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Glory Road 
Saturday, January 28, 2006, 04:57 PM - Entertainment
Bette Lynn and I saw the movie "Glory Road" Friday night. (Our date night!) If you want a feel-good sports movie about racial tension and team building I recommend Remember the Titans. But for a sour taste of what prejudice meant a generation ago, (and today?)...this is a good movie to see. The music is fun, with a battle of the bands on one of the bus rides. We bought the soundtrack which includes old standards from the period and 3 songs with Alicia Keys.

Stay for the credits! The actual players are interviewed and film of the actual game is shown while the names roll.

(Glory Road official site)
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Homebound Visits 
Wednesday, January 25, 2006, 07:29 PM - Church
Today I went out with our parish associate to visit some of our homebound members. It started out slow since at our first visit our friends wouldn't answer the door. (The associate had called them to arrange this visit.) So I called them and after pleasantries, told them we were on the front porch. They gladly let us in. It seems they didn't have their hearing aids in so they didn't know we were banging on the front door and ringing the doorbell.

I wonder how often God has been banging on my door and I didn't hear him. Hope he doesn't give up on the call.

:LOGO
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Surrounded by Saints 
Monday, January 23, 2006, 09:34 AM - Extra Christy
Yesterday was 22 years since my older brother, Ric, died just two blocks from the church I now serve. So it has been over two decades since I've seen him or heard his voice. Yet, he still comes to me now and then in my dreams. In them, he doesn't speak anymore, but in my dreams he doesn't need to speak for I always find his large, protecting presence calming and comforting.

We had our differences when we were younger, maybe more severe than some siblings, not so much as others (Cain and Abel come to mind), but we made a truce when we were in high school and later he was best man at my wedding. Even before our truce, he didn't allow anyone to pick on me, his little brother. After all, no matter how annoying I was, I was still his brother.

One of the most common questions I get in times of grief is “Will I see my loved one again?”. Along with praying and crying, we talk about the promise of being with Jesus in paradise made to the thief on the cross in Luke 23 and other helpful scriptures. For me, the most vivid image relating to this yearning is found in Hebrews after a listing of the great men and women of the Bible:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us — Hebrews 12:1
I picture all who have gone before me in a huge stadium cheering with all their might for the players still working out their salvation with fear and trembling on this earthly field.

And somewhere, I imagine my not silent brother, a large man in an army surplus jacket yelling the loudest and telling others around him, “Cheer! Will'ya? That's my brother down there.”

Hoping you can hear the cheers

(sent as this week's Extra Christy.)

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Who Knows Where You Are Going? 
Monday, January 9, 2006, 09:34 AM - Extra Christy
My favorite Uncle wants to get a GPS device for his ride. After you enter your destination, the Global Positioning System uses satellites thousands of miles above the earth to determine where you are. Then this special purpose computer, loaded with maps, plans and displays your route! My Uncle tells me you can put in multiple destinations, choose the scenic or quickest route, and even have it direct you audibly! (Computers have replaced the back seat driver!)

The most intriguing feature of this device is that you can drive off the route the GPS carefully computed for you and not get lost! Since the GPS constantly talks to the orbiting satellites, it soon knows you have strayed from the plan and takes action. First, it updates your position based on where you have wandered. Then the GPS computes a new route to get you to your destination despite that missed turn or side trip. You're saved!

One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:28; here it is from my favorite translation, The Jerusalem Bible
We know that by turning everything to their good God co-operates with all who love him, with all those that he has called according to his purpose.
I believe God is constantly turning us. Like a GPS, God nudges us toward his destination. Some days we stay on course; other times we stray. Yet, no matter how far we go away from God's planned route, we are not lost, for God forgives our wandering and calls us back to his Way.

Hoping you get some good directions from the heavens today!

(sent as this week's Extra Christy.)

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Only the Lonely 
Monday, January 9, 2006, 09:34 AM - Extra Christy
I've never really lived alone. The closest I've come is a month 25 years ago when I was at seminary in Kentucky and Bette Lynn was finishing work in Pennsylvania. Now, I'm living with my parents in Ohio while my wife and son are in Pennsylvania until my son finishes high school. But last week my parents left for a three month visit to Florida and I have their house to myself.

I found I don't like a big dark empty silent house. How do single people stand it I wondered? So I asked one of my single friends for advice. She declared, "Enjoy it! Now you can do anything you want, whenever you want!". That was not the response I was expecting—that now that I'm alone I should enjoy being the king of the house!

Jesus decided to be alone often. Once, according to John, he left a crowd who sought to make him king because he had given them all the food they wanted.
Jesus realized that they would try to force him to be their king. So he went up on a mountain, where he could be alone. — John 6:15
Jesus chose to be alone instead of being crowned king by the crowd. Jesus didn't need the praise or seek the company of the crowd—he sought to do God's will, not the crowd's will.

Loneliness is when you are alone and seek others. Solitude is when you are alone and search yourself. When you find yourself alone, find out who you are in solitude, apart from the crowd—when it is just you and the King of Kings in the house.

Hoping you are never lonely,

(sent as this week's Extra Christy.)

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