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Not Just My opinion

In one of his novels, E.M. Forster gives us an unusual interpretation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. In rather frightening terms, he describes how the music gives one the eerie feeling that shadowy figures are roaming the earth. And then, in a burst of beautiful music, one hears them swept away — and the world seems …

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That’s What Gets Results!

Mark Twain, known as one of the nation’s “greatest humorists and the father of American literature,” would often use his quick wit to pick at the societal values of his day. For example, he wrote, “It’s not the passages in the Bible that I don’t understand that bother me so much. It’s the ones I …

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Step In. The Water’s Fine!

Legend has it that back in the time of Jesus, a young divinity student went to the second most famous Rabbi in Jerusalem with a problem. He tells him that the 667 Old Testament laws are too confusing for him. “Can’t you give me a summary of the law in the time that I can …

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Keep Your Eyes Open!

From time to time, as Christians, we are compelled to face a fundamental question: What is the Christian Faith all about? How are we to receive this gift of Grace we call “Faith?” The ancient Hebrews believed that the way to receive the Grace of God was to work, do good deeds, and obey the …

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Never Lost in Translation

Learning a new language can be a rich, rewarding – even unexpectedly delightful journey. Sometimes a word that is new to us may sound so beautiful you’ll want to hear it repeatedly. Others may have such poetic or inspiring meaning that you can’t wait to share your discovery with friends or family. Still, others get …

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What’s Under the Varnish?

In 2019, a famous portrait of 18th-century French chemist Antoine Lavoisier and his wife, Marie Anne, was sent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s conservation lab. The job at hand was the removal of varnish to restore the vibrancy of the great work. However, during the process, the conservation specialists discovered a hidden sketch under …

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The Ultimate Payoff

Like people, prayer comes in all shapes and sizes. At one end of the spectrum, we delight in the innocence of the little girl overheard adding a postscript to her bedtime prayer. “Dear God,” she said, “Thank you for the baby brother. But what I really wanted was a puppy.” On the other end of …

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Prayers For Worship October 2021

PRAYERS FOR WORSHIP October 3, 2021 Greeting. Let us come to the Father, for we are the family of God, born by His Power, regenerated by His Spirit, and gathered at His invitation. Penitential Prayer Forgive us if our lives together as natural families and as a church family have not been what they could …

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Prayers For Worship September 2021

PRAYERS FOR WORSHIP September 5, 2021 Greeting Listen in the silence of your heart; Christ’s message is spoken quietly. Listen in the conscience of your mind; Christ’s law is spoken justly. Penitential Prayer Father, forgive us if we accuse others but overlook our own guilt; – if we criticize the manners of others, but are unaware of …

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Frenemies?

The term “Frenemy” is a combination of the words friend and enemy used to describe a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry. It may also refer to a person who combines the characteristics of both a friend and an enemy. Frenemy applies to relationships among individuals, groups, or institutions, …

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Where is the Love?

Upon their return to planet earth, the reactions of business magnate Richard Branson and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos were reminiscent of Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart. After his return to earth on March 13, 1969, Schweickart shared his new and enlightened perspective on the world. He had this to say about the experience: “When you …

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Going Around in Circles?

In a parable of life, a man is rowing his boat on a lake. Inscribed on one oar is the word “Faith.” On the other oar is the word “Works.” The oars are symbolic of our ministry as followers of Christ. If that man pulls on only one oar at a time, he will get …

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Welcome Back!

Student parking spaces were extremely scarce at a large University. As a result, anyone who parked illegally received a ticket. The student who topped the list of violators one year said, “I didn’t realize how many violations I had until I returned to school after summer vacation. In the comments portion of my first parking …

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Prayers For Worship August 2021

PRAYERS FOR WORSHIP August 1, 2021 Greeting We are God’s Workers; like Joseph the carpenter like Luke the physician like Peter the fisherman like Mary the homemaker. God’s workers do many different things, but always in the same spirit of loving obedience. Penitential Prayer Heavenly Father, Jesus has said … “Love one another Such as My love …

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Multiply Your Love!

Seeking attention, a religious snob, who liked to appear full of virtue, once said to Mark Twain, “Before I die, to honor my religious traditions, I’m going to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I shall climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud!” To which Twain replied, “I …

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Pursued By Mercy

He was known as a mean old man. Resentful! Bitter! Someone said that his bitterness was justified. His beloved wife died, giving birth to their one child. The child died shortly after that from complications. “He has reason to be bitter,” they said in town. He never went to Church and never had anything to …

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If Not You, Who?

Several years ago, “Time” magazine ran a cover story entitled “Modern Saints.” And there were several impressive things about the persons described in the article. The most obvious, of course, was the intensity of their love of God. Secondly, they were compassionate in their relationships, sensitive toward other people’s needs and concerns. Thirdly, most of …

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