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News That Illustrates for Sunday, October 26th - November 2nd

As Your World Turns, Woman Marries Herself, and Jesus Saving … Aliens?

How the World Has Changed During Your Life
"This is your story, the story of your life on earth," says an online tool from the BBC that allows you to enter your birth date and see how stats and stories on how life has changed since you joined humanity. How many times has your heart beat? How many generations of fruit flies have lived during your lifetime (16,000 for this writer)? It's a fun exercise, and interesting—but what metrics would you track if this chart represented your spiritual life? How has your soul grown? What would a chart of your commitment to Jesus look like? What are the stories that have shaped you? It's worth pondering.

PREACHING ANGLES: Growth; Spiritual; Life; Sanctification

You Can't Take It with You … (Chevy Edition)
During his five decades running a Chevrolet dealership in Nebraska, Ray Lambrecht held onto his customers' trade-ins (and quite a few new models too), amassing a collection of more than 500 cars, parked on a nearby farm. After Lambrecht's recent death, his collection went up for auction. The sale drew 25,000 people, was filmed for the History channel, and raised $2.8 million. But … Lamprecht wasn't able to take any of that with him. What treasures are you storing up on this earth that you will not be able to take with you? What legacy will you leave behind? This story is a great reminder for our lives to be focused not on things of this earth but on our heavenly home.

PREACHING ANGLES: Death; Legacy; Possessions; Priorities; Treasure; Rewards

Did Jesus Save Space Aliens?
As Shakespeare famously wrote, "There are more things in heaven and earth … than are dreamt of in your philosophy." But could that "more" include extraterrestrial life? So far, evangelical Christianity hasn't thought seriously about the issue, which would carry all sorts of interesting theological questions if life—especially intelligent life—was found beyond Earth. But as a new article in Scientific American observes, religious scholars are beginning to consider the issue, and the implications of the possibility that we're not alone in the created universe. It should make us consider—humbly—the many ways that God's creation exists beyond us. We are so prone to see ourselves as the center of the universe, that whether or not we're "alone," we should ponder ourselves and our place in the cosmos with humility and worship of the creator. As one ancient hymn says, Jesus is worthy to be "glorified through all the worlds." Indeed. Even ones that we may not know about yet.

PREACHING ANGLES: Creation; Science; Salvation

Our Need for Justice
In a recent New York Times video, director Errol Morris briefly introduces us to Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, who helped force Liberian dictator Charles G. Taylor out of power. Morris shares his favorite interaction with Gbowee: "I asked [her] whether the women's movement in Liberia needed her. She said no. It was the opposite. She needed it. Through her activism, she was able to restore her own faith in humanity and in the power of each and every individual to effect positive change." Too often, we Christians see ourselves at the center of our efforts for justice, generosity, or hospitality. But if we are humble, we can recognize our own inner need for engaging the difficult issues of the world in the name of Jesus.

PREACHING ANGLES: Injustice; Justice; Missions; Peace; Social Action; Social Conditions; Social Justice

Single Woman Marries Herself
A UK woman, Grace Gelder, married herself after failing to find love … at the ripe-"old" age of 31! According to The Daily Mail, Gelder "proposed to herself on a park bench, bought a ring and a dress and invited all of her friends to watch her make her vows." Gelder said in an interview, "The day was obviously centered on me, the final event being a mirror for me to kiss …" Her wedding is not recognized by the law. This story was even picked up on the show Late Night with Seth Meyers, who quipped "I don't know how to tell you this, but the lady you just married might be crazy." Without minimizing Gelder's struggle or the struggle of the many people who struggle to find a suitable romantic partner, do we have to look to ourselves as our only source of love? Are we really becoming that selfish, narcissistic, and hopeless, that when all else fails we marry ourselves? Is there no one who can love us more than we can love ourselves?

PREACHING ANGLES: Culture; Failure; Love; Marriage; Selfishness; Singleness

The Potential Cost of Wi-Fi: YOUR FIRSTBORN.
In an experiment in London, security firm F-Secure set up on open Wi-Fi network in a busy public area. But there was a hidden, devilish catch. When people connected to the network, they were presented with (the usual) lengthy terms and conditions. Well hidden was a "Herod Clause," stating that by using this Wi-Fi you were "giving permanent ownership of the user's firstborn child" to F-Secure. Six people clicked through the "Herod Clause" and accepted the terms. What a potent illustration of the "hidden costs" of so many things and behaviors that we take for granted.

PREACHING ANGLES: Attention; Culture; Internet; Selfishness; Technology

Kicking the Google Habit
Doctors treating a man for alcoholism cut out all addictive behavior for their patient for 35 days. While they expected withdrawal from the booze, they didn't suspect that his most severe withdrawal symptoms would come from the loss of his Google Glass device. Says The Guardian, "The man had been using the technology for around 18 hours a day—removing it only to sleep and wash—and complained of feeling irritable and argumentative without the device. In the two months since he bought the device, he had also begun experiencing his dreams as if viewed through the device's small grey window." It's a powerful reminder that no human behavior—holy or sinful, healthy or unhealthy—exists in a vacuum. Every one of our actions contributes to a pattern of who we are as people, how we see ourselves and our world.

PREACHING ANGLES: Addiction; Culture; Internet; Time

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