afghanistan which be named after Tillman.

The Denver Broncos will also help by putting up a big number 40 logo on the scoreboard and will run ads promoting the Tillman Foundation.Plummer had signed a 40 million dollar contract and could afford any fine the league levied, but admitted he was walking a fine line between doing what he believed was right and causing a distraction.Plummer thinks what he's doing now will be a more effective tribute to Tillman than putting a decal on his helmet. Plummer said, "It's a terrible feeling that we are having to do this. It's bittersweet. The fact we are talking about this and he has a foundation—it's a constant reminder that he's not here with us any more. Now let's go do some positive stuff in his name."

—http://news.yahoo.com, Plummer Agrees to Remove Tillman Sticker, October 13, 2004. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

1 Peter 2:13 (NIV) "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,"


AUTHORITY

AUTHORITY

President George Bush stepped into a confrontation and pulled his lead Secret Service agent away from security officers in Chile. Chilean and American agents got into a pushing and shoving match outside the cultural center where the President and 21 other world leaders were attending an elegant dinner. As Bush stepped inside, Chilean security officials closed ranks at the door and kept the president's agents from following him.

The President and his wife had just posed for pictures on a red carpet with host of the summit, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and his wife. When the President noticed the scuffle, he left the other three people and walked over to the agents. He reached through the dispute and pulled his agent from the battle. Looking irritated, the President straightened his shirt cuffs and went into the dinner. Deputy press secretary Claire Buchan said, "Chilean security tried to stop the president's Secret Service from accompanying him. He told them they were with him and the issue was resolved."

—Associated Press, Bush Pulls Top Security Agent from Fracas, November 20, 2004. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

What struck me about this story was that the President of the United States has authority to make sure his security was allowed inside the dinner. It was not authority but being "with" the President that granted the agent access.

Luke 10:18-20 (NASB) "And He said to them, 'I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. [19] Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. [20] Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.'"