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The Immediate Word
Mary Austin

What Is a Life Worth?

Acts 16:16-34
Insurance companies and attorneys routinely calculate the value of a life lost, in order to make reparative payments to loved ones. Higher earners are “worth” more, since there are more lost wages to account for. Younger people are “worth” more, since more years of life have been taken away. In Cleveland, the family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice will receive $6 million in compensation for his death at the hands of police officers. Last year, General Motors spent $595 million to compensate people who lost loved ones (or were injured themselves) in auto accidents caused by faulty equipment. In Afghanistan, the death of 42 people at a Doctors Without Borders hospital last year equals paper reprimands for 16 military personnel involved in the mistaken airstrike.
     In this Acts text, Paul and Silas see the value of a slave girl’s life, and then the value of a jailer’s life. We measure the value of a life in different ways -- education, earning power, similarity to us -- but Paul and Silas see worth in both the slave girl and the jailer. For both of them, encountering Paul and Silas changes their own sense of worth. Both of their lives take surprising twists when they meet these two.
     Paul and Silas seem worthless to some -- in the words of the slave girl, they are also slaves. And yet they have a mysterious ability to change people’s sense of their own worth....
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Red Light, Green Light

In the summer of 2004, I had the joy of traveling with Rosmarie Trapp on a five-day, whirlwind storytelling tour of southern Wisconsin. Rosmarie is the firstborn child of the Captain and Maria, of the famed von Trapp Family Singers of Sound of Music fame. She has seven older and two younger siblings, five of whom are still living. The von Trapps escaped from Austria when the Nazis came in 1938. Rosmarie said her parents had a vision like Abraham to go to a new land that God would show them; a decision, she said, that saved their lives. She was nine years old when they arrived in "Amerika" and settled on a farm in Stowe, Vermont, where the von Trapp Family Lodge is still located today. They slept in a haymow in a barn the first summer while their home was being built.
     The von Trapp Family Singers offered concerts all over the world in the 1940s and '50s. "Tiny one-horse towns and big cities, we went everywhere -- every state in the US (except Alaska), Canada, Mexico, South America, and New Zealand," Rosmarie said. When we passed Kohler, Wisconsin, on our way from a book signing in Plymouth to a church event in Sheboygan, she exclaimed...
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Wayne Brouwer

Powerful prayer

Dr. James Dobson tells a story about his son when he was just a little fellow. Ryan had a knack for getting into trouble. If there was something to break, chances are he smashed it. If there was something to get into, he was like a weasel. If there was something to mess up, he was the devil’s whirlwind.
     After a while, the Dobsons got rather exasperated. Shirley Dobson would shake her head and say to her husband: “Somebody better do something about that boy!”...
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Frank Ramirez

On The Shoulders of Giants -- the King James translation of the Bible

Luke 24:44-53

Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one?.but to make a good one better, or out of many good ones, one principal good one.
     From “The Translators to the Reader,” King James Version, 1611....
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The Village Shepherd

Janice Scott

God of perfect community...

God of perfect community - three-in-one and one-in-three - our pseudo-community functions well. We all like each other, and it's friendly and warm. And at times, there's quite a lot of intimacy. How can I risk losing all that? If I show irritation or anger, people will be upset. I may not only destroy the group, but be ostracised as well. God of community, I hesitate to lose what I already have, because it feels good. Yet sometimes I glimpse what could be....
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CSSPlus (Children's Sermon Service...Plus

Cynthia Cowen

Unity, Jesus Prayer for Us

Object: three strands of yarn
The Point: Jesus prays for unity among his followers
The Lesson: Good morning, boys and girls. Thank you for joining me as we share God’s word. Today I brought with me three strands of yarn. (show children) Here is one strand....
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Gospel Grams 1 (Ages 5-7)

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Gospel Grams 2 (Ages 8-10)

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