Think before you sign by PASTOR LARRY ROWLAND Rockford Baptist Church A student of the Eagle Rock Junior High School won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair a few years ago with his exposure of a substance that he claimed threatened the well-being of the human race. The substance is dihydrogen monoxide. His exhibit illustrated many of the reasons why this substance should be banned from our planet. Among the reasons he gave were: dihydrogen monoxide can cause excessive sweating and vomiting; it is a major component in acid rain; it can cause severe burns in its gaseous state; if you accidentally breathe in this substance, it will kill you; it contributes to erosion; it has been found in the tumors of terminal cancer patients; it even decreases the effectiveness of automobile brakes, causing accidents and deaths on the highway. As person after person passed by the exhibit, drinking in the potential dangers of this substance, lines of worry and anxiety furrowed their brows. One after another stooped over to sign the petition at the end of the table, calling for the banning of dihydrogen monoxide. You could hear this substance coming up in conversation after conversation, with people expressing their concerns that this substance hadn’t been exposed before. At the end of the day, a survey of all who attended the science fair revealed that 86% thought it was a good idea for dihydrogen monoxide to be banned from use on our planet. Only 2% of those who attended this science fair were for its use, and 12% were undecided on the question, wanting further information before passing judgment. It was after the survey had been conducted at the end of the day, just before the science fair was closing, that the winning student uncovered the title of his project. His exhibit was called “How Gullible Are We?” His project was really intended to expose how easily alarmists can spread anxiety, and how easily and quickly Americans accept anxiety into their lives. Dihydrogen monoxide? It’s just good, old-fashioned H2O-water. Motivated by their anxieties, 86% of the people at this Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair had signed petitions calling for the banning of water from use on our planet.
A weekly inspirational message
Focus on your source of strength by PASTOR LARRY D. ROWLAND Rockford Baptist Church Sports have become more daring and dangerous during this past generation. Not content with just the more traditional sporting events like soccer, baseball, football, basketball and hockey, many young people today have become enamored with “extreme sports.” Doing skateboard tricks down huge ramps, riding bicycles at breakneck speeds down mountains, seeing how many spins one can do while skydiving out of airplanes-these are the thrills that many young people are seeking today. One of these extreme sports is called big mountain skiing. To perform this sport, a person wearing skis is dropped from a helicopter near the top of a mountain. This courageous skier has no choice but to descend down the mountain going through trails and jumping over cliffs that he has never seen before. The scenery is breathtaking in its beauty, of course. But one wonders how much of the view could ever be enjoyed because of the risks involved. When world champion extreme skier Kim Reichelm was asked how someone could ski down a strange mountain and survive, this matter-of-fact answer was given: What you focus your eyes on becomes critical on the side of a mountain. Look at the spaces between the trees; the exits where you hope to be traveling. Don’t stare at what you don’t want to hit. This same principle is true in navigating the dangers of life. Too many people focus all of their attention on their problems and obstacles. Their troubles consume their life. Instead of focusing on their source of strength and help, they only see the pitfalls and roadblocks of life. During some difficult times, the author of Hebrews encouraged some people who were enduring persecution to fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of their faith (Heb. 12:2).
Up with love, down with fear by PASTOR JON HUIZENGA River Rock Church “Up with love, down with fear” sounds like something my brother might have chanted in bellbottoms and sandals. I myself am not quite old enough to be a ’60s flower child. However, I’m still groovy with that phrase. In fact, I dig it. It is in the Bible. (OK, enough with the ’60s speak). Here is how God says it in the Bible: “There is no fear in love. But, perfect love drives out fear…” (I John 4:18). The love the Bible is talking about is the love that originates from God and is demonstrated when God sent his Son for you. He sent his Son, Jesus, to clear away your sin and the damage it causes to your relationship with God and others. If God loves you that much, you can trust that his love surrounds you completely. His love surrounds your good and bad, your past and future. And, it can drive out fear. I just spent a few days with my aging mom. She is beginning to have some memory issues and that scares her. She is intelligent, sensitive and wise, and she likes being so. She likes to call you by name and to remember your story. So, if she could choose how to age, she’d choose anything but an iffy memory. Please, not that! That’s a good test case. How does God’s love drive out that fear? Finally, it must be a trust thing. If God is crazy in love with her, she can trust that her future will be in his loving hands, even if it involves choices she would not make herself. If she is secure in God’s love, that security has potential to drive fear out. As trust goes up, fear comes down. I am not implying that I have that kind of trust. I would prefer that my superior strength could drive out fear. But my mom and I are trying. We are learning to trust his love. It is a love that surprisingly successfully drives out fear. Want some of that love? If I can help you search for or find it, I’d be happy to. E-mail me at email@example.com or call […]
Spring brings new beginnings, new life by DR. MICHAEL CONKLIN Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church Spring is a time of wonder for me, and every year I anticipate its coming with a real sense of the coming joy. It isn’t that everything begins to turn both green and the rich colors of spring flowers, though that is certainly a delightful thing. It isn’t that the soil, frozen and icy through the winter months, becomes soft and fertile, ready for the gardener’s touch. The truth is I am an appalling gardener who is so much better at killing plants than helping them to flourish. It isn’t even that we get to celebrate the great feast of Easter with its promise of resurrected life for all. Though that warms a pastor’s heart, and is a deep joy, there is something else in the spring that lifts my soul and gives my heart a sense of delight. Spring, April in particular, is the beginning of baseball season. I love baseball, even though throughout my youth I was not a very good player, did some of my growing up in a town without Little League, and was always the last one picked when we chose sides. I credit my love of the game of baseball to my grandmother, who was a first-class baseball fan. She had shaken hands with Ty Cobb and Hank Greenburg, and had attended at least some of every World Series the Tigers had been in prior to the 1968 Series. She taught my to love the game by taking me to local baseball games in Battle Creek, telling me where to sit for the best view, what to watch for as the game progressed, and how to keep score on a scorecard. She literally passed her love of the game on to me by teaching me to pay attention to what is important, and demonstrating what it looks like and feels like to truly love the game. It has occurred to me that this is exactly how my parents taught me to be a person of faith. They sat with me in church, taught me how to behave, what to look and listen for, even how to sing the hymns. I still remember the day that […]
Carry out God’s call in your life by REV. SUSAN YORK Church of the Holy Spirit, Belmont As we are in the very midst of Holy Week observance, and following Jesus on his last journey here on Earth, we remember his suffering and his death, even as we anticipate the joy of Easter in his resurrection. He did this all because he was obedient, and he did it so that we could be free. In our own time, we have those who have worked passionately for a mission and ministry that claims their very lives. One such person was Ron Rivera. Sara Corbett wrote about him in a recent edition of the New York Times magazine. Ron was a Peace Corps volunteer who stayed and tried to make the world a better place by helping indigenous potters to build kilns and improve their skills so that they could make a living and improve the community. He also developed a clay bowl, coated with antimicrobial silver solution which made the vessel 100 percent effective in eliminating bacteria from contaminated water, making it safe to drink. He did this in Kenya, Cambodia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Darfur. Rivera had just finished building the 30th Water Filtration Factory on his life goal to build 100 factories through Potters for Peace. He was bitten by a mosquito which carried a particularly virulent form of malaria, and died two weeks later with his wife at his side. We are all called to carry out God’s call in our lives in places far and near. May we have the courage and the strength to follow where our Lord has led and remember that our lives are to be lived in faith and trust and service to the God who loves us so extravagantly that he sent his own son. Amen.