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News That Illustrates: April 16, 2012

Bubba Watson: Golf Champ, Committed Christian, New Dad
This past weekend Bubba Watson won his first green jacket—the victory symbol for capturing the Master's Golf Tournament. Bubba is also a committed follower of Christ who seems to have his priorities in the right place. At one point, golf was Bubba's life. "I was going the wrong way," he said, "I was so wrapped up in what everybody else was doing; why is he beating me … why can't I make the putts; why can't I make the cut; why can't I do this?" During his post-tournament interview he started by saying, "First of all, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Then he openly wept as he talked about how he and his wife have finally adopted a child. I'm not sure when or how Bubba got back on track in his relationship with Christ, but he's sure clear that his golf success won't change him. Watson said, "It's an honor to see that green jacket in the bedroom closet, but I'm not going to become somebody else because I won the Masters. I have a good team around me. I have people I trust around me. If I go the wrong way, they will yell at me, just as they have in the past."

PREACHING ANGLES: Discipleship; Humility; Priorities; Success

Why Twenty-Year-Olds Matter to God
Here's an interesting interview article titled "Why your 20s are a defining decade that matter." Psychologist Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—and How to Make the Most of Them Now, argues that "the 20s are the most transformative period in our adult lives." Jay warns that too many people treat the 20s like a throw-away phase to their lives, the season when your choices don't matter because real life will start later. She disagrees with this prevailing mindset. Instead, Jay claims, "You don't empower twentysomethings by telling them they're not grown-ups …. If you ever want to change something about yourself, your 20s are your best shot."

PREACHING ANGLES: Choices; Discipleship; Young Adults

A Committed Volunteer Still Going Strong at 105
And from the other end of the life spectrum, here's a great story about letting God use you in the last years of your life. Dorrie Aber Noyek from Florida has been volunteering for 38 years at the Memorial Regional Hospital in Florida. And according to this article, "There are no signs of slowing down—not even on this, her 105th birthday." Dorrie said, "I feel I want to give back. I think I'm very fortunate, very lucky, very blessed." The article doesn't mention anything about her faith, but every believer can certainly be challenged by her desire to express gratitude to God through acts of service.

PREACHING ANGLES: Old Age; Service; Servanthood

Creative Parenting or Child Abuse?
Here's an interesting story about disciplining children. Jose Gonzales, age 12, stole $100 from the wallet of his cousin. When his father Joseph Gonzales uncovered the misdeed, he made his son take responsibility, apologize, and give the money back. But then he added one more part to the punishment: he made his son wear a bright yellow sign announcing, "I am a thief. I took money from a family member." Jose spent most of his spring break standing on a busy intersection with the sign around his neck. The article also noted that "Gonzales [the father] believes in the Bible's command to correct your child." Is this the right use of Scripture? Is this an example of creative discipline, child abuse, or something in between?

PREACHING ANGLES: Bible, interpretation; Children; Discipline; Parenting

Can You Handle the Silence?
They say that silence is golden, but sometimes it can also drive you nuts. This article explores the quietest place in the world—the "anechoic chamber" at the Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis. The room is 99.99 percent sound absorbent. It's so quiet that according to the article the longest anyone could stay put in the chamber was a mere 45 minutes. This is a great illustration to set up a sermon about being alone with God or spiritual disciplines.

PREACHING ANGLES: Silence; Solitude; Spiritual Disciplines

Japan's Suicide Forest
In a dense forest at the foot of Japan's Mount Fuji, authorities remove as many as 100 suicide victims every year. Azusa Hayano, who has studied and tended the forest for over thirty years, finds and removes the bodies. Nobody knows why people come to this forest to take their lives, but Mr. Hayano has his own theory. He believes it is a symptom of our increasingly impersonal and lonely way of life. In this profound insight Hayano observed, "Now we can live our lives being online all day. However, the truth of the matter is we still need to see each other's faces, read their expressions, hear their voices so we can fully understand their emotions [in order] to co-exist."

PREACHING ANGLES: Community; Friendship; Suicide; Technology

Chinese Teenager Sells Kidney to Buy iPad
This story keeps making the rounds, but this time it seems to have some credibility. According to the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, five people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the removal and selling of a teenager's kidney for transplant. Apparently, a 17-year-old student, identified only by his surname Wang, gave up his kidney for money, some of which was used to buy an iPad and an iPhone. The article noted that about 1.5 million people in China are in need of organ transplants, but only about 10,000 of the operations are performed annually.

PREACHING ANGLES: Contentment; Greed

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