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I will never forget the series in my hometown newspaper, "Race: The Rawest Nerve." The stories chronicled the racial turbulence that once tore up neighborhoods and still troubles the city. A survey of the city and its suburbs revealed that over ninety percent believed that racism is a serious problem here. To the question, "Are you a racist," do you know how many answered yes? Two percent. In other words, it's always other people who are the racists.   Satan seeks... Read More
Hope I die before I get old
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In a dog-eat-dog world, the older dogs get pushed around and shoved to the back of the line. Who wants to be old? One of my favorite TV channels plays a lot of old reruns, and almost all the commercials are geared to older people. There clearly is a market for their stuff. But honestly, who wants to be a person who needs those products? Who aspires to the world of step-in bathtubs, catheters, walkers, funeral insurance, and chair hoists... Read More
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The seeds of self-hatred, self-doubt, and depression lurk in the heart of every person. So do resentment and envy of other people. Why is he so successful? Why does she have so many male admirers? Why does his family have all that money and mine has nothing? Why is she so pretty and I'm so not? It's hard to affirm other people when you feel so needy. How can you fill someone else's cup when you feel empty?   Here is... Read More
It's hard to be a minority
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May I confess that I dislike the term minority? It's from the Latin word minor, which means "lesser" or "smaller." Just because you live or work or study in a place where you are outnumbered doesn't make you of lesser value.   Some brave people, like students studying abroad or entrepreneurial business agents, are completely surrounded by people not like them. That must be how Abraham felt. "I am an alien and a stranger among you" (Genesis 23:4), he said to... Read More
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One of the hardest tasks in running any business is determining salaries and benefits. Human resource committees and officials do a lot of research to figure out what the market is paying. Larger firms hire expensive consultants to help them get their compensation and benefit packages just right.   Generally, seniority with the company gets rewarded, right? Not in God's heavenly HR scheme. Read Jesus' parable of the workers in the vineyard. "'These men who were hired last worked only one... Read More
Notice the newbies
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I hate first days. I hate being alone in a group where everybody else seems to know everybody else. I hate being ignorant of the group rituals, behaviors, and expectations. It doesn't take much to embarrass me at times like that, and if the experience is too stressful, I won't be back if I can avoid it.   Do you suppose people who visit your church feel like that? Experienced church shoppers get turned off easily enough-what do you suppose goes... Read More
Does God hate gay people?
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Perhaps you have seen pictures or video clips of the protesters. They travel all over America from their small Kansas church, and though they picket many different places and occasions, they seem to favor military funerals. Their placards shout that God hates gays.   Nobody's personal opinion on human sexuality needs to mean a hill of beans to you, including mine. But God's does. The Creator of people, of gender, and of marriage itself reserves to himself the right to define... Read More
He ain't heavy; he's my friend
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Video gamers pay a lot of attention to POV. That stands for "point of view," and it refers to the viewpoint and angle at which you want to see the action in your game. Do you want to see things at ground level through the eyes of your character, or do you want to hover above and get the big picture?   You may be familiar with the amazing story of Jesus' healing of a totally paralyzed man who was lowered... Read More
Grace means second chances
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I don't play golf competitively or for money, and that's a good thing. I'm just not that good. The duffers I play with will, after smirks and some appropriate remarks, occasionally give me a mulligan after a particularly horrible swing.   Jesus Christ has paid for the ultimate do-over. Even though we will be sinners till the day we die, his grace means that he has chosen to love us unconditionally. It means that every day we can start fresh, for... Read More
Lepers' Banquet
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The Northern Kingdom's capital, Samaria, was under a ruthless and relentless siege by the invading Syrian army. The people were starving. Animal heads and seedpods were fetching a high price from people who were desperate to eat something. Anything. The prophet Elisha was calm, assuring people the famine would soon be over. Sure enough, just before dusk the Lord caused the invaders to hear the imaginary sounds of an even greater army from Egypt. They fled for their lives, leaving... Read More