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Keep Watch!

We live in a society where surveillance and privacy are major concerns. Every store you enter has
security cameras, many stoplights have cameras, not to mention just about everyone walks around with a
camera in their pocket or purse these days. “Who is watching?” is a valid question in our day, but, in another
sense, it’s always been a good question.

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Who Are You?

I had a professor once who pronounced my last name differently when calling role each class period. I
corrected him the first three or four times, but when it was obvious my corrections weren’t sticking, I gave up
and just said “here” to whatever butchering of my name he did that day. As you can imagine, I never felt
particularly “known” by that professor. When someone doesn’t know your name, they don’t know you.

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Sacrificial Love

Years ago I led a small group of high school boys. Like many teens, they were always hungry. We joked
that they were our garbage disposals, because any leftovers we had they would happily consume. On one youth
trip, we were at an ice cream shop that had a challenge: if you could eat this massive bowl of twelve scoops of
ice cream, it was free. This one boy talked up how he could easily eat that much ice cream. So the other
students pooled their money and ordered it for him. He had to back up his words with actions. And he barely
got through one scoop.

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Help My Unbelief!

In Mark 9, we encounter a parent of a child with seizures. He’s tried everything to help his son. Every
medicine, every healer, and nothing has worked. Then he hears about this miracle worker named Jesus. Nothing
else has worked, so he’s not too hopeful. But he still takes his son, travels for what was likely many miles, and
finally he arrives. When he does, Jesus isn’t there. He’s off on a mountain with three of his disciples. The other
nine assure him they can handle the problem. They try, but the healing doesn’t work.

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Worry or Faith?

Fight or flight? God created our bodies with the ability to react to dangerous situations with a flood of
adrenaline into our system, giving us the ability to confront the threat or flee. This works great when the threat
is something concrete and present, like a tiger, an out of control fire, or an intruder. However, when we worry
about some potential future, our bodies tend to respond similarly. What if I lose my job? What if the stock
market crashes? What if my kid doesn’t get into the preschool I want them in? We fret and worry about so
many things, often things outside of our control. Our bodies are constantly soaked in these fight or flight
responses. This makes us tired, stressed, and miserable.
 

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Secret Agents

You log on to your favorite social media network, and you see all of your friends have changed their
profile picture to support some cause. As you scroll down, you see videos of them doing various “challenges” to
raise awareness for another issue. While these efforts to support a cause are laudable, recent research has
suggested that public, low-cost support of a cause tends to quickly fade. Researchers found, though, that when
someone supports a cause in a more personal and private way (writing a congressman, giving privately, etc),
those individuals remained more committed to those causes for a longer time.
 

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Unfathomable

Recently I was having a discussion with Lance (our Youth Minister) about Einstein’s theory of relativity and
the nature of time. We ended with more questions than we started with, but one point became very clear to me:
the universe is vastly larger than my mind can comprehend. Did you know it takes light, moving at, well, the
speed of light (186,000 miles/sec) eight minutes to reach the Earth? If the sun stopped shining right this second,
no one on earth would realize it for eight minutes. To give some context, if you moved at the speed of light, you
could travel around the equator 7.5 times in a single second. Put another way, you would have to walk around
the equator over 3600 times to equal the distance between the earth and the sun.

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What Good is it to be Angry?

In Jonah 4:4-9, God asks Jonah two different times, “Do you have any right to be angry?” More literally, the
Hebrew is “What good is it doing to be angry?” The first time it is about God sparing the city. The second time
it is about the death of a plant that God grew to spare Jonah from the heat. In both cases they were something
outside Jonah’s control. He didn’t grow the vine. He didn’t spare the city. But he was still angry because of
what God chose to do.

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His Plan for Me

The following is an excerpt from a message delivered by Leonard Ravenhill in 1981.
 
Have you ever seen the little plaque that reads, “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for
Christ will last?” Well, that’s not what the poet wrote. The poet wrote this: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past,
only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, if the lamp of my life has been
burned out for Thee.’” Do you think all Christians die happy? Not on your life! Some of them die as miserable
as sinners. Why? Because they have misused their time and wasted their lives. Many of you have laid dying
on a hospital bed and prayed, “Lord, if You would only spare me, I’ll do this, that or the other.” Well, have you
done it?

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The Triumph of Truth

“It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error. It is better to speak the
truth that hurts and then heals, than falsehood that comforts and then kills. It is not love and it is not friendship
if we fail to declare the whole counsel of God. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for
telling a lie.

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