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News That Illustrates for Sunday, November 16th - November 23rd

Cry for Help on Twitter, Resilience in Liberia, and Friendly Fire is Still Fire

114 Year-old Woman Still Curious
Anna Stoehr is 114 years old, but for one day she got to be 99. Why? Because in order for her to create a Facebook account she couldn't be older than 99. Let's put this into perspective. She has seen the birth of plane travel, the beginning of mass production of automobiles, not to mention all the shifts in technology. She even has an iPad her son Harlan, 85, gave her. Her son says about her, "She's been curious about everything all her life and continues to be curious about it." Even at the age of 114 she was still curious about Facebook. She even has 32 new Facebook friends. What a great picture of someone still living her life and searching for new things—even at the age of 114. As Christians, it's easy to get worn down by the tedium of life. But 114-year-old Anna Stoer shows us how to approach our walk with Christ—open, adventurous, and teachable.

PREACHING ANGLES: Curiosity; Elder, Age; Example; Life; Technology

Cry for Help on Twitter
David Willis, from Texas, was browsing through some books at the Waterstones bookshop in Trafalgar Square. Willis said he had been upstairs in the shop for 15 minutes and when he came down all the lights were out and the doors locked. He found himself trapped inside. After posting on Twitter and asking for help, he received hundreds of replies, with many people asking him if he was taking the opportunity to read some books, others saying they would love to be locked in a bookshop, and more than one suggesting he should build a fort out of books. Then he tweeted Waterstones and said, "Hi @Waterstones I've been locked inside your Trafalgar Square bookstore for 2 hours now. Please let me out." He was let out shortly thereafter. Isn't it nice we don't have to go to Twitter to call out for help? Our heavenly Father is always waiting to hear our call for help. As Isaiah says, "Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."

PREACHING ANGLES: Help; Help from God; Perception; Rescue; Technology

Resilience in Liberia
Helene Cooper is the Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, but she is also a native of Liberia. We all know the horror of Ebola in Liberia, but she focuses on the resilience she finds in her home country. She says, "… as I moved in recent weeks around this city where I was born, reporting about the Ebola epidemic, I was aware of this: There is a strength here that I had never before realized." Helene interviewed a friend who said, "I had forgotten, after what they've been through, how resilient people here are." Liberians have lived through many different forms of killers—both human and disease—yet they still carry on, or should I say fight on. Helene's conclusion, "… many Liberians are treating the disease with much the same resignation as the killers of the past—accepting that the threat is there, and doing their best to navigate around it." They are not giving up on life and calling life hopeless but they are living their lives, yes it isn't pretty, but life isn't pretty in a fallen world. Even in a fallen world we can find the strength to survive and "eagerly await a Savior … who … will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

PREACHING ANGLES: Courage; Death; Disease; Life; Perseverance; Resignation; Strength

Heavy Backpacks
Recent research has determined that children should not carry more than 10-15 percent of their total weight in their backpack. A follow-up question was posed in the New York Times asking what will happen to the spinal development of those children who carry over the 15 percent limit. The experts replied: "It will affect posture and may lead to serious back pain …" How big of a burden are you carrying around on your back? Is it more than the 15 percent maximum? As the old spiritual says, maybe it's time to lay those burdens down.

PREACHING ANGLES: Burden Bearer; Burdens; Burnout; Dependence on God; Rest; Weariness; Worry

Why Doctors Need Stories
Recently a doctor took to The New York Times to share his disgust with the loss of storytelling in medicine. Peter Kramer says, "The inclusion of a single anecdote in a research overview can lead to a reprimand, for reliance on storytelling." But Kramer says that stories are needed for a few reasons. "I have been surprised," he writes, "by the impact that even lightly sketched case histories can have on readers." This gives the readers the understanding that they are not alone in their battle and the encouragement to continue. Kramer echoes the conclusion of a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine: "Data are important, of course, but numbers sometimes imply an order to what is happening that can be misleading. Stories are better at capturing a different type of 'big picture.'" As Christians, we have data to share, but we also have a story of God's incredible redemption in Christ.

PREACHING ANGLES: Evangelism; Gospel; Stories; Testimony; Witnessing

The Man Who Broke the World's Longest Speech Record
A man from Lake County, Florida smashed the current Guinness Book of Records mark for the world's longest speech. Zack Zehnder started at 7:00 A.M. on Friday, November 7th and didn't stop until 12:21 P.M. on Sunday. That's a speech of 48 hours and 31 minutes. Zack did get a five-minute break every hour, per the rules set by Guinness. Oh, and did I mention Zack's profession? Are you kidding? He's a preacher.

PREACHING ANGLES: Pastors; Preacher; Preaching; Sermons

Friendly Fire is Still Fire
Fresh off his recent three week suspension for criticizing Roger Goodell, Bill Simmons recently attacked colleague Mike Golic on Twitter for comments he made regarding an interview Simmons gave. Simmons promised to keep a low profile after a three-week ESPN suspension for comments about NFL commissioner., but then the popular columnist took to Twitter for another pointed rant, this time targeting Mike Golic of ESPN's Mike & Mike show, who criticized Simmons' comments about LeBron James. Simmons started by stating, "I would say I lost respect for that show, but I never had it." But here's the irony of Simmons' actions: both Golic and Simmons work for the same company and any feud or public dispute they have reflects poorly on the company they work for. What a tragic display of public disunity. I'm sure glad the church would never be guilty of stooping that low!

PREACHING ANGLES: Church; Church, conflict in; Church, family of God; Community; Community life

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