June 21, 2019

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It was a wonderful/awful day in my life - the day my mother took my hand and walked me the two blocks over to Park Manor School in Chicago. It was the day I went to school for the first time. Kindergarten, here I come! It was exciting, but it was hard, too. We didn't do any pre-school stuff back then - my family didn't even go to Sunday School. So here was little Ronnie leaving the safety of his apartment, leaving his mother, leaving everything that was safe and familiar for a place I had never been. It sounds a little silly, knowing what I know now. Still, the fears and the feelings were very real then. But if I hadn't left home and stepped into the unknown called school, I would have missed so much!

June 20, 2019

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My sister-in-law used to be involved with insurance claims. And it was not uncommon for her to have clients who had major messes to clean up. Imagine the damage flood waters could do to a home, or a major fire, or even frozen pipes that burst in the winter. That's when they called on a major company known for their specialty - they come in and clean those grossly soaked carpets, they restore that damaged furniture and those smoke-saturated drapes. They are known for being the ones who can clean up a mess that folks could never clean themselves.

June 19, 2019

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Shades of the '60s: angry, discontented young people, occupying public places, trying to call attention to their cause. We've seen that before and we're seeing it a lot these days.

The '60s demonstrations were about a war, and they turned more violent. Then there were the 2011 crowds. They were occupying high-profile public areas like Wall Street, for example, around the world, with a different cause - they were claiming their protest was about jobs, and corporate greed, concentrated wealth, economic injustice.

June 18, 2019

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Our kids played with it when they were little. Our grandkids have been playing with it since they were little. I play with it every once in a while. It's that colorful clay in the round can - it's Play-Doh! You can squeeze that Play-Doh into something flat, something round, something long. You can turn it into any shape you want it to be. Which is OK for a toy - it's not OK for people.

June 17, 2019

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Lake Cumberland is a nice place to go in central Kentucky. It's not a nice place to have come to you. That's what the Army Corps of Engineers has been concerned about. The Wolf Creek Dam holds back millions of gallons of water from Nashville and other communities along the Cumberland River. Well the Army engineers had expressed some growing concerns about a possible dam break. They said a break could kill many residents and it could cause over three billion dollars in damage. A Corps spokesman said that the failure of the dam wasn't imminent at that time but that evacuation plans would be a good idea. So they decided they would lower the water level in the lake and try to fortify the dam, because they said that dam was all that stands between a lot of lives and a major disaster.

June 14, 2019

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When I was in South Africa, our hosts were kind enough to take me to an incredible game park where I could see African animals in the wild. And I did! Rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, and baboons - not the kind of animals you usually see wandering around, say, New York. But the highlight was coming around this curve and meeting a great bull elephant in the road. He put on a real show for us for several minutes. I picked up a local newspaper a while later and saw a news article with that game park as the dateline. The article was about the young male elephants there-the ones the rangers call the teenagers. Apparently, in recent months, those teenage male elephants had been on a reign of terror in the park, doing things that elephants don't usually do. They had attacked other animals like rhinos. They had attacked tourists, inflicting death or serious injury. And finally the park officials got it figured out what had gone wrong with these young males. When they were newborn, they were taken from another game park and brought to this one. But their fathers - the bull elephants - were not brought with them. So these teenage elephants grew up without a model of how a grownup male should act - and they were out of control.

June 13, 2019

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When one of our kids would be going through a sick spell, I used to tell them they needed to get lots of sleep. That's because (this is what I'd say) "when you're asleep, the good soldiers come out and fight those bad soldiers that are making you sick." Okay come on, it's not advanced microbiology, but it works for me. Actually, one of the amazing things about these bodies God has given us is how our body kicks into action when it's been invaded by an infection. All those antibodies go to work (good soldiers), and those white blood cells start coming out in force. In fact, one way doctors look for infection is to check your blood for the elevated presence of white blood cells. They're multiplying fast when the "bad soldier" germs try to take you out.

June 12, 2019

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My friend Dave got tired of wearing glasses. But if he didn't, he was dangerous. After consulting with a specialist, he determined that he was a candidate for this Lasik eye surgery. During the procedure, a laser beam was aimed at the parts of his eye that limited his vision and the light of that laser changed everything. Guess who doesn't need glasses anymore? All because of the power of focused light.

June 11, 2019

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Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. Today, he wears the Purple Heart and the Silver Star of an American hero. He was, in fact, introduced to the nation during President Bush's 2007 State of the Union Address. There's been been a lot of disagreement about the war in Iraq, but there wass no disagreement about the heroism of soldiers like Sgt. Rieman. The day his squad was ambushed by enemy fire in the midst of a reconnaissance mission, they were outnumbered ten to one. Their vehicles kept moving as Sgt. Rieman dove into the backseat and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. As they sped away from the ambush, they found themselves ambushed again by some 50 enemy attackers. Rieman was shot in the right arm, he was shot in the chest, he had shrapnel wounds to his chest and stomach and ear, and his squad was out of ammo. In spite of all those wounds, Tommy Rieman began firing away with his grenade launcher at their attackers. Finally, the enemy's guns fell silent. Then Sgt. Rieman began tending to his wounded.

June 10, 2019

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We were between ministry engagements, and we took a short timeout in a picturesque mountain community in the Southeast. It's the oldest town in the area and its buildings make you feel like you've stepped back into the 1890s. It's got rambling Victorian mansions, soaring spires, it's got this classic railroad station. We stopped to ask a local man directions, and somewhere in the middle of his answer he made this observation about his town, "You know, this place is sort of like a movie set. There really isn't much here, but it sure does look pretty."

            

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Harrison, AR 72602-0400

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