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News That Illustrates for Sunday, November 23rd - November 30th

Leaving Behind a Legacy, Head Start on Christmas Shopping, Nearly 36 Million are Modern Slaves

Leaving Behind a Legacy
We don't get to choose when we write our legacy but we can chose how our legacy is written. Take, for example, Roger Freeman. He was an incumbent Democratic state representative in Washington state, up for reelection in 2014. But he passed away from colon cancer a week before the votes. Yet, most people in the state still voted for him—even though they knew he had colon cancer. Governor Jay Inslee says about Freeman, "Roger came to the state Legislature with a passion for serving his community and advocating for the most vulnerable, particularly children and children with disabilities … Roger was a deeply spiritual man who lived his faith every single day." What a great legacy to leave behind for a politician—or a follower of Christ.

PREACHING ANGLES: Cancer; Death; Influence; Legacy; Life, meaning of; Life, short; Purpose; Reputation

Screening Your Tweets
Hamish Thompson, of Houston PR in London, created a useful tool for all of us who use Twitter. It is called the Pretweet. You load your tweet you are about to post onto this website and it will flag all of your clichés and will give you a "warning that the tweet has a potential cringe factor that warrants amending." According to the report the "cringe list" includes "not only deliberate misspellings and overused words like 'awesome,' but also language that appears to have been born on Twitter." Thompson says, "These expressions are not used in normal conversation, so why are they considered appropriate for tweeting?" While we may be able to tame our tongue in our tweets, it is much harder to tame the tongue in real life conversations. We don't have access to a prespeech website that we can run our dialogue through. But we do have words from Scripture that reminds us to "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

PREACHING ANGLES: Conversation; Speech; Technology; Tongue; Tongue, control of; Words

Safety First
A recent article in the New York Times talks about the importance of taking the right steps to avoiding tripping/falling accidents. Researchers who study falls want people to take the danger of falling injuries as seriously as heart disease or viral infections. Their advice? "Regular exercise classes can help, especially those that include balance drills … Reducing the number of tripping and slipping hazards at home also helps prevent falls." It isn't only the major diseases that can cause us harm it is also the "minor" slips and falls. Just as it is not always the big sins that cause us to stumble, sometimes it is the small sins. We need to be aware of the causes of our stumbles and take them seriously. Don't focus solely on the "bigger" sins, but make yourself aware of all sizes of stumbling blocks, for Scripture tells us "That we all stumble in many ways (James 4:2)."

PREACHING ANGLES: Falling; Lifestyle; Stumbling; Stumbling Blocks; Temptation

Getting a Head Start on Your Christmas Shopping?
So you think you're going to get started early on this season's Christmas shopping? Well, take a tip from these two uber-committed Black Friday experts from California. They started camping out at the Best Buy in Beaumont Best, California 22 days ahead of Black Friday sales. Vickey Torres and Juanita Salas of Beaumont plan to spend the full 22 days outside of the electronic retailer in hopes of landing the best deals for the infamous "first come, first served" Thanksgiving night rush. "We could have started later, but then we wouldn't be sure to get first in line," Torres said, as she and Salas sat under the hot sun in front of the Best Buy. Torres and Salas said they have camped out in front of Best Buy for "the last few years," with the two women taking turns to go home and shower, eat. Although deals for Best Buy's Black Friday are yet to be released, Torres and Salas said they are ultimately looking to land a good deal on a television this year. Their crazy consumerism aside, you have to say that these women are dedicated. (Thanks to David Slagle for this story.)

PREACHING ANGLES: Christmas; Advent; Consumerism; Priorities

'Dead' Woman Wakes up in Mortuary
You hear stories like this from time to time—a 91 year-old Polish woman declared dead and taken to a mortuary spent 11 hours in cold storage … then woke up. The woman, complaining of "being cold" (no, really?) has now been reunited with her family. Reports the BBC: "'My aunt has no inkling of what happened since she has late-stage dementia,' Bogumila Kolkiewicz, her niece, told local media." It's an amazing story—but with the poignant reminder that though she "came back," she wasn't healed of her sickness. How different from the promise of resurrection—when we'll know full well how close we came to the grave (through the grave), but will be raised into perfection of new life.

PREACHING ANGLES: Death; Life; Resurrection; Healing

Nearly 36 Million are Modern Slaves
A new report from Walk Free, an abolitionist campaign, paints a stark picture of modern enslavement—nearly 36 million people today live as slaves. The numbers, due to better reporting and methodology of the study, are 20% higher than 2013's estimates. Many of these slaves are in the developing world, but some surprises are on the list too—Russia is 5th globally for slavery, due to its dependence on slaves for construction and agriculture. All 167 countries studied had modern slaves within their borders. The numbers point to a harsh reality—just because an issue of morality or justice is difficult to see does not mean that it's invisible or insignificant. How will the world respond to this massive modern violation of human rights? Hopefully with energy and justice. In any case, it's a reminder that what is hidden now will one day be "shouted from the housetops."

PREACHING ANGLES: Justice; Slavery; Freedom; Hidden Sin; Righteousness

How to 'Debunk Falsehoods'
The modern world is awash with misinformation and outright deception. But every lie that matters is vicious precisely because we believe that it is true. At the intersection of a falsehood and the truth, we often find conflict—and the need to persuade ourselves or others of the truth effectively and without burning bridges. "If you try and debunk a myth," say Stephen Lewandowsky and John Cook, authors of the Debunker's Handbook, "you may end up reinforcing that belief, strengthening the misinformation in people's mind without making the correct information take hold. What you must do, they argue, is to start with the plausible alternative (that obviously you believe is correct). If you must mention a myth, you should mention this second, and only after clearly warning people that you're about to discuss something that isn't true."

PREACHING ANGLES: Lie; Truth; Relationships; Persuasion

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