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Kiwanis President's Dinner Invocation 
Friday, September 28, 2007, 04:00 PM - Prayers
Gracious God, we pray for leaders in Kiwanis, in our community, in our nation and in the world.

Grant wisdom gained from reflection on the past, awareness of present needs, and courage to face the challenges of the future.

May we seek to solve problems instead of fixing blame, to build up and not tear down, and gather together in community rather than hide alone in fear.

We ask you to bless this food and this fellowship to give us strength to change the world one child and one community at a time. Amen.
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Let's Wrap It Up 
Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 08:00 AM - Extra Christy
Have you seen a wrapped car? These vehicles are "ad-wrapped" with a vinyl covering displaying images and messages of an advertiser. Free Car Media reports they pay drivers to drive the billboards on their own car or even give them a pre-wrapped car to drive.

There is a bit of a wait for most, about.com's Apryl Duncan reports that "Free Car Media has more than 30 wrapped cars on the road and a waiting list of 100,000 people."

What catches my eye is how they select the .03% that get wrapped in an rolling ad (and why 99.97% of the applicants are waiting). The wrappers want to know who you are and what you do. What is your age, gender, race, hobbies, marital status, income, children, occupation, driving habits...and that is just the preliminary application. There is also training involved so you can be a spokesperson for the product. Your sponsors want you prepared to represent their product well. It is all about sales after all!

Been wondering if there is a Bible verse that covers this situation haven't you? Never fear! Christians get wrapped as well. Ephesians recommends armor instead of graphic laden vinyl, but it is advertising as well as a protective covering! Christians are encouraged to wear truth, justice, good news, peace, salvation, and the gospel so they can fearlessly explain the mystery of the good news to others in a world that is hostile and dismissive to our sponsors message.

There is no waiting period to be wrapped in salvation and peace and start advertising the good news to others. May your God wrap continue the person to person marketing of the good news to others.

God Wrap

Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people. Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. I was sent to do this work, and that's the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should. -- Ephesians 6:10-20 (Contemporary English Version)



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A Fine Sign 
Wednesday, September 19, 2007, 08:02 AM - Extra Christy
A few miles from the church I serve there is a street sign: Maximum Fines Imposed. That's all. I hope that another part of the sign is missing; one that specifies what will incur the imposition of the maximum fines.

I think folks see this sign on churches: Maximum Fines Imposed. Inviting folks to church is received by some like a bench warrant for spiritual arrest and a threat of "soulitary" confinement. For them church offers no guidance, no support, no comfort, just a place to be maximally fined for spiritual offenses. They are fearful of being found out that they are not perfect.

What would be a good sign for churches? Maximum Love Imposed? How about Rest Stop or Fueling Station?

Those would be good. But for the person feeling the threat of heavenly fines hanging over them for offenses known and unknown, probably not enough. What about the guilt, the judgement, and condemnation? All of us have sinned and fallen short and, for some, that is all they can feel when they consider the church.

Maybe a picture of a cross, with the edited caption, Maximum Fines Already Imposed. Folks need to know the Good News that the judge himself has paid their fines, both real and imagined. Now that's a fine sign.

Maximum Fine Paid
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; -- John 3:16-17 (Message)


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Yesterday and Tomorrow 
Wednesday, September 12, 2007, 08:00 AM - Extra Christy, Radio
I bet you remember six years ago, Tuesday, September 11th as clearly as you remember yesterday's Tuesday, September 11th.

It is now tomorrow, September 12th. What is in store for us after September 11th? Yesterday I participated in the Akron's observance of the anniversary at St. Bernard's church.

This year wasn't about speeches by clergy and politicians. The highlight of the gathering titled The Rhythms of Remembrance and Renewal, was several children's choirs: the Kenmore High School Madrigals, the Shaw Jewish Community Center/Lippman Day School Choir, Unity Gospel Singers and the Islamic Center School Choir. Christian, Civic, Jewish, and Islamic choirs each sang songs of peace and unity and joined together in a secular song given holy meaning in that time and place: "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers:

Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on


We were remembering tragic events of the past, but seeing the children of different faiths, singing together about helping each other, gave me hope for the future.

Together From Everywhere
People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.-- Luke 13:28 (NIV)


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Beyond GPS 
Wednesday, September 5, 2007, 08:00 AM - Extra Christy
Global Positioning Systems have been around awhile, I've written about them before. I started wondering how they compared with previous ways of getting voiced, turn by turn directions: asking a real person.

One difference is that Global Positioning Systems are all about the now. Where you are this instant determined by satellites and how to get from that point to your destination on up to date maps. Some even have current traffic conditions continuously updated wirelessly.

Real people, especially in small towns, offer UTB based directions, (Used to Be). "Well, you go north out of town on Old Highway 31 and turn where the red barn used to be." Sometimes I think you have to ask for directions to a destination and specify the year you want them for, "Could you tell me how to get to the mall in 1986?".

God promises a new heaven and a new earth. I don't know if the new heavens will include navigation satellites or if the former roadways will map on the new earth. I do know it will be a very different place to live, with even wolves and lambs having a new direction in life, one without harm or destruction. (see scripture below) A world where lives are not dead ends and where no one is lost.

Maybe we Christians can start YTB based directions, (Yet To Be). We will travel through life with new directions that will be good in the future kingdom of God. One in which we neither harm or destroy. We follow God's path instead of worldly ways, and if the road isn't there yet...maybe our travels will bring it into being.

New Heavens and A New Earth
"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.

I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD.--Isaiah 65:17-25 (NIV)

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