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How’s Your Sense of Direction?

A group of friends vacationing together in Maine decided to take an all-day hike. Hoping to avoid the crowds of summer tourists that traversed the popular trails, they decided to take a lesser-known route. After a half day of strenuous climbing, stunning vistas, and their ongoing, lively banter, the pack’s leader suddenly raised an important …

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Like It’s Your Last

In the 1994 film, “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” the humor present in the first three weddings is absent when death comes to one of the characters in the fourth — a man who loved life. At the funeral service, W.H. Auden’s sad poem, “Funeral Blues,” is read. And the scene is filled with an …

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When Good Enough is Never Enough

Among the most well-known ancient Greek philosophers is Socrates, who is remembered for his teaching methods that employ probing and thought-provoking questions. But there is another philosopher by the name of Mediocrates you may have seen recently on tee shirts, bumper stickers, and memes. As the joke implies, Mediocrates is the philosopher who tells us, …

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Just Let Go!

Robert Murray M’Cheyne is revered in Scotland as one of that nation’s great Christian Preachers. Although he died at an early age, he had already become a household name in his lifetime. He was fond of telling the story of the night he preached on the text from John’s Gospel in which Jesus says, “I …

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Words to Live by

A recent seminary graduate with an advanced degree in sociology was called on to deliver a speech to a group of seniors in a retirement community. For what seemed like an eternity to some in the audience, the young man lectured the seniors on “The Art of Living.” When the talk was over, an eighty-eight-year-old …

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Three Chaplains

In Eugene O’Neil’s story “Days Without End,” John Loving, a Roman Catholic boy, prays that his parents, who have been injured, might not die. But their lives were not saved by the kind of miracle he had expected, and he loses his faith. Outwardly, at least, he becomes a skeptic and a cynic. Inwardly, however, …

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Compassion Fatigue?

There is a psychological condition known as “compassion fatigue.” Sometimes referred to as the negative cost of caring, it is characterized by emotional and physical exhaustion leading to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others. Yet, as a community of Christians, we know that exercising our compassion ultimately strengthens us, and expressing …

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Looking for Ideas?

Comedian Paula Poundstone once quipped, “Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.” Indeed, life’s journey offers us endless choices. The problem is, as some say, “by the time you know your way around, you don’t feel like going.” Perhaps that is somewhat …

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Not My Way

There is a primitive bridge in South America made up of interlocking vines which support a precariously swinging wooden walkway — hundreds of feet above a river. Author Philip Yancey once stood at the edge of the great gulf trying to decide whether to cross over. “I knew the bridge had supported hundreds of people …

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What’s After Chapter 11?

There’s an old story about a little Church that was having a homecoming service for members who had moved away. One former member who attended was a man who had become extremely wealthy. He, along with others, was giving testimony on their Faith experience. The rich man spoke of when, as a little boy in …

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The Case for Pickled Herring

Two women were interviewed and asked to explain their remarkable longevity. The first, age 100, said she believed she lived such a long life because her diet includes a daily portion of pickled herring. The other, age 114, stated simply, “I’ve lived this long by minding my own business.” Whether you are in the pickled …

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It Sure Looks Like Him!

A little girl was leafing through a children’s book of Bible Lessons. When she came to the story of the loaves and fishes, she stopped turning the pages — gazing intently at the illustration of Jesus standing before the great crowd, breaking bread. Seeing the child’s fascination with the picture, her mother explained that this …

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